(There are pictures, just not here. Typepad's new Compose screen was waiting for me when I sat down to post. It is not interested, apparently, in uploading any images.)
Suddenly it's summer: nearly 90 the last few days, and a thunderstorm and downpour yesterday evening that got the streams running again in the woods for a while.
If you hear a story about a conversation that began with a comment about a front lawn with an unusually large crop of dandelions and segued neatly into the observation that immigration has been a terrible, terrible thing for Britain -- well, I heard it first. (My lawn. My dandelions, thank you very much.) It's one of the many things that have left me speechless over the last few weeks.
Most of them, thankfully, have brought on the good sort of speechlessness instead, the focussed, quiet "I really need to think about this for a while" kind. Like a month-long read of everything I can get my hands on by Caryl Phillips, who's coming to Dartmouth to teach and read this summer. And seeing productions of two plays written by a student I profiled a few months ago.
Plenty of ordinary busy-ness, too. Evidence of actual gardening:
And with two weeks until school's out for summer, it's high season for conferences, tournaments, open houses, performances: two a week on average for the last few weeks, and they keep coming (bonus: minimalist cardigan is growing).
Thursday, a rock musical of Homer's Odyssey. Eleven is singing Penelope. Have promised I won't knit while she weaves.
If you think the snowdrops look a little pudgy, you're right. Here's why:
They're very double doubles. By the time I got around to making a bulb order last fall, my sources were sold out of singles - but a few of these were left, and here they are. It felt odd buying them at all. My Virginia source was a neighbor down the road, who expected me in her garden each spring, shovel in hand, when it was snowdrop digging time. She had planted a few handfuls more than 40 years ago, they had multiplied gloriously, and my garden there was the happy beneficiary of all that generosity.
Waiting until April for snowdrops will make waiting for a package from Cornflower a piece of cake. I was the lucky winner of Karen's most recent Buy a Friend a Book draw. The prize? A surprise. All will be revealed when the book arrives....
One more knitting quote from A.A. Milne's 1948 detective story "A Perfectly Ordinary Case of Blackmail":
Mr. Cedric Watherston picked up the telephone and said, "Watherston here."
"Just turning the heel."
"Anyone listening in?" the voice said.
"My dear fellow!"
The voice belongs to Watherston's colleague Mr. Scroope, a "shady solicitor" in Watherston's own words, and a fellow prisoner of war at Holzminden, who seems to handle the less savory side of Watherston's business.
The knitting Milne put in his character's hands gave me an instant picture of his sock-making solicitor - but here's where I'd call in the historians: what more would Milne's mid-century readers, of a story set in 1939, have gleaned from Milne's details? Holzmiden prison? Knitting soldiers? Knitting solicitors? Clues, anyone?
Me? I'm off to the library for a copy of Milne's most famous detective story, The Red House Mystery.
Next post: non-fictional knitting. (By me. With pirates.)
Who knew - certainly not me - that the creator of Winnie the Pooh (well done, M., for getting the clue - from the game of Poohsticks in The House at Pooh Corner) also had a career as a writer of detective fiction (well done, Carol, for nailing the genre). The quotes are from "A Perfectly Ordinary Case of Blackmail," which I stumbled across in an anthology our next door neighbor sent home with us (along with a stack of her children's old Puffins and Penguins) on Boxing Day. Milne's story is copyright 1948, and was reprinted in a 1952 Ellery Queen Magazine.
And now, the other mystery to be revealed:
Designated name-drawer Eight has returned from hockey practice, and come up with
Diary of a Provincial Lady had the most mentions in the comments, including one from you. So which will it be, Karen: Anna Pavord's The Tulip (on Sherry's list) Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting Without Tears (on Charlotte's)? Choose your prize, please!
Thank you all for playing - and especially to Steve and Quinn for contributing, as Quinn put it, "total nonsense."
ETA: Karen, who has very well-stocked bookshelves (see the comments), has graciously stepped off the winner's podium . So back we went for another name: and it's Tracy, who blogs about woolliesandwellies. A copy of The Tulip will be headed her way. Congratulations, Tracy - and thanks, Karen.
He picked up the telephone. Afterward, there being nothing else to do, he went back to his knitting.
There's a free book at stake here, people, no telephone needed. Just leave a comment on any of the last three posts: recognize one of the books I read last week, recommend something different, make a guess (real or tongue-in-cheek) about the author of the knitting quotes - and you'll be entered in a draw for a copy of one of the books that you all name in the comments. I'll draw the winner's name just before midnight March 1st. Who's in?
P.S. Here's a hint about the mystery author: he's best known for creating another stout character who plays with a different sort of sticks....
Here's the passage, completely unexpected when I came across it during last week's reading frenzy:
A stout, old-young man of forty, Mr. Cedric Watherson of Watherson & Reeves, Solicitors, sat at his office table, knitting. He was not a good knitter, but he was proud that he could knit at all. He had learned when a prisoner of war in 1917, having walked straight into a German trench on his first journey up the line; and with the passage of years the circumstance of his capture had also become, in an odd way, a matter for pride. He liked sentences which began, "I remember when I was a prisoner in Holzminden." When a client was announced, he put the ball of wool, the needles, and the unfinished sock in the top left-hand drawer, smoothed his hair with both hands, and waited for the visitor to be shown in.
Who's the author? All guesses welcome - and if you don't know who it is, please feel free to explain who you think it should be.
While you're here, why not pop down to the previous post, Eclectic, and recognize or recommend a book. I'll put the name of anyone who comments here or there (or here and there!) in a drawing - let's say on March 1st - and I'll mail the winner a copy of a Green-reader's favorite.
We all wore gloves on the way to school this morning - it's that much of a fall day. And the photo situation is a bit more sorted out. How about an extra dose of summer?
Sunrise at Duck, North Carolina.
My beach book - not in the usual sense of taken to the sand (that's a job for a magazine, I'd say) - but my souvenir from a fantastic independent bookseller in Duck. Lloyd Jones's Mr Pip and Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach are the only two of the Booker Prize short list I've read. Jones and McEwan seem to be the bookies' favorites (that's the bet-takers', not necessarily the bookish folks'). Anyone who's read these, or any others from the shortlist, care to weigh in?
And souvenir yarn, too. (I didn't mean to drop it in the pool. All that lifeguarding back in high school came in handy.)