Thursday, 28 October 2010

Photos from my week


Half term week: I walked into the kitchen on Sunday morning and spotted these chillies on the windowsill - Mr Teacakes' latest harvest from his 31 home-grown chilli plants. He is not given to making aesthetically pleasing arrangements, so the moment I spotted their shiny green skins against the soft pink of the bowl, I knew that they had been wordlessly placed there especially to acquire my admiration.


The pinks and greens made me happy each time I went to the sink that day, until they were put into the fridge to preserve the freshness that will later be used to set people's mouths on fire.


One of my small ones has been poorly for the last couple of weeks...we finally decided that rather than continuing to plough on doing lots of things and hoping that she'd get better, we would instead go into hibernation to allow for complete rest. With the heating up high, and a box-set of Herbie films, we have spent a lot of time snuggling under blankets and generally lounging about. I have been itching to knit - such a sociable, portable, sofa-bound activity, but couldn't find any of the knitting needles or wool that I know I have squirrelled away somewhere. So I occupied my fingers with some hand-sewing, finally using the Sashiko threads that my husband bought me for my birthday several months ago.


It all became easier when it finally sank in that with sashiko one moves the fabric on to the needle and not the needle through the fabric...it seems counter-intuitive, but it's amazing how much more this way of doing things regulates the stitches to become more even. However, it's somehow an activity that fails to feel completely absorbing to me...and I'm still wanting to have another attempt at knitting (this time armed with the Simple Knitting book that I reviewed back in June).


I shall be back soon, to share the sewing that I've been doing in the evenings, but for now we continue to enjoy being toasty indoors and working our way through a stack of Micheal Morpurgo books. Have you read any of his books? He writes stunning children's fiction - by far the best we've ever read - he has a huge back catalogue, but our favourites so far would be Why the Whales Came and Cool!. He writes about people, animals, tragedy and the way the world is with utter kindness and sensitivity, tackling subjects that one wouldn't immediately think it's possible to write about for a six and nine year old. When Mr Teacakes reads them aloud to us all every evening we both invariably end up blinking away tears, while the children are left pleading for just one more chapter.

I'd love any book recommendations that you might have (adults or children's) - it's such a treat to discover unfamiliar authors whose writing is so completely wonderful.

Wishing you a happy half-term,
Florence x

15 comments:

  1. Anything by Shannon Hale! Her young-adult fantasy is beautifully written, the kind of book I read over and over. :)

    ~Natalie

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  2. I've ordered a boxset of MM for my two bookworms. Miss K favourite book might be Eva Ibbotsons journey to the river sea. sadly she died this week I haven't told Miss K.....

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  3. Oh no - that is one of Zebra-girl's favourite books too - I had no idea she had died. I too may keep that to myself.

    I have just peeped at the Shannon Hale which I think will be wonderful in a year or two - such good reviews. Thank you so much for mentioning her - I have added one of her books to my Amazon wishlist to remind myself of her in the future. Thank you.

    x

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  4. I am just a little obsessed with Tove Jansson, the Finnish creator of the Moomins. If you've never read any of the Moomin books, try to forget the TV cartoon and dive in. They start off quite light and silly, but by the final book (Moominvalley in November) the stories have become much more grown-up. I'd go so far as to put that last book up there with A Room With A View - a perfect novel. Her writing for adults is also being gradually re-printed (or newly translated) by Sort Of Books and it's really wonderful stuff: The Summer Book is another piece of literary perfection, I think.

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  5. Oh I utterly have to add my vote for the Moomin books. Fortunately I have not seen any cartoons. I read 'Finn Family Moomintroll' and others as a child and have discovered more in the series reading to my boys. The language (even in translation) is so beautiful, the stories thoughtful, wistful, reflective and sweet. And some characters (like Little My) are wonderfully not-so-sweet. A world you will want to enter again and again!
    The Secret Garden was a lovely one to share with my boys recently too. Plus we have done Enid Blyton's Faraway Tree series and Wishing Chair series several times over too! You know you're on a winner when they get up to speed with their own reading and choose to read some of the books you've read aloud to them.

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  6. Our favourite MP books are Butterfly Lion and the Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips. We recently read Lauren St John's The White Giraffe which was wonderful and now we're starting her Dolphin Song. Wonderful.

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  7. My daughters are in college now - oh how loved the excuse to read children's books - I guess this is why we crave grandchildren - not now - they need to finish college and have a career. Your sashiko is lovely.

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  8. My 10 year old son is loving the Charlie Small books (by Charlie Small). He's a pint-sized MacGyver. www.charliesmall.co.uk
    Also, our whole family (adults and kids) love Richmal Crompton who wrote the Just William books. They are laugh-out-loud treasures and classic British lit.

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  9. I loved reading the Josie Smith books by Magdalen Nabb when I was teaching infants - she has a knack of reaching young children's feelings and they are also very funny.

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  10. I don't have a book recommendation for you, but you might be interested in this http://korasoi.blogspot.com/2010/10/whole-chillies-in-zingy-mustard-yogurt.html

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  11. If they're at all keen on old-fashioned school stories, Antony Buckland's Jennings books are hilarious - similar to William but I think showing a better understanding of small boys. You can usually pick them up on ebay for very little, though I think there are modernised versions available. Cynthia Harnett's historical novels are also very much neglected these days but husband found his years 4 and 5 pupils loved them.

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  12. Thank you for the recommendation of a new to me author, his stories sound wonderful! My families (I have 3 kids) favorite author right now is Brian Jacques. He writes wonderful animal stories.

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  13. Lisa, I don't have any children, but that doesn't stop me reading the Moomins! If it's good writing, it's good writing - whoever it's marketed to. Don't wait for the grandchildren!

    Florence, I'm assuming you already know Dick King Smith. And by the way, for your youngest there are some Moomin picture books (actually all the books have beautiful illustrations amongst their pages) which have been really gorgeously reprinted by Sort Of. I gave one as a wedding present recently, they're such works of art. There's 'Who Will Comfort Toffle?' and 'The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My' which has holes in it. Another is on its way - 'The Dangerous Journey', pre-ordered for me by my boyfriend as a 30th birthday present.

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  14. Hello Florence - I am sorry to hear that your child has not been very well, hope he/she recovers soon. Glad to hear that you like sashiko. I respect machine sewing but hand stitching is so much therapeautic, don't you think? As you said, the key to hand sew in Japanese style (not only sashiko but all the sewings including kimono) is hold the needle still and move the fabric and that's why the thimbles in Japan are ring shapes rather than caps. You put the ring shaped thimble on the middle finger of the hand you hold the needle and place the end of the needle (the end with an eye) on the ring in order to help hold the needle still. Look forward to seeing your finished sashiko works soon. Thank you. Chloe Patricia

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  15. Amazing needlework..and I so admired all those others posts as well. Happy week ahead.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x