Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Archive for January, 2019

January Books, 2019

Hurrah for the escapism provided by books. I needed it this month, and have read a lot, even by my normal reading standard.

Markus Zusak The Book Thief– set in Munich in the second world war Liesel, a daughter of communist parents whose father has been taken away is sent to live with foster parents whom she comes to adore. In time they also take in and hide Max who is the son of a Jewish friend. Liesel is the book thief rescuing and appropriating books she finds. It is a simply magnificent novel, what a read to start the year, certainly setting the bar high for everything else I read in 2019. Straight onto my Top 100 list and a strong contender for one of my top five for 2019.

Adam Kay- This is Going to Hurt-Funny, but not as funny as the hype on the book makes out, nor as funny as the author thinks he is. The reminiscences of a junior doctor specialising in obstetrics and gynaecology, some happy stories, some sad and some frankly hair-raising. I include the ludicrous hours of a hospital doctor and all manner of peculiar things people shove in their various orifices. It made the bead I decided to place up a nostril as a child sound quite tame.I do recall also having to get a jelly bean out of a grandsons nostril too. Why do children do this?

Ruth Hogan- The Keeper of Lost Things-  this is the book I needed to read this month. It has the warm cosy feel good factor by the bucket load, it also made me laugh and cry, it helped. So Anthony lost something so precious to him he collected lost things all his life. Buttons, bits of jigsaw puzzles, bracelets, rings, gloves, everyday things you walk past and the things you hopefully put on walls for people to find. he took them home , carefully labelled them and stored them on shelves and in drawers. And on his death he left a special request to the one person he knew would carry it out. So we have some lovely characters, lots of love stories, a ghost, dogs, and a happy ending, what more could you want. I had to read this fast as my library copy had been requested by someone else. Which meant I had a happiness hit! A jolly good book.

Mary Prince- The History of Mary Prince- a first hand account of life as a slave in the 1800s. It made grim reading, and shows you how so-called civilised people can behave in a totally uncivilised way. Not for the faint hearted, but glad I read it. I have added it to my top 100 books, as it is one I think people should have a go at reading. I am now half way through finding 100 books, only taken 15 years!

Pat Barker- The Ghost Road- I choose this book whilst doing the shelving at the library, it rang a bell as being recommended by someone. It transpired to be the third book in a trilogy and the winner of the 1995 Booker Prize. Fortunately for me it did stand alone without my having read the first two books It tells the story of the final months of the first world war and includes real and fictional characters, who blend together very well indeed. From fiction we have Billy Prior who is returning to the front line with the poet Wilfred Owens having been injured previously. Army psychiatrist William Rivers is the other main character and he is drawn from real life. I don’t think I learned much about the end of the war that I didn’t know before, mainly I suspect because we heard so much in 2018. The book is well written and I can see why it would have won the Booker  in 1995. I did break off from reading it to google Rivers, and that was fascinating. I may even been tempted to read the memories of his sister who seems to have been very close to the creator of Alice in Wonderland-Lewis Carroll. If you don’t know much about end of the war and would like to, this would be a good novel to turn too. I’m not really tempted to read the first two books in the trilogy, unless I happen to be shelving one.

Clare Mackintosh- I Let You Go- big thanks to the person who recommended this to me. It was such a good distraction from life when I needed it this month. It’s a cracking good physiological thriller. I am not saying much more for fear of spoiling it. Just it’s set in Bristol and Wales and has some good twists. If like my you spot the first one don’t be disheartened there are more to come. Enjoy.

What a start to my reading year! Have you read any of these, and what did you think about them? Have you read a good book this month, I would love to hear about them.


Knit and Natter Friday.

The bad thing about funerals is someone you care about died, but there are good things too.

1 You get to celebrate someone’s life and remember the person in their entirety and not just how they were at the end, and if you are  lucky you get to hear new stories about them.

2 You see relations you don’t normally see, in my case my lovely cousin and her Mum, my Aunt/Godmother, who now unquestionably is the family matriarch, and doing great for 94.

3 In the case of the second funeral I went too this week, you meet childhood friends you have not clapped eyes on for donkey’s years . The girl who used to live next door is someone I haven’t seen since I was 15 years old. Her Dad owned the cycle shop and fixed all our bikes for us. He had a shed in the garden which doubled as our gangs den…..

4 And then there is that thing called closure. And do you know I think I got it. I feel at peace at Mum’s passing. I managed to say my three lines and a poem with only a little wobble in the church. I have even forgiven my brother for dumping a box of papers on me which turned out to be Mum’s old bills going back to 1997- council tax, phone bills, house insurance  etc ; it took an hour to shred the lot.

