Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Nor'easter Toby

Hi Dear Folk,

Closing out the day of our fourth nor'easter, Toby.  Our neighborhood is cloaked in snow and I can see that my butterfly bush is bent to the ground.  Time stands still for a day.


Happy Days Are Here Again!

Hi Dear Folk,

Snowed in, guilt free day.  I caught the 4:30PM train out of the city, yippee and it was on time, I only just caught it as my boss at the last minute said you can catch the 4:30PM train if you like and I still had to do the FEDEX package.  I got down there by the skin of my teeth, then we had to sit for five minutes, one of the crew hadn't arrived.  I was happy, home by 5:30PM.

Today The Boy went to work, he said for a few hours and Mr. B. decided to go out shopping, I think it's just an excuse to drive in the snow, you know men.

Before going out, Mr. B. repaired the switch on my gas stove in the sun porch, I couldn't use it, so now I'm happily sitting out here with the fire going, doing a little crochet.

Look at my lovely thrift find.  Mr. B. on Sunday said do you want to pop over to the thrift, a holiday sale on and we did.  I found this lovely knee length J. Jill skirt, I fell in love with the fabric which I think is very sixties both in pattern texture and colour.  Would have been an expensive skirt.

Here is my little crochet, wool from the Isle of Skye I am going to call it my Waternish scarf, Waternish being an area on the Isle of Skye and the colours remind me of water.  It was crocheting up a little too tight, so undid it and started again with a larger crochet hook.

As you can see the snow is really coming down.

This plaque was Mr. B's mum's, I think from the thirties or forties, it reminds me of Wales, when I was cleaning this room last week, I thought it would look nice sitting in front of the stove.  Such a cozy scene.

Did anyone watch "A Stitch In Time" on You Tube?  Such an interesting series of programs.  I wish there were more.

I pulled out the old bill file that I am going to use for my journal, for my trip to Europe.  Have to think of what I want to do with that.

Have a nice cup of coffee in my Heffers of Cambridge mug, Heffers is a book store in Cambridge, quite famous, old and well used in a University town.  I remember years ago getting a biology book there, to help me with my classes at school.  I went to a school heavily in the sciences.  Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Agricultural Science, plus you could have split those off into Zoology and Botany.

It says the following on the mug, I won't write it all -

     argue in archaeology, buzz in biology, chat over coffee, dream in divinity, explore economics,

and so it goes on right down to Z.

Well Mr. B. is back and I have to put the shopping away.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Holland and Norway, Fiords and Fun

Hi Dear Folk,

Yes the fourth nor'easter is heading our way, freezing rain right now and I hope I get out of Dodge.

My friend Joan and I were talking about some fun quotes the other day one being this -

     I don't make jokes.  I just watch the government and report the facts.  Will Rogers

I have come to the conclusion that I also love Mark Twain quotes so much I think I should get a book of his quotes, talk about witty.

     Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness. Mark Twain

On that thought I have another adventure that I'm going on with my friend Jean.  We are taking a cruise out of Portsmouth, England to Holland and then on to Norway.  We have thought about doing this for a while, but now the time is right.

These are the ports we are visiting.

Our ship will be The Astoria. I like the older ships because one it's smaller and can navigate the fiords, also it has a promenade deck around the whole ship.  On the newer cruise ships this is prime realty so all the expensive suits with balconies are on the side of the ship and you don't really have a promenade deck or even a bow to stand on.  They're almost like giant floating chests.  Of course a ship leaving England must and does serve afternoon tea, just that thought gives me joy.

Jean did all the work coordinating the trip and getting it together.  We had thought about the Hutigruten cruises, out of Bergen ending in Kirkenes, or visa versa, but the logistics of getting to or from Kirkenes with an internal flight was becoming more and more complex and costly, an overnight stay, plus a flight to Norway from the UK, so we opted for this cruise and I'm glad we did.  It's easy to get to Portsmouth we booked a return coach out of Victoria, London.  I think this will be more relaxing for us older girls.  I'm looking to forward even to the coach trip, seeing a little of the southern counties as we pass through to Portsmouth.

