Category Archives: All things books

A fun ’did you know’ for you….

Because (in my mind) the year ’proper’ hasn’t begun yet

There’s Tennis on the telly – Australia Day is yet to come – the kids haven’t gone back to school yet…..some of us continue to eat and drink like it’s going out of style 😊

Here’s some fun bits of interest for you

  • We’re still in the first month of 2022 so here’s a little something to figure out….

If you take the last 2 digits of the year you were born…then add them to the age you will be this year…

It will equal ….122

  • Australia is wider than the moon. The moon sits at 3400km in diameter,  while  Australia’s diameter from east to west is almost 4000km. source 1source 2
  • Australia has more than 60 wine growing regions The majority of which are in Victoria and New South Wales source
  • Lemons float but Limes sink. Safe link below 👇 if you’re interested in why.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It’s been a quiet couple of weeks, laying low, staying close to home, enjoying the summer weather, watching the beginning of the Australian Open and the ending of The Ashes. Lots of hopes and expectations dashed in both – but then that’s sport for you…….nothing is ever ‘a sure thing’ where that’s concerned.

Never one to just sit ‘watching tv’ I surprised myself by finishing two green adult beanies and reading two books on my ’to be read’ A-Z list of authors.

Both set in post war periods (WW1 & WW2) with main characters who have ’served’ – both storylines involve murders – both with secondary storylines dealing with the result of war service. I’d’met Elly Griffiths’ Brighton Mysteries characters before but this was my first time reading about Inspector Ian Routledge and I’ll certainly be on the look out for more of this series.

And here’s something else I’m looking forward to seeing again….next summer.
But first…..Development of the level crossing in Mooroolbark meant I I have been using the library in Montrose – and seeing their landscaping with new eyes. I’d been used to just driving by on my way elsewhere, now I walk by on my way to the front entrance

Just look at this magnificent small flowering gum…..not too tall with the most stunning orangey red flowers. Corymbia Ficifolia (Baby Orange)


* Flowering gums are grafted eucalyptus trees. By grafting plants onto specially selected rootstock you get trees that will grow happily in a wide range of soil types and have greater resistance against disease. It also means no surprises when it comes to flower colour and smaller sized trees*
source:- https://www.flowerpower.com.au/garden-advice/gardening/flowering-gum-trees/

All through the summer season you can see long flower buds forming, then bursting open into these huge clumps of bright blossoms that slowly fade in colour before dropping off and leaving the little nut casing – all this going on simultaneously in different parts of the tree.

Those little nut shells left after the petals drop grow into these enormous ’gum nuts’.
A bit like me in that as I shed my youthful me and grew older, the more gnarled and bigger in the beam I became 😊


Linking to Life this Week. 

Pop over and see who’s visiting Denyse today – it’s always worth a visit.

It all adds up…..

I had a friend once who needed to save some ’spending money’ for a holiday she was planning. She decided to give up buying all those glossy monthly magazines she loved.
So after opening an account at the library, she then opened an account at a different bank to the one she normally used.

When the library received it’s copies of those same magazines she’d borrow them, then magazine in hand go into the bank and deposit the cost price into the savings account.

She said it was a win – win situation for her. She didn’t miss out on something she enjoyed and little by little (by paying herself the price of the magazine) her spending money grew.

~ ~ ~ ~

I gave up buying books a long time ago, they were going up in price and after retiring my attitude to some things changed. I began to resent all that money just sitting there on the book shelves so my library card very quickly became my book credit card.

But it wasn’t until a few months ago I began to wonder just how much I was actually saving. I didn’t (like my friend did) go the whole hog and physically save the cash…mine was saved virtually.

I’d seen an idea on another blog where the blogger wondered if…..using library books only ….she could ’save’ an amount equal to her yearly council rates.
My curiosity didn’t stretch that far – I just wondered how much all these books I was reading….wherever they came from…..would have cost in the real world.
Like her I used an Australian online bookshop Booktopia to ’price’ my books and to make it easy any price ending over 50¢ was rounded up, anything under 50¢ went down and anything at 50¢ stayed as is.

Well, as the title says….it all adds up….I worked out that the cost of those 52 books I read to achieve my Goodreads challenge would have been in the region of ….

1240AUD – 676GBP – 909USD

So it’s a good job I I gave up buying because I’d never be able to afford it if I did!
How about you – do you have a money tree dedicated to books growing in your back garden?


Read-a-lot November

Towards the end of October I mentioned the Goodreads challenge I ‘work’ on each year. What with one thing or another I was way behind and had wondered whether I’d actually finish or not …….but look – this just popped up …….I did it!


So the question is – how did that happen a whole month before I intended it to?

Well, it would seem that because of all that cold wet weather we had over the past few weeks I didn’t feel like getting my hands dirty in the garden (plus the fact If I got down I couldn’t get up) so when a lot of my ordered library books all turned up at the same time I chose to sit around and do nothing but read. Not a hard choice at all – agreed😊

Out of all those I read, one stood out. One which looked like a smallish quick to read book that turned into a really great read by a new to me author. A crime/mystery set in Melbourne during WW2 involving the newly formed Homicide division of Vic Police. Very easy to read, mostly dialogue with a little bit of possibly unintentional humour in the writing

The bathroom was tiled in green…..and the reflected light gave a bilious cast to the very dead face of the man who lay in the generously proportioned bath.  He looked to be in his sixties and was fully clothed; his features were remarkably composed, given that the back of his head and his brains were spread across the chip heater and the wall behind.”

