Well, here we are. We had a grand time, in astonishing weather. James and his excellent daughters toiled like Trojans, as they say – why do they say it? The ancients regarded the Trojans as effete Orientals. They trimmed the yew tree, and had a huge bonfire, and James made a good start on subduing the verges of the driveway. Our new gardener was meant to poison them, but hasn't done it. I weeded around our tiny pinus bungeana – a Chinese temple tree, probably the only one in the glen – and cut back the overhanging grass.
The man who sold it to me – I found only one source in Britain – warned me that it would grow slowly. That's certainly true, but it looks well. It's been through two winters now – admittedly, fairly easy ones. I am distinctly hopeful for its future. It's well protected from deer.
The weather was glorious.
We're meant to go back tomorrow, when the Greek family arrives. I don't think we're going to make it. Old age is really beginning to bite around here.
I did no knitting at all. I realised as we were driving up – James was driving; bliss! – that I had left behind the new Cubic needles I had been so looking forward to employing on the Carol Sunday scarf. I uttered a small, strangled cry as the realisation hit -- no one seemed to notice -- and didn't even take the knitting out when we were there.
Here, I have rounded the first corner of the Unst Bridal Shawl, edging-wise. I left two incoming rows unattached, one on either side of that corner's centre stitch. Was that enough? My current idea is to go on until the 6th (=June) ball of yarn gives out. Excuses, I know. But by now the cardboard is showing through strongly, and the end will come in a very few days, and then I'll return to the Rams & Yowes blankie, I really will.
One distinct comfort is that I will still be knitting Jamieson&Smith, acquired that happy, happy day in Lerwick. My husband found an article in the business section of the paper yesterday about Lion Brand, which I dutifully read with a show of interest. But I thought of the day I met the managing director of J&S, in overalls, sorting wool, and introduced myself to him as the writer of Gladys Amedro's obituary in the Scotsman.
I very much like the look of Franklin's new shawl, the Vitamarie. Had I but world enough, and time.
Here's a picture of James and his cat Mimi. Today is the day when Mimi will have been two weeks in the UK, and is due to be released into his garden. He's a street-savvy cat, until recently free in Beijing. Both James and his daughters have carried him around the garden during his 14 days of incarceration. He'll be fine, but we're all a bit on edge. James' daughter Rachel took the picture -- her future will be either in photography or art.
And, finally, if you want trash to read, I can heartily recommend Stephen King's “Mr Mercedes”. I remember once, when Mrs Thatcher was PM, a columnist saying, “History will be kinder to her than we are”. I suspect the same applies to Stephen King.