Sunday, 28 February 2010

Unraveling in 2010


Headed off to Farnham yesterday, to attend Unravel 2010. Believe it or not, yarn there grows on trees!

(This so made me think of Dr Seuss). Well, no, yarn does not really grow on trees, but there was plenty to admire and pick up and consider and, of course, purchase. Lots of vintage paraphernalia on display in cabinets, like these sewing needle packs or vintage knitting needles. And lots of skeins in a miriad of colourways... it was great to see so many British yarn producers on show like Skein Queen.
There were a few animals to be spotted too, from the very wet sheep patiently standing outside in the rain, to these indoor critters: a well dressed bear (he reminded me of my own 'childhood' bear: Eggybear), a few knitted folk and Mr Mole emerging fully knitted from his knitted grass lawn.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

And I'll Probably Have A Little Something There Too

Sonata :

Half term and I'm inflicting myself on my two oldest daughters in turn . First to London and Smitonius and her partner , who've risen to the challenge with their usual panache .We've climbed into a black hole at Tate modern , eaten Thai seafood curry at Borough Market and bought venison tortellini .

Admired vintage fashion at a fair in Clerkenwell in the unexpectedly splendiferous Finsbury Town Hall ,

where we saw vintage sunglasses

and vintage dresses

I've been to the Cloth Shop , Anthropologie and Muji and admired Selfridges Alice In Wonderland windows .

And I've eaten blue potato salad and giant prawns .

And today I've wandered about Islington and eaten Spaghetti Al Vonghole at Carluccio's .
Tomorrow I travel north to see a little boy who declares himself to be a very complicated person .... and his simply delightful parents .

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Cat hard at work...


Isn't it nice to know that when I am hard at work, my cat plays her part:

She has the amazing capacity to find the keyboard a comforable sleeping place, can sit on the mouse without pulling any funny faces, and now, I see, that she even finds the stapler can double up as a chin pillow.

PS: that metal pole behind her is a curtain rod. It has rested there, in its plastic wrapper, since we bought it in early Autumn 2009... the curtains to hang on it were bought even earlier, in July 2009. I would like to blame the cat, but she is not sitting on either of them.

PPS: apologies to the blog 'kitchen soup' - as I inadvertently posted this entry there first... I can't blame the cat for that either! (had forgotten my mother was double blogging!)

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Not Another Word ....

Sonata :
And this is positively my last word on the subject

Except to point out the extreme high spirits of the folkdancing peasants from Bresse . All that Cantal perhaps . Though , of course it could just be all that fresh air and exercise

Friday, 12 February 2010

Onwards And Upwards

Sonata :

Devising one's own low cholesterol diet isn't quite as easy as I had thought . Not that I expected it to be a piece of cake . See! I can joke about it ! When I'm in London the week after next , I'll hunt out some good cookery books and a more complete table of fat levels than I can find on the internet .

But till then , I'm using common sense and being stern with myself . Actually my reduced cheese intake alone would probably be enough ! Luckily I like cottage cheese

I did allow myself a tiny amount of grated Pecorino on my pasta yesterday . With a sauce of red peppers , celery , onions and tomatoes perked up with thyme , garlic and two anchovy fillets , it was rather nice . Husband even evinced a willingness to taste it before he retreated to his fried maize-fed chicken . The feta had to go from the bean salad at lunch time but extra tomatoes , a spring onion and basil rescued it and the olives had to stay .... after all , it's not a fat free diet I'm on .
Fresh sardines , baked on a rack in the oven and sprinkled with sea salt must stay too . And I've found that almost any lean cut of meat is nice cooked on a base of vegetables with just a spritz of olive oil . Not quite as good as with roast potatoes etc. but still edible in a worthy kind of way .

My Scottish grandmother bequeathed me a love of porridge and lentil soup . In fact I'm always happy to eat beans of any kind . So I'm not going to starve .