“It’s Latin’, he said.  Do you read Latin, Sergeant? No, sir.  Latin isn’t big in Jewish families.

as well as a lot of ’not known to me’ history of military matters and ‘unsavoury political groups’ evident at that time.

The Holiday Murders ~ Robert Gott – (2013)

Book blurb:-……If only the killings had stopped at two. The police are desperate to come to grips with an extraordinary and disquieting upsurge of violence. For Constable Helen Lord, it is an opportunity to make her mark in a male-dominated world where she is patronised as a novelty. For Detective Joe Sable, the investigation forces a reassessment of his indifference to his Jewish heritage. Racing against the clock, the police uncover simmering tensions among secretive local Nazi sympathisers as a psychopathic fascist usurper makes his move.

And guess what….this is No.1 in a series 😊

There were several all involving babies.  Also their mothers, their fathers, and the lengths they will go to protect each other.

  • Harnessing Peacocks ~ Mary Wesley – (1985). Hebe sits in the darkness and listens to her hypocritical grandparents and her older siblings discuss how her unexpected pregnancy must be terminated to avoid the shame it will bring. 
  • The Couple Next Door ~ Shari Lapena – (2016) Your neighbour told you that she didn’t want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn’t stand her crying.
  • The Foundling ~ Stacey Halls – (2020) Six years after leaving her illegitimate daughter Clara at London’s Foundling Hospital, Bess Bright returns to reclaim the child she has never known.
  • The Sister’s Gift ~Barbara Hannay – (2020) Two sisters, one baby and the best of intentions…

As well as a couple of others seen or recommended on other blogs.  It’s hard to go past those ‘books read’ lists….you never know what you’ll find !  

  • The Long Call ~ Anne Cleeves –  (2019) In North Devon, where two rivers converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his father’s funeral takes place
  • Death of a Busybody ~ George Bellairs – (1942) The eponymous nosy parker in Death of a Busybody is Miss Ethel Tither. She has made herself deeply unpopular in the quintessentially English village of Hilary Magna, since she goes out of her way to snoop on people, and interfere with their lives. 

If you’re interested, all the 2021 challenge books are listed in the Books Read page under the header photo. Hopefully there’ll be more added at the end of December

Did we ever find the answer??

I’m not sure what the question was or even if there was an answer

These turned up in a box out in the garage

I remember them as interesting reads at a time when I needed a bit of encouragement

Thinking back, I wasn’t a sheep, following along with everyone else, but strangely was ambitious yet didn’t want to be ’the big boss’ – what I was really interested in was what ’the big boss’ thought and how they might have gone about things.

At that time the words ’self improvement’ never entered my mind – what these books (and more) gave me (because they were always being mentioned in the staff room) was a small insight into how and why some of my colleagues and ’superiors’ thought (and acted) in those days.

I’m still cross we lent the ever popular Think and Grow Rich to a ’friend’ never to see it again yet still remember Hill’s first principle of success being Desire.

Anyway that was a long time ago now and guess what……Of all the advice I gleaned at the time …Dress Well and Be Nice …is what I remember the most 😊

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I had a week off from the blog, not writing or reading or answering comments……because ’The Back’ ‘flared up’ and has been a problem again I’ve been indulging in a self pity party – not wanting to talk to anyone, feeling angry (it’s not fair!) knowing tears don’t solve anything yet wallowing in misery. Which has got to stop!

I feel another quiet week coming up I think. A warm sunny one I hope
It’ll soon be breakfast time – time for another cup of tea…..will it be cereal, toast and marmalade this morning or porridge with cinnamon sugar and a handful of sultanas?
Then afterwards maybe I’ll dip into those books again and refresh my memory on how to Think Big – Win Friends – Look Good – Read Body Language – and Communicate Well With Everyone 😊

Curious to know if anyone else read these or any similar books and did you find them useful at the time? As some of them are still in print people must think the ideas haven’t dated and are still be relevant to life in the 21st century.

What ya reading Wednesday

At the end of last year 2020 I set myself a challenge of reading 52 books during this year 2021….that equated to 1 a week . Of course things don’t always work out the way we want them to and during the second quarter the ‘reading slump’ put in an appearance. Which meant that by the end of June (week 26) I was way behind…..7 books in fact.

Since then I’ve caught up a bit – Bowen was a great place to sit around and do nothing, a lot of reading happened there – but I’m going to have to get a move along to finish the way I intended. It’s a light hearted challenge….there’ll be no tears shed if I don’t reach that total…..but you know how it is…..If you think you can, there’s no reason you can’t

So far this month I’ve taken two off the total and there’s two more in hand ready to go!

And to answer those all important questions we ask our ’book loving’ friends

What are you reading at the moment?
What did you just finish ?
What are you planning to read next ?

I’ll go about it this way….

Sitting on the table waiting to be read is – Women of the Dunes by Sarah Main

Book blurb:- From the author of the acclaimed novels The House Between Tides and Beyond the Wild River, a rich, atmospheric tale set on the sea-lashed coast of west Scotland, in which the lives of a ninth-century Norsewoman, a nineteenth-century woman, and a twenty-first-century archeologist weave together after a body is discovered in the dunes.

This is one I’m looking forward to reading and hoping it lives up to its reviews. Having read (and thoroughly enjoyed) her previous Scottish flavoured novels I’m sure it will.

My current read is – The Scholar by Dervla McTiernan

Book blurb:- When DS Cormac Reilly’s girlfriend Emma stumbles across the victim of a hit and run early one morning, he is first on the scene of a murder that would otherwise never have been assigned to him. The dead girl is carrying an ID, that of Carlin Darcy, heir apparent to Darcy Therapeutics, Ireland’s most successful pharmaceutical company.

