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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,

Cathyx

Morning Pages

Some of the comments in my posts about my notebooks revealed that many people write morning pages. In case you’ve not heard of them before I believe they are the creation of Julia Cameron in her series of books called The Artists Way. She advocates that as soon as you can on waking each day you write in long hand three pages about anything that comes into your mind, from household worries to the weird dream you had in the night. Thus you will free your mind for a wonderful day in front of you.

I have tried them twice in the past as a result of reading and starting out on the tasks in The Artist’s Way- I have never lasted long with them- they quickly become a journal of the days activites and then I start writing them at night, which isn’t the point. And I’ll be honest I have never got beyond the first month’s worth of activities in the book- I gave it to a charity shop in the end.

So I was wondering has anyone ever got to the end of the book and completed the activities- apart from Morning Pages does anyone still make a point of doing an Artist’s date every week by themsleves?

Someone mentioned the book she wrote on the same theme called Vein of Gold- I borrowed it from the library, and it begins in pretty much the same way as The Artist’s Way. Then I noticed she had written another version specifically for retired people, and I have been lucky enough to receive a copy from a family member for my birthday. The good thing about this version- you still have the same tasks but scaled down for an old crusty like me- walks are reduced to twice a week and twenty minutes for example.

Now I have a very scatterlogical approach to life, and flit from one thing to another at the drop of a hat, which is ok in some ways but leaves me frustrated in others, nothing ever seems to be as good as I hoped, and then I find something I made a few years back and find myself thinking my goodness me that wasn’t so bad after all.

this cushion for example popped up on my Facebook page, I can’t beleive I managed this.

I’m my own strongest critic, and sometimes this really gets in my way.

So yet again I have started morning pages and to work through the tasks- I merely started to think about things from childhood yesterday and found myself surprisingly upset by some memories- it’s going to be painful.

I’ve written a weeks worth of morning pages- I choose the cheapest notebook I could find- 50p from Asda Walmart- because I want it to be truly disposable afterwards, and a much nicer one but still inexpensive for the tasks, because at the end I want to be able to throw it away.

Love to know how everyone else copes with their inner critic- have you followed these books- do you do morning pages- how do they work for you?

Thanks, and happy creating to everyone.

The less forlorn patch

I was reminded the other day that I hadn’t written about the fettling of the forlorn patch for a while. Last time I wrote the garden looked like a building site and the summer house had sustained an injury to the door- the glass had broken and a hinge was off.

I advertised for people to come and fix it on various well known websites to get a quote from good people. Four people responded. Number one, wouldn’t answer his phone or call back, Number two failed to turn up to quote, number three gave three quotes at high prices, number four gave a sensible quote but failed to come and do the job. HUMPH.

Then one day whilst enjoying a nice cup of tea I hear a strange noise in the hall.

that really is Mr E rolling out lead strips removed from the broken glass with a bottle of elderflower or some such beverage. It didn’t work!

But he did fix the hinge on the door- an engineers approach rather than a carpenters approach was required- but credit where it’s due- the door opens and closes.

see hinge bottom right- an engineers fix

Next step

actually sheer genius!

Perspex sheet with gaffer tape cut into strips to mimic lead.

Summer house nice and dry again.

Meantime two deep beds have been installed.

veg beds

The seeds Miss F and I planted have flourished.

not bad for a 25p packet of seeds

A month since I took this picture and they are still flowering. We don’t have a greenhouse yet, and the hillock on the old rockery is still there- both will wait till the Spring now I guess. But I have planted some bulbs and wallflowers and

a little splash of colour.

Things are a little less forlorn out there !

Bibury

After our picnic lunch at Burford we drove a few miles to Bibury, Gloucestershire. William Morris thought it the prettiest village in England, and it is very pretty, but I’m not sure I would call it the prettiest village in England- that sort of statement always begs the question of did he actually visit all the villages before his pronouncement. Never mind lets take a stroll.

River at Bibury

The river divides Bibury on the right hand side from Arlington on the left, but people now just think of all of it as Bibury.

The William Morris Bed and Breakfast and Tea room- sadly closed on the day we visited.

Across the river is Arlington row- a much photographed row of weavers cottages. Now in the care of the National Trust. Windows were added to the upper storey of the cottages to allow light in for weaving looms.

Arlington Mill. When we first visited this village (Mr B now 31 was a toddler) this mill was a working museum and you could buy their flour. Sadly it’s now a holiday house which you can rent.

Back across the bridge we went to the church, more in hope than expectation.

