Weblog (home)


Pattern of
the Month

On the Needles
(...and Off the Needles)



About the
Idle Hands

Archive Entries for October 2013

« September 2013 | Main | November 2013 »

Thursday October 31, 2013

Books in October

  • He Who Fears the Wolf and When The Devil Holds The Candle
    by Karin Fossum BOM-HeWhoFearsTheWolf.jpg BOM-WhenTheDevilHoldsTheCandle.jpg
    The second Inspector Sejer book, delighted me from the first - having not so much a surprise ending as a surprise beginning. And I can't say more without spoiling the surprise (beginning).
    The end was pretty good as well - one of those simple solutions where there was all the evidence given to you but still a "whodunnit" nonetheless.
    I have seen mixed reviews about lack of characterisation, which may be true, but I felt it was a good detective story.
    The third book is (impressively) yet another completely different plot line albeit with what seems to be the usual poignant and sad resolution. Sejer's personal life is looking up but his chosen lady is a bit of a challenge to his rather staid nature.

  • As the Pig Turns by M C Beaton BOM-AsThePigTurns.jpg
    "Someones gone the whole Hog".
    Sorry - I can't do better than the blurb on the book cover. (Well not in terms of puns anyway). Agatha manages to stop the locals chomping into what would have been a spit-roast human - recognising it as such only by means of a tattoo (!). I have heard that roast humans do look like roast pig (so-called "long pigs" in The Coral Island - read by me at an impressionable age).
    All the same....

  • Where the Bodies Are Buried by Christopher Brookmyre [read by Sarah Barron] BOM-WhereTheBodiesAreBuried.jpg
    This is apparently a departure for Brookmyre in that he is aiming for less gory satire and more down-to-earth thriller. He seems to have been successful - I did notice it was not as "funny" as his previous novels - in one of which I found a description of a self-decapitation side-splittingly funny - which it has to be said is not "normal"...
    So he has gained something and lost something in equal measure.
    This is a pretty good police procedural thriller. But not so funny.

  • The Dying Hours by Mark Billingham [read by the author] BOM-TheDyingHours.jpg
    Loved it. (Though creepy).
    Having a bit of difficulty with Thorne himself though. He is back in uniform and not enjoying it. I found his reaction to his difficulties a bit hard to understand. I guess I never understood the character that well in the first place - which is my fault not the author's.
    I do like the current developments in his personal life though. I hope he is not destined to be one of those detectives who are permanently unable to settle with one woman - the current woman has a lot going for her.

  • Djibouti by Elmore Leonard [read by Nick Landrum] BOM-Djbouti.jpg
    As usual, the book has interesting characters and was pretty educational - for me - and being about Somali pirates is also pretty apposite as it references in passing the hijacking incident which has inspired the recent Tom Hanks film Captain Phillips.
    Leonard is one of my favourite authors - so I was doubly dismayed at somewhat belatedly realising that he passed away this year.

Posted on October 31, 2013 at 10:24 PM. Category: Books of the Month.

Saturday October 26, 2013

Lewes WSD Open Day


It's open season at the Guilds. Fresh from the success of our own open day, Norma organised a little trip to Lewes to see "Made By Hand" - the biennial exhibition of the East Sussex Guild. They are a very active and larger Guild and their exhibitions are always packed with wonderful examples of their work.


We wandered around for most of the day, seeing not only their fabulous work, but also demonstrations (with opportunities for hands-on as above), and items for sale. Several of the members bought sets of weaving sticks, which work a little like peg looms (but more portable). However, spurred on by seeing the demonstrations, I finally bought a peg loom from the P&M Woolcraft stand. I stuck with a 24 inch size as I thought it was more practical for me - however I see he makes them up to 59 inches in width, which could certainly make a decent sized rug. Needless to say I have not tried it yet but I am hoping to use up some of the vast amount of poorer quality fleece that I have in making a couple of rugs or cushions; if I actually get round to doing this then it will have been well worth it...!


