Wednesday, 5 August 2009

A little moan, some gratitude and the usual bits of this and that.

Did you know that Christmas was something like twenty weeks away? Did you want to know that? Does it feel you with dread, alarm, despondency? Dismay perhaps, at the way time slips past so quickly? Does it have you itching to make your cards, plan your celebrations, make endless gift lists and lists of 'things to do and the order in which to do them'? NO!! Maybe like me, the sight of a GMTV presenter standing amid fake snow, with a Father Christmas beside him, outside a certain Knightsbridge store for whom the run-up (or run-down, depending on your point of view) to Christmas has already begun, just has you gnashing your teeth, shouting GRR!! and switching off, mentally as well as physically. It's not that I am a Scrooge, just because we don't have family Christmases, just because we don't do the exchanging of gifts thing, doesn't mean to say I am immune to the magicality of it... I love fairy lights and have them up on a dresser all year round, and have strings of twinkly white lights hanging off holly trees, and on the summerhouse, and on bushes AT CHRISTMAS. I have one or two small Christmas trees, one of which is definitely non-traditional, but AT CHRISTMAS. I make cards, pies, sometimes a pudding, but AT CHRISTMAS. You get the message now don't you? I don't even want to think about it on a day when I step outside and the heat is so oppressive it's almost like someone throws a heated electric blanket on you the minute you go out. With luck, the forecasters will have got it right and there will be thunderstorms and rain this afternoon to break it up.

So that's the moan, now for the bit of gratitude. We hear a lot in the news of youngsters attacking one another, of teenagers attacking adults with knives and so on, gangs roaming around, vandalism, and stories of teenage binge drinkers - and according to a recent report the reason they drink is because they are bored... ah, diddums. Even with all the technological gizmos and more freedom to roam and get up to mischief than is good for them in some cases, they are bored. When you hear of the mayhem young children wreak, of the misery and damage they cause, and see groups of children walking around your own village, and then when you read in your village magazine, as I did, of the anti-social behaviour reports in your own village, you worry that it's all getting too close. Especially when you have been a bit smug and boasted of the low crime rate in this area generally. You read the report, dreading what you will find.... apparently some young children had been knocking on people's doors on one street, and running away. (Isn't this something children have been doing since time immemorial, and didn't they have a name for it back in the 40s and 50s?) Our modern day miscreants were made to face up to their anti-social behaviour, and were taken with their parents, to the people whose lives they had made a misery, and made to apologise. Will this stop them repeating? Time will tell. And the other report was of teenagers swearing loudly on one particular street. They too, were made to apologise for causing this breach of the peace. So whilst I am not condoning anti-social behaviour at all, I did feel thankful that this was all we had to put up with, and hope it remains so.

Onto lighter matters now, and crafts... this is a tweedy brownish cushion cover just completed, with ribbed back and basket stitch front, and fastening with old brown leather buttons, dating from the 70s, which I have had in my button jar since removing them from... something!!

And these are some crocheted squares I am making, a patchwork confection using these colours, different squares, a real sampler type afghan, a project for a friends' birthday or Christmas present, depending when I finish it... and it might not even be this year since I keep getting sidetracked. At the moment I am crocheting a holey bag, a round bag, and knitting a bag as well. Do I like making bags? No, whatever gave you that idea!!!

Books as ever, are making an appearance. I don't know if there are any fans of Alexander McCall Smith amongst you, but I like his writing. I don't like the 'Ladies' series, crime fiction isn't my thing and I have no patience with trying to pronounce the names in my head as I read. But I love his Sunday Philosophy Club series, and 44 Scotland Street. This 'CORDUROY MANSIONS' is another similar novel to those set in the block in Scotland Street, only this is in London and the original appeared as 100 episodes I think it was on the Telegraph website. It is just the same as Scotland Street, with a diverse set of characters living in this mansion block of flats, and about their lives. Anyway, this was a real snip of a bargain at a fiver from one of my regular mail order book catalogues, so I couldn't resist? 'A CHATEAU OF ONE'S OWN' by Sam Juneau is another of those books about people who leave their native country to go and find a better life/follow a dream in some foreign climes. This is about Sam, who is American, his wife Bud who is Irish, and how they leave their cramped and smelly apartment in New York when they buy an old, huge chateau which needs an awful lot of work. Well written and easy to read, which is just what I want on a Sunday afternoon.

I love anything to do with the seaside, grew up across the road from a beach in Lancashire for the first fifteen years of my life (barring the first couple of years or so) and now live just a few miles from it, from the famous beaches at Holkham where the Household Cavalry are visiting this week and taking their beautiful horses for a canter in the sea, and where Stephen Fry can be seen looking out to sea at the start of 'KINGDOM'. It is a fabulously beautiful and wild place, a definite place to visit for any of you planning a trip to Norfolk. So these three little books caught my eye, and although only small, are packed with history and photographs. Another bargain they were too!

At the moment Norfolk is suffering with plagues of wasps, having previously been invaded by swarms of ladybirds last week. We haven't seen either in large numbers, there are no more than usual, but we have been affected by the invasion of the Painted Lady butterflies. In fact, I don't recall ever seeing as many butterflies in the garden as we have this year. Not just the Painted Lady, who sit sunbathing on the gravel and the moment you set foot on it rise, en masse... well, that might be over-exaggerating somewhat, but certainly there are usually at least a dozen in one area. We also have several other varieties in abundance, the peacock, the comma, common blue, red admiral, cabbage white, common white and last week the fabulous brimstone butterfly, which is such an acidic yellow, with a red dot on his wings. Truly a flash of brightness as it darted around the garden, where there is an abundance of plants for them to feed on.. for a start, at least six different buddleias. Sadly, they never sit still long enough for me to photograph them... unlike this fluffy bumble bee, who was either too lazy, too hungry, or too greedy, to be disturbed by a mere mortal with a camera, from his feasting on the yellow buddleia.


