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Archive Entries for July 2012

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Tuesday July 31, 2012

Books in July

  • Black Ice by Michael ConnellyBOM-BlackIce.jpg
    The first Harry Bosch novel I read was The Concrete Blonde, which was his third outing - and I was hooked. This one is his second, and I think I must have missed it in my haste to devour all the others. It was interesting reading an early Connelly book after all the later ones; interesting to note his changes of style - though I could not put my finger on what the changes are as I'm by no means capable of such an analysis. I guess it's a little less polished, but I'm not implying that this is a negative thing at all, just a little different. I like the way Harry started out like this - a conventional policeman in fiction - a loner and misfit - and also I admire the fact that you can see the character has not changed over the years; he has managed to continue with his police career, so has by defnition mellowed and been very canny in his dealings with his bosses, but fundamentally just the same.

  • U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton [Read by Liza Ross] BOM-UisForUndertow.jpg
    The author works her way doggedly towards Z and her retirement - or so I assume. Despite the elapsed time of her literary journey through the 1980s, the stories remain varied and interesting; there is often some sort of theme but this never takes over the dialogue and thus I think it serves any "cause" better than a soapbox approach in the writing.
    "V" is already available, and I'm still very much looking forward to continuing the series.

  • Grave Secrets by Kathy Reichs [read by Katherine Borowitz] BOM-GraveSecrets.jpg
    This was the author's second book I think. It was quite interesting, but with all her books I have read now, I am seeing a pretty well the direct opposite to my comments above. Reichs always does seem to have a theme and, although that part is fine, I find the heroine's continual pontificating on the issue in question to be more than a little irritating.
    I have read reviews complaining on the formulaic nature of the stories, and also about the co-incidences that bring the strands of the plot together. I have few complaints about those points: a thriller has to have some sort of denoument with the heroine in danger, and as for the coincidences - it's a fictional story....

Posted on July 31, 2012 at 12:04 PM. Category: Books of the Month.

Sunday July 29, 2012

Bourne Quilters

This weekend saw Sheila frantically busy with the Bourne Quilters biennial exhibition. It was a fabulous event with a huge variety of wonderful entries - many of them were themed projects and yet each individual entry was entirely original and so utterly different from one another. I took a huge number of pictures but am limiting myself to those that caught my eye as inspirations to make something.


This Mackintosh inspired panel is very appealing. It captures the design, but is at the same time made very simply, by choosing the right fabric, and using applied ribbon. I particularly like the use of actual quilting on the white background; again, it looks deceptively simple - a pattern of straight lines - but I think in practice, keeping those lines dead straight shows the skill of the quilter - anything slightly off would show up very badly as this is the only decoration on a plain fabric


I always associate quilting with Christmas somehow, so the "Christmas Room" had great appeal. This place setting is quite delightful, and yet created from simple (yet precise!) shapes using lovely fabrics.


The fashion for random bunting continues. I like this, as you can easily use up odd triangles of suitable festive fabric and the lettering is a gold fabric that is fused (not sewn). In this case "Happy Christmas" but applicable for any occasion.


Posted on July 29, 2012 at 6:11 PM. Category: Quilting.

Saturday July 28, 2012

Go Cav Go


What a fantastic day! (...and if you'd asked me at the start I would never have predicted that's what I would be saying).
We got up at 6, cycled over to Box Hill, and were installed at the roadside (x marks the spot below) with our chairs and provisions by 7:30.


Unlike other road races, they did circuits around the Box Hill zig zags, so we were able to see them 9 times from about 11:30 until 3pm. We were so close to the riders I could have touched them and I cannot describe how thrilling it was as they flew by.


A bit of fun from the Australian support vehicle.


Well - we got home just in time to see he didn't make it. I am always astonished that a sport with an individual winner should rely so heavily on team support, and a privilege to see the team in action, though a terrible shame for Mark.
But what a great win for Alexandr Vinokurov of Kazakhstan.

Read about the race here - not too chauvinistic I think and so exciting to read about this race all through my various domiciles in Surrey (previous and current).


Posted on July 28, 2012 at 4:33 PM. Category: Red Letter Days.

Tuesday July 24, 2012

Torch in Kingston


This is Anna Smith, who carried the torch in recognition of her bravery in going to the aid of another, at great personal cost. Having read all about her, it is excellent to see her in such fine form.

So far I seem to have been to several locations on the same day as the torch but not actually seen it. So Robert shared his early morning's experiences with me, via a home movie.
He and I had a beer in the garden before walking round to the pub for some al fresco dining. As we went, we observed the terrapin, all shiny, having freshly exited the pond, as he crawled up the side of the submerged duck house roof to his customary place in the evening sunshine.

Posted on July 24, 2012 at 3:49 PM. Category: Red Letter Days.

Sunday July 22, 2012

Rare Breeds at Singleton


It was a lovely summer's day for the rare breeds show at the Singleton Open Air Museum, and we had a great day - not only at the show, but also looking around the museum itself.

We visited the Weavers Spinners and Dyers exhibition, which - not being totally familiar with the site - we found quite hard to locate. But it was pretty impressive.


I loved these rugs - one of them made by one of our members. Makes me want to weave.


The lovely woven pattern is shown in the details below.


This delighted me - it's a dyed panel illustrating the natural dye colours with embroideries of the plants.


The down side of its being quite such a lovely day was that the traffic getting into the site was terrible (over an hour just getting in) which seems pretty inexcusable - it is hard to see why it takes any extra time at all to simply drive in and stop. We were also a bit unimpressed with the food we bought (to eat there). It was a natural farmed hog roast, but the meat served in the bun was basically down to the chewy bits and not enough of it; I am not sure about the value for money aspect (it wasn't that expensive) but really I was not impressed to queue (again) for 20 minutes and be presented with a bread roll full of bread stuffing with a bit of added gristle. I am not averse to chewy bits, but I would rather pay more for something with a reasonable amount of edible meat. I am taking the trouble to moan here as it's not the only experience I have had like this, so maybe the caterers or pubs planning a hog roast might take note.

Posted on July 22, 2012 at 10:19 PM. Category: Days Out.

Tuesday July 3, 2012


We took up the offer of tickets to see the NT Live (encore) screening of Frankenstein at King's College in the anatomy theatre - preceded by a talk on Gothic Horror and science in the 19th century. With interval drinks and an intimate audience, it was a thoroughly civilized evening.


However - all that says very little.
What a truly amazing production this was. The two actors, took the roles of creator and monster on alternate nights during the run - we saw Benedict Cumberbatch as the monster, and it would be really interesting to see reverse option with Jonny Lee Miller. (Yes, that's how good it was, I would see it all over again).
Helen had seen it locally up in Scotland as part of the summer screenings and recommended it to me - but I never imagined what an extraordinary interpretation it would be - and how wonderful it would have been to see live - in fact possible too overawing given how it came over on the screen.

Posted on July 3, 2012 at 11:13 PM. Category: Art and Culture.