The bolero isn't looking very exciting at the moment. I can see why beginning knitters get disheartened: it's hard to believe that these crumpled bits and pieces are going to blossom into someone's favourite cardi.But they will, just as soon as I've finished the second sleeve and waved the magic wand of seaming and blocking. I had to knit the first sleeve twice because when I'd nearly finished it I discovered that I'd stopped increasing too soon and it was too small in every direction: I had to rip it and start almost from the beginning. Fortunately it has next-to-no sleeve cap so I hadn't done any elaborate shaping. It was all Angelina Jolie's fault that I miscounted: I was watching A Mighty Heart when I was counting stitches and my attention wasn't really with the needles, but was with Mariane Pearl in Karachi. Very good film and I'm glad I knew what happened at the end so I didn't find the suspense too great or the shock too awful. Michael Winterbottom directs a different type of movie every time: the documentary feel of this was so good that I kept on being surprised when I recognized an actor because I kept beeing tricked into thinking they were real people. The last film I saw of his was Road to Guantanamo and the one before that A Cock and Bull Story, - I don't think you could find two more different films if you combed the IMDB for a fortnight with both hands.
Around the same time as I was watching a Mighty Heart, in real life Sean Langan was released by his kidnappers in Afghanistan. Langan is a film-maker who has made award-winning documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4: I always watch his films and I find him exasperating and admirable by turns. You can tell he's one of those people who drives his friends crazy, but they don't mind. He was missing for some months before his family realised so you can imagine what he's put them through in the past. I'm very glad he's safe, and I wonder when he'll be going back. I would admire him a lot if he didn't, but I expect he will. Jeremy Bowen has written about how hard it is to give up war reporting. Sean started a blog just before he was kidnapped but he hasn't posted since his return: I expect he's forgotten his password.
Well, that was a long way from knitting, wasn't it?
I'm carrying on with the baby shawl. This handspun is so delicious; I realize I've never knitted with handspun before and I think I might have acquired a very expensive new habit. It's so soft and the inconsistencies make it like knitting with clotted cream - and it has the most delicious sheepy smell. I keep inhaling great draughts of it. I think I'll spread the knitting of this over the summer, with gaps between the skeins. Baby isn't due until October so I have a bit of time to savour it before I send it to Australia and probably never see it again. Why do some of one's favourite relations have to live on the other side of the world? It's very unfair.
The ospreys continue to impress: one of the chicks, the latest to hatch and the smallest, has died but the other two are growing almost visibly and can be seen gulping down raw fish with enthusiasm. They are getting to be quite huge and they stretch their wings a lot - you can see then how long their wings are and what impressive birds they are going to be. I hope we see some of the flying lessons when they start.
Twice a year, in the summer and at Christmas, I make up a family album or playlist of what everyone is listening to. The ages range from three to - well, I don't see what that has to do with anything - and I distribute them just as everyone is going off on holiday so that they can listen in the car. I've posted most of this summer's tracks at Muxtape so you can have a listen too.
Speaking of listening to music in the car, residents of Edinburgh have plenty of time to do that just now. We've always said that the city holds back its best roadworks until the summer, for the tourists and the Festival, but this year with the preparations for our trams there seem to be more roadworks than roads. You can see the end of my street at 1:26 and 4:53, and K1 Yarns is the bright blue shopfront at 4:59.
And they're replacing the roundabout at the top of Leith Walk with traffic lights: it's against nature, I tell you.