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Whitby (Mrs Laidler Revisited): Week 2 – 7 October

“And when Alexander saw the breadth of his domain,” as noted classicist Hans Gruber said in that famous documentary Die Hard, “he wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer”. Well, all I can say is that if someone had introduced Alexander to the concept of two-colour knitting back in c.300 BC, that would have knocked the cocky beggar off his stride without all this world domination nonsense. Yes, I’m dipping my toe into the technicolour waters of Fair Isle; Margaret bought me a kit at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, and I’ve decided it’s time to give it a go. So far I feel rather like a cat who’s been asked to help with the washing up—I don’t seem to have enough opposable thumbs—but I shall persevere. It’s a project for the dark winter evenings, and a reminder that colour still exists in an increasingly grey and twilight world.

Showers at Sea, near the Trinkie

Meanwhile I’m progressing with the Whitby gansey with considerable relief—to be honest, if I’d finished the neck by now I’d be sobbing on it—and am slowly working my way up the back. There’s not a lot to say about it that I haven’t said before, except that it’s a superb pattern and very easy to knit. This time I’ll probably just do a standard rig’n’fur shoulder instead of the more usual saddle shoulder. Partly because the pattern is so striking it really doesn’t need it, and, to be frank with you, partly because it’s easier.

Sandy Goe

Speaking of cats, have you ever thought of the many uses cat litter can be put to? There are entire websites dedicated to the subject, more proof, if any were needed, that we are living in the end of days. You can use the stuff for removing odours in kitchens, fridges and shoes; you can dry out wet smartphones with it; you can use it for traction in icy conditions, and also for clearing up nuclear waste, as well as— Wait. Hang on: you what?

Marbled Skies over Wick – a double exposure

Apparently, yes: cat litter is every bit as good at mopping up liquid nuclear waste as it is at the more, ahem, obvious kinds of liquids. Soak it up, put it in a drum, seal it and it’s stable and safe. At least it is if you use the right kind of cat litter. It seems that industrial cat litter is made using clay, which is perfect for this kind of thing; organic cat litter, made with straw, which is effectively compost and, like compost, liable to overheat, not so much. Apparently at some point an American waste treatment plan accidentally switched from the one to the other and—well, let’s just say that it’s lucky no cats were actually using it at the time…

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