Wednesday, July 29, 2020

I Think This Says It All, Niagara Falls, Maids of The Mist

Hi Folk.

Hope you are all keeping well and safe this summer.

I'm viewing this time as stepping back and smelling the flowers.

Take care,

Monday, June 29, 2020

Day What?

Hi Dear Folk,

We are on day 96 of this pseudo lockdown state.  We are back to green but with the use of masks strongly suggested, which of course we adhere to.  I take a one time look at the data every day.  Mr. B. was called back to work, but we made the choice not to do so, we are both in that higher risk age group.  We follow the statistics to see if in our area since opening up, is it still tailing down, staying level or going up.  The truth is it is beginning to rise mildly, and we're in a North Eastern State, not a Southern State where it seems out of control.  We want it to go down for all, and then Mr. B. will go back to work.

If you look at the scenarios that they run, projections of how many people will get Covid, how many people will die and they run this with are people wearing masks or are people not wearing masks, and the truth is if you wear a mask less people will die.  Doesn't seem a hard choice, it's like wearing a seatbelt.  Less people die in an accident if they wear a seatbelt, it is mandatory, it safes lives.

I have been able to connect on a regular bases with my aunt Joan and it has been so good, such fun and she is a wealth of information, things my mother never told us.  One story was this, she said she still has a guilty conscience over.  She was staying with my mum, aunt Joan is the younger sister by five years, I was a little girl and a huge spider was on the staircase, they were both scared of it.  I had a little toy dust pan and brush and they sent me up to scoop and brush the spider into my pan, of course, it ran, I ran and they ran, when they came back it had disappeared.  They were naughty sisters, obviously the trauma could not had been too bad, because I do not remember.

This time has given me a lot of time to reflect on just all sorts of things, as I think it has many others. It's like being in the Eye of a Hurricane, total calmness but all sorts of cyclones are going on around you.

I have enjoyed my garden.  Mr. B got an extender for our Wi Fi router to reach the far end of the garden, down to my shed, and that has been great.  It has meant I can sit under the oak tree and be online if I desire to do so.  It was actually The Boy who suggested it, he wanted to be able to use his laptop and tune his new engine and for that he needed Wi Fi in the garage.  I ask the question, why we didn't think of doing this for ourselves, we probably benefit more from it.  But when the children ask, we jump, even now.

If you follow my Instagram you know that Rob has installed a new Honda K engine into his 1997 Miata.  He's pretty much ripped the whole car apart and put it back together.  That's kept him busy all winter he started I think about last October time.

It's truer than ever that you need to enjoy the day to day activities of life, live in the moment and make it the best you can.  Books are a great comfort and I found two lovely ones at Ollies, which is a discount store, buying out lots that don't sell elsewhere.  The Shepherd's View, by James Rebanks.  I instantly knew who it was because I had listened to him reading his book, The Shepherd's Life on BBC Radio 4 and was absolutely inthralled with it.  Lots of wonderful pictures of the Lake District Fell lands and the Herdwick sheep so suited to their environment.  Herdwick comes from the Nordic word Herdvyck which means sheep pasture and these sheep do have Nordic relatives.

I love their Heaf instinct passed down from generation to generation of sheep.  Fell famers have access to Common Land which has ancient grazing rights that go back for generations, in fact many back to the Doomsday Book.  The cottage I grew up in was very old and had grazing rights that went with our cottage, on the heath land, Patmore Heath in front of our house.  The newer built properties did not.  I remember that my mum and dad filed legal documents to make sure that this was passed down with the cottage and so did our neighbor.  Well it was a good job we did because a number of years later a whizz kid builder came along and tried to grab that Common Land to build on, plus he seemed to be in with the local authorities, but the locals were able to stop him, after a big fight.  Not only that Patmore Heath was a biological sight of specific scientific interest, but where money is concerned who cares.

Going back to Heaf instinct of these Herdwick sheep, they know exactly what is the pasturage that goes with their little farm on the fells, they do not wander off, even though there are no fences or outward signs of where one area of farm grazing rights starts and stops.  Thus a herd of Herdwick must be sold with the farm, poor things would become confused.

The other little gem I found, and tied in so well with what my sister and I had just been talking about was Chinese, Celtic and Ornamental Knots, by Suzen Milodot. My sister BB, said she had great grandmas, old wood bead necklace from WWI when the disabled soldiers came back from the war, I think it was the blind soldiers that made wood beads.  The beads needed restringing and to do that one would need to know how to knot between each bead.

I'm happy with the results of repainting a lot of our garden furniture, more to do but we've done a lot. Photos can be seen if you go to my Instagram account on the side bar.  I have a little ongoing project involving an old mirror, I'm hoping shabby chic but who knows.  It all happened because of a bit of a faux pas.  I had an old wood bathroom medicine cabinet, probably about 100 years old, I put it up for sale on Face Book Market Place and it didn't sell.  I had tried to fit it into my shed but it was too big.  I mentioned to the Mr. that maybe if we cut the front from the back I could use the mirror door, and then maybe the shelves inside separately.  He did this quiet promptly, of course didn't someone message me, and somehow I didn't get them until two days later, my lack of technology know how, and of course the deed was done, even though I had taken the post down.  So now I have to follow through, lots of sanding.

Another little joy was the small harvest off my cherry tree, from which I was able to make a number of jars of cherry conserve and a tasty cherry crumble.  An additional fun project has been the making of elderflower cordial and elderflower champagne, which reminds me I need some gin.  Both have turned out to be quite refreshing.