I didn't think I'd need a second suitcase, but maybe I will, upping my plane ticket may prove to be an advantage, other than the seat.  I thought about my plane ticket and wondered if I had put my complete name on it as appears in my passport, so important these days.  Eventually got home and looked at it and breathed a sigh of relief, yes I had.  Jean had asked me this question for our cruise tickets and that jolted my thought about my plane ticket.

Looking forward to lots of adventures and keeping a travel journal.  Do come with me on my travels to England, let's share a journey.


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Cape Ann Shawl and Hats

Hi Dear Folk,

Tierney is visiting for the weekend, and I thought I'd ask her to model my Cape Ann Shawl and Hats.

Here we are discussing places to visit on their trip to England, all around the area they are staying in with my family.  Cavendish, Claire, Long Melford, Lavenham and East Bergholt, Constable county.  Along with a trip to the coast Aldeburgh and Southwold.

This is the one hat I made, pretty much my own pattern, I like this with the ruffle edging.  Has a little crochet button on top.

This is the other hat that I came up with.  Reminds me of a Russian Cossack hat, the flower with a button in came out well.  I did a little edging in white to just tie it in with the shawl, otherwise they, according to Mr. B. didn't tie in together.  These yarn colours are on a continuous ball.

Thought I'd pick these before they are hidden under another nor'easter.  Snowdrops are dainty, and their centres beautiful.

Yesterday I had to go to Walmart to pick up my prescription and it must be my best trip to that store.  Usually my prescription is for 3 months and costs $10.00 I pay for it myself, because it is cheaper to do it that way that put it through the insurance.

Last time Mr. B. picked it up they only refilled it for one month, because the price had tripled, due to the hurricane in Puerto Rico.  I was pleasantly surprised when the price had gone down to the original price, being rather pessimistic, I thought it would not.

The pharmacist had only filled it for a month but I asked her if she could change it to the 3 months and she did.  I found my silver cloth cleaner, jewelry cleaner and black shoe laces instantly by bumping into an actual store employee, who directed me to the correct area.  Took the items back, the pharmacist rung everything up and I was out of the store.  I was gobsmacked that never happens to me in Walmart.  It is usually a bad experience, including a trip to customer service.

My weekend is good.  Found a skein of merino yarn that was hand dyed, I had acquired it over eight years ago on a trip to the Isle of Skye and misplaced it, so just crocheting a little scarf I have made before.  Hope your weekend is good too.


National Provincial by Lettice Cooper

Hi Dear Folk,

This book review of National Provincial has taken me a long time to get to.  Fortunately I do take notes.  I am trying to remember how I came to order this book out of old shelving at the library.  I think I read about the author Lettice Cooper on the Persephone Books Blog.  Now it's coming back to me they published one of her other books, The New House.

Lettice Cooper was born in 1897 and died in 1994.  She was born in Eccles, Lancashire.  She want to Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.  She had deep socialist convictions, reflected in her books and an affinity to her Yorkshire roots.

The time period is 1923, Mary is on the train back to the Sheffield area from London where she has had a promising career in journalism, and has lived the new life style for young women of the 1920's sharing a flat with other women.  Entertaining, with a young group of friends who talk about the future and change.

Mary has to go back to Sheffield as her younger sister Doris  is getting married to Frank and their mother is an invalid, and makes more of it than need be.  The person that she has a true affection for is her Aunt Grace, her mother's sister and her Uncle John a Trade Union leader.

In reviews I have read about this book many comment that the story is centered around Mary and that is true, but all the other characters in the book are fleshed out just as well, so you might almost think well who is it centered around?  It just starts off with Mary.

Mary's father left the family when they were small and her mother has never got over the shadow of stigma.

"Cant't we ever be ordinary again?"

