Thursday, 1 October 2015

I Did Things

Having sat like a blob for rather too long , I've got to my feet and started doing things .

The twice-yearly Fabric Fair's always worth wandering around , for the people-watching alone . Like the rather harassed woman who was buying meters of fleece , tricot and other hard wearing stuff . When someone wondered what she was planning , she just said , "I've got five children " . Everyone winced .
 But I must say , this Autumn , the general impression was rather gloomy . Five hundred shades of grey only slightly livened up by dozens of grey/black/white busy little prints ... for all the world like Italian grannies' housedresses .
This was the liveliest thing there .

"You could perhaps use it as a wall-hanging against a deep purple wall ... " said Friend . We pondered ... and thought better of it .

I've been to the cinema , too . One of my keep-fit class companions , an avid film fan , wondered if I'd like to join her at the Film House and we saw 'Dheepan' , a French film about Tamil refugees in a ghastly drug-infested  'banlieu' in Paris . Hair-raising but beautifully filmed . Next week there's Anton Corbijn's film about James Dean . I could become an avid film fan , too ...

And , having thoroughly enjoyed the BBC 1's Sunday evening's adaptation of Cider With Rosie ,  I was definitely in the mood for even more country prettiness and charm on Tuesday .

The Glasgow Boys had opened in Assen's museum and I was ready to wallow in nostalgia . So , obviously , is everybody else ; it was very busy ,  even on a weekday morning .

  Lots of lambs , cabbage patches and fruit trees , misty hills and glens , pretty children ... with all the rough edges smoothed away .
 Even a sturdy veg. stall , like the one my great-great-granny is supposed to have supported her family with  ... maybe even the same carrots she grew ?

Unfortunately the artist , William York MacGregor ,  is supposed to have painted out his unsuccessful attempt at depicting the stall-holder and replaced her with some onions , so we'll never know .

But , now Autumn has really begun , the local high life is just beginning . I see in the local paper that one of the caf├ęs in the center of town  is going to expand its breakfast menu and , to celebrate , will be serving a free breakfast to anyone who turns up in their pyjamas , this Sunday . I might just  give it a miss ....

Sunday, 13 September 2015


It hasn't been very interesting lately . So much so , I've had time to wonder whether that first sentence should have a comma after 'interesting'.

And to read articles on whether Eating More Than 6 Bananas At Once Can Kill You (  from the BBC online magazine ) . It seems that you'd have to eat more than 400 in a day to reach unsafe levels of potassium , so that's alright then . Then the writer spoilt the whole thing by adding that the levels of radioactivity  , on the other hand , are negligible ,
" Bananas are not so radioactive as Brazil nuts and can be eaten in moderation ."  Well no , that  hadn't been keeping me awake ...

Luckily there's been the odd splash of my favourite colour to cheer me up , including some berries , Mata Hari perching on the wall of our local Bagel & Beans ,  a sunflower , a very nice little boat  and a fly on the other side of a window .


Sunday, 30 August 2015

Catching Up Fast- ish.

It takes a while for things to filter this far north . I mean , we have electric light and vending machines and things , but the first hipster I saw was in London , this summer .
But now there are at least three young men in town with the right kind of beard and cap ,,, and one of them has bicycle clips .
Cold brew coffee hasn't appeared yet but there's a new sandwich shop with 'artisan bread' , which  is a start .
So , naturally, this pair gathered quite a crowd when they started performing a while ago in the square .

We all listened politely and and applauded . A tatooed gent joined the line-up . For a moment we thought he was going to sing , too , till we saw that he was just retrieving his dog .
But before we could all move fast enough , the duo had launched into their second number . Roughly translated :

" He lay under the ground  ,
He lay under the ground ,
He lay under the ground ...

And he didn't mind ,
And he didn't mind ,
And he didn't mind ...

A garden on his stomach ,
A garden on his stomach ,
A garden on his stomach ...

And he didn't mind ,
And he didn't mind ,
And he ... "
Whereupon the woman from the neighbouring organic veg. stall leapt to her feet , picked up a tray of strawberries and ran round offering us all one . The tatooed man's tatooed wife took photos of her husband and dog ...

and I left to do my shopping . 

