Return to Didcot

Didcot ( is one of those names that’s funny in itself, like Bognor, Cleethorpes, Chipping Sodbury and of course Cockfosters.  A Didcot (OH has just sneezed on me.  When I thanked him for that he said, ‘but we’re always exchanging mucus.’)  Anyway, a Didcot is a small circle of paper which springs out of a hole-puncher such as guards on trains used to have when they clipped your ticket.  According to where they punched it you could have a nice neat hole near the edge or else a semicircular bite taken raggedly from the edge as if a tiny and very hungry dinosaur had been at it (why a dinosaur?  Don’t ask me, I just write the stuff…)

But Didcot has a particular resonance for OH and me, because of a weekend away.  I don’t remember where we went but we were rowing (rowing in a boat, not having an argument).  At least, I was rowing and OH was trailing one hand languidly in the water, since I learned to row as a child and OH is absolutely hopeless: left in charge of the oars he would go round in circles before letting in water and slowly sinking.  Anyway, I quite enjoy rowing so there we were and it was lovely and languid and peaceful until… (cue sinister music) The Guides.

If you want to read the full grizzly story, it’s here:

I’m off now to paint the Forth Bridge… at least, that’s what it feels like

Kirk out

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