Yarn, Yorkshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Archive for December, 2017

December books

I have read four books this month which gives a total of 63 books consumed in 2017. Clearly I am a Lady of Leisure.

Robert Harris- An Officer and a Spy- Robert Harris is a favourite author of mine, and this book came recommended to me by Jane who blogs at Rainbow Junkie Corner, here.   The story based on a true case,is  set in France and concerns the Dreyfus Affair, in which an innocent man is framed by the army. The Army persists in covering up their role and it takes a brave officer to help uncover the truth. As always Harris tells a good story. I was gripped very early on in the book and spent two afternoons reading it whilst indulging a head cold! A jolly good read.

Qui Xiaolong-Death of a Red Heroine- ostensibly a murder detective story, but really that is a peg to hang other things on. I was initially frustrated by the very slow pace of the tale, till I relaxed into it and stopped looking for detective bits of the plot and allowed the whole narrative to pull me in. The book is really about life in China, Shanghai in the 1990s, the political undertones and faint menace of life, food, there is a lot of food and Chinese mythology and poetry. I really enjoyed the book. It was recommended to me when I was reading my way through an alphabet of authors and had got unstuck on X. I rather suspect that the last name is really what we in the West would call the first name, so should really be Q, but it’s as close to X for an author as I think I can get, unless you know an author whose family name begins with an X. I am calling that particular challenge to myself, complete.

Margaret Foster- How to Measure a Cow- a woman released from prison tries to make a new life for herself with a new identity. But she is thwarted by the interest of three former friends and the lady who lives opposite her. The book is OK. It started off very well and had my interest quite quickly, but it is another book where I feel the author didn’t know how to draw it to a conclusion. But you do learn briefly how to measure and cow, and more importantly why. I’ve been reflecting on this book further. The plot was not the point of this book. The story was a peg to be hung on, when am I going to learn to look beyond the story line. It is an exploration of self, can you re-invent yourself to be someone completely different, or rather do you come to terms with past events and become a better you. A better book than I first thought, give it a go and let me know what you think please.

Jane Gardam- Old Filth. This author had come highly recommended to me this year, but the two books I read I didn’t enjoy.Then the BBC world book club choose Old Filth and I liked what I heard. So it came home with me for Christmas reading and did not disappoint. Sir Edward Feathers, Teddy, Eddie or Fevvers to his friends, aka Old Filth (acronym for Failed in London try Hong Kong) was born in Malay and sent back to the UK aged five for his health, fostered out to a couple in Wales along with two distant cousins and another boy. Not a very nice couple it transpires. Onto schools, Oxford, the Bar and finally Hong Kong where he is highly successful. A fascinating read which has left me wanting to read the other two books in this trilogy, and to find out more about the Raj orphans.  A good book to finished the year on.

I shall do a pick of my top five books I read in 2017 sometime next week. Next year I hope to join in with Circle of Pines, details here a blog for sharing books each month. Here’s a preview of the books I shall try to read in January.

You can tell I was shelving the B’s last time I was volunteering in the Library. The How to Read like a Professor is my own book and one day when I have absorbed it all, you will be bowled over by my erudite book reviews!!

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Out and About in 2017.

 

This year I have really enjoyed getting out and about with family and friends. January saw us up on the moors in Dalby Forest at the Bridestones.  I recall a very tasty pub lunch rounded off a perfect day.

February saw us in Carcassone, France with son and fiancée to celebrate our friends golden wedding anniversary.

March was the month I wrote one of my Yorkshire village posts, this is Cropton.

April saw us out with son Mr J, fiancée Mrs M,grandson Master H, step granddaughter Miss S and Coco the dog, here on the old Roman Road across the moors.

May and I had got into going regular walks at last, here by the North York Moors Railway.

 

June and we are on holiday in Greece and paddling up a river gorge, the best fun this year.

July and another village post from Sinnington where I also went to the fruit farm and picked raspberries.

August and time to get out and enjoy the heather.

September and we headed to Bradford and the Industrial museum where I explored my ancestors’ working life in a woolen mill.

October and time to enjoy the autumn colours in Westonbirt Arboretum.

November and a late autumn walk around the York city walls.

 

December and snow

A lovely year spent in our beautiful world.

Knit and Natter Friday!

Well Gosh is all I can say. And that’s a fib for a start as I have lots to say,, but hasn’t the last week just gone by in a great big flash, and gosh again, it will be 2018 next time I write a Knit and Natter post. So, did you all have a super Christmas? I have loved seeing all the Secret Santa posts this week. It’s clear we all love the research and the plotting and planning and making every bit as much as the anticipating and squealing and squishing and being bowled over by our gifts. And did your nearest and dearest love everything you gifted them I wonder.

