Picture the scene: it’s 2.30am, and I’ve been jolted out of a restless sleep. I’ve heard a sound (but what?). I’m a light sleeper and a moth stropping its antennae is usually enough to wake me, but this is different. I lie staring in the darkness, listening to the beating of my heart. I am alone—Margaret is still 600 miles away.
There it is again. The ceiling creaks above my head, footsteps moving from left to right. There is someone in the attic. A burglar? But wouldn’t a burglar start at the bottom and work up? And he’d need a pretty long ladder to reach the attic windows, unless he brought his own cherry-picker, which, on reflection, seems unlikely. A fireman, then? Was the house on fire and I’d failed to notice? But firemen usually come through the door with axes. If not a ninja fireman, then what?
The steps move again, from right to left. In the dark it’s like listening to a Pink Floyd album on headphones. The attic is Margaret’s workroom, where she keeps her yarn and fabric stash. Maybe the burglar is making himself a stylish mask out of old curtain remnants before ransacking the house? This, I decide, shall not stand. I turn on the light and get out of bed. I go out into the hall. Out here all is silent. There are no lights upstairs. I retrieve my old Morris dancing cudgel from the spare room and think bitter thoughts about the doctor’s advice to get some rest. I grit my teeth and climb the stairs, cloaked in the armour of righteousness and a rather natty blue dressing gown, brandishing my cudgel like a Wee Willie Winkie who’s let himself go.
Well, reader, I went from room to room; I checked the closets and behind the curtains but intruder found I none. In the end I turned out the lights and went back down, not without a few nervous backward glances and, it now being 3.00am, returned to bed. Whereupon the noises began again. A poltergeist? I was just commending my soul to God when there was a rapid scrabbling, and all became clear: some wee, sleekit, cowran, tim’rous beastie had managed to get into the floorboards between my room and the attic, and was noisily exploring.
It worked its way leisurely through all the lessons in “Tap-dancing For Rodents in Ten Easy Steps” and finally buggered off around 5.00am. Some time later I fell asleep. But I’d forgotten to turn off the alarm, and the shock when it went off an hour or so later left me thrashing around like someone who’s just dropped their hair drier in the bath. (At this point I felt an actual burglar would have been an improvement.)
Och, weel—it’s not like I need to sleep or anything. Meanwhile, I have been knitting. A lot. And when I say a lot—well, you can see for yourselves. I started this gansey ten days ago, and am almost up to the gussets. It’s Wendy navy yarn this time, and I set myself the challenge of knitting the body in a week. I haven’t quite managed it, and will in any case slow down now—not least because knitting’s supposed to be fun and this makes it too much like work. (And at least I know I couldn’t knit ganseys for a living; though I can do miniature karate with the calluses on my index finger.)
Tune in next week for maybe even a bit of pattern…if I’m awake enough to write it.
[Apologies again for the quality of some of the photos this week in Margaret’s absence—normal service will hopefully be resumed next time]