Participles are always better with biscuits

Hello All

Work done. Weekend ahead. Whooppeeeeee. What a lot of wubble-yous/ewes/yews……add your own!

First stop: deliver  Thursday’s ‘The Scotsman’ to my friend AW. DSCI0204

Its just a little token for the lifts from the station she gives me every Wednesday and Friday. Thank you AW.

Then it is Latin time! As I have already mentioned almost every fortnight for more years than we like to mention my friend AH and I get together to trample over the latin language. DSCI0205

This Saturday’s ‘homework’ was the dreaded ‘Practising the language’. It lies in wait at the end of every chapter and means GRAMMAR!!!! I know I’ve been here before but grammar? really? Yikes….  Over the last couple of weeks we’ve tortured ourselves with verbs in the future tense and relative pro-nouns. This week…..participles. DSCI0210Now if anyone can explain to me – in VERY simple language –  how you decide the ending of your latin participle and what it actually means in translation I would be most grateful.

Luckily there are always biscuits and good conversation to keep us going. DSCI0212

A recent discovery – yummy Polish iced ginger biscuits filled with apricot marmalade – helped us through the challenge of participles. Another piece of good news. A little birdie (my original latin tutor) tells me we are almost there and with Book V under our belts can go on to read lots of fun latin texts. I already have one waiting in the wings…DownloadedFilemeos pretiosus….

Until next we meet. Moke

P.S. We are all still cracking along with the Minimalism Game. Well done all. Mxx


I’m back!

Phew pay day came and work was such a rush that I couldn’t get out to purchase a new camera. Disgruntled face. But today is Saturday. Hint of a grin. I scuttled to AH’s for Latin and didn’t we do well. Total agreement over the answers means we must have been 100% right….mustn’t we?! Broad grin face.

Beaming smile as I drop off JG’s specsaver mat (sorry no photo, you know why). Scuttle down Stoney Lane, remember it? Stoney Lane

Whizz into library to drop off recent read and say a quick hello to my friends before – now fit to burst – rushing over the road to the shopping centre to pick up my new camera!!!!!!! Yessssssssssssssss I’M BACK!

A few purchases on the market and straight to Waterside Cafe to unpack my new digital optimal zoom whatsa-macall it. Excited (if a little alarmed) ‘Quick Start Guide’ scanned, batteries in and hey presto the first picture Buckwheat Burgers

buckwheat burgers! part eaten….

After this less than auspicious start I decided on a mini-project. Here then is my walk home: along the River Kent passing a herd (apparently) of swans, Swans on River Kent


Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Abbot Hall

the Parish Church,Parish Church, Kendal

and taking a look at a reminder of an erstwhile Kendalian resident. Gravestone, Kendal

A little bit of river left on my walk and I saw my friend the lone swan,

posing beautifully don’t you think? (“Which is my best side?”). I also tried to capture (digitally of course) two ducklings. They proved too quick…

At the end of the river a sign to remind us that Kendal is worth mooching around. Explore Kendal sign at Kirkland

Not far now. Past Kendal College, Kendal College

up the lane, pausing to admire the bluebells,

almost home,

Home sweet home. Loving this plant in the front garden but what is it? Home

The troughs are looking jolly this year, Home - troughs

and I have my own (small) stash of bluebells on the doorstep to welcome me. Pot of bluebells

For those of you who are not photographically challenged (like me) and want to know what camera I am now using ‘ere ’tis:

Now I’ve had a little practice I will return to the Orange Box of secrets so look out for another post in a day or so.

Glad to be back amongst you. Have good one.

Moke xx


Happy memories…and the Monet

Time to reveal the Monet in the garage…. DSCN1235

Monet? you query. Yes Monet,

See! Well yes it’s not that Monet (Claude) but it is his great nephew (Jason). And the happy memory? Visiting his Bayswater studio in the late ’60s with my lovely father (Vati to me Opi to my children) to have this portrait painted. Bless him he stayed for hours trying to keep me amused while my ten year old self sat as still as any self-respecting schoolgirl could for the portrait. Here it is in all it’s glory

By the way the multi-coloured hexagonal patterned dress drove the artist mad.

