Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Women in Science BlogDay

Apparently, according to that bastion of the free press, the Metro, it is today that bloggers are writing about famous women scientists. Now that I have done a meme and am on the way to being a bloggette, I thought I too would do my bit for women scientists. I have even found one who knitted.

I hope that Mr John Beaver of Lake Afton Public Observatory won't mind me taking inspiration from his piece on Carolyn Herschel (1750-1848), German Comet Discoverer Extraordinaire and singer, where he mentions that she knitted 'two years worth of stockings' so as to be free to come to England in the wake of her brother, composer and conductor:

"Meanwhile, her favorite brother William, who had moved to Bath, England, quickly established himself as a composer and conductor. But in his success he had not forgotten his unhappy sister left behind in Germany, and he proposed to have Carolyn come to England to train as a soprano. The mother and eldest brother had grown used to Carolyn's housework, and they would not, at first, let her go. ". . . and I was left in the harrassing uncertainty whether I was to go or not!" In order to cover both possibilities she knitted two years worth of stockings, while at every opportunity "when all were from home" she practiced voice "with a gag between my teeth."

So the first woman in history to discover a comet began her career as a singer. And she achieved no little success; she performed regularly with her brother's orchestra and even began to receive invitations to perform with other orchestras in other cities."

So, thanks to Mr Beaver for the stockings, but another author describes the scientific successes of Carolyn H, and quotes her various medals and honours from across Europe.

Either way, she sounds a suitably feisty character who today would no doubt be promoting knitting with all the vigour it deserves.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Hug a Plant Day

Sometimes it's very important to embrace the things one really likes.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

A Harmless Snark?

I saw this on MetaBlog and couldn't resist showing it here too. It made me laugh, but in fact it is also a good representation of so many things about knitting. I'd like to wear it for the journey to work. It might be very useful for long meetings, too. I could pretend I was invisible.

With thanks to hackedgadgets.com.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb

Ah, Oskar Werner... (and not forgetting Julie Christie of course)

My first meme: 6 quirky but boring things about me. Thanks to Quelle Erqsome for the tag. I feel like a real blog person now. I have also been tagged elsewhere in a 25 Random Things listing by Katinkaknits and by the person formerly known as The Pie Man so thanks to them too. I'm going to combine the two tags and split the difference, mainly because I couldn't choose 6 things, and because what is random, quirky and boring is subjective so I'll let everyone else choose if these fit the bill.

• I am very fond of raw rhubarb. No doubt I would still be eating it straight out of the rhubarb patch if the grown-ups hadn't found me there one day when I was little, munching on a dark pink stem or two and risking oxalic acid and anthraquinone poisoning. Now I stick to the cooked version - it's less toxic that way.

• I speak three languages and have a smattering of another. Maybe one day I'll learn another.

• I can't pronounce anemone first go. Or spell it. Anenome. Anemone. Anenome.

• One of my favourite films is "Fahrenheit 451". Nothing to do with "Fahrenheit 911".

• When I was three years old, I packed my little red cardboard case with some precious belongings and left home. I think it might have had something to do with the arrival of my younger sister. I walked up the long road but eventually turned round and came back again. Two years after that another sister arrived, but I don't think I left home that time.

• I remember things visually, by re-running the image in my head like a still photo, the shape of text on a page, or as if in a video clip. I assume everyone else does it this way. Maybe they do.

• I am a huge Tintin fan. I was once standing in the check-out queue in an Italian supermarket when a man's hand reached round me from behind and grabbed my wrist to look at my Tintin watch. I'm not sure why asking me who was on the watch face wasn't an option. Maybe he just felt like holding my wrist. Italian supermarkets can be very different from British ones. As can Italian men.

• I am a stationery-a-holic. I dream of stumbling on an untouched stationery store suspended in time filled with slightly dusty but otherwise entirely preserved stocks of beautiful papers, tissue-lined envelopes, watermarked linen-weave or laid sheets, engraved emblems and onion-skin airmail sets.

• I am also a yarn-a-holic, but you probably guessed that already.

• When I was five I wanted to be a postman. John, our local postman, took me on his rounds with him and let me post the letters through everyone's front doors, before delivering me back home. The poor man probably had a lot of time to make up on those mornings.

• I grew up playing in the shade of a giant mulberry tree. It grew (and still grows) sideways, having been struck by lightning into a 90-degree angle when my mother was herself little and lived in the house with the tree. Every summer we would become covered from top to barefoot toe in blood-red mulberry juice as we scavenged amongst the branches for the fruit.

• I have a serious book habit. My bookshelves are stacked two deep, but disguised.

• I lived for a year in a 17th-century Italian palazzo, with its original interiors more or less intact. In my bedroom hung a Venetian chandelier made of glass daffodils.

• I would like to have more sleep.

• One day I will have a garden, and it will be full of flowers. I will also have an orchard, a giant swing hanging from an old oak tree, and a treehouse. Not that I daydream or anything.

• I have twice been serenaded by an anonymous lutenist wearing full medieval costume, on entirely separate occasions, in different places, several years apart. One lute player would have been strange enough, but two?

Ah, Caravaggio...