I am ready to move on.

Yesterday I looked at the pathetic piece of knitting I have been attempting for the last month and concluded that actually the reason I was making no progress was that I had gone off it as a project. Yes I still want to knit a donkey to sell for the donkey sanctuary, but not using that pattern. I shall find another. So I frogged the two scraps I had completed, binned the pattern and decided to choose something different. Something heaven forbid for me! Last year I went to Leeds Wool fest and bought some jolly nice real wool to make mittens. I have wound the skein into a ball, I am good to go. Knitting may now happen again.

I saw my son this week and passed on the quilt for Miss F. Safe to say she liked it, here testing it for comfort.

When I saw Miss F over New Year I asked her about these two.

How had they settled into their new home. ” Oh” says Miss F ” Rosie is lovely . She got lost for a bit but then I found her.”

“Erm, what about the blue one ?” I asked with trepidation, knowing Morgana rather too well.

” OH” Said Miss F pulling herself up to her full height ” SHE IS A PAIN”. No surprise there then.

So, what are you all up to this weekend? Do you ever give up on a project you realise is going nowhere because you just don’t care for it? Love to hear from you, after all half this post is the comments for the Natter.

Be Happy, and thank you for your kindness this month.





Knit and Natter Friday.

A strange week this, waiting for a funeral. Arrangements made, everything booked, I can even manage to read the poem I choose without breaking down.

Remember the Ne’er do wells and I said that the lady on the right was the only adult survivor, the day I posted that she passed away quietly in her sleep. I have two funerals to attend next week. There will be tears, and then we can mend. That by the way is all three of the women gone within two months of each other. I do hope they are having a good natter together somewhere.

The walk went well on Wednesday, thank you for joining me. There were eight of us in the flesh, not bad for a very very, cold day, by gosh the latte and carrot cake were good afterwards.

We had snow yesterday but it didn’t settle.

I have finished the crochet blanket made from the leftover yarn.


Not bad to have got these three from leftover yarn and still  some more scraps for giant granny square.

I tried knitting again, I think most of the problem is me, but the pattern is overly complicated for something that should be simple. I think that’s the problem when patterns are written by amateurs and not professionals do feel free to totally disagree with this…

Busy weekend for me, a post-Christmas get together at lunch today for my Family History Group. Tomorrow is the first Repair Cafe of 2019. Hoping the wintry weather doesn’t put people off.

Take care my friends and thank you for your support,

Be Happy,



Helmsley- a muddy walk

Today I am leading a short walk along the river at Helmsley. I thought you might like to share today’s walk, which as always I did a month ago to check the route for H&S! As you do. Wellies will be needed.

Meet at the library and cross over the bridge.

We go past a timber yard and into a river field

Cross over the beck, but not on that bridge as that’s a track to a farm.

Along the riverside

Round the bend


under the old railway bridge- this was once part of the Helmsley to Scarborough railway line…d**m that Dr Beecham who was the MP responsible for closing so much of our railways in the 1960s.

here comes the mud, no picture I had to concentrate on staying upright

Just loved this rusty old farm implement.

Loving the wintery view. Back into town now and

The castle. Time for coffee now.

Hope you enjoyed our walk today, have you been on any good winter walks in 2019?


Scrap Happy January

It’s time for Scrap Happy over at Kate’s. I have been working with the leftover yarn from the Eastern Jewels blanket. So far I have made two cushions and there was still more yarn. So I added some yarn leftover from other projects and set about making a blanket which will be for charity. Not certain which one yet.

As the balls of yarn have gone down there are small quantities left over , so I am using them for a real scrap happy blanket. I think on the larger one I am making I am nearly at the end as the colour choices are reduced, so then I will use the yarn for the second blanket, so that will be two for charity, and all from scraps. That makes me happy. The yarn I have leftover is also in the picture. Making this blanket has been of great value to me, the comfort of yarn in my hands has been wonderful.

Do please pop over to Kate’s for links to other Scrap Happy projects. The link is at the start of this post.

I wonder if there is a craft which has brought comfort to you at sometime? If so please share in the comments.

Top Six Books from 2018

I read 60 books last year which is two fewer than the previous two years, but still a lot of books and if my maths serves me at all, means about five a month. Normally I choose my favourite five books each but this year I couldn’t choose so I have six, and honestly I could have made it ten.

