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Wick (Cordova): Week 7 – 10 May

The Water Rat was sitting by the window, watching the rain fall on the river and writing what he liked to think of as poetry. He was just trying to come up with a rhyme for ‘bulb’ when the Mole burst in, clutching wildly at the fur on his head.
“Why, old chap,” the Rat said, startled, “whatever is the matter?”
“Quick! What’s my name?”
“Your what, my dear fellow?”
“My name! What is it?”
“Why, it’s Mole, of course.”
“No it’s not! That’s my family. What’s my name? What’s yours? And don’t say ‘Ratty’.”
The Rat opened his mouth and shut it again.
“You see? Why aren’t you called something like Gerald? Or Brian? Or Penhaligon? Why aren’t I?”
“And another thing,” said the Mole. “Why is there only one of each of us—one toad, one rat, one badger? Where are all the women? How do we reproduce?”


The Rat laid down his pen with an austere look. “I’d have thought someone might’ve explained this before now. Still, better it comes from me than one of those low weasels with dirty minds. You see, it’s like this: when a daddy mole and a mummy mole love each other very much they give each other a special kind of hug, and—“
The Mole interrupted him coldly. “Mummy mole? Have you ever seen one? Or a mummy badger?”
“Hmm, well, now you come to mention it…” The Rat brightened. “What about the barge woman who gave Toad a lift? Or the gaoler’s daughter? They were women.”
The Mole sighed. “You know perfectly well they never existed. Toad imagined the whole thing after eating those mushrooms we found in that field last year, remember? The ones that upset his tummy.”
“Oh yes.” The Rat chuckled. “Poop-poop.”
“I tell you, Rat, none of our lives makes sense. We’re living in the Matrix.”
The Rat frowned. “Matrix?”
“I took the red pill, the one that opens your eyes to the truth. I found it on the kitchen table this morning.”
“Red pill? Did it have a white M on it, by any chance?”
“Yes! I assumed it was M for Matrix.”
“That was an M&M, you wazzock. Look, why don’t I make some tea and you can help me find a rhyme for ‘circus’. Then if the weather clears we can fetch Toad and go for a walk in the Wild Wood: there’s nothing like lording it over a bunch of working class stoats for curing an existential crisis.”

Breaking waves

“Oh all right. But there’s still one thing bothering me.”
“Fire away, old chap.”
“You know we’re animals, right?”
“Of course.”
“Well, why do we wear clothes?”


In gansey news, I’ve finished the first sleeve and expect to finish the other this week. A word on the cuff, which is unique in my experience. It alternates knit 2/ purl 2 ribbing with a six-stitch pattern band involving yarn overs. The overall effect reminds me of shoes threaded with laces, very distinctive, the sort of cuff Galadriel might have added to his gansey if Celeborn had switched elvenkinging for herring fishing. Again, the Cordova yarn shade shows the pattern very nicely.

9 comments to Wick (Cordova): Week 7 – 10 May

  • =Tamar

    Clothes? To keep warm, of course. With the weather lately, we’ve all had to adapt. You may as well ask why we have a tea table.

  • Song

    That *cuff*, Gordon, it’s exquisite.

    • Gordon

      Hello Song, it is, isn’t it? Not that I can claim much credit: someone invented it 100+ years ago and Margaret charted it (and taught me how to knit it)! At this stage, I’m about at the level of someone who paints-by-numbers 😀.

  • Judit Mäkinen

    Hello Gordon,
    I love the cuff and will try it with the next gansey. Lovely color, shows the pattern nicely. Happy knitting !

    • Gordon

      Hello Judit, best of luck – it’s totally worth it, as the picture shows. My only advice would be to keep careful track of which row you’re on, because – voice of experience here – if you have to unpick a row it plays havoc with your yarn overs on the previous row!

      • Judit Mäkinen

        Hello Gordon and many thanks for the advice . I am not az far as the cuff yet, but the red gansey I am knitting just now is going to be a Xmas gift, so I have plenty of time. Have a nice day !

  • Lynne Brock

    Oh! the cuff is unique! If it’s from a 100-year-old pattern I wonder why it hasn’t been replicated in all these years! Great job writing that pattern, Margaret!

    • Gordon

      Hi Lynne, of course the reason is that no one saw the gansey or the photograph for 100 years – it’s the Rip van Winkle of gansey cuffs! Several of the Caithness ganseys in the Johnston Collection also have fancy cuffs, involving cables and the like, but this one is by far the most spectacular.

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