Now to a form of art I am more familiar with, the fleecy kind. When the lovely Linda left us her woolly stash remained and thanks to her friend Ls and the generosity of her family all Linda’s friends have received little bags of Linda’s loveliness.  Mine came in typically Linda-esque colourful fashion DSCN1242

and was filled with a thoughtful (thank you Ls) collection of Linda’s yarns, patterns and, touchingly, equipment she used DSCN1243

I asked Ls how she knew what to put in each parcel and she said that she had laid everything out and let Linda ‘tell’ her. I can believe it as everything was so perfectly related to the recipient. Needless to say these are all treasures and I will cherish them. And how great it was to see a few more balls of the hand spun yarn that I’d used to crochet a brooch for Linda’s funeral, such beautiful colours DSCN1248

Although it is sad to think of Linda’s loss the happy memories evoked by these beautiful things take me back to all the woolly and other moments shared with my marvelous friend.

Something else has cheered me this week. A laugh out loud book.DownloadedFile

I know its a cliche but really I couldn’t put it down. It is sooooooooo funny and cleverly written. On top of that it captured the role of the probationer PC (in another life I was one too! altho’ magic was not part of the training in my day), the streets around Bloomsbury and the history of the city. It even throws in a bit of Latin! Of course I read it in no time and Saturday saw me making an emergency dash to the library to find (relief unbounded) two more books in the series. Sorry must go…bed and a good book calls….

To market, to market…

… of course as a vegetarian I didn’t buy a fat pig…although if you were so inclined Kendal’s market area and the New Shambles – traditionally home to butcher shops and tanners – is the perfect place to do so…

Instead I had the joy of Wednesday market day and coming home with fruit and veg to fill my veggie bowlDSCN1167 …quickly snapped ‘cos the weather has turned a bit chilly so crock pot’s on the hob and a quick leek and potato soup is soon underway…sacrilege probably but I start with an onion, add the chopped leeks….mixed herbs….carrots…scrubbed and chopped potatoes….vegetable stock…and simmer until mushy enough. Accompanied by a generous wedge of delicious artisan bread from Staff of Life bakery which I picked up at Booths (our wonderful Northern sooooper-market) surely this is a perfect winter supper?

Its a week-off for me and I’ve a garage to de-clutter. Thanks to Freecycle it proved a better job than I thought. This meant that I had time to meet up with everyone and I kicked off the week with a lovely soup and sandwich lunch at Yard 46 with JG, AJ and KC. Great folk and a definite boost to the energy levels needed to tackle that garage (otherwise known as the ‘general dumping ground’).

Thursday and a rare chance to see my old Kendal Museum friend JH and find out how her daughter LH is doing with her new gents’ mobile hair dressing business. LH is an excellent barber/hairdresser and has got off to a cracking start with her new venture it’s very exciting.

Meeting up with my cousin, his wife and their granddaughter on Friday at Waterside there was also the surprise treat of seeing their younger son and for the first time his lovely girlfriend J’a. What a super family gathering.

Saturday saw me and AH finishing the first exercise in Book V of our Latin course and now we are looking forward to (fanfare please) deponent verbs! Yea-urghhh…. Its at moments like these that I realize I don’t understand English and wonder what chance Latin? Curses upon my liberal 70’s education when grammar was out of vogue in state schools.

Thank goodness for crafts – and this week crochet rag rugging … I have made a seat cushion before with selvedge ‘yarn’ supplied by Ingrid Wagner,

but have long wanted to use up old duvet covers etc by creating my own strips. I started small, cutting up some of the children’s old pillowcases

….then chose a large hook. A 9mm did the trick, DSCN1213

and created a small but serviceable seat mat..or half a cushion…or the start of a rug….or a place mat….your turn…. DSCN1218

Doggy bootees have never been my thing BUT one of my little old spaniels has trouble managing all the wooden floors and is very wobbly on his front paws. People have suggested wheels but I’ve had a look at those and they seem to be best suited to dogs with back leg problems also they wouldn’t be very safe when I’m not here. However in my research into wheels for dogs (there are some great sites for these!) I did see something which might help..grip soled boots! An idea was born. I set about making something more homespun. I found a pattern for doggy bootees at Posh Pooch Designs…. quickly made them up DSCN1220

and dug out the natural latex that I bought at Woolfest for making non-slip slippers (sounds like a contradiction in terms doesn’t it?!). DSCN1221

I liberally coated the bases of the bootees and set them to dry. DSCN1222

Now let’s see if they work….when Thomas wakes up that is…DSCN1224

A bird in the hand

It was a traumatic start to the weekend because I am a lucky mum to still have No1 daughter, her boyfriend and grand dog. They were driving in the near-side lane of the M6 on Thursday evening when they were side swiped by a lorry, pushed along the carriage-way by the same HGV, spun around 360 degrees across the motorway and ricocheted onto the barrier of the hard shoulder. They are battered and bruised, suffering whiplash and shock but otherwise unharmed. I shiver to think how different it could have been and was most relieved to see No1 daughter yesterday afternoon and give her a hug.

