Wednesday, 30 March 2011

I'm from ...

I am from the home my dad built for us, brick by brick; from eiderdowns and coal fires, Quality Street and Typhoo tea.
I am from the smart bungalow my mum loved, the butterfly bush, the boiler in the kitchen, and the big picture window full of Norfolk sunsets.
I am from long summer twilights climbing trees on the common, lips and fingers stained with wild strawberry juice, and rosebay willow herb growing at the edges of the sugarbeet fields.
Grass snakes in my brother's hands, no front teeth, Chinese skipping at playtime, wellingtons and belted gabardine school macs.
I am from people with too-fresh memories of both world wars; from Grandad in Egypt and Gallipoli who never saw his baby daughter, from Nanna who buried tiny Margaret alone. From Patrick and Violet whose hometowns were bombed and whose childhoods were too short.
I am from unconditional love and being brave.
From family scandals and secrets, and a child given away.
I am from bell, book and candle; from ghost stories, hymns every day, tombstones and superstition; and never being told what to believe.
I'm from age-old Norwich, its castle, cobbles and cathedral ... and from the smooth steel towers and uncracked concrete of shiny-new Perth.
I'm from the immigrant's nostalgia and the settler's satisfaction; the here and there.

I've been missing the will to blog lately, but having read some of these formula-constructed little essays a few years ago, and a lovely one by Fairlie today, I thought I'd have a go. Very hard not to get too mawkish, but fun.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011


:: In between watching ever more disturbing news bulletins from Japan over the past few days, I've been painting — pictures and Easter eggs — sewing, and knitting. And doing an awful lot of cleaning — all areas of the house are now tidy, safe, clean and fully functioning, you'll be relieved to hear.
:: I see my wonderful grandchildren every Friday — last Friday was Crazy Hair Day at Mack's school!
:: News this morning about north-east Japan's Fukushima nuclear power station is pretty scary. This article in the NY Times is a great help in explaining what's going on. The Japanese plants were designed to withstand emergencies greater than scientists expected, but that was still a lot smaller than last Friday's earthquake and tsunamis.
Fingers crossed for everyone there today.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

The mess, it grows

Would you believe I spent almost all of yesterday organising one bookcase? (Please note hi-tech cardboard wedges in sideboard doors to stop baby grand-daughter adding contents to bedlam.)
The house is in such chaos at the moment, partially because we inherited a bit of clutter and mess when Lily and Nick moved out after staying here with us for a month before the move to Melbourne.
And partially because I am pretty slack at the best of times, and we've been having a heatwave, which saps me of whatever minuscule ambition I might have to do housework. Even with the air-con on.
But enough is enough and it's time I clawed my way back.
Lily and Nick left three bookcases in our garage, so I've nabbed this one for this spot. My idea is that this bookcase, once stocked in an orderly way, will relieve some of the pressure in here ...
... so I can once more enjoy a calm, clear room in which to work.
For the first time in this house I have all the reference books together, plus all of my and Will's fabulous art books, which is brilliant.
But now I'm being distracted by the fourth shelf up, which has cookbooks on it, and a spot where we can charge our phones and iPods. The cookbooks are all about to go back into the cupboard in the kitchen so I can give the novels above more room. they will continue into the work room.
Better hustle — (paid) work in a few hours ...

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Going round

Circular knitting — well, this gorgeous purple one is.
It's a mobius version of this lacy cowl, knit in a glorious sock-weight Lana Woll (yes, woll not wool), which was a present the other day from my best friend Shelley.
It's lovely to knit with, and I thought its changing textures and colours would suit this easy-peasy lace.
This next project, a beret for the Divine Miss Iman, is not actually being knit in the round, but I have temporarily transferred it to a circular needle because after the initial ribbing, there were so many increases that it hardly fit on the straight ones.This is also yummy yarn, an Eki Riva 8ply baby alpaca, made in Peru, that is so beautiful to work with that I can't help picking it up and doing a row or two during the day.
Mind you, it's my first ever attempt at cables and bobbles, so a row takes me quite a while.
Both projects met with disaster yesterday, which was probably because I was working on them while I was keeping an eye on the Oscars. Last night I had to frog four rows of the green, and three rows of the purple. Aaaaagh.
That'll teach me to loll about in front of daytime telly.