Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

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Monday Notebooks

I have finally got round to taking pictures of most of the rest of my notebooks, should you be interested!

The event book.

This is the one I use for recording the birthday and Christmas lists, cards and presents, given and received,and in which I make plans for the parties I organise. They are lovely to look back on.

Dad’s 90th Birthday

Happy days.

These are A4 size, and the top one is my journal which is now nearly full, the one underneath is for the New Year. I started this way back in 2013, it began as a record of things I was making, but gradually became a journal- it may go months without an entry, then followed by weeks of daily entries.

The first page!
This is the book in which I simply note the books I read.
Started in 2003.

I had the brilliant wheeze in 2003 of reading the books on my home book shelves and deciding whether I would ever read them again, and if not give them away. It was short lived, but I kept on writing down the books I read, I have an on going project to compile a list of 100 books that everyone should read- I’m still only half way there! A tick indicates that it was a good book- they need a star to be in the top 100 list!

And finally the latest additions to my notebooks.

are these.

The top plain one is for my morning pages, which I have kept up and am now on day 34. I used to think it made no odds if I wrote it at night, but it does. Things that have annoyed me during the day if written up at night seem to stoke the fury ( think hours on the phone listening to musack waste of time annoyance), whereas if I wait till morning I have mostly forgotten it.More importantly whilst feeling cross, knowing I am going to write it all down in the morning helps take the sting out of the source.

Also morning pages help me plan the day rather better- I still have to do lists, but writing in the morning helps clarify the thinking that goes into each item. Does this make sense?

The blue one underneath is the book I am using for the tasks mentioned in the Artist’s way in retirement- I have just started week four- a week can be quite flexible , which is why it’s bit adrift from the morning pages tally. I’m glad I started this, it’s giving me some useful insights, and the thoughts coming from it has produced some strange things I put on my Christmas wish list- for example I added chop sticks- I can’t use them, and on the rare occasions I go to a restaurant where they are used I am stuck! And embarrased by grand children who can. Time I learned. I’ve also suggested a kite!

I wonder has anyone else suggested unexpected gifts when asked for a wish list, or is it just me? I’m also on the look out for bubble mix and a ball. I found bubble mix in a GINORMOUS pot but I only want a little pot, and balls, where have all the balls gone? Second childhood here I come.

So that’s more or less it- there are of course more notebooks, but none that are used very regularly- if I get more then i will tell you!

I wonder has anyone else suggested slightly strange gifts, or is it just me? Last night husband said “why do want a bike now?” Well because there seem to be lots of cycle paths round here and it sounds fun- I don’t want to go 100s of miles!

Knit and Natter- Sunday

It’s ages and ages and ages since I did a knit and natter post- they used to be on a Friday, but here we are it’s a Sunday, maybe a new norm for me, we’ll see. In the UK we have locked down again, and today’s joyous news is that it will continue after the predicted end of December 2nd, region by region and in tiers according to risk. I just feel so sorry for everyone who’s livelihood is effected by it all. Hard to shop local when local is shut, the big boys must be thrilled to bits by it all.

Moving on swiftly, here’s what’s on my knitting needles at the moment, a glorious rainbow of colours, by special request from Master T for the V neck jumper in his favourite of all my multi coloured knits. The yarn is called Partytime, by James Brett and is chunky weight.

We worked out last weekend that people from two different households could meet up on a one to one basis outside- suddenly occured to me that I could meet up with my son for a walk during the week, when he is working from home and the children are in school, and we have done so twice. And it does feel like exercise and not a stroll, we go at a fair lick I can tell you- no time for photos, he’s on his lunch break, but so far from his house we have walked along an old canal and the route of an old railway line, now a footpath and a cycle route, and we can go further than when we have children with us, and I am seeing even more of my new town.

Amazing what you can do when you set your mind to it.

An added bonus this week is that the sun sets earlier and earlier and as the sun has moved in the sky I have sunsets I can see from the house. If you could only have the sun setting near you at certain times of the year, wouldn’t the end of autumn and Winter be the best time of all.

View from just outside the house.

Knitting, walks with my son and sunsets have kept me going this week- how about you ,what everyday joy has kept you going? Do please join in, we all need to chat….