I’ve only just started this one so don’t have any comments but if it’s anything like the earlier book in this series it should be ’a good ’un’

Just finished – The Echo Chamber by John Boyne

Book blurb:- What a thing of wonder a mobile phone is. Six ounces of metal, glass and plastic, fashioned into a sleek, shiny, precious object. At once, a gateway to other worlds – and a treacherous weapon in the hands of the unwary, the unwitting, the inept.

About a family, a ’modern’, some would say dysfunctional family, a family who are attached to their mobile phones and all the ‘must have’ social media apps.
Especially Twitter!
Humorous, witty, fun to read, seeing all the twists and turns that crop up in their lives and how the results of them link each family member to each other in unseen ways.

Also just finished – Wobble to Death by Peter Lovesey

Book blurb:- London, 1879. Crowds have gathered at Islington’s chilly Agricultural Hall to place their bets on who will become the next world champion in a six-day, 500-mile speedwalking race, the “wobble.” When one of the highly favored contenders dies under suspicious circumstances, Sergeant Cribb also has a race on his hands—to pursue a ruthless murderer.
 
A quick easy fun read, a couple of murders and other skulduggery linked to a popular 19c event (Pedestrianism). It’s the only book in this series at my library so I’m pleased I discovered it.

As an aside I found this on youtube – just right for a rainy day…which we’ve had plenty of recently

To use our PMs words ”it’s not a race” – no, unlike some things, this is not a race but I’d really like to get to the finish line before the end of the year.

How about you……what’s on your bedside table- what are you reading this Wednesday?

Musical Monday….

It’s surprising how different the words to a song – the tune – the melody – can sound when sung by various arists.

Take this one  ~ Accentuate the Positive ……

Music by Harry Arlen – Lyrics by Johnny Mercer

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate_the_Positive

This is the original sung by Johnny Mercer

Crooners like Bing Crosby and Perry Como recorded it

Frank Sinatra recorded a version in concert (also a little chat with Johnny Mercer)

And Ella Fitzgerald gave it a go in 1960

While in 1988 Willy Nelson gave it a distinct country flavour


If you have time, listen and tell me what you think – which do you prefer?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

These Mondays come by quite quickly don’t they…..I know I’ve been back home less than two weeks and shouldn’t make mention of it….in fact knowing what she went through during the war my mother would have a fit if she heard me carrying on…..but already, similar to this time last year, the ’controlled environment’ we’re living in here in Victoria is beginning to ’get to me’. I could hear that same frustration in Andrew’s voice when he commented the other day (“get busy in your garden There’s eff all else to do”) We must go oh so carefully now and if everyone plays their part (wouldn’t that be a lovely thing) it’s not going to last too much longer but in the meantime I’m going to have to take notice of the song and

accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative’ .

Last Saturday morning was warm enough to sit outside in a T-shirt and bright enough when I was ’pottering’ to need my sunglasses. There was a brand new (2021) library book to read (The Echo Chamber – John Boyne) a little cardigan to knit some love into and time to have a quick cup of coffee with The Golfer. Here’s to many more 😊😎

Love to you all ❤️

Linking to Life the Week hosted by Denyse at Denyse Whelan Blogs. 
Do pop over and see what others have been up to this week

A little bit of this plus a bit of that

It’s Wednesday again, the first Wednesday in a new month
The first Wednesday in September 2021
Which means it is the first Wednesday in Spring in Australia

Mind you when I wrote this yesterday, here in this little usually warm spot in FNQ it felt almost wintery, very wet and very cool; so much so that because I had no reason to be out and about and there was more rain making it’s way down the coast, a strong wind warning plus the temp was only 18c (feels like 14c!) I resorted to wearing my bring along just in case tracky dacks and a windcheater.
The beach certainly wasn’t calling my name😊


Tuesday 10.45 am

As far as needles and wool are concerned I seem to have done nothing more than ‘look at and think about’ anything to do with them this month. I’m beginning to think a lot of the supplies brought up to keep me occupied will be returning to take up residence in the garage again once we get home…..however there’s hope for some of it because we’ve extended our stay and won’t (at the moment) be leaving for the journey down south until early October now….mind you that could also change given the circumstances in NSW (1000 cases again yesterday) as well as changing case numbers in Victoria.

A general feeling of ‘can’t be bothered’ seems to have crept into life….not just for me but also many in the park. I don’t mean dropping standards but a slowing down, in normal (pre covid) times it would be coming towards the end of the season with many packing up and making the trek back to southern or even farther afield states but more and more like us are staying put because border closures are a problem….especially for those returning to Western Australia or Tasmania.

The baby cardigans from the other day are still at the same stage they were when I spoke about them….unfinished- and thoughts of making another of these little white lacy jackets have progressed as far as casting on plus 3 rows garter stitch!


And that’s when I was interrupted – then glanced down to notice how dry my legs were…….dry legs, moisturiser, greasy hands….no more knitting but time spent lazily watching the clouds pass by through the palms in front of the trellis right where I was sitting 😎

I may not have achieved all the crafty things I planned
BUT…..I have done a bit of reading

One turned out to be a reread – two were a bit so so – and two were definite 5*.
Which ones do you think think they were? Have you read any of them?

August 2021

Sophie Green ~ The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club

Sophie McKenzie ~ The Black Sheep

Christine Piper ~ After Darkness

Christopher Koch ~ Lost Voices

Emily Koch ~ If I die before I wake

Oh my….. so many words here to tell you it rained all day, I did very little knitting and read a few books last month. There was much beach sitting and very little walking.
How did ‘your’ August go? And what are you reading this Wednesday?

