A penny for them

Hello All

I often wonder at stream of consciousness. When I was studying for my A Levels … or was it O Levels?…. well some sort of exam that stole the best of the summer with revision .. I remember reading A Portrait of The Artist As a Young Man by James Joyce. Joyce we were told wrote using stream of consciousness technique ( yawn, give me back the sunshine). Nowadays I realise Stephen Daedalus is not alone with his wayward thinking.

Random thoughts seem to pop into my head especially when I AM TRYING REALLY HARD TO CONCENTRATE. A bit like Homer Simpson I am listening or reading as best I can then whoops! I have a ‘Squirrel in a Tree’ moment. Distracted once more by cerebral flotsam. And what was it today? What colour are your rhododendrons?

Excuse my impertinence. Mine are pink.

I understood that soil type dictated the colour of rhododendrons but when I am out and about locally I have noticed that they appear in a variety of colours even within a small area. That was today’s little unnecessary conundrum. Why am I so distracted?

What I AM TRYING REALLY HARD TO CONCENTRATE on is doing more crafting and deciding what small items I can make by needle felting, crochet, or tablet weaving – suggestions on a postcard please – to sell through a small local cooperative. But I think I have crafters’ block. I seem to have come to a making halt and even simple projects elude me.

Hopefully rescue may be at hand. Two friends are coming over tomorrow for a kitchen table crafts session. I am sure they will inspire me and help me finish at least one little project.

I mean those ends?! Not sewn in….

Until next we meet, Moke xxx

…..how does your garden grow?

Hello All

Just a quick epistle this week. I have spent ALL weekend* painting No1 Son’s room. As it is his domain I will not invade his privacy by showing snaps of it just take it from me it has undergone something of a transformation from boy-man cave to neutral calm.

While me old limbs are stiffening from the rigorous application of magnolia – the colour of choice for those of us colouristically challenged – something marvelous has been happening in the garden. Last week I was wondering where are my chivesDSCI0282

Drum roll…building to fanfare…HERE THEY ARE: DSCI0292

Last week I also wondered where are my pumpkinsDSCI0277

Contain yourselves…..here they are: DSCI0288

and there’s more…. DSCI0289

As for the promise of greater things,DSCI0280

that came through too: DSCI0291

I am very content with these wee buds. And with weather glorious hope they go from strength to strength. How does your garden..tub…park…grow?

Until next we meet. Moke


* You know I said ALL weekend? There was one teeny-weeny break…thanks to JG for meeting up with me for coffee and cake. All those calories gave me strength to carry on. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. Moke



The Inconstant Gardener

Hello All

This time last year I was a library lady and with Children’s Librarian FT gearing up ready for the Summer Reading Challenge, Creepy House. Do you remember all the batty bats?


Although now in a different job I am still very excited that libraries all over the country will be preparing themselves for the 2014 Summer Reading Challenge, Mythical Maze.



It starts next Saturday….good luck all.

Remembering my time with the Young People’s Library Service there is one aspect that I really miss, story times. Reading to children is a special thing. Always rewarding especially when your young audience becomes completely absorbed in the tales you are sharing with them. There are many wonderful books written and illustrated by a wealth of fabulous children’s authors so there is no shortage of brilliant material.

One story is particularly relevant to my present endeavours in the garden. I am not the most consistent nor patient gardener and always chuckled when I read the account of Jasper the cat and his horticultural mis-adventures.


In Jasper’s Beanstalk by Nick Butterworth and Mick Inkpen our friend Jasper soon loses patience when the bean he sows does not immediately respond to his intensive nurturing. I know how he feels….where are my pumpkins?


Where are my chives?


I planted them DAYS ago and we’ve had sunshine and rain since then….. Guess I will have to show a bit more forbearance. You never know like Jasper something incredible may grow. I have some hope…


In any event thank goodness for re-potting plants that gardeners with more tolerance have started off.



In the midst of all these earthworks (ermmm) you’ll be pleased to know that I have finished the Minimalism Game. Yippee!!! To the untrained eye it would be hard to tell. However one of the things I dispensed with has made a difference. The telly is no more (wow) and after a furniture move around I find I have a big patch of bare floorboards. Not for long. My t-arn rug is finished and covers the spot perfectly.


The shades may be at odds with the room’s colour scheme – like that has ever troubled me! – but I think my little rug has nonetheless lent the space some homespun cosiness. I’m hoping the slightly wobbly edges will settle down after being trampled over… Thanks again B for all that t-shirt cutting.

The weather here is glorious and I hope it is the same wherever you are.

Until next we meet. Moke.