Exploring the neighbourhood

So here we are in Lockdown the Second, exercise is permitted, andstaying local is encouraged. So I am exploring my neighbourhood, and enjoying the last days of Autumn.

The leaves are falling rapidly now and you can just about glimpse our house through the wood.
Still seems incredible to me that we have views like this in a massive and not very attractive large town.
just off the footpath there are pockets of trees, love the light that streams through.
Lady Lane

I have always walked up this road before, time to go down. On the right hand side was a mobile home site for the over 50s set in the grounds of an old Abbey.

To the left, the field wherein there are the roman ruins- houses at the bottom and the lane took me through this estate to a large road at the bottom which joins an even bigger road that goes all the way to Cirencester.

On my way home as the sun went down.

Scrap Happy- November 2020

Once again it’s a scrap happy day hosted by https://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com/2020/11/15/scraphappy-november-5/

So please do pop over there to read lots of posts with ideas on how to use up scraps. I am revisiting ideas for scraps which I have used before, so it may seem a bit familiar.

constructing a fabric box

And being on familiar territory this should have been a synch. However what you see before you is version two. Version one used much smaller fabric pieces in all sorts of odd shapes and sizes and drove me potty. I went back to my fabric boxes and had a moment thinking, then I needed a lie down- too much thinking-just kidding.

When we were tidying our last house prior to putting it on the market I did part with some tiny pieces of fabric, and again when we packed up I sort of rationalised the stash- probably just pushed it down in the box a bit more. It was only when I unpacked everything that I realised just how many projects I had in the pipeline with fabric all assigned that the full extent of the fabric supply became apparent. And the huge quantity of fabric scraps too. So what on earth was I doing trying to squeeze that which could not be squeezed from such tiny amounts of very odd shaped scraps, and making myself miserable into the bargain.

I binned all the tiny bits and started again, and as you can see what I actually used can hardly be called big bits of fabric, can they?

Fabric box for a pal for Christmas

I love the top of the box and the section I used for the front.

I have used scraps of this before and I love the fabric.
this will be her favourite side I think, as she has a little dog just like this.

As you may know I have started to write Morning Pages and to work my way slowly through Julia Cameron’s book on the artist’s way in retirement. De-cluttering has come up many times- letting go of your past- I divested myself of my working life sometime ago- my “office clothes” have gone, certificates for strange workshops/courses that you get sent on- gone- but what of craft supplies? What about the vast array of them? The horror, especially in Lockdown that I may run out of things to do. I mean, REALLY? Is that remotely likely?

Can I actually bear to go through my fabric and throw away the bits that really are too small to be usable, can I give myself permission to use bigger scraps- do I have to start with the smallest piece and have a fight? How does everyone else cope, can you throw away the smallest piece of leftover fabric or anything come to think of it?

Meantime whilst hunting through the supplies I found

leftover hexies from the unfinished hexie quilt

And I as I did get in a panic over not having enough to do in Lockdown the Second, I went to Hobbycraft stocked up with more stuff and two fabric bags.

Pretty shopping bags for me

I made some like these last year as presents and always meant to make myself some, and now I have.

They will be perfect for returning and collecting library books.

Now what shall I make for next month’s scrap happy day and will I sort out the fabric box? Place your bets.

Notes from the forlorn patch

I had thought I had written my last post for this year about our attempts to improve the rather forlorn patch of ground that pretends to be a garden, but things move on , oh so slowly.

The last of the tomatoes from our single plant are ripening by the window.

There are now three of these cloches in the deep bed, under which are signs of life in the form of broad beans.

The fat pigeons took too much interest in the deep beds- Mr E had a cunning plan- not sure about it myself.

That is a bird scarer- it flashes lights and makes a racket when I hang washing on the line- makes me jump everytime- doesn’t bother the birds though. The battery will wear out one day I suppose.

And that really is it I think for this year in the garden- the leaves are falling like crazy and we will need to collect them up- no bonfires- but mutterings of leaf mould! Oh Joy.

But the bulbs are poking out the tips of their leaves, Spring can’t be too far away. How is your garden looking- flush with gorgeousness or limping down towards Winter?

Solo Lockdown Stroll

We are in lockdown again in England- walks can be with your own household or just one other person- which rules out family walks now, and sadly Mr E isn’t always up for a walk these days. Not to be daunted I am exploring my immediate suuroundings, and my first excursion took me down the Ridge from home to where the Romans once built a temple, probably on the site of an even older sacred place- that magical place- a Spring.

