Sunday, 24 July 2011

Aspirational Holiday Reading and the Reading Revolution?

Last year I had a very great deal to discuss. This year it is all a very great Work in Progress!I noticed when I opened Ulysses in Cork that my first and last attempt had managed 150 pages out of its 933. I thought I could read it in the week before arriving in Dublin- I'm up to 100 now, a week after arriving in Dublin! We did that hop on hop off tour of Dublin this day last week, and were right beside the very witty guide who asked if anyone had read Ulysses. Of course I said that I was trying to! He was most encouraging and I could hear him announce incredulously to the bus as we eventually got off, "She's reading Ulysses!!"

It helps if you've been to very Martello Tower which opens the thing, and once even swam in the bay where Daedelus and company swam. That was in a former life though- this trip consisted of rock climbing, if you can spot the scrambling strawberries..

I don't mind the stream of consciousness, even though I do have to have to re-read at least a page every time I pick it back up. I like the falling into and out of thought, place, memory, must-do list, smells, dreams. I find it reassuring that the chaos of unordered thought can be enshrined in literature, as a talisman for all unordered thinkers! And it does include the most fabulous descriptions of the sea for anyone on an Irish beach holiday!

Now. Confession time. When asked what I had wanted for my birthday I had reasonably, I felt, requested the DVD of Fergal Keane's Story of Ireland. Instead I got- here it comes- a Kindle! Oh! Controversial! So all the rest of the books I am either reading or trying to read have been downloaded via Whispernet (oh but you have to LOVE that word) to what officially comes up on my non-reflective screen as Mags' Kindle.

I am loving Robinsoe Crusoe- chose this one a: because the original Crusoe- an adventurer called Sedgwick, set sail on that voyage from Kinsale, and b: out of copyright it can be downloaded free, gratis and for nothing as can many, many other titles, like Pride and Prejudice which was my first ever Whispernet arrival.

Is it possible to impregnate prose with one more charged syllable of dramatic irony? I think not. If you have ever struggled to teach this, as I have, look no further. Chapter 1 of RobCru. Or practically every other sentence in all the chapters I've read so far (these amounting to two and a half..)

When done with that set of voyages and strange islands, I'll be straight into another with Travels into Several remote Nations of the World in Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships. To give it its real and very full name. a: Because we were all around St Patrick's Cathedral and the house where it was written and b: because being out of cpoyright.... And to my shame, c: despite having lived and worked in the city of Saints and Scholars, close to Gosford Castle where Swift holidayed, I haven't ever actually read it.

And this is the next on the contemporary list- downwhispered to Mags' Kindle to demonstrate to Cooking Catherine how frighteningly easy it is to spend money when your Kindle already holds all your details in its little Amazon cash register! Also because she highly recommends it, and Cooking Catherine is never wrong about books! She's actually never wrong about anything as far as I can see, but she is very good on books!

So, off to bed for another page of Ulysses, not including the one I'll have to read again... And that will leave only 832 to go!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Friday Cake Bake enters The Twilight Zone

Just to say what time it is. PM. I am on to my second attempt to make Strawberry Verjuice Tart, which while high in effort did nonetheless manage eventually and successfully to exist last year!

I also feel the need to tell you that the suns have only just set. They did also set at their allotted time much earlier; did the whole lovely blonde haired boys thing of listening to their nightly chapter of Enid Blyton with Dad.

But then they decided they couldn't sleep and would build with blocks while I ignored them in determination to overcome collapsing pastry. Build with blocks, read books, talk nicely to each other- all things they have steadfastly refused to do during the day.

We did manage to start their summer Maths Revision booklets, walk to the post office (with bundles), write a thank you letter on time, and go to the cinema to see Kung Fu Panda 2. But why are the busy days often the worst? If we had just lain around and not fought the evil technology fight, I bet they would have been in bed dreaming of Finder Outers and my tart would be in the fridge right now. And I would be in bed too!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Do you ever find perfection?

I am catching up on all the truly splendid blogs you truly splendid bloggistes produce. Really. Gorgeous images, words, minds and hearts. It is perhaps more striking after a break, but nonetheless, there's glorious world of thought out there where you are right now!

I'll content myself with thoughts of the perfect holiday. Beach, potter round Kinsale, Monopoly, bed. Beach, potter round Kinsale, Monopoly, bed. Maybe a little change today? Potter round Kinsale, beach, UNO, bed. Beach, potter round Kinsale..... Edited highlights below!

This six year old was standing up on his surf board by the end of the week!
Look of disgust on face of very competitive thirty-eight year old at consistent speed with which child three decades younger can bankrupt the lot of us!
Babette Cole's riding companion, Babette Cole being just to right of shot, arriving on horseback with Dame Cole to her story-telling session at Kinsale Arts week!

The Tutankhamun exhibition in Dublin- Mattman has us all deciphering hieroglyphics now!
A tiny emporium dedicated to every width, colour, fabric and style of ribbon conceivable- A. Rubanesque in the Powerscourt Centre, Dublin. (Ric-rac in two candy shades, two metres. Very restrained and disciplined ten minutes of delight!)

