Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Kittensssss .... or how to avoid doing something else

Displacement activity can take many forms ,. Ideally it involves doing something non-essential that still leaves you feeling that you've been mildly virtuous ;  throwing out old bus tickets is good . Making somethig small , knitted and for charity is better . May I present the perfect example ?

At the moment the Dutch Animal Protection website has the pattern for a kitten :   "Knitten een kitten". The plan is to collect as many as possible to raise cash to get all the litters of  kittens  that are abandoned each year at their door ,   socialised and vaccinated ready for adoption .
So here's Hoskins  (   spending extra time to think of a  name wastes even more time. A definite plus-point )   . Heather followed and now I seem inadvertently to have cast on the as yet unamed third ...
I'm now at risk of being locked up with a couple of other volunteers .
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Monday, 28 October 2013

One Minute We Had A Bus Stop , The Next ...

Having decided not to cycle to the hospital this morning , given the Red Alert , we were to take the 12 o'clock bus . But , as I stood on the balcony watching the storm just after eleven , a big tree dropped across the road and landed right  on top of the bus stop . When I phoned to cancel  , the receptionist didn't sound too surprised .
Meanwhile at the other end of the road , a smaller tree keeled over on the river bank and the lovely weeping willow lashed back and forth , branches ripping off and dropped into the water .Amazingly,  a few students were still riding their bikes up to the college and back . I wouldn't have dared .

I hope the storm treated you ... and your trees ... kindly . Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Wooly Hats In The Rijksmuseum

Now that it's been re-opened , beautifully refurbished and reorganised , I decided to go down to Amsterdam and  have a day in the Rijks Museum .
And loved it all , of course . No , not the queues or the crowds ... it's apparently best to go early on Monday mornings , difficult unless you live round the corner ... but the excellence and variety of the collections is stunning .
And therein lies the problem . Even after a pause for lunch , by Floor 2 and the Seventeenth century  I was slightly overwhelmed . Bewigged gentlemen , tapestries and silver , Renaissance angels and Greek gods , pomegranates , hunting scenes and men-of-war had become  indistinguishable ....
Then I turned a corner and , under a large painting of  another stormtossed boat  , I found a small cabinet of wooly hats .

In 1980 , while excavating the graves of 185 Dutch whalers who had died while working in Spitsbergen in the seventeenth century , archaologists found that the bodies were still wearing their woolen caps . In the bitter cold of an Artic winter , the caps , all different ,  had been the only way to distinguish one sailor from another , muffled up as they all were to the eyes .
And , for me , nothing made the past more real than this little group of wooly hats , stocking-stitch stll clear and colours fresh . You could picture them all : lanky Piet with his stripey stovepipe , pompous Hendrijk in his brimmed hat and little Jan in his beige bunnet . And the wives and mothers who'd knitted each cap and waited for the boat's return .

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Wednesday, 2 October 2013

What Have We Here ?

At the moment , I seem to have lost control of this blog . The inclusion of photos is purely random and exclusively Blogger's , though the photos themselves are mine . So all I can do , it seems is throw a selection in the air and add a few words to whatever appears . 
Anyway , first you have the ingredients of my new love , the Do-It-Yourself Muesli from Mimi Spencer's Fast Diet recipe book . It could be more accurately named The Most Expensive Muesli In The World , I must add ... but it's delicious  , and , since you just add what you actually like , needn't contain anything unappetising . I've added chia seeds because I had them and left out pumpkin seeds because I didn't ... and am delighted with the result . I'm not too convinced , though , of its place in a diet book . Far too decadent ! As are her chicken meatballs or Romano peppers ...
And next , we seem to have a collage of two photos , one taken in Amsterdam's Jordaan district and the other in London's Westfield Center .  So readers ... which shoes are you likely to totter out of the shop wearing and which would you be eating ? 
( And now , with a devil-may-care flourish , I'm going to press Publish and see if any photos actually appear at all . If , in fact , you're now looking at photos of tomatoes and of Harry Selfridge reconstucted in Jelly Beans , I apologise . )