Sunday, 30 June 2019

Reading and Listening - June

Hello there, I hope you are all well.
During June I've read a few books and listened to some audio books too. I'm reading A Dangerous Place by Maisie Dobbs at the moment from the library, it wasn't available as an audio book. It's part of a series and best to read before carrying on with the next book. 


1st book - As soon as I saw Erica James had a new book out, I instantly ordered it from the library. Unfortunately there seemed a very long wait, so I took a look at the audio books and finding it available, I quickly downloaded and started listening to it straight away. I really enjoy Erica James' books. She writes books about relationships, in a nutshell, exploring complex relationships with personalities often stretched to the limit. See here for an interview with her, a Q & A session.  for more books by this author.

Blurb from

It was the summer it all ended . . . It was the summer a new story began. 
Linston End has been the summer home to three families for several decades. The memories of their time there are ingrained in their hearts: picnics on the river, gin and tonics in the pavilion at dusk, hours spent seeking out the local swallowtail butterflies. Everyone together. But recently widowed Alastair is about to shock his circle of friends with the decisions he has made - and the changes it will mean for them all... Can these friends learn to live life to its fullest?

Fans of Fern Britton and Katie Fforde will love escaping into summertime with this warm-hearted, uplifting story set in the beauty of the Norfolk Broads.


2nd book - I was browsing the audio books and was drawn to this book. It reminded me a little of Rachel Hore's books as there is a story from the past and a story from the present. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and can recommend it if you enjoy this type of story.

Blurb from

The heartwarming new romantic saga by the bestselling author of The Grazier's Wife.
Two country weddings, fifty years apart … and the miracle of second chances 

In the tiny Tablelands township of Burralea, Flora Drummond is preparing to play in a string quartet for the wedding of a very close friend. The trouble is, she can't quite forget the embarrassing teenage crush she once had on the handsome groom.
All is as it should be on the big day. The little church is filled with flowers, the expectant guests are arriving, and Mitch is nervously waiting – but his bride has had a sudden change of heart.

Decades earlier, another wedding in the same church led to a similar story of betrayal and devastation. Hattie missed out on marrying her childhood sweetheart the first time around, but now she has returned to the scene of her greatest heartache.

As Flora is drawn into both romantic dramas, she must also confront a relationship crisis of her own. But the past and the present offer promise for the future and there's a chance for friends, old and new, to help each other to heal.
From the rolling green hills of Far North Queensland to the crowded streets of Shanghai on the eve of the Second World War, this is a beautiful romantic saga that tells of two loves lost and found and asks the questions – do we ever get over our first love, and is it ever too late to make amends?

The Woman in Cabin 10

3rd book - This book was my choice for the book club, the book was given to me by Miss E (teen 1 girlfriend).
Everybody seemed to enjoy this book, which is always a happy bonus. It was an easy read, you wanted to find out what was going on. We had a good discussion about it too. There were several sites online with questions and I chose 6 ready for our meeting. 

Blurb from

Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo's stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo's desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong.

The questions we used.

Did you like the book? The book was told from the first person, how would it have been if told from another perspective?

2) What’s the effect of having Judah and Lo’s e-mails and various news reports interspersed throughout Lo’s narration? Did they help you better understand what’s happening aboard the Aurora or did you find them distracting?

3) What were your initial impressions of Bullmer? Did you like him or were you suspicious of him? After a prolonged conversation with Bullmer, Lo says, "I could see why [he] had got to where he had in life." Why does she think that?

4) Do you believe Carrie’s story? How do Lo’s feelings change as she gets to know Carrie? Did your opinion of Carrie change as you read?

5) Who do you think is ultimately responsible for what happened to Lo? Bullmer? Carrie? Lo?

6) Was the ending satisfactory & will you read more by this author?

4th book - Another for the bookclub. Though only a handful read this book as it was an opptional extra, we had a reasonable discussion. It was a good story that started slow, I think the beginning was important in showing the heroines background and accounted for her naivity at times. 

Blurb from

As war rages across Europe, one young woman is torn between love and loyalty.

