Concerned mother

cycle65Middle child is on his way from Durham to home in London today BY BIKE. Not all the way. He caught the train to Middlebrough and will cycle approx 50 miles to York and then catch the train the rest of the way. Amusingly the route he will be following is Route 65, also the number of our house so everytime he sees a sign it should keep him motivated to pedal faster to reach No.65 and his bed.

He said he had planned carefully and allowed plenty of extra time. I never think my children allow enough time for anything. According to him he was expecting to arrive at THIRSK (halfway) by 1300 and break for lunch. Well at 1340 he had only reached OSMOTHERLEY which to me looks as though it is halfway between MIDDLESBROUGH and THIRSK making it only 1/4 of his whole planned journey instead of 1/2.

He said in his text to me that the second half is easier. I beg to differ. He still has 3/4 of his journey AND judging by the terrain of the North Yorkshire Moors it looks as though the toughest is yet to come. But what do I know, I’m just a concerned mother.


A Favourite Poem

Spider Webs

Spider webs are very delicate
And to remember.

A spider web is sometimes breaking.
It breaks when you take it
Or where it shakes in the wind
But always to remember
And delicate.

Delicate is when a thing is breaking
Sometimes when you take it
Or in the wind when it shakes.

Spider webs are to remember
That things are delicate and sometimes break.
But after they break
You remember.

Ray Fabrizio

I can’t resist orange ….

… and when I was at the Contemporary Textile Fair at the Landmark Arts Centre in Teddington, on Sunday …. this rug called out to me and …… later ….. came home with me.




As you can see, it’s falling apart at the ends near the fringes. I’m not quite sure what to do about that.

Should I chop the ends off and refringe it?  Should I try to do giant darning on it?

Any comments?

Is it a tulip? No it’s a Nump Bag.

I blogged about the Nump Bag v 0.2 and told you that I posted off northwards to the middle offspring in Durham so quickly that I didn’t take any pics of it. Well MO has sent me images of Nump 0.2 in operation…..


Cosy Times

knit-teacosy-green-flowersA friend was kind enough to send me a book containing knitted and crocheted tea cosies. Being one of those people who never has the right needles or yarn I decided just to grab what I had and have a stab at one.

So off I went, whilst watching something mindless on television, wrong needles and inappropriate yarn flailing. This one is large doubled-over footless sock. Then you have to knit or crochet a saucer-like top to stitch inside your footless sock. The final stage is to knit or crochet flowers, leaves etc to burgeon forth from your woolly creation. I had a brainwave – somewhere – lurking in the depths of bags and boxes I had some bits and pieces. With my machete in hand, I braved the depths of what we euphemistically call “the dining room” and managed to uncover a bagful of  leafy, flowery stuff that I threw at my pro-type cosy.

You can see the result above – just don’t move the cosy perched on the upturned plastic jug, because if you do all that verdant growth will fall like leaves in autumn.

What do you read about?

As usual I seem to gain my inspiration from fellow bloggers. Over on Stuck-in-a-Book’s most recent blogpost, Simon has put up a list of one person’s favourite books. I couldn’t sleep at 0330 this morning so left my bed and started to read my usual blogs. I couldn’t resist putting Simon’s list of books that the late Mary Ann Shaffer, author of “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society” had considered her favourites, into a spreadsheet and seeing what sort of book she read. My first thought was that I hadn’t read many of them and indeed had never even heard of quite a few. So here is the list re-ordered into 4 groups (see final column A,B, C, D) with one odd-man-out at the end.


[this table is also available as a pdf file here]

Mary Ann appeared to have an interest in novels set in the First & Second World Wars. However, on reflection I would say that the greatest number of books on the list show an interest in pioneers, settlers, immigrants, those who leave one culture/race and attempt to make their way in another. Some of the books, of course, should be included in at least two of the categories.

Other than “My Antonia”, which was published in 1918, all the books were published in 1945 or afterwards.

There are thirty-one books on Mary Ann’s list. If we saw your thirty favourites what would we summise about you?

The Scent of Spies


“The third week of June, and there it is again: the same almost embarrassingly familiar breath of sweetness that comes every year about this time. I catch it on the warm evening air as I walk past the well-ordered gardens in my quiet street, and for a moment I’m a child again and everything’s before me – all the frightening, half-understood promise of life.”

“Spies” by Michael Frayn is one of those books that lurk on the TBRBOH (to be read by other half ) pile. TOH spends a large part of his day travelling on public transport and so consumes vast amounts of the written word during hiis progress. Our reading tastes hardly ever overlap, the works of Brian Moore being one notable exception.

The one-word title “Spies” coupled with “Germans” and “infiltrated on the back-cover blurb led me to believe that this book’s rightful place was on the “his” rather than the “her” TBR pile. How wrong could I be. The blogosphere has been rumbling with mention of this book recently with one much-respected blogger threatening to read this in the next few days. So realising that I was probably missing out on a good thing I picked up my forked stick and went book-divining around the book stashes. Having a dim memory that the cover was green I set out on the trail of this book determined to discover its secret.

The writing is deceptively simple. Once we have moved from the adult world of the narrator to his child self we could be forgiven for assuming that we were now in an Emil and The Detectives or a Nancy Drew mystery. For half the book we remain in this world until almost imperceptively the emphasis shifts and our eyes are opened. With the advantage of age our suspicions are well ahead of our child protagonist but this does not shield us from the anguish that we will feel as intently as he as our initial suppositions are overturned.

To say anymore would be to run the risk of publishing too many spoilers, so just take my words of advice. As well as avoiding the pitfall of judging a book by its cover be sure not to judge a book by its title.

%d bloggers like this: