Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Archive for July, 2018

July Books- 2018

So July was very HOT. In the end I did what I do when we go on holiday to Greece. I read, in the shade.

Laurie Lee-A Moment of War- Being the third book in his autobiography Red Sky at Sunset. An account of the months he spent in Spain trying to fight for the Republic during the civil war. he seemed to spend a lot of time in jail under suspicion of being a spy for France, and all because he had spent a few days in Morocco on holiday and his passport had the stamps to show it. Franco was supported by Hitler who launched airstrikes on Spain from Morocco. Apparently as a try out for the Luftwaffe and the bombing campaign they subsequently launched on Britain. I don’t like war books really, but this was quite interesting , showing how ill-equipped the republicans were and how they lacked leadership, and how the powers that be didn’t really know how to utilise all the volunteers that came to help the people in the war. I ended up having to do a bit of research around the civil war to make sense of the book. If you are interested in such things then it is readable. If not , stick to Cider with Rosie and As I walked out one Midsummer’s Morning which are a delight. Talking of which( Cider with Rosie) I reckon if I read a book three times it certainly qualifies as being in my top 100 books.

Sara Gruen- Water for Elephants- Several people recommended this book to me via the blog.For that a big thank you. I would never have chosen this book myself. The cover with its woman in a green sparkly dress and the blurb on the back would have completely put me off. If I hadn’t paid £1 to reserve it I would probably not have even borrowed it. But I had and I did, and was very pleasantly surprised to discover it was really good and an enjoyable read, if you are lurking inside hiding from the sun. Thus proving that you really shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

So what have we got.  A vet, living in his nursing home age 90 or is that 93, he can’t really recall remembers the days he spent in a circus. The portrayal of old age I found rather good. The memories of the circus were heart breaking in many places. Different times and different attitudes to disability and animal welfare. But the story is gripping and there is a rather nice love story too.

Thanks everyone who recommended this, you were right it was an enjoyable read.

Susan Hill- The Travelling Bag- a very good selection of  five ghostly short stories. I had already read the last one which has been published as a novella. The other four were really very good indeed. The first one would have totally freaked me out had it happened to me. The second one was sad but excellent. The third- Alice Baker was my favourite. If you like ghost stories, this book is for you . Proper old-fashioned scary tales.

Joanna Cannon- Three Things About Elsie- 1, She is Florence’s best friend. 2 She always knows what to say to make Florence feel better, 3 is harder to explain. Florence lives in what I take to be an extra care home, she has her own flat. Her friends Jack and Elsie also live there. Florence is becoming forgetful and is frightened of being asked to move to Greenbanks. A new resident arrives and Florence thinks she knows him , but he is supposed to be dead. Jack, Florence and Elsie have a mystery on their hands. I am not going to say much more. This was a really good read, the mystery kept me hooked, perfect book for those days when the heat melted my brain! Really enjoyed it, and reckon you might too. And Ms Cannon describes the book as a love story to Whitby. What more do you want?

Even these get a mention!

Tess Gerritsen- Playing with Fire- This was recommended to me by a few of you, and I loved it. A classical piece of music, a mystery story, the holocaust , Venice and a jolly good read. I found the first chapter a bit disappointing, in that the plot is set up quite quickly, but you need the background information up front. When the story moved to Venice it got better. There were a few sentences which I want to quote as they were used in the Holocaust presentation I was part of at the start of this year, and makes you think! It was a surprise to see them in context, as I hadn’t really registered where they had come from.

On board a train…….”.. imagined fields and farmlands beyond the window, small villages where lights glowed in houses and families sat at supper tables. Did they hear the faint clack of the train passing by? Did they pause, forks halfway to their mouths, and wonder about the people aboard the train? Or did they simply continue with their suppers, because what went on beyond their walls was none of their concern, and what could they do about it anyway? This train, like all those before it, would move on, so they break bread and drink wine and carry on with their lives. While we pass by like ghosts in the night”

Maya Angelou- Gather together in my name- The second book of her autobiography covering the years when she has her toddler to look after, and is only 19 when the book ends. She falls in love, runs a brothel, is a waitress,  nearly joins the army, takes drugs, becomes a prostitute, managers a cafe, her son is kidnapped. And all written beautifully. Another good read.

