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Archive Entries for December 2013

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Tuesday December 31, 2013

Books in December

  • Dark Fire by C S Sansom BOM-DarkFire.jpg
    I enjoy these books more than I can really explain or understand why. True that I find the historical content and detail really interesting, but even though they are suspense novels I never expect to find them quite as absorbing as I clearly do. I don't reveal the time I take to read each book - just the month in which I finish reading; however, I think I have read each of these Shardlake novels within just a few days of starting. Not all people find Sansom's writing style quite so compelling but I find I can't put his books down.
    The Dark Fire of the title is a pretty interesting historical mystery in its own right, involving alchemy and mysterious long lost chemical formulae.

  • Caught by Harlen Coben [read by Carrington MacDuffie] BOM-Caught.jpg
    This is the first Harlen Coben book I have read. Apparently, he is well known for his twists of plot, and this book is no exception - very thrilling with at least three twists at the end, only one of which I was expecting - and I suspect my guessing it was the author's intention in any case. I shall definitely seek out more of his work; however, most of his other books are part of a series, which I am prejudiced against as they have a sporting bent. Sports themes do not appeal to me very much. [Horse racing clearly "ok" for me though - sport of Kings and so on...].

  • Thorne at Christmas by Mark BillinghamBOM-ThorneAtChristmas.jpg
    I think this is really good idea. A couple of short stories, delivered in ebook format only, at a budget price, and with a seasonal theme.
    I am sure that if you count the words, the cost is the same as a full novel; however, for some reason, I seem unwilling to pay authors for their work (ridiculous I know!- you can see, most of my books come from libraries or are loaned by friends). Anyway, this was an entertaining idea and made me part with my money for a change.
  • SimonRussellBeale.jpgFrom the BBC I listened to a dramatisation of John Le Carre's The Honourable Schoolboy with Simon Russell Beale as George Smiley. It was part of The Complete Smiley on Radio 4 Extra, but I could only manage to listen to this one story. Such rich books condensed into a short format need more concentration than I can manage (while knitting). I had just watched the recent film of Tinker Tailor (again) on TV, followed by a reshowing of the BBC series from 1979 with Alec Guiness, so I decided to forgo the Radio version. However, I did not realise how many Smiley books there are - so maybe I will read some of the others in full.

Posted on December 31, 2013 at 4:54 PM. Category: Books of the Month.

Wednesday December 25, 2013

The Ghost of Christmas Past


I received some delightful gifts, including this wonderful cat doorstop from Alison. Not that he will be stopping any doors - he prefers a higher location from which he can better observe the household goings on - like the one on whom he is modelled.


Our Christmas plans were somewhat disrupted due to the power cuts afflicting many people over Christmas. We were planning to eat turkey with my sister - but she lost power on Christmas Eve so changed her plans and came to us instead. My day was still fairly laid back but not so my sister's who abandoned the turkey (as it would take too long to cook) in favour of a brace of pheasants and fully prepared everything in the morning before packing up and decamping to our place with food, husband, and dogs.
Despite having to cope with so much disruption, she gamely put on the pink santa/elf suit I gave her - on top of her sophisticated little black dress - and carried on with the cooking!


My only contribution was the pudding, for which I used Nigella's delicious pudding recipe using quince.
[Personally, I welcomed the change from turkey to pheasant..... it was delicious.]

Posted on December 25, 2013 at 8:35 PM. Category: Red Letter Days.

Monday December 16, 2013



Heaven knows why - since it was not true - I thought it would be easy to make a laptop cover for George for Christmas. Many weird and wonderful lateral thoughts later I managed to produce something quite nice.


I bought the lovely tweed for it (50cmx75cm) from tillytreemousetrading2003 on eBay. I cannot get a good picture of the true beauty of the subtle tweed colours in this weave; it is much brighter than the sombre palette reveals to the camera.


This more dramatic Harris tweed was from Braehead Woollen Merchants who were most helpful and whom I would also recommend without reservation. I made 2 bags from 1m.

For the trimming I used what is described as "recycled leather" (which it is) on eBay, - and you do indeed have the comfort of knowing that it is, as stated, with a full description of the processing. However the treatment to make the material does make it look like very high quality PU leather - but - I am so glad I made this choice. It is robust stuff which is very easy to work with - sewing through multiple thicknesses with only a hardy leather needle on my normal sewing machine; plus, it is sold by the metre, meaning there's no need to cut around any flaws. **


I do like bright or unexpected colours and patterns to line my bags, and I purchased these from the Quilt Room in Dorking.

For Helen's bag I added a special (38mm) button from the Textile Garden as a decoration.


** I was sufficiently taken with this "recycled leather" product that I also made some replacement items for "bargain" bag purchases - a clip-on optional shoulder strap for an Esprit bag, and a strange little (missing) flap closure for an AllSaints bag.

Posted on December 16, 2013 at 12:20 PM. Category: Crafts.