Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Past Migrations

Thursday, 5 November 2009

The next set of books are nearly all about journeys in the past, in one way or another.

41. Richard the Lionheart by David West & Jackie Gaff, illustrated by John Cooper

This is a consecutive art depiction of the life of King Richard the Lionheart, from his childhood as a younger son of Eleanor of Aquitaine (I own a biography of her, and really must read it, once my books arrive) and Henry II. Both men were kings of England, but certainly wouldn’t have recognised that as an adequate description of their rank. Richard, particularly, was not especially interested in England, and preferred to crusade. (More on that below.)

42. Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

This was part of the same reread I mentioned yesterday. I am torn. I love Gabaldon’s writing and characters, but her skill at expressing characters and what they experience can be more graphic than I felt comfortable with this time through. I’d like to say that’s less of an issue in this volume than some of the rest, but seeing as this is the one with the ’45, that just wouldn’t be true!

43. The Travelling People by Anthea Wormington, Sian Newman & Chris Lilly

As the title suggests, this is about the Travelling people(s) of Great Britain, and to an extent of Ireland. It is a thin glossy book produced for children about the various groups of nomadic communities. There is a focus on Irish Travellers and on Roma/Gypsy Travellers, as the most numerous such groups, but there is also information on several other groups. The title link includes PDF files of many or all of the pages of the book, and it is well worth reading, for adults as well. There are links to other related resources as well.

44. Voyager by Diana Gabaldon

This one isn’t about war so much as its aftermath of suffering, death and separation, and how ultimately love can overcome them. But being Gabaldon, that doesn’t mean everything ends up sugar and roses…

45. Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon

Now though, we’re in the prelude stages to another war, on another continent…

46. The Talisman by Sir Walter Scott

The next audiobook was my second read of Scott (I have a print copy of Ivanhoe, which I could probably stand to reread), and takes us back to King Richard and the Crusades. The former seems a favourite of Scott, and here is definitely portrayed as the absolute flower of chivalry. Richard (and to an extent Sir Kenneth, narrator and protagonist of the tale) far prefers an honourable enemy (as he considers Saladin) to a dishonourable ally (all those who feel it’s time to give up the crusade), but can he really fight on honour alone?

47. Underground to Canada by Barbara Smucker

The last ‘travel book’ tells of two young girls raised in slavery in 19th century America, who upon being ‘sold South’ choose to flee North along the Underground Railway. It isn’t a long book, and gets across the horrors of slavery without being too graphic for even a sheltered adolescent. It’s well written, and includes both adventure and emotion.

Crocheting in Jerusalem

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Here, then, is the crochet I’ve been doing in the last couple of months, since arriving in my new home. It’s nearly all cotton, and all (including the hooks) bought from a little shop in the city that my DH found while we were engaged. I did, in fact, keep one half done project in my luggage the entire journey through four countries and three continents. It’s still in its bag…

Since I wasn’t online for much of the time since we arrived, I don’t have proper details of most of the projects (like hook sizes used or yarn details), but what I do remember is in my Ravelry projects. They are mostly things I felt we needed in the flat. In no particular order…

A sheep’s head for our Rosh Hashana table:
Crocheted sheep's head in variegated browns and white

One of several potholders I made, in front of one my SIL made several years ago, that my DH has been using ever since. It’s lovely, but we needed more! Also multiple tea towels (all but one returned to the cupboard after I took the picture) I crocheted hanging loops onto this evening. I don’t like such things falling on the floor.
crocheted kitchen items

The edging for a handkerchief I still have to get…
turquoise variegated deep lace edging

Hm, the next one would be a gift, and seeing as this blog is now copying to my Facebook page, the recipient might see this entry, so I’ll stall for now. Ravelers can see it here.

