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Wick (Cumming Bros): Week 6 – 6 January

It’s Twelfth Night, so I guess Christmas is officially over for another year. Christmas traditionally ends with the feast of Epiphany, celebrating the visit of “we three kings of orient are” to the Nativity; my own personal moment of epiphany comes from the realisation that the sun will rise here at 8.59am on Monday, the first time in over a fortnight that it’s risen before 9.00am. (Time to nip to the chemist’s for some sun cream, then.)

Riverside at Dusk

But alas, within a day of returning home after our travels I came down with a cold which has afflicted me all week: it’s just a cold, not flu, but a bad one all the same. It’s knocked me sideways, and there are times when even holding a knitting needle feels like too much effort. I read once that we all produce about a pint and a half of mucus every day, which we just swallow without noticing. Well, I seem to be producing about a gallon and, trust me, I notice. The best way to visualise my handkerchiefs after use would be to round up about twenty garden slugs and pop them in a blender, and—OK, OK, you get the idea, I’ll stop there. My only consolation is that I’m probably immune to vampires while it lasts, as mucus is so much part of my constitution I bet it’s gradually displacing my blood.

All this means I haven’t done as much knitting as I’d hoped this week, though the back is almost complete. But I have, ahahaha, somewhat miscalculated the number of rows I’ll need to get an even distribution of patterns. My initial plan of three bands (two zigzags and a herringbone) has left me about an inch short of the shoulder. I’d like to be able to blame this on the cold, but no: it’s just a combination of stupidity, poor maths and a sort of breezy insouciance that everything would work out in the end. (Which it will, of course: it’s really very hard to irretrievably screw up a gansey.) I should be able to fix it by adding another herringbone and turning it into the shoulder straps: viz., half a herringbone on the back and half on the front with the cast-off row and a bit of rig’ and fur’ as the centre of the pattern. If it works I can pretend it was a deliberate strategy all along and no one will ever be able to tell. (So long as no one ever reads this. What? Oh.)

Five of the ganseys on display in the Wick Heritage Museum’s Fishing Hall

By the way, I donated eight of my completed ganseys to Wick Museum before Christmas, including the ones replicating those in old photographs from the Johnston Collection. The Museum had an open day on 2 January (a public holiday in Scotland, on the sensible principle that everyone will be too hungover from celebrating Hogmanay to be expected to work) and they were kind enough to make a feature of the ganseys. You can read more about the day here, including the ganseys, along with all the other fun things they organised to welcome in the New Year.

Meanwhile we wish all our readers a very happy 2020, and remember: there’s only 354 sleeps to Christmas…


Apologies for the delay in posting; there were technical problems over which we had no control.

6 comments to Wick (Cumming Bros): Week 6 – 6 January

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