Baby J does not look too impressed with my contribution, and as for that dog Coco, he of the unmentionable smells

He had pulled the beak off the duck by tea time, not that I made that but.. well honestly. Dogs!

We were in London with my son Mr J and family and had a jolly nice time. A lovely walk on Christmas Eve on Epsom Downs followed by a Christingle service, which was nice but so crowded, still I did get to sing my heart out and was thrilled that Master H appeared to know all the words and sang like a trooper. But when did churches decide that prams were a fire hazard and all babies had to be removed  from their snuggly nests. Baby Jesus, they sang had a bed of hay, but not so the little children of the congregation, they can just freeze. I mean honestly how unwelcoming is it to be told babies are a fire hazard. Never mind the d**m candles they can be lit, but ….. sometimes you do just have to wonder.

One of the joys of being the older generation is you don’t have to cook the turkey. Oh you can lend a hand with the table, and the sprouts and give an opinion on whether something is cooked, but you get to sit down and relax and then Voila a feast is set down before you. I thought I would miss being in charge and the centre of the steam, but no , not one bit. Being the older generation , and “you just sit there”, turns out to suit me well. I taught my sons well, as the chef was my boy Mr J.

Gifts, did you receive something divine? Mr E had listened to me, which might be a first.

I had really fallen in love with this book from the RSPB, and then I had this too

Oh my, from Attic 24, I have gifted these to others but had never received one myself, so happy.

But first to finish the two crochet blankets. First the one from left over yarn which will be donated to the Repair Cafe as a raffle prize. The speed I was going just in the cafe itself it wouldn’t be finished for ten years, so I have got on and done the granny squares at home, now they just need joining together, after which I shall do the border and sew in the ends at the cafe.

Happy with the red, now not certain about the two yellow squares bottom left.

Last year I rather succumbed to making a lot of yarn purchases, mostly I blame the gremlin in the computer, but some of them were definitely just me. I thought I was over the tinsel yarn madness, turns out I am not.

You will not believe me if I told what these were for. So I won’t, but you can try guessing each week from now on.

Over to you now for some nattering, love to know if your hand-made gifts were appreciated, and if you received something that brought on a happy dance. What are your plans for creating this weekend? I read a blog a week or so ago which suggested we plant more flowers.

That sounds good to me, I have some primroses to put in tubs, am I mad in these temperatures? We have a sprinkling of snow and more forecasted. Never mind I shall just have to sit down and do some knitting or crochet or cross stitch, well someone has to..

I want to thank you all for joining in with my Knit and Natter posts, it is the natter that has made them so pleasurable to me to write and I hope for you too.

All the best for 2018,  remember the night is darkest before the dawn if the year is not starting out as you would wish, and if you are on a high right now, enjoy it every bit .

Be Happy,

Cathyx

 

 

 

 

Stitching Secret Santa-to

My Parcel went to Kim who blogs as The Material Lady, and if you don’t know her , she is an amazing and very talented lady. She sews divinely and knits socks and all manner of wonderful garments. So what on earth to make for her as she had been a very good girl this year.

Reading her blog I discovered she feels the cold , and last year had been thrilled to receive a shawl. So I made a pair of gloves and a matching hat.

Next it was time to fill the stocking I made for some smaller gifts

A crochet pot, a lavender filled owl  and lemon pin cushion from leftover yarn

A Santa sack for

some useful accessories and finally my whole £10 budget went on

West Yorkshire Spinners yarn and a pattern. In went a card , and as Kim also blogs as The Old Bat at the Back, as she runs as well you know, on the back of the envelope went a hand-made

Once again thanks go to Sewchet for her inspiration in thinking this up and her remarkable organisational skills so we all have wonderful squishy Christmas presents. And there is to be another one in 2018 Sewchet wrote yesterday. What a way to start 2018.

 

 

Stitching Secret Santa, I must have been a very,very good girl.

Thank you Sewchet for once again organising our wonderful Stitching Santa. We have been away in London over Christmas  and as I wanted to give the parcel I received my full concentration I waited to this afternoon to open my gift.  Carefully I took off the brown tape and the labels because I loved the box all by itself.

Inside was a wonderful array of gifts.

I really, really should have guessed who my Santa was from the box alone.

But this lovely bag told me that Sewchet herself was my Santa. The bag is lined and very roomy, and is a perfect project bag.

And beneath that package lay all these gifts and yes chocolate money. There was one in the crochet bag too which I have just eaten. So now I knew who Santa was I opened the card.

A hand-made card, just lovely. Cross stitch cards and Handy Snips and look at the yarn from a Zwartbies Sheep.

A hand -made crochet Christmas bauble in its own little box, how cute is this?