If you’re interested in seeing other’s knitting and reading ideas you’ll find both at Unraveled Wednesday hosted by Kat. Pop over and have a look – she’d love to see you 

It’s yours or is it….

When the stars align and the internet plays nicely I sometimes have a quick look through my Twitter feed.
Recently I seem to have lost interest in much that’s said there, haven’t actually tweeted/retweeted/liked anything for a long time, in fact a lot of unfollowing has happened as I’ve got fed up with the thoughts of some users…..but now and again something piques my interest and I click through to read some replies.
Rightly or wrongly (depending on your point of view) Poor ‘1000 cases a day’ Gladys & Mr ‘not my prime minister’ M (NSW Premier & Australian PM) are really being lambasted over recent events. Lets just say some of the words ‘spoken’ make interesting reading,

Anyway seeing a recent tweet from a Scottish knitwear designer had me thinking about when I’d heard someone else talking about self publishing to keep hold of creative control. (I’ve removed all the other usernames mentioned in the tweet)


After all these years The Golfer and I don’t feel the need to be in each other’s pocket all day every day. Unlike many retired couples who do spend their days together we’re happy to amuse ourselves knowing each of us value that ‘own time’.
While we’re here in Bowen this (below) is where he spends several mornings a week hitting a little white ball, trying to get it to land in a hole in the ground half a mile away…..yes a slight exaggeration but listening to him recap his hole by hole adventures you’d think it was instead of just up the way a bit😊




Meanwhile I’m enjoying the delights of this little town
One of them hearing a talk at the local library earlier this month by visiting
Australian author Annie Seaton

I’d already read several of her novels so enjoyed sitting there for well over an hour while she entertained us with humorous snippets of her life, where ideas for her novels come from, early treatment by publishers, how hard it was to ‘fight for’ what she had in mind – covers and book titles being changed – to retain creative control (Australian words & terms changed by international publishers …eg the very Australian word bast.rd….changed to ars..le…..turning derogatory into vulgar …….certainly not what she wanted in her novel) and now self publishing as a means of having that control.
She has managed to reclaim the rights to several of her books, ‘editing and rewriting’ where necessary to return them to their original state and was happy to tell us they were selling in larger numbers than with the previous publishers.

This is her latest book
Hidden Valley
Book 4 Porter Sisters series

Book Series by Annie Seaton

Linking to Life the Week hosted by Denyse at Denyse Whelan Blogs.
Photos will enlarge – just tap/click or use the 2finger slide

I’ve used (most of) it up…

Back at the end of May I mentioned a bag of odd balls coming up to Bowen with me
they were destined to come back home in a different form

Flat things are so much easier to pack than round balls 😊

Nine pairs of fingerless mittens – with more to come!

My reading mojo returned with a vengeance- theres been some reading done as well
All enjoyable- Nothing outstanding (most only 3*).
A couple of ‘new to me’ authors and a Chevalier one I missed years ago.

July 2021

Anne Perry – A Christmas Escape

Tracy Chevalier – The Lady and the Unicorn 

Fiona PalmerSisters and Brothers 

Rachel LearyBridget Crack

Kate Grenville – A Room made of Leaves

Kerry McGinnisCroc Country

Monica McInerneyThe Godmothers 

If you’re interested in seeing other’s knitting and reading ideas you’ll find both at Unraveled Wednesday hosted by Kat. Pop over and have a look – she’d love to see you 

I read a book….

I knew it would happen – sooner rather than later
It would return and I’d wonder how and why it had managed to get lost
I just didn’t imagine it happening this way

All it took was one short 280 page novel to find it again
A YA (young adult) one at that
And a willingness to accept some events that might be a bit far fetched. Not quite suspension of belief – more…. Do they really expect me to believe that?

Could Australia be invaded via a small town in NSW…..over a short period of time by an unknown force speaking an unknown language when everyone (apart from the main characters who’ve ‘gone bush’ for several days) is at the yearly agricultural show?

After being dissatisfied with recent library picks, annoyed at not being able to find something I could lose myself in, mourning the loss of my reading mojo I rummaged through a bag of books set aside for Bowen and came out with something that had me engrossed from the first page in.

Tomorrow, When the War Began – John Marsden did it for me.
Deciding to have a set time to read during our latest lockdown (well we couldn’t go far so I wasn’t going to be out long if I did go out) rather than reading on and off during the day meant I actually looked forward to that time.
Plus choosing a genre (YA) not normally on the bedside table was a challenge in itself – I don’t remember ever having a book geared towards teenagers about teenagers there before.
But as the old expression goes – whatever turns you on 😉

Ever hopeful I can return to my usual reading rate I’m about to start The Awakening…..first book in The Dragon Heart Legacy written by Nora Roberts…..a new to me author, well I do know her name, just haven’t read any of her work
Fantasy, Romance, Magic…..all set in Ireland.
My mother always said once I got my nose in a book I was lost to the world – I’m about to open another book and get lost, all the while keeping a tight hold of my reading mojo 😊

I need a little help….

I haven’t done much reading this month – just one novel.
Well actually, I finished it on the first of the month but put it into last month’s listing so really the amount is nil
All those authors and books I took note of last year because they sounded ‘interesting’ just aren’t looking that way at the moment. Books have come home from the library and been returned unread…not even opened in some cases.
However, when I dropped into the library the other day to return some of The Golfer’s loans I saw this on the recently returned trolley- you know the one where they put books before they are shelved…..and much to the librarians delight, lots of times they mysteriously find their way out the door again on the same day 😊

Have any of you read.
The Spire – William Golding?

