Whew. It’s been a hard day’s day…

In my youth (hahaha), or rather, during my time in the Edinburgh of the South, I was lucky enough (my wrists will forever disagree) to work as a shelver (and later on the desk) at the University’s Science Library. My boss was an angel, and I practically lived in the building. The third floor in particular (the physical sciences) had a magical aura about it. It was always quiet and warm. You could lose track of time working up there, and I was always very productive when I sat down at “my” desk in the afternoon sun and slaved through my current assignments/dissertation/thesis whilst listening to my beloved iRiver.

It was to be an absolute shock to the system when, during my MLIS and residency for my PhD that libraries were no longer seen to be places of quiet study and research. No, indeed these buildings cleared whole floors of books to put in computers, bean bags and other paraphernalia that do not belong in buildings of higher learning. Even the reading rooms in the hallowed (and ugly) walls of the British Library were no longer monastic in their observation and reverence of silence and knowledge. Between computers beeping and cellphones that had not been switched off, you couldn’t hear yourself think.

The closest I managed to get to that sacred library silence in the UK was in my brief trip through the Bodleian (the Fitzwilliam had very squeaky floorboards and a special collections librarian with a split personality, an irritating love of her cellphone and an un-soundproofed office), and the prints and drawings room at the British Museum.

I’ve been clinging to the memory of the Science Library for a good 4 years now, and at last, I’ve found another place that has that same magical aura. The same vibe and feel that is conducive to writing and losing track of time while doing so. The quiet zones in the Matheson are actually what they advertise – they’re quiet. You could hear a pin drop on the other side of the floor (if the books didn’t muffle the sound). And they’re very rarely full of people. Further – all the Thomist books are on the shelves! (Forgive my excitement, but the fact that I can casually browse the Summa without having to request all 60 volumes out of storage leaves me giddy. De Quaestiones, however, is another matter). I have 3 types of Latin bible on hand, a concord of Medieval Latin and a gloriously large Latin dictionary. I’m as happy as the proverbial pig in mud.

Pride (superbia) is coming along nicely, and I’m hoping to start Envy (invidia) tomorrow. That’s 2.5k in two days so far. I’m hoping to make 5 by the end of the week. The Magpie has also found the Matheson to be a magic portal back to our Honours year of productivity and earnestness. This move is proving to be very, very good for both of us.

I can see many Saturdays spent on campus too (you do not want to be available on weekends), so we’re going to go see the Dali exhibition on Friday as a reward for a week’s hard work (and to miss the Saturday hoards). I wanted to go see Pompeii, but that will have to wait.

On a more urgent matter, I’ve manage to lose my KnitPicks needle sizer. It would be when I really need it. I’ve turned the place upside down to no avail, so I’m going to have to find myself a replacement. I’m just not sure about the wisdom to taking the Magpie into Morris and Sons. Although Treats from Home may serve as a worthy distraction (teacakes, anybody?)

Christmas presents have started. My Liesl was frogged (was really not happy with it), and my beloved Tortuga Malabrigo is destined for a new home. I know the recipient won’t understand how loved they are to get something in the crack-cocaine-of-yarn, but I know that it will be a well-used present.

Some of the blue Waratah Laceweight I picked up at the ODBM last year is also getting an outing. I’m really enjoy the semi-solid colours in this project. Enough variation to be interesting, but not to detract from the pattern.

I also may or may not have put in a Needlefood order (it is all Zac’s fault. I will blame him for that. And Gidgetknits. For her funky, shiny, sparkly red shoes. They made the lecture! But that’s besides the point). Where was I? Oh Needlefood. The colours… oh! The colours. I’m really looking forward to getting that lot of pressies under way. I’ve decided to be brave and knit cuff-down socks. Kitchner stitch will not defeat me!

I’m also thinking about sleeve buttons for the RTA. Although I may keep it as is. 3 buttons on each sleeve kind of works. It looks good a little loose at the top and the ability to fold over the sleeves is great. Photos to be taken when its dry. I’ve also packed the parcel for my cousin and addressed it – all ready to be sent first thing in the morning. I hope everything fits!