I can say for June the weather has been unbelievably delightful, blue skies, a breeze and more often than not low humidity, it does make this lockdown period more bearable, today is positively windy and my wind chimes under the oak tree are really chiming away.

We have been graced with no less than three bird nests in our garden, we have, a cardinal nesting right by our kitchen window, she seems to always face inward and you see her tail sticking out at the back.  I left that thorn bush just for the birds, because this would be the thorn bush that they made Jesus crown of thorns from, they are deadly and I've had many a nasty encounter with it.   What we do for the little dears.  The other two nests are gray catbird nests in our hedge.  I always think of birds nesting earlier than June, but I guess not, although cardinals have two lots of eggs one earlier March/April and the other later May/June.

My crochet has been sidelined a bit, although I do have a Harvest Shawlette on the go with a cake ball of yarn in variegated colours, its a lot of backwards and forwards, crocheting in the front loops and the back loops.  I think I will like the finished article.  Some more creative crochet is calling me, like the basket I covered in crochet and flowers.

Yesterday we took a picnic to the park, back to our favorite spot by the cabin, I love the wide open vista there.  A little reading, a little crochet and a little nap.  Just what the doctor ordered.

Well I'm not climbing Mount Everest or have found the code for a break through vaccine, but I am being a responsible citizen for humanity and my neighbors.

Take care, keep safe, be good.


Monday, June 1, 2020

Re-Posting My Review of The Expendable Man by Dorothy B. Hughes.

The Expendable Man by Dorothy B. Hughes

The Expendable Man by Dorothy B. Hughes is one of the books on the Persephone list, as you may or may not know I am gradually working through all the books they have published and did actually get to visit their shop on Conduit Street in London.  If you just click on my Persephone label you will pull up all related posts.

Again a First Edition published in 1963 from my local library, Dorothy Hughes was an American writer and you would call the style of this book Noir Fiction, with a very American setting and style of writing.  It is a refreshing change to the Persephone Collection.  I also love the dust cover of this book in orange and purple with white and black so very sixties.  It says a Random House novel of suspense.

When you read a book you form pictures of the story in your mind, the characters, what they look like and sometimes it is very bad news to watch a film before you read the book.  That would certainly be very true of this book, because for the first sixty odd pages you have one image in mind and then you read a line and your whole image of this person goes through a 360 degree turn and this is so with this book.  So if you want to read this book and don't want to ruin the surprise, stop right here.

Hugh Densmore a UCLA intern, is traveling from California to Phoenix, Arizona in his mother's white Cadillac, to attend a family wedding, his niece is getting married.  He sees a young teenager at the side of the highway in the twilight of the evening and in all good conscience cannot leave her there, this he does against all his better judgement.  He knows his parents have told him never pick up a hitchhiker it will get you into trouble and other such phrases run though his mind and you begin to think it is beginning to touch on paranoia

"The shadow, raised up from its haunches, waited for his car to approach.  He knew better than to pick up a hitchhiker on the road;  he'd known it long before the newspapers and script writers had implanted the danger in the public mind.  Most assuredly he would not pick up anyone in this strange deserted land."

Bonnie Lee Crumb

"She was a teen-ager, she might have been one of the girls he'd seen at the drive-in.  She wasn't pretty;  her face was just a young, thin, petulant face, too much lipstick on the mouth, wisps of her self-bleached hair jutting from beneath the gaudy orange and green scarf covering her head.... She also carried a box handbag of white plastic."

Such a nineteen sixties picture is now set.

"I go ape over Johnny Mathis."

"Personally I prefer Sinatra."  He wondered if that dated him, as his mother was dated with Bing Crosby.

At last the music kept her quiet and he could enjoy the morning ride.  He'd always had a quickening of the heart when he crossed into Arizona and beheld the cactus country.

Hugh had dropped her off before the California/Arizona border and bought her a bus ticket, to Phoenix, it is illegal to transport a minor across a State Line, but there she was waiting for him on the Arizona side having cashed in her ticket, he was again put under an obligation to give her a ride.  He drops the girl off and arrives at his parents house.

"I stayed over in Blythe.  It was late when I got off."  He wouldn't tell her the story, he wouldn't worry her.  "Where's Dad?"

When you watch so many of the old American black and white movies, you know it was a tradition for the bride to get married out of her parents house and it is no different with Clytie, his niece.  I think a very nice tradition which has been lost now.

Clytie had chosen to be married in the ancestral home, to walk down the long front stairway as her mother and her mother's mother had before her.  With Grandfather to marry her.  He was retired now, but once a minister of the Lord, always a minister.

"The schedule?"  Tonight's a barbecue at Uncle Dan's.  The whole tribe of course and members of the wedding party.  Sports clothes."

Gram returned for more dishes.  "Barbecue.  Cooking outdoors like Indians."  She didn't wait for rebuttal but trotted back to her kitchen.

Bonnie as you already know, because you know the direction this is heading in, turns up dead.

"Like Ringle says, we got a tip.  Right after that report went out on the radio.  this guy says a nigger doc driving a big white Cadillac brought Bonne Lee to Phoenix."

This sentence is where you have to rearrange all your mental pictures and all the little cogs of information have to be taken out of their slotted cubbies in your mind and rearranged and slotted back into the correct cubbies of your mind.  It now makes sense why his parents say never pick up a hitchhiker, his grandfather is a minister, he is able to be a doctor, they have escaped the South and have a nice family home with a staircase to walk down for the bride.

This wasn't the deep South.  It was Arizona.

But prejudices are still high even out of the South.