Nature’s fridge…

Saturdays have become sociable ‘let’s get busy with the loppers’ day. After their hard work on the front garden the Commando Gardeners DSCN1261

returned and tackled the back garden. While JG – who’d come over with her car – and I did a couple of trip tips (how does sooooo much stuff find its graveyard in the garage?!) KC and MR scraped, dug, lopped (tired just listing this…), hoed, raked and dug over the back garden. A further transformation and another BIG THANK YOU to the Commando Gardeners and to JG who helped me take several more steps to a de-cluttered garage. And all for a bowl of butterbean soup…and good friendship.

I’ve loved the last couple of weeks sharing a hearty soup, crusty bread, cheese and of course copious amounts of tea with friends after all that hard work.

Time for relaxing with a crochet project… or two. Even tho’ it has certainly not been the coldest winter on record it has been cold enough to use nature’s fridge i.e. pop milk outside office window* to keep cool in between cuppas. My colleague and I had tried carrier bags but in wet and windy Britain they just got waterlogged  and let’s face it they were not very pretty! Crochet (what else?!) provided the answer. Cast your mind back to the bottle carrier pattern

and then think of the colourful twine JG gave me,

adapt the pattern and voila a milk bottle carrier perfect for Nature’s fridge:

get the kettle on!

Still on the go the Long Way Home shawl. I was beginning to see why it was so named. Not a Weekend Shawl this new wrap has taken me a couple of weeks. From its small beginnings,


it started to grow, DSCN1250

and now Linda’s glorious, snuggly, soft Alpaca blend wool

has blossomed into a wonderful, stylish shawl

which I can’t wait to wear to Carlisle in the morning.

And while I’m still devouring the hilarious Peter Grant series of books of Ben Aaronovitch,

looking forward to one more (awaiting it’s arrival as a request at Kendal library), DownloadedFile-1

and with days becoming lighter the prospect of Monday morning doesn’t seem too daunting. Bring it on.

*n.b. our office window is above a rear roof and nobody can pass underneath – don’t try this where there is any possibility of someone or something walking underneath…that’s the end of the health and safety warning folks!

Commando Gardeners

Today I was visited by the Commando Gardeners alias my good friends KC and her husband MR who must be REALLY good friends ‘cos they came to help me get to grips with the garden…no mean feat. They got stuck in right away, DSCN1252

and soon the moss on the drive was a thing of the past, DSCN1254

and the shrubs were snipped into shape.

They really (literally) put their backs into it and maintained standards of colourful glamour while doing it to boot! DSCN1255

The results of all their hard work were stunning. A clean drive, DSCN1265

beautifully clipped shrubs and dug over beds,

and a cleared and cleaned side path. DSCN1268

Thank you Commando Gardeners,

you are my super heroes!

Just as we were admiring the spruced up garden (I keep going out to have a look at it) AW called in on her way back from providing Sedbergh with one of the cheeriest libraries in Cumbria. With her she brought a little daffodilly sunshine and tales from her recent trip to Rome (together with chocolate from the Eternal City…heavenly).

A happy little gathering. Me happiest of all…just nipping out to check on the garden….

Back in the room…

Converted to the use of a shawl – remember the weekend shawl? – and having been given some of Linda’s beautiful wool too good for small projects,

I’ve started on a new winter warmer.

From a pattern by Mercy Schwisow, the Long Way Home Shawl can be found on Ravelry. The wrap is easily worked in treble crochet (I think it’s a US pattern so I’ve converted DCs to TRs) with a spine of chain spaces. The alpaca wool is extremely soft and definitely snuggly but it is soooooo fine that it won’t be crocheted in a weekend….so I had better get back to it…..

Eden’s only just up the road

What a fabulous evening I had on Saturday in sunny Cumbria. I can’t get enough of saying ‘sunny Cumbria’. Our beautiful green county is normally the wettest place in Britain this is a rare treat. Infact so heavy and frequent is the rain  it’s rumoured that Cumbrians have webbed feet…just checking mine…

First I trotted off to see my cousin and his wife for a relaxing bask and catch-up overlooking their amazing garden. I just had to take some photos to share it with you.

In a generation of only children fr-elatives are very important so it was hard to tear myself away from A and P but my lovely evening like a Dickens’ novel had another installment. Thankfully something far more convivial than pickpockets and escaped criminals was to come…

A quick hop (webbed feet have their uses) over the River Kent – thanks for the lift A – and I was with a bunch/chapter/paragraph/stamp/collection??? of library friends. Sitting under a shady gazebo- did I mention it is HOT in Cumbria?

We discussed everything  from the difficulties of growing asparagus (I never knew) to Mi5! A perfect evening.