The Sheepshank Redemption

When I was in the Girl Guides, along with other more mumsy skills like how to make a really Hot cup of tea (Oo!  I wonder whether that’s where Douglas Adams learned it?) and how to fold napkins (chiz chiz chiz) I was initiated into the art of tying knots.  Not just decorative knots; proper knots.  Useful knots.  Powerful knots.  I found it quite exciting, what could be achieved with a length of string: I learned the difference between a reef knot and a granny knot, and that stays with me, as does the way to make a slip-knot.  Others, such as the half-handed cross-over sheepshank and the double-sliced turnover with vinaigrette*, are lost to me.  But I still feel that sense of power and excitement that an object so simple as a length of string (or rope) can be made to perform so many different and useful functions.

I did think I’d come across a book on the subject when I found a slim volume called, simply, ‘Knots’.  Alas, I should have known better, since it was in Mark’s bookcase.  It turned out to be by R D Laing and to concern the mental and emotional knots in relationships.  I read it all the same: it was interesting but it tied my brain in knots…

At the moment I am writing a poem called ‘In the Deep Mid-autumn’ which is a parody of the well-known carol.  It was Mark’s idea and I liked it, so we are both writing one and doing them at Pinggk tomorrow.

See you there

Kirk out

*that may not have been the exact name


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