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Wick (Cordova): Week 4 – 12 April

If March is famous for coming in like a lion and out like a lamb, the first week of April came in like a lion who’s mad as hell because someone keeps stealing his milk from the fridge, and departed irritable as a lion who’s just quit smoking. It’s been horrible. Winds to strip the fillings from your teeth, snow, hail, sleet and then, confusingly, bright sunshine. I’d go for a walk under clear blue skies and return white with snow, looking like the “before” picture in a particularly graphic dandruff commercial. One morning the roads hadn’t been gritted after heavy snow overnight, turning Wick into an exciting dodgem-car-cum-bobsleigh-free-for-all.


Most Caithness roads have now gone two winters without being resurfaced, so not only was the snow treacherously icy, it also concealed the potholes. Though potholes is something of a misnomer at this stage—most of them are more what you’d call chasms; I looked into one and I’m pretty sure I saw Gandalf fighting a balrog somewhere down at the bottom. At this rate the only way anyone will be able to negotiate the North Coast 500 tourist trail come summer will be by dirigible. But then, I thought, perhaps this Indian Winter is actually my fault; perhaps by deciding to knit with a yarn inspired by the waters off Alaska I have unwittingly brought the weather of Prince William Sound to Wick. A bit fanciful, you think? Perhaps. All I’m saying is, if someone wants to come up with a yarn inspired by Córdoba in Spain, give me a call.

Bench at Castletown Harbour

April seems to be the season when all those gansey bulbs that were planted weeks and months ago come up to bloom: and for the second week running we have two new ganseys to share. The first is from Lynne, a Filey pattern out of Gladys Thompson’s book, knit in Frangipani cinder. I’m a big fan of Yorkshire patterns, and this is a cracking one. The cinder yarn shows the pattern up very nicely too for a dark shade. The other gansey is from Judit, a classic pattern from The Lizard in what looks like a bluish-turquoise yarn. (I’ve said before how much I like these simple, almost geometric, textured patterns, and this has been a favourite of mine since I first saw it in Mary Wright’s book; in fact I plan to knit myself a gansey in this pattern next year, if I’m spared.) Many congratulations to Lynne and Judit! Two very splendid examples indeed.

More Snow

My own gansey has reached the yoke/ gusset stage. It’s one of those intricate patterns that requires constant reference to the charts, so it’s been a bit intense so far (yes, I’m already nostalgic for all that ribbing I couldn’t wait to finish). Hopefully I’ll settle into some sort of rhythm as it develops. Anyway, I’ll say more about it next week, and post some charts, as well as say something about how I adapted the pattern.

Finally this week, I’ve always had a lot of sympathy for celebrities who have to deal with inane questions from journalists. Bob Dylan was once asked by a journalist what his songs were about, and he said, “Oh, some are about four minutes, some are about five, and some, believe it or not, are about eleven or twelve.” Last week the Duke of Edinburgh passed away, and among the obituaries I read the following anecdote. The Duke had arrived somewhere after a long flight, and a journalist asked him how his flight had been. “Have you ever been on an aeroplane?” the Duke asked him. “Yes, sir,” the journalist replied. “Well it was just like that,” said the Duke.

4 comments to Wick (Cordova): Week 4 – 12 April

  • Dave

    I was trying to imagine a divisible flying along that coast. I figure the only way to see it is from another dirigible. Cordoba would I think have grown merino sheep (no relation to the cherry as far as I am aware). So your yarn quest may not be altogether fruitless although I would question the effect being quite what you are hoping for. Perhaps in August, you never know.

    • Gordon

      Hi Dave, I’ve never looked at sheep the same way since I read Haruki Murakami’s “A Wild Sheep Chase”, one of the strangest books about evil sheep masterminds plotting to take over the world I’ve ever come across. Well, that and Shaun the Sheep!

      Alas, I fear a dirigible would struggle to make it to Wick, the winds up here would send it hurtling towards Scandinavia- no matter how many sheep you used as ballast…

  • =Tamar

    Wikipedia says “Cordovan is a rich shade of burgundy and a dark shade of rose. … overlaps with… oxblood.”

    Sounds like a good color for a gansey.

    • Gordon

      Hi Tamar, that sounds appealing. Certainly an improvement in the time I was knitting a plain white gansey with a cut finger, though the effect was not dissimilar…

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