Vivian a London friend speaks about the Provinces.  This could almost be a social commentary on the world today.

"There's always been a gap between us and them, and the gap's widening.  I noticed it last month when I had a week-end in Liverpool.  I expect you'll find it stiffer and slower there, you'll probably run up against a lot more settled prejudices than you do with our lot here, but don't be a fool and waste time down there wishing you were back.  You soak it in.  I don't believe you can do anything much in England unless you've got the feeling of the provinces."

Interesting she says down there because we always think up there as it's North.

Mary has been excepted on the local rag as a reporter for social events, she moves in several different circles.  The Harding family and their cousins the Marsden family make up the old industrial money.  Mr Ward and his family, he is currently the largest industrial employer in town, the new money and Steven Harding the son works for Mr. Ward, an uncomfortable position to be in.  Mary's uncle is the Trade Union leader and works at Mr. Ward's plant.

You have a circle of intellectuals and another circle of communist intellectuals, along with elements within the trade union that lean towards communism.  But don't think of communism in the Eastern European way, think of the naiveté of ones who believed in the ideals of communism, in the 1920's.

Think of social reform and the moving towards a National Health System, which is not communistic, to want a better standard of living.  In National Provincial you feel all the tug backwards and forwards, between those who want change, those who don't.  It is a personal story of many individual characters, too many for me even to go into.

The story almost ends where it begins, but you don't mind that because the wealth and detail of the characters, their interaction and a look though a window on time in a 1920's Northern English town.

It is a very good read.  I will have to see what else I can read written by Lettice Cooper.


Saturday, March 17, 2018

A Stitch In Time

Hi Dear Folk,

For all those in the group Dress Like Your Grandma, you might enjoy watching this a series from the BBC A Stitch In Time.  Enjoy!

Dog Cottage, Norfolk

Hi Dear Folk,

Dog Cottage Norfolk.

There is nothing like planning a trip to lift ones spirits in the doldrums of winter.

I am so excited.  Well have got lots of good travel coming up and this is just one of my excursions while visiting England in August.  I have booked an AirBNB for my sister, hubby and I at Dog Cottage in Norfolk.  The brick and flint of this old cottage is traditional to this area.

My sister is very happy because the cottage is dog friendly and she has a lab, and how could a cottage called Dog Cottage not be dog friendly?

A town on the coast that I have wanted to visit is Well-next-the Sea, I'm sure we will get there.  I'm hoping for cozy pub lunches, or evening dinners, a good beer, afternoon teas and walks along the beach, as well as a boat ride on the Norfolk Broads.  Just relaxing and spending time with my sister.

When I was a child we always took two camping holidays.  One would be for two weeks and we would go to Scotland, Wales or Cornwall, somewhere further away and then for the one week long vacation we would stay much closer to home and Norfolk was one of the counties we would visit, along that East Anglia Coast including Suffolk and Essex coastal towns.


Friday, March 16, 2018

Where Am I From?

Hi Dear Folk,

I love family stories that have been handed down.  Such as my dad's, mum's, father's side of the family were thought to be Huguenots who came over after the St Bartholomew's Day Massacre and settled in the East End of London and were shoe makers for generations.  Making hand made shoes for the theatre actors.  The shoemaker part is true because my great uncle Alf was taught the trade, although he played the clarinet and was more musical so didn't really pursue it.  He played with the band on the old Queen Mary.  Also their last name was thought to have been an  Anglicized French name, so is that true or not?

I may never know the answers to those questions unless I get my cousin Jeff on the job he is number one ancestry bloodhound.  Tracing my mum's, dad's side of the family all the way back to early 1400's, Amazing to see written papers and signed wills of ones ancestors still archived and in existence.  To stand on the very Suffolk green, where the family fortune was auctioned off, because of running fowl of some very unscrupulous church clerics who disputed that our family had not paid the correct tithes to the church and of course the church won and our young relative being in his early twenties, who had just inherited when his father died was silly, taking things to court.  He just didn't handle it properly.  They went within two generations of being totally literate in the 1500s, writing documents and signing wills to being illiterate, that's what money or the lack of money will do for you.

