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Wick II: 15 March

2W150315a The good news is, I’m on my feet again, the worst of my cold being over; the bad news is, I feel like I’ve been assembled from a variety of badly fitting parts, none of which seems to work properly—a sort of Frankenstein’s Archivist, lumbering across the countryside, scaring villagers and randomly cataloguing old documents.

2W150315bI’m tired most of the time, and sleep like the dead—except for the weird, vivid dreams. The other night I dreamed that Batman was being psychoanalysed: the analyst kept explaining what aspects of his psyche his enemies represented—the Joker, and the Penguin—while a frustrated Batman was explaining that no, they were real people, real criminals he had to fight. (I woke up before the end; hope it worked out okay—Batman really looks like a guy who needs help.)

Meanwhile, spring has come to Caithness; or, if she hasn’t actually arrived, is peeking through a crack in the door, checking out if it’s safe. The snowdrops are out, the gorse is just coming into bloom, and the birds outside the window sound like a handful of pennies in the tumble drier (or at least they do at 4.00am, blast them).

2W150315dIt’s still windy and cold—about 5-7ºC—but on Sunday the sun shone bright and clear. Soon I’ll ask Margaret to fetch the secateurs and cut me out of the greased bearskin I’ve worn all winter, and then—who knows?—maybe it’ll even be time for my yearly bath.


Lybster Harbour

I’ve been knitting assiduously, partly because I’ve been doing the plain knitting down the sleeve (much easier under artificial light than knitting the intricate pattern on this gansey) and partly because I’ve knitted myself back into the zone. I’ve finished the first sleeve and cast off, and am now well underway on the second.

It’s starting to look like a gansey at last. Most of the time it’s hard to make out the actual pattern definition, it looks like a jumble of boiled spaghetti, or Yorkshire seen from space; but then the light catches it just so and it all falls into place. But I won’t really know until it’s blocked.

I should finished it sometime in the next fortnight. (I’m already thinking of the next one, so I’m at the stage where I’m keen to move on.) Maybe then too, like an invalid who finally trusts himself to take his first few faltering steps without the aid of crutches, I’ll be able to leave the Lemsip in the box…

20 comments to Wick II: 15 March

  • Lynne

    Well, that was REAL progress you made last week on this gansey! but I have also had that ‘get-it-done’ surge when another project is beckoning and this is going to look astounding once it’s blocked.

  • Gordon

    Hi Lynne,

    It’s one of the nice ethings about convalescing from a bad cold, that period when you’re not well enough to go back to work yet, but you can sit up and knit. (Given the week I’ve had at work since I went back I think I pressed the cold!)

    Because the pattern is very intricate, and the navy yarn is so dark, I need quite a bit of light; and I need to concentrate, so I can’t knit while watching tv; but once I’m on the plain knitting down the lower sleeve it’s much easier, so I can double my knitting time in an evening. I don’t plan to knit another in navy yarn, though, or anything else quite this dark, for some time to come!

    • Lynne

      Go for one of those new grays – I would love to see that worked up.

      • Gordon

        It’s on my to-do list – in fact am just about to order some for my birthday – but it might have to wait till a couple of ganseys’ time (yes, I admit it, I have a list…)

  • Jane

    Sounds like you may have had a touch of the mutant flu or something like it. You have my full sympathy, it is not nice at all. I know you don’t do vitamins, but in the South, a lot of folk seem to have taken zinc and vitamin C combinations as part of getting over it. Quite a nasty winter really.

    Beautiful work, the way the sleeves sit with the main panel is delightful. Navy is not easy to work with in the dark days of winter so you must feel very pleased.

    I am still chuckling over Gladys Thompson’s stories, quite wonderful. I think the Print o’ the Hoof cardigan pattern was included in the later versions to attract more knitters using the growing interest in Aran weight yarns. I tried the pattern in a dk weight, but I couldn’t make the tension work at all, nor with a proper woolly Aran. The baby Aran was the best fit which is all a bit bemusing.

    I have been a bit distracted by the mud in the garden, but have at last got the land to drain. Wildlife all doing well in spite of the variable weather, a few warm and bright days and now cold and windy. Take care!

  • Gordon

    Hi Jane,

    Not so much mutant flu as zombie flu, in my case – certainly that same shuffling, brain-dead, inarticulate inability to move or think. In fact, replace a hunger for eating brains with a slight craving for chocolate and we’d have an exact match!

    My favourite Gladys anecdote is the fisherman who said she was welcome to study his Gansey if she could climb down the metal ladder from the quay to his boat – knowing full well she couldn’t…

    Spring almost here, along with dry weather and sunshine. Well, a girl can dream!

