Friday, July 25, 2014

Reading Matter

So where can I be going, dressed up to the nines like this?

Perhaps this might be a clue...

That's Richard the Lionheart.  Or, what about this?

Or this?

This probably gives it away..

The Palace of Westminster, no less, where a friend of my husband from university days was holding a reception to mark her retirement as a career civil servant.  We had the full works: airport-style security checks on entrance, a guided tour of the central areas, during which we were able to spot well-known figures going about their business, then drinks and canapes in a room overlooking the Thames.

It was a very hot day and by the end of the evening my very modest sandals had turned into killer heels.

On a different note, I'm making some headway with this waistcoat, using a commercial Aran and a hand-dyed skein from Susan Heath.  I am using a chart from Sheila McGregor's boook of traditional designs and making up the rest as I go along.  It's clear that I would never make a designer.  I can never  properly visualise a design element until I see it knitted.  Here, for example, the lower edge needs to lose some stitches, and taking it off and knitting back the other way is easy enough to do.  But would it look better with a plain hem folded back, so the front started with the little chequer-board pattern?  It would look different certainly, and it might sort out the natural curl of the stocking stitch - but would it look better?

Then, what about the back?  I looked over my copy of the Sacha Kagan Sweater Book, and remembered how she used ribbed backs to waistcoats.  But would a ribbed back here marry with such an intricate front?  I'm toying with a self-coloured diamond pattern to echo the lattice of the fronts.  I guess I will just have to try a swatch and make the decision - either will probably be fine.

I recently read of someone who had set herself the challenge of rereading all of Dickens within a year.  For the recently retired, this is the sort of challenge that appeals. It's even more doable with a Kindle, where the whole of Dickens is available for free, or very like it.  The Kindle has other advantages too: it stays the same handy size no matter how long the book.  And the font size is surprisingly significant in making the text accessible.

Once, before I met my husband, I went to Venice  alone, with a copy of "Little Dorrit" for company. It was the ideal companion for train journeys and solitary evenings in the hotel room.  Its length was a huge part of its appeal.  Now, I have enjoyed "Dombey and Son", though probably less than "Bleak House".  A detour took me into "Tom All Alone's" by Lynn Shepherd - a curious concept that, basing your own detective story on Dickens' setting and characters, with a little Wilkie Collins and Jack the Ripper thrown in.  "Oliver Twist" raced along, and now I am well into "David Copperfield," a wonderful narrative voice. 


JAG said...

There's a group of people at Penguin who did something like this in 2012. See I still unfairly hold it against Dickens that I was forced to read various of his books for school. After numerous recommendations I started, and loved, Bleak House. I held off for a bit, but have now checked David Copperfield out of the library, though have a few other books to finish before I start it.

JAG said...

Hmm, no link...try www_penguinblog_co_uk/uncategorized/dickens-done-the-final-part/ you'll have to replace the underscores with periods. But maybe this will post?

Mary Lou said...

I 'read' Our Mutual Friend" as an audiobook this past year. Great for listening and walking to work or knitting. The installment set up from the original made it easy to stop and wait for the next issue.