Innocently involved?  No, he couldn't call it innocent.  Rather, it was mindless.  It was neither;  it was a paper chain of circumstances, cut from sympathy and too much imagination.  Imagination, yes - why else should he have thought that unless he picked up the girl she would be in danger?  Another car would have come along, a family car for which she had said she was waiting, or even another man, a white man.

He Dr. Hugh Densmore, product of his heredity and environment, sufficiently intelligent and well adjusted to his mind and body and color and ambition.

His mother is reading the newspaper.

Hugh could have asked her:  May I have a quick look at the front section?  But what answer could he give to her inevitable:  Why , is there some particular story ...?  And she wold glance at the front page in passing, would see the headlines about the dead girl.  Fear would squeeze her, the fear lying ever-dormant beneath the civilized front, beneath the normal life of a Los angeles housewife whose husband's income was in near-five figures, whose children had been born ad bred and coddled in serenity and security and status.

Somehow he knew, knew with dreadful clarity, that this man had full intent to make Hugh the killer.

Because the wedding was in the home, the guest list was small - the family and a few old friends.  But the reception which followed seemed to include the entire community.  there was no segregation with Clytie's university friends and John's Air Force crowd on hand.  

With all the different friends flying in for the wedding Hugh meets Ellen.

He offered Ellen a cigarette, took one himself, and lighted them.

A scene with a man and a woman smoking together seems dated in this time, but maybe not.

"You need a lawyer."

"No." He rejected it utterly, violently.  "What could a lawyer do?  I haven't been accused of anything. I haven't done anything."  He tried to make her see it.  "Having a lawyer would make me look guilty.  And I'm not."

She smiled wryly.  "Most lawyers prefer an innocent client."  He tried to laugh.  "the Judge's daughter"

The night was sharp with cold at this hour, the stars were broken glass patched against the dark sky.

I do like the above quote.

She had thought it out with care;  she must have been thinking of little else all day.  "A young man, not over forty, but top drawer in his profession;  liberal, but not too liberal, no Civil Liberties lawyer, they're suspect from the beginning because they show up in any case involving minorities.

Trying to check Ellen into the same motel as Hugh.

It was a lie and they all knew it was a lie, but there was no rancor among them.  This clerk couldn't cancel the system;  her genuine friendliness was her contribution toward eroding it.  Five years ago she wouldn't have had a vacant unit;  ten year ago she would have said, "We don't take Negroes,"  if any had had the courage or spunk to inquire.

Skye Houston pronounce  Howston, the lawyer.

His close-cropped hair was sun-bleached to pale lemon;  he was tanned far darker than Ellen, almost as dark as Hugh.

There was no excuse he could give for postponing food; ..."There's a bakery cafeteria a couple of blocks from here.  Not elegant but friendly and the food used to be good will that do?"

"It sounds just right."  She was a different girl since Houston.

The cold of the cafeteria enveloped them like a snowfall.

This so takes me back to when I first stepped foot in the USA in the seventies and what a shock air conditioning was.  Coming from a country where you did not need it and it did not exist.  How one always had to carry a cardigan even in the hottest of days, just for the sake of AC.

He'd have to ask Houston for help.  They'd be afraid not to answer Houston's questions.  It rankled that he could not bring the same force to bear, that he had to forgo his own social position and become a caricature to ask a simple question.  And receive no answer.

"He said lightly, "I hear we have some fine courses in foreign diplomacy.  Maybe you'll decide to transfer."

"Okay, Madam Ambassador."

She smiled at him.  "I didn't choose the field because I'm a feminist."  Thoughtfully, she continued, "We've traveled abroad quite a bit.  Because of my father's various assignments.  I believe there's a definite need for what I call dark diplomats.

This book is far more than Fiction Noir, it addresses the racial prejudices of the era and makes you think about what has changed and what has not.


I first posted this Monday February 15th 2016.  I think in view of what is happening this is an interesting read.  I was at approximately page 60 before I realized the story was about a black doctor and not a white doctor.  

Posting Comments

Hi Dear Folk,

Just wanted to say, I have tried to leave comments on numerous Blogs that I follow, but there is a problem all the time.  Not sure if I can sort it on my end, something to do with Cache. I do follow along on ones I have read over the years, but I've been muted on what I can post on their Blogs and comments, which is very frustrating.  So girls I have tried.

Do take care in these times.  Be discerning and use ones common sense, because there's a lot of stupidity out there.


Saturday, May 9, 2020

B26 Marauder | The Most Advanced Mid-Range Bomber, My father in law was a flight engineer on one of these 1943-1945 Florida, England, France

At the beginning of WWII my husband's father worked in Baltimore at the Glenn L. Martin Aircraft Factory, on the B26 Martin Marauder, which flew with Pratt and Whitney engines.

In 1943 he went to Pensacola, Florida for training to be sent over to Europe as a flight engineer on the B26 aka Widowmaker. Obviously with already having worked at the factory in Baltimore, MD he would be ideal for this position.

The role of flight engineer was introduced in 1942 as the new heavy bombers required six or seven-man crews. The flight engineer controlled the aircraft's mechanical, hydraulic, electrical and fuel systems. He also assisted the pilot with take-off and landing. Plus he was a gunner.

He was stationed in England with the US Army Air Corp 9th Division, which saw him flying 1943 to 1945 bombing runs over Germany and France. He landed in France a few days after D-Day.

See my Instagram for photos of my father in law. Although no pictures of him with the B26.

Take care, be safe,

"Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." George Santayana

Hi Dear Folk,

The weather is crazy they've been talking about a Cyclone Bomb, I had not heard that terminology before, but this morning was in the low thirties Fahrenheit, it is cold and windy, but I think we may have missed the snow that will fall further north.

bomb cyclone is simply a storm that intensifies very rapidly. Bomb cyclones form when air near Earth's surface rises quickly in the atmosphere, triggering a sudden drop in barometric pressure — at least 24 millibars within 24 hours.

