Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Archive for July, 2022

July books-22

Only three books this month, but the First one was at least quite big!

Colleen McCullough-The Thorn Birds– this book appeared on the Big Jubilee book list, produced for the Queen’s jubilee, 70 books written by authors across the Commonwealth, one from each year of her reign. This book was a runaway best seller when first published, and its surprising I had never read it. Set mostly in Australia, but also in London, Rome and New Zealand, it’s a multi generational narrative set on a huge sheep station, covering lives and loves. It was enjoyable. The cover likened it to Gone with the Wind, in that it’s a big historical novel covering settlers. Probably less controversial these days than GWTW. A Good read.

John Boyne- The Echo Chamber– I read a review of this on a blog, and placed my library reservation straightaway. It’s really a book for the 2020s. Very funny, says the things you ask youself about the Twitterati , Instagrammer poser, woke and cancelled culture, troll world that swirls around us. I think the time I had finally decided I became a dinosaur was when my solicitor’s firm started adding their preferred he/him, she/hers after their names! So as not to spoil the plot I am using the back cover blurb only..The Cleverley family live a gilded life…. they will go on a journey of discovery through the jungle of modern living, where reputations can be destroyed in a moment…I found it laugh out loud funny whilst nodding my head in agreement so often. Read and enjoy.

Muriel Spark- The Girls of Slender Means– another one from the Jubilee List, appearing for 1963. It’s more a novella than a novel, just 141 pages. Nicholas Farringdon is murdered in 1963 in Haiti. Back in 1945 he was a would be poet but a dramatic event led to a religious conversion and his becoming a missionary. The book concerns the events that occurred at The May of Teck club in 1945 between VE day and VJ day, and the Young women who lived there, a hostel if you like, for those following poorly paid careers. What can I say really, it’s a modern classic but I just didn’t get it, it seems dull. I fully accept that it’s me and not the book. Love to know if anyone loves this book and why please?

And that’s it for July 22. My current read is the follow on from Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel, called Bring up the Bodies. 484 pages to enjoy, lovely.

Love to know of any recent good reads, or your current book. I have four more library books already out , plus five on request. Unlimited request subscription seemed like a very Good idea, but I think I might have to reign in my enthusiasm a tad.


Balance- July22

I knew July and August would be tough months for various reasons. Firstly, hot weather and me don’t go together well. Secondly, July is Mr E’s birthday and August would have seen our wedding anniversary and the anniversary of Mr E’s death last year. Thirdly, usual every day groups and social activities grind to a halt for long summer holidays. So with this mind , I laid down some plans.

Humph! Things went really well for a few days. I watched and enjoyed Wimbledon -the tennis, and knitted, and the chaps came back and repaired the Summer House roof. I went to a school concert and cheered on Master T playing his drums (already studying Grade 5), and Miss F on the piano (Grade2). Then, the following day I heard that the two people I had sat between had tested positive for Covid, caught from independent sources. The following day I had a sore throat and fatigue set in. I got progressively worse, yet returned a run of negative Covid tests. Eventually I was persuaded to go the doctor, and was prescribed antibiotics and drops. It was all I could do to work out a timetable for taking my meds. It’s taken two weeks to get better, during which we endured the hottest temperatures in the UK on record, and all I have managed to do each day is the bare minimum of chores, and sleep. It has been a struggle to get through each day, emerging now and extremely grateful to family who told me to seek medical advice.

Things like concern for the food I ate and exercise just went out of the window.

I cancelled most of the things I’d had in mind to do this month. What is it they say about best laid plans? I missed a walk, the last poetry session, a church meeting and a family picnic. Instead I slept. The knitting is in my bag in exactly the same state it was on Gentleman’s Final Day at Wimbledon. The sewing project I planned on making for Baby P is lying just as I left it on the dining room table.

But it was only a throat infection, and I have now managed to get through (covid in January) two spells of minor ill health without the comfort of a partner. It is an achievement of sorts.

I was well enough and lucky enough to go to the cemetery with two of my Boys on Mr E’s birthday, and we did go for a family meal afterwards. We talked of happier times.

I was well enough on Saturday to go to a half day workshop at the Arts Centre. My plans were not all in vein after all.

Unexpected illness of a very minor nature only threw me off balance for a relatively short time, it just wasn’t nice.

Meantime, I’m in the market for a new tumble dryer, some light bulbs for the lounge and the kitchen clock needs new batteries. I want to tackle the garage next month for which I need a skip. The boiler is due a service in August. Tessa is coming to help again with the garden, which currently looks very brown but did provide the slugs with a Good feed, and I have a wonderful week in Yorkshire to look forward too.

I will survive!

Joining with Carolyn for one word monthly review. Link here..https://youronewordblog.wordpress.com/2022/07/24/

Lavender Bags

I have really enjoyed my first full term at the U3A embroidery group. Everyone has been incredibly friendly and welcoming. My biggest challenge was finding portable projects which don’t take up much space in a group. I do tend to spread a lot! I also wanted things that didn’t challenge me too much so I could stitch and talk at the same time, the japanese rice bag and felted landscape fitted the bill well.

