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Archive Entries for July 2014

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Thursday July 31, 2014

Books in July

  • The Black Box by Michael Connelly [read by Michael McConnohie] BOM-TheBlackBox.jpg
    Harry Bosch presses on with his cold cases and finds one that involves a murder he picked up much earlier in his career, during the riots of 1992. The body of a female journalist was found in an alley and at that time Harry was forced to hand over the case to the Riot Crimes Task Force, knowing that it would never be solved.
  • The Lewis Man and The Chessmen by Peter May
    BOM-TheChessmen.jpg BOM-TheLewisMan.jpg I can't believe I waited so long to read the rest of this trilogy when I was so impressed with the first one. Yet it was April 2013 when I read The Black House - and immediately downloaded the second in the series - but did not read it. Anyway having got the taste for them again, I read both in quick succession.
    It was hard to see how he could make sequels (and continue to set them on the islands) after the first story but the crafting of the stories is great - and like the first book they contain interesting historical detail combined with the elements of a detective thriller. Really excellent books - shame that's it for these characters.

  • BillNighy2.jpg Corporate Bodies
    Bill Nighy as Charles Paris gets a lucrative opportunity to work on a corporate media piece - and finds a body... as well as getting his own share of the action in the shape of a general "roughing up" through to attempts on his life.
    The characters and dialogue are very well written, and the experienced cast are very at ease with their roles in these humerous versions of the Charles Paris books..

Posted on July 31, 2014 at 10:08 AM. Category: Books of the Month.

Saturday July 26, 2014

Le Weekend

ChoppingWisteria.jpg

We have escaped for another weekend in France. George is still very thin and I managed to encourage him to spend a lot of time relaxing out of the intense heat. I cut the wisteria back completely away from the rebuilt extension walls preparing to enable Peter to render it later on without hindrance. I also cut the other side of it right back to bare wood, debating whether it would ever truly recover - although I remember doing that once before without lasting ill effects. I left the middle part with leaves to try and support it until next spring when I will cut that part hard back.

I also took half a dozen more cuttings of the hydrangea (second attempt) and some of the roses whose future is in doubt due to the building work.

RenderedBakehouse.jpg

This picture of the bakehouse may look the same as ever - but it now has a nice cream rendering all over - just looks better and better. [Managed to again weed out a load of nesting material from the extractor fan pipe, and block it up temporarily with newspaper, much to the annoyance of the great tits who were sitting outside with beaks full of moss ready to carry on....!]

In respect of other wildlife - I think the mice were none too pleased about the wisteria disappearing. They use it as a regular route across the front of the house - I could often see them in silhouette outside the window while I was sitting in the living room in the evening. Now of course the route is very exposed. I think maybe as a result of this we found a small mouse popping in and out of a mouse-hole right by the main doorstep (hole's been there all the time but never saw any mice using it before). The mouse seemed to be a bit groggy and not bothered by our stepping over it all the time; however, it must just have been the weather - which was unbearably hot - because eventually George put a blueberry down in front of it and it instantly stuffed into it and then disappeared. Ironic given that most of the time we are murdering the mice if we can catch them....

Mouse.jpg

Finally below - the skeletal form of new walls have appeared in the kitchen.

KitchenSkeleton.jpg

Posted on July 26, 2014 at 7:44 AM. Category: France.

Sunday July 20, 2014

Martin Storey's Mystery Afghan Knitalong

MartinStoreyAfghanKAL3.jpg

For some reason this Rowan knitalong appealed to me so I duly started on the Thursday before Easter and here we are 10 weeks later - or whatever - and the blanket is complete. The blanket should be made in Rowan Pure Wool Worsted - which would be nicer than my choice which was to use "oddments" from my attic. This was not a cost cutting exercise but an attempt to make good use of yarn that I seem to have collected a lot of over the years. However the problem with oddments is that you never have enough of the right shades; so I spent a good deal of time stripping out plies and combining yarns to make the thickness I wanted in the colours I wanted. In two cases I altered the pattern (number of stitches) slightly to make the squares come out to the right size. The blanket is not pure wool but I have tried to make every square with some plies of synthetic and wool in it.

You can read more on the detail here.

I intentionally never went to view the intended yarn and colours as I knew that if I saw the Rowan yarn there was a good chance I would convince myself to buy it and that was not the idea. So I tried to match as best I could from the illustrations on the internet. I am very pleased with the result even though I know that in some cases I have substituted a colour (too many subtle shades of brown for me to match). I cracked over two colours: one was the raspberry pink - I have a number of pinks in my collection but not enough to really get enough contrast in 3 pinks - I purchased some new acrylic yarn in "Raspberry"; the other was the mustard colour for the edging - I had some mustard 4 ply but not enough - I purchased some vintage Sirdar Fontein Crepe 4ply in a deeply unappealing mustard colour and enhanced it with my 4 ply*.

In any event, the resulting blanket looks a little odd - or should I say unusual - and I think my attempt is as good as any. I did follow Martin's layout scheme, which I think is very cleverly done, (as you'd expect - he's a designer!).

* I bought this from one of my favourite vendors at Woolfest. Her stall is devoted to vintage craft equipment - looks like my own work room - nostalgic rather than cute - I love it.

Posted on July 20, 2014 at 3:27 PM. Category: Knitting.

Sunday July 13, 2014

Hampton Court

NSPCCHamptonCourt2014.jpg

Following the lovely day at Chelsea, Jenny and I decided to also go to Hampton Court, where we had a great day despite the peculiar weather which produced terrible downpours of rain, and intervals of scorching sun.

The picture is of the NSPCC garden which cleverly showed planting schemes from 3 eras since the charity started. What I noted was that the earliest garden is the type that I favour - and what I have chosen for the front borders in our house (lavender, lambs ears, lady's mantle etc) - whereas Jenny favours the more modern scheme.
The middle era garden was from the 1970s with a riot of bright planting (French marigolds and salvias) - and, true to form, looked just like the garden Rob and I created in Chichester.

Posted on July 13, 2014 at 8:09 PM. Category: Days Out.