Monday, October 12, 2020

Justice is Conscience - Alexander Solzhenitsyn

“Justice is conscience, not a personal conscience but the conscience of the whole of humanity. Those who clearly recognize the voice of their own conscience usually recognize also the voice of justice. ”

― Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Everyone Should Have A Moleskine

 Hi Dear Folk,

Well I guess Blogger went and did it, now you cannot even revert back to the old interface.  First of all my labels are gone and I guess I'll have to enter them back in manually, why have they always got to try and fix what was not broken, really.   Blah! Blah! Blah!

Do you have a Moleskine? I have one, it's small, red, has a ribbon marker and a wrap around elastic, where I write down all sorts of odd things, statistics, meanings of words, crochet patterns, what makeup to buy after watching one of those You Tube videos on how to do your makeup when you're older, and so on and so forth. I thought I'd share with you a few of the random things written in my Moleskine.

Crochet Japanese Flower Pattern

The Face of Age

Job 26:14  Look!  These are just the fringes of his ways:  Only a faint whisper has been heard of him!  So who can understand his mighty thunder?

Average age of a woman in USA 78, Man 71

Road to Hani.  Waianapanapa State Park.  Black Beach

If invited to a good meal.  Do we send a thank you note saying "Dear pots and pans, spaghetti and meatballs.  No, so where does our praise and thank you go?"

King Ferry, NY.  A Wobbly Reisling is good.

Shalwar kameez, Indian tunic and trousers.  Dupatta, head scarf

It's a pity the Hun prefers fighting to fun - Noel Coward

I refuse to join a club that would have me as it's member - Grocho Marx

Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you are right - Henry Ford

Daniel 5:24  Mene, Mene, Tekel and Parsin.  May have said mene twice to show the fall of both father and son - Nabonidus and Belshazzar.

Imposter - from the Latin impose

Gutsy Gorgeous.

People are as happy as they make up their minds to be - Abraham Lincoln

Learned behavior - 
1.  Identify the thought that produces negative thinking
2.  Talk back rationally
3.  Short circuit thought
4.  Consciously replace bad thought

Miss Grief, cost $15.99 left out in the rain.  Pay the library.

Evolution - Irreducible complexity, cannot come about in a gradual manner, useless unless all in place.

PNES Psychogenic seizures.  Stress, Anxiety, trauma, depression.
NES Nonpilectic seizures.  

Progress and Poverty by Henry George

To give birth in Italian, to give to the light.  Clare alla luce.

Longly School of Music Project, BC, Canada.  1978  Kids singing, Hans Fenger, teacher, recorded his students.

Evil in the absence of empathy.

Irish Gaelic - Senility - duino le dia.  A person of God.

Lord Vestey, who's estate was just down the road from where I grew up, owned huge holdings of land in Australia.  Who knew.

Life is freedom, dying is a denial of freedom.  Vasily Grossman

Seersuckeer, from the Persian, milk and sugar

Crochet, Bonni Lass Capelet

Tour of British Museum, 2 Kings 10:31 -32 Assyrian King Shalmanezar III, 2nd panel, man bowing, Jehu son of Israel.

Mosquito yard spray

Old age like being increasingly penalized for a crime you never committed.

Herd Immunity, 60% of world 4.7 billion people out of 8 billion would need vacination.  Have only ever made 100s of millions of vaccinations, over decades of time.

Russia's economy the size of Texas.

COVID in USA has killed twice as many people as have been killed in the Korean War and all the wars that American has been in since then.

Abrunt, one whose behavior departs substantially from the norm of a group.

Regiments No 166409 N Somerset Yeoman, private Henry Reginald Sansom

The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel Van Der Kolk

Passing of time should not be detrimental to the solving of crime.

French say, not a cat in sight - pas un amerce de chat

Fibula - Latin, means to fasten.  Tunisian Berber Fibula

Object Trouve - A natural or discarded object found by chance and held to have aesthetic value.

Rising tide carries all ships.  When things go up all rise.

Love makes the world go round, hatred stops it dead in it's tracks.