Having said all that, I have sprung for the DNA testing kit.  Is this just a big come on or not?  What are your thoughts?  Has anyone done it?  I have wanted to do it for a long while.

We will see, will keep you posted.  Hope there are no skeletons in the closet, or can one possibly say that anymore when nothing seems to be hidden.

Have more exciting travel news but that will wait for another post.

Have a great weekend.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Dress Like Your Grandma! - What Does Grandma Have to do with Witness For The Prosecution?

Hi Dear Folk,

Did you watch Witness For The Prosecution on Acorn?  I thought it was very well done, remember the older version with Marlene Dietrich?

This is the character Alice Mayhew sitting in her kitchen, so typical of the time.  Her husband's fortunes change after solving or not solving the case and here they are on vacation in Trouville, France.

As soon as I saw this dress I just fell in love with it.  Such simple lines, with the yellow stripe fabric and contrasting wide band, with the stripe picked up again at the bottom.  I could see this in a linen.

Notice the hand stitching around the neck.

And picked up on the edge of the sleeves.  This was set after WWI so we are possibly looking at early twenties.  I took these photos off the TV so quality is not that good, but you get the idea.

I ran across this pattern on eBay it is a copy of an original and not all the parts are there, but isn't it unique, I like the yoke, coming across and then down the front of the dress in one piece.  I may splurge out for this, as I can't find anything I like as much and would be authentic, the pattern is dated 1921.  Note the half belt, which I think can be worn either across the front, or across the back of the dress.

These photos were taken in the countryside around Sible Hedingham, Essex, England.

Here is a picture of my grandma, mum's mum circa 1925 so a tad later but not much.  The original photos are not too good.  Kitty Edith was born in 1906 so was about nineteen years old in these photos.  Note the yoke front piece and the half belt.

Here is grandma again with Basil my granddad.  She has a clutch purse tucked under her arm.  The other girls are quite stylish in their cloche hats, on the back of the photo grandma wrote that she was sporting a bob.

Why am I posting all these 1920's dress photos, well I have decided to join Tanya at her blog Mrs Hughes for the Dress Like Your Grandma Sewing Challenge.

It should be fun.  Now I've got to get that pattern, pull out the sewing machine and get going.


Broken Branches

Hi Dear Folk,

Thank you for stopping by and I want to express my appreciation for all the lovely comments that you leave.

Wednesday is my day off, I was going to get my taxes done, but found out you can get help in doing them at our public library for free, so cancelled the appointment, it would have been bit of a trek too. The last couple of years a friend who was a tax accountant did them, what with Rob's college, ACA, etc, etc, I found them all a bit overwhelming to do myself, I used to.  Now I am just so done with paperwork, and taxing my brain, excuse the pun, that any help I can get is great.

This morning I was tidying up the kitchen and saw that the compost pot was full, so put on my garden shoes and trekked over to empty it into our composter, when I saw the devastation of those heavy snow storms on my bushes, I fear the hybrid garden St Johns wort will never be the same because a whole center branch has broken off.  It puts out such pretty yellow puff ball flowers and the bees love them.  I noticed Mr. B. had taken it over to the fallen branch pile, but had not informed me, I guess he knew I would be upset.  What a mess it is out there.  Can't wait for spring and to get stuck into the big clean up and planting.

It is quite bitterly cold and I see we are to have our fourth nor'easter later today and mostly tomorrow, I might just take a PTO day, so fed up of sitting on cold railway platforms for hours waiting for a train.

