Archive for December, 2007


Monday, 31 December 2007

While I’m doing these cultural updates, I’ll put in the two plays my lovely mother took me and my brother to last week.

On Saturday evening we (and my brother’s girlfriend) went to see Great Expectations at the Gate, which was really good, although it turned out none of us had ever read the book (even my mother, surprisingly, although she had seen previous productions on stage and screen) so my brother printed out the 17 page wikipedia article on the book so we could cram on the story. I found it easy enough to follow Hugh Leonard‘s play (from Charles Dickensnovel, of course), though, which was very good, without the synopsis. I may try the book sometime this year, although it’s not first on my reading list.

Before that, on Thursday evening last, we went to the Abbey, and saw George Farquhar‘s The Recruiting Officer, which is just over 300 years old, and quite funny, but I didn’t like it as much as Great Expectations. I don’t mind characters it takes work to like, who have an apparant paucity of redeeming qualities even for a long time, [hey, I fell for Dorothy Dunnett‘s Francis Crawford of Lymond, didn’t I?] but there do have to be some sympathetic characters from fairly near the beginning, otherwise I can find a story rather unsatisfying. I want to care for a reason.

It’s not like I’m placing The Recruiting Officer in anything like the same category as The Merchant of Venice [don’t get me started on on Portia’s hypocrisy re straining the quality of mercy] where I ended up disliking literally everybody, but something just didn’t sit quite as I’d prefer. It was a very well staged production though.

‘Didjou make every bit of that?’

Monday, 31 December 2007

Lisa’s blanket

I do believe last night on the ferry was the first time I’ve had strangers actually come over to me to ask about what I’m crocheting. I’ve had several who happened to be nearby (on the bus or whatever) comment and discuss it, but that’s different. In any case I got a whole bevy of young kids over about an hour, and they were nearly all fascinated. I couldn’t work it out exactly, but they seemed to be in a big group from down the country (Carlow maybe) going to England for a holiday and many of them were siblings.

First was a lad of about 15, who I’ve quoted above, and who seemed very impressed. He didn’t seem quite comfortable chatting about a baby blanket, though, so he wandered off after a couple of minutes. Then in the last half hour or so on the ferry I got all the younger ones (6-10 year olds?) in their pyjamas, evidently having been woken up to disembark a bit early.

Little Bridget and her older sister were quite comfortable rummaging through whatever I had on the table in front of me, as their following siblings would be, asking what I was doing, would I make them a blanket like this one, why I had chopsticks in the bag with my spare yarn, wouldn’t it be fun to knit with them, would I give them what I was making, how long had I been working on the blanket, did I really enjoy crocheting, would I make something for them, would I give them some of my yarn, etc, etc. (Making a baby blanket, no, because they were clean and I’d thought I might want them, perhaps but that wasn’t my intent, no sorry, months, yes, perhaps if I finish my project first, no, just in case you’re interested.)

In the end, after a lot of pushing, I did make Bridgie a three petalled flower with the other end of my current ball of cotton – what took the longest was cutting the yarn with no scissors or knife to hand (I ended up breaking the individual threads with the pin of a brooch) – but didn’t for the rest of them as I hadn’t got to finish the blanket.

I did finish it on the coach not long after, so I got to sleep after that, and then when I got home at 7:20am this morning I found my fabric scissors, cut the end and wove in my end, then tied it up with ribbon, put it in a pretty paper bag and took it the intended recipient. I’m looking forward to seeing pictures of it and the baby, I have to say.

More on Noel Streatfeild

Monday, 31 December 2007

It was Ballet Shoes for Anna I went for, but I didn’t get through it all before I left so I brought it in my hand luggage and finished it on the ferry while working on Lisa’s blanket.

