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Archive Entries for October 2020

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Saturday October 31, 2020

Books in October

  • Kolymsky Heights by Lionel Davidson [read by Peter Noble] BOM-KolymskyHeights.jpg
    I thought this was a fantastic book recommended in a Guardian book list. It was a completely unexpected gem, as I had no idea even of the genre before reading it. It has a terrific forward by Philip Pullman where he explains how it works so well as a thriller, how the author skillfully makes the unbelievable believable, and expresses his overall appreciation of the writing and construction. As I am not an author I will leave it with Pullman's praise: "The best thriller I've ever read, and I've read plenty. A solidly researched and bone-chilling adventure in a savage setting, with a superb hero."

  • Conspiracy by S.J. Parris [read by Daniel Philpott]
    BOM-Conspiracy.jpg Having discovered that Giordano Bruno is a real historical figure - which was traumatic enough in itself - and since the author hangs her stories very much within the known historical facts of the character's whereabouts, I am approaching each new book with some trepidation. In this one, the action moves our hero away from the relative safety of a Protestant England, and back to France... and thus one step closer to his historical fate.
    [Still hoping she will reprieve our hero by some fictional trickery (lie) before the end of the series.]

  • Bad Intentions by Karin Fossum [read by David Rintoul]
    BOM-BadIntentions.jpg Another interesting plot line from Fossum centring on falling out among "thieves" (not literally). Almost a Shakespearian tragedy as the friends move towards their inevitable destiny, apparently victims of circumstance, but really victims of their own characters. In fact, one of them considers "how can you tell if you are a good man if your life has been nothing but plain sailing?". Sejer's attitude while he played his waiting game throughout the investigation reminded me of Chaucer's "Mordre wol out, that se we day by day."
    It's a while since I last read any of this series so I was wondering if I had imagined that Sejer had had a burgeoning romantic friendship in the first few books - however it seems she was simply written out with little explanation after "Black Seconds". I think this is a shame - it leaves a rather old-fashioned, mild-mannered, and polite man who finds comfort in order and authority, with only the comfort of his faithful old dog. Although it might be refreshing to have a stable policeman without the usual issues of alcoholism, failed relationships, or a dysfunctional family, equally we have none of the interest that that those things bring with them. I find the books becoming more entrenched in the psychological make up of criminals and victims; this is very well portrayed but I think needs to be offset with more than the calm approach of our hero, and the philosophical discussions between him and his sidekick.

  • The King's Justice, and The Monastery Murders
    by E. M. Powell
    Given my increasing interest in fictional historical murder mysteries, I acquired these as a special offer via Amazon. They were "good enough" in plot and general interest but not enough to tempt me to purchase the follow-on novels in the series. I'm not sure what is lacking but they compare unfavourably with the novels of CJ Samsom, SJ Parris, and Andrew Taylor, where I find myself "right there" in the action - my imagination totally caught up in time and place as well as the action and adventure. By contrast, these stories could almost be taking place in any time or place, and were more mystery than thriller.
    BOM-TheKingsJustice.jpg BOM-TheMonasteryMurders.jpg

Posted on October 31, 2020 at 2:06 PM. Category: Books of the Month. | Comments (0)

Friday October 30, 2020

Kaffe Lecture


Today I attended a Kaffe web lecture sponsored by the Cotton Patch - part of the remote delivery offerings "Beyond the Festival of Quilts".
I thought he was terrific, covering many of his design interests, (quilting, knitting, needlepoint, pottery, mosaic) exhibited through commissions, his own house, his collections from around the world - and perhaps more surprisingly: jigsaws.
Many thanks to him, and to the Cotton Patch for supporting this endeavour.

Posted on October 30, 2020 at 3:38 PM. Category: Art and Culture. | Comments (0)

Saturday October 24, 2020

Kaffe's Pyramid Quilt


Having started in earnest around mid-June, I finally completed the cot quilt (and we managed to deliver it before a second lockdown).
As I said, I had to substitute some of the fabrics required in the original design from 2002, but one splendid piece of luck was finding the Handarbeitshaus and Museum, who were able to supply enough of the original Ombre Stripe OS05 for the edge and backing which really sets it off I think, and would have been really hard to substitute.

I was then left with the final challenge (for me) of stitching the all-over "random" pattern, which was supposed to be done with free-motion machine quilting. I won't say how I achieved it in the end, but after a few pathetic attempts, I decided I had neither the time nor the inclination to perfect my skills in this area. After far-from-free-motion work on the machine, I was quite satisfied with the result.


As a final note, I had to laugh, as I managed to create another problem by quilting with some "Pale Pink" Coats Sylko cotton thread. I have a lot of threads, and rarely buy new ones except included with the fabric and pattern when starting a new sewing project. Quilting takes a lot of thread so inevitably the reel ran out. It was only at this point I realised that Sylko has not been available for donkeys years, and buying more was not a trivial exercise - most sellers charging a premium for "vintage" items.
A truely revealing experience.


Posted on October 24, 2020 at 10:51 AM. Category: Quilting. | Comments (0)