Set in wartime London and occupied France, this is a thrilling story of love, danger and sacrifice from bestselling novelist Alan Titchmarsh.

It is the late 1930s when seventeen-year-old Rosamund Hanbury leaves behind the endless summers of her coastal Devonshire home for the fast pace of high society London.

Under the expert guidance of her formidable aunt, the country mouse learns how to act like a lady, hosting dinner parties and rubbing shoulders with Britain's most influential. And when the enigmatic Harry Napier sweeps her off her feet at London's famous Café de Paris she could almost forget that Britain has declared war.

But the Phoney War ends. Harry is posted, London reels from the first bombings of the Blitz and Rosamund suffers a devastating personal loss that leaves her all the more determined to do her bit for the war effort. 
Joining the Special Forces she is sent to work alongside the Resistance on a top secret mission in France. 
It is here that her courage and loyalty are truly put to the test. And where she learns that no one is what they seem: at home or abroad ...

The questions we used.

1) How was your read, did you remain interested in the characters in the story?

What did you think about the short quotes at the beginning of each chapter, did they add anything to setting a new chapter?

Why do characters in books 'have to die'? Celine, Harry, Eric. If you wrote a book, would you write a happy ever after?

When the story began, it told us about Rosamond's upbringing. After losing Celine, the development of Rosamond's character was impacted by the war.
Did you imagine a different 'turn of events' for her? eg she endured shock after shock throughout her whole life – parents death, sent away from her home, Celine and later Harry's employment.

5) Chapter 33 finishes by quoting – He is Hawksmoor and you Christiane de Rossignol … 'The Scarlet Nightingale'. Can you remember the significance of the book title, eg -why was it called the scarlet nightingale? 

Last book - This was a good story, it had moments of a supernatural nature, that I thought it odd considering who was involved. I suppose it was a necessary part of the story, as all is not as it first appears. Fiona O'Brien has written a deep and thoughtful story where families have to deal with their past before they can move on.

Blurb from

Summer has arrived in Ballyanna, and so too has a mysterious visitor...

American documentary maker Daniel O'Connell is renting the beautiful Cable Lodge for the summer. He's hoping that three months researching an old cable station in a remote village on the south-west coast of Ireland will help him and his traumatised son finally move on from the accident that killed his wife.

Meanwhile local hotel owner's daughter Annie Sullivan has communication problems of her own to deal with. Home on sabbatical from her life in London, she's keeping a secret from her dysfunctional family and trying to save them and the hotel from their latest drama.
As summer draws to a close in Ballyanna, both Dan and Annie are forced to confront the pasts they've been escaping. But will they be able to grasp the future that lies ahead?

The Summer Visitors is a heart-warming story about love, second chances and moving on.

Have you read any of these books?
What book are you reading now and what made you chose it? 
Do you have a favourite author that you've read most of their work? 

Bye for now. 
Have a good week.
Cathy x

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Yarn News

Hello there! I hope you are well. I'm writing to you today on a very wet and dark early Saturday evening. Brrrh, it's cold. Teen 1 bought the pretty flowers on show today, they've lasted a few days already. Both the teens have been digging outside today, yes I was shocked too! I'd been wanting a raised bed removing from a border for quite a while. It seemed a good idea at the time, with paving slabs either side of it for easy weeding access. Being close to the boundary hedge, any rainfall and composting goodness was whisked away by the hedge.

We've grown potatoes on the opposite side of the garden before, under the trees and close to the hedge. The potatoes too failed to grow a great crop, I think that's why we tried the opposite side of the garden. It's completely gone now, all wood removed and been dug over. I'm not sure what's going back in there but it can't be too big as the washing line is above the border. The whole border needs a jolly good weed & digging over properly.

The Land Rover lover and I have been sorting some tubs in the garden. We're in the process of tidying them - emptying them out and putting fresh compost in from the compost bin. Salvaging any plants, bulbs and seeds from the seed box, we hope to smarten it all up. We've bought some bedding plants for the smaller pots - Busy Lizzies and French Marigolds that are looking very cheerful, near the hanging baskets.