Marghanita Laski- Jane Austen and her world. Last week I stumbled on a Future Learn course on Jane Austen, just 3x 3hours worth, free and available till the 27 August. I couldn’t resist. It is totally fascinating. I have just started the last of the three blocks. Inspired by the course I dug out this book which I have had since 1978. I know that because I bought it through a book club when we lived in Munich. I had not read it since. It’s a super book, and has so many pictures in of family and places that Jane Austen knew. I have now found lots more books about Jane Austen to borrow from the library. The course by the way had me recalling the book Lynne recommended How to read like a Professor, in the case of Jane Austen, how she uses education and attitude to books to establish character.

Lots of lovely books this month. Have you read any good books this month that you would recommend please? Or have you read any of these? Are you a Jane Austen fan? Do tell please.


Many on Monday

Yesterday we finally had rain. The grass has greened up, the clover had stopped it from looking parched but it was good to see how well the lawn reacted to some of the wet stuff. Best of all the temperature dropped from 27 C on Saturday to 21C  on Sunday. I took some more pictures last week of the flowers currently in bloom, which I thought you might like to see.

Another rose, again scented.

Geranium one of my tubs.

Another one in a stone urn next to a fuchsia.

A stunning rose but this one is only lightly scented. The rain totally wrecked it, the petals are now on the drive, so glad I took the picture when I could.

Forget what this is but I bought it last year from a road side stall.

A lupin making a late appearance.

The wisteria has produced another late bloom.Just under the window frame!

These from round the pond.

One of the wild flowers I managed to grow.

And finally, I love this picture I took this week, one of my best, though I say it myself.

Hope you enjoyed the show!


Photo hunt- July

Joining with Kate for the photo hunt, in which the story behind the picture is important too.


The door to the Quilt show, temptation lies this way.


When I was a child we had elevenses, bang on the dot. When I was little that would be a glass of milk, but as an older child expected to help Mum with housework- groan, I was elevated to the status of Coffee, made with half milk and water boiled in the milk pan, and one biscuit, fig roll, bourbon, custard cream, squashed fly biscuit, digestives. Don’t they sound bland?   So my picture just had to be elevenses . And elevenses being truly relished. So from the archives.

Little Miss F December 2015 enjoying a warm hot chocolate for her elevenses.

Shadow- I am really not very good at taking pictures of shadows. I did try, honest.

Me trying.

Texture- when I did my creative embroidery course there was a whole section on texture. It’s a word I struggle with, or maybe a concept, that causes me problems. Everything has a texture, even the parched grass in the picture above. We had to produce a study of texture. So here is a bit of what I came up with for the course.

View- I went on a new walk round something in Dalby Forest called Jerry Noddle, so here is the view from Jerry Noddle.

My Own Choice- July was an important month for the family so I have two this month.
Baby J after the christening

and Mr E in the middle having a rummage at the vintage fair, recovering nicely from the radiotherapy.

Hope you enjoyed the selection, not too bad for somehow with heat/weather induced brain mush do you think?



Quilt and Natter!

Thanks everyone for the encouraging comments you left me on my last post. It has given me food for thought, and I think the courage to have a go myself. After I posted I realised that the quilts I had shared were by and large the ones I thought I could try myself, so I thought that today I would start by sharing the ones that are way out of my league. If you don’t like quilting then skip this bit …

The Queen Bees exhibition banner.

By Joan Kerrison- Log Cabin

Whitby by Judith Clarke- hand embroidered panels stitched and quilted by Judith.

Audrey Hutchinson- Summer Days, pattern by Kaye England. Love the summery feel to this one.

Vivienne Nicholls- Dandelion Clocks , made for and inspired by a granddaughter, Isn’t it lovely.

Deborah Dyer- Menopause-a first attempt at quilting and wow- made to help her cope with the hot flushes etc. Design by Willyne Hammerstein called La Passacaglia. Loved everything apart from the background fabric. which detracted from the middle too much to my mind.

Finally this one by Margaret Peel , called Cresswell Carpet- pattern is unknown one bought in Australia sometime ago.

Now I feel I have done justice to this group of skilled ladies. Not one quilt was by a chap.

Moving on– thank you for all the good wishes for Mr E. He had a super birthday . We went to a Vintage Fair, held in the same place as this quilt show.

Clothes, and more clothes

As you can see many are brand new.

