Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Archive for May, 2018

May Books-2018

May has been a better month for us, one in which there has been greater leisure for books. Here’s what I have been reading this month.

Sebastian Faulks- Where my heart used to beat- There is a lot in this novel to make you think. Both world wars, a love story, a bit of a mystery, psychology, psychiatry, travel and a most satisfactory ending. I’d not read anything by this author before although my son Mr J who does not read as much as my other sons, was very keen on the book Birdsong, and kept urging me to read it, so maybe I will now. The only thing I have to say against it is that it does dot around a lot and you must have your wits about you!. A jolly good read.

Joanne Trollope- City of Friends- The theme of this book is can women have it all, a satisfying career and a good home life. There are four women who met at college,all live in London and all have money type jobs in whatever people who work in London do all day. Stacey is married, but is made redundant when she asks for flexi working so she can also care for her Mum who has Alzheimer’s. Melissa is a single Mum with a teenage son. Gaby has a husband and three children and is the ultimate career woman, husband doing the domestic stuff, and Beth who is gay and a university professor. An enjoyable read with just about credible characters.

Jane Gardam- Last Friends- I’ve read this out-of-order , it being the third in the trilogy of books featuring a group of ex pats from Hong Kong. The first I read was Old Filth. I will be honest , this book was a bit disappointing. I loved Old Filth, especially the bit about the Raj Children, sent back to England at a ridiculously young age to boarding school. This third book focuses on the early years of Old Filth’s rival at law and in love , one Terence Veneering , child of Florrie who was a coal merchant and an acrobat from Odessa. Orphaned during the war, and making his own way through life down to charm , intellect and force of personality. Some how though the story never seemed to get going. A pleasant enough read, and I have now got a copy of the middle volume , I am told that it is better.

Ann Cleeves- The Seagull– The latest in the Vera series and very good indeed. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Jane Gardam- The Man in the Wooden Hat. Well what do you know, there sitting on the shelf when I went in to do my shift was the second book in the trilogy. It was a nice enough read, but I felt disappointed. The synopsis in the front mentioned Betty’s childhood in a Japanese internment camp followed by a job at Bletchley Park. And yes there is mention of both, but I would have liked at least a chapter on each. Most disappointing, a bit like the first book and the RAJ orphan. I mean imagine a story that mentions being say part of the royal household and a job in espionage, and then gives just a few sentences to this and the rest is about a one night stand a happy marriage. It seems cheating somehow to hint at something really interesting and then not write about the back story. Oh well, I can’t like all the books in the world!

Thanks everyone for all the recommendations last month. You may see that I have taken you up on some with the ones I have currently on loan for June.

When I requested the new Kate Mosse, I saw I was 22nd in the queue for it, so imagine my delight when it turned up just a few days later for me. It’s a brand new book and the one I am starting with as I doubt I will be able to renew it, sure to be a waiting list now.

Did you read anything good in May? Do tell. And if it is a while since you visited the library, why not pop along, there is so much happening in libraries these days.


A Big Adventure!

Or York as you have never seen her.

My birthday was seven months ago, but my birthday gifts have been enjoyed throughout this time. Mr T was responsible for the Ancestry DNA kit which set me off on my family tree research again, then came Mr B’s gift of theatre tickets in Stratford and Mr J gave me a wonderful garden pot, which was finally put in situ at the start of May. It is very big, I can’t lift it at all.

And then came Mr E’s birthday gift.  But what ? Well here’s how I spent Saturday.

Having a big adventure by helicopter.

Bye Mr E, and thank you for this birthday present.


and up

to York,  that’s the university below

York railway and railway museum

The Minster is really quite small from above,

On zoom

Clifford’s Tower

The race course

the River Ouse

Coming down

Hello again .

Well what a birthday present. What a birthday! Thank you family and thank you for humouring me and reading my post. I almost like getting older.

Ok so back to the washing, ironning, cooking and cleaning. Blow it I have paint and yarn to play with! Where’s my knitting?