Though I do now wonder if  I'm quite the person to report on current trends , here or anywhere else . I bumped into a charming young girl this week , who looked vaguely familiar ,
"Oh ", she said , " You used to be my juf in playschool ! " . Then followed the usual catch-up conversation about schools and future plans .
"I'm hoping to go to the Police Academy next year " . Dear Heaven , I'm feeling my age !

Sunday, 23 August 2015

My Local Museum Read My Mind

I've just spent a week looking for knitting groups , since my first choice had turned out to include Bible study .
A very nice wool shop just did crochet and sock knitting courses ( "with 4 needles" the owner warned  , having sized me up accurately )  ;  and Leeuwarden's Stitch'n'Bitch seemed to have died  , though there was a brief hope that they'd come back to life in the old jail . This would have offered a spectacular backdrop to k.1 p.1 . but sadly it wasn't true .

Just as melancholy was setting in , the local free paper provided the solution .It turns out that the Fries Museum has an exhibition , Breien ! , opening on October 17th

Reading the article , it will include everything from a wooden C16th sock knitting frame , old fisherman's jumpers , knitted lace pieces to wear with the gold caps worn for centuries as the Fries  national costume , C18th fingerless mittens for the poor and C21st fingerless mittens for the trendy ...

There's going to be a walk-through route where you can handle exhibits . A  completely knitted room by  Isabel Berglund , Victorian beaded reticules , things knitted with human hair by Chrystel Rijkeboer , Starsky and Hutch sweaters ...

BUT , more to the point , there will be a drop-in knitting area with coffee and resident experts to advise on one's knitting disasters works-in-progress . A sort of 6 day a week Stitch'n'Bitch for nearly a year , just round the corner , in fact !

( Meanwhile , Hermione's slippers are taking shape in a rather more sedate shade of red than planned . It's too early to stock scarlet , I was told ... )

P.S. The exhibition poster stubbornly refuses any of my efforts to hoist it upright . Sorry !

Monday, 17 August 2015

Where's It Gone ?

Vanished .
Sun , boats , ice cold beers , vast salads , picnics and freckles ... All gone overnight .

So it's now time to roll up my sleeves for winter .

Making warming one-pan meals again . This , for instance , from Nikko Amandonico's "Una Bella Spaghettata "

is startlingly simple , involving little more than mixing good Italian canned tomatoes with herbs , olives and capers with olive oil ( lots of olive oil ... to feed 6 she recommends using 500 ml . I didn't . ) , stirring this into some barely cooked pasta , tipping it all into an oven dish and baking it in a hot oven for 20 minutes . Eat a large bowlful and and relax .

Enrol in some class or other ... I've found a craft class which includes crochet ( yes , again ... well even I must get the hang of it eventually ) and lunch .

And start at least one ridiculous frivolous project . This winter's is from an ancient P&B booklet of Senior Knitteds for The Rich In Years .

Since I could hardly cycle while wearing a muff and can't knit gloves  , I thought that I'd have a bash at these slippers

or house shoes as they would have been called when the pattern was written . In scarlet , perhaps , for Christmas ? Perhaps I should arm myself with one of these , too ?

I've got the latest Bryant and May who-dunnit on audiobook .... I'll be rather put out now , if Summer returns .

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Summer Colours

Doesn't our weather man look surprised ! As well he might ; summer has taken a while to get going ....

Still there has been colour here and there

even though it has been more subdued .


London was very pretty this year .

Monday, 22 June 2015

In An English City Allotment

( with apologies to Percy Grainger ) 

If you stand on tiptoe and squint , you can see John Lewis . The 14 bus rattles past one side and the 34 past the other . Scrawny cats chase magpies who scold back , safely  perched on shed roofs .

 You trip over shards of pottery everywhere

The bread shop over the road does chunky cheese rolls to eat in the sun or you can pick up a baked potato from the butcher's   ...   or there's a Chinese takeaway a step further .
Bees hover over a banana skin . A little boy brandishes a pink butterfly net .
There's an old swing and a slide the commitee's put up to entertain the growing number of ever younger allotmenteers' children  . 
You flail at nettles and are mesmerised by hoverflies .
Lug water from the standpipe to rescue the pansies .
And take home radishes , beans and glowing , exhausted children .