We’ve slithered back from Quebec, having eventually made it onto the ski slopes. We had to wait a day extra for conditions to improve, but we did actually have a few inches of fresh snow on one day. It’s fun skiing in Quebec; I still find it delightful that simply by driving and not leaving one’s own country, one can wind up in an entirely Francophone world. At one place you can order your Timmy’s (Tim Horton’s is a famous Canadian coffee chain) in English and at the next you have to dredge up long-buried rudimentary French. I feel quite ashamed of my lack of linguistic skill, and I really need to stay longer, as I’m just getting over my shyness and making a stab at it by the time we have to leave.
I have made the discovery of a wonderful, new-to-me knitting aid that I had previously not considered. One aspect of long distance road travel that I enjoy is that my husband likes to drive and I am thus free to knit for many hours. My modest contribution to the transportation stage is the responsibility to navigate any tricky bits (such as Quebec City at twilight in the snow). Now I do love maps, charts and atlases (being formerly a navigator at sea), but the tricky snap questions, such as “Left or right?” always seem to leap out at me suddenly after 1000+ straight kms (lulling me into a relaxed state). I also seem to lack any intuitive sense of direction! And, somehow, these vital decisions are usually required at the most intricate part of a double-knit heel. This is stressful, believe me. Unexpected road convolutions, multiple lanes and which lane to be in, all difficult to predict ahead of time! So prior to driving through Montreal, for example, I arrange my various maps (on top of all the needles, yarn and notes), gear myself up in preparation, and put down my knitting and concentrate. It’s the least I can do to help. But, guess what: I have just been replaced by a GPS! Yay!
I appreciate the full range of benefits: I can still look at maps if I wish, but from the perspective of an interested spectator, not as a white-knuckle co-pilot. This adds hours of relaxed knitting time whilst Buddy not only determines the route but tells us which lane to be in. An additional advantage, hitherto unconsidered, is that when unable to ski due to inclement weather, the address of a yarn shop may easily be entered into Buddy’s enormous brain and he will guide you effortlessly to the door and then extricate you from the city again.
Hot news! Whilst I was away I heard the wonderful news that Tancook Island school was unanimously voted to stay open and be left in peace for a good long while. The school-board meeting took place on the mainland, on an evening after the last ferry of the day but all the parents of the children in school went ashore by fishing boat in order to be sure that they were there for the vote. That’s dedication.
The school currently has five pupils from Elementary to Grade 5; after Grade 5 the students have to travel by ferry each day to the mainland. Hopefully this assurance will encourage a few new families to settle on the island.
The double-knit sock pattern is coming along well. I just have double-checked (oh no, a bad pun!) the wording of how best to finish the toes. This is one situation when grafting of live stitches is necessary, as you have two layers. I also re-learned the salutary lesson that you should check both sides of the work, especially when working the gusset decreases. Now to work : it’s the finishing book or bust this month.