Speaking of mornings, I’ve had quite a few early starts this past month, and I’ve got to say – it’s starting to smell like spring here. Its such a nostalgic scent – its a perfume I’ve missed from my days in the Cape of Good Hope – salt air, wet grass, blossoms and bulbs. And on the gloriously sunny mornings like yesterday (briefly) and today, I’ve spent a lot of time getting odd flashbacks to Rondebosch, and to the church hall where I used to have dance lessons in Table View, to milkshakes at the Dodge City Diner at the V&A (I wonder if its still there), the onion rings at Fisherman’s wharf and the tiny little cards with dolphins and whales on them in packs of 10 from the Blue Shed. It’s been years, but some things just stay with you.

Anyway, enough rambling. I’ve got another page to put onto the computer then I can knit a few rows before bed. I’m devising a way to get my photos onto the computer so I can have a bit of show and tell, so be patient!

Hope you’re all well – wherever you are!



  1. None of our libraries are quiet anymore. There always seems to be a group going on. Not that I mind Story Hour (got to start those kiddies early) but it seems like people use the library as a meeting place and not a place for quiet scholarship.

    My only complaint about the options needles is that they don’t have sizes on them. I’m trying to keep them on the cardboard so I know which is which. And good on you for starting Christmas gifts already. Last year everyone in my family got socks. This year, I’m thinking handwarmers.

    1. There will be show and tell. And it’s your fault on starting him on the knitting. No, it’s a good thing. 🙂

  2. am very glad you have found your little corner and are being so productive. i noticed that lack of quiet at the brit library too, most disconcerting. let alone the queueing to get in. but you know what they say about the british. looking forward to seeing some pix of your projects, and i am not even going to LOOK at needlefood. hush your mouth.

    1. I’ll just point out that Needlefood is cheaper than STR… That is all.

  3. I do think that a lot of what undergrad students do is well done in groups, or in discussions. And I think that it’s good that libraries and Unis more generally are providing those spaces. But that doesn’t include writing an essay or a thesis, which require quiet spaces. I had a fairly heated discussion about pedgogical practice recently; someone was trying to tell me that people learn best in groups – they bounce off each other. I, on the other hand, was all for the inspiration that comes in the still silence when my brain interacts with the text(s) and creates something new and interesting.

    I think that we are in the minority in liking peace to do thinking work. Most people seem to prefer background noise, and provide it for themselves if it is lacking. Are they are frightened of being alone?

    1. I think you may be right about being frightened of isolation.

      The nice thing about the Matheson is there are group spaces where the undergrads can and do make a racket. And then there is the glorious quiet. I like both, but it depends on what I’m doing. If I’m going to be loudly bouncing ideas around, I’d rather it be in a cafe with a decent cuppa joe than annoying the rest of the people in the library. (Besides, those in the cafe may learn a thing or two). >.<

      1. Now that’s interesting. The Fed Govt has given this Uni $40M for teaching and learning infrastructure. And it’s mostly going to be spent on group study facilities, integrated with cafes, and student-bookable rooms. Some of these are in the libraries that have been closed and replaced with better facilities (whole new sci/tech ,ibrary replaced three or four smaller ones), and some in presently wasted spaces. We hope. That’s the plan. Interesting to see if it gets approved and takes off. Sydney is very short on comfortable cafes, and on good food on campus.

  4. With my Needlefood in hand (sweet chilli) in the form of socks for my husband, I am here saying you won’t regret it! It has such a lovely feel, and as you noted, the colours are fabulous. The cuff down socks aren’t so scary either (if you get holes in the toes it’s easy to rip back a little and reknit if you have to) and I found the instructions for a knitted Kitchener stitch which means you can leave everything on the needles and just use a third to finish it all off with, no sewing needle, and once you get the chant in your head you just keep on going. Sweet.

  5. I miss libraries. I have little need to ever go into one, not even the public library. It’s a whole other world I am not really part of any more.

    I think my christmas list just got cut considerably since I’ve heard my family are thinking of doing ‘names out of a hat’ for gifts this year – ie just knit for one other sibling.


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