Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Archive for October, 2021

October books- 2021

It’s been a month of thought provoking books for me. Do please let me know your thoughts, even if you haven’t read any of these books.

Jem Lester- Shtum- Jonah is 10, autistic, and can’t talk. His parents Ben and Emma are struggling to meet his needs and are now trying to select an educational setting for him. The one chosen by the local authority is unsuitable, but their choice is residential and very expensive. Emma suggests that if Ben was the sole carer there would be more chance for their selection. So Ben and Jonah move in with Ben’s father Georg. The novel takes you slowly through the painful appeals process for the school , gradually revealing just how difficult it is for them all. Towards the end everyone’s back story is told. A difficult subject told with great sensitivity. Recommend this one.

Mary Beard- Women and Power – I’d been thinking about those poor women and girls in Afghanistan , which by a convoluted way round my thoughts led me to thinking about the clever women on TV who get trolled or dropped from programmes because they got old, which made me think of Mary Beard and wondering if the library stocked her books. They do, including this book based on some lectures she gave. Her lectures led to the most disgusting and vile trolling I have heard of. So I read the book, very short and accessible- subject matter, how women have been denigrated, side lined and silenced by the male of the species from Ancient Greece to Hillary Clinton. Well worth the read.

Arundhati Roy- The God of Small Things- it won the Booker Prize. I can see why, an interesting use of language and a distinct style with a good plot. Only problem was that I struggled with it. The names and nicknames were hard for me to recall, who was who. The style was different ,but then the constant going backwards and forwards with the timeline confused then annoyed me. Language was interesting , it captured beautifully the make believe world and chatter of children who struggle to first make sense of the adult world before abandoning the attempt for their world of make believe. Throw in the caste system , love and marriage, the role if women, communism and there is a great book. Only two thirds of the way through I had had enough and just wanted the author to drop it all and just get on with telling the tale. But it did win the Booker, so that just proves I am a bit of a heathen, that I like a book to be straightforward!

S J Watson- Before I go to Sleep- good twisty pyschological thriller, Read in less than 24 hours. Christine has lost her memory. Every morning her husband Ben has to explain who she is, who he is, and how to stay safe whilst he is at work. Thrilled to find after I read this I had a recording of the film, which was good, but the book is much better.

Solomon Northup- 12 Years A Slave. It so happened that I also had recorded the excellent film 12 Years a Slave, which I watched this month and was pleased to see it was based on a book of the same name . I was even more pleased to get my hands on a copy of the book from the library. The film had been made a little more sensational than the book, but by and large it’s faithful to the true account in the autobiography. A harrowing read but one that is informative and very moving.

So that was my month in books and the last two set me to wondering if anyone had any thoughts on good film adaptations of books or some horrendous examples? And what about women in power, or the way older women are sidelined on TV, or the whole nightmare of trolling? Looking forward to some lively comments.

Happy reading.


Malvern Quilt Show- October 2021

Understandably other then errands and trips with family I am finding it hard to go out for just fun. I think of a nice idea then change my mind and don’t go. But I have turned a corner. On Thursday night whilst browsing the internet, ok Facebook, I came across a post in a knitting group I belong to announcing they had a stall at the Malvern Quilt Show. Now I have been to Malvern a few times when we lived in Oxfordshire, so I knew it was not too far away, I knew I would enjoy it when I got there, and admission was a mere £7 for an old bat like me. I went. I enjoyed it a lot. I took pictures.

The Malvern show is set on the Three Counties Showground, with stunning views of the Malvern Hills.

Now I confess that one of the draws not yet mentioned was that one of the exhibitors was Sheila Dalgleish, with whom back in the day when Mr T was about 4 years old and Mr J a mere babe in arms, and Mr B a mere twinkle in an eye, Sheila and I had been penfriends with a shared interest in cross stitch. Over the years we lost touch, school, work, growing old etc, but by another odd coincidence she had been at uni with my dear childhood friend Ms J, and long story short we re connected over you’ve guessed it Facebook. By now Sheila had retired and started an unexpected second career as an art quilt designer and maker. I was not going to pass up the chance to see them in the flesh so to speak.

So here are some of Sheila’s quilts and some by some other people..

