Autumn 2013

Autumn 2013

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Time Traveller

Hello, everybody, and welcome to the Apple Basket!
I’ll be brief this week: my elbow is bugging me, and I probably shouldn’t type too much. I’m still trying to figure out what to call it; ‘tennis elbow’ sounds ridiculous, and ‘chronic strain injury’ is too dramatic, like I’m appealing for sympathy. Anyway, I try to not overdo things, though it can be difficult at times, not least when gardening, as I did yesterday. So ouch.

But I do have a little story for you:
The other day, I was going out to take care of the Tardis (mine is in the guise of a 1998, dark blue Mondeo): check the oil and the coolant and stuff. Thomas was giving me a hand, both because of that stupid elbow and because, well, come August, he can start taking his driver’s licence, so he might as well get acquainted.
And then the lever to pop open the bonnet didn’t work. He pulled, I pulled, nothing happened. Thomas prized open the panelling to try looking for the wire – no luck.
So I tried phoning the Ford garage to see if they had any tips & tricks to deal with it. I got hold of Kurt, who asked me: ‘Is this because you aren’t pulling hard enough?’
Yes, that is what he said. So in case any of you were wondering: the Stereotypical Male Chauvinist Mechanic is not an extinct species.
Now, I very rarely explode and yell at people; instead, I politely and patiently explained that A: I’d had my 17-year old son pulling at it, and B: it usually works. So the guy suggested it might be a broken wire (yup, that’s what we thought and why I called), checked his calendar and told me he could see the Tardis (I did refer to it as a Mondeo in this context, don’t worry) next Thursday. I said I’d call back.
Then, I phoned my dad: he has had several Mondeos and might have encountered the same problem. He suggested the catch could be stuck and to press down on the bonnet while pulling the lever. That worked. Straightaway and for free.
So, the Tardis got some much needed oil and coolant, the catch got some grease – and I will not ever be contacting the Ford garage again. I may not get mad at once, but I do get pissed off and carry a grudge, when needed.

The Knitting
Once again, there is not much to tell on the knitting front: I am working on the body of the V for Victor jumper. This is truly TV knitting, in the sense that I don’t have to look at it much, and also that I need some form of entertainment while knitting. Straight up – or down, as the case may be – in nearly plain stocking stitch doesn’t occupy too much of my attention; so, I can watch whatever we’re watching, or read, or meditate in between.

And then there’s the secret stuff. Coming along, pattern on the way, you know the drill.
So, not much to tell right now. There will be more, I promise.

I did, though, check out the sale on Garn Garagen earlier this week: they will no longer be selling the KnitPro needles and so had discounts on them. I threw a bunch of stuff in the virtual shopping basket, looked through them to decide what I actually needed, and ended up ordering six items. In the afternoon, they called me to say that they only had three of those items; apparently, their system had become overloaded and confused because of the traffic. Which left me with a single 80 cm wire for the interchangeable circs, and two shade cards.

After I bought the Samarkand lambswool & silk in Saltum for my Jane Eyre shawl, I went online to look some more at what they have and soon decided to get a couple of shade cards, one for the Samarkand and one for Coast, a lace-weight lambswool & cotton mix. Both these yarns are surprisingly inexpensive, soft, and come in a variety of colours.
I love shade cards. They are so full of promise and possibility: within minutes, I can think of literally a dozen things to knit, cardigans and tees and shawls and mitts and ...

The Books
Spoiler alert! In the next bit, I will be discussing The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger in some detail, but without revealing major plot points or the ending of the book.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a bit about it and mentioned that I had, at first, been slightly uncomfortable due to Lolita associations. It seemed to me that the relationship between the adult Henry and the child Claire was somewhat odd and slightly wrong, distorted – because of the underlying knowledge, Henry’s and the reader’s, that she will grow up to be his wife, there is a sexual tone to a lot of it.
The other day, my sister and I talked about this: she had been surprised at this way of viewing the relationship, herself seeing it as deep, romantic love. And it is true: Henry and Claire are very much in love, and Henry is very careful not to reveal too much too soon to Claire, while she is growing up – and to deflect her sexual advances, when she is a teenager.
I think my initial resistance to Henry and thus to the story may be due partly to the voice of the male reader that grated on me a bit, partly to the delayed explanation for the way Henry behaves. We are told of his illegal activities, his stealing and lock-picking and violence and multiple arrests, before it is made clear why all this is necessary for him: he repeatedly finds himself naked in a strange time and place and often has to resort to stealing or robbing to, well, be clothed, for one thing.
Over the course of the story, as the lives of Henry and Claire unfold, his plight becomes clear, and the latter part of it is heart-breaking.

This week, I have been listening to The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings, which is maybe best known as a film starring George Clooney as the first-person narrator, Matt King. Matt’s wife, Joanie (who for some obscure reason is called Elizabeth in the film), is in a coma after a boating accident, and Matt has to deal with the possibility of her dying. At the same time, he is trying to get to know his daughters, 10-year old Scottie and 18-year old Alex – the busy, distant dad syndrome – and needs to decide on whether to sell his family’s land, inherited from his great-grandfather’s plantation. Hence the title: can the now living descendants of the people who created the family fortune live up to it all, make something of their own lives, or are they just riding the waves?
There are, of course, more twists to the story, but I am not going to tell you – go read the book, or listen to it. I have no idea whether to recommend the film: I imagine it’s beautiful, with Hawaiian beaches and sunsets and George Clooney and the ocean and all. On the other hand, it’s supposed to be good for your brain to conjure up those images yourself.

So, that will be all for now – I hope you have a lovely week, and I will be back with more!

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