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Archive Entries for April 2015

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Thursday April 30, 2015

Books in April

  • The Innocent by Harlan CobenBOM-TheInnocent.jpg
    I've had this book for a long time - probably on "permanent" loan from Helen - and as I read it I felt some parts were very familiar, but I am certain I never read it to its conclusion in the past.
    Anyway - another exciting thriller and makes me want to read more - but I cannot get enthusiastic about his Myron Bolitar series books simply because the hero is a former basket ball player (!). I really should just bite the bullet and read one to overcome my prejudices.
    Or alternatively he has many other stand-alone novels I could pick from.....

  • Bertie Plays the Blues by Alexander McCall Smith BOM-BertiePlaysTheBlues.jpg
    This is not the first in this "44 Scotland Street" series, but made perfect sense without the other 6.
    Bertie is a charming (gifted) little boy of 7 who decides to put himself up for adoption on eBay. [An intellectual version of running away I think, but it remnded me of my Mother (in a less enlightened era perhaps) continually upbraiding my sister by telling her she was lucky to have parents and not be brought up in a "HOME" - and my sister privately thinking that a "HOME" without parents sounded rather nice (not knowing any better one way or the other I hasten to add)]

  • A Deep Hole by Ian Rankin [read by Paul Thornley]
    BOM-ADeepHole.jpg
    A short story beautifully told.
    A road digger (Repair Effecter for the council’s Highways Department) is compelled to offer a favour to a local loan shark, who in turn is offering favours to others in the waste disposal business - a business where holes can come in very handy.
  • DavidThrelfall.jpg Baldi
    In this radio series David Threlfall plays Paolo Baldi, a Franciscan priest on sabbatical, lecturing on semiotics at a university in contemporary Dublin. After helping the police as a translator for an Italian witness, he turns sleuth. I listened to a couple of Radio episodes - The Million Dollar Question and A Very Neglected Fish.
    And actually David Threlfall is uppermost in my mind as I so impressed by the recent TV drama: Code of a Killer* - I am lost for superlatives at how excellent it was. I remember the real life case being solved, and it seemed to me that the production was very true to the facts - as confirmed by Dr Jeffreys and Detective David Baker (now retired). Yet how tense and interesting it was - no foolish "sexing up" of the plot required - and none added.
    [Not to mention the excellent dramatic portrayal of Noah shown over the Easter schedules.]
    * <small digression> Maybe it's just because I am a Chemist at heart - I was very disappointed that Magdalen College did not manage to win the Universtiy Challenge final having got there with their two Chemistry students.... Paxman did suggest they did not have "broad enough" subjects and that the questions did not favour them - but Gonville and Caius are more than worthy winners - an astonishing contest this year. <end small digression>

  • MaryWimbush.jpgThe Mystery of a Butcher's Shop
    Listening to this radio play makes me think that Diana Rigg perhaps gave TV Mrs Bradley an air of gentility and sartorial elegance (not to mention a chauffeur) not present in the original books.
    In these radio plays, vibrant character actor Mary Wimbush (known to me as Aunt Dahlia from The Laurie/Fry Bertie Wooster series) voices said lady - giving her a "hearty and disquieting laugh that unsettles suspects and listeners alike". [No really - it was rather weird]

  • PeterCoke.jpgPaul Temple and the Alex Affair
    Yet again the criminal mastermind who seems to sign a set of mysterious murders with his name...
    This one is crammed full of suspicious characters and red herrings, though unusually I did guess the identity of the nasty blackmailer before we were formally introduced.
    Broadcast in 1968 this was to be the last in the series starring Peter Coke and Marjorie Westbury, displaying their exceptional skills behind the radio mike. [But by Timothy! there seem to be lots more of these "Affairs" and "Mysteries" for me yet to enjoy...]

Posted on April 30, 2015 at 9:43 PM. Category: Books of the Month.

Saturday April 25, 2015

Well Manor Farm

WellManorFarm1.jpg

We had a really lovely day with Emma Boyles and the "Little Grey Sheep" on Well Manor Farm. I would recommend it to anyone. She has just built a wonderful new barn space which is on the edge of having all the finishing touches completed - the aim being to host groups like ours for workshops and so on going forward. The information and talk on the sheep and their fleeces was really interesting and the stories of building up their business and their selective breeding programme was fascinating.. no.... really...
They have crossed their Gotlands with Shetland and produced their "Stein" which has the softness of Shetland and the shine of Gotland - and are now crossing this with a Merino ram (José Merino) - whom they had to go to France to acquire bizarrely - in order to produce a much finer fleece.
I (cough) came home with a small 100g bag of Stein to try spinning - but you can tell it will be lovely. I must say I had not grasped how far they have come in the last few years - now offering their own beautiful yarn, commercially spun and hand dyed in a lovely range of colours and weights. Fiona Morris (our workshop tutor last week) has collaborated with them to produce a range of patterns - so it's truly a "one-stop shopping" experience.

WellManorFarm2.jpg

Posted on April 25, 2015 at 8:54 PM. Category: Spinning, Dying, Weaving.

Saturday April 18, 2015

Mug Hugs

MugHugs.jpg

Our workshop with Fiona Morris (Distance Knitting) was to make Mug Hugs - which I felt quite neutral about previously but having tried using mine I now feel quite hostile towards them. But that is an aside - the whole point was to knit something small in the round and then make a steek for the handle - and thus learn the technique.

We all finished (more or less!) in the day and marshalled our little army for the photo

Posted on April 18, 2015 at 6:15 PM. Category: Knitting.

Sunday April 5, 2015

Easter Egg Hunt

EasterEgg.jpg

Well - maybe not so much of a hunt...

Posted on April 5, 2015 at 3:42 PM. Category: France.

Friday April 3, 2015

Bathing Machine Blanket

BathingBlanket1.jpg

I actually "started" this self-warping pin loom blanket in 2013 when I made the first squares for a cushion backing. I love this colour (Blanket Blue) - but I had only enough at the time for a few squares, and ever since I looked for more of the colour on eBay, and met with with great success.** So I took up the project again and finally completed the blanket.

I had the idea right from the start that I wanted it in only blue and white, which is fine if you want a chequerboard of plain squares. I thought I could do some sort of checked weave but that is difficult with the self-warping technique. On my other blankets where I wanted to achieve a mixture, I was obliged to use crochet for the alternate squares. So ... I experimented by simply alternating strands of the two colours, and the resulting pattern is great - but not at all what I expected! It clearly results from the technique but no idea of the maths to explain it.
Anyway - I love it.

BathingBlanket3.jpg

For the edging I wanted a barber's pole effect and could not see how to do this with an iCord, so I used the normal technique to create a knitted bias striped strip, joining it only on one side as I knitted, and then folding it over and sewing it in place on the other side. I actually liked the wide flat striped edging quite a lot without sewing it into a binding, but I did not want the blanket to have a right and a wrong side so I had to forego the wider edge.

BathingBlanket2.jpg

The name I am using is a little odd for a blanket but the stripes remind me of Victorian bathing costumes - or children's stockings in that era - and the old photos of the ladies in their bathing machines being wheeled to the edge of the sea to bathe in some kind of privacy.

BathingMachineBrighton.jpg

** I think I can fairly say I am now swamped with vintage Sirdar Peru in all colours - I love the yarn and it suits my pin loom very well.

Posted on April 3, 2015 at 9:59 AM. Category: Spinning, Dying, Weaving.