Interesting

I think our little island has received the ancient Chinese curse – may you live in interesting times. 

We woke yesterday to fog, again (we have had more haar this year than in the last several years put together) and to a certain lack of electricity. We were not the only ones – all the Northern islands were without power. A quick investigation of the electricity company’s web site showed that restoration of supply was expected by 1pm. This caused Mr L some grief as it was his final day at his desk prior to 2 weeks of holiday. Not only were deadlines waiting to be met but his team was waiting for some code that he had been fixing until a very late hour on Thursday night.

I decided to use the down time profitably and to begin labelling Show entries, both for myself and for Jennifer. I normally generate nice neat computer-printed labels but this year the Stewards shall have to make do with hand-written scrawl.

There was no power by the time that the bus came to collect me and so I  had to venture forth without a shower, having had a brief return to my youth with the spit wash flannel style of ablution and dousing my head in the sink with the aid of a jug. No proper coffee either. This was no way to be preparing to face the world!

When I boarded the bus, the talk was all of the poor girl who was getting married in the afternoon (that, and some recent population decrease). Imagine it – your wedding day, shrouded in a cold mist and nowhere to plug your hairdryer in. I’m not one for big wedding events myself (I’m more the grab two witnesses from the street and dash into the Registry Office type myself) but I imagine if you have been planning a big day for the last couple of years, the prospect must seem dismal.

The ferry berthed and zillions of unsuspecting wedding guests disembarked, along with a vehicle from Scottish and Southern…

En route to Kirkwall – a very slow route, with fog horn engaged – I received a call from home. Apparently the power situation was more serious than at first indicated and generators had been dispatched to all the islands – power was now expected to be supplied by generator from around 5pm.

Due to the fog, the boat docked late and my time in town was cut short. I dashed around in the warm and sticky conditions – you can tell residents from visitors, the visitors were wearing fleeces and waterproofs and the locals were moaning about how hot it was, especially one very pregnant lady I overheard wishing that her delivery date was more imminent. I did find time to dash into Kirkland & Gorie, in search of cheese and buttons. I scored the cheese and was promised the buttons if I had time to wait. Time was short, so I promised to send Mr L in on Monday when he has time to kill (Suzie is going to visit the vet). The buttons are very special buttons that I need for my Twhit, which is cast on, kind of. More of that shortly.

Joanne, our recently-taught spinner was heading into town as well yesterday. It was a delight to see her sitting there, knitting her own handspun. She is making a Belugah hat. I had my Waves of Grain with me which, by  virtue of gargantuan effort on Thursday evening, had reached the end of the charts and was ready for the plainer section. It did not make as much progress yesterday as I had hoped for, but I plan to call a halt on it today and graft tomorrow and whatever length it makes, so be it.

The return ferry was packed – holiday-makers and further wedding visitors. I sat with my knitting in the lounge, cursing those who are unable to unglue their eyes from the goggle box for a mere hour and a half (it was very loud and intrusive.) I took a good look around and was quite startled to see that, although the television was on, so many people were using their mobile technologies: mp3 players, phones and tablets were in extensive evidence. Texts were being sent and received, games played… one chap appeared to be playing, on his tablet, a digital version of the good old analogue pocket puzzle “silver ball” maze game. That amused me, but bothered me too.

We arrived back at Loth a little late again, as the fog still had not lifted. As the bus tootled around here and there, dropping folk off, we stopped at Ayre’s Rock Hostel to leave some evening wedding guests there and Paul told us that his power had been back for about 20 minutes. Mr L reported similarly when I got home, so the pizza that I had with me was deployed in preference to the bread and cheese back up plan.

Gill was not so fortunate and was without power for two or three hours longer than we were.

Anyway, that was when the broadband caught a cold…

There was only one thing to do in the circumstances – go to bed with the Guardian Prize Crossword.

When we got up this morning, last night’s (intended) film was still downloading.

I was thinking about how much we all rely on technologies, and electricity in particular – how difficult we find it to be unconnected, both to the grid and to the ‘net. I like to brag a little about how when the apocalypse comes, we will be fine. I can spin and I can knit and I can weave. We have the sea around us to fish in and land to grow veg in. I have what it takes to be able to cook one pot meals of tasty deliciousness over an open fire and then in the haybox (wood for fuel is not easy to come by so fires would be short-lived). We have instruments to make music on for entertainment,  and a library to read. It is one thing to know (think/believe?) that but quite another to practice it.

So, now I am tinkering with an idea – that we should deliberately disconnect ourselves on a regular basis. Turn off the power at the mains and spend a day a week just being instead of consuming. Perhaps even for a week at a time – though clearly it would have to be a non-working week. I could dig out the games boards, the jigsaws and the packs of cards (and maybe even find a pocket puzzle silver ball maze or two). We would also have to sort out a non-electric showering solution! If I can’t keep clean, all deals  are off.

Speaking of deals, my deal with myself today is to knit as much Waves of Grain as I can. Tomorrow I’ll graft it and then crack on with Twhit. I cast Twhit on yesterday morning when we had no power and all I could do while I waited for the bus was to kick my heels. Of course, I could not access the pattern, which is on my PC. Although I designed Twhit myself, memory clearly failed me on the detail. I cast on for 110 stitches, which I was (falsely, as it turns out) confident about. I got to 100 stitches before running out of tail yarn. I pulled it out and cast on with a  longer tail. I joined it in the round to a certain sense of unease. I knitted a round of twisted rib and the unease grew. I popped it onto my head, it dropped over my ears. I ripped it out and cast on for 100 stitches. (Yes, I did kick myself.) The yarn stood up to this treatment remarkably well, despite being my own handspun. I feel quite proud of that.

Trundlebug and I had a brief discussion regarding the possibility of a mini-KAL on Catkin. It takes two balls of contrasting or complementary sock weight/light fingering. Anybody fancy having a go? Leave a comment below if you do. I’m trying very hard not to dig out the latest delivery of sock yarns that Sanday Spinners got in because I know I can find what I need there and I really do want to get Twhit and Waves of Grain sorted out first. Catkin calls to me however, loud and clear.

Oh, puzzle news, if you are interested. Fifty-nine degrees north, a team consisting of Mr & Mrs L with Mr & Mrs Trundlebug currently sits at 17th of 178 scoring teams on the CISRA leaderboard . We have a full 5/5 and 25 points. More puzzles are published on Monday – the Trundlebugs are away on holiday and Mr L is on town at the vet with Suzie. You may expect us to fall rapidly down the board in the coming days – but it is nice while it lasts! In the interesting and “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” departments – there is a One Degree North team registered this year! (currently in 38th position)

Anybody else out there playing? Leave your team name in the comments so that we can cheer you on – and if you are not in already, why not? It’s not too late to start now! Register here it’s free and it’s fun and helps to keep senility at bay.

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