I am content with my lot. No, really, I am. I see little reason to change. My integration has progressed relatively well. My social life is making good progress and I’ve found a way to make myself at least a mildly tolerable resident of western Dorset. I’ve been invited into homes for tea and people make a point to check up on my well-being and go out of their way to make sure I lack nothing. As I will not be with family this Christmas, a family have invited me for an early tea and the vicar has made sure that I will have a proper Christmas meal with pleasant company. I’ve started to crochet and am making good progress with that, too. I am making scarves and tea towels. The knitting and crochet group have taken me under their wing. The knitting will come along eventually. Eventually. It’s going in fits and starts, right now it’s having a fit.

The only real frustration is attached to bureaucracy. Then again, that’s something that virtually all here find frustrating. Even that is getting sorted out. After a pointless journey to Southampton last week, it seems as if I’ll be able to sort out the worst of it this Friday. I’ve had a few responses in my search for part-time employment. The lack of certain bureaucracy-related titbits frustrates that to an extent, but once that hurdle is removed…

Author: Christopher-Dorset

A Bloody Kangaroo

22 thoughts on “Eureka?”

  1. That’s good news, I always found knitting was like playing the piano, demanding levels of coordination and digital acrobatics I didn’t possess.

    Oh and hello Metin! (See likes.)

  2. Christopher, I imagine you have read, ‘Of Human Bondage’. If not, you should do so. Your mention of the tea with the Vicar, did not so much bring to mind salacious seaside humour but rather this passage from the aforementioned book.

    “On the following Sunday, when the Vicar was making his preparations to go into the drawing-room for his nap–all the actions of his life were conducted with ceremony–and Mrs. Carey was about to go upstairs, Philip asked:

    “What shall I do if I’m not allowed to play?”

    “Can’t you sit still for once and be quiet?”

    “I can’t sit still till tea-time.”

    Mr. Carey looked out of the window, but it was cold and raw, and he could not suggest that Philip should go into the garden.

    “I know what you can do. You can learn by heart the collect for the day.”

    He took the prayer-book which was used for prayers from the harmonium, and turned the pages till he came to the place he wanted.

    “It’s not a long one. If you can say it without a mistake when I come in to tea you shall have the top of my egg.”

    Mrs. Carey drew up Philip’s chair to the dining-room table–they had bought him a high chair by now–and placed the book in front of him.

    “The devil finds work for idle hands to do,” said Mr. Carey.

    He put some more coals on the fire so that there should be a cheerful blaze when he came in to tea, and went into the drawing-room. He loosened his collar, arranged the cushions, and settled himself comfortably on the sofa. But thinking the drawing-room a little chilly, Mrs. Carey brought him a rug from the hall; she put it over his legs and tucked it round his feet. She drew the blinds so that the light should not offend his eyes, and since he had closed them already went out of the room on tiptoe. The Vicar was at peace with himself today, and in ten minutes he was asleep. He snored softly.”

    I hope that your Christmas meal will amount to more than the top of the Vicar’s egg.

  3. Janus: Knitting isn’t that difficult, really. The problem I have — and apparently many others have — is over-thinking the process. People panic and over-do things resulting in a messy, at times irredeemable mess. Crochet suits me better and it’s much easier to learn.

    Sipu: It will be a group lunch. There are, this being Dorset, many older people who either do not wish to cook or who are alone. It involves the classic English Chrimbo meal which lingers on until the Queen’s Christmas speech when all toddle back home. Thank you for that. I have, unfortunately, not read that book. I don’t read as much as I’d like throughout the year. Well, not what I’d like to read in any case. I have to mark so many papers, exams, discussions, etc. that I’m well burnt out by the time I’m done working.

  4. CT, my Mum was a great knitter. She broke all records for dexterity, able to hold a conversation while knocking out sweaters, socks, scarves and gloveves for the family.

    Re. Somerset Maugham’s book, the hero goes off to live in Germany, amongst other adventures.

  5. Going off to live in Germany sounds like a punishment! Compared to that place, Britain with all its foibles is an early demi-paradise.

    The female-type parent is a competent and capable knitter. Most in the group are knitters. Some people are more inclined to knitting, some are more inclined to crochet although most can to an extent do both once they get into it.

  6. Good to know you are settling in England so well.

    Bureaucracy is a world-wide problem, designed solely for the purpose of trying to get people to give up on their legal rights.

    I can knit fairly well, but never could quite get the hang of crocheting. I learnt to do it ‘all wrong’ and have never been able to ‘unlearn’ it.

  7. Boa, how comforting to know that you too could not unlearn bad stuff!! I never crocheted but I did pick up some other bad practices that i can’t seem to quit.

