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Wick (Cumming Bros): Week 7 – 13 January

Right, deep breath: it’s confession time. Here we go. Ready? All right: we treated ourselves to a robot vacuum cleaner in the New Year sales, one of those black discs that randomly trundles across your carpets, hoovering. There, I feel better already. And let’s be honest, anything that can turn vacuuming into a spectator sport has to be a good thing.

It takes a bit of getting used to: it’s quite big, with brushes that behave disconcertingly like feelers, so it’s not unlike having a robot trilobite patrolling your carpets searching for prey. It has sensors that stop it banging into chairs or tumbling down stairs. It seems to have a grudge against net curtains and trailing wires, though, and tries to hoover them up, leaving it gorged and choked and paralysed, like the last time I tried to eat a whole naan bread at an Indian restaurant. It beeps when in distress, and it’s rather touching to watch it limp brokenly back to its charging base when low on power, like a student crawling home to bed after a particularly rough night.

Rising Moon

It’s surprisingly quiet, though I’m starting to worry that not only is it smarter than I am—I don’t have sensors that stop me walking into table legs or falling down stairs—but that all the vacuuming is a blind while it secretly cases the house for hidden jewels, or failing that, loose change. (On the plus side, our house has never been cleaner; on the downside, we just received an unexpected Amazon delivery of bags with “swag” embroidered on the sides; honestly, this could go either way.) Now we just need one with a built in jetpack so it can take care of all the dusting and change the duvet cover. Hmm. Every day I learn a little more about myself. A few years ago, faced with a robot enslavement of humanity I’d definitely have joined the resistance; now I think, vacuuming you say? Dusting you say? Let’s talk.

Sunset on the river

In gansey news I still have my cold, so I still haven’t really made the progress I’d have liked to. I’m definitely miles better, unrecognisable from the horizontal me of New Year’s Eve, but it’s still been a bit of a slog. It’s easy to make mistakes when most of your energy is devoted to closing your mouth instead of letting it hang open like the exit ramp of a landing craft; so unpicking and redoing has been rather a thing lately. All the same, I’m halfway up the front and expect to join the shoulders sometime this week. I will post the charts soon, I promise: it’s just that my vacuum cleaner says it now wants weekends off plus sick pay, and I’ve got a meeting with its union rep at three.

Finally, it’s very easy these days to take a gloomy view of my country for reasons that hardly need to be stated. However, Manchester Council recently held a competition to name the council’s new fleet of winter road salt spreaders. The best names (as reported on national news)? Gritty Gritty Bang Bang, Snowbi-Gone Kenobi, and the fantastic—are you ready?—Gritter Thunberg. You know, I think there may be hope for us yet…

11 comments to Wick (Cumming Bros): Week 7 – 13 January

  • =Tamar

    Hooray! for good or at least improved
    health. Also hooray for the suggested
    names. Does your new vacuum demand an
    individualized name? I think that one
    is now expected to address one’s help
    as “Mr” or “Ms”. Has it told you its
    preferred pronoun yet?

    The definition on the yoke is already
    impressive. Will it need blocking at
    all?

    • Gordon

      Hi Tamar, I’m fighting the urge to anthropomorphise a machine, though I am tempted to call it Gerald after the mouse in the profound Pink Floyd song “Bike”: “I’ve got a mouse/ And he hasn’t got a house/ I don’t know why I call him Gerald/ He’s getting rather old but he’s a good mouse…”

      Yes, everything goes better with blocking, even ganseys that don’t really need it. But it evens out the stitches.

  • I admire your stepping into the digital.world of robots…..have you a name for it/him/her?does it/him/her obey voice command? Do you have to be polite even when it eats the curtains?..they do say some robots acquire a certain sensitivity……xx

    • Gordon

      Hi Meg, no, it doesn’t obey my voice commands—let’s face it, nobody obeys my voice commands, not even my automated phone assistant; the last time I said, “Hey, Siri, when’s my next appointment?” it relied, “In the immortal words of They Might Be Giants, if it wasn’t for disappointment you wouldn’t have any appointments”, and sniggered rather nastily, I thought.

  • Dave

    Watch out for the phrase “I can’t let you do that Gordon”.

    Why do I have an image in my head of an unravelling gansey disappearing into a black cylinder?

    Love the gritter names. Restores your faith in northern humour.

  • Charles Cameron CARRUTHERS

    That pattern shown looks awful like the Buckhaven (Fife) Gansey pattern.

    • Gordon

      Hi Charles, I guess that’s not a big surprise as fishermen and their women folk travelled from Wick as far south as Lowestoft, so that Scottish patterns ended up being adopted in Yorkshire and vice-versa. Cross-pollination is always a good thing, especially in traditional knitting!

  • Judit M./Finland

    Hello Gordon,
    I expect that soon Alexa will move to your house and answer all the questions you may figure out this year. Maybe she will make Margaret´s work easier and soon will edit the blog.
    Happy knitting, I love the pattern also as a knitter of banded patterns. .

    • Gordon

      Hi Judit, I can’t tell you how much I look forward to the day when Alexa can write the blog, edit the photos and do the actual knitting…

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