Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hamburg parsley, epistemological exoticism, and a thousand colours


1: Hamburg parsley: a very poor germination of the seeds means I only have four plants to show for it, but I pulled one today and roasted it with some carrots and leek and an undersized and barely ripe butternut squash.  I've never eaten it before; it does indeed resemble, as Jane Grigson described it, 'an underprivileged parsnip', but the flavour and texture are not much like, and certainly more delicate.

2: My big brother Phil gave me a book he'd written when we met earlier in the month.  It's a GURPS role-playing game supplement on the subject of Atlantis. GURPS stands for Generic Universal Role Playing System, and in fact what big bro is best known for in this line is his collaboration with Terry Pratchett in creating the GURPS series for the Discworld books.  I am only a little the wiser as the the arcane nature of these activities, but I am already absorbed in the book, which is full of fascinating information on every possible aspect of the Lost City, from Plato through Madam Blavatsky and Jules Verne to modern submariners.  It's meticulously researched and delightfully, accessibly written, and it serves to remind me of  how we spent so much of our childhood, with Look and Learn comics and Jackdaw folders and wall charts and maps and bickering over knowing most about obscure things, and generally being pretty horrid little bookish know-it-alls, and how marvellously enriched our lives have been by it, even though neither of us, he by choice and I by aptitude or the lack of it, has ended up as conventional academics.

3: More knitting! The Lang Mille Colori I mentioned before, which Iso bought for me as a present when we had our knitting day out , I started making into a fairly narrow single rib scarf, along the lines of the famous Noro striped scarf as written down by the mighty Brooklyn Tweed.  However, and this wasn't my original idea but I can't remember whose it was so I can't credit it, instead of using two different self-striping yarns, I used two different ends of one colourway, so that instead of one end of the wool being at the start of the knitting and the other still embedded in the ball, both are left at the beginning and one runs out in a loop instead of an end, a topologically interesting proposition. Thus the broad fuzzy bands of colour are broken up into narrower stripes but only by other colours of the same wool.  I've no idea if this makes any sense at all, but this is the result:


(In fact at this point I'm using opposite ends of two different balls, but anyway, the principle is the same.) I've lately picked it up again since putting it aside in favour of other projects for other people with deadlines. I must say that knitting seems to be one of the only things I've ever taken up where I'm finishing things some time before the deadlines, which must be a good sign, though how long this situation will continue before I overreach myself I don't know.

Yarns and knitting are extraordinary for provoking memories and associations, particularly the colours involved.  The chalky hues in this wool put me in mind of a couple of ceramic items I came upon at a particular time in my life: a fragment of mediaeval floor tile preserved at Muchelney Abbey in Somerset, and a small pottery pendant in the shape of a leaping salmon, small and simply shaped but with a glaze of remarkable complexity, which I bought from a young woman on the street in Killarney.  I may one day revisit Muchelney, and even perhaps Killarney, I hope so, but the little fish pendant I left behind somewhere and won't see again.

2 comments:

Bruce Taylor, a.k.a. Catalyst said...

Along with everything else, you are also an excellent photographer, as evidenced by today's photo. Well positioned, well lit, well shot.

Lucy said...

Thank you Bruce!