6 Laurie Lee- Cider with Rosie- A re- read of this book, my choice for 30 days Wild in June. A simply wonderful account of childhood in the 1920s of village life in Cold Slad, Gloucestershire. Funny stories and beautiful descriptions of the countryside. Love it. In my top 100 books, and so must have a mention here. Think it’s the third or fourth time I read it.

5 Gail Honeyman- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine- secrets and loneliness. I needed a big box of tissues.

4 David Ebershoff- The 19th wife- story in two parts about two 19th wives. The first Ann Eliza Young who helped end polygamy within the Mormon religion, and a modern 19th wife accused of the murder of her husband who is part of a break away sect the Firsts, and her son’s search for the truth. A very good read.

3 Joanna Cannon- Three Things about Elsie- Florence is forgetful, just as well she has Elsie and Jack to help her with the mystery of a new resident in their extra care home whom Florence thinks she recognises from her past, but he is supposed to be dead and she is very frightened of him. A very good read. Set partly in Whitby.

2Hari Kunzru- White Tears- the Blues and a ghost story. Top notch book, I stopped half way through to read some background information about the blues.

1 Margaret Atwood- The Handmaid’s Tale- Alarming story written in 1985 about a future that could happen. Men become infertile due to nuclear accidents, chemicals etc. new moral order comes into being, post revolution against supposed radical Islamic threats. Fertile women brainwashed and live in households to be serviced by powerful men whose wives are barren. Wives are blamed for lack of children. Women denied books, education, money freedom . A thought-provoking book and one which has to make my top 100 and top this list as it seems scarily possible.

So what was your favourite book this year? Have you read any of these? What are you tempted by this year? I see there is a book dedicated to MOSS which I have to say is very tempting indeed. All I can say is thank goodness for libraries , helps keep my spending on books right down to manageable levels.

Knit and Natter

Thank you everyone for your lovely comments on my last two posts, I am no longer in bits but still prone to crying apropos of very little.

But normal life continues. I was asked on Sunday to cover for coffee duty at the U3A talk on Tuesday, I said yes without thinking really and I am glad I did otherwise I expect I wouldn’t have gone. The talk was called Smiles to Tanzania. This is a local charity( led by Filey rotary club) set up to help a charity based in Tanzania called Lake Victoria Children (LVC), and is designed to help children attend school by providing school uniform. solar lights, pens, pencils, food, bedding etc. Anything to improve the lot of the people living on this island in the middle of Lake Victoria. When the first party went out they sent over a container of goods, which included bicycles, homemade quilts and blankets, sanitary provision for the girls, pillow case dresses and something called fish and chip vests. The later are basic knitted vests for the babies. Babies were previously often dressed in newspaper, hence the term fish and chip vests. Well this container got held up for three months whilst some ridiculous questions were answered, For example where was the soap that Tesco’s had donated been made. The answer was unimportant, it was a bribe they were after, which wasn’t forthcoming.

So the charity took the next step, first they taught women how to make the sanitary protection. Which means that the girls no longer skip school for a week a month, or are teased by the boys for missing school, or not tempted to become pregnant to avoid the issue altogether. Next they decided not to send goods but money, but they didn’t want it disappearing as a bribe, so they directly employ someone through LVC to handle the money and purchase necessary items.

The talk really put my life in perspective. Many of the children were being brought up by grandparents as both parents had died of Aids.

Here’s a link for some uplifting pictures-here Needless to say the donation plate at the end of the meeting was pretty full.

It was lovely to see the children so proud in their school uniform and the children so pretty in their pillow case dresses. The fish and chip vests looked a bit hot.

I’ve walked a lot this week, being outside really helps lift the spirits. And I have taken a leaf from  Margaret at Crafty Creek    last year and this year as she has set herself the challenge of spending three ten minute sessions in the garden. I have been out twice so far for half an hour a time. Greatly aided by the very mild Winter we have been enjoying. I can’t believe it really but we have snowdrops already.

And would you credit it , rhubarb, not enough to eat but unmistakably rhubarb,

I bought myself some flowers

Lovely cheerful colours.

Sadly I haven’t really done any knitting. I tried but found I just couldn’t concentrate on the pattern. But I thought you might be interested in this. Kate keeps all her bobbins from her quilting to see how much thread she has got through, so in 2018 I kept all the bands from the yarn I used.

In weight that was 5,200 grams. Which is a 100 grams a week. A lot was used in the Eastern Jewels blanket, but a lot was knitting. Gosh is all I can say.