May Photo Challenge.

May has been a lovely sunny month , lots of outings and opportunities to take photos for the scavenger hunt organised by  Hawthorn . Just as well as the prompts were quite difficult; here’s what I have come up with.


As a child we would walk through Hagg Wood and collect armfuls of bluebells. Knowing how memory plays tricks I have not been back in case the bluebells were not there, as the forestry commission have cleared and replanted since I last visited. The bluebells are still there and there is this rather nice, I hesitate to call it a pond, it’s probably just a very big puddle, but it looks so cool in the woods and there is a track to the water’s edge where I think badgers might go for their liquid refreshment. I didn’t pick the bluebells, I grow them instead these days.


This was a hard one, and be warned the second of my two pictures is tragic also.

Another walk I went this month took me by the beck, this tree has fallen right across the footpath and you can see where branches have been sawn off to permit passage.

This next picture makes me very cross indeed.

Lying across the path in Hagg Wood by the field boundary was this poor little creature. Hard to think it was a natural end, and certainly a disaster for the deer.

Moving on swiftly, we come to Movement. It has to be

The Tour de Yorkshire, passing through town at the start of the month.

Fence. I love a good fence and I was jolly glad to see a sturdy one keeping these two in.

and the next has to be a typical Yorkshire fence if ever there was one. Frugal and very practical.

It works!

Next up is Spikey or Prickly. I took a lovely picture of brambles and wool caught on the thorns, but it wa hideously out of focus.

So instead we have a spikey fence. Readers from a long time ago might recall the saga of Wells Walk when a new homeowner tried to claim a very well used footpath as part of his land. Much legal shinanigins later he lostbhis court case and we the great unwashed won. Here is what part of his do not trespass fence now looks like.

Sometimes the little people win.

And now to my Own choice

I visited the Becket St Cemetery in Leeds to track down a family plot, no headstone. I explored afterwards as you do, well maybe you don’t but I do and I was rather intrigued by these headstones. They are known as guinea graves. Poor people who couldn’t afford a grave of their own were buried many to a plot in paupers graves. Sometimes several on the same day. However their families were given the option to buy for a guinea a chance to have their loved ones names engraved on the headstone. This is what these are, and there a lot in the cemetery as the workhouse was just opposite, now rebuilt on as part of St James’s hospital.

And my other choice because this might be thought a bit sad is this rather nice garden arch near the Newbridge Cottages.

leading to the railway line of the North York Moors Railway.

I hope you enjoyed my selection this month, and do please have a look at those taken by others.




Knit and Natter Friday

Another lovely sunny week here in North Yorkshire. Time for being outside.

A day at the seaside – Scarborough.

Walks by the North York Moors Railway. I explored a new path to me later on, getting in training for the 30 days wild month in June. There is a working quarry close by and a footpath right through it, care is needed to avoid the lorries coming and going, but my gosh it was a different world up there.

Looks like a lunar landscape! I loved how nature finds a foothold the moment man stops.

Knitting has made slow progress. The rather fluffy grey thing is nearing completion, I need to buy some eyes. No-one guessed right btw.

The sleeve on the cardigan for Little Miss F has grown a smidge.

I gave in and bought some more sequins and set to work on the Sawdust Heart. I think I am nearly happy.

Have I got there? The sequins are smaller at the bottom to suggest forgetfulness over time, and bigger where they get to word remember.

I added the words in the middle, because first of all there was a big gap there and second because I want people to link it to the poem that inspired me.

Am I done? What do you think?

This has been a real collaboration with you all, and I am so grateful for all the comments. Thank you.

And so to you? Anyone done anything nice this week? What about for the bank holiday weekend, any plans? Do they involve yarn or fabric? Or adventure?

My big BIG adventure is tomorrow, it will be one off the bucket list but I need good weather. So excited.

And of course knitting….

Be Happy,


Knit and Natter Friday

Claire very kindly sent me and Mr E some lovely happy mail this week.