I was looking back on the month of May from bygone years, some happy pictures from four years ago, son's graduation from Ithaca.  Not to say we're not happy now, but we're not gallivanting.

The Lake in the distant background is Lake Cayuga, one of New York State's Finger Lakes.  Mum and son.  It's an area of great beauty, renowned for vineyards and some great wines.

With Mr. B. and I love those shell earrings I bought in Hawaii a few years back.

How are you all coping?  I've been reaching out to family and friends.  Had a wonderful Zoom meet with friends from forty years ago, some of which I have not spoken to in that long, who are now dispersed all over the States, Kevin in CA, Prince in Chicago, Jill in Charlotte, NC, Florence in FL and the others all in this area but a radius of fifty miles, so was great.  We did have some laughs and reminiscing over old times, good for the soul.

"Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."  George Santayana

Although the Spanish Influenza affected a different part of the population, mostly younger people with strong immune systems and Covid-19 affects more older folk, many parallels can be drawn. The actions of governments and individuals have a similar ring to them, lack of unity and disinformation.

The Spanish Influenza started in the January of 1918, not too dissimilar to the Corona Virus, but what was really distressing was the second wave that began in the autumn of 1918 and was far more deadly.  I'm not a soothsayer, but this does concern me.

I think it's interesting that basically we can do no more than they did one hundred years ago, wear a mask and socially isolate.  Of course we've got better follow up once in hospital but still.  How quickly things change.

I enjoyed looking at these old photos of folk during the Spanish Influenza all wearing their masks, but  they don't seem to have been as creative as our generation.  But maybe they were and we just don't have a picture of their masks.

Take care, keep safe.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Planning The Great Escape; While Living Life

Hi Dear Folk,

How is your day?  Just wanting to reach out and touch the world, hugs to all.  I always liked what John Lennon said "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans." I'm sure I've quoted it several times over the years on my Blog.

Days are merging together, but I think it's Wednesday.  I woke up to dull skies and quite chilly.  Last night I even turned my stove on in the Simla room/sunporch.  To counteract the grayness of the weather I've put on a bright pinky peach jumper with black leggings, one thing for warmth and the other to have some colour.

That's where I am now in the Simla Room, because even though it's dull out there, still a lot of light in here.  I listened to an interview with Tim Gunn and he said that he had been slumming around in PJ bottoms, T-shirt and a robe, if you can imagine that of Tim Gunn who is always so immaculately dressed. I don't feel so bad after hearing him say that.  Prime is now airing all the shows of Making The Cut, which I have enjoyed, all that creativity and design.

It got me to thinking about this moment in time and how we have bought clothes.  Mostly one buys clothes to go out, and to be around the house, well! One just wants, easy and comfortable.  But is easy and comfortable stylish?  I do think you can make it so by what you were with it; which led me on to the thought, if I made a piece of clothing just for home, what would that be?

Thinking back to the fifties my mum never wore trousers, so all housework was done in a dress, over which she wore, what we called an overall, that may have had long sleeves even, or a pinafore that covered everything but no sleeves.  Now thinking to my stash of patterns, I do think I have a vintage pattern for making one of those old pinafores, and I that's what I'm going to do.

Going back to my heading Planning The Great Escape.  Isn't it the most ironic thing that there is no Great Escape.  Could I buy a little cottage in rural France, plan a trip to PEI, or my dream vacation New Zealand and Australia.  I heard it will be a long time before they let flights and people in from the USA, because we are the worst hit in the world, not per thousand, but overall.  I'm going to live life, a combination of cleaning, clearing and creativity.  The cleaning is not inspiring me, the clearing is lightening my soul, but the creativity feeds it.

On the cleaning front I cleaned out under the kitchen sink at 3:00 am the wee hours of the morning. Actually I've been sleeping quite well, so that was a bit of an anomaly, although I hear many people are not.  Also big change around of my glass and cottage ware in the dining room, plus a purge of some glassware, I did post photos on my Instagram.  I want to put things on Facebook Marketplace, now I've figured out how simple it is to do that, but this is probably not the best time to do porch pickup, no indeed not, although my neighbor seems to be busy that way.  On the other hand if people are not working and have limited resources one cannot judge.  Think about contact guidelines, which I'm sure will be in practice for a long while.  Tim Gunn did mention he was on a clothes purge, which is what I am planning, I have already done some of that.

Mr. B. put up some lattice work for me, four panels above our already existing fence, along the top.  I had one panel up, and it's been up so long ivy is growing all though it and give us wonderful privacy, so I think the other panels will do so too.  I plan to plant clematis and other climbers.  Mr. B. mentioned trumpet vines and wisteria, but I said no, because they become so woody and can pull down what they climb on, and I don't want my fence pulled down.  Any suggestions on flowering climbers?  I stained one panel, but have three more to do.  I am a slow painter, but meticulous, so it took a while, and I was frozen through by the time I finished and could not get warm for the better part of the evening even with the stove on.

Later today more crochet on my lace diamond shawl and watch Maudie.

Stay safe, be good, keep well,

Monday, April 27, 2020

Pied Beauty, by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Hi Dear Folk,

A hush has engulfed the world, song birds are singing more, air quality is good, and animals are walking in places never trod by them before.  Water is running clean in the canals of Venice.  As the French say "pas un aperçu de chat" not a cat insight.