Yarn Update

Noticing that I've too many projects on the go at the moment, I thought it'd be a good idea to write a quick list and get some finished. (K & N... Knit & Natter)

1) Cardigan - Finish back - done
2) Haggis - K & N for craft festival - done
3) Amigurumi - K & N Challenge - Stormtrooper started 
4) Sock - Unpick and re-do (too big - more suited to Nora Batty)
5) Dishcloth - Start for craft on the go
6) Scarf or Shawl - Start for craft on the go
7) Cardigan - Back to it
8) Embroidery - Find materials for next K & N challenge

Maybe I need to look at these lists more often as looking at the list (for Yoda - link below), I've noticed 3 more things on that list that haven't been finished... still!

A) Crochet a Reindeer
B) Table mats (quilted) - finish hemming the edges
C) Jumper - finish knitting

At Knit & Natter, we've challenged ourselves to try some Amigurumi. You may remember I crocheted a Yoda (below and Jan 2018), this particular Star Wars kit has the materials to make 2 characters - Yoda and a Stormtrooper. I'm going to have to start reading the pattern through properly before I start anything in future. First of all, the 'little' stormtrooper had a big head, then I did an extra row in black yarn. Phew, he's ok now and hopefully he won't need unpicking again.

Making a start on the Amigurumi challenge  Stormtrooper

Cardigan (I added an extra 2" in length),
the back - finished
see here for details

Washcloth (flannel) - finished
see here for yarn details

Haggis for the Craft Festival - finished
Jean Greenhowe pattern books for MacScarecrow characters and more, can be found here.

How's your weekend?
Have you a project list building up, or do you finish one at a time?
Have you eaten Haggis before. and did you like it?

Bye for now, take care
Cathy x

Monday, 10 June 2019

Reading and listening - May / June

Hello there, I hope you are all well. It's been quite unsettled weather wise here this weekend. Windy, sunny and warm, rain and some heavy downfalls. I think it's due to be very wet this week. Thank you for leaving lovely comments on my last post. There's still time to join in with my Craft Project - Link Party, see link for details.
During the month of May I've been reading and listening to some stories during or in between knitting or crocheting.
By the way, the teens at dinner tonight advised me (!?) to give the reference to my usual opening (2 words) to my blog - follow the link if interested. 

Image result for maeve binchy evening class front covers

Evening Class by Maeve Binchy was read for the book-club in May. I'd actually read it over 20 years ago. It was an enjoyable read with many interesting characters. See here  for blurb and here for more titles by this author.

Book club Questions for Evening Class by Maeve Binchy 

1, What did you think about the story, did you enjoy it? Do you think it was well written, eg were you interested in the characters.
2, Compare Signora’s perception of Aidan Dunne with his family
3, Where is the author’s attitude toward the status of religion, class, women and law in Ireland reflected in this novel?
4, Do you agree with Brigid Dunne’s proclamation that “If more people had the guts to go after what they want, the world would be a better place?”
5, In a novel that seems to highlight the differences in generations, where does Tony O’Brien fit in?
6, When Fiona orchestrated the breakup of Dan Healy’s and Nora Dunne’s affair, what effect did it have on the story?
7, What do you think about the author’s device of connecting characters through coincidence?
8, How would you characterise the ending of the this novel?
9, Will you be reading more books by Maeve Binchy?

                    book cover of Leaving Everything Most Loved                   

I finished listening to this on audio, another of the Maisie Dobbs series of books. This blog post about the book looks interesting. It was early May that I finished this story, being part of a series it's advisable to read them in the correct order. I only started the series halfway through but won't be starting from the beginning. For me it would seem tedious reading the early books knowing what's become of her staff and relationships.

   A Place to Remember

I've just finished A Place to Remember over the weekend, here is the blurb. I really loved listening to this story. It was read by Kathryn Hartman listen here for a small sample. The slow (voice) start to the story, saw me nearly abandoned my listening choice. I am so glad that I persevered because it was a lovely story. There were funny bits and sadness built on decades of lies. After hearts are betrayed, should the truth be told and at what cost? Was there a happy ever after...? The author has given some questions to ponder.

