Long Way Home

Contrary to what people may think, Shane was not my only concern this last week. I have had a few different family member and friends to worry about. Wednesday was a particularly long day of communication and after visiting Shane in the afternoon, I took a bus from the station to do a care home visit and then eventually got home for my tea after 9pm. Luckily I had packed a pack of nuts in my pocket to keep me going and the care home staff gave me a cup of tea. I don’t think any knitting or poetry got done. But in my mind I went in a long journey to my father’s home and planned a poem, about socks.

On Thursday, Shane’s news was that he was to be discharged that day. I hadn’t planned balloons and banners but a small effort of getting some favourite food in, some cleaning, tidying and fresh bedding, might be welcome. I hurried down to catch a train, stopping only briefly to capture a celebration of the city.

Cityscape, Morrison Street mural

Shane was keen for fresh air and did not want collection by car. I was still unsure that he maybe being overoptimistic and my concerns were not soothed by a few cancelled trains, including an announcement that a train was cancelled due to an unwell passenger. I hoped we would not repeat this. My train was not cancelled and I made it to the hospital for the intended discharge time. En route I checked out places we could stop to rest and thought about alternative plans if he was weaker than anticipated. None were needed and we walked to the station through the wooded path, and then from Haymarket to home (in total about 3 miles) with the only concession to recent complex neck surgery being that I carried the rucksack and Shane carried a light bag in his left hand.

Shane has given some details of the operation and what has been removed. If you haven’t heard of the parotid then it is what is infected if you have mumps ( thanks to my retired doctor sister for that one). Some medical books have very scary pictures but I recently passed a poster near the Meadows. that illustrates it nicely. The parotid is the spongy looking part under the letters AN of LANDS and “body ex”. Quite fancy the exhibition but at the time we were avoiding indoor spaces. At any rate various bits of Shane have recently had an out of body experience.


Timely teaching aid

He hasn’t required much nursing. Eating and speaking are affected enough to result in a requirement for a soft menu and some slushy consonants, but both are getting better as is the asymmetric appearance. Already he has planned to return to Derby next week so we can get back to his other home on the water. His dad emailed this week and asked, “Is home in your flat, on your boat or with Clare?”

We have enjoyed the catch-up with friends and family in Edinburgh – today it was Stuart and Wendy – thanks for the photos Wendy and we will continue to meet a few more friends in Edinburgh over the coming week. 

Meeting friends in Edinburgh

We have other friends and family in other places though and we also want to visit them. Two of them have already done us a massive favour by moving Bartimaeus out of the marina so that we don’t have to pay for a whole month’s mooring  (minimum rate)  when we only need a week, and it can moor at the side of the canal free of charge in that time. We are very grateful to them and it was quite a feat that merits a blog to itself.

Shane knows he will have to return to Edinburgh for other appointments, and we may be further away, but further in distance doesn’t mean a longer journey time. It just depends how you travel.

Hebridean Hose

My grandmother in North Uist used to knit kilt socks, with no need of a pattern,

Each pair with their own individual design at the top,

Barley braids, chunky columns, diagonal twists,

Gripping the leg,

The heels turned expertly, curved and cushioned,

Tapered toes grafted for a smooth rounded finish, no bumpy seam.

Homespun fleeces in natural hues of the Hebrides,

Dark peat, light bleached beach sand, North sea green.

I attempt socks for the first time, following instructions from my screen,

Using a skein of multicoloured self striping wool in muted greens, purple blues with a hot pink pop in between,

Making fine zigzags spiralling in ever changing combinations around the leg,

At the boomerang heel, there are broader bolder bands of each colour, meeting at right angles,

On the North Uist roadside, pale pink tendril-petalled ragged robin, blows in the breeze,

Irises, deep blue, tall flamboyant flags, surrounded by straight blades,

On the machair, bright pink globes of clover, intermingled with thread-stemmed, sky blue harebells,

On the dunes, grows the grey green marram grass, that stabs your bare legs.