A Lincolnshire group of Quilter’s calling themslevs LINQS had between them produced a series of quilts called The Viking Way

Just love this one, such fun

Another group called New Reflections Quilters also displayed several themes, one of which was trees.

It interests me that the ones I was drawn too are all pictorial. There were traditional quilts too all beautifully executed but lacking in meaning for me.

There were a few practical Covid type changes at this show from others I attended in Yorkshire, the aisles between stalls and displays were wider. You can’t look at the backs of quilts or handle them- no white gloves available. Hand sanitiser was provided at several places in the room. Many people wore masks but it was not uniform, and in the queue to enter hardly anyone did and there was no social distancing. I arrived at the start of the show on the first day and stayed about two hours. When I arrived there was pleny of space to move around, when I left at lunch time there were small bottlenecks of people. I felt safe and have tested negative this morning.

Did I buy anything? Well what do you think? What is a show without shopping? I only spend cash, that way I don’t get too carried away.

The Haul

And the really really good news is that there will be a Spring show next year. Hip Hip HOORAY.

Scrap Happy-October 2021

I was having a sort out and tidy up this week (quite a lot of that going on these day) when tucked under a pile of sunlounger cushions in the guest bedroom I unearthed a pillowcase standing to attention. It was a scrap happy project begun in January 2020, packed away ready for the house move, unpacked at this end and promptly disappeared.


Contents of pillowcase- picture frame not present.

The picture frame is what made the contents stand upright. Inside I have a load of scrappy fabrics busy auditioning for my version of the picture you can see. I had actually managed to sew the sky fabric to the ground floral fabric, before it became a UFO.

Time I think to turn the UFO into a WIP. Which is my way of saying that I haven’t a complete thing for a tahdah moment yet.

Magazine picture minus my clutter

Now for an even more shameful thing. The magazine is a Crafts Special by a UK magazine called Woman’s Weekly, dated May 2012. Humph.

So yesterday I put the fabric through it’s paces and here is the final cast, ready to have a dose of fabric spray and my attention on the sewing machine. It says machine embroidery, don’t know that I am that brave at the moment.

Anyway there it is. I have washed the pilow case and that’s now in the ironing pile so I can’t hide this away again.

Please pop over to Kate’s to see her Scrap Happy project and for the up to date links for everyone else-here-https://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com/

Thanks for coming here today.

Carrying On.

Once again, thank you everyone for your kind words and encouraging comments. I realise how lucky I am to have supportive family and friends and that includes all the bloggers whose posts lift my days and who leave me positive thoughts.

And of course the only thing for me to do now is carry on. The garden is looking forlorn again I am afraid. Mr E only got half way through putting up an ancient second hand greenhouse. It’s been dismantled now and gone off to a new home. It would have been too big for me, had I even been able to complete it, and it made me sad. My sons are going to help me clear the ground ,I have a skip being delivered next week for the rubble. I quite fancy planting fruit trees, apples maybe and a plum. Anyone have any advice please on fruit trees, variety, best time to plant and how deep they need to go.

Meantime, I picked the tomatoes I had put outside under the half greenhouse.

First job, the green tomatoes.

All chopped up and cooking nicely
Green Tomato chutney.

Which just left

A few green ones and some red ones
Tomato and basil soup
Lunch for several days and some for the freezer.

Wondering about the remaining green ones, will they won’t they ripen? At least I carried on with the plants Mr E had started.

Crafting however has been harder to carry on with. Concentration was lacking for a long time. But then it occurred to me that Master J’s birthday was in October and if I made a big effort I could finish his sleeveless jumper in time. I was overly optimistic! The First thing I did was stitch the armhole edge to the neckedge to pick up stitches for the neckband. Um,not what I meant to do for sure. Several hours later I unstitched the seam, repaired the armhole edge where I had cut the cast off edge, and joined the correct bits. I waited a while after that, and finally completed the jumper.

The yarn shade is called tomato ketchup.

I have now started my next knit, but only when my mind is fully focused.

Any guesses what I am knitting for Master T?

Cross stitch is also something I can manage at the moment. I had a lovely shopping session at Hobbycraft on Sunday after the harvest festival at church.

Should keep me out of mischief!

I am really enjoying reading your blogs again. Full of admiration for everyone doing Blogtober. Maybe next year.

Take care,

Cathy x

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