The Loom Monkey Moves North


I never thought he’d do it, and I don’t actually think he went to bed on Friday night, but somehow TLM (the Loom Monkey) packed his stuff in time for us to leave by 0737 on Saturday morning. I have to confess that Durham is the furthest north I have even been in the UK. My previous northerly record was Lancaster, when I had to dash up there just a few weeks before the TLM was born, because the old man (the TLM’s father) had been rushed into hospital for an emergency operation whilst working away from home. So 285 miles from home we unpacked TLM’s stuff, made his bed, connected up his computer .. walked around Durham together, then we drove home …without him.


Struwwelpeter Strikes Again!

There’s no getting away from him. There I was politely minding my business, being distracted by an online friend who has developed a penchant for Mrs Miniver, or more accurately the writing of her creator Jan Struther, when up popped Struwwelpeter again.

It seems that the original set of cautionary tales was written about 10 boys and one girl. Jan Struther had three children and if you added their cousins to Struther’s three then the total boycount would be 10 plus one girl. Not something a creative person could let pass without comment so, in 1935, JS came up with “The Modern Stuwwelpeter”, illustrated by E H Shepard (of Christopher Robin /Winnie the Pooh fame) and published weekly in Punch.

One of my favourites is Cheeky Charles:

“……No words unfit for him to hear
Had ever reached his sheltered ear–
For instance, such disgusting slang
As “Gosh” and “Golly,” “Blow” and “Hang.”
Imagine, therefore, what a pang
His learned father felt one day
When Charles distinctly said, “Okay.” ….

Whether or not Charles was any worse than his contemporaries we cannot be sure but Struther’s description of his casual way of speaking shows that even in the 1930s speech was evolving. I recently discovered an American poet, Taylor Mali and his comment on the way young people speak in his poem “Like – You Know”.


No Room at the Inn, B & B, Country Club …..

I can’t believe that I spent nearly two hours last night trying to find us a bed for the night of Sat 29 Sept. We are dropping The Loom Monkey off at Durham Uni and as its the longest distance I will ever have driven I have no intention of doing the journey in both directions on the same day.

Slowly I worked my way south from Durham, clicking with my mouse to see if I could find a bed for us for ONE NIGHT only.No room at the inn, hotel, ghastly looking motel. Nothing!

I was 110 miles from Durham, somewhere near Rotherham when I found what must have been the only spare bed in the UK.I can’t say I was ecstatic. Restover Lodge Hotel doesn’t sound TOO bad till you see the picture they were stupid enough to provide online. In its favour was that we could probably just slide down a motorway sliproad straight into the car park. I suppose you keep your eyes closed when you are asleep, so you don’t really have to look where you are staying, do you?

Something stopped me from booking online. I had found a B & B in Richmond, Yorks, about 35 miles south of Durham and it wasn’t possible to check availability online, and I thought that 1015 was just a few minutes too late to call, so I left it till 0815 this morning. Whoops, the delightful Jill was having a lie-on, something she doesn’t usually have the chance to do and muggins here just ruined it. “You won’t believe it, I’ve had to disappoint so many people over that Saturday night”. Oh yes, I would! Something is going on on that date. The government must have passed a new law that obliges everyone to sleep away from home on Sat 29 Sept 2007!!

But guess what? She had just had a cancellation the night before and we have a bed at the top of this very nice looking house in Richmond, Yorks only 35 miles, less than an hours drive, from Durham. Hurrah!



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Great Late Discoveries

Well just in case you hadn’t realised, because you’ve been in Outer Mongolia for a week or two, I have just enjoyed reading Reasons for Being by Clare Dudman. Over on DoveGreyReader the great late discovery is The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.

Now as far as I’m concerned discovering something for yourself far outweighs having it thrust upon you by others. You can still savour a tasty morsel that someone dangles in front of you so many times on the end of their fork that you have to open your mouth and experience it, but how much more sweet is the solitary ingestion of a new flavour of icecream that until now you didn’t even know existed.

So I’m wondering, dear reader(s), is there a book that you finally found, years after everyone else? Stuck-in-Book touches on this subject in his occasional series, 50 Books You Must Read But May Not Have Heard About, though I have the feeling that on the whole most of his books were read by only a few, even when they were first published. So I’m not asking for an elitist find, just something that everyone else had been aware of except you.


98 Reasons for keeping quiet

I spent all day Saturday at work from 0935 till 1905 and I was shattered. It’s bad enough doing 5 days but my body complains if I ever do a catch-up day. I fell into a wonderful hot geranium-scented bath, slipped into a cuddly pair of pajamas, made the old man and me (everyone else out till late) cheese & Worcester sauce on toast and a bucket each of hot tea and then …

I settled down to finish the last few pages of 98 Reasons for Being by Clare Dudman. I won’t say anything other than if you felt the slightest bit tempted by my blog entry about a few days ago, then don’t dally any more, grab yourself a copy and get stuck in.

Sea Cabbage



Belated birthday wishes to my old school pal, Chris. I decided to make her a scarf from this lovely blue/green two-tone fabric that frays    s o   beautifully when you help it along.

I’ve been commissioned!

I’ve been commissioned! Yes, I’ve been commissioned by the person I made these two items for.

She wants me to make tea cosies for her mother and her sister for their birthdays .. in less than two weeks.
Yikes, I don’t even have the fluffy stuff. Oh drat, I’ll just have to buy some and of course I must buy a bit more than I need .. just to be sure!!

I haven’t done any felting for ages, do you think I will remember what to do?

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