Despite sickness and horror a strange beauty, spaces empty, silent.

"All things counter, original, spare, strange."

Pied Beauty, by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Written 1877

Glory be to God for dappled things – 
   For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; 
      For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; 
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings; 
   Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough; 
      And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim. 

All things counter, original, spare, strange; 
   Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) 
      With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; 
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: 
                                Praise him.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballé - How Can I Go On (Live at La Nit, ...

How Can I Go On Freddie Mercury, David Garrett, ...

When all the salt is taken from the sea
I stand dethroned
I'm naked and I bleed
But when your finger points so savagely,
Is anybody there to believe in me
To hear my plea and take care of me?

How can I go on From day to day
Who can make me strong in every way
Where can I be safe
Where can I belong In this great big world of sadness
How can I forget
Those beautiful dreams that we shared
They're lost and they're no where to be found
How can I go on?

Sometimes I tremble in the dark
I cannot see
When people frighten me
I try to hide myself so far from the crowd
Is anybody there to comfort me
Lord, take care of me.

How can I go on
From day to day
Who can make me strong in every way
Where can I be safe
Where can I belong
In this great big world of sadness
How can I forget
Those beautiful dreams that we shared
They're lost and they're no where to be found
How can I go on?

Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballé - The Golden Boy (Live at La Nit, 1...

Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballé - Barcelona (Original David Mallet ...

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

New Normal or New Abnormal?

Hi Dear Folk,

A phrase that has been coined in recent years is "The New Normal."  My thought is are we really living the New Normal, or the New Abnormal.  A pandemic that only has an equal of the Spanish Influenza which happened 100 years ago, must make the pandemic not the new normal, but the new abnormal.  We are living through abnormal times and live in hope that somewhere down the tunnel which is longggg...  we will get to a place that will be a New Normal, because the Old Normal is not going to come back.  Decisions we make now will decide what the new normal is for us.

On a lighter note the word abnormal always makes me think of Young Frankenstein and the brain of Abby Normal.  I've just posted the clip from the movie.

Take care, keep safe in the new abnormal.


Young Frankenstein Abby Normal

The Rabbit Hole of Reading, The Kingdom By The Sea, by Paul Theroux

Hi Dear Folk,

How are you all holding up without a hug?  So big hugs and handshakes to all.  I'm afraid that even when we are let out, things will not be the same.  I can't see handshakes and hugs being freely given to strangers anymore, at least not for a long while, and that's very sad.

As you know if you follow me on Instagram, is that I'm reading The Kingdom By The Sea, A Journey Around Great Britain, by Paul Theroux.  This book has been in my personal library for a long while, I started it years ago but could not get into it.

It was published in 1983.  His travels around the coast of Britain and Northern Ireland was during the time of the Falklands War.  Theroux sticks to the coast line as much as possible, it takes him along windswept headlands, quant villages, but also past nuclear power plants, old dockland areas and industrial towns that have seen better days.  In the eighties I was newly married and living in the States, but would go back to the UK for long holidays.

I started the book with the preconceived notion, that it would read something like the book by Susan Branch My Love Affair With England, but no, it is the UK without the rose coloured glasses, the gritty side of people and places.  It is worth a read, it makes me think back to that time, how things were in the eighties, how some things have changed and some are still the same.

Moving on to the thought of the rabbit hole of reading.  While in Wales, he, Paul Theroux, mentions Taliesin, and I remembered that Frank Lloyd Wright named two of his houses, Taliesin Spring Green in Wisconsin and Taliesin West in Arizona.

Taliesin in Welsh history was a Brythonic poet, a Celtic poet in sub-Roman times whose work possibly survived in a Middle Welsh manuscript, The Book of Taliesin.  Taliesin a renowned bard who is believed to have sung at the courts of at least three Brythonic Kings.  Now of course he Frank Lloyd Wright used the name Lloyd which is a Welsh surname and his mother's name was Anna Lloyd Jones, her forebears emigrated to Spring Green, Wisconsin, from Wales, hence the connection.  I always thought Taliesin was an interesting name for a house.

Now down another rabbit hole while reading Kingdom By The Sea, were some quotes from the Ulster poetry of Louis MacNeice, who wrote so well about the sea.  "Upon this beach the falling wall of the sea..." and my favorite "That never satisfied old maid the sea.  Rehangs her white lace curtains ceaselessly."  I will never again go down to the sea and not think of that quote, the old maid rehanging her lace curtains, the white froth of lace as the waves crash, I love it.

So then I went on to who was Louis MacNeice, born in Northern Ireland? I was not familiar with him.  It seems that he was a counterpart of W. H. Auden while at Oxford along with Cecil Day Lewis, who were all part of the Auden's circle.  He was a contemporary of John Betjeman and Anthony Blunt who he was a life long friend.  All these names I know.

The Day-Lewis I am familiar with is the actor, Daniel Day-Lewis, well Cecil was his father, I found that interesting.  He often plays an Irish part, although born in London, but his father Cecil, was born in Ireland, hence connections.

And of course who does not know Anthony Blunt, who had close association with the royal family as the curator of their art collection.  He was recruited by the NKVD, later to become the KGB, while he was at university.  He worked for MI5 but was spying for the Russians.  He never was publicly outed at the time, because of the high circles he moved in and the scandal it would have caused, let alone the embarrassment with the Americans.

See what I mean about Rabbit Holes.  Well wasn't that diversionary.

Stay well, keep safe.


Thursday, April 9, 2020

Pink Moon April 8th 2020

Hi Dear Folk,

Was able to get out and take this shot of the Pink Moon last night, as it rises past my she shed,  deux portes Francaises looking through my oak tree.

