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Week 16: 20 – 26 April

Writing this on my birthday – I’m 49 – and all I can say is, if getting older gets worse from hereon in, I may just ask for a refund – if only I can find the receipt!

9how16bGansey news first, and you can see that it’s starting to shape up nicely. (Though one thing about a gansey with lots of cables, it’s easier to photograph as the cables act as supporting struts, keeping it from curling up on itself like this one does.) I usually do the back first, putting off the curved neckline on the front till last (I also work on the principle that the side of the yoke I do first is something of a “dry run”, and that the second one will be better, in which case the best side should be on the front). In this case, though, it means that the initials will be on the back -but does that matter?

Had a nasty experience yesterday, flashes of light and some big, very noticeable floaters in my right eye. (You know what floaters are, right? They’re the little black specks that sometimes float across your vision when you look at the sky on a clear day, a bit like microbes under an out-of-focus microscope.) Well, this is one of the warning signs of a detached retina, something to which I, as as a short-sighted person who’s had cataract operations, am at increased risk of. So it was off to A&E, and a long wait with all the Saturday afternoon sports injuries, including a little girl who looked like she was the school under-7s bare knuckle fighting champion (and if she’s the champion, I’d hate to see the girl who lost, etc.).


Which culminated in the most unpleasant eye examination of my life, and let me tell you I’ve had a few. With pupils dilated to the size of a myopic barn owl out hunting on a moonless night I had to keep my eyes open without blinking while the doctor shone a light powerful enough to illuminate football stadiums straight into them. And then she held a contact lens against the eye for extra magnification, and did it all over again, the heartless swine. I had more tears pouring down my face and soaking my shirt than when they cancelled Twin Peaks all those years ago.

Anyway, the good news is, she said, I don’t have a detached retina. But why then the flashes, I asked? Oh, she said, that’s just a vitreal detachment when the last of the jelly in my eye is tearing itself away from the back of the eye like old wallpaper off a wall. The flashes will gradually disappear as the last bits detach themselves. (Hang on a minute, you think, and this is the good news?) The floaters, as debris that comes with the detachment, are there to stay, and either my brain will just tune them out over time, or “you’ll just have to work something out”.

So there we are. Everything I look at at the moment has swirls of specks whizzing across it, like one of the space battles from Star Wars, lots of zippy movement and flashing lights. And, God, I find myself wondering, if this is what it’s like at 49, what on earth will 50 bring?

4 comments to Week 16: 20 – 26 April

  • Suzanne

    Happy Birthday! So sorry that you had such a scare and ordeal to mark the occasion. For what it may, or may not, be worth: the other side of 50 is both better and worse. Every which way, it is all a gentle slide from here to six feet under.

    The gansey is looking promising. I would think that the ‘floaters’ are more likely attributable to the endless repetition of the modified wavelet pattern. You are a brave man. I would have expired of boredom several inches ago.

  • Nigel

    For those who seek: The ‘kidney’ gansey is here

    Click on Tynemouth Volunteer Lifeboat Brigade. At the next page click on Dave Graham. You’ll then see Dave in his rather smashing gansey. At the left of the page (under Dave’s memories) click on The Gansey.

    This is a synopsis of what he says…

    I’m one of the lucky people because I have two ganseys; I have a, what I believe, I can’t find the pattern but is a Cullercoats Rocket No. Two pattern which is a dress gansey which has a crown and TVLB badges on, and I also have the Tynemouth gansey which just about goes down to my knees, the traditionally long gansey which can be folded up to cover the kidneys. Now, I wear that in the winter.

  • =Tamar

    Floaters are scary, but at least you know yours have been checked and said to be relatively harmless. I don’t have as many,(but I can’t remember not having them).

    Nigel in the comments: Thanks for the information and link!

  • Hi everyone,

    Thanks for the good wishes. Apologies for the delay in replying, but I’m only able to respond at weekends when I’m home just now, which is a bit like contacting outer space (I know Edinburgh is a long way away, but really!) The floaters are driving me mad – even before this most recent event my optician advised me to think about having the operation to drain the fluid from the eye and replace it with some clear liquid, but I keep hoping they’ll settle down without it. Now it’s like looking through some kind of industrial pollution snow globe, or a fire in a polystyrene ceiling tile factory!

    If anyone asks about the pattern I have decided I’ll now tell them it’s the world’s first 3-D magic eye knitting pattern, and watch them go cross-eyed as they try to see the lifeboat I’ll say is hidden within…