One of the cottons I got was this pretty variegated red and green, so I decided to play with the basketweave stitch pattern from the dishcloths and make a triangular tichel. It’s between an isosceles and equilateral triangle (ie the sides aren’t straight) in an attempt to reduce bulk, but that still wasn’t enough in this thick a fabric, so I haven’t worn this out of the house (it’s also heavy) yet, but I’ll work something out with it.
basketweave crochet in red and green

Next up are some bits and pieces for the bathroom. First a small pad for applying toner to my face:
Crochet circle
Next a washcloth/scrubber (and I promise, those marks on the tiles have been scrubbed at – though not with this!):
Crochet hyperbolic plane
And a hanging basket to hold a spare toilet roll without risking it falling anywhere wet. I did most of this in the dark one night when my DH was asleep, but I wasn’t getting so. I didn’t keep the hook with it, and when I went to finish it a day or two later evidently chose a smaller one, which is all to the good, as it pulled the top in, which prevents spillage.
Crochet netting

That’s most of the crochet I’ve done since getting married, but there is one more picture I have to show you. This is the first thing I saw out of my window, the first morning we were in America, and is scary, in my opinion. Every single person we met there was lovely, but this was still strange…
We sell guns! No ID required. No background checks. Criminals and terrorists welcome!

Pairs of Books

Friday, 24 October 2008

The month of Jewish festivals is ending, and I’m back at work on Monday, so my flatmate and I are going away for the weekend. Unfortunately I still haven’t found the cable to recharge my camera battery, so unless it turns up while I’m packing there won’t be any pictures, even ones for me (rather than the world), unfortunately.

Guliver Beal is going to move on today, as well. He’s been a great guest, and I’m looking forward to the next teddies when they come my way.

I’ve finally done some more crocheting, although it was a trim I did for a friend‘s knitted garment, so not mine to show you. I hope she likes what I’ve done!

So, for the books. There are five there, because I haven’t yet finished the pair for one of them, but the comparisons can be made already, I think. Hm, what does it say that that’s the pair of physical books, rather than the other four Librivox audiobooks?

271. The Tale of Grandfather Mole by Arthur Scott Bailey
A children’s garden tale, where Grandfather Mole interacts in his iconoclastic way with the other wildlife. I particularly like the way the animals behave as animals – rather than as miniature humans – although they do talk to each other. The reader is Australian (I’m pretty sure), and the author American, although the animals are basically those traditionally found in British literary gardens.

272. The Biography of a Grizzly by Ernest Thompson Seton
This one is more specifically the potentially real tale of a bear’s life. This bear doesn’t speak as a human, although he has a name and some basic emotions. It sounds well researched.

273. Graustark by George Barr McCutcheon
This one came up as a newly completed work on Librivox, and referenced¬†The Prisoner of Zenda as a more famous example of the genre, so I listened to that next, and have now downloaded the sequel. Hopefully the Graustark sequels will come up eventually too. Anyway, they aren’t as similar as I thought they might be, and I greatly enjoyed both.

I didn’t find it that hard to guess many of the upcoming plot points, but it’s hard to know is that partly because the genre has become so classic these days. There are some stereotypes that are not so acceptable these days (particularly the harping on the difficulties of the Princess being both ruler and girl – rarely woman) but that is to be expected over a century later. I just wish I saw less of it in modern novels…

274. And Rachel Was His Wife by Anonymous (ed. Marsi Tabak)
This is a modern classic among Jewish novels, and I’m pairing it with a real classic, that I’ll probably finish this weekend, Akiva by Meir/Marcus Lehmann, since they tell the same tale, of the Talmudic Rabbi Akiva and his wife Rachel, who inspired him to learn and become the great scholar, teacher and leader. Both are working from the somewhat scanty historical record. The Gemara does not set out to tell these people’s life stories; it gives over their teachings, and uses anecdotes from their lives to show specific points. Perhaps because of this, while both books show mostly the same events, Rabbi Lehmann makes his couple about a decade younger when each historical event happens than they are in this book.

This book is written as the occasional journal of a fictional friend of Rachel’s, who changes and grows over the years, and tells the dramatic communal as well as personal events of these important decades. Highly recommended.

275. The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope

This one is another reflective first person account, that shows the emotional impact of the (rather fantastic) events. It deserves to be the classic it is.

Homeward Happiness

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

I’m back in Dublin (I travelled overnight, and crocheted along the way – I’ve brought my orange cotton, and the book I got last time I was over here, Irish Crochet Lace by Eithne d’Arcy)
Orange Irish crochet motifs
and Luna came along and met some of the teddies who first travelled with me.