And interesting things to rummage through and for once I bought nothing. BUT. Imagine my surprise when I saw my orange vegetable rack ( I had wanted a red one but Tescos only had orange) on sale, masquerading as a 60s- 70’s vegetable rack for now wait for it. No I will tell you how much he was asking for at the end. Have a guess -three racks high, made from orange plastic bought in the  80s from a supermarket. Go on , please guess.

Thunderstorm- temperatures here reached 30C. North Yorkshire doesn’t do 30C. Today we have thunder and lightning, hurrah, and a few drops of rain. Very hot and sticky. More rain please.

I gave up trying to knit on Tuesday. It took me half an hour and two frogs to do one row. My brain is little more than melted mush. I have put it away for now.

Frog- I went out in the rain and startled a frog under the wisteria, it startled me, we both just stood waiting to see who would move first- I did.

Crochet- I have finished the first row of the Eastern Jewels blanket.

Just a few ends to sew in.

And that is just about my week. Spent a long time getting cars looked at, a seat belt recall on mine and brake fluids for Mr E’s car.

Next week two meetings. I suspect my brain was already on the way to becoming mush when I volunteered to be on the library volunteers committee and to start a short walks walking group through the U3A. Why?……….

First check up for Mr E too.

How much did you guess for the veg rack , answer was £45. Forty Five…. I shall be more careful with mine now.

Please leave a comment and join in with the natter. As I keep saying this post is all about the natter.

Be Happy,




A Feast of Quilts!

So say the Queen Bees whose exhibition at Whitby I had the pleasure of enjoying recently. I took lots of pictures , but have finally managed to whittle them down to share with you. In the order I went round the exhibition…

An art quilt , entitled Slice, by Judith Clarke and inspired by ammonites in the cliffs at Whitby.

This is part of the one next to it, by Pauline Cockerill, and I include it because it looks like something I could tackle, unless it is deceptively simple looking.  I have pictures and I think I could sew strips of fabric round them.

I have been following various quilting blocks for at least two years now, and I found that some of what I have been reading has sunk in!

I love the applique flowers on this and surely those small square blocks can’t be too hard to do? Also by Pauline Cockerill. She refers to it as a mini charm quilt whatever one of these is.

Each exhibition includes a competition for the exhibitors. These years theme was Whitby.

That was my favourite.

I chopped off the number of this so I can’t credit it, but again that looks do-able for a beginner, or not?

Now this is more up to the standard I see on blogs, would you look at that, gorgeous or what . But it is a kit! Stitched by Liz Petherick, called Kaleidoscope and is a Kaffe Fasset one.

Well why not have a wooly one- called Wild Wacky Wool quilt, inspired by Kaffe Fasset, made by a group of quilters who knit.

Also by Liz Petherick and called Taupe Houses, from a pattern.

Call me stupid, but I had thought people made up their own patterns… der!

45 is by Vivienne Nicholls and is from a jelly roll. I often wondered how they were used.

Isn’t this stunning., by Jane Snoxell, also a jelly roll.

Hexies at last. I have nearly got my hexie quilt top to a decent size and so was keen to see how it could be finished off. I could do this. By Judith Clarke for her son, as he is leaving home.

And finally another hexie one, this has a hexie border. I could do this and I prefer the look of it with a blue border. Also by Judith Clarke and called Flower Garden.

And as I find sewing less hot than knitting, this is true for me this week.

I was surprised when I went round how do-able some of the quilts looked, and how many used patterns and jelly rolls and kits.

Reading throught the post I also see that some quilters work really appealed to me, there were many others too.

Anyway all I have to do is find a use for this

and crack on with these

A wallhanging, a Christmas quilt top and the square watsits! A breeze………………..

Six on Sunday

Actually it should be Six on Saturday, but I was a bit busy. The idea for this post was created by The Propagtor. Now I have been left in charge of the garden this year, and it was a little like leaving the Sorcerers Apprentice in charge. The Head Gardener has yet to fully see just how far nature has been left to take its course. It means that we have still have a green lawn, no scorched earth here- I was leaving the clover you see for the bees. Anyway things are not too bad . We have some proper garden flowers which are doing ok, so I thought I could share them six at a time.

You may have to help me with the names.

Now that is a clematis!

Day lily I believe, they have lots of little insects visiting them.

Corn flower. I know that because I bought it this year. We have a sweet shop that sells plants and flowers which I pass on my way back from the library. How good is that? Look at the soil though so dry and cracked.

Love this, sorry about me.

