Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

March books- 2021

Another Good month for books! Here’s what I have been reading.

Kazuo Ishiguro- A Pale View of Hills- 1952, Nagasaki- we meet the pregnant Etsuko and her friend Sachiko, a wealthy woman reduced to working in a noodle shop and her daughter. Present day- England Etsuko is haunted by the death of her first daughter. I found it an interesting and enjoyable book, until the end- I don’t like enigmatic endings- I want my endings to be clear, even if it’s that memories are not straight forward- I can live with that, but I spent a while trying to figure out the various daughters… my fault I expect I was reading the novel for its place in time and not as an unreliable narrator novel. I’ve read reviews since with everyone saying they need to re-read it to fully understand it. What do I know – apparently it won prizes. Love to know what anyone else thought if they had read this.

Richard Osman- The Thursday Murder Club- This was a birthday gift from my son Mr J last year. Decided it was high time I read it. It’s jolly good , set in a retirement village, where you’ve guessed it some residents meet on a Thursday to solve old crimes- think New Tricks (TV Programme) meets Three Things about Elsie/ Elizabeth is Missing (books). It’s totally charming, and I didn’t forsee any of the ending. Just a delight- the cosiest of cosy murder mysteries.

Sebastian Faulks- Birdsong- What a wonderful book- one from the Channel five list. Yes it’s about WW1, but there is a love story to begin with and great grandson at the end. I found it fascinating and moving- no glorification of war here, but fear, cowardice, bravery, dispair, and all for what? Absolutely magnificent, and certainly one for my top 100 list, which is filling slowly, if you look at the page called My top 100 books.

Liane Moriarty- Big Little Lies- Well it is a very good book, but it unsettled me a lot. I found myself being drawn into the story while feeling a real sense of menace- did I want to read it or not? I gather there was TV series, which I totally missed- probably not on ordinary TV but some pay through the nose channel. Anyway the themes are friendship, relationships, bullying, domestic violence, love and the school yard- the children and the parents. As it happens I collected my grandchildren from school this week, all by myself- instead of just going along for the ride- couldn’t help noticing that no-one was wearing their power business suits- all that working from home- everyone was in jeans and casual wear- not like the last time I did a school run, some 20 years ago- that aside- it did make me wonder what under currants there were – I tried not to stare as I did my wondering. I have included this book in my top 100- it says a lot about the times we live in, especially in the week in which a woman was kidnapped and murdered whilst walking home one evening in London which then led to a vigil for her one night which the police then broke up in a heavy handed way under Covid legislation. Love to know what you thought if you have read it. Did you feel the menace I speak of?

Ian Rankin- Knots and Crosses- This one was from the Channel Five list. I’ve not been a fan of the Rebus TV series so wasn’t sure what I would make of this book. It’s the very first Rebus book, and gives the backstory of Rebus’ s army career and personal life. It was ok. Probably won’t bother with anymore in the series, but never say never. The thing I did like was he is a Detective Sergeant therefore not the bod in charge. Made a nice change.

Laura Ingalls Wilder- Little House in the Big Wood. Utterly charming children’s story. Thanks to everyone who has mentioned it in recent weeks. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Who knew you could eat bears, and that there are panthers in America and maple syrup is sap. The life seems to have been hard but happy. I am just full of admiration for all the skills they had. We have lost a lot.

And that’s it for March. The exceedingly good news from my viewpoint, is that I had an email telling me my local library is re-opening next month, no more trekking into the rather grotty town centre.

Classic editor

Did it, only not sure I will ever be able to do it again! I was in New fangled editor and went to the add a block bit, then in the search space wrote classic, and here I am, with the super old editor.Will it be here tomorrow or will I have to start again? Time alone will tell..


My life has been beset with holes. First this one

Tile off in the wind last week.

This one to be precise- it missed the back of my car by milli wotsits- there was mud on the car, well mossy bits, but no damage.

Anyway cue major panic mode from me. Mr E far too busy sorting out the fetching of a second hand greenhouse to help find a roofer, like STRAIGHT AWAY- over night rain predicted, me headless chicken impersonation. Son sends me a mobile phone for one Wayne who patched his roof the week previously from a mice infestation, does Wayne respond to my urgent panic stricken phone call- Wayne does not.

