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Archive Entries for July 2009

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Friday July 31, 2009

Books in July

  • Jackson's Dilemma by Iris Murdoch [read by Juliet Mills]
    JacksonsDilemma.jpg It's a long time since I read any Iris Murdoch novels - probably not since I was a student at which time she was very much in vogue. I am not sure I understood them very well at that time - I was trying to expand my reading matter and everything was new to me. Even now, when I read AS Byatt, or Angela Carter, I find it hard to understand them - so maybe it was just that era.
    This is her last novel and has engendered some harsh criticism which I think is unwarranted. I presume she had probably already begun to feel the effects of her disease, and there seems little point in saying what basically boils down to "it's not as good as her other novels". One critic complains that the people are not believable and date from a pre-war era - I think he is mistaken - the people are not 21st century, maybe not meant to be, but rather more from the 1960s I would say - one forgets how backward society still was at that time .... Literary criticisms when it was first published comment that "the writing is a mess" and sum it up as a "very odd book".
    For myself I did find it hard to see the dilemma of the title. However it seems clear that the tone of the book relayed anxiety, and towards the end, Jackson sits alone and reveals a confused state of thinking which surely must have reflected some of the authors own confusion.
    In addition, I'm afraid this novel was not improved by Juliet Mills as the reader.

  • Book Of The Dead by Patricia Cornwell [read by Lorelei King]
    BookOfTheDead.jpg This was an interesting novel, as usual from Patricia Cornwell - gory but interesting. I do find the characters hard to empathise with - all of them actually - not just Scarpetta, who is such a cold fish, for all her Italian genes. They seem to behave in a wholly unbelievable way. A certain amount of irrational behaviour makes a book interesting, and is eminently believable. But all the characters seem constantly embroiled in battling with each other, and all seem victims of such weird hang-ups you can hardly see how they function in society - and that's not even the serial killers...
    At he end of this volume Marino goes missing, and we have to wait for the next book for him to turn up again. Alive or dead I wonder?

  • Bare Bones by Kathy Reichs [Read by Barbara Rosenblat ]
    I am firmly hooked on the Kathy Reich's forensic detective novels, which have a far more human heroine in Tempe Brennan than the comparable Kay Scarpetta. This is an earlier book in the sequence, than the other novels I have listened to.
    These characters are believable and easier for me to understand - just classic detective novels, not psychological thrillers. Not so gory - more clinical - and not so weird.
    So on that basis, is my approval good or bad for an author?!

Posted on July 31, 2009 at 8:25 AM. Category: Books of the Month.

Saturday July 18, 2009

Braiding sampler


Today saw the braiding workshop, where we were able to try all different kinds of braiding - basically all based around Kumihimo wheels of one sort or another. It was great to be able to try out so many different techniques - toe in the water.... Made me keen to get out my Marudai again.


Posted on July 18, 2009 at 7:28 PM. Category: Spinning, Dying, Weaving.

Wednesday July 15, 2009



For months (since I heard the review on Front Row) I have been looking forward to the musical version of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert - and it did not disappoint - me, that is - and Rob thought it was hilarious.
There was some criticism in the early reviews - that it lacked heart - and I do have to say that the "plot" did not come over quite as emotionally moving as in the film. However, it made up for it in humour and spectacle. The costumes were so outrageous - as each one appeared you could not imagine how they could ever outdo it, and yet they did so right through to the end of the show.
The film (which I loved) was all about the drama of the people and the scenery. It was hard to see how a musical could ever compete on those terms - so of course they changed it - into a musical - and I thought it was fantastic.

Priscilla is in London at the Palace Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue.

Posted on July 15, 2009 at 9:27 AM. Category: Art and Culture.

Saturday July 11, 2009

Gipsy Kings

Last night Rob and I went to Kew Gardens Summer Swing concert to see the Gipsy Kings. They performed everything expected of them (Bamboleo) as well as newer materials - and were on excellent form. I was pretty keen on the Cuban sound of Motimba who entertained us for the first hour as well. A fun evening out.


Posted on July 11, 2009 at 9:27 AM. Category: Days Out.

Thursday July 9, 2009

150th (Last Ever) Royal Show

When we heard that this year's Royal Show at Stoneleigh is to be the last of its kind, my sister and I determined that we would go together. She really enjoyed last year - and brought me back some llama slivers which I made into this scarf.

Thus, naturally, my interest was in llamas as well as sheep and alpacas. I bought some alpaca fleece (white) and my sister found that an alpaca does not cost as much as she thought (watch this space!). However, Lyn's interest is mainly in the horses and chicken - so between us we sought out all of the animals and displays - not to mention the food - that we could find.

These pop-up panoramas give some idea of the size if the venues as well as the vast array of animals on show in just one category (which I think was dairy herds in this case).


We spent some time at the equestrian arena - watched a little Polocrosse and the Pony Club games. Here the young riders line up to show off native pony breeds.


Our final activity of the day was watching the final equestrian Driven Championship. A little different from the pony club...

And so... almost unbelievably, it really is to be the last such show ever - they have finally come to terms with it no longer being financially viable. [What will the Archers have to talk about now?]

Posted on July 9, 2009 at 11:25 PM. Category: Days Out.

Saturday July 4, 2009


To my surprise, George wanted to go to the Smallholders Show at Ardingly. It was a fun day out - especially for me as there were sheep and fleeces. I fell victim to another purchase - a Portland fleece. I have no idea how sought after they are (not very I suspect), or how well they spin, but I know they are a rare breed - the skein on show seemed pretty soft. My fleece is second from the right on the shelf.


We wandered around - there was lots going on, as in my little picture album below. Lots of things to buy, demonstrations, things to eat, and, of course, many animals. I favoured the sheep, but there were lots of more domestic animals on show - including ferrets, who simply would not be sufficiently still for me to capture a good picture (I have lot of bad ones). The ferrets were having races, but these more sedentary chaps made a good picture - cute little lop-eared bunnies.


I saw the Wealden Spinners, and admired a MajaCraft Little Gem, (I have never seen one in the flesh before). I missed seeing Pam from Creative Fibres, who was obviously taking a break as I passed by.

Posted on July 4, 2009 at 7:07 PM. Category: Days Out.

Thursday July 2, 2009



A lovely hot day which I spent at my sister's pool. It looks wonderful doesn't it?


But it's a little like the proverbial millstone for my sister, in that it takes a lot of effort to maintain and gets very little use. The last two summers have been so awful that she had resolved to fill it in - but the past week has seen neighbours and relatives "just dropping in" with their towels and costumes.... so now she feels like a local social amenity.... During the time I was there, two sets of neighbours and a golfing friend of Terry came for a swim. One of the visitors was Toria (Felicity's owner) and her little daughter, so I was able to hand over the pair of wild fetching mittens made from Felicity's fleece and some Kool-Aid.

I took my new spindle (with alpaca) and when I was not swimming I was spinning - which the observers found less eccentric than I imagined they might. But it was good to "drop" spin over grass, and was altogether such a lovely evening I found it hard to tear myself away from the poolside.


Posted on July 2, 2009 at 11:05 PM. Category: Days Out.