I have done some sewing. I was asked back in the Autumn for this project. My DIL told me of a baby quilt Little Miss F had. Every night she goes to sleep holding the ribbon label. You know the one which says what it’s made of, how to wash it etc. Could I make something to replace as the quilt was getting worn and the ribbon coming off. I was very tempted to suggest replacing the ribbon, but no I’d been asked to do this, and I have always been tempted by the patchwork panels in fabric shops. So I selected my top, consulted the lady in the shop, all via email because I was getting it from The Remant House fabric shop in Harrogate, and some wadding. I was quite confident about the quilting part having done cushion panels a lot of times. Humph, doing a quilt top is not as easy as doing a cushion. I kept finding reasons not to do it, and so it sat through November and December giving me the evil eye. I missed Christmas and there it stayed. It transpires that sewing by hand does not require concentration when you are following pre drawn lines, in fact can be quite therapeutic. So that part was finished. But how to complete. I have spent hours figuring this out, in fact the how to complete part was probably some of the reason it just sat there for so long.

One afternoon I decided to just go for it. After all what was the worst that could happen, I’d need another meter of backing fabric. I could live with that. So go for it I did. I decided that dealing with scary ( 6 years old now) sewing machine was not for me, so I hand stitched it all. Now it’s not even and it’s not well executed but I do now have something resembling a quilt with ribbons on the side. Let’s just hope it serves it’s purpose for my lovely Little Miss F.

And here are the Princesses in close up.

Well the sun is shining so I may go for another tramp or a little weeding session in the garden. Leaving you with a sheep as I used to when I first started my Knit and Natter posts. This one taken on my last walk. I’ll share the rest of that walk next month.

Be Happy my friends and once again thank you.



The ne’er do wells.

Thank you all so much for your kind comments and wonderful memories you shared on my last post, they meant a great deal to me. It was obvious how much we all miss our Mums, and how lucky those of us are who reach our own retirement years before we lose that precious person. To everyone who is loosing their Mother slowly to Alzheimer’s , hang onto the memories of your Mum as you support and love her through these final years. And of course the same goes for Dads, siblings, cousins and friends. The support I have received from family, and friends old and new has been so welcomed and so helpful. Poems and music have been chosen and tears shed. I have stomped about the lanes and pulled up weeds. I am getting there.

So I thought I would tell you more about this picture.

My Dad is the one with the Dalmatian dog, my brother the one with the curly mop by the dog’s face. My friend J is the little girl at the far end , and I am next to her holding onto to the little girl (well spotted Rachel). My Mum is next to my Dad holding onto her cardigan.

Next to her are the parents of my friend J, both also sadly no longer with us. The lady at the far end is also very poorly, but at 94 has had a pretty amazing life. All those adults reached at least 90 years. Reckon it must be down to the bracing winds across the North Sea at Scarborough.

The girl standing up is S. As you can see she was little older than the rest of us. Two beach huts had been taken that year, by the three families for a fortnight. As you can imagine S found the company of us children a bit bothersome, and so spent time with the grown ups. Apparently, and I have forgotten this, we took over one of the beach huts and court marshalled her for consorting with the adults, and found her guilty as charged. Not sure what the punishment was.

I had not seen S for probably 40 years or more. She moved away, I moved away. We both came back but our paths didn’t cross. My brother told J’s brother St about Mum and St told T, who is S’s brother, and so the news spread. And on Friday afternoon she dropped by to see me, and the years melted away……

You see the good thing is she remembers my Mum as she is here in this picture, not as the frail old lady she was last week. And that really helps…

Take care, and thanks,



Stop the clocks.

I have no Knit and Natter today. My lovely feisty , fiery, rumbustious Mum has left the building, and I am in bits. She had 80 wonderful years and then a slow decline for ten more with that most dreadful of Illnesses, Alzheimer’s. Fortunately for me she never forgot me. And I of course will never forget her.

So dear, dear friends, please can I ask you to share wonderful memories of your Mum with me today, and if you can give them an extra big hug, or phone them to say how much they mean to you.

I’ll try to be back at Knit and Natter next week, right now I am reliving my childhood memories. Somewhere on the beach at Scarborough with these ne’er do wells. See if you can spot me. Photo by a dear friend of the family who likewise is no longer with us.

PS he and my Mum broke my sledge riding down a snowy slope one Winter, said she was rumbustious.



January Window

Wild Daffodil has a new photo challenge for 2019. Windows. That’s it. Share pictures of windows that caught your eye.

This one in Pickering made me smile.

So cute, I thought you might like to see the figures close up.


I was on a walk on Boxing day which took me past the castle and a draughty window in the Mill Tower.

The lower one for the shooting of arrows and the upper one for the living quarters, presumably out of arrow range.

I wonder what windows I will find for February.


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