  8. Boadicea: I’ve integrated into British life almost seamlessly. People seem to think that I have been living here for years rather than a month.

    Crochet is easier to learn. If you learnt to knit the English way, crochet is a bit more challenging. My mother being of a decidedly Hunnish bent, I was exposed to the Continental way which is closer in many respects to Crochet than is the English.

    Janus: Blame Backside. Always blame Backside. If that doesn’t work, blame Malcolm Turnbull. Or Lars Løkke.

  9. My Goodness Christopher! I had no idea that there was any other way of knitting other than the way I know. I’ve just found a youtube to show me.

    I taught myself to knit and crochet – no one in myfamily did. It was years later that I realised that I’d been ‘doing it all wrong’ with the crochet bit and, as I said, I could never get it right.

  10. Yes, there are different ways to knit. The confusing thing is that the two main knitting countries, the UK and USA, use very different terminology — in knitting and crochet. The same stitched are called different things so, depending on the origin of a pattern, there can be unfortunate misunderstandings.

    My mother tried to teach me, but she lacks patience, teaching skills and we’re opposite-handed. She’s left-handed, I’m right-handed so there was nothing but confusion.

    There is an interesting Australian connexion to this… The shop where I crochet and buy my materials is on the street where Tom Roberts was born and lived as a child before moving to Australia to become that country’s premier painter.

  11. Christopher – “Blame Backside. Always blame Backside. If that doesn’t work, blame Malcolm Turnbull. Or Lars Løkke”

    On a point of order and procedure, may I remind our cherished colleague that whenever commenting on these pages about anything that has gone wrong it is always without fail the fault The Chariot’s favoured bête noire, one Alex Salmond.

    Oh, and by the way, Christina has forgotten more about knitting and crochet than all of us collectively will ever know. Anyone who can take a sheep and turn it into the warmest, most comfortable pullover I have ever had the privilege to wear commands our utmost respect.


  12. OZ: Speaking as the inventor of that, I had to find a new target. Alex Salmond has become a nonentity. He is not taking up even more space at that waste of space that is Holyrood. Salmond, due to the good sense of Scots voters, has been unceremoniously booted from Westminster. I needed to find someone else to blame as Salmond has become too pathetic a figure. So I chose Malcolm Turnbull. After Australia unceremoniously dumps him as PM, I’ll have to find someone else. Emmanuel Macron should be around for a few more years so he’ll probably taking that role.

    I miss CO. We had our difference on occasion — we’ve had them for the decade we’ve been “acquainted” — but she is a woman of great wit, depth and knowledge.

  13. Bad idea to blame Backside, I whisper. He’s a bit ‘ard ‘earin’ as my Grandma used to say.

    If you must blame MT – or Cameron – my loyalty to our alma mater forbids me to comment. 😦

  14. Turnbull is indeed a lightweight and not worthy of the refined opprobrium pitched on here. Macron on the other hand is French and therefore by default an obvious candidate.

    But may I suggest our very own former prime minister (2005-2011), one José Socrates, a man so corrupt, allegedly, they had to fly the bribes in by private jet, the first suitcase of notes going to convince immigration and customs to look the other way, also allegedly, when the aircraft was being unloaded at a private airfield near Lisbon. The Ministry of Justice has (so far) identified 34 million Euros in bribes received into his offshore accounts and massive misappropriation of the levers of state for personal gain Linkey thing. During his tenure of office it is alleged barely one government negotiation (and there were many dodgy ones at the taxpayers’ expense) was concluded without a bung heading his way.

    Meanwhile, in other news, the offence of spraying graffiti on a train is now punishable by a prison term. It is cynically joked that the only way to get him and his supplier, Ricardo Salgado, ex-boss of Banco Espirito Santo, into prison is to catch the pair of them in flagrante with a tin of spray.


  15. No there is nothing to forgive. Just been busy in Wales most of the Autumn and managed to come back with pneumonia!
    Hauled off the plane in Vancouver by paramedics on oxygen, not one of my more elegant entrances into Canada!
    Re knitting, there is in fact another version, centred on Russia, they hold their needles quite differently. I’m afraid Oz is quite right, forgotten more of it, just bring on the sheep.
    But now we have our instant expert Christopher, I’m quite sure he will be able to elucidate k2tog ,psso on alternate rows!
    For any of you that might want to see knitting in action, try a site called Ravelry, they have free patterns both in English and American versions plus some enlightening videos.
    r silly sod, off!
    PS psso does not stand for piss, you silly sod, off! But the more boring pass slipped stitch over.

  16. So glad you’re still kickin’, CO!

    Btw, I think culture as in yoghurt is entirely appropriate and worth several laughs.

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