Image result for 3 minute devotion cat loves

I bought this amusing little book, approx A6 in size at Cliff Fest. They had one for a dog lover's heart too. The link gives you a look inside at a few pages. There's a short daily reading bringing practical encouragement from God.

I'm off to read the next book for June's book club. There are 2 books this time -
The Scarlet Nightingale by Alan Titchmarsh 
The Woman in cabin 10 by Ruth Ware, my choice, so I hope it's a good one.

How was your weekend?
Have you read any of these books?
What are you reading now?
Do you use a daily devotional?

Bye for now
Cathy x

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Craft Project - Link Party - June

Hello there, welcome to the second Craft Project - Link Party a sort of  knit & natter and sewing session in blogland. Thank you for your kind words last time and to those who joined in. If you'd like to join me and I'd love it if you did, please grab a cuppa, a comfortable chair and your own Craft Project bag. 

There's not been a lot of progress on the cardigan, I'd taken it away with us on our weekend away but I only managed a few rows. There was too much going on but now I'm back home, I've managed a bit more of my yellow crocheted washcloth. I've chosen Ricoumi dk 100% cotton yarn with a 3.5mm crochet hook. With hindsight, I wish that I'd made the starting chain with a slightly larger crochet hook, preventing the banana shape. It's often recommended with blankets to start with a larger size hook to prevent the tight start and looser widening out shape. I know it's only a washcloth but... you know when something doesn't look quite right.

About the pattern book I'm using - it has 99 dishcloths to crochet, the recommended yarn is aran cotton (worsted weight yarn). All of these designs are equally suited as washcloths too. There are three borders given at the back of the book, for you to customise your cloths. There are two things I don't like about this book, first it isn't clear how any of the finished patterns will look, there are no clues to match them to the cover photos. Second, there are no design pattern names so you have no clue as to what the pattern is called. Obviously you are given names of stitches - dc, tr etc. but not the design name such as lemon stitch.

Here is the story behind my Craft Project Bag that I talked about on last months Craft Project - Link Party.

If you'd like to join in, please add your Craft Project (post) to the link below, so that others can visit with you too. It can be finished or a work in progress, it's entirely up to you.

Please make sure that you add a link back to this blog post - so that others can find the party!

The Craft Project will be open on the first Tuesday each month and close 3 weeks later.
Thank you for visiting,
Cathy x

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You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Cliff Fest, Derbyshire

Hello there, we've been away last weekend and since arriving home I've been catching up with visiting your blogs, laundry, shopping, unpacking, drying out tents etc. Sadly the sun didn't hang around much in Derbyshire, though some people did wear shorts, it rained a bit but wasn't cold. I know, we always talk about the weather in the UK and I don't like to disappoint.

I've put some photos together a bit randomly that will take you on a whistle stop tour of our camping holiday in Cliff Fest. It's actually Cliff College in Calver, Hope Valley that run Cliff Festival each year. They are a Methodist college that run many courses which if you had a Christian ministry calling, this would be an ideal setting to study. I understand there are both short and long courses available but more than that, I've not looked into. As you can imagine the place is steeped in Methodist history and here is a link if this interests you.

I'm not a Methodist though teen 1 used to attend their kids club when we lived in Tickhill, Doncaster. Later for a short time we also attended that particular church before we moved to Lincolnshire. I'm not particularly any denomination really, we've attended most over the years, Baptists twice, United reformed, C of E, A few House Church styles, our present church is AOG. We've moved churches mainly as we've moved house and not because of bad feeling, though our last church was whilst living in our present house. We'd been there about 10 years and as a family, it felt right to leave and join with another.

It's a weekend of fun, celebration, excellent teaching and some relaxation. I did do a bit of knitting and a little bit of crochet. The teens including teen 1 lovely girlfriend who joined us for her second year, loved it and can't wait to go again. Here is a sample of 'some' of the music we sang. I know modern worship bands that are loud and very lively are not to everyone's taste but (and I have to be very careful here as people can get upset) - organs and hymn singing is not to my taste either. I know that worship isn't for us but for Jesus, having said that it's nice if you enjoy it too.