My friend asked me to feed her cat while she is away, she has an alarm on her house and it freaks me out.  The darn thing went off because even though I was punching the code in, it wouldn't take it, one last go keying it in and the alarm stopped, so think all is well and didn't get any follow up with the security company.  Then I couldn't reset the alarm when I left because having triggered the alarm, the green light didn't show and didn't know how to reset it. So I left and just locked up.  When Mr. B. got home we went over and he figured out how to reset it and get the green light on so we could arm the alarm again.  What a to do.  They have a Persian, quite a cutey, poor thing did not want me to leave, I felt like bringing him home.

Do you have a lot of wires and chargers?  It seams that every device needs a different charger, I now keep them all on the table in front of the TV, so I can find them easily, I think I'll put them in a little basket.  I have a Fire and Mr. B. has my old Fire and do you think they can take the same charger, no.  Camera chargers, phone charger, Mac charger, iPad charger, and there must be more.  Is life simpler or more complicated?

Ventured out into the sun porch which has not been used over the winter.  My mandelvilla and geraniums may actually stagger out of the sun porch into spring and live to bloom another day.  The Tahitian wedding veil is looking great.  Even the calla lilies in the basement are still living, waiting for spring.

Was able to sort out a few boxes in the basement and gets some things thrown out, every little bit helps.  I even found a small bag I had bought in Hawaii and had wanted to use at the beach, but couldn't find it.  After helping Joni sort through her house, I realize it is not good to leave it to when you are not in a position to do it yourself.


Monday, March 12, 2018

De-Cluttering and Plans

Hi Dear Folk,

If I was to tell you how many times I have tidied up and painted our basement, it is far too many.  In fact there's been more attention down there than any other room in the house when it comes to painting, I think it's because it is old and slightly damp and it needs a new coat about every three years.

Yesterday we were down there doing yet another sort out in one area, it never got back to where it was after The Boy moved back from college and dumped all his stuff down there and set up his desk down there, and stores his summer Miata tires down there, repairs his bikes down there and builds stereo stuff down there.  You get the idea.  Plans I had are now out the window and Mr. B. said he was not painting the basement one more time, but he did help me clean and sort yesterday, just one quadrant.

We need to have a yard sale this spring, more sorting in basement and the garage.

I have plans for the garden, one being that I want to re-do my vegetable garden.  I am not in love with the breeze blocks surrounding the gardens.  I've been watching too much Big Dreams, Small Gardens, it's on Netflix and I can't wait for the next season to be released. My Idea is to take all my bricks and make it into a meandering narrow path down the one side of my garden, then either side of the path I want to put big pots, will see what I come up with, maybe like the Vietnamese pots I already have.  That's the idea but as we know a garden is a journey I think I read that in Nan's Blog.

I do not want to get rid of the breeze blocks as everything is an asset, so would like to have a go at adding a mosaic on one side and laying them to make a floor for a garden gazebo tent. but that's all in my mind and will see if and how that comes to fruition and whether my knees hold up to the job.


Friday, March 9, 2018

Wonders of Water, Philadelphia Flower Show

Hi Dear folk,

I wanted to go to the flower show but just wasn't excited to do so and I felt that I should have been.  Maybe it was the weather this week and the long trek backwards and forwards to work, maybe I was over tired.  I had wanted to go earlier in the week but couldn't take off until today.  I only spent half the time there that I spent at last year's flower show.

The theme was the Wonders of Water and I guess I had in mind that there would be lots of water features, there were but possibly not as many as there were last year, when the theme was Holland.  It was more about the ecology of water and our limited resource of water and how it is effected by climate change.

I was a little disappointed this year, but maybe that was more to do with me.  If I had had more energy to read all the signage along with each exhibit would have helped.  Earlier in the week would have been less crowded too.  Although I do think that last year was better.  I did get to try out my new camera.

Here is a little view of the flower show.

An outdoor wedding.

Had to take a picture of the Stella Artois vendor.

This spectacular rain forest presentation is what greats you at the main entrance and it was beautiful.

I took far less photos than last year and this will be my one and only posting on the show.

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