I try deep breathing- it doesn’t seem to help find a roofer NOW. I google roofers- up pops and ad with a phone number. Phone call answered straightaway, by a very nice lady who will speak to George, who may not be able to come out today as his wife just gave birth- that seems like a reasonable reason. George via the nice lady will send someone out the next day, and the felt will keep any rain off the inside of the house- not sure I believe this, but decide it’s best to try to pretend I do and calm down. Indeed following day George does send round two very nice chaps who fit a new tile and do a quick skeg of the rest of the roof and say it looks ok. The tile has been up a week, and all seems well- I check every day, and park my car further from the roof, but it sticks out a bit and I worry my neighbour will bosh it, so I check that every day too.

More worrying was looking out of the window later, Mr E said he was going to re seed/turf this patchy bit of grass.

My Goodness I thought as a large hole started to appear- he’s digging my grave. I investigate.

Just in case I need to start another panic

Someone has only buried a wall out there, at least its not a grave …. That will be to go with the decking which we already know was buried under that hump of soil and turf , which is apparently needed to level the greenhouse. You have to feel a bit sorry for the forlorn patch.

As to the greenhouse, that was collected at the weekend and is now lying all over the grass, awaiting re-construction this weekend.

Thank goodness I planted some bulbs.

Scrap Happy March 2021

A day late, but sometimes life just happens, apologies anyway. Linking with https://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com/2021/03/15/scraphappy-march-4/

for scrap happy day, where lots of other wonderful projects can be found all using scraps of whatever, leftover from whatever to make something magnificent.

I must begin by explaining that the strangest thing has happened- my supply of leftover double knitting acyrillic yarn has gone- there is none left, except for the black yarn which I am using to finish off this crochet scrapy yarn blanket- single bed size I am making for a care home. I have had to buy some more yarn just to finish off the blanket, which is now nearing the end. so without further ado here is

and that is it on a king size bed.

I am adding the final rows of squares right round the outside with black to try to bring it altogther as a whole. As you can see I am tackling all four sides at the same time to try to get different colours on each edge. I have had a couple of evenings just sewing in the ends but I reckon there are a lot more lurking under there!

Who knows this maybe finished in time for April Scrap Happy Day.

Signs of Spring…

In the forlorn patch.

First daffodil, with more nearly out.
First little iris
and lots of yellow crocus
the only shrub we didn’t dig up, with flowers.
broad beans doing well- rather a lot of them!
Rhubarb showing signs of lfe

First butterfly of 2021. stretching her wings…

Life is looking better already. Love to know how the seasons are changing for everyone, is there a Spring in your step?

Reviewing the situation.

When we selected our new home we choose one with a good big downstairs to accomodate the whole family for meals etc, and what we thought was a good layout upstairs for us, guests and a shared hobbies room. In theory this was a great idea- the reality is somewhat different- we both seem to have less space than we did in a smaller house. This is the situation.

Barely space to sit down!
Mr E- 3 D printer and electronics

and my crafting table

sorting out the materials for one of the tags!

Think we might have to think this out again! Shelves maybe? Move house? Convince Mr E to give up electronics or relocate to the garage? Sleep in a tent in the garden? Ideas anyone please?

Books- February 2021

Apart from the first one I read this month, it has been a good month for books. Here’s what I have read .