Thankfully I have good friends to rant to, weep on (sorry JG, B and RS) and keep me diverted from thinking about what might have happened.

Its 2014 and time to begin a new Latin book with AHDSCN1152

it’s the last book in the series and from the length of the first translation alone we can tell it will be somewhat taxing.DSCN1148

On a Roman theme I have been asked to share a workshop I attended sometime ago with AH when we spent a couple of days with book binder extraordinaire Michael Burke (of Dominic Riley and Michael Burke fame) making a facsimile of a Vindolanda wax tablet. DSCN1124

It was quite a struggle. There was chiseling ( I have never before or since chiseled!) which meant  CAREFULLY working the beautiful tulip wood to hollow out a very thin recess or pocket in each sheet without piercing the other side of the ‘page’, especially the double-sided leavesDSCN1120

and being EXTREMELY CAREFUL to keep intact the fragile little wooden bars at the centre of each page that act – once the sheets are filled with soot-dyed beeswax (don’t ask me about working with soot and molten wax…) – as a means of separating the leaves (aaarghhhhh, they all have to LINE UP!!!!!). DSCN1121

Once you have wrestled with the problem of getting sooty hot beeswax – I’ve told you, don’t ask me about working with soot and molten wax – on two sides of the three centre pages you finally get to put the waxed cord through the teeny tiny holes that you drilled (yes…DRILLED!) after CAREFUL MEASUREMENT to hold your Roman book together. Phew. DSCN1119

You’ll have gathered it was not the most relaxing craft project that I have undertaken. Infact I seem to remember rushing home to pick up my crochet hook and work a curly-wurly wreath just to calm down. BUT I hope you agree that the finished item is a thing of beauty and for experimental archaeologists a real eye opener. ALSO spending a couple of days in Michael and Dominic’s wonderful home and bindery with such expert bookbinders was a privilege. And do you know I still have the ‘book’ but have no idea what happened to the wreath.

Talking of book binders my two very good friends B and JG – who were taught by Michael and Dominic – are accomplished binders in their own right and today I joined them as they discussed their current project, creating beautiful bindings for ‘Letting Go’ by Angela Topping published by Mother’s Milk Books.

Of course we talked about  interesting books to read. B and RS have the wonderful Fireside Bookshop in Windermere so we were spoilt for choice, I also notice that a library book has crept in too… DSCN1163

and the afternoon would not have been complete without putting the world to rights over a tasty lunch and a slice of B’s latest gluten free baking. Today it was delicious pineapple and banana spiced Hummingbird Cake, DSCN1161

What about the bird in the hand I hear you ask? In the midst of this week’s highs and lows I have been busy creating a needle felted Guinea Fowl for a friend of Bs. Infact it became a bit of a welcome obsession. I doodled him in my craft book (remember the one B made and swapped for a pair of my fingerless mittens)…

I drew him on shopping lists…DSCN1128

I even sketched him in my diary…DSCN1131

He began life as a shaggy pile of wool tops …DSCN1134 then began to take shape…

something like a pheasant/hen/turkey…vulture?!(unkind)…cross…started to look like a down at heel Jemima Puddleduck …DSCN1138 but then found his feet ….

lost them again…DSCN1143

and erm…blossomed into a Ghanaian Crested Guinea Fowl a la Moke….DSCN1159

a bird in the hand.

Sociable Saturdays

Hi All – I am still here! Life is hectic so thank goodness for the railway and time for hooky.

Lovely to use yarns from the stashes of others. Wonderful to incorporate the pale brown Patons 3-ply wool that had belonged to JGs mum. It is really delicate and inspired me to use an adapted Victorian circle motif to make a light-weight scarf. Chunkier yet beautiful in its own rustic way, it’s……

Comfort Blanket Part 2! Comfort blanket 1 was getting too weighty to take on the train then I had a brainwave (I know, me? have a brain? and a wave to wash through it?!)…the blanket could be made in panels! Now my daughter has a chance of seeing it before the end of the decade.

Its amazing how much you can get done while sitting on a train. Crochet and audio books play a large part in my commute. Cumbria Library Service have a free audio book download service. Its great. I have in-train entertainment and a good story on the walk home all through my library membership and a few clicks to download a Clipper book onto my iPod. Ann GrangerI listened to Ann Granger’s atmospheric Victorian murder mystery, jumping at every shadow on my misty, dark early morning commutes. I never learn. Now I am listening to Susanna Gregory’s marvelous medieval murder mystery the Tarnished Chalice…Susanna Gregory

I love her characters and some of the dialogue is very funny.