In looking through some of what’s been written about Noel Streatfeild online [still can’t get used to the second syllable vowel order of her surname] I noted they quote J.K. Rowling as saying NS was a favourite author, and with that in mind I could certainly see inspiration for Vernon Dursley in Cecil Docksay. There is the unhidden pique at having the offspring of a censured sibling foisted upon his pristine suburban idyll, compounded by the stated disapproval of that parental gift (magic and art respectively) and the forbidding of the child’s birthright skill (in Harry magic, in Anna ballet).

I could go on, but I think you probably either get the point or don’t much care, so I’ll leave it at that.

A very old story snippet

Sunday, 30 December 2007


Momma D was quite pleased she’d finally got them all to the lake. Alex wasn’t convinced they could keep pretending to Baby D that this was all just a seaside holiday, but she wouldn’t make trouble by refusing to dress up for a snapshot. She might think twice about working her techno-magic on the pic so it didn’t look quite so dank and dark, but if they all got through this together then maybe…“If that’s what you want, then of course I will.” She was doing it again! How many times did one have to ask that silly girl not to read one’s mind uninvited?

“Sorry. I’ll try to remember.” Alex squatted down so Baby could hop onto her back. “Come on Babe, I’ll teach you to swim.”

“Momma, Momma, can I? Can I?” Baby climbed further up Alex in his excitement.

“Hey, Babe, no hair pulling, okay? What have I told you?”

“ ‘The-number-one-rule-for-girls-and-dragons-is-no-pulling-hair-or-wings.’ Yeah, I know Auntie Alex. So can we swim now? Can we? Can we?”

“Let me just check your wings dear. You know all the pink fluff has to be gone before it’s safe for little ones to be immersed in water.” She placed the camera back in the backpack and sucked Baby up into the air, regulating her breath so he went gently spinning to let her see him all over.

“It has, Momma, it has. I checked when I washed in the sand last night.” He turned a somersault in the air-stream and twisted gracefully to land back on Alex’ shoulder as it faded out. As he had clearly intended, the force turned her around in a half-step towards the water.

“Behave yourself, Baby.” She thrummed hard enough to let Alex into her mind. “Are you sure you can swim all the way across with him? We could go around.”

“You know that would take days, and we haven’t got that much time. I can swim this, and he’s small enough to be no trouble. He’ll even help, once he gets the hang of things.”

“Maybe. I just wish I could fly us all across.”

“You know you can’t fly with weight across water. The backpack is going to be hard enough. It’s you I’m worrying about.”

That shocked her. “Once you’re in that water I don’t want you worrying about anything but you and my little one!”

Baby twisted his face into Alex’. “Hey, you’re talking about me again, aren’t you? That’s not fair!” He bounced on her shoulder so she would lose concentration.


“It’s okay Ma. Come on Babe, let’s go feel the water.”

One day perhaps I’ll write some more

Beginning with reading

Sunday, 30 December 2007

I know, I know, I said the new civil year was the arbitrary date, but who wants to wait?

After seeing the BBC‘s new version of Ballet Shoes the other day, and being at home with all my childhood books, I obviously had to reread lots of Noel Streatfeild. So that was:

  • Ballet Shoes
  • Curtain Up
  • The Circus is Coming

and there are still a few hours, so I might possibly go for White Boots as well. Or possibly Ballet Shoes for Anna. Probably neither of the Gemma books I own. And then when I get back to London perhaps I should actually read the autobiographical one I bought a few months back. (A Vicarage Family.) I’d actually like to read some of the ones I missed over the years, too, although I think I’ll get them through the public library rather than paying for them.

The obligatory first post

Sunday, 30 December 2007

So here I am, giving in to the not-very-heavy pressure to have my own blog.

My current intentions (having reread three childhood favourites today) are to keep a log of my reading, possibly put up some comments about my crocheting (although that’s better recorded on Ravelry), and get some extra HTML (and possibly CSS) practice in. As I either get compulsive or give up entirely on this blog, these intentions may well change.

In any case, the new civil year seemed as good an arbitrary date as any to begin these recordings and musings.

For now this is entirely for my own benefit. I am not really expecting anybody to be out there.