Thomas Mann- Death in Venice- My German author , and not quite the book I had been expecting- no murder mystery this. It’s a collection of short stories plus the novella Death in Venice. The short stories struck me as being the same plot re-worked each time. Artistic type of chap, who may just dabble or be reasonably successful as a writer, is attracted to a young woman with whom he becomes infatuated before being spurned- the end. Death in Venice, is somewhat the same- middle aged successful author leaves his home town of Munich for a summer holiday in Venice. Here he spots a beautiful young polish boy (14 years old) who is there with his family, He becomes infatuated, starts following him around, makes himself ridiculous dyeing his hair and wearing make up to look younger. Allows himself to imagine his love is returned- fortunately he does nothing but look and stalks the child. Eventually he becomes aware that Venice is not a healthy city- cholera is rampant and the city authorities have ordered the inhabitants not to alarm the tourists. The inevitable happens as the young boy and his family depart. What I found most interesting was when I researched the book online I found that Mann and his wife had a holiday in Venice, on which they encountered a Polish family, and Mann was drawn towards the son. The son only recognised himself in the story when it was brought to his attention as an adult. He said the descriptions of himself was accurate down to the clothes he wore, and that adults did find him attractive- older women were given to kissing him! He was totally unaware of Mann’s fascination for him. I lived briefly in Munich back in the 1970 but apart from the English Gardens, there was nothing I recognised. Venice- I have passed through here briefly- and you do get the impression of a tourist trap in the story- sadly nothing of the art and the beauty. I didn’t get much from this collection and it was a bit of a struggle to get through with it’s rather unhealthy obsession for a child in the tale from which this collection gets its name.

Zadie Smith- White Teeth– I’m hard pushed to say what this book is about- it won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction- it’s a debut novel, and appears as number 29 on the Channel five list of the top thirty British novels. It is also very good indeed- complex, well plotted, brilliant characterisation, absolutely engaging and funny in places- to quote from the blurb on back” dealing with friendship, love, war, three cultures, three families over three generations, oh and a brown mouse.” Read it, tell me what you think. I’ll be adding it to my 100 list of books, still room for lots more books on that list.

Joanna TrollopeAn Unsuitable Match. So the library, my branch was closing for 8 weeks and I paniced, I requested books from the Channel five list- but not enough were available, so then I thought lets see if some of my favourite authors have had any books published. First choice for me was Joanna Trollope- who writes well of the well – heeled middle classes- agas, an acre of garden, mews houses in London- doctors, IT consultants, media types- pure escapism, except she writes of very real yet ordinary scenarios- so we have a divorced woman in her 60s- a translator in her nice mews London house, who falls in love with an American widower, who adores her- but they both have children, who feel left out, and is there something not quite right? A super read for a freezing cold weekend.

Claire Douglas- Then She Vanishes– another loved author, chosen to while away some difficult hours for me this month. Not going to spoil it for anyone- it’s good, and the title says all you need to know.

D.H. Lawrence- Lady Chatterley’s Lover- This is number 30 in the list of 30 best British novels. I’d not read this before, although I have read his The Rainbow, Women in Love and Sons and Lovers and enjoyed all three. As you most likely know the book was written almost 100 years ago, but not published until 1960 when it was the subject of an obscenity trial. It’s not obscene, but it does cover sex, and did scandalise some. These scenes seem quite tame these days. The book is of its time and as such I found it fascinating especially having read Death in Venice earlier this month. That book was published approximately 20 years before Lawrence penned his novel, he was living in Germany and would have been aware of that book and I could see some similarites- the early part of Lady C has lots of young men talking about art, literature, all slightly effete to my mind. Then Lawrence moves onto politics ,industrialisation, the mining industry (already failing in the 1920s), the love of money by the masses- wanting to have a good time, riding their motor bikes, commercialisation ( shades of the arts and crafts movement), feminism, class, the economy- almost forseeing the depression of the 1930s and the pursuit of success or the bitch goddess as he called it. There is a lot more in this novel than its notorious subject matter. It was worth reading, and was in its day a major shift in subject matter, but what I liked about it the most was the picture it painted of life in the 1920s, a time of enormous change after WW1, and one that foretold some of our future.

Susan Hill- The Benefit of Hindsight- Susan Hill ia another favourite of mine, and who knew she had a whole detective series to go at. Fortunately this one stood up nicely by itself so I could pick up the back stories without any difficulty. A robbery gone wrong, a dead woman and her injured husband are the crimes to be solved. The detective is helpfully related to a GP who has her own story running alongside which is very like the novellas I am used to from this author and very poignant it was too. A thoroughly enjoyable read for the end of this month.

