I sat for a bit considering the situation. The caretaker aspect was very clear to me. Duncan was not going to go very far; I was going to stay quite close to him for the next few days. Not just because he was old and injured but because something fairly awful had happened and evidently no-one really knew what it was. I saw no reason to believe it couldn’t happen again. Whatever “it” was. He was also going to keep being the shepherd and I was going to help. So I was going to need better socks. My feet ached and burned from the boots, but buying socks was not on the cards for a few days. Also, his confusion over stroke vs. hit-and-run would have to be dealt with. What had happened to the dog? Killian would have to tell me. All of which meant that my own troubles were firmly back burnered. Duncan would ask sooner or later. I’d keep it short.
Leaving all the doors open I went down the hall to see what was there. Having failed to find a washer or dryer earlier, especially in the cellar where I had unconsciously expected them, I took another look in the little hall to the garage. A washer and dryer appeared behind sliding doors. I ran up to my room, grabbed my damp clothes and brought them down. Then I went on with my inventory. I didn’t want to hunt through Duncan’s room on the left and I had seen nothing in the kitchen/sitting room to help me. As I had seen earlier the room on the right was a spinning work room. I found it fascinating but didn’t dare touch the wheels or loom just yet. A ten minute search in the cupboards and boxes turned up fleeces and unspun fiber, but by moving the boxes I reached a set of cupboards in one corner. Here I hit pay dirt, knitting central, with lots of needles and cablers, markers and buttons, in one small cabinet. And in bags in the cabinet above there was yarn. Probably spun by Duncan or even Annalise, I thought. There were binders of patterns and a few books as well.
I went back to the kitchen to check on Duncan but he was completely out. Returning to the workroom I decided that my job was to find something to use as sock yarn as quickly as possible, so I could sit with Duncan while he slept. Someone was a beautiful spinner. The colors were all neutrals but I found some soft brown yarn, that looked thin enough for socks. I tested the strength of it and hoped it would be enough for the socks. Circular needles from the cabinet and a pattern and I was set. Duncan had said, take anything, so I did. I cast on for a pair of socks and knit as quickly as I could for an hour or so. Duncan slept on but he was looking a little more relaxed. While the socks took shape I considered what else I should do and decided that soup would be good. I knew there wasn’t any in the pantry but with a wary look at the sleeper I crept down the cellar steps and checked the freezer. A package read
Perfect with an onion. There were carrots in the refrigerator. I would have liked celery, but not this time. Sauteed vegetables were joined by the chicken, water, vinegar and a bay leaf. I left it simmering and went back to my knitting.
After some time the smell of the broth seemed to wake my great uncle. It took him several minutes to pull himself together and the initial confusion in his expression was hard for me to watch. I had learned over the years of taking care of convalescents and babies both, to let people find their own way back from sleep. Eventually Duncan, fully awake, registered the smell, looked around and smiled at me. “I am glad to see you are still not a dream. Are you making lunch? I’d love some of that.”
We both had a bowl and Duncan finished the last roll. When he tried to stand to take his bowl back to the kitchen he was very stiff. I jumped up and took his dish. “Why don’t you go have a hot shower? I bet you’d feel better. Oh, and take this. Good on a non-empty stomach.” I filled a glass with water and handed him some ibuprofen. He went off down the hall and I washed dishes and set some more rolls. There were a lot of questions hanging in the air, including how to get more food into the house.
But when Duncan came back out to the kitchen moving more easily, he had something else on his mind. “I need to go look at the sheep again. Something is not right. I missed it this morning.” He was at the door reaching for his coat.