Roman site

There’s not a great deal to see, but a helpful board came in handy.

so that’s what is under the grass, wish I could have seen it.
wow it was quite something.
just a few lumps and bumps now.
back up the hill to home.

Behind the trees to the left is our house. If the Romans hadn’t got here first then there would be more houses on the hillside and we would not have chosen to move here. Now there’s a thought!

Absolutely had to take this picture of the gorgeous red berries.

Wonder what else I will discover on local lockdown outings? I wonder how well everyone knows their own immediate surroundings- maybe others will find new things on their doorstep- would love to know.

Last walk before Lockdown.

In England we have gone back into Lockdown- no more family walks for a month or more. We took advantage of pleasant Autumnal weather for one last rather muddy walk.

In Standen Park where we found some impressive sculptures.

Shark attack.

Just has to be riden.

Now where are they off too?

Dolphin and seal.

Also needs riding,

I just love that here we are in the middle of English countryside miles from the sea and we have marine life!

Going to miss my family walks, oh well that’s life.

Stay safe and try to be happy everyone.

Yarn Along- November 2020

Ok so let’s start with giving you a giggle- I have never tried taking a photo of myself in a mirror and clearly have a lot to learn on how to do it without masking face and not showing clutter in the house.

One sleevless jumper.

At least you can’t see the clutter- believe me I had several attempts and this is my best photo- next time I may just try tidying up a bit first!

So onto my next project and my current book.

Grandson T has asked for another bright coloured jumper with V neck- I may even have it done by Christmas. It’s James Brett partytime yarn again and has a cabled front which does require a modicum of concentration from me, but then the rest of it is straight stocking stitch and ideal TV snuggled down knitting in the evening.

Now the book, came highly recommended a while ago but has taken some tracking down- wasn’t available at all in the library at our old house, but was available here- one copy. I requested it in August and it took the powers that be until last week to track it down and send it to my branch.

Briefly the plot is small boy falls from the roof of a block of flats and it is thought to be an accident- except Smilla can read his footprints in the snow and knows he was chased onto the roof and so fell- question is by whom and why.

Now here’s the thing- it makes me laugh- not the plot but the writing- ever so often there’s a throw away line at the end of a paragraph and I chuckle- two lines later I’m thinking did he really write that and go back, re read the paragraph and laugh again. But nowhere on the blurb on the cover does it mention humour. I am now mystified. Most books that claim to be hilarious and laugh out loud funny just leave me cold, I am lucky if they raise one smile.

Why oh why do I find this funny? I check reviews- the book is refered to as a classic cult novel, but seems to depress or bore and disappoint a lot of readers.

I try to work out how to describe the humour- is it sarcastic- I look up sarcasm on t’internet- the lowest from of wit or the highest from of intelligence- take your pick. Then I find irony is close to sarcasm and is often miss named such. Sarcasm is designed to hurt someone on a personal level- irony may have the same content but does not hurt.

Now a few years ago I had a boss who told me that a member of staff didn’t understand my humour and thought I was being sarcastic , he knew I wasn’t but could I tone it down a bit. I really had no idea what he meant , but stopped joking around with this person with whom I hardly had any contact anyway.

Further research on irony told me that it’s a very popular form of humour in Denmark- maybe I was just born in the wrong country! And having done a DNA test whch revealed a tiny bit of Scandanavia in me, maybe I am a tiny bit Danish- after all I do like bacon and can snuggle down at home with the best of them!

Suffice to say I am enjoying the book a lot.

Linking with Ginny for https://www.gsheller.com/2020/11/yarn-along-326.html

Do check out the other yarn along posts- I shall be embracing my inner Dane with yarns galore.

Happy Halloween

Well I don’t expect many trick or treaters this year for sure, but what we have had instead has been better.

We live on quite a big housing estate- albiet with lots of green spaces, a terrific view and three children’s playgrounds. Everyone I have met has been friendly and in the warmer weather I had some nice chats with neighbours. I will be honest I’d been looking forward to halloween this year and lots of children dressed up calling for treats, but clearly that was not going to be.