Super Pink Moon, the biggest and brightest of 2020, this full moon appears larger and brighter than usual because the moon was at perigee, or the closest point to Earth in its elliptical orbit.

I got outside for a bit today in the sun, crocheting and listening to a Tea and Tattle podcast, then the wind came up dark clouds came over rain and hail fell.  It is still windy now,  it's more like March in April.

I have a book that if a word, a phrase a thought, anything of interest I jot down in there.  One that caught my eye today was "No society can function unless people follow the rules."

Take care,

Pennsylvania May Garden 2018 To Remind Me, In Just a Month

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Day 28 of Social Distancing

Hi Dear Folk,

I was watching a movie, they're driving along Route 66 and stop off at a Diner and order a cheese burger and fries.  Who would have thought that just such a simple picture would conjure up such longing.  The thought of ones big escape and the simplicity of just eating at a Diner, yes we all took that for granted, who could have pictured this day, except for on a movie.  All the brave health workers and volunteers brings a tear to your eye.  I hope they get all the protective gear they need.

I made some face masks the other day and will make some more.  You are meant to have at least two one in the wash and one out.  I posted my pictures on Instagram and have linked the video below for the pattern that I used.  I had rather a thick fabric so I hand sewed the side pleats in.  Used a coffee filter in the pocket and folded up foil for the nose piece, which works well.  Mr. B. tried it out today and he says he can hardly breath in it, so I guess it is not porous, which is what you want.

Going back to my love of words.  The word Influenza sounds like the word Influence, and is from the Italian, where it derived from the Medieval Latin word influentia.  People attributed the disease to the influence of the stars.

With all this time at home I want to increase my skills.  One is I want to relearn knitting, as you know I crochet and absolutely love it, but have thought that I would love to learn to knit.  The way I was taught was the English way of knitting, but since I've got to relearn, I am going to train my fingers to knit the Continental way, which I think will be easier for me, as I already hold my yarn for crochet on my left index finger and I've heard it's quicker, not that that's a problem with all the time we have on our hands.

The other thing I want to master is my camera.  I do have a really nice one Mr. B. treated me to a Sony 6000 mirrorless, which even my son has taken on some jobs he's shot.  The thing is you are not using it to its full potential if you don't spend the time to learn how to use it.  Also since I got my iPhone I've become rather lazy camera wise and I never was before.

So two things I'm going to work on.  Plus I have several crochet projects on the go.  Two shawls in different colour yarns and a capelet pattern I want to try.  Plus my UFO (unfinished object) or PHD (projects half done) a felted hat I never finished from last winter, that's on the back burner though.  Also have a crochet bag I've finished and need to line.

I am going to post the video on how to breath if you catch the Covid-19 virus, comes from Queen's Hospital, Romford, UK.  You never know you may need it and it could help save your life.  J.K. Rowling used this technique and it helped her.

Keep well.


Dr Sarfaraz Munshi Queen's Hospital in Romford shares breathing techniqu...

How to sew a simple pleated face mask with just 5 lines (with nose wire ...

Troglodyte Cave Man and There's Nothing Like a Dame

Just viewing old videos.  This is an old record from FIL collection, Troglodyte Caveman and There's Nothing Like a Dame.

Fore a bit of light relief.  Hope you are all well and keeping sane.


Wednesday, April 1, 2020


Hi Dear Folk,

I looked up the definition of Stir-crazy; which is psychologically disturbed because of being confined or imprisoned, seems an appropriate definition, I think that is how some folk are feeling, so I wanted to share with my readers some fun British series that I have been able to watch on You Tube and thought you might enjoy too.

The Great Pottery Throw Down and The Great British Sewing Bee see below for my blogged links to the first episodes on these shows, you can take it from there.

I was so happy to find them, because for a long while you did not have access via You Tube to The Great British Sewing Bee, although I did know about that show.

Hope you are all well.  I feel lighter as just completed getting our taxes done, although I know they extended the deadline to July 15th, but at least that's off my plate.  Signed them remotely which I've never done, all new to me.

The sun is out today blue skies, although chilly.  Now for a little crochet and a cup of tea before I tackle cleaning the glass front on our wood stove, closing that up for the winter as all the wood is finished.

We are still on quarantine.  I looked up the definition of isolate and quarantine.

Isolation - Separates sick people with a contagious disease from those who are not sick, even within the same household.

Quarantine:  Separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.  These people may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it, or the may have the disease but do not show symptoms.  Or may not want to catch it.

Personally I always though the definition was visa versa.

While I'm on words which I do love, I was watching an Icelandic show with English subtitles and I caught the Icelandic word for disgrace or shame which is skomm and that made me think of the English word scum, when a person has done something really disgraceful you say they are scum, it sounds almost identical. It is interesting to see how different words have been added into the English language from so many other derivations.  Hope I haven't bored you with my love of words.

Well now for tea.

Take care,

The Great British Sewing Bee - Season 1, Episode 1

The Great Pottery Throw Down - Season 1, Episode 1

Monday, March 30, 2020

(SAVOIR FAIRE) Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2011 (Passage ...

Just to see the time and amount of people who work on one "Haute Couture" creation.

"Haute Couture gowns possess the unique individuality of an object d'art .  They are among the last items made by hand, the human hand, whose value is irreplaceable, because it gives creations that which no machine can ever give:  poetry and life.

Christian Dior

Crochet and Commenting

Hi Dear Folk,

Thank you for leaving comments on my Blog, for some reason I can only publish them, but cannot reply to them, not sure what is happening there.