Refreshments were available in the venue, and I was really quite taken with the delightful table decorations - beautiful little works of art, all hand made in fibre.


Posted on October 26, 2013 at 10:38 AM. Category: Days Out.

Saturday October 19, 2013

Creative Fibres Open Day


Janice took some photos of me (with my lovely blanket), demonstrating Pin Looms.
And below - just to prove we have men.


But mostly us ladies of a certain age...


Posted on October 19, 2013 at 11:42 AM. Category: Spinning, Dying, Weaving.

Thursday October 17, 2013

Perfect Nonsense


We went to see this at Richmond theatre attracted by the strong cast in the shape of Stephen Mangan and Matthew MacFadyen. It took me a while (about 10 minutes) to warm to them but they were so charming it was inevitable and made for a more than excellent jolly evening. We were pretty familiar with the plot - mainly from the TV series with Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry, and I have also read the books - involving Madeline Bassett, Gussie Fink-Nottle, Roderick Spode, cow creamers, nuptuals, Black Shorts, and policemen. However, the theatrical device is that Bertie is recounting the story as a stage play with the redoubtable Jeeves extemporising scenery, costumes, and characters as required - aided and abetted by Aunt Dahlia's butler Seppings, played by Mark Hadfield. As described by Charles Spencer in the Telegraph, (more eloquently than I because he is a professional writer....), Stephen Mangan provides just the right mixture of bonhomie, idiocy and panic, and the whole production perfectly evokes the dotty, sunlit innocence of Wodehouse's work

You can see it now in the West End at the Duke of York theatre.

Posted on October 17, 2013 at 11:42 AM. Category: Art and Culture.

Saturday October 12, 2013

Tadworth Craft Fair


Once again the local crafters impressed me hugely with the quality of their work for sale. I finally succumbed and bought these little beauties - pictured above masquerading as garden gnomes - and although gnomes seem to be fashionable again I think these are somewhat more interesting (though I am probably missing the point of exactly why gnomes are fashionable at the moment). However even if this sort of thing is not to your taste, you can see the quality of the artist behind them - and if you would like contact details then email me using the side buttons. [She also makes commemorative plates and objects on commission].

In addition I bought what were intended as garden dibbers from the wood turner - far too beautiful for that purpose though I intend to give one to George for Christmas. The second one I am keeping for myself to use as a nostepinne. I explained what the latter are to the vendor and suggested that he advertise his product with potential for both purposes. Even though I doubt he will have a queue a mile long for nostepinne, it does broaden the market by about a millimetre.


Posted on October 12, 2013 at 4:44 PM. Category: Crafts.

Thursday October 3, 2013



George bought a new gadget - though to be fair, it hardly qualifies as the (in my book) derogatory term "gadget", since it is based firmly in the local farming tradition around here.


George drinks a lot of fruit juices - and apple is a favourite - and we do seem to own an apple orchard** - so - obvious really.
** Actually we also own a GIANT apple press as well (in one of the buildings), but I fear it would take more than a couple of puny office workers to get it working again.


We experimented with different mixes of apples from different trees. I always imagined that the famous Normandy cider would be fermented from specific varieties like a vintage wine, but the French say that the best cider comes from a complete mix of varieties, which is why you find all kinds of different trees in the orchards. Our conclusion from tasting the juice is that they are (as you would expect) completely right - some of our juice was overly sweet and the finest was definitely one with a sharp undertone alongside the sweetness. And can we remember which mix that was? ....


We were able to make slightly over 8 pints per pressing. We froze it in re-purposed plastic milk bottles - but you can pasteurise it and then bottle it if you don't have enough room in the freezer.

I suspect there will have been some kind of run on these less industrial "home" versions of apple presses, because Monty Don featured them on Gardeners World recently and exhorted everyone to use up their windfalls by making juice. I hasten to add we are no middle class victims of mass marketing - at least not by the BBC(!) - as we ordered ours long before Monty featured them
- so there -
we are avant-garde.

Posted on October 3, 2013 at 6:57 PM. Category: France.