I cannot tell you adequately how thrilled I was to discover it open, nor to explain how moved I was to be in a quiet village church after all these months of not being able to go in to one. Surfice it to say there were tears. Just to be able to sit on a pew and relax in the peace that surrounded me was incredible- I knew I had missed my church visits, just not how much.

Floral display- the candle was lit throughout the time in which people could not enter as a symbol of hope. The yellow cards the prayers.
The font with a harvest festival arrangement.

Fonts are incredible I think- the place where countless babies have been welcomed into the church, and even where buildings are modernised the fonts stay the same through each phase.

Found on the wall at the back of the church.

It seems to me that in all churches there is always something unique to be found.

Leaving you with one final image the start of Autumn.

I hope you enjoyed this little visit to Bibury. Where next I wonder…..

So much fun visiting all these new places.

Scrap Happy- October 2020

Two cross stitch cards for my October grandchildren- Little Miss F who is 7

and toddler J who is now

and certainly not a Monster.

Linking with https://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com/ for Scrap Happy Day. Both cards made from scraps! Do check out the other projects from the makers creating scrap happiness.

Monday Notebooks#6

So I have finally reached the last two notebooks that lurk on the shelf under the coffee table.

The last two notebooks

Like the one I shared in my very first notebook post these are used for jottings mostly from when I am online- family history, book recommendations, craft ideas and how tos, the odd recipe, online course notes or tutorials- the course I did on Richard the third for example, talks I prepped for the U3A along with records of the walks I led.

So I have three notebooks with similar themes. Unlike the diary, the nature journal, my family organiser, family history memoir, everything and anything can be in them, and frankly when I looked back at them they are very random, a bit of a muddle and not really user friendly.

I have really enjoyed reading everyone’s comments on the notebooks they keep and use that these last two have made me stop and think a while. Yes it’s very good to have a notebook to hand for these random things, but no use when it comes to finding anything in them.

So a decision- I do like a decision- I need MORE notebooks- ones to transcribe these jottings into so I can find things- imagine one notebook for craft projects, ideas etc, one notebook for the family history things to follow up, one for – well I don’t know but yippee more notebooks needed!

Of course I do have more notebooks in the rest of the house- we have barely scratched the surface, but I do like the idea of being a bit more organised with the things I jot down and would like to keep/access!

So thanks to everyone for all the useful comments on the subject of notebooks they really are very helpful. Thanks as always to Katie at the Cozy Burrow for her inspiration of these posts.

Do you jot do things from the internet/tv/radio- do you go back to them and follow them up?

Burford

On Wednesday the sun was shining and a day out sounded perfect- into the next county of Oxfordshire is the delightful market town of Burford.

Burford High Street

Burford is the quintessential Cotswold Town- beautiful mellow stone buildings mixed with much older ones.

Weavers Cottage

The Cotswold area prospered from the 18th Century when common land was enclosed so that landowners could raise sheep- the rewards of the wool industry can be seen in magnificent stone buildings, but these weavers cottages are much older and part timber built. The windows in the upper floors are very big to allow extra light in for the men who did the weaving. The women would be spinning the wool on the ground floor- now these buildings are shops and flats.

An eclectic mix of buildings
Beautiful mix of styles- I love the slate roofs.
The Market Hall

Here in the market hall where traditional markets were held on market day there are still goods for sale- currently pillows and bed linen. There is also a little museum in here- but guess what- Closed for you know what- another museum to add to my to be visited list.

With prosperity in a town comes building- here the rather super church, so big I couldn’t fit it into one picture.

We couldn’t enter as it was closed for essential maintenance- health and safety, apparently.

The spire is rather magnificent.

School entrance

Prosperity meant the building of schools- this the entrance for the Girls and Infants- you can just about make out the carvings still- we didn’t spot the boys entrance. When I started school the big boys still had their own entrance and a special playground as they were deemed too rough in their play to mix with the girls and infants. What a subtle message that conveys to children.

Almshouse

As well as churches and school an Almshouse was built for the benefit of the elderly.

Rebuilt in 1828

And after our wander round which included lots of browsing in independent shops- we picked up a replacement wire for our cheese board, a book from a charity shop and a postcard to send to my step- brother- we both collect postcards, we headed back to the car where I was able to get a rather nice shot of the

steeple.

We ate our sandwiches and drank our coffee in the car and then headed off for an afternoon in the next county of Gloucetershire. Love all my new county boundaires!

I hope you enjoyed this little visit- did your school have separate entrances and playgounds for the “big boys”?