Some really good books this month- love to know if anyone has read any of the above, and if you have read an especially good book recently.

Back next month for some more book chat- the library has now extended the return date on all my books to 17 May. MAY!!! I have requested more books and am going to brave the central library and the scary one way system into town in March.

Some more of this and that

The problem when you do too much at once is that nothing gets finished or rates a post of its own, however, there has been quite a bit of this

filling the house with Spring flowers, and then there was

nearly finishing Miss F’s waistcoat- I just need a button shop to open its doors.

the back is simpler- I like the honeycomb effect, but this pattern was so riddled with errors I’m not going to give it blog room.

then there was another pizza made from scratch- mushrooms and peppers. I can’t eat a whole one though.

I have stitched another four tags- they are such good fun to make.

And finally there is that

enormous quilt that I abandoned two years ago when the going got tough.

It shall be done!

Do you have lots going on? Any finishes in sight? As to the needlefelted hare- it looks more like a T Rex at the moment.

Lydiard Park

I searched the internet for the best place locally to see snowdrops and Lydiard Park came highly recommended. I have visited in the past, when we used to come down to visit our son- indeed we have even stayed in the hotel in the house here, and brought my Mum from Wales to see the family, and youngest son to help when we were left in charge of grandchildren. So this walk held many special memories for me, even though I strolled by myself I felt I had company.

You can see why we needed help back then.

https://www.lydiardpark.org.uk/ link for more history of the park.

A wonderful house as you can see, open to the public… one day.

Rather nice lake- once upon a time there was a mill under there, now gone in the interests of beauty.

I was quite taken with this structure which was a cold bath , once much the rage, like sea bathing.

Don’t think I would fancy this myself- couldn’t have a decent swim for a start and I bet it was none too hygenic.

Rather nice views- somewhere in the distance is our house.

The snowdrops didn’t disappoint.
nor did the corcuses which I hadn’t expected.
The little church is within walking distance of the house- now that’s power for you. Sadly the gate was padlocked so I couldn’t explore the churchyard.
Nice chat with the wildlife.
A thoroughly nice outing- I noted that the two cafes were open for takeaway refreshment- next time I shall take my pennies.

Where is the best place for you to see the first flowers of Spring?

Scrap Happy _ February 2021

I am very, very pleased with myself for this little project. Not because it is fantastically novel , but because for once I am really proud of the final outcome. Go back to 2019 when I enrolled on a quilting course and was thrown in at the deep end with a full sized quilt over three 6 hour sessions which totally exhausted and confused me. I ended up with a quilt and embarked on quilt two, but couldn’t attend the last workshop as youngest son got married on that day. Since then I have made two smaller quilts for grandchildren, but they have been a bit of a cobbled together botched job. The truth is I still didn’t really know what I was about, and the second big quilt lingers on the to be finished pile.

This month I took the sensible decision and decided to go back to basics- start with something really small and do it properly. Find a book and some fabric scraps which don’t scare me, and breathe.

Something nice and small and manageable.

Ok so I have made coasters before, cobbled together botched jobs. These I will do slowly, properly and neatly. Breathe.

Small squares, carefully measured and stitched together- press open the seams and breathe..

Looking good

As it happens I have always fancied using strawberry fabric for a garden project, but then I used the fabric for other things but there was enough left over.

Loving the seams meeting.
And then some proper quilting, taking my time, breathing
so nearly perfect

I am so pleased with myself. I can’t wait to use these for the first garden mug of coffee. And the moral of the story is start small, oh and don’t forget to breathe.

I shall tackle the unfinished quilt- it will be far from perfect, but I shall also try somthing a bit bigger than coasters and learn slowly.

Joining with Kate and others for more Scrap Happy Projects here-

Kate (me!)Gun,EvaSue,Lynn,Lynda,
Birthe,Turid,Susan,Cathy, Tracy,Jill,
Claire,Jan, Moira,Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Kerry, Claire, Jean, Jon,HayleyDawn,
Gwen,Bekki,Sue L,Sunny,Kjerstin,
Vera,Nanette, Ann,Dawn 2 and Noreen

Tag Cloud