And before I go, another boast about pickings from the garden. All our Sunday lunch came from the garden, apart from the roast chicken. But here are the last of my carrots - I sowed a couple more rows yesterday along with garlic, lettuce and giant Italian parsley - the first of our stringless flat green beans, and some of the potatoes from a large pot. As I have said before, they wouldn't win prizes, but they are mine own, grown from seed, nurtured, watered, kept free from weeds, covered with net to protect them from nasty flying creatures and grown at table top height for ease in the case of the carrots, and I am proud of them. They were so fresh and full of flavour, as all of you growers will know.


And I had to have a bouquet from the garden for the dinner table... chocolate cosmos, white cosmos, a crocosmia which is smaller than the LUCIFER and produces pretty orangey flowers, the red BISHOP dahlia, some effervescent foliage from a euonymus, the apricot-yellow buddleia, and a small sunflower. I love sunflowers, this is one of three which have grown all by themselves, no seed planting here, since they have obviously fallen out of the bird feeder and germinated. I am not complaining, but it has made me determined to try growing them again properly, myself, next year.





And so on this flowery note, I shall leave you for this week, with my usual thanks for dropping by, for your comments on this and my last posting, and for the new people who have joined the gang of followers. Thank you, all are welcome. Take care and enjoy your week, your weekend too.


18 comments:

Fyldecoaster said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fyldecoaster said...

the game of knocking on doors and then running away was known as "knock down ginger" in some parts. There was a case of vandalism in the cemetery in Aberfan a few years ago. The police were not involved....the matter was dealt with by the community in their own way....

Arosebyanyothername said...

We have had some trouble in the last few months with young people breaking into our theatre and stealing drink. The only damage has been to the doors which we had to replace at expense. Drinking seems to be the main activity of the young here and they carouse up the main street in the early house keeping us old folk awake.

Please don't mention Christmas again. It will come soon enough without encouraging it.

I am looking forward to starting my crochet flowers and knitted cakes. Not sure when as I am busy decorating the bathroom at present. I am thinking of doing some large butterfly stencils on the newly painted white walls. What do you think?

Calico Kate said...

Love the crocheting PFG that's coming on a treat - I really must get around to teaching myself how to do it!

Vegies are most impressive - the size of that potatoe well done you. I can't 'do' carrots and have given up but the beans here are doing well now, and with suh a lot of flowers I am hoping for a bumper crop.

Have just discovered AMS books didn't take to him at first coz I wasn't interested in the Ladies series like you. But have found the Phillosphy ones good and will look out for this one. Thanks for the recommendation.

Lovely post PFG, am inspired to go and make something!
CKx

PS I am just going to ignore the C-word for sometime yet!

lampworkbeader said...

I'm sorry PFG, I read your first line about Christmas and couldn't bring myself to read any further....

Celtic Heart said...

Afraid that as I am making all my Christmas presents this year I can't afford to wait off too much longer, especially when some have to go out surface mail!

Even we in our little village on the edge of nowhere suffer at the hands of vandals. Mostly locals who wait until the 'silly season' is upon us so that the blame falls to the visitors!

Mark said...

I have a book by McCall Smith that someone left at my house - it's called Portuguese Irregular Verbs. Perhaps I will read it. I like books about the sea - just bought a super photo / coffee table book of pictures by Philip Plisson. And I'm currently reading some short stories called 'Old People are a Problem' Ha!

Lots of Painted Ladies this year - did you know they migrate here from Morocco. For two days in spring they were passing through St David's Head at 3000 an hour - yes, three thousand - it is evidently the biggest migration since records began

seashell cosmos said...

I love those little fairy lights too. As for Christmas, I should probably start stashing things perhaps for stockings since I have a few to fill. And how I miss having a real vegetable garden. Yes, my mouth almost starts watering thinking back to fresh vine ripened tomatoes, peas and delicious sweet corn. Have seen less butterflies for some reason but just the other day there were two dragonflies!! Would love to get a photo of those. Beautiful flowers again!! Have a wonderful weekend. :)

pinkfairygran said...

CK... the colander that the potatoes sit in is a mini one, so the potato isn't huge at all!

Ivy said...

Funny I had to come via CH's blog to this page my link list on PC seems not to function very well... Nice blog. I was just wondering this morning (Monday) how many crimes were commited over the weekend including alcohol and young people. The local page of our newspaper seemd to contain hardly anything else... on a lighter note have you ever heared of the red hat society? read about them just a minute ago and thought of you.
http://www.redhatsociety.com

pinkfairygran said...

Thanks Ivy, and yes, I know of the Red Hat Society as it has been going in America for many years and I wrote an article about it back in the late 90s. There is a branch not too far from me, but I am afraid groups of women are not my favourite choice of company!

Pondside said...

What a great post, PFG - lots to read and look at - I loved it.
I feel about Christmas much as you do. I like the preparation, the excitement, the lights and parties to be AT CHRISTMAS too!
Have you posted something about that cushion on the knitting forum? I'll have to go over for a peek. It looks like a very cosy cushion, just the thing for a cuddle and good book on a rainy day.

karim said...

An insightfull post. Will definitely help.

Thanks,
Karim - Mind Power

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