The Splendid Sampler …. starts

I have decided to take part in the SPLENDID SAMPLER quilt-along.

100 quilt blocks over the course of a whole year starting on Valentine’s Day 14 Feb 2016.

Block 1


Block 2


Block 3


Block 4


alternative Block 4


and a GIANT Block 4


Block 5


Block 6


I think this is a bit aggressive to go with the other blocks ..

Block 7



If you want to read more about the SPLENDID SAMPLER click HERE



Muriel Spark Week continues ….




Muriel Spark Week – Day 2


I have just finished reading my first ever Muriel Spark, “The Only Problem”. I am still digesting it but felt sure that I must have at least one other Spark title lurking somewhere in the house. I was just about to give up but just as I was half-glancing at the foreign language and translated shelf near the door, my eye dropped down to a slim orange Penguin, originally sold for 3/6.

So I hope to at least get another Muriel under my belt this week.

The wonderful Penguin cover of my copy is by an illustrator called  Terence Greer. You can see more of his covers, many for Muriel Spark books here. Enjoy.





Muriel Spark Reading Week … is here




I have Muriel Spark’s “The Only Problem” (first published 1984) on my TBR mountain so this seems a good time to ascend this slim volume.

On the second page, a character with my name appears so I will take that as a good omen.

Character No.1, Harvey Gotham has a theory that I find somewhat disconcerting:


          … people have an effect on the natural greenery around them regardless of whether they lay their hands

          on it or not; some people, he would remark, induce fertility in their environment and some the desert,

          simply by psychic force.



Others joining in with Muriel Spark Week are:


Simon (the instigator)




Annuzza A Girl of Rumania


My grandmother gave me a book called “Annuzza, a girl of Romania” by Hertha Seuberlich

(later published as “Candle in the Wind”)

She lives on a farm and is supposed to take care of the precious chickens but instead she prefers to read. She wins a scholarship to a (boarding) school in the city and has a tough time because everyone is so rich so she invents a rich family for herself.The book had line drawings to accompany the text that helped to set the scene. I think the fascination with the book was my inability to imagine what it would be like if I wasn’t encouraged to read.

Quad Time by The Joy of Box


and if you think it’s great – vote for it at





Tuesday 03 April 2012

the train pulls around a curve

parked cars on one side

“the island” on the other

set apart from the real world

evening primrose and ragged robin

take hold of the apex

and on the eastern side

where the sun rises

“the trains go to bed”

we never deviate

from our prescribed route

we only glimpse the track

that leads to Strawberry Hill

with promises of fruit-filled days

in pastoral peace

our way is more mundane

with gabions enforcing boundaries

impelling all to stay on track


Monday 02 April 2012

glancing through the gap

between the seats

I see the highlighted words in the book

“what is your experience of clinical governance?”

across the aisle

another girl tests her feet

where someone else will sit

she splits her time

between applying copious layers of lipbalm

and communication with unseen friends

by strange repetitive movements

of her thumbs

the tight-lipped female announcer

alerts us to approaching danger

“please mind the gap

between the train and the platform edge”

one schoolgirl holds a mirror

for another to review her Monday coiffure

while the guard, like a gaoler

jangles his keys

as he walks the length of the train

a double-buggy

one child slung below another

vies for space with two expensive cycles

and business men with retro-fitted rucksacks

hide behind financial news

what do they see

when they glance at my face, my clothes

and watch me scribble indecipherable words

in a small black notebook?

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