99% content-free blog, or, so long as I have footnotes I can apparently witter on alarmingly at the least provocation
I received a parcel in the post yesterday.* It rejoiced in a more than usually generous quantity of instruction stickers scattered artistically over its stolid cardboard exterior. One of them said ‘hold tab firmly and pull to open’. This is only helpful if there’s a tab. There is no tab. There are some vaguely luminescent white stripes in approximately the area where you might have expected a tab, but these are a snare and a delusion. The chimerical and fallacious factor is enhanced by the shiny whiteness of these unprofitable stripes, which produces a slight, bogus, 3D effect. I took my glasses off and peered at the confusing article at a distance of two microns from the end of my nose. My near vision, that is my very very near vision is pretty good.** I thus confirmed to my dissatisfaction that there were no tabs.
Elsewhere on the parcel there is an even more splendidly helpful ILLUSTRATION of pulling the non-existent tab. Apparently you should use two fingers and the thumb. I’ll commit this to memory for the next time I see a tab. This illuminated edification is further (helpfully) described as ‘step one’. There follows another splendidly tutelary illustration to accompany ‘step one’ and its illustration, ‘step two’, which suggests ‘Lift flaps to tear perforations.’ I was busy committing step one to memory at this point and failed to take note of how many fingers, before I gave a roar of frustrated rage and TORE INTO THE SUCKER. The flap-lifting may indeed have been competently possible if there had been a tab to pull, but since there wasn’t, by the time you’ve HACKED INTO THE THING although the perforations do exist, they have slipped, or been savagely rent, into the collateral damage category.***
But my favourite instruction appears under my address for the guidance of the delivery person†: LEAVE UNDER COVER, DO NOT FLY.
Pause for contemplation.
Okay. I will not attempt to cross the Channel in it, which is probably just as well, as it is a rather small box, and the hellmob and myself, plus snacks for those of us who eat, would render it rather crowded. There are also no instructions for the piloting of a small cardboard box. And furthermore the missing tab is probably a critical airflow spoiler, and what if, having soared magnificently over the length of Kent, we hit a nasty head wind/tail wind/ wind wind over the Channel and had to land unexpectedly on the back of a dolphin? The dolphin wouldn’t like it either.††
So I guess I will stay home and enjoy the contents of my parcel. What were they, you ask? Two tiny packets of sewing needles.††† I told you it was a small box.‡
* * *
* This happens kind of a lot. Usually it has YARN or BOOKS inside.
** It’s a good thing my nose isn’t any longer. I’m sure monocular peering would be less efficacious.
*** And, as revealed below^ the contents, by the time I had got there, having forgotten what I was going to find in the stress and anxiety of ersatz tabs and unproductive perforations, was not YARN or BOOKS. Clearly I should stick to YARN or BOOKS.^^
^ IF YOU’RE READING THIS IN THE PROPER ORDER. YOU ARE READING THIS IN THE PROPER ORDER, AREN’T YOU?
^^ Or music. My favourite on-line music shop UNFORTUNATELY will hold your basket for you apparently forever. I have about £1,000,000,000 worth of CDs and a few DVDs waiting for me at present.+ Occasionally I sift out a few and order them.++
+ Yes. I still prefer hard copy. I’m old. You’ll have to forgive me.~
~ And don’t say ‘Netflix’ to me. Until small ignored cul de sacs in forgotten villages of Hampshire get superfast broadband, which as far as I’m concerned is a myth, streaming is not an option.
++ AND LET’S NOT TALK ABOUT SHEET MUSIC.
† Shall I mention that they got my name wrong? I have had periods, in the last twenty-five years, of feeling it’s more trouble than it’s worth to share a name with your husband^, and you might think that if there are x ways of misspelling McKinley and y ways of misspelling Dickinson, there would be x + y ways of misspelling McKinley Dickinson. WRONG. It’s x + y to the 87th power ways.^^ Now, of course, being McKinley Dickinson is part of the old life gone forever, and if I can’t even throw out shopping lists in his handwriting I’m certainly not going to throw out his name.
^ He did offer to take on ‘McKinley’ but I decided one martyr in the family was enough.
^^ There may be a clue here why the larger the corporation, the more drastically screwed up and one-department-doesn’t-talk-to-any-other-department it is. The latest megacorp trying to sue me is BT, but I think I convinced them to cancel the bailiffs. Exciting times. Ugggggh.
†† I did however love the instruction so much that I cut out the address label to use as a bookmark. It is presently gracing my new Sally Melville book on knitting design, which is WILDLY over my head^, speaking of competency levels, but a girl^^ can dream, also, I like Sally Melville.^^^ It is not precisely a new Sally Melville. It is an old, out of print Sally Melville, which I bought on Abebooks, on my way^^^^ to ordering two slender and lovely books about Christian meditation by John Main# which are also out of print. These also arrived yesterday.##
^ like a cardboard box flying toward the white cliffs of Dover
^^ Or an elderly hag
^^^ Whose principles to live by include—maybe I’ve already told you this?—‘If it’s not a place I can knit, it’s probably not a place I want to be.’ YES.
^^^^ don’t ask. ‘On my way’ is perhaps a more symbolic than accurate description of route and method.
# Who was a Benedictine monk, so I’m obliged to be partial. Now he was a Catholic Benedictine and my monks are Anglican, but the welcome thing is commodious and all-embracing.
## Sort of. Instead of the second John Main I received a guidebook to ‘Rhone-Alpes’. Which might be useful if the box or the dolphin got us across the Channel. Although it would be a long walk.
††† And a lot of bubble wrap.
‡ Not that small. It was large enough for a lot of instructions. Now I will plead guilty to being an internet shopping addict^ but in this case New Arcadia, Mauncester and Zigguraton seem all to be out of ordinary sewing needles. And what’s a girl^^ to do when most of her woollens have holes in them because she refuses to use the industrial-strength anti-moth stuff?^^^ Now we can discuss the apparent impossibility of finding tapestry wool or equivalent fine enough to mend 2-ply.# I use cotton embroidery thread because it’s what I can find in enough colours but if you need to put more than three or four stitches in a single hole it shows because of the difference in drape and elasticity. Sigh. With three dogs, two gardens and a bad attitude the lumpiness of my surface covering## doesn’t really matter. But bad darns matter to me.
^ See: YARN SALES. I also keep buying Land’s End WHITE cotton-modal turtleneck jerseys because they are my favourite base layer and no matter how many I buy I run out of clean ones before I have enough to make up a white wash. Arrrrgh. I think they must be running off with the black Aran pullover that lives down the road. Don’t believe his fulsome promises, honey. He will discard you the moment you turn streaky grey with hot sweaty friction.
^^ Or elderly hag. See above.
^^^ Lavender is not useless, and cedar oil works pretty well, but concentrated cedar oil is also a frelling poison, and I don’t want either to breathe it or to have it in contact with my known-overreactive skin. I do spot it around so all my wooden shelves have little round cedar-oil marks on their edges but you have to do this a lot to be effective and I’m always going to do it tomorrow. Like I’m always going to repot all my geraniums. Tomorrow.
# No, untwisting the individual plies of hawser-strength tapestry wool does not work.
## Or coverings since I specialise in layers. See: Land’s End jerseys. I have friends who fall down laughing after they count (say) five layers. All in different colours of course, and pulled up and over and around so all are visible. I like playing with colour.+
+If I were a better knitter I’d be dangerous.
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