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Archive Entries for January 2015

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Saturday January 31, 2015

Books in January

  • Chalk Circle Man by Fred VargasBOM-TheChalkCircleMan.jpg
    George read a review of this author's book The Ghost Riders of Ordebec and, since he had not come across her before, bought me the first in the series for Christmas.
    I found it a very good plot with a really quirky theme (the chalk circles) without relying on bizarre serial killing type methods of death to provide the interest. Commissaire Adamsberg, I found less sympathetic and hard to understand - I think there is something about translated text - you can translate the words and the meaning but the culture described remains foreign.

  • Entry Island by Pete May BOM-EntryIsland.jpg
    Another nominee for the Crime Awards, which I was keen to read after discovering the excellent Lewis Trilogy. I particularly like the historical storyline and contemporary detective plot that his novels seem to combine.
    The synopses and blurb about this book seem to imply it has some superatural overtones - and although I would have accepted this, I was pleased that the book offered rational explanations for the events and memories.

Posted on January 31, 2015 at 6:49 PM. Category: Books of the Month.

Friday January 30, 2015

The Man Who Never Lived And Will Never Die


Rob, Tony and I went to the Sherlock Holmes exhibition at the Museum of London. I expected to have a fun afternoon there but it was particularly impressive - I think one of the best (or only) truly multimedia exhibitions I have ever seen. Everything they chose to display was fascinating in its own right - and being a fictitious character they were able to roam across many aspects of Victorian life: the emerging concept of a detective (in real life and fiction); theatrical, film and TV manifestations of the characters; Victorian London as depicted in art, as well as Sidney Paggett's original drawings; recreations of Holmes' journeys across London - then, and as it is today; "technology" display cabinets on subjects ranging from chemistry to the changing role of women in taking up typists jobs outside the house.
There were quizes and code cracking - which Tony managed to complete without even blinking (though Rob and I helped collect the clues!) - plus nice staff members to help if you got stuck.

Here's a great picture of the outside of the museum which happens to show Anthony Horowitz, whom I regard with great fondness owing to his creation of Foyles War and his imaginative Holmes books. [I am guessing this is a publicity tour for his book "Moriarity", which was a Christmas gift and is sitting waiting for me at home.]


After this we went across town for a pint in the Sherlock Holmes pub at Charing Cross, followed by a meal at The Delaunay, where Cathy joined us for dinner.

A thorough satisfactory and memorable day out.

[I am already anticipating the "Crime Museum Uncovered" at the museum from October]

Posted on January 30, 2015 at 6:23 PM. Category: Art and Culture.

Thursday January 29, 2015

ISIHAC and the Mary Rose


To celebrate my birthday, we went to Portsmouth to see "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue" - the roadshow. If you know what that is then you will know how it was - if you don't know what it is, then I am not able to explain. All I can say is that we received a free lesson in using the kazoo (also free).
We ate at The Wine Vaults, conveniently opposite the Kings Theatre at Southsea, and then went on to stay at the Royal Maritime Club near the dockyard - our venue for the next day.

Encouraged by a heart-felt speech from Sandi Toksvig during QI, we went to visit the Mary Rose museum, and it proved to be as astonishing as promised. I remember being amazed visiting the Vasa* years ago when I was in Sweden, which made me expect to like this exhibition as well.
I think the Mary Rose has much more in the way of salvaged content - including (100s of ) longbows** packed in cases, and apparently not waterlogged. Most of the other artefacts have to be dried out and specially treated for preservation before being examined or put on display - and there are thousands of items still to be dealt with. Personal remains have been found for many of the crew - only about 25 of the hundreds on board are known to have survived. They have reconstructed some of the faces of the departed, both in 3D and drawings, and are able to surmise who they were based on where they were found and the personal belongings found with them. There is even the skeleton of some poor old terrier stuck on board with his master.
In the days after our visit I saw a TV program about the raising of the Mary Rose - low expectations as I expected it to be about the engineering feat of bringing it to the surface, which I remember quite well seeing as it happened. However, it was really interesting - all about the preservation efforts and combined footage from other programs over the years as the scientific research progressed. It provided an excellent codicil to our visit.

In the afternoon we took a trip up the Spinnaker tower where I had an obligatory cream tea in the cafe, and we were able to observe not only the view but the most astonishing changes in the weather pattern over a period of only about 40 minutes. It makes you see the dangers of sailing a small boat off our coasts when things can change so rapidly.