Just a cross section of my Molskine.  Now you have a cross section of my brain under the microscope.

Take care, Christine

PS I found my labels, hurrah!!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

The Oppermanns by Lion Feuchtwanger

Hi Dear Folk,

I read a book I wanted to review and share with you, it was pertinent in it's time and I would say today too.

The Oppermanns written by Lion Feuchtwanger and published in Amsterdam in 1933 and the edition I have was published in 1934 by The Viking Press, in the USA.  As I've often said love my local library, but I have to say it was brought to my attention by Persephone Books, as one of their newer releases.

It is set in 1932 Germany, current at the time, and is the story of a German Jewish family who own a furniture store, founded in the late 1800s, by their grandfather Immanuel Oppermann, and their coming to terms with National Socialism and all that that will mean for them.  Lion Feuchtwanger saw the writing on the wall, but did not have the skills to decipher it, no powers of prophecy.  Who could have foreseen? And thus makes it even more poignant.  Nationalists, even the name sounds benign but it and they were not.

Goethe:  "There is nothing the rabble fear more than Intelligence.  If they understand what is truly terrifying, they would fear ignorance."

I will set down the characters as it is hard to get a handle on who's who.

The Siblings:-

Gustav Oppermann - Batchelor, fifty years old, a minor literary scholar and writing a biography of Lessing, living in a beautiful house in a lovely suburb of Berlin.  The eldest.

Martin Oppermann - Running the family furniture business from which they all receive an income.

Edgar Oppermann - A world renowned doctor, who came up with a special procedure for throat surgery.

Klara Lavendel - Married

Souses and Children:-

Lisolette Oppermann - Martin's wife, who is a Christian, son Bethold (Baruch) seventeen years old.

Gina Oppermann  - Edgar's wife.  Ruth their daughter is a Zionist and wants to move to Palestine.

Jacques Lavendel - Klara's husband, a Jew, born in an Eastern European country, but has lived in and holds an American citizenship, as does his wife and son Heinrich.


Sybil Rauch - Mistress of Gustav

The story opens on the day of his fiftieth birthday, Gustav in his home, reminiscing on the beauty of his house, where he lives and how well he looks for his age; he has an indolent, self-absorbed existence.  About twenty guests gather together in the evening at his house for a birthday party, the talk is of politics.

"Here in the charming rooms of Gustav Oppermann, people were not inclined to concede that a thing as imbecile as the Nationalist movement had a chance."

"The paltry varnish of logic is being scraped away."  Says Freidrich Wilhelm Gutwetter an aryan literary critic and writer.

Frau Emilee Francoise, nicknamed Little Thundercloud is the wife of Rector Alfred Francoise, headmaster of a boys school, which Berthold Oppermann attends.  They were originally from France.

"He always believed everything was all right as long as one could prove one's statements.  If she tried to explain to him that accuracy meant nothing ..."

Jacques Lavendel:-

"Why, in the devil's name, had so many French aristocrats been so asinine as to be caught in the Revolution, whereas any schoolboy nowadays knows that the writings of Rouseau and Voltaire, decades earlier, had indicated precisely what would happen."

Winds are changing everywhere and at the hospital where Dr. Edgar Opperman works along with his faithful Nurse Helene and his protege Dr Jacoby, who looks very Semitic.  He believes:-

"He was a German doctor, a German scientist.  German science and Jewish science did not exist, the only thing that existed was Science."

Rector Francoise has had to accept Master Bernd Vogelsong, from Bavaria who is a Nationalist.  He finds it hard to listen to his speech, as it is a low German and even harder to listen to his rhetoric.

"The bombastic German, the ranting, mass-meeting oratory made him physically uncomfortable. ... The worst of it was that he sincerely believed the gibberish he was talking.  Due to an inferiority complex, he had encased himself in an armor of the cheapest nationalism, ..."

Vogelsong quotes Hitler to Francoise:-

"He had made a mistake.  He ought not to have quoted the Leader's book to this misguided man.  It was unfortunately only too true.  Rector Francoise was right in a certain sense.  The greatest living German, the leader of the German movement, was not familiar with the rudiments of the German language."