( it deals with the construction of the 404-foot high spire loosely based on Salisbury Cathedral; the vision of the fictional Dean Jocelin. Wikipedia)

I read The Lord of the Flies years ago and after a quick read of the back of the book blurb thought this would be as easy to read as that one.  Short answer (for me) it’s not a ‘hard/difficult’ read, it’s just not an easy read. I’m finding it confusing trying to ‘work out’ what is happening in real life and what is happening in the main characters head. I’ll plod on and finish it because I want to know if the Spire is actually built on the cathedral and what becomes of the Dean and the other characters.

Right now, I’ve a little question for you. I’ve ‘looked it up’ but can’t find an explanation. So I’m wondering if any of my ‘well read’ readers know what is meant by:- (page 21)

He had a tariff of knees

He knew how they should be after this length of kneeling or that. Now, when they had passed through a dull ache, to nothing, he knew that more than an hour had passed”.
Any ideas anyone ?

Gosh, this week has flown by. As usual early on a Monday morning I sit here ‘thinking’. The Golfer is still abed and it’s quiet and peaceful….inside. As the weeks are passing since we got a sort of ‘all clear’ more and more people are back at work…..which is good…..but it’s becoming noisier…..outside. So as far as the roads are concerned (at this time of the morning) it’s almost back to the way it was.

This time last week I was wondering what the next would bring.
Well, It’s been all go….I’m now ready to meet influenza head on, my BP is back down to where it was last November (before my lovely little sister’s illness and subsequent death), my feet are feeling fabulous after a visit to the ‘clippers and scalpel wielding lady’ who is a foot massage genius, my back was ‘put right’ by my other ‘lovely lady’ with her little clicky thing and I can tell you the water at the pool was refreshingly cool. Obviously my idea of what heated means and that of the local council who run it is different – like the ocean feels when you dip your toes, it’s alright once you get in!

The kettle has just come to the boil so I’m off to make another cup of tea
My last week seemed to revolve around health and well being…..what was yours like?

And I’m attaching this little postcript as a reminder we all need a little joy in our lives.
Carols by Candlelight are just that for everyone who attends or watches on tv.
One of the things children (and adults) missed out on last year due to Covid restrictions
Song of Joy sung by David Hobson. Melbourne 2012

Denyse is hosting  Life this week – why don’t you pop over and see what’s going on

Forgotten Fingerless Fun….

So I’m rummaging round what I thought was a ‘discarded’ (as in put to one side to be looked at another time) bag of odd balls set aside for a child’s stripy jumper and right at the bottom. .. inside another bag….found a pile of fingerless mitts that needed finishing.

Several pairs of fingerless mitts
Left unfinished and forgotten for a maybe a couple of years.
I knew they were somewhere….just couldn’t remember where 😊

I’ve been knitting these on and off for quite a while now – they’re always in demand at the charity – so when I’m low in energy they’re an alternative ‘easy knit’ for those can’t be bothered with stitches measurements and shaping times

Now I don’t know if you believe in coincidences or not but that same day looking through photo folders these popped up in amongst my 2012 finishes. I used to find that with there being no instantly visible ‘thumb hole’ at times people would look at them not knowing how they were worn – easy to explain if you’re giving in person but it was fun sometimes to make a little ‘display hand’ like this


Black 8ply and using – Rhonda Jean’s pattern – one I’ve often used since discovering it quite a while ago (2008) – these were destined to be worn by a young girl waiting for the school bus at 8am on cold wintery days.  Losing things was her speciality so it wasn’t long before there was a request for another pair!

And these in a pinky grey mix of colours in Patons Jet knitted sideways – adapted  from a pattern I found on Ravelry – made especially for an elderly friend who suffered with cold hands indoors as well as out. Very simple and easy to do – I rather like the garter stitch detail on the side after they have been sewn together
Here’s my ‘rewritten’ pattern

~ ~ ~ ~

Discovered Found the rest of the brown wool in another bag so have decided to make a few more pairs – easy on my brain…..means I can read at the same time 😊.


The book on the table is a fun read – The Diary of a Nobody by George Grossmith. Even though it was published back in 1892 the short humorous sometimes sad/unfortunate day to day diary entries are still recognisable as ones possibly written in somebody’s today. I wonder if JayCee had this in mind when she named her blog

Not many books read in February:-

*Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift.
Very short, think novella. Mostly takes place over one day. Very sensual….with what might been seen by some as erotic and sexual undertones. Very sad – thought provoking in places. Surprise ending

*Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
Basically about someone who starts life in service then makes good of their life. First book in a series – has an ‘interesting’ main character who has an ‘interesting’ life. At times her ‘escapades’ reminded me of similar series – think Jackie French’s Miss Lily series and Kerry Greenwood’s Miss Fisher series …Enjoyable but I’m not sure I’ll look for others.

*A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier
About a single woman (not by choice – termed surplus women) finding her feet after WW1 – leaving home, becoming an ‘independent’ woman, becoming involved with a group of ‘broderers’ in the local cathedral also befriending a bell ringer. With one character taken from real life there was much to learn about the project to supply Winchester Cathedral with embroidered kneelers. as well as the hows wheres and whys of bell ringing woven into the story. This I definitely enjoyed – but then I’ve always enjoyed Chevalier’s historical fiction (based on real life persons/events).

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And as usual on the first Wednesday of the month if you’d like to find out a little more of what people have been up to – you really must visit…..  Unraveled Wednesday
hosted by Kat…….you’ll find it here at As Kat Knits 
Lots of knitting and reading to see there.


A little bit of this – A little bit of that

Yes, that’s all I have done recently.
Hopefully the sadness of the last few days will pass and my mind will settle again.