In anywise Cynthia asked me about the crochet shawl I'm working on, which is The Lace Diamond Shawl.  I am crocheting this in a Noro Kirameki Yarn probably discontinued as I bought the yarn on a clearance sale.  This I call my Sunset Shawl because of the deep pinks, oranges and blues.  This is not a hard pattern and Fiber Spider gives a great tutorial on how to crochet it.

The other shawl I just finished is my Butterfly Prayer Shawl, maybe a tad harder to crochet but not much.  I did this in the Noro Kirameki Yarn too, and this is in predominantly greens and I call this my Spring shawl.

Just a note the Lace Diamond Shawl grows quicker in width than length, but the Butterfly Shawl grows quicker in length than width, so on the Butterfly Shawl I had to keep on crocheting to get the width I wanted and thus is is quite long, but with this yarn being so fine it drapes beautifully and I just fold it over and drape it around my shoulders, I love it.  So if you wanted more width than length I would go with the Lace Diamond Shawl.

In the previous two blogs I've posted the You Tube videos on these tutorials, I think you'll like them I've had great fun crocheting them.  Also just posted my Sunset Shawl on Instagram to see.

Have a great day, keep safe, be good and keep on crocheting.


Part 1 - The Butterfly Stitch Prayer Shawl Crochet Tutorial!

The Lace Diamonds Shawl Crochet Tutorial!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Covid-19 Virus Diary of a Mad Woman

Well, Well Dear Folk,

What did it take to get me back to blogging, a Pandemic.  After Hennypenny posted on my Instagram, why was I planting bittercress in pots?  That I certainly must have turned a corner into madness, because then I realized that later in the summer it turns into this wiry weed that takes over the lawn, I will be out there tout suite and rip it out, thank you Hennypenny.

How has everyone been?  I think a lot of spring and summer plans have come to disappointment.  I personally was planning a trip back to see family and friends in the UK, but will put that on hold for now.

We have been hunkering down.  Actually I find it to be a guilt free time.  One can positively stay at home with no guilty conscience and with that comes a certain freedom.  I am so happy that I got my she shed built last year and I can take a wander down to the bottom of the garden and escape.  As a child I remember that feeling of running out the back door at the end of a school day, across the lawn and turning the corner into the wilderness of "the bottom of the garden."  It truly was a wilderness down there.  A giant old cooking apple tree, very large apples but sharp, great for pies.  Loads of blackberry brambles and stinging nettles in profusion, with dock leaves their remedy.  We had a shack in the middle and a stream that ran by at the edge, with willow trees, we thought it was the greatest place on earth.  So I always think of my she shed as a trip to the bottom of the garden.  I've named it "Deux Portes Francaises" due to the fact that it has two sets of French doors, I hope that is the correct French.

I send Mr. B. out on food foraging trips, as little as possible and make a list.  We had, to a certain extent seen this coming so had a little reserve, but there's always those everyday things, like milk.  Rob our son is still working so we feel he is the weak link in the dyke and since he's already out in the world of coronavirus, I will get him to stop off for milk or odds.  It's all a gamble.

I have Netflix, Prime and Acorn, all those platforms must be holding people over and everyone wishing they'd invested in them instead of other things on their 401K which took a dive, as we all know.  Of course if it takes another twelve years as it has from the last dive of 2008 to recover, I may not be around to see that, or be too old in life to even worry.  The world is a roller coaster these days and it's not the tranquil little mouse ride that I'd take Rob on, at Bush Gardens as a boy, but the neck breaking sort of rides I avoided.  Of course if we'd have known what the CEO of the owner of the New York Stock exchange and his senator wife knew back in January, we could have jumped ship too, unfortunately we are just the pions of this world.  I wasn't going to get on this tack so let me reign it in.

I've been working on my crochet Sunset Shawl in the very fine Noro yarn, you need a lot of time to make it grow and I have that.  Finding the Great British Sewing Bee on You Tube and then the Great Pottery Throw Down held me over for a bit, although that might have been earlier before we really had to lock down.  Have found some quite good Icelandic series and watched Gracepoint the American version of Broadchurch, which does follow it quite closely, except for the ending, but shall I say it, yes I will because I'm in that mood, it was not as good, what are your thoughts?

Reading, oh my, what an escape reading can be, it is almost like going back to ones childhood years, reading was an escape then and it can be now.  I'm re-reading Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery, that story was set during WWI and Montgomery dedicates it to her cousin Frederica Campbell MacFarlane who died January 1919 of Spanish Influenza, which of course brings you right down to earth and you think of people not just as statistics, but lives and families and hope.

It has been a mixed bag for us.  Mr. B. had two part time jobs, one he lost a contract on earlier in the year, not due to the pandemic and then he lost the second one due to the pandemic.  After Mr. B. lost the first job we decided he would collect his Social Security early and I would collect mine at 66, but since he lost the second job I moved my Social Security up to collect it earlier.  We are only too grateful to shuffle these resources around as many people are not in that position and I feel for them.  I think he should also be able to collect some unemployment, not sure how that works really.  Since the government has promised some money for each family, that should certainly help.  Not quite sure what that will work out to be.

I will end on a gardening note.  I am so thankful to have a garden, I have pretty much finished with the big clean up from the giant oak tree, which as my neighbor put it so succinctly "the gift that keeps on giving."  If I gave someone a million dollars they could never collect up every oak leaf that arrives down in my garden.

As you might have seen on my Instagram I made another little patio area to sit and enjoy.  The bistro table and chairs date back to our very first house, almost forty years ago.  Originally they were white, then blue and now black.  I have other garden furniture that all needs a lick of paint, but will have to wait as I'm not going out for that.  I need to name the patio, any ideas?

