It’s now or never, really, and time for a blog post to show my face! I haven’t gone away or done anything particularly worthy of reporting, really. I did tidy up all my craft stuff and organise it properly, putting a few works in progress ready in my queue of to-do jobs, since I’ve sworn off buying any new wool for the moment! Of course, a bit of decluttering always helps you to feel lighter and makes your halo shine 🙂 Having this clear-out brought out a few things I’d forgotten, too, so that there are a half a dozen balls of sock wool that are good for on-the-go knitting over the next couple of months (2 down, 4 to go!) as well as some leftover wool that I will use to turn some 3/4 length sleeves into full-length sleeves: I think it will mean I wear one very nice jumper more! Lucky I still had the remains…
I also put all my many patterns and knitting books in order. Now I can see what I’ve got (possibly too much!) when all the ones that have collected over the last year or so have been properly integrated.
Even my wedding crockery got all washed and ready to be stored properly – I thought I would use it if I brought it upstairs last year, but it turns out I don’t (it has a blue design and in this house, not much blue!). I’m too sentimental to get rid of it, though, and I do still like it, so will put it aside for the time being. With some things, it’s a shame to get rid of them when it just not “their” time, so although I can be ruthless, sometimes not so much! A lot of this month has been spent on paperwork and getting taxes sorted – here in Switzerland we have to complete a tax declaration each spring and include all kinds of papers that need rounding up and copying and checking and filing and whatnot, so that is another task pretty much sorted… Look at the orchids – they have all been blooming like mad since my husband started looking after them (says something about my lack of green fingers), which is a bit of a tradition in his family. They seem to like this shaded south-facing window, anyway, so I’m very pleased. What do you do when a “supermarket” orchid has stopped blooming? A lot of people throw them away but we are too soft-hearted and keep them in the hope that they will bloom again – and they usually do, eventually.
The stacks of books are indicative, too, as there have been some good books enjoyed either while we work (audiobooks) or during quiet moments for a good read. In case you’re interested, here are some recommendations:
– Under Wildwood, the sequel to Wildwood, by Colin Meloy, is another captivating read, perhaps more sinister than the first book and delving deeper into nastiness and perhaps really better for a young teen with an imagination, as opposed to an impresionnable 10 year old, this time, much as in the Harry Potter series. I still admire the writing and also Carson Ellis’s illustrations, which she’s adapted to suit the story’s darkness.
– I’ve read 6 of the 14 Bond books by Ian Fleming that I had for Christmas over the past 3 months and they are as good as I remembered them. Now I can see perhaps more how they influenced thrillers that have followed since the 50s and though they may seem simple or old-fashioned to some, in the context of their time they really are quite stunningly exciting and there are accurate technical details. I can also see how Bond has affected, even dictated, the image of the”gentleman” right through to the present!
– Shamini Flint’s Inspector Singh is in the tradition of bumbling detectives and is unusual in being about the cases of a scruffy Sikh with white trainers and a heavy smoker – based in Singapore, but whose first case is across in Kuala Lumpur. We found it refreshing to hear about a different culture, for a change, but still with the sort of action you expect from a mystery murder. Looking forward to more of these.
– I went back to the 14th century to listen to Alison Weir’s fascinating (and long) biography of Queen Isabella, wife of Edward II of England (married at 12 to a king who was probably gay…), but also daughter of Phiip IV (“the Fair”) of France and mother of Edward III of England, known as the She-Wolf of France. She lived in very turbulent times and it is almost surprising that she lived to a natural death! A real femme-fatale who was extremely powerful. (Incidentally, the Audible version was excellently read by Lisette Lecat, so nice to hear the French names properly pronounced!)
– And now we have skipped a couple of monarchs, to Henry VII and the rise of the Tudors, another long, absorbing Alison Weir biography, The Winter King. This fitted nicely onto the recent discovery of Richard II’s grave in a car park in Leicester, as we’d seen quite a lot of background to get us into the late 15th/early 16th century mood!
– An Instance of the Fingerpost by Ian Pears is set in Restoration England (1663) and is a complex, multi-layered murder story, and quite a long book (around 600 pages), so plenty to get your teeth into! Lots of twists and turns, as four different accounts of the murder show how things are very often not as they seem…
Next time, Easter… hope spring is on its way where you are, too (unless you’re in Australia, of course!).