Thank you all for the comments on my last post.….one day I will be able to relate the events and the trauma they caused over the past eight weeks but just for today all I want to say is Thank You

I did do a little bit of knitting….after the green and white cardigan was put right it was popped into the ever filling charity box to wait for the volunteers to return from their summer break. Then I took pity on a neglected wip and finally the Teddy jumper (which had only been on the go for six months) was finished ….and instantly decided to make him a friend. Same as I did in 2016. Unlike back then I found the plain back and sleeves were ‘easy knitting’ and just what was needed to take my mind off other things so Mr Lion was finished in no time at all. Just right for 2yr olds don’t you think?

2021
2016

I did a little bit of reading during January.
Just a few books….some I enjoyed….some not so much.
And some went back unfinished.

* Cover her face by P.D.James
I certainly enjoyed my first time reading an Adam Dalgliesh mystery. Will look out for more in this series.

* The House between Tides by Sarah Maine
Debut novels can be a mixed bag. Also reading ‘new to you’ authors can be an interesting experience. This is one I thoroughly enjoyed and wanted to stretch out as long as I could by reading a little each day.

* The Binding by Bridget Collins
I wasn’t so keen on another debut novel by another new to me author. Told in three parts, each relating to the same time period. I really enjoyed the first part, not so the other two.

Then I dipped into a couple of self interest books, picking at bits here and there …..have renewed them so will be doing some more ‘dipping’ during February
* The mindfulness in knitting — Rachael Matthews.
* When things fall apart — Pema Chodron

The length of the day/night elements in our days are changing a little…..yes it’s that time of the year when the ‘days’ are getting a teeny bit shorter and the ‘nights’ are beginning to get a tiddly bit longer. The lights are needed just a fraction earlier in the evening and even though it’s daylight when we wake in the morning it’s hard to judge the time. There’s been so many dull rainy starts recently you don’t know if that’s the reason or whether the light’s not appearing as early as it did the week before.
And that’s good a good thing for those in the northern hemisphere because they can now look forward to a little bit more…..if you follow what I mean.

And if you’d like to find out a little more of what people have been up to – you really must visit….. Unraveled Wednesday hosted by Kat…….you’ll find it here at As Kat Knits.
Lots of knitting and reading to see there.

Down the rabbit hole….

I know what started it……middle of last year (2020), little internet messages between sisters. ‘Do you remember this….when we did this’ backed up by photos floating through the airwaves (or whatever you call what the internet runs on). Thoughts on what we inherited from our mum….I got the knitting gene…..middle sister got the sewing machine gene….and little sister joked and said, all she gave me was her arthritis. Which sent us into fits of ‘LOLs’ because we all inherited it in one place or another. Them in both hips, me in my spine and little brother in his knees.

Feeding the pigeons in Trafalgar Square 1954 – we ( just we three girls then plus mum….baby brother was there but not in person….yet) were on our way to Germany. Dad was there already, he’d been posted weeks before, so we made our way with lots of other service families on a very old ship across the North Sea from Harwich to Hook of Holland and then by train to RAF Wunstorf.

This photo of little sister’s beret shows mum’s love of fair isle knitting, something I enjoy as well. I’ve never attempted to knit a beret, wouldn’t it be a good project to take on I thought. Maybe even try to reproduce one like little sister’s. No pattern in my pile so off I go the source of all things knitting (preferably free if you know the right way to ask)…..yes, I changed my name to Alice…..which incidentally was my mother’s and my gt grandmother’s name, ……and made my way down the rabbit hole of the WWW.

I came up trumps with this pattern (pictured on the right) but it’s in 3ply so saved it for another day, however the site itself (Vintage Knitting Pattern Archive) is a fantastic source of free vintage patterns.

Another find was this picture of a very unhappy looking little boy wearing a really good looking fair isle style jumper/sweater similar to some I’d made for my children…….if you’re interested the pattern is here…. A Boys Jumper.

Look what came to light this past weekend when I sorted out some WsIP I’d tucked away in favour of doing something else. So enthused at the time by how easy the pattern ( as in the colour work stitches) appeared to be (and actually turned out to be) I’d started on it there and then, finishing the back and a sleeve before putting it to one side. Even though I like the distinct sharpness of the suggested red, white and blue on the cover and knowing I have no control of wherever it goes and to whom, I feel the softer colours will make it suitable for both girls and boys whatever their circumstances.



Looking at the wrong side you can see that like traditional fair isle there’s only two colours to each row, short breaks between each colour meaning short strands. And I tried to have the same colour on the top as I went along the row.


So when I get around to giving some attention to those half finished projects I think this little jumper will be the first cab off the rank.

First book for this year will be A Month of Sundays- Liz Byrski. Four women who have only seen each other on screen during their monthly online book club sessions decide to spend some time together …in person…at a property in the Blue Mountains. A soft read, with lots of tears, revelations and decisions coming up I think.



Unravelled Wednesday hosted by Kat is here at As Kat Knits. Lots of knitting and reading to see there.

Little boys and baby girls…..

October seemed to come and go quite quickly. Not a huge amount of anything was done except wonder if and when things would take a turn for the better and life would become more free and easy (in other words we’d be free from restrictions). The garden started to come alive so there was a bit of pottering done and rainy days meant there was a fair bit of reading done

As far as knitting went I actually had something else in mind but decided it easier to fish out a WIP (work in progress) and finish something‘simple and straightforward’ rather than get crotchety trying to work out increases & decreases at the same time as keeping different colours under control so plain and simple with easy stripes it was. A simple boat neck ….no designated back or front …..which means an ‘independent 2 yr old’ is able to ‘dress themselves’. Who else remembers the “me do it” stage??