Such a pretty rose, I am very good about dead heading them, and the fragrance is delicious.

Finally this rose, never quite certain if it is our neighbours rose which grows through the fence or our rose which grows through the fence, but we both get to enjoy it.

And I may add I have managed to keep the tomatoes in the greenhouse in good fettle. The Head Gardener is back in charge of them.

More next week, I may even let you look at the wild patch…


Knit and Natter Friday.

When I was at work the time between Fridays seemed eternal. Now I am retired I no longer think “Thank Goodness it’s Friday” (TGIF) but Good Gracious it’s Friday (GGIF).

So GGIF! And hurrah this week, yesterday Mr E finished his radiotherapy. Please may that be it for now?Let us re-build our lives.

I went to the Quilt exhibition last Friday and thoroughly enjoyed myself. The theme was Beeside the Sea( They are the Queen Bees Quilting Group). I took loads of pictures and I will get round to sorting them to show you my favourites. Meantime this was their central display for the theme.

which given my scrap happy picture seemed most fortuitous.

Pure coincidence.

And I only bought two pieces of fabric, neither of which was a fat quarter, how good am I?

It’s Mr E’s birthday this weekend, he fancied a bistro set for the patio, only problem was the only place he could get the one he wanted was in a shop near his hospital, so poor love ended up collecting it himself.

Couldn’t be having that, so after my dental check up ( all good, apart from some mouth ulcers I didn’t know I had) I went shopping. What to get someone who can’t do over much? I opted for a foody hamper, which I made up myself, posh Greek olive oil and olives, nice coffee and dark chocolate, posh black cherry jam which he can have with croissants I bought to eat from the patio set. I also spent a fortune on magazines for him, gardening, Yorkshire and photography, have to get him interested in life outside hospital. Should do the trick do you think?

So as far as I am concerned today is Saturday, laundry and shopping to do which is what I would do on Saturday so we clear a whole day in the end as birthday. With everything shifted on a bit, if you see what I mean.

Meantime knitting -fairy still awaiting construction, and I need to make new wings, wrong colour again.

So I started to knit a cardigan for Little Miss F, yikes why don’t I read patterns properly before I start, back and fronts knitted in one piece with a lacy pattern in variegated yarn. What was I thinking? Well clearly I wasn’t- thinking!

I am crocheting the Eastern Jewels blanket, now on tile four, if I get that done and the first row completed I will share a picture progress shot next week.

Meantime I have been inspired to take my patchwork quilt out and finish it! Honest! Two  years and counting in the making.

This weekend will be birthday weekend, not sure what else might be done. What about you, any nice plans? The schools here will close for their summer break, so everywhere is going to be full of children and tourists. Better than snow and ice I keep reminding myself.

Birthday cake to ice now!

Please join in with the natter, it really makes these posts what they are. Love to hear from you.

Be Happy,


Scrap Happy Day- July

A couple of years ago I had an idea. It takes a long time for my ideas to bear fruit! It all started with the words down a selvedge on some green spotty fabric.

I’ll show you, one picture in pictures!

there’s the words!

how to attach shells- crochet a net of course. But if a net catches shells it also catches plastic and seaweed.

The middle looked a bit bare, add crabs and a sandcastle

And all from a few words on a scrap of fabric and lots of scraps from other projects ( including the little girl who is a card topper, the other girl she came with did grace a card, probably ten years ago). Do pop over to Kate to see some more scrap happiness. Today celebrating a fifth scrap happy birthday.

Scrap Happy Junk Journal

It’s scrap happy day tomorrow and I have a fabric something to share, so I thought that today I would share the junk journal I continued to make during June as part of my Go Wild activities.

I fell in love with the whole idea of junk journalling thanks to Yarn and Pencil and Willowbound Journals.

JD from Willowbound Journals helped me on my way when I won a giveaway on her blog.

Such lovely happy mail! Thanks JD.

You may recall that at one point I got in a right old muddle trying to learn how to make a junk journal and wanting to write it at the same time. I eventually calmed down considerably and decided to do things my way. Junk Journals take a long time to make and many makers buy in new materials for their work. I very much wanted to use stuff I had leftover from other projects, which is how I ended up calling what I was making -a scrap happy journal.

I am pleased to say I just about managed to stay on top of the making and using the journal right through June.