* The Vasa sank in similar circumstances to the Mary Rose at a similar point in history. [I actually thought that like the Vasa, the Mary Rose sank on her maiden voyage but in fact she had been in service for 34 years and it was the first engagement after a refit.]. Reading the Vasa's website I remain curious as to why they do not seem to have had quite so many issues raising it from the sea bed and preserving it going forward.
** The information on the longbows was the most surprising to me:
"There had been no large scale evidence of what a medieval longbow looked like, how it was made and how it shot, until the Mary Rose find. Similarly there was no large scale catalogue of Medieval archery equipment such as arrows, pouches, bracers, belts, buckles, or personal items. At a stroke this vast inventory has become available for all to see. It is a most stunning collection."

Posted on January 29, 2015 at 6:21 PM. Category: Red Letter Days.

Friday January 23, 2015

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels


I snatched at the chance of tickets for this musical version of the well-known film, and was not disappointed. Robert Lindsay gives a masterclass in... almost anything theatrical you'd care to mention, and was just utterly brilliant. There have been some cast changes since the run started with Alex Gaumond and Bonnie Langford joining the crew - but actually that has some positive points - I think Samantha Bond is excellent but she is not well known for her song and dance routines.

Posted on January 23, 2015 at 5:22 PM. Category: Art and Culture.

Monday January 12, 2015



George thought someone had delivered a body* - but it was just my eBay purchases - a load of acrylic double knitting to knit nice robust cheerful blankets. I know I have a stash the size of Everest but I think there must be some rule that says you get to 60 and start knitting in nylon and acrylic.
There it is.
Can't be helped.

* It was very densely packed thanks to a lovely eBay seller who kept postage to a minimum for me.

Posted on January 12, 2015 at 9:24 AM. Category: Knitting.

Monday January 5, 2015

Christmas Furbelows


I spent a lot of time adapting some lettering from from the Debbie Bliss magazine No 5 for Winter 2010 - they originally spelled out HOME, so I had to adapt the E and make up the N.

I then found that all along I had a pattern for "noel" (albeit rather different and very much smaller in size) again by Debbie Bliss but this time from the book "The Knitter's Year". I really like these softer coloured lower-case letters so I thought I would make some for my sister and perhaps a set for myself (for next Christmas!).

My original idea was to cover some papier maché lettering that I bought in Hobbycraft with the knitted fabric but this proved impossible. I like these letters though, so I covered them in fabric and attached ribbon to make (future) tree decorations.


[...and thus already one off my New Year List - see previous entry]

Posted on January 5, 2015 at 8:10 PM. Category: Knitting.

Friday January 2, 2015

New Year List

I am starting the new year with a lot of pleasing projects in mind. Some of them are finishing "old" projects - on which I have already made a good start. And of course some of them you might ask why finish when they are obviously long past their sell-by date; but many things I never meant to abandon and still have an appetite for - so better finished than in a bag gathering dust.

Here is my little New Year list - it's a statement of intent which I can use a the proverbial stick with which to beat myself as the year goes on:

  • Erika Knight's Aran chair cover (I have already invested in the wool in pistachio green)
  • My own design for a tapestry picture to upholster a workbox (started in 2002)
  • noel letters for next Christmas (started a couple of days ago)
  • Bright blue man's guernsey (wonderful yarn sitting waiting)
  • Turquoise Kim Hargreaves sweater for me (Rowan Calmer patiently waiting)
  • Pin loom woven/crochet blanket for gifts (dipping into ever growing vintage collection of Sirdar Peru)
  • Many many socks for my relatives (I have a lot of sock yarn.... some of it is even rather nice....)

And I have also already started on the long road to making my "studio" (prétensieuse? - oui c'est moi) usable once more. I am really pleased with the result so far - maybe some photos later.

Posted on January 2, 2015 at 6:59 PM. Category: Crafts.

Thursday January 1, 2015

England and St George


We went for lunch with my sister and visited the local hostelry in Selborne to see the Mummers play. It was lots of fun but due to the intimacy of the stage area in the bar I was not able to get very good photos. Costumes were wonderful - acting may have been mildly affected by the preceding visits to other hostelries in the area.....


After a noble struggle the Turk is vanquished!
[Don't worry the doctor soon revived him.]


Posted on January 1, 2015 at 10:03 AM. Category: Days Out.