Teddy and Big Bear told her about all our trips when I was really little.

Then, when they’d given her their seal of approval, she met the rest of the home gang:
Teddies Galore!
Clockwise from left, these are Scottie Terry, Monkey, Dog, Big Bear, Luna, Teddy, Don and Puppy. (No, I wasn’t very creative in my naming practices when I was very little. Scottie Terry, Don (from Oxford) and obviously Luna are more recent friends.)

Luna even got a horseback ride. (Once upon a time, my mother knitted the saddle blanket.)
Luna on horseback

Have I mentioned before that my mother is still wonderful, even though she doesn’t knit for my toys anymore? She is:
Opal sock yarn, plus oiled flint stone
I’ve been wanting to play with some self-striping sock yarn (I hadn’t even told her so) and she’s got me three balls, which should be plenty to experiment with. She also got me this beautiful oiled flint stone, which feels great in the hands.

Future Travels

Monday, 21 July 2008

Luna the Moon Bear (teddy)
So I told you I’ve signed up for Travelling Teddy number 2, where one teddy is visiting 15 of us around the world. That teddy is already at his first host, and I’m looking forward to greeting him in a few weeks.

I’ve also now signed up for round 7, which is a group round, where ten of us around Europe are due to each send our teddy representative around the group and around the continent. I’m thinking Luna, here, will be the one to go. I’m about halfway through making her rucksack (how does one travel without a rucksack?); I’ve made the back itself, but still have the button and straps to fit and make.

The actual travelling this round may not begin until September, because of participants being abroad themselves in August. There are still spaces in the round, so go sign up!
Luna the Moon bear (teddy) and her crocheted bag
I hadn’t thought of the fact that an ecru bag won’t photograph well against a black bear, which is why you’re getting two photos. Unfortunately I don’t get the opportunity to take my pics in natural daylight all that often, which would help.

So far Luna’s not due to go to Scotland, so far as I know (although she’d love to) but I should go again someday, and in the meantime I’m reading up.

213. Step-Up Geography: Scotland by Alan Rodgers and Angella Streluk

This covers the physical geography of the country, both internally and in relation to the rest of the British Isles, and then the social and political impact that physical state had and has, as well as the modern impact of history.

214. Step-Up History: Famous Scots by Rhona Dick

The book isn’t bad, but I don’t like it so much as the rest of the series. Many of the featured Scots seem rather arbitrarily chosen, and I either wanted more information or rather less on each. That’s just my opinion, of course.

215. Step-Up History: Robert Bruce by Rhona Dick

I’m a novel reader at heart, and must admit that the thing that struck the greatest chord for me in this book was the context and explanation of the Declaration of Arbroath, as quoted by Jamie Fraser in A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon. I did once upon a time mention Bruce in a project I did for school, but only in the context of a family story, and had to be corrected (before the project was in) as to his first name being Robert. Having this book then might have spared me some blushes! Better late than never, I suppose…

Playing with February’s stitches

Thursday, 10 January 2008

I have a feeling this project might just use all 2829 of them, being in such a fine string. I was trying to keep it rectangular, as I’m expecting to give this away as a table mat, but I amn’t convinced that rectangularity is really going to happen. I’m up to February 15th already, which is a lot of fun. There’s a lot of textured/3D stuff in this one cloth. (The types of stitches do seem to get bunched in this book.)

Like all the strings I’ve used for crocheting, this is horrendously overtwisted, and although I spent ages on untwisting it when balling up from the skein it came in, I still have to stop every few stitches to let the project spin about a bit.

That was kind of fun on the bus this morning, as at least one girl couldn’t keep her eyes off it hanging twisting in the aisle. She was talking to her friend, but hardly looking up at all, so far as I could see. I stopped after a bit, anyway, once I got a window seat I could sleep against.

My pink squiggle scarf may not be the warmest ever, but it’s the best portable pillow I’ve come across. A cloth bagged WIP can also be good, or potentially even more comfortable, but nothing beats the hanging bit of this scarf for joint portability/convenience and comfort. It completely stops the joggling of the window. (Bumps in the road will still bounce, unfortunately.)