Yesterday was Keith’s gourmet Sunday. A fine rack of lamb was consumed and dinner conversation meandered from the sublime to the ridiculous as per usual. Ignorance being no barrier to heated debate at Ruthven, Lachlan and I piled into a spirited argument on the meaning of infinity. We are nothing if not ambitious. (This proved too much for Keith who left in disgust to contemplate the Observer sudoku in peace. ) The nub of the debate was the bold boy’s firm contention that one could have multiple infinities and these could be compared in size (example being that the infinite number of numbers between 0 and 1 will inexorably be smaller than the infinite number of numbers between 0 and 10, albeit both infinite numbers). I can see this – a thin ribbon going on for ever will still be larger than a wide ribbon going on forever. However, I can’t see how a ribbon, which is infinitely long but not infinitely wide, or a number class with boundaries, can itself be properly called infinity. To my mind this is a concept of absolute boundlessness. Lachlan claims to have the massed ranks of modern mathematicians on his side. I say this is an abuse of language. Modern mathematicians you may keep “flype” and use it for your torsion equation and stuff, even though really it is the verb for folding your socks and gloves together before putting them away (as everyone knows) but I draw the line at this misuse of infinity. Take a telling!
So obviously I was still noodling on infinity when Lyra and I went off for a walk this morning. It was chilly but with a rather pleasing shell pink tint to the sky (which should have made me worry, but the Coos were standing up as we passed the field and thus far they have been proved more correct than any pussilanimous shepherd). Infinity just makes such sense to me. Looking at the sky I can easily imagine an eternity of space beyond. The idea of any kind of boundary or shape to it is much harder to grasp. I remember coming across a depiction of our universe once as a sort of twisted shape, a bit like a mobius strip or cheesy quaver. This simply made me wonder what it was surrounded by. I rather like the idea of an unbounded endlessness dotted with disparate universes in the shape of savoury snacks. I feel strongly that the denizens of Wotsit universe would be benign, Skip universe rather introverted, Twiglet world possibly rather martial and who can guess what would transpire in pickled onion Monster Munch universe….
In any event, the forces of quaver world were benign this morning and sent us a gift. As Lyra and I crested the stubble field behind Butterlaw I spotted four deer grazing just over the crest. Lyra had yet to spot them so I whipped out the cheesy treats and slipped on her lead. She was good as gold as we stepped over the top and we got reasonably close before they skipped over the fence into the pine wood to the left. She even resisted the hare which darted up from our feet. At the foot of the hill, just before we reached what turned out to be the Mindanao Trench of gulleys, we saw another three deer darting off to the east across the next field. (Having struggled down and then up out of said gulley and turned left towards Kersfield I spotted the plank bridge across it….). Three more deer (or possibly three of the first four) greeted us travelling east from the Kersfield fields as we started for home. We turned away from them down the hill, not wanting to disturb them further, but there we found a tardy youngster still having a last nibble in the hedge before joining his woodward prancing family. These small pockets of woodland and shelter belt provide a such a welcome haven for wildlife.
Heading back along the road there were yellow sparkles of whin in the hedge alongside the haws, strange bedfellows and one of many unseasonal occurrences at the moment. There are molehills all along the verges, a sure indicator of Mr Moudiwarp looking for a lady, but the time for this is February not November. In the garden we have the mahonia in bloom and catkins on the hazels even whilst they are still holding a few leaves. Lots of bulbs are poking through making weeding somewhat hazardous. All this new growth makes me nervous – the frosts will come eventually and I’d rather there weren’t tender tips poking up to be frazzled. It seems to me that the start of our winter is moving from November/December to January/February and it is becoming both shorter and at times more severe. I don’t see how anyone can doubt that the climate is changing.
On the domestic front this week has seen me finally finish and sew on the neckband on the biggest cardigan the world has ever seen. Only the belt to go (I am never knitting anything with a belt again, you finally finish the thing and then it is like recommencing with a matching (if narrow) scarf). This time my audiobook of choice was Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. This is a glorious book (the tale of an abandoned girl growing up in swamplands steeped in nature). Really I can’t recommend it enough. They are making it into a film apparently, I can see that working as – bizarrely to say about something I listened to as an audiobook -it is a very visual story, with the natural world beautifully described. More prosaically, the old landing curtain leftovers have been transformed into Lyra’s Christmas stocking and a rather nice deer themed one which I might just keep for myself (my one was the last of the first batch I made some years ago and I was definitely running out of steam by the time I got to it). I do enjoy a bit of appliqué and with felt there’s no tricky edges to deal with. I also tried a bit of experimental cakery, adapting one of Auntie Zee’s cakes, and was rather pleased with the result (recipe is uploaded). All things considered, I’d say the week is going well.