Monthly Archives: February 2016

Knitting horse blankets


Not my favourite kind of knitting, but sometimes useful.  The gloomy Scandinavian detectives have failed me though, because you can’t read subtitles when sewing up.  And I hate sewing up.

1 horse blanketNot entirely by coincidence, I have bought and borrowed a number of audiobooks.

2 audio 3 audio 4 audio 5 audioThat should see me right.

Not entirely as we like it


Off to the National Theatre Live screening of As you like it; which didn’t quite live up to its billing.

Setting the court in some febrile open-plan office rather disguised both its potential role as a source of honour and high culture, and its actual dangers if the fount of honour was toxic at source.  Similarly, although the grand suspension of the office furniture was great fun, and the forest looked convincingly cold, it was hard to believe in it as a purlieu of the Great Wild Wood, or in the lion and the serpent.  It followed that the moral pattern and allegory of the play became blurred, and the usurping Duke’s repentance actually got a laugh from the audience.  Jacques’ departure, unreconciled and irreconcilable, so chilling on the page, was a nothing.

Perhaps being somewhat ailing made me captious and too aware of the nasty cinema chair.  It was As you like it, and there was, after all, a good deal to enjoy. But when the top memory of the evening remains the flock of sheep (admittedly an outstandingly enjoyable flock) I have to feel that it was a production which had parted from its anchor, and I would not trust my heart to it.

Not walking


There have been no beach walk photographs recently because I’ve not been beach walking.

1 not walking

Apart from the obvious seasonal problem of there not being any beach to walk on, the land has disgorged the steps leading to my favourite bay, and the sea is now patiently demolishing them.

2 ruination

Here it comes again.

3 sea

(My companion’s camera coped with the February murk better than mine.)

Two of everything


Last night: Two tops; two skirts; two pairs of leggings; two coats; double socks; two hats.  Only one pair of boots though, only one pair of fingerless gloves. It took half an hour to put it all on, and then I could barely bend in the middle, which was a pity as Jupiter was just rising and the telescope was almost horizontal.  As the planet rose this became easier and I tried to tease detail out of the image, swapping different eyepiece and filter combinations in and out, and as usual cursing the moon, the motorists, and the neighbours who would insist on going to the bathroom with the light on.  It wasn’t a classic night, but I watched the end of Io’s transit (fuzzy in the low level murk), could distinguish the knotty appearance of the north equatorial belt, and eventually began to see the Great Red Spot appearing over the limb of the planet.  Mem to self:  practise collimation.  Between times I did a bit of binocular work, drank tea, and watched frost settle on the car.  When I found that the seat where my bottom wasn’t was covered in hoar frost, it was time for bed.  It took half an hour to take it all off …

Remember Langora?


Q:  What do you do when you find a large chunk of half-done knitting, and can’t remember what pattern you were knitting to?

A:  Start yet another jumper, of course.

not knittingNow I have got past the 20 skeins mark with the alpaca, I want to do a prototype jumper for it.  The yarn I am spinning is some nameless slubby thick-and-thin weight, but probably nearest to 4-ply.  I picked out an ancient pattern for Jaeger’s Langora yarn which I must have knitted up some time in the 80s, a lambswool and angora mix which was a big purchase for me in those days – but oh the delectable pale green haloed cloud that filled my lap while I worked upon it. It made a lovely gift, if I say so myself.

now knittingThis is a very plain pattern, Jaeger having correctly decided that their yarn required no blobs or bibbons to show it off.  I’m making it up now in a mohair/acrylic mix, very déclassé by comparison with its Langora predecessor, but I hope the slight hairiness and the random effects in the yarn will stand in well for the far more precious alpaca.  I like fine knitting but must admit I was glad to get past the 4000 stitches of rib on twelves and reach the easier ground of stocking stitch on tens.

Meantime there were lots of Escape Pod stories, and enough tea to get from Wight to Cromarty, and from Fair Isle to Fitzroy.

shipping forecast

Spinning a long tale


or two.

The end of the Republic: a story to inspire terror, if not much pity.  The great figures pose and slaughter, and for every incident which seems familiar there is another which reminds you that Rome’s culture was predicated upon entirely alien concepts.


While listening, spinning, and I have finished the twentieth skein of alpaca.  This is less impressive than it sounds, as I daren’t spin too much at a time for fear of entangling myself in a knot of truly cosmic complexity when I wind it off, and each teeny hank weighs in at about 10g.  On the other hand, I’m spinning as fine as I know how, so the yardage is considerable.  And now off we go to the bare spindle again.  I might get that jumper one day.

Light …


Light has been in short supply recently.  We rushed out to collect some this morning, though with a universal inadequacy of boot we all ended up with wet feet.  (Click a thumbnail for the gallery.)