This is my mug rug and this

one is for Mr E. Claire is so very kind and we loved our happy mail thank you.

I had another look at my Sawdust heart this week. I am still not sure.

I am happy with the lettering now, it can be read, but what about those sequins. Keep or loose? Thoughts please?

The back I sealed down with a row of sequins too, in homage to the original sawdust hearts which had a lot of sequins on them.

Somehow I have to attach my number to the back too as it is covered up , under the cover.

More information on the Sawdust Hearts project can be found here

After my action packed week last week, things have been quieter this . Some cleaning and gardening has been squeezed in and there has been time for knitting.

I tidied our bedroom this week and tried to put some leftover yarn into my pine chest. Opening said chest I found another bag of yarn with patterns for at least three projects, that’s in addition to two bags lying on the floor and a couple stashed away in the guest room wardrobe. I simply have to find more time in which to knit, so I can tidy, dust and hoover.

The thing I decided was to stick to finishing one project at a time. So, I cast off the asymmetrical Sunday scarf, that with the two line pattern which I may not divulge under any circumstances, the pattern says so.  It reads

” This design is protected by copyright. Reproduction in whole or part is STRICTLY FORBIDDEN. Nor may the design be knitted and used for monetary gain.” So that is telling me.

It’s two lines long for goodness sake, and I reckon a lot of you could figure it out all by yourselves. It seems a bit OTT to me. Anyway should you be interested it came from the Leeds wool festival and from the stall by this shop, kit details here

Impossible to photo really but super snuggly and I am set for Autumn. It was perfect knitting when I couldn’t concentrate on any other project.

Talking of concentrating, both the crochet tiles blanket and the cardigan I am making for Little Miss F both require thought. So my thinking ran finish one then do the next , so on with the cardigan.  Two fronts and the back done, onto the sleeves, yikes they are both lacy, double yikes after the first 16 rows, pattern reads these 16 rows set the pattern , increase in third and every following fourth row. BUT, I have to figure out all by myself where to put the new bits of lacy pattern into the increases. Oh My.

Which is all very well and good if I can really think. Which after about 5pm I can’t. Cue another knitting project for evening/tv knitting. This one is relatively straight forward but I bet you can’t guess what I am knitting.

Go on , give it a go.

So what are your plans for the weekend. Anyone doing anything exciting? I am saving myself up for a super duper double exciting day on the 26 May. It is so exciting , I am getting goose bumps thinking about it. Not chancing fate by saying what exactly, but oh my.

What are the creative plans? I hope to finish this sleeve, and maybe make a start on the next.

Whatever you do, stay safe and Be Happy,




Scrap Happy adventures with junk.

I mentioned having become hooked on You Tube videos of people making junk journals. It seems such a good idea to use up scraps of lace, bits of paper, glue, tape, and bits and bobs. One thing I have from my various craft hobbies over the years is bit and bobs. Time to have a go myself, and where better to show you my laughable efforts than here in Scrap Happy. After all I was using scraps and I did enjoy it very much indeed, so I am happy. And you will have a good laugh.

Do you sense a rider coming up, well several riders.

1 To have something look gorgeous is not as easy as it looks.

2 People who do You Tubes are very good at what they do. They sell the finished product for oodles of money.

3 My definition of junk is clearly not the same as others, considerable sums of money are spent on buying in the gorgeousness.

4 Some have clearly spent even more readies on craft materials and equipment than I have.

5 Some journals are real works of art, space for writing anything is not huge, or logical, but they do look fabulous.

So I decided to put all that behind me. I aspired to make a journal out of genuine junk , so that I can write stuff down. Now some junk journalists buy old books and pull them to bits. I don’t know that I will ever be able to pull a book to bits, it goes against my nature, maybe I will be able to do this one day. That way they start with a good cover and paper.

Some demonstrate that you can achieve lovely books with cereal packets. I had the inside piece of card from Mr E’s shirt. I cut it and painted it.