I found this most interesting that Hitler, who of course was born in Austria, did not speak and have a grasp of higher German.

Professor Mülheim, the family lawyer urges Gustav to invest some money outside of Germany.

"He had been urging Gustav for years to invest his capital abroad.  The outlook in Germany was becoming steadily more threatening.  Would he not be a madman who should  continue to sit in a train, the staff of which showed unmistakable signs of madness?"

"... Gustav agreed with Goethe, who preferred to put up with injustice rather than lawlessness."

Bertold Oppermann's form teacher was Master Vogelsong, his previous form master, who had died suddenly; had asked him to prepare a lecture for the class, a lot of work had gone into this.  He asks Vogelsong if he may give the lecture, but Vogelsong does not like the theme title and gives him an option to write a lecture on the life of Arminius.  A character held in high esteem by the Nationalists as a true aryan hero, who fought against the Romans.  Bertold gives the lecture the way he has been taught pros and cons as to character and outcome.  Vogelsong can only take the pros, no cons must be said about this hero.  He goes into a rage, he considers the Jewish boy, not just a problem in class, but a problem in the school.  He must apologize.  Berthold does not see it that way he was just presenting Arminius in the way he had been taught.

Rector Francoise must set this right, he sits on it for a while, he agrees with Bertold, but as Little Thundercloud points out to him this could mean his job.  He agrees to ask Gustav to intervene and say something to the family about this.

"It could only be hoped that the irritating new teacher who they had planted in his beloved institution, like a potato in a tulip field, would not spoil things too much.  And then he related the Vogelsong affair." 

"On the 30th January, the President of the Republic appointed the author of the book entitled My Battle to the post of German Chancellor."

That was in 1933.

Things are not looking well for Oppermann's Furniture Stores and it is decided very quickly to change their name to the German Furniture Company.  This had been discussed previously but now they see the necessity of changing their name and taking on Herr Heinrich Wels a competitor; who's grandfather had established his furniture company at a similar time to which their grandfather had established theirs.  In fact Wels had made previous offers to come in, but they had always turned him down, but now as a Nationalist, it would be good to have him on board.  Herr Wels has the upper hand, they no longer do.

Martin speaking to Herr Brieger, Herr Hintze who help run Oppermann's Furniture company, along with Jacques.

".... Do you believe that, because a few thousand young, armed ruffians roam about in the streets, there is an end of Germany?"  

"There are no pogroms in Germany nowadays."

Back at the hospital Nurse Helene is trying to warn Dr. Oppermann of what could happen at the hospital.

"In the hospitals, in the University, on all sides, medical men without ability were seeing signs of hope.  An era was beginning in which the requisites were no longer talent and accomplishment but the ostensible consanguinity to a certain race."

"On one of the following afternoons it so happened that a patient of the third class, which was treated gratis, was caught smoking a cigar contrary to strict instructions."

The nurse told him to put it out, he would not do so, so she called in Dr Jacoby.

"The sight of the Jew made the man raving mad."

Dr Jacoby:-

"He had nothing to offer the shouting, rebellious ward but the arguments of reason, the least suitable of all sedatives."

Herr Markus Wolfsohn is a shop floor salesman at the furniture store.  His brother in law Moritz Ehrenreich has booked passage to Palestine.

"Perhaps his brother-in-law Moritz Ehrenreich was right in clearing out now as he was doing.  Yes, they had got to that point now:  Moritz Ehrenreich was due to sail for Palestine on 3rd of March, from the French  port of Marseilles, on the steamer Mariette Pacha."

Herr Rudiger Zarnke lives next door in the same two-hundred and seventy apartment building to Herr Wolfsohn.  He would like Herr Wolfsohn's apartment for a relative.  It isn't fair that Oppermann's has a special block deal on a number of the apartments especially for their employees.

"In booming tones, impossible to ignore, he would tell his wife how the Nationalists, the moment they took over the reins of government on the fifth of March, would make mince-meat of the Jews."

Herr Wolfsohn:-

"Yes, it was all over with his snug security in the beloved flats in Friedrich Karl Strasse."