I enjoyed looking round the internet for suitable projects and imagine my delight when I found a company I thought had vanished. Do you recall or know Cloth Kits. They were based in Lewes in Sussex. A few years ago we were near there and I thought to visit the shop, but they were gone. Well turns out the company is alive and well, and is now in Chichester, Sussex. I popped in an order, including this lavender bag kit, perfect for my group.

Felt Lavender Houses by Corinne Lapierre

I really enjoyed stitching these, and there is felt, stuffing, threads and lavender leftover to make more…

I hope to start a more complicated project in September.

July Scrap Happy-22

Or another felted landscape, using the scraps leftover from a felting evening class I attended 10 plus years ago, back in the day when there were evening classes.

Lots of green and blue and a splosh of yellow, begining to needlefelt.
Lots more yellow, a wobbly house and what I hope look like cedar trees.
Adding some stitches and two buttons which were in need of a home.
Pretty darned cute buttons

I’m enjoying my return to felting. I might even try wet felting again.

Please check Kate’s site for links to other scrappy projects here https://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com/2022/07/15/scraphappy-july-5/

Corsham, town walk.

So, I have joined a U3a group which once a month explores a town or village focusing on its history and development. Perfect for me who is still learning about the area I moved to two years ago. As it happens we actually did some house hunting here in Corsham, and whilst we liked the houses realised the town was just that little bit too far for us to visit our London based family within a daytrip. As far as I recall we did have a pitstop coffee break in the modern arcade of shops but totally missed all the more interesting and attractive parts of the town. Had we seen them it might have made our decision much harder.

Anyway let’s begin,

Once a private home, this is now an Independent (fee paying) school. The town was clearly very prosperous at one time. Many huge houses all built upon the wool trade for which the Cotswold area is famous.

There are also many peacocks that have free reign in the town. We spotted three but my photo was rubbish.

The row of cottages on the right were built for the Flemish weavers in the 17th century by Paul Methuen, Lord of the Manor living in Corsham Court. The weavers had fled religious persecution in their own country. Their skill ensured the importance of the wool trade for the town until the 19th century and the Industrial Revolution.

The chaps you can see right hand side up ladders were repairing the old wooden sash windows, and making a right old racket. Our guide had to shout! The cottage to the right with the White windows was the site of the town’s First fire station built circa 1800.

The yellow house was once a Temperance Hotel.

Note the little mouse on this memorial to a local dignatory that was added by the team that carried out the restoration in 2007.
Building on the right is now the town hall, previously called the Methuen Hall and built as a market hall. The lower part was originally open, but closed in 1882 to facilitate the building of the second floor. During the first World war it was used as a hospital for soldiers, in total 875 men were treated here by 75 nurses.

Apparently the pub next door does a good lunch!

The High Street which has been used in many a Costume drama including a fictitious town in The Suspicions of Mr Whicher and standing in for Truro in Poldark.
At the end of the High Street is Corsham Court- a Saxon Royal Manor House, home to the Metheun Family, and rebuilt in 1582 as an Elizabethan house. Open to the public, I shall return for a visit.
St Bartholomew’s church is conveniently next door. I’ll be back to see inside too, but we were headed off to see this gravestone.
Well I never. Maybe I won’t need to replace my gold tooth after all!

We had a brief stroll down an attractive avenue of trees from the house through the park to see the Almshouses.

It included a schoolroom, a masters house and six dwellings and stands in four acres of land. Built in 1688 for Lady Margaret Hungerford, widow of Lord Edward Hungerford who commanded Cromwell’s Wiltshire forces during the Civil War.

There is still so much to see in this town. It really was a treat to visit. Hope you enjoyed it too!

Free Motion Machine Embroidery.

Remember this picture when I bottled out of the free motion machine embroidery, and settled for hand stitching? I said I’d do something about my lack of skill.

Well I was thrilled to bits when I found a suitable workshop in the nearby town of Cirencester. The tutor was excellent. My fellow workshoppers friendly, and progress was made.

First attempt using a round frame.
Second attempt, no frame, bondaweb on the back for stabilty.
Third attempt drawing round biscuit cutters for guidance, and getting better.

And finally


Worth doing the workshop. And in due course I do have another project way down the pipeline that requires free motion machine embroidery.

Friday Finish

So long since I finished anything I almost forgot what it feels like. So without further ado here is cardigan with 28 handsewn bobbles.

Pattern and yarn is Sirdar Snuggly

When I saw the pattern I assumed the bobbles were knitted as part of the whole , but No. Knitted separately and sewn on…

Best bit is choosing the buttons.

Cute or what?

For Baby P of course. And best thing about a finish is starting a new project. Hurrah.

I need a hurrah, catastrophic dental failure yesterday, my much prized gold tooth is no more. 26 years I have had that… I shall be seeing my dentist rather a lot this Summer. Thank goodness for emergency appointments yesterday and today. The perils of an aging bod!

Oldest son’s birthday this weekend, trying to decide if steak would be pushing my luck with the temporary fix as I join him and the family for a celebratory nosh. Life hey.

Mustn’t grumble! Wimbledon and knitting for me this afternoon.

Cathy x

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