Yarn Along- October 2020

Better late than never – link to Ginny’s Yarn Along https://www.gsheller.com/2020/10/yarn-along-october-3.html Thanks Rachel for showing me the right icon to do this! You are star- Rachel’s link for YarnAlong is https://thelittleroomofrachell.com/2020/10/08/yarn-along-october/

I am STILL knitting my sleeveless jumper- but the back is done and the front is nearly at the armhole edging- who knows I may get it finished before November.

I finished this book last night and it’s a very good psychological thriller- don’t be put off by the first two pages- it’s not all like this. A good yarn indeed.

Love to know if you are knitting at the moment- seems to be an Autumn thing and have you read any good books recently? I’ll do a bigger review of the book in my October books post.

Monday Notebooks #5

This notebook isn’t the pretiest one I use, but arguably it is the most important.

As I said not very pretty, but oh so useful

Here is where I write down the jobs for the month, and meals for a week. Now some months go by without a list and some weeks without a menu plan, but looking back across the years is fun. Well I enjoy it- lets do a few.

October 2016- reminders to get the chimney swept and order in logs- printing off photos, planting bulbs and October visits. First Monday in the month- goulash for dinner.

October 2017-Visit to Borthwick library in York- full of interesting things for the family historian, arrange chimney sweep, order logs, clean oven ( no tick against that!) First Monday in the month- vegetable paella ( now we haven’t had that for ages recently, so a reminder of a meal we like)

October 2018- family visits to Cornwall and Wales ( the last time I saw my lovely Mum), Chimney and logs again, planning a walk for the U3A, meeting friends for coffee and getting my haircut. First Monday of the month we were away, but we had shepherds pie on the Tuesday.

October 2019- clearly harrassed and full of time spent house hunting- all I have written is reminders of family birthdays. We didn’t order logs or get the chimney swept, and I have no idea what we ate.

October 2020- visit my new accountant, family birthday reminders, repair to the summer house, plant bulbs, haircut, and for dinner tonight- Goulash!

Do you keep a reminder of birthday dates, jobs to do each month- what about menu planning, do you do it, keep a record to look back on for inspiration? Do you keep these notebooks when they are full, I know I do !

Thanks to The Cozy Burrow for the inspiration behind these Monday posts.

I have been swapped over by wordpress to their new flippin editor, so don’t blame me if this post looks terrible- I’m learning again how to post!

September Books- 2020

Since the library re-opened my reading has gone back to previous levels- something to do with deadlines for returning books, except the loans are now being issued well into December.

This month I have read

Sarah J Harris- The Colour of Bee Markham’s Murder- Jasper lives with his Dad as his Mum died, and he still grieves for her as she was the only one who fully realised how life was when you don’t recognise faces, and instead see and hear things as colours. There is a murder and a mystery to be solved, but only Jasper knows the answers, and somehow has to find the truth with the help of his Dad, neighbours, police and social workers. There is humour in the book and the author treads the right side of the line between laughing with and not at Jasper’s difficulties. It did give me a better understanding of the condition, and was well written and plotted.

Adele Brand- The Hidden World of the Fox- a well written book that informs and appreciates the fox. Enjoyable, but wish the picture quality was better.

Beth Underdown- The Witch Finder’s Sister- based on the true story of Matthew Hopkin’s hunt for witches in Essex in the 1640’s. It is known that he was one of five children, four of whom were male, so it is probable that the remaining sibling was a girl. It’s a well written novel that gradually builds the menace of these times. And since it sent me to the internet to read more, passes one of my tests for saying something is a good read. Perfect for your Autumn reading.

Peter May- I’ll Keep you Safe- a really enjoyable muder mystery, set in the Hebrides, Paris and New York. A young couple have a weaving business and seem very happy, until Ruairdh ( pronounced Rory) is killed in an explosion. The back story gradually unfolds as a list of suspects grows… some twists I saw coming, some I didn’t.  Very satisfying and not at all gruesome. I shall read more from this author for sure.

A J Pearce- Dear Mrs Bird- Emmeline goes to work for a women’s magazine during WW2, typing the answers to letters to the Agony Aunt, Mrs Bird who does not like any letters with UNPLEASANTNESS and won’t answer them. Emmeline takes it upon herself to write back behind Mrs Bird’s back. Themes are love, friendship, the war, women’s role in society, and the book is utterly charming- a lovely gentle read for a Winter’s eve. Enjoy.

And that’s it for this month- I have 8 book in my to be read pile from the library- I top it up when I have three books to return by requesting three more. It’s a system and seems to work for me. How do you manage your library books now? What are you reading today and is it any good?

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