This is my learning junk journal so won’t have many signature pages ( Inside pages to the uninitiated) . I had tried printing out some photos of myself and my brother on the computer.  Now we only have a black and white printer so that rules out all sorts of things. They didn’t look good, so were now junk.

I decided to paint the reverse side.

Mistake one- do not rest page you are working on, on some wet paint underneath. You will get a mess.

Mistake two- don’t try to clean it off with a piece of tissue, you will make a bigger mess, but you can stick something over it. In this case a pressed flower.

That’s the reverse side I was painting on and when I had made the mess I decided that this would be part of a learning journal. I quite like the page on the right though.

I am a less is more kind of person ( laziness?) , but junk journalling is a more is best kind of craft.

Moving on I wondered if you could buy a something and make life a bit easier by only having pages to decorate. June is Go Wild month. Last year I kept notes but they were just in a notebook I have for jotting things down in, you know ,books to read, knitting patterns to try, places to go, to do lists. I thought wouldn’t it be nice to have something just for Go Wild.

Off to Hobbycraft where I bought a book, no idea what it’s for, maybe scrap booking.

Anyway I covered it.

I even managed to cut a place to get the ribbon through my paper. I am naturally pretty bad at this sort of thing, why did I think it was a good idea? The book cost about £4 but the rest of stuff is genuinely bits and bobs that have been languishing in a box, well for yonks plus ages.

Inside. Now I recall when doing my City and Guilds Course on Creative Embroidery , and having to keep sketchbooks, clippings books etc being told to get something, anything on page one or you would be stuck forever. I’ve not got there yet but.

I think these two bits may feature, again, stuff I have had for rather a long time, therefore junk, certainly I can see my children just chucking the contents of my box in a skip. ( I still have not got over my brother hurling out all my Mum’s calligraphy leftovers, although maybe I should be grateful). But to someone else’s eyes,  my stuff -its junk.

And then I had a close encounter with a blackbird, so I decided to just write something about that, and I had page two, and then I found a picture of bluebells so I had page three too.

And the whole thing seems less daunting. I think it’s a question of go for it and see what happens.

Finally I saw a You Tube, yes that again, on what to do with those pesky labels you cut out of clothes. I do tend to hang onto them too, they have nice designs and ribbons. You cover them with something pretty.

I have pretty  paper

I can do that. Mistake three- you can see the writing on the card through the lined file paper I thought would be good for the back. I shall have to redo them.

But washy tape and a bit of an old card from something works well, and you can tie them or just use a paper clip.

So that’s how far I have got.

My aim now is to keep practising , at some point I have to make the shirt card into an actual book.

To keep working on the Go Wild journal.

Eventually I would like to make something from all the pieces of paper my Dad and Mum saved that I can’t bear to part with. I even found a Latin exercise book of my Dad’s. He had torn out most of his work, but in the middle was a page of latin adverbs. I must use that.

I don’t want to spend a fortune on this, I would like to use up the various leftover (scrap) materials I have. Maybe one day I can destroy and reuse a book , but I am not there yet.

Have you tried making journals? If so what are your top tips?

Please have a look at the other Scrap Happy posts over at Kate’s



Knit and Natter Friday!

Hello and how is everyone? Here in the UK have had a week of sunshine and haven’t most of us just loved it. I do get a touch of hay fever from the oil seed rape fields, but nothing which gets me down. And I am sorry if you didn’t get the sunshine.

Chez Nana’s has been busy,  We had visitors.

Mr J and Baby J.

The Tour de Yorkshire whizzed through town.

We did sitting in the garden.

Mrs M and Baby J, who I was gratified to see likes the fabric ball his Nana made.

There was afternoon tea at Betty’s in York, actually we had it for lunch.

Sorry about the photo. The scones were amazing, one was lemon flavoured and the other rose and they were delicious, and of course we had the jam/cream first debate. I am jam first , Mrs M is cream first! She says you can get more on that way, I think I could get more on my way.

