Posted by: christinelaennec | June 8, 2017


Hello everyone!  Thank you so much for your lovely messages of consolation and concern.  We miss Tilly very much, but feel her presence with us still.  I’m pleased to tell you that after a gruelling ten months, the Dafter has finished her college course.  She managed another “battery” of exams (two 2-hour exams on one day with only 20 minutes’ break) and she has finished all her assessments.  The course was far more difficult than it might have been due to certain key individuals not really believing that the Dafter is as ill as she actually is.  This, of course, is the fate of many with ME.  It is hard to bear and takes a great deal of precious energy for everyone!  However, that is behind us now and hopefully next year will be easier.  She is exhausted and has had two collapses in the past three days, which is something we haven’t seen for a while, but hopefully her efforts won’t result in a real setback.

We had some beautiful weather in May, and I was able to take the Dafter to the beach one warm afternoon.  (Warm in Scotland being in the high 60s / low 70s.  It even got up to a scorching 25C / 77 F one day, but we survived.  We had to give the rats a bath to help them cool off, though.)

The Dafter at the beach, with seagull flying past!

The garden survived the heat pretty well, although I was unable to get calendulas planted, and apart from ones in copper-tape-edged tubs, none of my poppy seedlings survived.  My nigellas are not up to much at all, so it may be quite a plain July and August this year.  But the perennials have been happy:

Peony “Kansas” with bee.

The lilac I planted three and a half years ago bloomed for the very first time!  The scent was just fantastic.

First blooms on the lilac.  “Krasavitska Moskvy”.

Our Son has been having some challenges that we have been helping him with as best we can.  As is often said, you never stop being a parent.  But we are so proud of how both our children are dealing with the cards that life has dealt them!

On one of the warm days, I was able to go for a walk in the West End of Glasgow.  Driving along the narrow streets of Partickhill is not recommended, but walking is a delight:

House in Partickhill, Glasgow. June 2017.

Public walkway in Partickhill, Glasgow.

As its name implies, Partickhill is a hill above the bustling neighbourhood of Partick.  This neighbourhood was where many Highlanders came to live in the 19th and 20th centuries.  I would not want to equate whisky-drinking with people from the Highlands, but this old ad had no compunction about doing so:

An old advertisment for whisky, Partick, Glasgow.

I have had a bit of time to read lately.  I’ve been enjoying the two books below.  The correspondence of Henri Nouwen is something to savour slowly.  He was a Catholic priest from the Netherlands who taught at Yale and Harvard, worked amongst the poor in South America, and ultimately found a home in the L’Arche community of disabled people founded by Jean Vanier.  He such a loving and expressive friend, and his letters have been very well edited to bring out various aspects of his evolving thought about God, relationships, truth and justice.

The book about the history of The Gene I picked up from the library, partly because I have a policy that if there’s a book I find remotely interesting I check it out, to try to save our library from closing, and mostly because I wanted to try to understand genetics a bit more, in order to understand current ME research better.  I am absolutely not a scientist, but this book has been a very compelling read.  It weaves together the author’s own family history with an engaging history of scientific understanding of heredity and genetics.  I have been reminded that societal worries about immigration and racial purity go very far back into the colonial past.  The author certainly brings out the fact that many of the people who contributed to our understanding of the gene were unusual –  Darwin, Mendel and Galton all failed to pass important exams.  Ronald Fisher was blind.  The eugenics people who believed in purifying the population might well have said they were defective.

June reading

I’ve also been knitting, as always.  Here are a few things I made in the spring.  An Easter hat for the Dafter, which rather to my surprise she just loves:

Easter hat for the Dafter. “Hyzenthlay Rabbit Ears Beanie” by Sheila Toy Stromberg.  (I did offer to shorten the hat, but the Dafter likes the upturned ribbing!)

And I finally finished my travel knitting for this past winter: “Come What May” by Susan B. Anderson.

Come What May shawl, May 2017.

I used a gradient silky yarn by the Yarn Kitchen, and enjoyed the beaded cast-off.  Because I wanted to use every last drop of the purply end of the skein, I improvised a crochet picot edging.  Details on Ravelry here.

Shawl edging (with improvised crochet picot).  I just happened to have these beads already, and they are perfect!

Finally, my Bohus cardigan is ongoing.  I finished the yoke, which is very pleasing to me because of the unusual patterning including purl stitches:

Yoke of Bohus cardigan completed.

Now I am knitting the rest of the body.  The yoke came out at 7 3/4″ rather than the prescribed 6 3/4″, but I couldn’t bear to rip any of it out.  So I guess the armholes will be an inch lower, but hopefully it won’t make too much of a difference.

Bohus cardigan back, with armhole shaping.

Stockinette stitch is very soothing!

