Weblog (home)


Pattern of
the Month

On the Needles
(...and Off the Needles)



About the
Idle Hands

Archive Entries for April 2022

« March 2022 | Main | May 2022 »

Saturday April 30, 2022

Books in April

  • Low Actionby Andrew Cartmel [Read by Finlay Robertson]
    BOM-LowAction.jpg Another interesting excursion into the world of popular music - in this case: Punk.
    Our hero, the Vinyl Detective - a moniker he has come to rue - is again drawn into danger (and a murder plot) with the lure of finding a rare record. As before, I found the mystery and characters highly engaging - already looking forward to the next one.
    I also have to say, I enjoy the setting of the characters lives, which is in and around Richmond and Surrey. In this book in particular there are many fairly detailed descriptions of journeys taken by bike and car to places very familiar to me and which I have great delight in unpicking. I especially hope the author does actually live in the residence described as the detective's home - which is lovely - since I know he lives or lived in that area.

  • Pigeon Post by Arthur Ransome [Read by Gareth Armstrong]
    BOM-PigeonPost.jpg I decided to listen to the Swallows and Amazons books - it's a very long time since I read them. I do plan to approach them in order but for nostalgic reasons I had to start with this one. It was the first one I read - aged about 8 - when I knew nothing about the book nor that it was part of any series. In truth, I was probably a bit young for it, but I went to the local library (located in a tin hut behind the Parish Hall) every week after Brownies, and I was always drawn to plain book covers (this one red with no dust cover) where the contents provided all the colour and excitement you could ever want.
    At the time I remember being completely mystified in trying to keep track of a rather large number of children - introduced all at once - and by the fact that they all called each other Captain, Able Seaman, and so on, when there were no boats in sight. I think in hindsight that I must have struggled with the reading - or was simply missing the experience to really understand what was happening - because it was quite a surprise to find how thrilling the plot is. The children face real jeopardy from a wild fire, which, as an adult, makes you sick with fear - even when you know the outcome...
    Despite that, there are a lot of interesting nuggets of information in the book which clearly stayed with me into adulthood, without my ever consciously remembering where they came from, and it was fun to rediscover them.

  • A Rising Man, A Necessary Evil, Smoke and Ashes, A Death in the East,
    and The Shadows of Men by Abir Mukherjee [Read by Simon Bubb]

    For me, these books are wonderful, and splendidly narrated by Simon Bubb.
    Set in India, just after the first World War, it's the time of the British Raj, a time of nationalistic agitation against direct rule and India's push for independence. Again for me, I think they are perfectly pitched - and I feel comfortable in that view because of the author's ethnicity. Abir Mukherjee is a Scottish Bengali author, so to my mind he is able to tread a tricky line describing the inherent injustice of the era but also with some insight into "Britishness" and all that that conveys.
    His two protagonists are Captain Sam Wyndham (ex policeman relocated from Scotland Yard), and Sergeant Surendranath Banerjee (educated in England and called Surrender-not, by his British superiors, claiming to be unable to pronounce his name). Banerjee has rejected his family's plan for his career and instead chose to join the police; in the first few books he is accepting of the status quo, however I think his attitudes harden as the author uses the novel to reflect social issues of the time. Wyndham's attitude to politics seems moderately neutral, especially compared with his peers in the force - but then he has his own internal demons from his experiences fighting in the war in Europe (WW1) to deal with. He does offer a certain wry cynicism in his thinking, but not generally expressed. I find his attitudes somewhat warmly familiar. My own Father was in India in the 1930's up until independence. He was first in the British Army and then later the Indian Army, and he definitely had no chauvinistic illusions about Britain's "right to rule", or the general superiority of the then rulers. At the same time, he wasn't standing up to be counted - just doing a job. At the current point in the stories, Sam reminds me of him - probably without the opioid addiction though...
    We are now up to the 5th book, but I'm not quite up to date in my reading yet.

    BOM-ARisingMan.jpg BOM-ANecessaryEvil.jpg BOM-SmokeAndAshes.jpg BOM-DeathInTheEast.jpg

Posted on April 30, 2022 at 8:36 AM. Category: Books of the Month. | Comments (0)

Saturday April 23, 2022

Spring lambs


I made these as a bit of fun for our Guild meeting.
They were quite popular but I think better in look than taste - but then I'm not fond of marsh mallow. Probably more fun with kids for both eating and creating.

Posted on April 23, 2022 at 10:41 AM. Category: Kitchen and food. | Comments (0)

Thursday April 21, 2022

Mole Valley Walk


While visiting a local garden centre I noticed there was access to a trail along the River Mole, so Rob and I met up to take a walk. In practice is was a very hot day, with lots of dog walkers, and we saw very few birds. We followed trails on both sides of the river, and eventually had to turn back as the path to the Box Hill view point was closed for renovations to the steps.
We did spend some time watching some cock pheasants making enthusiastic amorous advances to "the ladies"...


...and Rob took some good photos of a few butterflies.





Posted on April 21, 2022 at 3:38 PM. Category: Days Out. | Comments (0)

Sunday April 17, 2022

Easter Sunday


So we hid the hand-crafted eggs around the garden for the almost-two-year-old to find in the Grand Egg Hunt - but unfortunately the magpies found them first... however I suspect they must have been very disappointed when they found no actual "egg".

Posted on April 17, 2022 at 5:13 PM. Category: The Garden. | Comments (0)

Friday April 15, 2022

Summer Pots


I copied a commercial collection to create these pretty pots for the summer - however, they include French lavender with saxifrage and primula, which are not a compatible seasonal combination, so I will no doubt be replacing some of them in a couple of weeks, as they die back.
Below are extravagantly pretty pink "parrot" tulips that somehow escaped the attention of the squirrels last autumn.


Posted on April 15, 2022 at 11:12 AM. Category: The Garden. | Comments (0)