I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Generously knit, cruelly worn

The scarf was a gift, knitted to my instructions. It is multi-coloured and long, so long. It came from overseas and I revel in its plenitude.

I'd seen TV reporters wearing long scarves - notably my brother's namesake Nick Robinson, the BBC's political editor - and I wanted to outshine them all. Now I had the means but not, I discovered, the skill. A scarf as generous as this, product of a generous heart, needs to be learned.

Privately I experimented. I wrapped a loop round my neck and the ends trailed on the carpet. I wrapped three more loops and still the ends trailed. Besides which the telly journos use some kind of trick whereby their scarves fold back on themselves. I needed to think. I announced I would launch the scarf officially on the first day of Spring. Wimpish procrastination.

Recently we had our first hard frost. Few of my neighbours garage their cars and the windscreens were rimed. I thought of my Skoda, snug in its burrow. I needed to pick up the Guardian and a malicious thought occurred. As my neighbours scritched with their credit cards I would walk past, my neck encircled. I would also wear my new sleek-fitting black fleece to emphasise my loss of weight.

The Hell with the fold-back trick, I would be demonstrating thermal superiority. It is not enough to succeed, said Gore Vidal, it is necessary that others should fail. Aha!


  1. If you were a climber you could use it as an emergency rope.

    My guess is that you have a forthcoming TV interview, and, uncharacteristically, feel it necessary to join the scarf club.

    I m envious.

  2. Give rotating machinery a wide berth. Continue to revel in the failure of others.

  3. Tom Baker, as Dr. Who, seemed to have mastered the "lengthy scarf".
    Do you seek to emulate him, RR?

  4. Sir Hugh: I thought I looked as defensive as the average Ukip candidate, ten seconds before being outed for fiddling a cricket club's finances. About to say: I'm switching to the Greens.

    MikeM: Bonfires too. "Quiet satisfaction" rather than "revel" I think. The Chinese say it slightly differently: watching a close friends topple off a cliff.

    Avus: If I'm going to emulate anyone it would be Gavin Hewitt. He's mastered the scarf and does a real job. I fear I've never seen hair nor hide of Dr Who.

  5. Smiley emoticon times many.

    Funnily enough I was just looking at a pattern for a thing called the Foreign Correspondent's Scarf, with a view to making one for myself from a skein I have, derived, I kid you not, from the combings of humanely treated captive mink, no mustelidae have been harmed in the making of it. It's a lacy type of thing and I have absolutely no idea which foreign correspondent inspired its name. Your buddy Orla often looks like she could do with some cocooning though.

  6. I say, you really do need some gloves though...

  7. Lucy: I wonder if that's why Orla tends to report from countries that are hot (in both senses). Surely mink's wool would be a nightmare to knit up.

    I do have a pair of woollen gloves (from Barbour, makers of the eponymous jacket) and they're in the side-pockets of the fleece you see. They are, however, tight fitting and a bit of pest to put on. Mainly used on the return journey from Tesco when there are bottles in the shopping bag.

    I must say I was remarkably snug but then my face was encircled seven or eight times. I think too the scarf adds at least a cubit to my stature. I cease to be be l'homme moyen sensuel.

  8. It looks perfectly wound around your neck and shoulders. Nice scarf, nice colours. But why are you lurking so far away from the camera?

  9. Natalie: Oh dear, pragmatism like that and I'd never give birth to another flight of fancy. Why so far away? To show the scarf in proportion to my body, to demonstrate my body's new svelteness, to include the frost-covered garden table (emphasising the temperature), to enlist mendacity and suggest that my garden is more impressive than it is. I'm a fella, Nats, an English fella. I don't have your cosmopolitan confidence; I'm not up to scattering close-cropped pix of my pouchy face. Notice that I've recently added a pic to my comments; I trust you've picked up the allusion.

  10. Yes, English fella, I got the allusion hidden (?)in your comments pic! But I don't concur at all with its self-deprecation, however accurate the satire may be. Time certainly takes its toll on us all but at our worst, we're not THAT bad and at our best, we're a lot better. At least that's what I tell myself.
    Anyway, I think you should change that comments pic to something more you-ish.

  11. Natalie: You and I spend a heck of a lot of time failing to understand each other. To admit to being old isn't to deprecate oneself - in my case it's an inescapable fact. I'll be eighty next birthday and that is old. What's more my age is reinforced by my changing view of the world. There's a further allusion in my choosing Blake - he's a cranky SOB and that's what I've become. If you really wanted proof (though it's a matter of diminishing interest to everyone on the outside) go back to the 500 posts, still in existence, I launched in my blog Works Well when I blogged as Barrett Bonden. The tone is altogether lighter, the scope wider. I don't parade my age in the hope that readers will say "Ah, you're not that old." I do it as a point of surly honour. These days I am reduced to writing and nothing much more. "The "you-ish" you suggest is some fanciful mendacious image that belongs to my feverish adolescence although I appreciate your missionary zeal in attempting to save me from myself. Would that you could.

  12. Ha! I got you talking!
    I did not miss your point but wanted to contradict you. Why? Probably because I am obsessed with not giving in to age-related ruminations. Why? Erm...answering this would entail admitting my age and I'm not going to do that. Why?
    The rest is silence.

  13. Natalie: Got me talking forsooth! Look at the length of my comments and re-comments. Most would say it's discouragement I'm mainly in need of.