This year at Cliff the organisers put on a Hope Collective event with live bands who performed throughout Saturday. I saw the first three but The Moment was too loud even with earplugs in! I've since discovered that sitting it the central area of the tent is better - not near the speakers. Teen 2 loved it! Artists included: Lou Fellingham, Lily Jo, Philippa Hannah, The Moment, Rivers and Robots, and Andy Hawthorne.  

Incidentally over 20 years ago my parents bought a tape cassette (not CD) with Andy Hawthorne as the lead singer of World Wide Message Tribe. This is their most famous song, a sort of pre-rap style that I've never warmed to.

Clockwise from top left

Wisteria Harlequin, teen 1 blue tent in front of our awning and caravan, small camp shop and shower block, main celebration big tent housing the gift shop, cafe & various information stands etc. 

Having an electrical hook up this year, a first for us meant that we not only had a fridge... luxury not collecting ice packs! We also had an electric kettle, many times teens (not all ours) popped in for tea, tea and more tea lol. Late after hours the teens visited their own cafe until 1:00 am in the morning. They seemed to have continuous free hot and cold drinks available, as well as charging points for phones. 

Views seen from around the campsite and flowers seen on our walk with teen 1 and Miss E. They wanted to take us on a walk that they'd taken the previous year. It was a lovely walk with open countryside and some woodland. 

Open hillside hosting a small stage where various artists performed throughout the day and evening. The burger bar and Mocktail bar (obviously non-alcoholic as Methodist). Main building where you can buy some or all of your meals in either an indoor canteen or (only) slightly upmarket restaurant. The story telling tent, each year a different Narnia story is told for about 50 mins each day. This year it was The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. I would love to go but can't cope with sitting on the carpeted floor, it's a no shoes and no chairs venue, most uncomfortable. Lastly the climbing wall which is available only when supervised, throughout the weekend.

The archery was available again this year too and capture the flag was run by the youth team one afternoon. Every year they put on a Disney sing-a-long film, last year it was The Greatest Showman, this year it was Mary Poppins Returns. With many other seminars and fun activities there is plenty to do for all ages.

Kickstart each morning at 9:00 am for about 45 minutes, literally kick starts the day before kids and teens go off to their various activities. It is jam packed with entertainment, worship and actions, some prayer and total wall to wall fun. Bob Hartman on the left is an excellent storyteller with many books to his name, though this year he sung his stories, other years he encourages the audience to join in with actions. It was hilarious! He's standing next to one of the 'Play it by Ear' team, they are excellent at getting their message across too. More views both seen from the camp and along our walk with the teens.

The kickstart team also put on Funky Sunday for an hour on Sunday afternoon. Again it was an amazing fun filled time which goes far too fast. With Eddie the Donkey (a puppet) who says he's 'the best donkey in the world' - he's my personal favourite. Teen 2 and his friend D went up on the stage to join in with the dancing.

Walking up and over the hill with the storytelling tent and tree, over the road and heading towards the youth tents - you can experience the quiet contemplation area. The fresh garlic smell was quite overpowering. The labyrinth is marked out each year.

The cross from both sides with tree stumps for seating and the little Poustinia (shed) on the right. This is a good place to sit at the foot of the cross and just offload anything on your mind. 

Stepping inside the little shed, there is an open bible and a few other objects to aid contemplation. 

Some cuteness overload on our walk, the river Derwent and the flaming tree again. 

More views, the Awesome tent (I think) for kids (junior age) and a lamp post - just because I like Narnia looking things.

There was a little awesome tent, creche and several youth and young people's tents with age related worship and activities during the day and evening. Many seminars were available, purely optional to attend, including a drum workshop. It really was an excellent holiday with all ages catered for.

Until next year, when we do it all again... I hope you've liked having a quick look round, in a word it was AWESOME! 
Cathy x
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