Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Jane Brocket Envy

Before I went to bed last night I looked at Jane Brocket's blog, Yarnstorm, in which she describes her latest book she is working on. It's a recipe book based on the food that appears in children's books, like those written by Enid Blyton. And I think it's such a great idea, I wish I'd thought of it myself. I recently had some acupuncture done, to help combat tiredness, and one of the unexpected side-effects of the acupuncture was that I recalled vivid feeling memories from my childhood. So it wasn't particularly memories of things that had happened, but more how I had felt within the memory of things that had happened. When the days stretched, and I had all the time in the world, and all the space in the world and I read a lot. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a very safe and supported environment. My parents had moved into a newly-built housing estate when my sister was very young, and all the other houses were occupied by other young couples starting out, with small children. All the children in the neighbourhood were looked after by all the adults, and we were in and out of each other's houses all the time. It was a very social place to live. The kids were friends, the mothers were friends, the fathers were friends, it was great. We also had extended family living fairly nearby too, so there was lots of visiting of cousins and aunts, and we visited my Granny every Saturday.

My favourite author when I was a child was Enid Blyton, and because the acupuncture evoked these childhood memories I recently re-read most of 'The Mystery of...' series, which stars The Five Find-Outers, and Dog. Again, it's a safe world, where the children solve mysteries, with a regular smattering of outings to cafes for macaroons and ginger beer.

I'm not a great cook. Hagos does all our food shopping and cooks all the main meals (he is a great cook - he can find an old onion in the fridge and turn it into a delicous meal) but I am a good baker and have made many gorgeous cakes in my time, which is why I'm so envious of Jane's idea and book deal. To spend every day reading favourite children's books, make a list of recipes found there, and then make the recipes and write the book sounds like heaven to me. What a truly lovely way to spend time. I'll definitely buy Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer when it's published.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Picture Stamps and My Boy Jack

It isn't something I think about much, but I really like picture stamps and always ask for them when I buy stamps at the Post Office. I think I like them because they tell a little story in themselves, and they're much more colourful and interesting than the bog standard Queen's head stamps.

This year I'm trying to be ahead of myself with the whole Christmas thing (presents, cards) and so in October I looked on the Royal Mail website to see when this year's Christmas stamps were being issued (Nov 6th), and put a note in my diary to buy them. Last year we had snowmen, this year it's some kind of angel with 'peace' written across it in a banner. I like both, though I prefer the snowman.

I also really liked the Harry Potter stamps and bought a full set and also the war stamps. I used them all except these two, which I realise I'm keeping.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is my favourite Harry Potter book. I kept the stamp depicting the 'Observer Royal Field Artillery 1917' because lately I'm more interested in the 1st World War, partly because of programmes like Who Do You Think You Are, and because I believe my papa fought in Palestine in the 1st World War (I really must find out more about that), and because I like the 1st World War poets.

I watched My Boy Jack on Remembrance Sunday, a drama about Rudyard Kipling's son Jack. I knew the story already but thought the drama was really well done and even Daniel Radcliffe was understated and pitched it just right. At the end of the programme the actor playing Rudyard Kipling spoke the poem 'My Boy Jack' and it was heartrending and so powerful.

My Boy Jack (1916)

'Have you news of my boy Jack?'

Not this tide

'When d'you think that he'll come back?'

Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

'Has anyone else had word of him?'

Not this tide.

For what is sunk will hardly swim,

Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

'Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?'

None this tide, nor any tide,

Except he did not shame his kind

- Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.

Then hold your head up all the more,

This tide,

And every tide;

Because he was the son you bore,

And gave to that wind blowing and that tide!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Cosy Night In

I got the new edition of the Selvedge magazine. It's about Scandinavia and it's lovely. There's so many things to look at and websites to follow up. All very beautiful and gorgeous and inspirational. I love it.

I have a day off today and really felt the urge to sew something, but I don't have any material. I want to make a Simplicity dress, from the same pattern I made my two tops from. I design it over and over in my head. From a straightforward Amy Butler or Kaffe Fassett material, to plain material with embroidery round the rim. I thought about polar bears or even a poem! Or the beginning of a poem. A war poem perhaps. Or something written in a foreign language. In the Selvedge magazine one designer designs an Advent skirt every year, which I like the idea of. I also really want to make the lounge pants in Amy Butler's In Stitches book.

Hagos is in London today, so I decided to watch Brigadoon! It's a film I remember from my childhood. I haven't seen it for at least 20 years, probably longer. I just remember something about a Scottish village (it's an American film, with GREAT Scottish accents) that only emerges from the mist every hundred years for a day(?) then disappears again, and Gene Kelly falls in love with a Scottish lass (understandable) and has a dilemma whether to leave or not before the mist closes in and he's either trapped there forever, or can never go there again. It's great! I love old singing, dancing films. Or just old films that are about relationships and gentleness and love.

This is what I've been knitting for the last wee while. I love Scandinavians at Christmas. They do it really well, and these are Scandinavian colours. I was considering giving them for my make-it-yourself Secret Santa present, but I made something else instead. I'll probably give these to a friend for Christmas.
Meg looking lovely by the fire :)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Secret Santa/Silly Slippers

I finished my Secret Santa present at the weekend. I can't unveil it until I've given it to the recipient but above is the material it's made from, with some ginger help as usual.

On a whim I decided to make a pair of slippers. I just had enough scraps of material left over. Voila le results! They're very snug. I like them!