After a conversation with a very excited younger (going to be a grandma) friend last week I’ve begun something much smaller and a lot more subdued in colour. Her daughter (mother to be) wants her newborn baby girl’s clothing to be soft (and girly??) so at her insistence soft pale colours it will be and as she’s not a knitter herself I was asked to make several cardigans as well as something like an old fashioned matinee coat, not lacy like feather and fan but plainer…I met up with ‘Grandma’ in an allowed meeting in the park where she looked over a selection of patterns and this (bottom left corner) is what we’ve agreed on. ‘Grandma’ will look at cardigan patterns another day and (all being well) Babe’s not due till May so there’s no hurry 😊

Feather and Fan stitch is often referred to as Old Shale – poking around on the net I found this article that disputes that and shows the reason why. I’m sure many knitters will find it interesting. The comments on the post are interesting reading also. Feather and Fan versus Old Shale

I’m between books at the moment. Actually it’s more like I’m‘book’d out’. The last one I read was The Yearling – Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, a coming of age for the main character, a look at life in rural 1870’s Florida. Maybe it was the patter of speech used…..written and spelt as spoken, set in 1870’s Florida it wore me out trying to concentrate. I’ve read lots of books written in dialect but none so taxing as this one.

Better luck next time eh ??

Yarn Along can be found at Ginny’s. Do pop over to small things to see what others have worked on this past month.
Unravelled Wednesday hosted by Kat is here at As Kat Knits. Lots of knitting and reading to see there.

Yarn Along (October)

So what have I made this month past……..a bit like the month before, not a lot!

I seem to have spent an awful lot of time trying to solve this ‘problem’ of not being able to read let alone comment on some Blogspot/Blogger blogs.
Safari….which is default for iPads lets me in but those blogs didn’t seem to ’recognise’ me….any comments just went off into outer space.
So …following the recommendation of another blogger….I downloaded Opera and all seemed well.
Well blow me down if Blogger has now come out and told me it doesn’t support Opera!
So… I’ve downloaded Firefox in the hope that will do the job……but if you haven’t seen or heard from me in a little while and it continues that way…there’s your answer.
Fngers crossed that’s the end of it….though I’m wondering if the New Blogger people are talking about is possibly part of the problem

Anyway, after having brought it out of hiding I actually tackled some more of The Golfer’s sampler but did very little knitting- well little compared to what I’ve done in previous months.
These newborn hats and bootees were finished and I was all prepared to do more but…..

After checking Marianna’s babbbity pattern decided I had enough of both colours to do some mix and match.
Decision made, I set to and came up with a couple of very easy to knit newborn jackets in different colour ways to put together with the hat and bootees. On reflection they do look a bit dark so I’ll leave it up to the charity to decide what will go with what….they may have some things in paler colours to team with them and soften the look.


I’m getting towards the end of my reading challenge, polishing off 5 during September, (obviously that’s the reason for less knitting last month) and now have these two waiting in line. A very old 1946 copy of Kipps (H.G.Wells) found on the book table at Probus in February…….lol someone was obviously having a clear out 😊

The other one is Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson, an unknown to me author) chosen by title only…..letter Q titles are few and far between so it was ‘ ooh that’ll do’ when I saw it on a Goodreads list. Very historical, historical fiction. My face sort of dropped when it arrived In the box from the library….it’s huge – over 900 pages (with tiny print). Then I realised it was all three volumes of the trilogy! Phew!

I’m not sure which I’ll tackle read first.
Maybe read them in tandem- one century here….one century there.😊

It’s the first Wednesday of the month which means it’s ‘Show and Tell’ time better known as Yarn Along over at Ginny’s. Do pop over to small things to see what others have worked on this past month.

What ya reading Wednesday….

I saw this little ‘poster’ online somewhere and felt it summed up the past few weeks.

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As well as spending a good bit of my time recently with needles in my hand and chasing up long lost ancestors …..I ‘discovered’ another sister of one of my GT Grandmothers…..there has always a book close at hand for quiet moments when I wanted to retreat from all the ongoing madness.

Two that I read were written by new to me authors  – well not new in that I had never heard of them – just new in that I’d never read any of their works before.  And just by chance both books were the authors’ first novels and also the first in a series.

Jo Nesbø -The Bat

Book Blurb:-  Detective Harry Hole Is meant to keep out of trouble.  A young Norwegian girl on a gap year in Sydney has been murdered and Harry has been sent to Australia to assist in any way he can…..when the team unearths a string of unsolved murders nothing will stop Harry from finding out the truth.

Such an easy read, Harry Hole sent to observe but becomes involved.   It starts slowly but moves along dramatically/ violently/ humourously even at times- twisting and turning to a very surprising end.  Introduces the reader to Harry’s past which influences his present.  The other characters (the police he is working with) were very Australian, their language full of local expressions,  not quite what he was used to and the more he learns about the first death the more he unearths about previous killings giving him reasons to become more involved in finding the killer.

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Michael Robotham – Suspect/The Suspect

Book Blurb:- Joseph O’Loughlin appears to have the perfect life- a beautiful wife, a loving daughter and a successful career as a clinical psychologist.  But nothing can be taken for granted.  Even the most flawless existence is only a loose thread away from unravelling.  All it takes is a murdered girl, a troubled patient and the biggest lie of his life. 

If I’d known I’d be reading the same story twice I might have thought twice about actually reading this book.  The thing is it was what made the book what it was.

A really good read!