Then I found that the area I live in has its own Facebook page, and via that a witchery scarecrow trail had been made- I was too late to join in and make a scarecrow but I have put up some things I had made in previous years- not that anyone other than my immediate neighbour, the postman and family will see them- but I have tried to join in.

What has been an absolute joy for the last week is that when I have ventured out there have been little groups of adults and children doing the round and scarecrow spotting. People have been commenting on Facebook about how much their children have enjoyed it.

Of course I have had a walk round to see some of the scarecrows- we all can vote for our three favourite ones. So here are my favourites so far..

The one next door- I shall certainly vote for him.

Master T’s favourite- the ghost in the tree.
Gareth Bale ( nb in you case you don’t get this, Gareh Bale is a footballer and this guy is sat on a hay bale). It made me chuckle.
Bet you all know who this is!
Love this one- my second favourite.

This last one is my absolute favourite.

Trainee do we think or just had one too many?

Happy Halloween, hope your neighbourhood has made an effort this year, we all need a bit of frivolity from time to time.

October books- 2020

Another good month for books- here they are, and please do let me know if you have read any of these.

A S Byatt- Possession- A Booker prize winner. It’s a beautiful book – well written and plotted with many layers. Essentially two young researchers in 1986 stumble accross some letters between two Victorian poets- one a supposedly happily married man and one an icon for lesbianism/feminism. Reputations are at stake in academia- collectors are at bay- can they uncover the truth. The scene is London, Brittany and wait for it my little bit of North Yorkshire- Whitby, Scarborough, Filey, the moors, the North Yorks Moors Railway, Goathland and even Pickering gets a mention. It’s quite a long book and the narrative is laced with poetry and letters- some of which I confess to having skipped- poems are based on fairy tales and myths and may not be accessible to people. Having said that it was a most enjoyable read and I can see why it won the Booker prize. Love to know if anyone else has read it- did you skip bits?

Rebecca Griffiths- The Primrose Path- A good thriller/murder mystery set in London, Northampton but mostly in mid Wales. Sarah was abducted and held captive for 11 days- now the kidnapper is due to be released and Sarah goes into hiding. Don’t be put off by the first two pages, it’s not all like this at all. Lots of twists at the end ,some I saw coming, most I didn’t! A good read on an Autumn day!

Kate Morton- The House at Riverton– I loved this book very much indeed. I don’t think I have ever read a book where I felt the ending didn’t matter but that is just how I felt about this as the read was so good. The story is set in a beautiful manor house from the 1910s to the present day- told through the memories of Grace who began life as a parlour maid before becoming an archiologist- she tells the story of the family that lived there and of the tragedy that occured by the Lake. In the present day Grace is recording her story for her grandson and “advising” a film maker on the authenticity of settings. An excellent book – so enjoyable that 50 pages can just disapper as you read. I’m putting it on my best 100 books list because it does evoke a period in our recent past very well indeed- the war, bright young things , the roaring twenties, the role of women, the class struggle, the decline of gorgeous houses….Thanks to everyone who sang this books praises- you were so right.

Terry Hayes-I am Pilgrim– so I’ll begin with a warning- there a few sections which are hard to read because of the content- you can skip them with ease. A political thriller- essentially the search by an undercover agent for a terrorist following 9/11. I’m not going to say anymore about the plot as I don’t want to spoil it.. the author has carefully plotted the story- when he needs a character to know the lay out of the land/ a helpful person he sets out a back story, and there are a lot scenes like this. An enjoyable read of a well crafted book, and yes I did skip a couple of sections.

Ann Cleeves- Red Bones- If you have never read a book by this author then do so- her murder mysteries are well crafted and a joy to read. This one is from her Shetland series and didn’t disappoint. Not saying another word as I don’t want to spoil it for you.

I had a birthday this month- think my family knows me well..

walks, murder mystery, self knowledge, cookery, card making and embroidery.

There were other treats too, like a bunch of flowers

lucky old me.

Think the books will keep me out of mischief for a while. I wondered has anyone got any books they are asking for this Christmas, or have you already bought some for someone else. To my mind you just can’t have enough books.

The weather has turned in England this month- well and truly Autumnal- time for getting out the blankets and quilts and curling up with a nice warm drink and good book. Bliss.

Happy reading,


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