Well this cute? Sorry a bit out of focus.

Then came the case made from the upcycled cross stitch picture, which is even prettier in real life and a real inspiration to me to rescue cross stitch items from charity shops. It is lovely.

Then came a crochet pincushion and another hank of yarn. This is Aran weight from a British Blue Faced Leicester Sheep. So soft and squishy.

Then a crochet book full of super designs and

a magazine with some fabulous patterns which I know Little Miss F and I are going to love.

So that is why I think I have been a very, very good girl this year. Tomorrow I will share what I sent to me Secret Santa recipient.

Thank you Sheila for creating and organising this wonderful Stitching Secret Santa  and also for my truly amazing gifts. I am somewhat overcome, so I think a nice magazine and a chocolate coin is in order.

 

 

One a week Photo Challenge- Pop

Our last one for 2017 and for the challenge, it’s been fun, so thank you to everyone who has joined in.

Now I thought, only thought to include this dog who is responsible for some quite unwelcome pops, but I thought that would be a quite dreadful and reprehensible and a shocking way to end, so instead here is a Pop of colour in the night sky.

Much better. Please leave a link to your Pop pictures in the comments.

Wild Daffodil has a super new challenge for next year which sounds good fun.

I hope you all had a very Happy Christmas.Meantime enjoy Boxing Day and if you are on the road today, drive safely, and of course

Keep snapping those pictures!

Knit and Natter Friday

in which I am a complete numpty!

Last Friday evening there was a social event for the library volunteers. Off I toddled with my dips and veggie sticks as my contribution to the shared feast. The main door to the library was closed as it was after hours , so down the dark side alley to the back door I went. This is a bit spooky I thought , starting to compose a detective story involving muggings and dark alleys in my head whilst hurrying on to get into the warmth.

Next thing I know my feet have a mind of their own, I am grabbing for the hedge to catch myself and then wallop my face appears to be on the pavement. I sheepishly pick myself up and take myself into the ladies at the library, couple of grazes to the face which I wash and relief floods through me as I see number one best trousers appear unscathed. I emerge rather Bridget Jones like to the gathering and begin socializing with what I hope is the amusing anecdote of my misadventure. You know says Lorraine my co volunteer your forehead is beginning to swell. A little later Sue informs me I shall have a black eye by tomorrow.

Well of course they were both right, and Saturday morning was spent in A&E whilst I was checked out. A waiting room is conducive to the most incredible conversations. The chap opposite wanted told me about his operation on his prostrate, as he said not enough men talk about their prostrates.

All the world passes through A&E you know. I was very touched by a professional carer who was there with an elderly lady, she was so gentle with her and held her hand and stroked her head and talked softly and reassuringly with her while they went in and out of cubicles and back again.

One elderly lady told us that she had survived Lung Cancer and now she was Eighty. In part she attributed it to the fresh coastal air and the lovely people in the town.

So the two and a half hours passed quite quickly really. And I was pronounced ok too. But oh boy do I have a right good black eye. Only it’s the left one.

And the moral of the story is, when walking down dark alleys watch where you are putting your feet and do not spend the time pretending to be Agatha Christie. Although the dark alley would make rather a good location…

Enough. Let’s have some knitting, which is why you are here.

So we have the super cute baby flower grab toy. See the cabling. I groaned when I saw it, but it was done in a trice, well two evenings, turns out I can manage 14 stitches and two repeats of cabling without getting myself in a tizwaz. And the other side looks like this,

Bobbles! I can do bobbles too and not get lost on seven stitches. I shall just have to knit patterns in long thin strips. What next you ask, well I did ask for something yarn related for Christmas and I did happen to notice a squishy parcel arrive which wasn’t opened by Mr E on arrival. Maybe , maybe something for me…. In the meantime this came for me

Secret Santa came, I have not opened it, I am sitting here just loving the box, a Christmas box, I never saw a Christmas box, my cup is over flowing already. Oh the treasures I can keep in it.

I posted off my Secret Santa too , I so hope it has arrived safe and sound. I can actually feel a bubble of excitement just looking at that box. A huge big thank to Sheila for organising this.

Are you busy cooking, or baking, I am baking, it’s so good to have the time to make homemade deliciousness.

Mr E requested homemade peanut butter biscuits. He even found the recipe on the internet. The mix made 58  biscuits. Fifty Eight! He says he shall eat them all. I think the words greedy wotsit might be appropriate.

I am off to bake some ginger chocolate coated Florentine biscuits now, much more to my taste.

So my lovely friends I wish you a very Happy Christmas, may the family not squabble, the dinner be perfect, your dreams come true, your parcels be squishy, your efforts be appreciated  and the tree remain upright.

Be happy,

Cathyx

 

 

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