So far so self-contained. What about these sociable Saturdays? Since I’ve been working away in the week the only chance I get to see my friends is Saturday (sorry Sunday but you are chore and a snooze day) and what a lovely few weekends I’ve had.

Last Saturday began with meeting up with JG. She came over to help me clear rubbish out of the house and take it to the tip. I know that doesn’t sound promising but it was funny and what would have been an awful chore turned out to be easier and quicker because I had a fantastic friend to help me with it.

I spent the afternoon at KC’s with FT and AW having a good old chin-wag and eating a delicious salad-y lunch finished off with one of AW’s creations a berry cheesecake:

let’s catch that again… 20131123_151826droooooool.

Delicious though the food was we were really there to meet the latest addition to KCs family,

Hello Kiciek! What a friendly and courteous cat you are, gorgeous. Kiciek a rescue cat has obviously settled into her new home. She sweetly said hello to all her guests and spent time with everyone. The perfect hostess.

Yesterday kicked off with a Latin catch-up with AH. Unbelievably we reached the end of Book 4. Whoowhooo… and its only taken us 4 years!

But you know what this means? BOOK 5!!! Next time we meet for Latin AH and I will embark on the last (yes the last) book in the series. Then what will we do? well, with an average speed of a book a year I don’t suppose I really need worry about that just yet, maybe this time next year.

Yesterday was rounded off with a relaxed evening of chat and shared best books (Ken Follett and Henning Mankell at the mo’), best TV (loving ‘Borgen’ and recommended ‘Legacy’, must watch  Alan ‘Imagine’ Yentob our guilty fancy…), radio, film (live stream of Richard II with David Tennant sounded excellent), you name it with JG and AJ. With all that cultural input all I could do was  curl up in bed with a good book, H Mankell

look forward to the next one, DSCN0935

and drift off to dream about projects to come…

Have a good weekend.

Bread, Vikings and Latin

What a 24 hours that was! If variety is the spice of life I’ve just eaten a Vindaloo. Here goes…

I got off the train yesterday looking forward to a creamy tomato soup for tea. Not homemade I’m afraid, but that brand – mentioning no names – that sometimes you crave when a bit of cosseting is required. All that was missing was a tasty crusty loaf.  I was ready to settle for some toasted slightly stale left over crusts. But AW must be a mind reader as there she was at Oxenholme with…fanfare please…sourdough baquettes just purchased from the artisan baker (Lovingly Artisan) based in the little yard next to the station. The smell was delicious and having purloined a couple of these wonderful creations I whizzed through my front door and straightway gave in to the temptation to tear off a hunk and eat it there and then, mmmmmmmmm….I wish you could smell this photo, DSCN0793

So far so relaxing but Saturday morning saw a change of pace. Here come the Vikings DSCN0831

As a Young Archaeologists’ Club leader I have enjoyed some wonderful sessions exploring history and archaeology with groups of brilliant young people but this morning’s meeting was one of the best! It was made particularly special because it was lead by one of our long time members  FW (she’s been a Young Archaeologist since she was 9!) who is a Viking re-enactor. FW had brought along a fellow re-enactor whose character name is Bjarni Thorvaldrson and they shared with us their passion and tremendous knowledge of the Viking era. We handled artifacts (look away if of a squeamish disposition),

wrote in Runes,

and played Nine Men’s Morris, sometimes know as Merrel, a very addictive Viking board game,


But the best was yet to come Viking weapons and how to use them. After terrifying museum visitors with group training in the use of shields and battle formation – I should have known they were not all lined up just to look pretty! –

FW and Bjarni went on to demonstrate with the stuff that could really hurt you (don’t try this at home these people are experts!)

Phew what a finish to an exciting morning.

Time for something more sedate and what could be better than sitting down to master (snigger) the present passive infinitive? whatever that is…. DSCN0848

AH and I are nearing the end of Book 4…oops I mean IV… and have only one more book to go before we finish the course. EeeeeeK. We are hoping that the gods are watching and on the last page of the last book there will be divine intervention transforming us into perfect Latin speakers. Methinks we live in hope!

Now before you go thinking I have forgotten my woolly stuff never fear something I saw amongst the Viking goods reminded me of where my obsession with wool-crafts began. Here’s a clue:DSCN0803

Watch this space tomorrow….