Then I was going to complain about the winds and driving rain—but today the sun’s shining from a clear blue sky—so clear I even caught a glimpse of God getting out of the shower, unless it was merely a lesser archangel—and it’s really rather wonderful. (And even the gales gave us some pretty spectacular waves in the harbour – see video links below.)
I mentioned last week that we drove down to my parents’ for a quiet New Year in rural Northamptonshire. Back when I was growing up there were a lot of Scots who lived nearby, who’d come down to work in the steelworks at Corby. My parents used to have big Hogmanay parties, and so I naturally came to associate New Year’s Eve with crowds of drunken expatriate Scotsmen singing along to “Donald Where’s Your Trousers”—and even now, despite all the medication and psychoanalysis, those memories come back to haunt me.
If I am ever recruited by military intelligence and sent on a dangerous mission, and am captured by the enemy and interrogated, the scene will probably play out like this:
Interrogator: So, Mr Reid, your fingernails have been pulled out, your skin flayed, you’ve been deprived of sleep and yet you still refuse to talk?
Me: I’ll never betray my country! Never!
Interrogator: We even attached electrodes to your dangly bits—though we had to stop when you started enjoying it too much… So there is nothing we can do to loosen your tongue?
Me: Nothing! I’ll take my secrets to the grave.
Interrogator: Hmm. Do you know what this is, Mr Reid?
Me: I can’t see anything. You plucked out my eyeballs, remember?
Interrogator: Oh, yes, sorry. Let me describe it, then. It’s an LP, entitled “Andy Stewart’s Greatest Hits”.
Me: (nervously): Er…
Interrogator: Let me see. Side One, Campbeltown Loch, The Muckin’ O’ Geordie’s Byre, and—what’s this?—Donald Where’s Yer Troosers?
Me: No! Anything but that!
Interrogator: Let’s just give it a spin, shall we?
[Pause of 5 seconds while record plays]
Me: So, what would you like to know?
Turning to the gansey, I’ve now finished the back and just made a start on the front.The armhole is about 7 1/2 inches from gusset to the start of the shoulder strap (and interestingly took just under 100 grams of wool to knit).
Because it’s a Scottish gansey I’ve decided to do a traditional Scottish shoulder, by knitting the strap at right angles to the body and continuing it down the sleeve. The pattern will be the central chevron from the body; the tricky part is binding off at each edge as you work along the shoulder.
The point to remember is that you knit more rows to the inch than stitches—in my case, a ratio of 12:9. So I need 25% fewer stitches along the edge of my shoulder, or else the shoulder will ridge up like a switchback by the time it’s finished. (I’ll say more about this in a few weeks when we get to it, but for now I’ve decreased each of my shoulders by 25% on the final row.)
Oh, and I’ve also remembered what looking through my windows reminds me of—it’s just like having cataracts all over again!