The first chapter certainly draws you in – meeting the main character on a window ledge trying to talk someone out of jumping!  Later he becomes involved in what appeares to be the murder of a prostitute but is actually someone he knew a few years previously.  Add that to the fact he’s recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and the book is off and running.  It follows his daily life seeing patients- one in particular is marked in his mind as the killer but after a conversation with the investigating police officer it’s he who becomes the suspect.  Cue part two!

After his arrest the ‘story’ is rewritten – same people places with different dialogue, thoughts, reasoning and explanations.  Of course Joe O’Loughlin is innocent, he proves the one he suspected is guilty in a very surprising ending.

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Have any of you read either of these books?  I’m hoping the library reopens soon as I’d like to order more of these authors works/series.

Until then I’m plodding through the large pile here at home.  Next in line are two from my ‘give the girls a go‘ idea.

The Hunters Wife – Kathleen Scholes

Daughters of Australia – Harmony Verna

 

What ya reading Wednesday….

Unlike some of my coffee drinking friends, my very good friend the librarian didn’t think I was strange when she heard about my reading challenges for this year. ‘Are you up for another one?’ she asked, ‘do you mind what genre the books are?.  If not I’ll keep my eye  open for some you might be interested in’

I had two recommendations for an A and a B one word title sent in an email- put them on hold please I replied.

The first one Alice by Christine Henry  is described as:- A mind-bending new novel inspired by the twisted and wondrous works of Lewis Carroll

Book Blurb :-  In a warren of crumbling buildings and desperate people called the Old City, there stands a hospital with cinderblock walls which echo the screams of the poor souls inside.

In the hospital, there is a woman. Her hair, once blond, hangs in tangles down her back. She doesn’t remember why she’s in such a terrible place. Just a tea party long ago, and long ears, and blood…

So then it was on to the second one Bliss by Peter Carey

Book Blurb:- This novel, by the author of Oscar and Lucinda, tells the story of a man who, recovering from death, is convinced that he is in hell. For the first time in his life, Harry Joy sees the world as it really is, and takes up a notebook to explore and notate the true nature of the Underworld.

i saw one classed as Horror/Fantasy – the other as Satire/Black Humour in the form of literature.

Both arrived the other day but I haven’t picked them up yet,  I’m trying to finish off my February female first 😊

How about you.  Are you reading anything out of the ordinary ?

WWW Wednesday- May 2019

Quite a while ago I would occasionally take part in WWW Wednesday when it was hosted by MizB;  Sam at Taking on a World of Words now looks after it and even though the knitting might have taken a back seat I seem to have found comfort in books again……  This might be the right time to join in the fun once more 🙂

Anyone can do it – take part that is – just answer these 3 questions
What are you currently reading ?
What did you recently finish reading ?
What do you think you’ll read next ?

My current read is – Alias Grace by Margaret Attwood

“It’s 1843, and Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer and his housekeeper and mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Now serving a life sentence, Grace claims to have no memory of the murders.”

Picked up from the ‘borrow if you want’ table at my cup of coffee book club, I’ve been reading or at least trying to read this for a couple of weeks now except I just can’t get into it.  I’ve reached chapter 8  (in Young Man’s Fancy) yes, I know I’ve hardly started but I keep getting sidetracked!  Anyway I’m hoping all the excepts and letters and all that going back and forth…..which annoys me no end…..are behind me.

Did she do it or did she not?  That is the question.  I’m not normally a ‘read the last chapter’ person but am quite tempted in this case…..I suppose I could ask Mr Google….but that would be cheating, wouldn’t it 😊

My most recent finish was – the ones you trust by Caroline Overington 

“Someone has taken her little girl … Emma Cardwell, host of top-rating morning TV show Cuppa, is beloved by audiences and only occasionally stalked by crazy fans. She seems to have it all – fame, money, a gorgeous family – but when her tiny daughter disappears from ldaycare, Emma is faced with every mother’s worst nightmare. Is this a kidnapping, a product of her high profile, or is somebody out for revenge?”

A story that had you wondering right from page 1.  Who What Where and Why?.  A quick easy read, some rather unlikable characters, maybe a little far fetched storyline with a very strange ending. The author obviously had done much research into the world of morning tv – I kept seeing the sets of Sunrise or Today wondering who the male presenter had been based on, who was the ghastly executive who seemed to rule everyone’s life and who was the model for Emma.  The plot –  a possible event but highly unlikely!

And my ‘maybe’ next one is – Force of Nature by Jane Harper (Aaron Falk 2)

“Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along a muddy track.
Only four come out on the other side.
The hike through the rugged Giralang Ranges is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and encourage teamwork and resilience. At least, that’s what the corporate retreat website advertises”

While all my book club friends raved about Jane Harper’s first novel The Dry (Aaron Falk #1)  it didn’t turn me on at all.  I know, I know – I’m hard to please at times.  I kept thinking if the main character didn’t want to be there, why didn’t he just go back to Melbourne.  He’d fiddle about doing this, and a bit of that, and nothing seemed to happen. And those flashbacks annoyed me so much.   Now with a bit of luck I’ll enjoy the second in the series more than the first..I’ve been good and haven’t even peeked inside the covers and I just have to remember that series reading ‘was’ my aim for this year……see Books read 2019 😊

And if not these also came home with me a couple of weeks ago from
my book club that isn’t a book club.

Only one recent release – but when did that affect me reading a book 😊

Tomorrow the World – Josephine Cox
The Seafront Tea Room – Vanessa Greene
Gold Dust – Kimberley Freeman
The Clockmaker’s Daughter – Kate Morton

 

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Come on – tell me – I’d love to know your answers to the three questions?