Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Archive for December, 2019

The year just departing

Some years you are just glad to see gone, and for me 2019 is one of them.

Three people in this photo passed. The lady far right died in January, she played host to our shared Guy Fawkes Bonfire nights in my childhood. My Mum, fiesty and totally irreplaceable died on 30 December 2017 , her funeral was also in January. ( in the middle, cardigan over her shoulder).Both ladies had long and good lives and , were in their 90s. Not so the final departure, so painful I couldn’t write about it till now. My little brother curly mop top , near my Dad, bottom left with our dalmatian dog, died in June after a short battle with cancer. Only 63 and taken far too soon. Missed so much.

We have also spent the entire year trying and failing to move house, somewhere ,anywhere south of the M4 corridor so we are closer to our sons and their families. Twice we sold the house, twice we found somewhere to buy , and twice it all went very wrong. Not quite sure if we have the energy to try again in 2020.

So the year now departing can jolly well push off.

Happiness has been grabbed in both hands when the chance arose. Learning to appreciate the little things in life.

The first snowdrops of the year, at the end of January 2019.

Sending a crochet blanket to a homeless charity.

A Winter’s walk in February.

Walking with friends in March.

Making my first proper grown up quilt with no botching In April.

Buttercups in May.

Wedding of the year , youngest son Mr B and the new Mrs G, in June.

Bolton Abbey in July for Mr E’s birthday.

Knitting for grandchildren, August.

Getting up high and loving the moors- September. Life in perspective.

Book bingo- October. I managed to complete two rows. Escapism sometimes is the only way.

Appreciating the lovely coast, Whitby.

And the unexpected, December, Pickering Market Place.

So here’s to us and all that life chucks at us.

Be brave,



December Books- 2019

Some wonderful books this month. I have read some really good books this year, and mostly thanks to recommendations from you all , so thank you. I shall write an end of year post about my favourites. In previous years I have selected five books, there will be more this year.

Tracy Chevalier- Burning Bright-London 1792- The Kellaway family moves from Piddletrenthide in Dorset to London. Now it so happens that Mr E’s ancestors come from this part of Dorset, so I felt an immediate connection to the book, as we have visited the area a few times. Thomas the father is a chair maker but is employed by Philip Astley as a carpenter for his circus. There really was an Astley’s circus- link for more information here William Blake lives next door to the house where the Kellaway’s live and encourages the children to learn to read. London in its not so beautiful past is very vivid with its street life in all its hues. Burning Bright is a really enjoyable book, and as well written and researched as any by Tracy Chevalier. And sadly for me I have now read all her books, till she publishes another.

Anita Frank- The Lost Ones- A proper ghost story, set in a proper haunted house in 1917, well written  with a good ending. Loved it.

Susannah Walker- The Life of Stuff- Ms Walker has to tackle a hoard of stuff in a crumbling, damp , rodent infested house on the death of her mother. Gradually she comes to terms with the mess and with the troubled relationship with her mother. A very moving account of grief for a mother who fell short of what we all want from our parents. In a year during which I lost both my mother and my brother, there was much that resonated with me. It was a fascinating read.

Betty Smith- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn- What an absolutely wonderful book. I am very pleased that Kerry recommended it to me. The book tells the story of Francie growing up in Brooklyn between 1914 and 1917. The detail within the first chapters of the poverty the family was living in and the very detailed descriptions of Katie, the mother, struggling to feed the family, led me to suspect that Ms Smith was writing from first hand experience. A quick look on the internet told me that this book is loosely auto biographical.  Other themes covered are education, love, relationships, joy and hope. I loved this book so much, and am surprised that I hadn’t heard of before.

So that’s it… now what shall I read next? Once again thanks for all the suggestions for a good read. Love to know what everyone else is reading.

‘Tis the Season to be jolly…

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Much love from Cathyx

Silent Sunday


Could this actually be…

beginning to look a bit like a


Can this possibly be..

looking suspiciously like a

Polar Bear

with the cutest face.

Two months in the making but got there! Just in time too.

Yarn is Sirdar Snowflake DK, pattern from the Knitting Network here The instructions are good there are just a lot of them and you really have to keep track of where you are as the yarn is almost impossible to frog.  And as for construction, you just have to have faith that it will work.

Onto the next project -sssh



A seaside stroll .

In the first week of December the sun shone. Hurrah after all the rain. We went to Scarborough, because we could.

Look , a blue sky! What a change after the rain clouds.

Down to the beach.

Towards the castle.

No tourists!

An intrepid sailor.

The funfair has departed for the winter.

A really nice day out. Today it’s foggy, so important I think to get out during dark winter months when you can, wondered if anyone else had made it out in the sunshine just because they could?


Scrap Happy- December 2019

Delighted to say that I have now added in all the hexies of my quilt.

That’s enough to cover the top of a king sized bed. Next step is to sew it onto a sheet for backing. I went to my favourite linen shop in Scarborough and it’s gone, the shop that is. John Lewis it will have to be. The hexies all have meaning for me, so I thought I’d share some with you.

My starting point was these two red ones. The white with the red dots being the fabric from the first dress I made for Little Miss F.

The yellow fabric was another dress.


Blue floral fabric- bunting for Mr J and Mrs M’s wedding, waking dead fabric – mug rug for Ms J, pink floral fabric was the dress for a rag doll nearly 30 years in the making and finally gifted to Little Miss F. The bunting now adorns the shed in Mr J’s garden!

Blue flower fairy- another dress, green spotty fabric a toy giraffe, red and gold fabric a cushion cover. So many memories.

I also dug out my scraps of Christmas fabric

to make a few decorations.

The trees were adapted from a book called Scandi Christmas. The book used screws for the tree truks, I used scraps of brown felt. They are weighted with cloves.

I’ll be filling these with chocolates and gifting them to my son who is hosting Christmas for us this year.

And so we come to the end of Scrap Happy for 2019. Do check out the other scrap happy posts here, and thanks goes to Kate for another lovely year of these posts.

Yarn Along.

Not quite sure what happened to the Yarn Along from Small Things this month, but thought I would share progress anyway.

Not much difference to last month really. Polar bear nearly has a left side to match his right side. Crochet blanket has two more rows! Talk about slow and steady.

The book is The Lost Ones by Anita Frank. A proper ghost story and so far so good.

If the link to Yarn Along becomes available I will add it here!

Love to know what yarny projects everyone is up to, and whether you have a good book on the go.

Silent Sunday

Decorated for the Christmas lights switch by the Pickering Flower Club.


I love all the dogs who appear in blogland. There’s Daisy and Sam ( see https://thesnailofhappiness.com/2019/11/01/watching-the-world/ ), Gibbs here, these two rogues here, Harry here, Siddy here and  Mouse here. Did I miss a canine friend? Please leave a link. Each post reminds me of my cocker spaniels. I have had two , and I grew up with a succession of dogs. Often a memory pops into my head when I read these posts. So as the rain poured down last month I scoured my photos, and here finally making an appearance 10 1/2 years since I lost him, is my very own Montmorency, named from the dog in Three men and a boat, but owing to the fact that he loved Anna Karenina and Dr Zhivago was usually know as Montrenski.

I have nearly convinced Mr E that it’s time we had another woofer.

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