I am deeply tired, but also hugely relieved that the Dafter has managed to complete one more Higher.  She has missed so much schooling because of her ME, but she is a delight to talk to and certainly has good critical thinking skills.  Michael’s desperately overworked academic year is a few weeks from finishing, when his workload will shift back to something far more manageable.  I need now to focus on my own health and recuperation.  Some days I am so shattered that I fall asleep just for 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there – most unusual for me.  However, I am soon going on a singing adventure that I hope to be able to share with you here.

Happy June to you all!



  1. I am thrilled to read your update and hear that the Dafter has managed to complete her exams. I am praying that she will not have a relapse and that some well deserved rest will get her through. Loved the hat. I am in awe of your knitting skills, that shawl is stunning. Sorry to hear you are not doing well, take care of yourself.

  2. Lovely to hear from you again! Love and prayers for you all. Barbara x

  3. As always you remain upbeat. And the Dafter continues to excel. As I always said she would. Go with the flow. Again you know far more than I do about that! Tilly continues in my heart as do you all.

  4. I loved the picture of the Dafter at the beach, and I wouldn’t wear it myself, but I love too the Easter hat you knitted. I had a sweet pea planting failure – probably my fault – so I can imagine your disappointment. On the other hand, the stunning success of the lilac and peony more than compensate.

    I do hope the troubles of your son are resolved satisfactorily, for both his sake and yours. As my daughter is about to launch herself into another attempt at a PhD (this time in the USA), I certainly relate to your comment that ‘you never stop being a parent’… but you need one yourself, don’t you? Who mothers the mother?

  5. Well done to the Dafter, and to you and Michael for all the support you provide for each other as a family. I hope you get some much-needed respite soon, but in the meantime I’m glad to see so much knitting on the go because I know you find that therapeutic (how you can possibly be relaxed with such complicated patterns is a mystery to me, mind you). The Dafter’s Easter hat is superb and I’m not surprised she likes wearing it out and about; it’s too magnificent to keep just for Easter. That book about genetics sounds very interesting, I’ll keep an eye out for it in my local library.

  6. Your knitting is absolutely gorgeous! Like others here, I too like the Easter hat. The ears are fantastic! I’m looking forward to hearing about your singing adventure. 🙂

  7. So nice to catch up on your news. Your knitting and the flowers are beautiful. So glad to hear about the Dafter ~ good job!
    Enjoy your weekend♥

  8. It was so nice to read your lovely blog post. Your flowers are as beautiful as your knitting. How I would love to have a lilac tree and peony bush. I do hope your dear son is doing well and that dear Dafter is rested after her busy exam time. Yesterday, my little granddaughter was baptized. Listed in the bulletin was an afternoon concert the choir was putting on. It reminded me of your lovely choir and how beautiful it must be. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend this time. I hope your Monday is off to a great start. We are expecting to have 90 degree weather by the end of the week here! Hugs, Pat

  9. Well done the Dafter! Must be such a weight lifted off to have the exams done and dusted! I am also loving your garden and knitting updates. The Easter hat is pretty cool! The shawl is looking lovely – such pretty colours, and I love how the yoke of the Bohus cardigan ‘glows’. Hope you manage to get some good rest and knitting time before heading off on your adventures 🙂

  10. Thanks for posting, Christine. I have not published many posts since the first of the year, but finally posted some photos of Mt. Hood and some photos of my slow progress on my stitching projects. Your knitting is a joy to see! You inspire pokey simple knitter me 🙂 I love Dafter’s bunny hat!

    Although I have not read the Henry Nowen book you cited, I have treasured his writing in his books that I have read. I am savoring Penelope Wilcock’s series, The Hawk & The Dove and am currently reading “The Wounds of God.”

    It is wonderful that Dafter has made more progress although I am sorry for the many challenges for all of you. I am glad you have been able to offer extra support for your son in the midst of your other stresses that include missing Tilly. I still feel a parent to my four adult children, but from time to time I am startled when I feel they are trying to parent me!

    Cheering you on to good rest and renewal, great music and
    2 Thessalonians 3:16


  11. So excited to open my blog feeder and find a bunch of posts from you!! I love your white lilac! If I buy a white one I would want the one you have. Also your Bohus cardigan is just gorgeous!! I am always amazed at how you handle colorwork like that!!! Have been home for 24 hours now and trying to keep my eyes open for another hour or two. Thankful for many traveling mercies and a truly wonderful trip.

  12. I love your posts and I see I am three posts behind.
    Your knitting is so gorgeous. I wish you lived by me so you could be my knitting mentor.
    I’m so happy for you all that the Dafter has accomplished such a difficult round of exams. Good for her. She does look so cute in her bunny hat.
    Take care. I am going to read the two other posts.
    Oh, and I love Henri Nouwen.

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