A moment of clarity, a day of confusion

Do you ever experience that thing where something you did not even know was bothering you is suddenly resolved in a moment of complete clarity?

I woke at 05:55 this morning and my first waking thought was…. “I forgot to wash my yarn!” – this being closely followed by the line of reasoning: “No wonder it didn’t seem right.” Now, this is weird mainly because it had not really been troubling me and was not actively in my mind. I just woke with this unexpected moment of extreme clarity.

The Matinée Jacket had been disappointing me as I knit. The off-white colour looked so dingy and I did not remember previous projects looking this way.  The handle and drape was not as soft or as fluid as I recalled. The indigo-dyed yarn that I turned into socks was so soft and luxurious… Each time that I pondered, I entirely failed to twig what my unconscious did overnight. This yarn needs washing before it is knitted: World of Wool say “All our yarns are steam set but not washed.

So, now what. Do I continue as I am and do the washing afterwards despite WOW’s warning of “Please note there will be some shrinkage.” It’s not as though it needs to fit any particular infant. I do have concerns about the effect on the stitch pattern however. The alternative is to scrap the back and one and a half fronts, wash the yarn, and begin again. Can I be bothered to do that?

The A Hap for Harriet went well on the boat yesterday and several repeats completed. I am enjoying its simple nature. It will see further work when I return to town in 2 weeks. The car requires a new clutch and thrust bearing but cannot be booked in until June 4th.

Yesterday went generally very badly. We were told by Orkney Aggregates that the AGA company will not allow them to sell us the Rayburn cooker that we were negotiating over. I was distraught. They had been meaning to telephone us to let us know… Humph! They say that the cooker will now be scrapped. What a wicked waste. It is new and unused and has only been standing in a showroom as a show model. AGA claim that, being discontinued, parts will not be available and support cannot be given. We thought this to be a load of old guff – especially as previously we had been told that there would be no problems as the boiler is the same one as used in all the Rayburns and is the latest and up to date version. OA shrugged shoulders and said it was out of their hands – they have been forbidden to sell it to us. End of story.

Checking the Internet when we got home, we found our instincts to be correct. Guff indeed. So, either somebody somewhere is simply telling porkies – maybe they want it for themselves? or, possibly, AGA are doing that “premium product” thing where they don’t want their name associating with anything other than brand-new mint offerings from authorised dealers. This may well involve scrapping (well, done AGA – very “green” NOT!) or, more sensibly, selling it off to a 3rd party and the cooker will appear on eBay at some point. Whatever happens, the thing will now make a journey off Orkney and we must source elsewhere and bring one up here. A wicked waste of fuel, time, energy and money.

For anybody who is interested and maybe seeking a range cooker of their own:

We determined that the Alpha cooker was the best option for us. It heats water, does the central heating and cooks – all from the same unit. You can have heating and hot water without heating the oven. It’s very versatile and is well-designed and importantly, efficiency is up in the high nineties. It also has the largest ovens available in a  range cooker and both ovens are equally sized. The hob is the largest hob of any range cooker. It has all the good looks of an AGA, being vitreous-enamelled and all the practicality of the Rayburn. Best of all, it is a cheaper option than either of those. Why would we choose any other cooker?

Alpha, who designed the cooker,  no longer make the Alpha cooker, which has been made and marketed variously by:

  • Rayburn to produce the 800 series, the 860/880/8150 models.
  • Marshall Cookers to produce the 60/80/100/140/150 models.
  • Sandyford to produce the Icon and Classic models.
  • Waterford Stanley to produce the Alpha 120/150 models.

Importantly – they all use the same shell and the same technology.

The Rayburn 800 Series is discontinued and it is this one that we were attempting to buy from Orkney Aggregates. The Stanley one can only be had in Ireland. We considered a trip over to get one… really, but only briefly. Both the Sandyford and Marshall-badged versions seem to be still available. The Marshall, certainly. The Sandyford we are more confused about at this point. They may or may not be the same company as Marshall. My head won’t hold all the data sensibly.

So, I can still have my Lovely New Blue Range, but am very annoyed at the carbon footprint involved in getting it up here when a perfectly sound one, in need of a few boiler parts,  is sitting around in Kirkwall waiting to be scrapped. Not to mention all the frustration we will be experiencing once we attempt to arrange a costly delivery. That is a given. The joys of island living…

I shall knit. It’s soothing.

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