Fun, Festive AND Useful?

The annual dilemma - what to knit and give for Christmas presents.  A coaster?  Done that.  A personalised dishcloth?  So last year.  A bookmark?  Whaahh?  Yes,  a bookmark can be just as fun and festive, and personalised, as it is useful.  So as my colleagues love books almost as much as they drink tea...             Thanks to Cveti at http://cvetulka.blogspot.com for the pattern and the inspiration to make and enhance further this great design.    Read more …

Alchemy – a Study

I love quince.  I'm sure others do too, but I've only ever met one fan of the bulbous fruit in the UK.  In France, however, it's a different story.  On sale in supermarkets, windfalls gathered by the armful, or taken directly from the tree, the quince is a magical fruit.  Hard as a rock, one can smash a pair of glasses from a  drop of a few feet (believe me) and it is sour to the taste. Its grey furry coat will cling to a sweatshirt with the tenacity of a leech, and…Read more …

Meet Sharon. Sharon Fruit.

Mmm, exotic, sweet and firm to the touch; what more could you want? Crisp and succulent when young, soft and custard-like when mature, Sharon Fruit is to die for. Maybe not as luscious as her cousin, Persimmon, who is often at her best when plump and ready to burst at the seams, but Sharon is glowing, good-natured and consistently delectable. She's seen in all the best places, although she sometimes plays hard to get, and last week it looked like Sharon had gone to ground. I was heartbroken. Was it something I’d said?…Read more …

‘Hey, the fruit looks ready for picking…’

Ah, September. The start of the academic year. The chance of some good weather, or at least better than August. The meteorological start of autumn, my favourite season, which signifies the bringing in of the harvest; for me that’s apples, pears and late-developing peaches. However, the days of hovering under a tree in flip flops, wearing shorts, tee-shirt and sun glasses, with outstretched cupped hands and an over-enthusiastic penchant for apple crumble have long gone. Too many pairs of glasses have been bent or shattered, and too many cuts and wasp stings have…Read more …

Screen Saver

New phone, new worry - how to avoid scratching the screen.  Solution?  A knitted phone cozy, of course!  Thanks to Charlotte Nash  this simple but effective pattern is great in itself but can be adapted, as you can see...                Read more …

Bunting, Bunting Everywhere

Bunting is IN.  Everywhere I look there’s red, white and blue bunting; floral print fabric bunting; multi-coloured PVC bunting; paper bunting; Liberty print bunting; Vintage doily, print, postcard, sheet music and map bunting; spotty bunting, striped bunting; wooden, ceramic and hessian bunting; themed bunting, even Star Wars and Pride and Prejudice bunting – but no knitted bunting.  Well, not any more... There are a number of patterns and styles available and I chose this one for its simplicity and the fact that the flags are hung on a knitted string – that’s the…Read more …

Dawn Raid Foiled by Great British Slipper

The night had been humid. Storms were expected. The windows were wide, devouring what cool air there was like a frog catching flies. Awoken by the rhythmic notes of bird song, I began to tune in to the regular tap-tapping I’d heard in the dawn hours over the past weeks. In that early morning dozing state, I dreamed that my neighbour was knocking at my door while his wife operated a pneumatic drill in the street. I turned my back on the early morning sunshine, resisting a look at the clock, slipping easily…Read more …

All the World’s a Stage

We join the road from a small river-side track and are hit with the most unexpected view.  A former chateau in 16th century France, this fairytale castle, Chateau du Chailly, is now an exclusive hotel for golf enthusiasts, among manicured greens, freshly-swept bunkers and immaculately-groomed hedges. We sit on a bench of the side of rue Caillot Charrière, savouring our baguette and cheese, drinking in the Disney scene. While our knees slowly stiffen after cycling close on 10 miles, we watch in comfortable silence as a golfing party of three vibrantly-dressed men arrive…Read more …

It’s a Waiting Game

Yes, I know, 1.30 pm on a Sunday is not the best time to go to the supermarket. It’s the window for the weekly shop or for legging-clad girls on a flying visit straight from aerobics. It’s for middle-aged husbands looking for alfresco lunch ingredients, and for young dads, sometimes alone and sometimes accompanied by the children.  I smile at the hen-pecked husbands, ringing home to check if Greek Kalkidis olives will be OK as ‘they’re out of Spanish Couchillo’. Although just green or black to him, he knows he’ll be for it…Read more …