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Week 18: 29 March – 4 April

I’ve discovered there’s an unexpected bonus to growing older and developing all sorts of ailments. It gives you something to talk to friends and relatives about.

We’ve just returned from a very pleasant Easter visiting my parents at the ancestral home in Northamptonshire, a lengthy drive of some 335 miles (but still cheaper than the train which would have clocked in at a spectacular £380 for the pair of us second class). I love my family, and we all get on fine, but we have about as much in common as Mahatma Gandhi and Attila the Hun (yes, draw your own conclusions – naturally I don’t see myself as Gandhi – though “Attila the Archivist” doesn’t have quite the right tone, somehow).

On politics, religion, music, books, sport, metaphysics, and just about all aspects of life, we are poles apart. I read Dostoyevski and PG Wodehouse, my brother reads horror novels and car magazines. I enjoy watching cricket, my father loathes all sports. I watch documentaries, The Simpsons and Mythbusters, and, well, they don’t. My brother is passionately fond of cars, and owns about half a dozen – like the Rollright Stones just up the road, he has so many it’s impossible to count them – whereas I find cars about as interesting as shoelaces (and no, I don’t want to hear from any shoelace fanatics anxious to change my mind, thank you all the same!).

So it was a whole new experience to find myself in animated conversation with my father and brother about blood pressure (and the various pills you can take and their side effects – a very profitable seam, this one), cataracts, allergic reactions, blocked sinuses and migraines. Of course, my parents are in their 80s now, so they have an unfair advantage over my brother and me, being able to trump our feeble ailments with stirring tales of heart, hip and knee operations – but age must have its privileges, I suppose.

And now we’re back in Edinburgh, with just a Thorntons Easter egg between us and starvation, and a couple of nasty colds between us (see? I told you illnesses were great topics of conversation).

I’ve decided to start the neck of the front of the gansey around one third/halfway up the topmost panel. This always creates a dilemma – do you leave it blank (but that just draws attention to itself), or do you truncate the pattern (but that looks incomplete) – or do you introduce a different pattern that fits the space available (but that offends the artist in me – and who’d have thought there was one?). In fact, given that it’s another diamond, I plan to carry on with it until it gets cut off for the neck – a half diamond shouldn’t look too out of place. Well, we’ll find out soon enough.

So, on the whole, not much progress this week. But what did you expect – with all these pills I have to take? I tell you, it’s a wonder I can still type…

8 comments to Week 18: 29 March – 4 April

  • Suzanne

    A half diamond should look just fine. Could even be a third of a diamond, if you wish to start the neck sooner. I’m glad your Easter was pleasant, even if it did end with a cold.

  • Gordon

    Hi Suzanne,

    Yes, the half diamond should work. I shall reveal myself for the snivelling coward I really am when I confess that these days i prefer to put off starting the neck as long as possible, so there are fewer stitches to pick up on either side. (Hangs head in shame.)

    My favourite comment on Easter came in today’ sGuardian in a review on the new Doctor Who – they described it as the most religious programme on TV over the weekend, pointing out that the main character came back from the dead, but changed in appearance, to save the world…

    Gordon

  • =Tamar

    I agree, the half-diamond should look just fine. It may even add a slightly casual look, given that sweatshirts often have a half-diamond at the neck.

    The Doctor has come back many times, but he has technology to help him; the Master does it all by himself now…

  • Gordon

    Hi Tamar,

    Well, I committed myself last night to the half-diamond, so fingers crossed it comes out OK (of course it’ll look fine).

    As for the Master – I’ve not been paying close attention, but is that the reason he’s now insane? And isn’t the doctor getting to the end of the number of “lives” he’s allowed to have…?

    Gordon

  • =Tamar

    The Master being insane is a sign of bad writers. When he first appeared he had already used up all his extra lives, but when he acquired some extra energy he was able to take over someone else’s body. He spent a few centuries trapped in a statue, which may have affected his mind, but the time he spent with the space-jumping cat-things seems to have been more stressful, though that may have been where he learned how to regenerate from being burned to ashes. The Doctor is getting close to the end of his allotted ten? twelve? lives and may have to take lessons from the Master soon. Blame the Beeb for decreeing he had to change every three years.

  • Gordon

    Hi Tamar,

    I suppose part of it’s because the actors don’t want to be tied to the role for too long? I haven’t seen the latest incarnation of the Doctor yet, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I’m still in mourning for Christopher Eccleston, though!

    Gordon

  • =Tamar

    He’ll probably be better than shoelaces… though I wonder now, maybe gansey-patterned shoelaces worked on very tiny needles might be fun. A simple cable could help them stay tied, anyway, and the rest could be done with the i-cord technique.

  • Gordon

    Hi again Tamar,

    Well, I’ve always been interested, but never had the nerve to try 4-ply on smaller needles… haven’t seen either of the new episodes that have been screened yet, but the new doctor seems to have won the fans over, even though he’s nobbut a lad.

    Gordon