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Week 8: 23 February – 1 March

9how8aIt’s a curious thing that gansey wool, which feels quite soft to the touch in swatches, when knitted at this tension to a height of 10 inches or so takes on the consistency of canvas – i.e., becomes stiff and unyielding. Maybe it’s all the caked-in salt from the sweat of my fingers, or all the hot salt tears I’ve wept over it, I don’t know, but I’m tempted to make my next project a gansey tent, or even a natty pair of shorts. Anyway, I’m hoping it will retain its firmness once it’s been washed and can then act as a sort of corset, thus turning me into the William Shatner of herring fishermen.

Is there anything more frustrating than not being able to find a book you’re in a mood to read? Well, obviously there are a multitude of things – being sent for a long stand on your first day in the factory, for example, or buying a spanking new mobile phone and not having anyone phone you – but putting those to one side, that’s the purgatory I’m in right now. I got bored with Thomas Hardy’s A Pair of Blue Eyes; tried Patrick Hamilton’s 1,000-page science fiction epic Pandora’s Star but didn’t like the writing, the characters or the dialogue (the plot was good, though, or at least it sounded good on the back cover); picked up P.D. James’s rather ridiculous detective story The Lighthouse and quickly put it down again; and am currently, as it were, flirting with Shakespeare (Henry IV Part 1, since you ask), but I don’t think he’s going to respect me in the morning.

9how8aI have a growing pile of novels on my bedside table, each of which is there just in case I feel in the mood for it, and a similar pile which I’m accumulating for the move to Edinburgh, like a squirrel squirrelling away for the lean times ahead. (In the same way I’ve iPodded over 100 audiobooks over the last year, and stocked up on some big, fat classical cd box set bargains (60 cds of Beethoven, and boxes of Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Britten, Wagner, Haydn).

In fact, I’m just beginning to come to terms with the fact one day I’ll have more hours of things to listen to than days left to live. I was thinking this the other day, when I glanced at my music collection on my computer and discovered that it would take over 68 days non-stop just to listen to everything on there. And that’s just a fragment of the contents of my cd collection. (Will there ever come a time when I regret all the hours I’ve spent listening to Bob Dylan? Surely not!) But I used to belong to a book group and an elderly member of the group once declared that he made it a policy not to finish a book he wasn’t enjoying – at his age, he said, life was too precious…

And speaking of not wasting the precious gift of life, I’d better go. After all, I’ve got a corset to knit…

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