Berthold has been in a turmoil over his speech and the thought of apologizing to Vogelsong.  He decides to visit his uncle Joachim Ranzov, his mother's brother who holds a high position as a Commissioner.

Berthold says:-

"Must I now go and confess that I am a bad German because I spoke the truth?"

Muhlheim entreating Gustav to leave Germany:-

"What nonsense!  Because the Reichstag was on fire, he, Gustav, would have to leave Berlin."

Gustave decides to travel to Bern, Switzerland.  He is given a bundle of papers to read from a man who introduces himself as Dr. Bilfinger this man has documented atrocities in Germany, he reads it.

"The aged President had handed the Reich over to them in good order.  They had ruthlessly broken their solemn pledges, trampled law underfoot, and submitted caprice, disorder, and brutality for civilization and order.  Germany had become a madhouse in which the patients had overpowered their warders.  Did the world realize this?  What was he going to do about all this?"

In this passage I wonder whether the writer Lion Feuchtwanger had a spark of hope, but I think not.

"Very many people had left Germany but very many more had remained.  The Nationalists could not kill or imprison all their adversaries, for their adversaries comprised two-thirds of the population."

Bernd Vogelsang is appointed as Minister of Education.  A former student of his Werner Rittersteg a tall blond nicknamed Long Lummox, of no great intelligence, takes it upon himself to stab a journalist Richard Karper for printing the truth.  He does it to attract the attention of Heinrich Lavendel, a great football player at school, who he has silently hero worshipped for a long time, the cousin of Berthold.  He Rittersteg gets of scot-free.

Did they intend to entangle a young hero in the maze of stupid rules, to impede his career, his activity on behalf of New Germany, merely because his scholarship had not stood the hazards of an examination?"

Rector Francoise stands up to Vogelsong, he knows he will lose his position.  His wife is pragmatic.

"These comforting words did Francoise good.  He had always known that Socrates must have had some good reason for marrying Xanthippe."

"Jacques Lavendel informed Friedrich Pfanz, the head of the Department of Economics, that he proposed to leave Germany and that he would liquidate his German business interests."

A turn of events with Herr Zarnke, who has become disillusioned with unfulfilled promises.  He listens and agrees with his little troop, not turning them in for subversive speech.

"Such rebellious views were gaining more and more control over the simple soul of storm-troop-leader Rudger Zarnke."

The Oppermann family are together at the Lavendel's house in Switzerland.  They are celebrating Passover. Enjoying each other's company and using all the old utensils dedicated to the celebration, reading the Haggadah.

"They wanted to sterilize all Jews, as well as the Socialists and the intellectual classes.  Nationalists only were to be allowed to propagate, there would be no one left to spoil their power."

"In Nationalist Germany there was no worse crime than the profession of reason, peace, and honorable sentiments."

"Unemployment figures rose to staggering heights.  Germany's percentage of unemployed became the highest in the world.  But the stiff-necked Nationalist declared that they had reduced unemployment.

Lies, profiteering, and selfish indulgence went hand in hand.  Anyone who belonged to the party in power could have his competitor spirited away to a concentration camp."

The story by no means ends here, the ending is quite incongruous.  I think it had to be, because it was published in 1933 and at that time it had taken National Socialism fourteen years to rise to power, and only at the beginning of their government control of Germany.  So how could Lion Feuchtwanger actually end his story.  The Third Reich did not come to an end until 8th May, 1945.

I hope my humble review of The Oppermanns has moved you to read this book.


Saturday, August 22, 2020

Mazda Miata Engine Swap, Honda K Motor

Dear Folk,

The Boys creation.  My, he has put some work into this.  Last thing was adding a roll bar, which made mum and dad happy.  He has a clutch problem to sort, but I know he will.  He is totally self taught.  Long conversations with his dad and I do wish his grandfather had known him, coming from that aircraft engineer background.

He added the front bump to cover the bigger engine.

All the dash-board and door panels have been covered in kid leather, he did all that.

New Honda engine.