I'll make it work , if it kills me ( another joke , she adds hastily ) .

Sunday, 7 February 2010

tagged - part 2: a memory


This entry is actually about lack of memory, when you know something took place but can't recall how that was. And I don't quite mean those evenings involving a bit too much wine!

When I recall my early childhood what comes to mind are small snatches of sights and sounds: sitting on the stairs with my father whilst he taught me it was not a good idea to light matches; certain toys like the space hopper or television programmes like the Clangers; being convinced that a girl at the playschool was a real eskimo because she had a fur trimmed hood (I probably had seen a copy of Lucy Fitch Perkins The Eskimo Twins). Otherwise it is all overlayed with stories told by others or photographs.

That was my British childhood. When I was about 4 and half, we moved to Spain, and then I also remember very little until I reach about the age of 6 or 7. My childhood became a Spanish one: sugar mice were replaced with Mentolines (Eucalypts sweets, for smokers really but one coin bought a lot of these small sweets), Cuba Libres (cola flavoured, and, despite the cocktail inspired name, no rum - I think!) or Conguitos (chocolate covered peanuts, with a mascot as innapropriate as Robinson's Golliwog, as it displayed a colonial caricature: see this advert on youtube); cinemas became open air in the Summer, a social experience not a reverential one given the cacophony of children playing, women eating sunflower seeds and chatting, and men smoking; we ceebrated an additional feast day at Christmas, given that at that point Epiphany or the day of the Three Magi was when Spanish children received their presents (so we got an extra something!); and, during the Feria week, the chance to wear flamenco dresses - my hair was striped blonde and brunette then:
But what I do not remember is learning Spanish. My sister and I were sent to a Convent school with no Spanish language skills at all, although aparently we had been taught how to ask permission to go to the loo (which seems very sensible), but we obviously just got on with it and became bilingual. My sister and I still speak Spanish between ourselves, as if it were a secret but shared language, and often feel formal or odd speaking in English together. I dream in both languages and use them everyday with my work, and, according to my partner, my bilingualism extends to my sneezing - apparently I have a Spanish sneeze (atchis) and an English sneeze (atchoo). Is this failure to recall the process of learning Spanish indicative of it being a good experience or a bad one? Who knows, but I am very glad I had to.

As part of this meme, we are supposed to tag 5 more: but please, dear reader, feel yourself tagged if you wish. Will it be a good memory or a bad memory that you reveal?

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Tagged ... Part 1 . A Memory

Sonata :

Tattie Weasle has tagged us both . The meme is to reveal a memory , be it a dark or a happy one . Smitonius did all the work on the last meme so I thought I'd do my share of this one tonight .

Like most children born in the '40s , I spent my early years encased in tickly wool , lovingly fashioned by female relatives , in this case possibly my uncle's girlfriend's mother .

There were still endless shortages and clothes for chubby , growing children were in short supply . In fact , about this time my cousin Elizabeth and I were each made a pinafore out of Harris tweed that had been someone's cousin's coat . Very tickly .

About three years after this photo was taken , my mother got hold of some lovely soft fine wool and knitted me a cardigan , even though she loathed making buttonholes . The trouble was it was beige . I hated it , even though she found little pink see-through buttons for it . "Look darling , aren't they pretty ! ". Father , nudged , joined in "Oh , yes . Very nice . Mary , where's my pipe? "

Anyway , I was dressed up in it the next day for school and sent off over the pink bridge and up the hill .

School over , I and friends leapt off back down the hill to the Botanic Gardens and the swings , the Kibble Palace ( huge greenhouse ) and the little lodge where Lillibet's Grandpa lived , along the Kelvin to throw sticks in and giggle at cuddling couples till my mother appeared and waved from the other side of the road . You could do all these things in 1950s Glasgow when you were 6 or 7 and no one worried about you , of course .

But , much to my mother's dismay , I'd lost the cardigan .... and to this day , I don't remember whether I did it on purpose .