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Week 17: 27 April – 3 May

9how17aI’m writing this on the day that the 68 year-old Bob Dylan’s 33rd studio album has reached number one in the album charts. Which seems significant somehow, though I’m blowed if I know what it means. (It’s also baffling, even accounting for the fact that you only have to sell three copies nowadays to get a number one album. I mean, who’s buying this stuff?) Even more bizarrely, the young whippersnappers (i.e., the under 30s) I’ve talked to at work can’t believe that I was only, what, 3 years old when “Blowin’ in the Wind” was written – they seem to think that once you get near 50 everyone old is somehow your contemporary.

Anyway, on the gansey front, the first major milestone’s been reached – the back is finished, and it’s time to take stock. It’s a bit like embarking on a long climbing trip; you’ve scaled the first part of the hill, it’s time for lunch and a hot drink, so you sit down, unscrew your thermos and enjoy the view, all the time knowing that the summit’s still many hours away.

9how17bSo what have we learned so far? First of all, that the old knitters knew what they were doing, and were probably right not to attempt this version of the pattern; that one pattern row to two plain rows isn’t an easy one to keep track of without keeping careful records; and that, as a pattern, it’s not the most visually striking. No great surprises there, then.

On the other hand, I rather like the subtly textured effect; the way that you can see there’s a texture but no obvious pattern, except when the light catches it just so. Cable junkie though I be, I’ve always had a soft spot for the simple patterns of working ganseys, and I feel that any gansey divided into three bands like this is aesthetically pleasing, no matter what. And (I know this is hard to believe, but bear with me) I find the repetitive nature of this kind of knitting very relaxing. It may be the gansey equivalent of mowing your lawn one blade of grass at a time, but as I’ve said before people who knit ganseys shouldn’t be in a hurry anyway.

9how17cOther news – I’m adjusting to the floaters (I just pretend I’m living through a Victorian London smog) and no longer assume that movement I keep seeing out of the corner of my eyes is rats, or the creature from Alien slowly uncoiling behind me. And there are still no computers at work, but I’ve found if I take my Mac laptop in to work it automatically connects to the wi-fi hot spot across the road, so progress of a sort.

And I’m back in Somerset for a few days, to relax, put my feet up and, er, go to the dentist. And listen to about 30 Bob Dylan albums before I go back to Scotland next weekend. As His Bobness closes his great song “Highlands”, “Well, my heart’s in the Highlands at the break of day/ Over the hills and far away/ There’s a way to get there, and I’ll figure it out somehow/ But I’m already there in my mind/ And that’s good enough for now.” And who am I to argue with Bob Dylan?

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