That was the last page I shared in the June scrap happy post. Sometime during the second part of June I hit upon the idea of printing off the poem The Glory of the Garden by Rudyard Kipling. I then cut out the individual verses and placed them in various locations in the journal. Lots of people have added   inspirational words to their journals, which are really great but I don’t think I am an inspirational word type of person. Poetry is more me.

I rather liked this picture I cut from a magazine and I have attached one of the envelopes JD gave me. Inside is a butterfly cigarette card backed onto yellow paper and one of the verses.

I think this was probably when I started to think about garden poems. I like the little wooden butterfly and bit of lace I added in the corner.

the nearest I get to a collage, with paint and stamping. The book mark tucked in keeps falling out so I have now employed a paperclip to keep it in situ.

Envelopes feature quite a bit in junk journals, inside is a bird sketching book from the issue of Daphne’s Diary.

I just had to include the puffin cruise and the sea-bird guide we were all given.

And finally I printed off the whole poem to end June with.

Am I done with junk journals? NO. But I now want to take my time and learn how to make a journal, select the items I want to include and take it slowly, because the one I want to make  will include the little bits and bobs my Dad just couldn’t part with.

I shall also continue with this scrap happy journal, but again taking my time.

Thanks for reading, and I can’t wait to write my Fabric Scrap Happy post tomorrow.

Any hints and tips on journal making, greatly appreciated. And I wonder what crafts others have tried , bought materials for which are now stuck unused in boxes somewhere. Has anyone found alternative uses for those crafty scraps?

Knit and Natter Friday

Thank goodness it has cooled down- sorry to have been such a grouch last week. Part of the problem was knowing I was going to be spending a very very very very long time in a hot car, over a hot weekend, on hot motorways. It was very HOT. But very worthwhile because on Sunday

Baby J was christened, here with his Godfather Mr B.

Back with Dad (Mr J) and Mum (Mrs M). Finally when this happened

All my grumps vanished (at least till Monday when I had to drive back again in a hot car on a hot day on hot motorways.)

It was a lovely service. The vicar heard that Baby J’s favourite song was the Wheels on the Bus so she arranged for the choir to sing it just for him. Apparently they thought it a great idea and sang with gusto.

Tomorrow I want to write about my scrap happy journal I kept during the June month of Go Wild. I have realised that I never showed you the little bit of cross stitch that also happened as part of my crafty June activities for Go Wild.

I love taking part in the Go Wild month. Making sure I spend at least 15 minutes each day outside and trying to do something positive for nature. I think the most useful things I have done are keeping the birds and hedgehogs well supplied with water, and letting parts of the garden just do what they will, can’t believe the odd plants that attract birds when you let them just go to seed. I can do untidy gardening all day long. I planted some wildflowers but the only things I think that have come up are poppies. I like poppies thank goodness. It’s a great excuse not to do weeding too!

I tried several new walks, I went on the puffin cruise, visited a bird hide and waterfowl lake. Saw too many dead things- the deer and the mole. Happily I went a walk on Wednesday and saw a live deer. I was also thrilled to see a lizard. I can’t believe that I did not know that we had lizards in the UK. I looked it up in my trusty book, and it was a common lizard. Common? Well not that common.

Not certain about next year, it can get a bit much to think oh I must do this or that today. However, I did draw up a very long list of ideas of things to do- some were never going to happen- there just isn’t any heather out yet, and you can’t watch whales till September. So I shall keep plugging away at the list right through the year.

But what about Knitting. Well quite. What about knitting? Least said.

Crochet then? I spent a very long time yesterday waiting for a phone call about our boiler which failed a carbon monoxide test during its annual service first thing in the morning. It’s under warranty so the manufacturers will fix it, and I had to wait for their call. Five hours.So I used the time to crochet. I have now completed the second tile on my tiles blanket. Hopefully I will do some more this coming week, enough to make it worth my while to show you some progress.

Plans for the weekend? Today I am going to Whitby for a quilt exhibition. Tomorrow I shall be waiting for the boiler man to come and fix the boiler. Thank goodness we have an electric shower.

Love to know your plans for the weekend. How did you cope in the hot weather? I have been watching Wimbledon a little. Didn’t the English football team do well to reach the semi finals? Croatia were the better team and deserved their place in the finals.

Right, time to get going for that exhibition. I must not buy fabric, I must not buy fabric, must not buy fabric, not buy fabric, not

buy fabric


Be Happy, stay cool,



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