Daffodils, forsythia, crocus, celandines are blooming along with primulas and Virginia bluebells are coming up. Yes spring is here waiting to burst forth.  I will end with some poignant passages from Rilla of Ingleside:

"How can spring come and be beautiful in such a horror," wrote Rilla in her diary.  "When the sun shines and the fluffy yellow catkins are coming out on the willow-trees down by the brook, ..."

"We never do," said Miss Oliver "That is why we are not left to chose our own means and measures of development, I suppose.  No matter how much we value what our lessons have brought us we don't want to go on with the bitter schooling."

Take care dear folk, keep safe, self isolate and be good.


Saturday, January 4, 2020

Landis Valley Museum

Hi Dear Folk,

Back in the summer, we had friends visiting from England, who visited Canada and while in North America stopped down to see us.  We all grew up together.  It was nice to spend one of the days visiting Landis Valley Museum, how Pennsylvanians used to live.

The smithey.

Old country store.

An old Pennsylvania kitchen.

A step up for the housewife was getting an iron stove moving up from an open fireplace.

Landis Valley Museum


Friday, January 3, 2020

Posting Last Summer In The New Year

Hi Dear Folk,

Thank you for all you dear folk in blogland who welcomed me back, it has been a while.  Once you break a habit it's hard to return.  Instagram and a new iPhone might be the problem.  How fickle we are everything has to be more instantaneous.

Also last year made me less and less enamored with social media, and the manipulation of it, but Blogs are probably the least manipulated on social media.

Well 2019 went out with a bang but not a good bang.  Mr. B. lost his job and I found out I need yet another crown on a tooth, so not a good harbinger for 2020, of course things can only get better.  Life never stays the same, change will always come, sometimes good and sometimes bad and sometimes circumstances that just have to be worked out, which is where we are, thinking about our options.

Just sharing a little Pennsylvania summertime in the middle of winter.

I love these rolling farmlands.

I'm watching the new episodes of Anne with an E and enjoying those.  Lots of crochet has been going on.  I have plans to crochet a pinafore dress/jumper.  But at the moment 13 skeins of yarn might be a little out of the budget, still I have quite a stash and just need to carry on and use what I have.  I just don't have what I need for a crochet pinafore dress.

I like my Love Bird shawl that I crocheted, it was a fun artistic endeavor.  The good thing about a shawl like that is that you can use left over yarn.  I so enjoy creating and setting out on a new crochet project, plus finishing old ones like my three year old cardigan.  So I get to wear it this winter.

I was hoping 2020 would be a status quo year, but I guess that is not to be. Since retiring I have a great loathing of paperwork.

Have a happy year with family and friends.


Friday, December 27, 2019

2019 The Year That Was, But Was Not On My Blog

Hi Dear Folk,

2019 was the year I succumbed to Instagram.  Should I even peep into my long neglected Blog and share a post, still if anytime feels the right time it is now at the end of the year.

The biggest event of the year was having my she shed built which I absolutely love.  To see all my photos of this look at my Instagram on the side bar of my Blog.  Here are a few of my photos taken with my camera.

I had saved two sets of old 1920's screen French doors from my house porch when we had that made into a sun room and I also saved three columns, two of which we used on the shed.  I love the triangular look of the apex and columns, almost looks Grecian.

I painted, I'm a good painter but slow so took a lot of the summer.  I gave my She Shed a name and it is "deux portes Francaises" two French doors.

I bought the two windows from Habitat For Humanity Thrift Shop, they are brand new  and if you're happy with an odd size which was fine in a new build shed, because we could work with them, such a savings.

We were able to fit my shed between my lovely old oak tree and the fence, leaving enough room to meet borough regulations, and enough room so it is not jammed up against the tree, while maximizing the size of the shed and keeping within borough requirements.  So my shed is 9 feet wide and sixteen feet long with a porch obviously 9 feet wide by 6 feet deep.  I kept it in length with the garage and it meant I hardly had to dig up any of my gardens.

After winter I am so glad to get all my plants outside.  My orchids love living outside in the summer, and only tolerate wintering in the house.

The slope of the roof on my shed matches my garage.  I didn't think of that and was not around when the builder got to that stage so he came up with the idea and I like it.

Mr. B. did help me with the floor and the apex as I couldn't reach that high up.

My kitchen patio.

My Simla Room Patio.

Kitchen garden.

I have lots of little areas in my garden, this is the Pond Patio.

Oak tree patio.

Mr. B. actually drilled holes in these troughs after twenty years of asking.  Now I can put flowers in them and they don't fill up with water, before I just used to stand pots in them.

In the middle of winter you forget how lovely ones summer garden is, but looking back at the photos yes it is.

Here is my dear old lady Tuppy.  She is a senior at nineteen years old, which in human years is in her nineties.  Summer as always was very hot up to almost 100 f and I thought she was a goner because she got thinner and thinner, but I think it was the heat, she just didn't want to eat.  In any case she took to sitting on my kitchen tile counter top, which I never would have allowed, but I gave in as she is an old lady.  We have no central AC in our house is quite trying in summer.  We have one AC in each of the bedrooms that are used and we later on broke down and bought one for the kitchen.

She is still with us and we have fattened her up a bit.  She's a feisty old thing.  We actually do know when she is hungry because she bangs her food bowl up and down on the floor.  You can teach an old cat new tricks.

Have a few more posts before the end of the year.

If you want to see my world follow me on Instagram too,  Lilbitbrit007.

Take care enjoy time off with family and friends.

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