Saturday, August 15, 2020

In the Fog as to what is a Blog, Vlog, Podcast, Video Podcast

Hi Dear Folk,

Thank you for all those who left comments on this subject in my previous post.  As always I love to hear everyones comments.  Thank you for taking the time.

So on doing a little further research I think this is the best definition I can come up with.

So we all know what a Blog is because we are doing it here.

A Vlog I have concluded is like a diary only as a video log of daily things, also can be weekly, or monthly.  Everything you want to record that's happening in your life.  Your Blog in Video.

Podcast is just audio.

The Video Podcast is different.  It is like a podcast; which is audio, but with video too.  The major difference I think is that of having a theme, and can include guests.  Also another key is, that it provides some information for the audience.  So content informative.

I have come to the conclusion that what I have been watching are Video Podcasts, but they just refer to them as Podcasts.

Glad I've got that straight, in my mind.  Do hate to be in the fog.

Take care, have a great weekend.


P.S.  If you disagree with that or want to add to that please leave a comment.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Technical Question - Podcast or Vlog?

Hi Dear Folk,

I have a technical question to ask.  I showed my son a You Tube video of a person I subscribe to on You Tube and said how much I like the way she presents her podcasts.  In fact in the title it calls the program a podcast.

Now my son said strictly speaking that is not a Podcast but a Vlog because it is visual and audio, podcasts are only audio.  But I have noticed that a number of people on You Tube, call it and have it in their very title that it is a podcast.

So what is the consensus?  Is it strictly speaking as my son says a Vlog, or is it a Podcast or can one loosely call it a podcast, or does it matter?

My son majored in photography, film and visual media, so I feel technically he is right.  But if the majority of people call it a podcast then by doing so that becomes the predominant way of referring to such a media.

For example in the UK we never say I'm going to Vacuum the house, we say I'm going to Hoover the house.  If one was being truly technical Vacuum would be the correct terminology.

So this is my conundrum of word usage.  Please give me your input.  I would like your thoughts.

Thank you,

Thursday, August 13, 2020

I. D. Stamper, Appalachian Music

Hi Dear Folk,

I've been thinking of America and it's immigrant folk, who they are and what they've bought with them adding to the diversity.  I'm an immigrant and everyone here is except for the Native American Tribes and what a diversity of language and culture they have.

I've also been thinking of music on Podcasts and Vlogs, which led me down the rabbit hole of remembering I had an old cassette tape recording of Kentucky Appalachian music.  The recording had been given to me in the late eighties.  So last night I routed through a number of drawers and eventually came up with it.

How did I come to have this, well in the late eighties I went to eastern Kentucky as a volunteer with some friends  and stayed with a local family the Stamper's.  He was the son of I. D. Stamper.

Isaac "I.D." Stamper was born in Arkansas, but raised in Letcher County, Kentucky, where he lived until his death in 1986.  He worked nearly forty years in the mines until he left the "bad air" for a safer and better paying job as a maintenance man in a Louisville children's hospital.

The harmonica was his first instrument, followed quickly by the banjo, guitar and fiddle.  I.D. and his brothers had a band that played at many of the local dances.  Which reminds me of my grandfather from the thirties in the Hedingham area of Essex, he also had a band and played guitar and banjo, playing at local dances and events.

The legendary Uncle Ed Thomas, was his mother's uncle, the roving dulcimer builder and player, that struck his fancy to the instrument that was to become his hallmark.  It wasn't until the 1940's that I.D. finally put together his first dulcimer, from a butternut log his father brought in for firewood.  His first instrument was fashioned after his recollection of Uncle Ed's design, but, by his own admission, "improved on it."  I.D. Stamper constructed over 500 instruments during his lifetime with buyers from California to England.

I.D.  had a brief career in his retirement, playing at Folk Festivals, Folklife events at National Parks  and dances until he was cut short by Parkinson's disease as was my father.

I ran across this and I think you'll enjoy listening to his music.  His blend of white dance music and black blues, offers the only blues dulcimer music most people have ever heard.  His rarely-heard versions of "Darlin Corey," "Lost John," and "Little Pink" act as a musical milestone, to a time and a life that you can only read about.