Wednesday, 20 July 2011


I had two blog posts all lined up in my head for coming home from deepest, downest, most fabulous Cork- one on holidays (which would have to include a description of the utter failure of the workhouse intentions!) and the next on books.

Now and again, however, I rave about Ann Voskamp, and here I go again. Her post today goes so much further down the sandy beach path that I've been on this month. Love, patience, living fully for her where I'm thinking through living freely. Wonderful things.

Tomorrow blog posting of holidays and the real posting of the first two trans-Atlantic bundles...

Friday, 8 July 2011

The Apple Cosy Collective Experiment III

We went to the wool shop today and bought: 2 more balls of our cotton DK, one in a pink that will hopefully be reasonably appropriate for Mise; 2 skeins of embroidery thread that is slightly thicker than last summer's hair braid thread that I have been using for daisy chain prototypes and may well therefore prolong my eyesight; 2 metres of ribbon to complete the paper bunting (that will be coming to you, Gretchen Joanna!); and two buzzy bees- well, the suns had been incrediby patient and it seemed like a small price to pay!

So, I planned to tell you all that I was retreating to the workhouse to make apple cosies, finish bunting, and maybe even fly on with the daisy chains (which are incidentally very exciting, if incredibly hard on the eyes!), but then I stumbled on the above.

Belfast City Workhouse mid-nineteenth century. Still standing in large part and amalgamated into Belfast City Hospital- its orange tower block is a big part of the wider Belfast skyline, and where my mother spent lots of time in the lachrymose year whence cometh fraise's name. Irish famine meets pre-gold rush underpopulation of Australia with disastrous consequences for many young girls sent forth from this densely over-crowded workhouse.

No joking, then, but there will be a buzzy bee period of Internet silence here! A hooky retreat- your last comment strangely appropriate, Angela, if you follow the link! I need addresses for most commenters on my last post- could you email them? And Gretchen Joanna too?

Happy strawberrying!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The Apple Cosy Collective Experiment II

If five or less of you would like an apple cosy:

Give £4.59 or equivalent to Christian Aid here and I will post you one!

If more than five of you want an apple cosy, those from six on can send me £4.59 (I have no idea how this would work from the States or France or New Zealand or Australia) and I will take out the postal charge and give the rest to Christian Aid.

If hundreds of cosyless apple eaters want one I shall open an etsy shop and make like a real crafter, with Paypal and everything, and Mise's magazine people will flock to my stall to source this new must-have commodity.

If no-one wants one I shall delete this post, slink away with the biscuit tin, and watch TV instead... (And put the ribbon on my paper bunting and finally sort out that giveaway before even thinking about doing another one!)

The Apple Cosy Collective Experiment

So. Last week Angela emails me a link to the fabulous where they are selling OUR APPLE COSIES for £9.19. I know! (Click on the photo to proceed with clothkits, but you should probably read on first!)

So. What with the proliferation of cosies of all shapes and sizes for all types of fruit, I propose that you get yours right here or at Pom Pom's for half the price. Guaranteed!

Mine will shortly be sporting leaves as well, because I'm working on leaves for my daisy chain project. And Pom can obviously cater for the bespoke fruit market. Although, Mise, I'm still working on designs for the cherry cosies....

ps We are running into translation troubles, which appear to favour cozy in the Land of the Free and cosy in the Frozen North. Just to clarify!

Monday, 4 July 2011

Greatitudes 405-417

It's been a happy, clappy strawberry weekend! And sunny, sunny, so sunny, so not typically northern Irishly sunny but lovely! So obviously we rushed straight to the beach with wetsuits (sunny, but water still and always glacial) and suns' first bodyboards, bought in preparation for The Approaching Annual Adventure.

Then later we left the house without suns. I know! We dropped past Cooking Catherine's with small birthday things, on our way into town with neither plan nor purpose! So fifty percent of them came too, and we ended up eventually, after a meandering through the fabulous cathedral Quarter, at Bert's Bar. Driver's No-jito- you have to be here drinking this before the turning of the next millenium.

And all day yesterday we pottered around Ireland's biggest Christian festival- not quite Glasto, but actually there will be more of Glasto-ness later in the summer- plans for crochet daisy chain headbands are afoot/ahand/ahead...

Happy, clappy, sunny strawberry weekend- oh the sheer joy of listening to the Rend Collective Experiment. We've just downloaded the Organic Family Hymnal so will be listening to them indefinitely!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Bean Birthday

The last things I made for 30 days of making were three little felt brooches to take with me to the Coffee Bean Deli yesterday. I have a group of three truly fabulous friends who are there most days, and I try to be there once a week, because life is definitely better when I do! We loosely describe ourselves as Bean Craftin' because sometimes we bring out our projects.... Mostly I drink green tea and admire their projects!

When the relevant time comes along we celebrate Bean Birthdays, with bunting, cake and present tailored to the individual Beanie. Thursday was for moi! My birthday is not quite yet, but the absence of in-school strawberries makes for a more relaxing time!

Cupcakes everywhere. Red velvet ones, and excellently good ones at that. Apparently the ingredients were a compilation of various recipes but the technique is all Jamie Oliver, from the summer magazine. Queen Niqi in charge on that one, so obviously very high standard achieved! Thank you to all!