A walk to Dumgoyach

dumgoyneevening

West of Blanefield, off the West Highland Way . . .

whw

If you look North across the fields . . .

scabious

You’ll see a path through the grass and sheep’s-bit scabious . . .

path

. . . which leads to a field margin, marked by a line of blasted oaks.

fieldmargin

Adjacent, to the West, is the irregular wooded dome of Dumgoyach, and North is Dumgoyne, the volcanic mound that dominates the landscape of the Blane and Endrick valleys.

dumgoyne

And if you look down into the valley, you’ll see Duntreath Castle.

duntreath

Cross into the field and the ground rises and flattens to reveal . . .

stones

. . . these stones.

recumbent

lichen

Four of the five original stones are now recumbent, and the last one standing is a little shorter than me. Analyses of burnt flint and charcoal found at the site dates the structure to 3650 BC, in the middle Neolithic. Aligned with a notch in the hills to the North East, through which the sun rises at the Spring and Autumn equinoxes, this structure is thought to be a short stone row (used to measure solar events), but it has also been suggested that the long cairns are what remains of the facade of a chambered tomb.* The early date, and the proximity of other chambered cairns in this area makes the latter argument reasonably likely, but I am rather tempted to get up to watch the sun rise at Dumgoyach on September 22nd to make my own astronomical observation.

bruceandstones

(what do you think, Bruce? Row or tomb? Tomb, or row?)

*The first interpretation belongs to E.W. Mackie who carbon-dated the site in 1972, and the latter to Aubrey Burl, From Carnac to Callanish: Prehistoric Stone Rows of Britain, Ireland and Brittany (1993). See also the RCAHMS site record.

Boiler suits
Thanks so much for all your wonderful boiler-suit / coverall / onesie-related comments on the last post. That kind of collective discussion is probably what I love most about blogging, and it makes me particularly excited when the discussion concerns the different meanings and usages of a garment. If you haven’t had a look at the comments already, I encourage you to go and read them.

Refurb update

Last week I finished decorating the bathroom, bedroom, and new studio. Yesterday I painted the downstairs chimney breast, and today we hung the over-mantle mirror. For weeks the house has felt like a sort of giant jigsaw puzzle and it is extremely exciting to see the bigger picture finally emerging. But, having been engaged upon this project for a couple of weeks now, I would say that it is without a doubt the most physically challenging thing I’ve done post-stroke. This is not only due to the relentlessness of the stretching, bending, and movement painting involves, but also to my poor balance and generally wonky left leg. I have to take a two hour snooze in the middle of the day to keep going, and there have been a few dicey moments as I teetered over the bath or tripped on a dust sheet. That said, happily, the closest I’ve got to disaster is getting paint in my mouth and hair. Ick. Anyway, I shall be painting downstairs on half-days only next week, and, now the studio is habitable I can at last get back to some knitting, designing, and email-answering.

Field Notes
Most of the swallows have gone, which is rather sad, but I recently put food in the hanging feeders on the porch and have been astounded by the variety of bird-buddies that are dropping by. More of them anon.

socks, owls, &c. . .


(recognise that darned heel, Mandy?)

Some of you may be interested to know that the above appears in this month’s issue of The Knitter magazine. It is the first piece for publication that I’ve produced since the stroke, and because of this, I feel unusually proud of it. Did you know that such a thing as sock police existed? No? Get hold of a copy of The Knitter and find out more! I really enjoyed researching this article, and turned up many whacko stocking-related oddments on ecco and elsewhere….For example, I didn’t have a chance to include this intriguing piece of advice from John Gardiner’s Inquiry into the Nature, Cause, and Cure of the Gout published here in Edinburgh in 1792, but I thought you might enjoy it. . . (if enjoy is the word, ahem).

“As soon as a fit or the symptoms of an approaching fit appear, the patient is directed to draw on each foot three or four socks, made of the finest and softest wool, commonly sold under the name of Welsh flannel; over them a pair of short hose or bootikins of oiled silk, drawn as close as possible around the ankle…After the bootikins have been neatly applied, one, or two more socks are to be drawn over each and to cover the whole, a pair of soft woolly Shetland stockings.”

If I’m counting correctly, that’s eight pairs of socks. . . imagine.

This now-familiar image of my headless torso also appears in The Knitter in the context of a discussion of Ravelry knitalongs. And when I went popped over to Ravelry to have a look at recent o w l-related activity, I noticed that there were more than three thousand projects listed ! Three thousand o w l s! I felt I should commemorate this exciting discovery in some way, and found that Amy, from Hartlepool, was the three-thousandth knitter of an o w l sweater. Congratulations Amy! (I am sending her a wee owl-themed gift to commemorate the momentous occasion.)

And finally, as this picture would suggest, I did make it to Stirling, but unfortunately not for very long. . . frankly, I can hardly believe that I actually wrote a whole blog post about having a migraine and I do not want to produce another along similar lines . . . suffice it to say that I was able to spend a few happy hours with my friends before returning home.

I was quite put out, but this wee feller was still happy to see me.

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