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Whitby, Mrs Laidler Week 10: 31 July

On Saturday night at ten o’clock Wick Gala week ended, as is customary, with an ooh-and-aah-inducing 15-minute firework display. This effectively takes place at the bottom of our garden, down by the riverside, so, although this is normally way past my bedtime, I make the effort to pull on a pair of shoes and go and skulk with our neighbours about halfway down the lane leading to the river. Not this year: I already had something of a migraine, the effect of which is like a sort of internal fireworks display of the brain, and that, together with a sudden downpour at 9.55pm, persuaded me to watch from my bedroom window.

Well, not only could I see all the fireworks but I also noticed little dark shapes flitting past, black as crows but faster and with broader wings—of course they were bats. Lit up against the giant star jellyfish firework explosions they looked like RAF pathfinders dodging flak on their way to bomb German dams, swooping and wheeling before the flashes and smoke which probably gave them the equivalent of bat migraines, playing merry hell with their echo location.

As for the migraine—Terry Pratchett once had the brilliant conceit of an Oh God of hangovers—the idea being that other people, like Bacchus, drink gallons of wine without suffering any ill effects but the oh god ends up with all the hangovers. I sometimes feel like that about migraines, encountering people who’ve never had one in their lives and I think, bugger, that means I’m probably getting yours on top of my own. (As Thomas Paine observed, up like a rocket, down like the stick; is it worth it? Surprisingly, sometimes, yes.)

Wick River – the Gala bonfire still smouldering…

In gansey news, I have, as it were rocketed down the second sleeve, and should wrap this one up next week. Just as well, really—the nights are definitely drawing in, and I find navy hard to knit in the twilight. Looking into the tealeaves in the bottom of my cup (the bag burst), I see pastel colours in my future; also I should fear death by water, and not economise by buying Tesco “everyday value” teabags…

[Apologies for the poor quality of the pictures this week—Margaret has followed the sun to the south of England, so it’s just me and my iPhone. Normal service will resume eventually.]

6 comments to Whitby, Mrs Laidler Week 10: 31 July

  • =Tamar

    Pastel tea leaves? It’s definitely time to change brands!

    • Gordon

      Ha, fair point! Though as a good socialist I have to make do with second-rate rubbish in my cup, because, of course, I believe that proper tea is theft… 🙂

  • Judit M./Finland

    Gordon, all your ganseys are fine but this is one of the finest. I wish I could ever learn to knit a shoulder strap

    • Gordon

      Hello Judit, praise from the praiseworthy is praise indeed, as the old saying goes! I wish I could make the shoulder strap sound as simple as it really is – like trying to programme a robot to make a cup of tea, the explanation is way harder than the actual task…

  • Jane Callaghan

    I visited the optician today and asked him for some knitting spectacles. ‘What focal distance?’ he asked. ‘About nine inches’. So once we had that all worked out in metric, he pointed out that that was in fact very close and specific and I wouldn’t have much peripheral sharpness. ‘Don’t need it,’ said I, ‘I’m knitting a gansey in dark blue wool on very small needles and I can’t see the pattern properly.’
    ‘A gansey?’ he asked.’then you need all the help you can get.’ Scotsman, see? Very sensible lot.

  • Gordon

    Ha, that’s brilliant Jane. I’m a little surprised he didn’t offer you a magnifying glass and a dram of scotch as well!

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