Tuesday was quite a quiet day and then on Wednesday, I went to Leeds in pursuit of my family history research. I had found the burial site of my 3x Gt Grandparents. There was no headstone, maybe there never was or maybe it fell over and lies under the soil. The cemetery is now full and maintained by volunteers. Alun, chair of the volunteers kindly found and showed me where the plot is. It was a moving visit. This branch of the family worked in the woollen mills and oh how hard life must have been. The plot actually has four people there, their eldest daughter Sophie was 28 when she passed and their grandson aged 7 months, who was the younger brother of my 2x Gt Grandmother.

Afterwards I had explored a little.

The bluebells have been allowed to spread, and my aren’t they lovely. The cemetery is quite a fascinating place, I may write a separate post about it. To finish I popped into the museum opposite and availed myself of their facilities and also had a cup of coffee in their cafe.

And yesterday I went and collected my new little beauty.

There has been some knitting. Both fronts on the cardigan for Little Miss F are done and I have stared the sleeve. The Sunday scarf is now in its final stages. I have knitted my way from a cast on of 3 stitches to 130 stitches for the cast off. I should have a finish to share next week .

Later this morning I am meeting friends for coffee, we were at school together, and the cafe we meet in displays an old school photo on the wall. I expect we will have changed a little!

The weekend weather promises to be ok, I may get out in the garden, I may even clean a tad, we most probably will take Beauty for a spin, and there most certainly will be yarn.

So did you have a good week, do you have any plans for the weekend. Do tell. And please join in with the natter.

Take care and Be Happy,












Knit and Natter Friday!

And Happy Bank Holiday weekend , everyone. For once we seem set for some decent weather for the holiday weekend. In British terms this means , it won’t rain, or hail , or snow and for at least ten minutes a watery sun may appear. In this time garden furniture will be set out and the BBQ lit! And we will say what a glorious weekend it was. Us Brits know how to make the most of sunshine.

Here in Yorkshire, we have a cycling event, born out of the Tour de France which  several years ago started here, we now have the Tour de Yorkshire. This will pass my way on Saturday afternoon.

The bunting is out.

Not just any bunting, Just any bunting would not be mentioned in a Knit and Natter post, no these are knitted cycling tops.

Aren’t they just so cute? I didn’t knit any, but I do admire those that did.

It’s been a busy week here what with one thing and another. The crochet jewel blanket had a few more rows added, the knitted scarf took a back step and I finished the left front  and nearly all the right front of Little Miss F’s  newest cardigan. All of which you have seen many times. So I thought I would share some rather nice knitting books that have come my way.

Now this one came from a book shop in Whitby. My DIL spotted it, and said I must go in and look at it. Well I did and out it came with me. The patterns are just adorable.

Here’s one

Now all I need is a new baby girl to knit for, as the patterns really are only for babies.

Last week I made mention of naughty Amazon who tempted me with knitting books to which I succumbed like a nitwit. They arrived.

Are they not amazing. Here’s an inside picture of one.

Now do you think I know a little girl who thinks her Nana can make anything might like one for her birthday in the Autumn? Or maybe she would prefer

A suitably Halloween creation? How about this person?

Fabulous or what?

I don’t think it is any wonder I fell for these three books. So I was wondering whether you had fallen for a book recently, knitting or otherwise that you just had to have, do tell, and do please feel free to leave a link if you posted about it.

Right I need to get on a bit, middle son and family coming for the weekend, well three of them are plus dog. Hurrah. Floors to be washed, food bought and lawns cut! Then cuddles for me.

Have a wonderful weekend,

Be Happy,





Photo Challenge- Flowers

I take a lot of flower pictures  so the question was how to come up with something worthy of meeting a photo challenge. I have two to share, both taken this month.

My first was taken in Whitby. I love the unusual plant tub!

Rather suitable for a fishing port. My second is personal.

Flowers to remember dear Dad’s birthday.

Please check out Wild Daffodil for some more beautiful flowers.

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