He only made one album recording and this was "Red Wing"  I think you will enjoy listening to his music.  What a wonderful rich heritage from Eastern Kentucky, many songs derive from English, Scottish and Irish ballads brought over with these immigrants, such as "Pretty Polly."

I enjoyed my time there and remember I was told to never pull in front of a loaded coal truck coming down the mountain.  Now over thirty years later you probably wouldn't see a loaded coal truck, the coal industry was on the wain even then.


Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Katherine Mansfield

Hi Dear Folk,

I often listen to BBC Radio 4.  This week they are running a reading of five of Katherine Mansfield's short stories.

  • The Stranger
  • Miss Brill
  • A Cup of Tea
  • Poison
  • The Doll's House

She is a brilliant Short Story writer and well worth reading, I love Miss Brill.

Katherine Mansfield was brought up in New Zealand; which I've always felt an affinity with, because my great grandmothers half siblings, Mary and James, who my great grandma was very close with emigrated to New Zealand the year before WWI.

A regular correspondence was kept up with them.  In fact after my grandfather died 1938 of Polio, and grandma was left a widow with four children, they invited her to migrate to New Zealand after WWII and I often wonder what that would have meant for the family had my grandmother taken them up on that.  I honestly think she personally would have had an easier life, rather than staying on in post war England.  But I digress.  Click on my New Zealand label on side bar to see some old family photos taken in New Zealand.

Katherine Mansfield 1888-1923 did not have an easy life and eventually died of tuberculosis.  She had many contemporaries and was friends with such people as Virginia Woolf, D. H. Lawrence and Elizabeth Von Arnim was a cousin.

As with many New Zealand writers she made the trek and relocated to London, on a more permanent basis in 1908, she had lived there before from age 14 to 17 as a boarder at Queen's College, Harley Street.

After her diagnoses she often lived abroad on the Continent, one place being the Montana region of Switzerland where she wrote many short stories.  The Montana Stories published by Persephone Books contains her short stories from July 1921 to her death in France, January 1923.

I ran across this lovely link to the Katherine Mansfield Society where you can read her stories.

Off down the rabbit hole now.


P.S. A quote from Virginia Woolf

"...then Morgan Forster said the Prelude and The Voyage Out were the best novels of their time, and I said damn Katherine! Why can't I be the only woman who knows how to write."  Virginia Woolf writing to Katherine Mansfield, 13 February 1921

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Ants !!!

Hi Dear Folk,

Well it's been a long time.  I'm just going to blame Instagram, fulfiller of the quick fix need.  But maybe I'm in more of a longer contemplative mood today.

I have been waging war with tiny ants in my kitchen.  We are loath to spray but these troop brigades are relentless, their sorties ongoing.  It has made me super vigilant even a crumb of food left anywhere brings out a long trail of workers.  You have to admire them.  Cat food left on the ground for any longer than it takes Tuppy to eat it is an absolute no, no.  They also seem to like water and I will find a number in and out of the kitchen sink.  It's driving me crazy.

We think we've found where they are coming in and obviously we will have to put something down out there, because the war is full on.  Of course maybe it's hypersensitivity during lockdown madness.

"The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry."  The summer that was, but was not and for some it never will be again.  So I keep that in mind and stay close to home, which is basically pottering around in my garden.

Will one ever need to buy another piece of clothing?   And I'm certainly not bothering to dye my hair, I have not done so since last February.  I'm going to go with the gray trend , well it's certainly easier and who really sees you, except for Zoom Meetings.

I had planned to visit my sister in England, but of course early on I knew that was all off.  In anywise who's going to let anybody out of America when we are 22% of the cases of Covid in the world.  We are now locked in, we can't go out to play, just like the naughty children we are here in the USA.  Unless we change our behavior we're never be let out.

So what keeps you sane and happy?  I do like my garden and my crochet.  Reading a book under my giant oak tree can be quite satisfying.

I think compared to so many in this giant land I am most fortunate and count my blessings, when so many others are not doing well.

Take care, keep safe.


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.


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