White and Strange – part 1

My world turned white again overnight. Sadly not the beautifully fluffy and crisp real snow that we have experienced lately, but nasty soft wet stuff and not in the least inspirational – though, strangely the White Thing is back on the needles. Coincidence? or a strange quirk of fate?

Anyway, it was a rather wet plodge down to the gate at 7am with the dogs and the bin bags. The road was white over, with the tracks of just two cars to scar the scene. The tide was pretty much out and it was difficult to see where the flat gey sand met the flat grey sea, which in turn met the flat grey sky — somewhere amongst the precipitating snow over Stronsay.

That’s it then – a monochrome world for me today.

White Lace

Some folks would maintain that today is the first day of Spring ((Oh, should I have said “White Rabbits” ? Now, that was a very strange rabbit indeed!)).

I’ll leave you to digest that non-sequitur, while I discuss the demise of my favourite thermal underwear. It may be vaguely disgusting to discuss underwear as old as this – if you find it at all unpleasant, do turn away now. I’d understand if you found it all a bit… Steptoe.

My long johns came from M&S a long time ago, when I was living in Leeds. I have never since seen any just like them, despite often trying, so I have just the one perfect pair. They have climbed many a hill, both in Yorkshire and across Scotland. They’ve done some fair old trekking in Derbyshire too – and I’ll be willing to bet they even managed a few miles in Lancashire and Cumbria. In recent years they have been invaluable daily winter wear in stone-built cottages (it’s OK, there is another, different, pair. I do wash them!) and although there is a distinct paucity of hills to tramp in this part of the world, they have successfully kept the icy Orcadian winds from cutting my legs off at the knees on beach walks with the dogs. They are soft and sleek and extremely comfortable. Best of all, they are pretty. They are cuffed with a deep edging of stretchy white lace – functionally those cuffs keep all the draughts out, but in an aesthetically pleasing manner. I have never pulled those long johns on without smiling at the lace around my ankles…

You have no idea how challenging it was to get a shot of even as poor a quality as this...

…and that smile encompasses a little twinge of the heartstrings, reminder as it is of the walking partner that I had back when my LJs were new. Frankly? He had something of a strange kink for that lace! 🙂

Over the years my beloved underwear has become softer and softer. It has almost been a wrench to put them away when the Spring finally arrived.

But now the time has come to turn my LJs into the softest, finest dusters ever seen. There are just too many holes in them for them to function adequately any longer. And this long before any sign of a real Spring here in Orkney! I am distraught.

I have a plan to lessen the trauma. I shall salvage the lace and recycle it into some project or other. Perhaps some cuffs for a cardigan? Just a small reminder of happy days in the hills, and happy years with my favourite friendly firefighter.

Further White Lace

So, the re-charts for the white shawl that I was knitting came out yesterday. I have more than enough to do but I wanted to try them out and I cast on last night. I am happy to report that the charts work just fine and that the shawl is making rapid progress. I worked through the first iteration  of Chart 1, and a whole repeat of the repeating section. Around 50 rows knitted.

Hmmm, needs work

By a strange quirk, the re-charting was done by Ravelry user sandralice (my heartfelt thanks to her, BTW) who lives in Clapham, where she runs a local yarn shop. That’s not a Clapham with an omnibus, but the Clapham which all self-respecting Yorkie owners of hiking boots and long johns will know; the Clapham that sits at the foot of Ingleborough. That’s the Ingleborough that was almost certainly the first outing for my favourite pair of LJ’s, and the first big hill that my FFF led me up.

I have photos somewhere of me, all wrapped up against the biting wind and walking the ridge at Ingleborough. I well recall cresting the ridge and being blown straight off my feet and onto my bum. It was a truly awful day. I shall have to hunt them out and scan them in – talk about Nanouk of the North…


All this left me positively aching to be up a hill and with my  boots on. It almost makes me want to be off the island (a first) and away for a couple of weeks with Mr L, the dogs, and my hiking gear. A week in limestoney Yorkshire, followed by a week in forested Scotland (oh, my, trees!) should just about do it.

Now, if only I had the cash…

I’ll just have to bury myself in a cloud of white lace, won’t I?