  • =Tamar

    So, Batman is projecting his personal issues on the world…well, he always did. (He didn’t say he wanted to stop crime, he said he wanted to scare the criminals.)
    Be cautious with that annual bath. Granny Weatherwax just washed the bits as and when they became available. I’m beginning to see the point of that.

    • Gordon

      Hi Tamar,

      As I get older I’m delighted to say there are plenty of bits that never see the light of day! (A relief to everyone I know, quite frankly.)

      As for Batman, I always felt he needed to lighten up. Maybe if he had a pet to look after—a tortoise, say, or a hamster; something with a fondness for lettuce. I also like to think of him vacuuming in his batsuit when there’s nothing really criminal going on and Alfred’s on his holidays, doing a Mrs Doubtfire dance routine while loud latino music plays on the stereo. Or maybe that says more about me than it does about him?

  • Marilyn

    Hi Gordon, glad you are up and at ’em (in a manner of speaking).
    How about a red cape a la Superman? It might help with the lumbering.
    I enjoyed the image of Spring peeking around the door- we had a nice weekend but tonight with be near freezing. Minnesota in March is not trustworthy.
    Excellent progress- good knitting!

    • Gordon

      Hi Marilyn,

      Ha! I see a gap in the superhero market for Gansey-man, bitten by a radioactive herring while swimming off the Flamborough coast, and then endowed with the superpowers of migrating along the coast every summer and trying to explain the nature of spawning to prospective girlfriends without getting his face slapped. His costume includes a cape knit from gansey 5-ply yarn and finely-knit tights, both of which get soggy in the ocean and make it even more unlikely that a girl will ever kiss him.

      His arch-enemy is the Gutter, an evil woman with a very sharp knife, who, in the classic crossover comic strip A Barrel of Laughs, teams up with the Joker and tries to disembowel Gansey-man and pack him in a barrel filled with brine and salt.

      Later in the series he teams up with a younger sidekick, Kipper, and the pair break up an international smoked herring smuggling ring. In the end, Gansey-man disappears back into the oceans, where he dedicates the rest of his life to drawing very rude pictures on the shafts of undersea wind turbines, and so passes out of knowledge and on into legend…

      • Gordon

        “Oh, Gansey-man, Gansey-man,
        Swims like a herring, farts like a man,
        Got a soft dorsal fin but he’s got a plan,
        Salted or pickled, fried in a pan,
        He’s out of the loop, he’s Gansey-man!”

  • Jane

    Red is very cheering, and pastel type colours too. I also agree with Lynne, the new greys are lovely. The world is your oyster.

    I have a new, mundane problem, the drainage does not like the current paper. What with the rodents and the mud, I am getting really bored of this winter.

    • Gordon

      Hi Jane, I agree—and I think I need some colour in my life after such a drab, grey winter.

      As the Song of Solomon says:

      For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
      The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land

      – It doesn’t seem a lot to ask for, does it?

  • Peter In Alice Springs

    I’m on the 2nd boring sleeve of my WW1 jumper & not far from the underarm. So, so close. I think I could have done with a fluy-cold to stay at home.

    I fear you will finish before I will. I lost good knitting over the weekend: tried to removed my right index finger with the bread knife – the rye had dried a little & I put that bit more effort into the drilling of the slice….

    All much better this week.And then work, work, work. Everything needs to be done by Fri, cos my boss is away for 2 weeks out bush & in a week’s time, I do my 3,000 km drive north then south-east to my house for gardening repairs before I can rent it.

    Your gansey as always is looking fabbo. Looking forward to those blocking pics after Easter.

    • Gordon

      Hi Peter, many’s the time I’ve sliced and diced when cutting a loaf. Just reading your post brought back the sensation of the sharp stab of pain, the sudden welling of blood and spilling of ruby red drops on the slice, followed by the wondering if I could get away with pretending it was ketchup when offering it to guests… Ah, happy days. 3,000km seems like a lot to me. I’ve got to go to Inverness on Tuesday, and I’ve been feeling like 107 miles is a long way!

  • Jenny nr Seattle

    Your gansey is looking fantastico. Is there a direct correlation between high knitting productivity and feeling under the weather? Income tax season is in high gear here in the US and I would love to fall ill so I can knit away. I would love to look at knitting charts instead of numbers to give away to the tax man.

    • Gordon

      Hi Jenny, the only correlation is that when I’m feeling rough I tend to stay home and hunker down on the sofa with classical music radio or a talking book. But then, this winter I’ve been feeling rough so often it’s not surprising I’m getting a lot of ganseys done!

      Isn’t knitting tax-deductible? If not, it should be…

  • Jenny nr Seattle

    LOL, I wish knitting was a tax-deductible activity. But there is a high probability of being audited by the tax man. In that case, if I owe money, I’ll suggest knitting up a gansey for the poor chap.

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