So, this must be that winter thingy, which I’ve heard so much about—sub-zero temperatures, snow, sleet, hail, gales, ice and hordes of emaciated Frenchmen stumbling through the drifts, harried by wolves and Cossacks as they make their desperate retreat from Moscow.
This week the winds reached 70 miles per hour, and it says a lot about the year so far that this came as something of a relief after the 90-mile winds of last Friday. It’s rather disconcerting to look up and see a seagull drifting sedately backwards past the window, as though God had just pressed “rewind” on his remote control because he wanted to watch the last few seconds over again.
It was not without its compensations, though. I walked to work last Friday down by the river, just as a mini-blizzard struck. The sun rises around 8.45am this time of year, but the clouds came over so thickly that everything was still dark, in a sort of eerie grey twilight: the wind got up, coming from behind me, and then it began to snow. Soon the wind was whipping the snow past me horizontally. Then I caught a sudden movement on the river and when I turned my head I saw a black bird like a heron flying past, beating into the wind and snow like a Chinese print come to life, before it disappeared again into the darkness. My daily commute, I thought.
When I got to work I found that although my front was perfectly dry, my back was white with a crust of snow which broke off in chunks, melting in pools on the floor. (Luckily the cleaner comes in after I’ve gone home…)
In gansey news, my fingers seem to have rediscovered how to knit with 2.25mm needles and yarn that requires an electron microscope to see, and as a result I’m past the ribbing and on to the body, which will be knit plain up to the yoke. As I said before, I plan to donate the gansey to Wick Museum, as the pattern will be another Wick pattern. It’s taken from the same photograph in Michael Pearson’s book, Fisher-Gansey Patterns of Scotland and the Scottish Fleet as the previous Wick pattern, the one on page 29. I’ll chart it out when I actually start the yoke.
Meanwhile, I cast on 268 stitches and have now increased to 296. I thought I’d aim for a 40-inch chest size, but since it’s going to be given to the museum I don’t have to be too exact, for once!
Finally, by popular demand, we’ve included a picture of me modelling the Lopi sweater down by the river. As this took place in a piercing wind straight from the Arctic Circle I am now in a position to confirm that a Lopi is about as wind-resistant as a string vest; several passers-by assumed it was a desperate suicide attempt when I took my coat off and rushed to help but I told them I was practicing the new sport of extreme ornithology, in which you combine birdwatching with hypothermia, (which now I come to think of it is something of a tautology in a Caithness winter).