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Wick Fergus Ferguson Revisited: Week 3 – 7 March

I am, I have come to realise, a haunted man. By actual ghosts—though not the sort that helped Stephen King put his kids through college. These aren’t unclean shades out for vengeance, or even, like Scrooge’s, trying to make me a better person. No such luck. Turns out I’m haunted by the spirits of Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin and Mr Bean, ghosts whose primary motivation is to engage me in a pratfall, and then slink off back to the nether regions, sniggering. Actually, now I come to think of it, there are worse ways to spend eternity.

Fulmar ensconced at Castle Sinclair Girnigoe

Take the time at work last week when I was due to give a presentation. I reckoned I had just enough time to make myself a cafetière coffee if I was quick. But first I had to open a new bag of grounds. I didn’t have time to get the scissors, so I energetically applied myself to tearing open the bag instead. Normally this takes quite a lot of force, but on this occasion one of my persecuting sprits—Charlie, say, or possibly Buster Keaton—had already weakened it, so that when I pulled at the bag it exploded, enveloping me, the sink, the counter, and several passers-by to a radius of about five metres in a shower of coffee grounds. Undaunted, I scooped up what I could, moving the cafetière out of the way over by the wall-mounted soap dispenser. I hastily added hot water to the coffee and left it to sit while I frantically cleaned up the mess.

Snowdrops by the riverside

And while the coffee is brewing—and doesn’t it smell delightful, with a piquant note of something unusual and hard-to-place—let us turn our attention to the gansey. I’ve finished Side A, so we can finally see the full yoke pattern, and very splendid it looks. The natural, cream-coloured yarn is ideal for showing up this sort of detail, and there’s a lot of detail to see with this pattern. I’m knitting this one for show, not to wear, so I’m going for a traditional non-indented neckline, and both sides will be identical.


And as for the coffee? Well, I expect you’re already ahead of me. When I came to pour it out I noted quite a lot of froth, but put this down to it being a fresh bag. (When coffee is roasted, carbon dioxide is trapped in the beans; this is released slowly over time but adding hot water speeds up the process, and the fresher the grind the more CO2 there is. This is why fresh coffee has a bloom or froth.) It was only when I went to drink it several minutes later, choked, and hastily regurgitated most of it back into the cup like a penguin with an upset tummy feeding its young, that I perceived my mistake. The soap dispenser on the counter is motion-sensitive, and when I’d placed the cafetière beneath it earlier had deposited a substantial dollop of soap into my coffee. I could swear for some minutes I had bubbles coming out of my ears. And that sound I could hear when I finally stopped spluttering? It was Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel, giggling from somewhere beyond the veil…

12 comments to Wick Fergus Ferguson Revisited: Week 3 – 7 March

  • Meg Macleod

    Oh dear….I’m sorry but I did laugh

    The modern world strikes again
    I don’t know anyone with an automatic soap dispenser….the ones I have seen..in public looos not always so reliable.i guess you have a good one..but not quite able to direct human from metal….
    The knitting is sumptuous…truly beautiful

    • Gordon

      Hi Meg, ours are very efficient soap-dispensers, alas. To be honest, I’d got so used to seeing it beside the sink I just didn’t see it any more. At least I now know what pink coffee tastes like!

  • =Tamar

    There have been times when I was certain that I was a participant in someone’s subtle clown act.

    Now that we can see the yoke clearly, I am even more impressed. You say the original was even finer? Wow.

    • Gordon

      Hi Tamar, I think the script of my life needs a better editor! And yes, how they managed the original without a jeweller’s magnifying glass is beyond me – and even more impressive, someone invented the pattern and knitted it to fit perfectly…

  • Your ghosts haunt me too. I’ve just picked up 56 sts all around the sleeve head and across the gusset and knitted 3 rounds before realising it should have been 56 plus the 11 gusset sts! So, undo back to the beginning and start again. This is a wee gansey and awkward to pick up. Go away Stan & Olly.

    • Gordon

      Ouch! Hi Rita, we’ve all been there, not that that’s any consolation, I know. I always go through most of the stages of grief in these circumstances – starting with denial, where I kid myself for a time that I can get away with it, before reaching the acceptance that drastic remedial work is required…

  • Betsy Rogers

    Definitely a Stan and Olly moment . . . with what grace you had left, I hope you had a good presentation – nothing like comedy to get everyone on your side. And yes, the gansey is gorgeous.

    • Gordon

      Thanks Betsy – I tend to treat presentations as a cross between acting and stand-up comedy, so give me an audience and I’m usually good value for money, though I say so myself. It’s easier when your liquid refreshment doesn’t taste of bath salts, mind you!

  • Sarah

    Whaat!? You have a coffee machine at your place of work? Not even a pod machine but one that grinds beans! I must work for Scrooge himself, we can barely find a clean teaspoon to dive into a giant tin of powdered, well, I won’t call it coffee. It certainly doesn’t smell like coffee. It doesn’t even look like coffee. Might try the soap dispenser next time. Beautiful gansey, absolutely gorgeous colour. And you’re whizzing through it.

    • Gordon

      Hi Sarah, ha, no, not quite. I buy my own filter coffee, and the cafetière is my own – but that’s just my preference: it’s in the contract that the company has to provide (instant) coffee and tea bags, plus milk and sugar – and as a bonus they’ve just installed a pod coffee machine. I know how lucky we are – the last place I worked blood feuds started over who used who’s tea bags!

  • Dinah

    I’m sniggering. Thank goodness my Scotch didn’t come up my nose…although maybe it could cure the allergies?

    • Gordon

      Hi Dinah, I must remember to ask the consultant if Scotch is a recognised treatment for allergies, and, if so, whether I can get it prescribed on the NHS!

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