Friday, 31 August 2012

Hundreds of Things a Girl Can Make

A Telephone Cover

At a recent car boot sale I picked up for 50p a wonderful book called 'Hundreds of Things a Girl Can Make'. Contents range from Pineapple Lemonade and Sherbet Powder to Labels and  How To Grow Lettuces.  I would say it's 1930s.  There is no date in it and no dust wrapper, maybe there never was one.  

There are 160 pages of ideas.  Some of them are quite ambitious, for instance, building your own wardrobe.  The book is inscribed to 'To Maria from Aunty Joan'.  I hope Maria got along with it.  I feel the book puts one under a certain amount of pressure.  I had books like this and I could never make anything in them.

The picture above for a telephone cover is accompanied by the following text.

'A telephone is about as ugly as it is useful, and any scheme which is successful in hiding it or making it look like something else is worth considering'

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Still Savouring...

Dropwort - Filipendula Vulgaris
I'm still savouring my walk at the end of July when I saw so many treasures.  This is Dropwort, such a pretty flower referred to as the downland Meadowsweet.  I had never spotted it before.

Culpepper describes it as a diuretic good for stone, gravel and 'stoppage of urine'.  However, most Filipendula are poisonous to some extent or other.  

For all sorts of reasons I have done very little walking this year and I feel much the worse for it. 

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Red Lorries in the Rain

An FWD Sucoe and a very big black thunder cloud
A couple of weekends ago we went to South Cerney to the Nostalgia Show and caught up with some friends who had managed to get their restored FWDs on the road.  We have a couple of these, but have yet to restore them.  Quite a rare machine in this country now, they came over during the war from the USA as part of the lease-lend scheme.  There were hundreds and hundreds.  After the war they were bought up by showmen for fairground use and by timber men for hard work in the woods.  They had hard lives through the 1950s and few survived.  I remember my father using two for timber.  They had a nasty habit of catching fire.

Thought to be the first 'line-up' in this country since the 1960s
When we took our unrestored machine to a show a few years ago, a chap came up and told us that during the war his unit was driven out into the middle of a boggy moor in Yorkshire on a training exercise.  They were left with one of these in a bog and told they could return to base and eat when they had got it out.  That was their training for the D-Day landings.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Styling Knitwear in the 1950s

Nice cardigan - shame about the bird's nest
I'm thinking about writing something on how changing social attitudes and mores are reflected in knitting patterns.  This lady has obviously been 'bird nesting' and is about to blow out this egg to put in her collection.  Now an illegal practice.

The RSPB says,

'It has been illegal to take the eggs of most wild birds since the Protection of Birds Act 1954 and it is illegal to possess or control any wild birds' eggs taken since that time under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
It is illegal to sell any wild bird's egg, irrespective of its age'.

What defeats me is that Jaeger ever thought this was an appropriate image, even in the early 1950s.  

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Something will have to be done

Too much of a good thing
I attribute my current feeling of defeat and world weariness to the general disorder around here.  I do not like disorder. Let battle commence.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Still reading...

An abandoned dairy and barn in Oxfordshire - a miscellaneous photo

Enduring Love by Ian McEwan first published in 1997
Intense and suffocating psychological thriller - so well written that right until the end you aren't sure who is sane and who isn't

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini published 2007
Desperately sad tale of two women living in Afghanistan through the turmoil of recent history and about their power to endure and to love.  I put it off for a long time because I knew it would be hard to read at times, but I am so glad I did read it.  It's a wonderful book.

Currently reading ...
George Eliot - The Last Victorian - a biography  by Kathryn Hunt
A surprising tale of Mid Victorian weirdness.

Inside the Barn - a sturdy and intricate roof

Monday, 13 August 2012

Taking a little break

Swathes of  Viper's Bugloss
on  my last walk on the hill
Just taking a couple of days out to sort out the pickle I seem to have got into.  Major tidying and cleaning exercise under way.  Back to routine soon.

 Viper's Bugloss and Ox-eye Daisies
I love the blue of Viper's Bugloss, but I never can seem to pick it up properly with my camera.
Most of all I love its name - Viper's Bugloss.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Fine Dining

Rather Endearing Little Snail on Evening Primrose
Up on the hill not many insects to be seen - too wet, but snails and slugs in plague proportions.  This little chap was chomping his way through evening primrose.  A huge patch of it grows in an area near the garrison wire. Can't help feeling he might have tummy ache when he's finished that lot.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

The Upstairs Stitchers

We've started a stitch club at Beulah's Vintage Attic.  Good company, good cake.

I sat in my jim-jams on Friday morning cutting up flyers and then visited a couple of local yarn shops (having got dressed first) to hand them out and talk about how we might promote the yarn shops.  I never cease to be amazed at the kindness, enthusiasm, generosity and willingness to share in the knitting community.  As well as some enchanting eccentricity.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

6am on a Saturday

Setting out in the drizzle - red sunrise and a rainbow

Sun coming over the hills

Something about the air up there.  Something about the scent of the turf makes the spirit rise.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Elegant Simplicity

Head of Sow Thistle about to flower
I've been looking at the trends for Autumn / Winter 2012.  A fair bit of fur, lots of embellishment and print, chunky knits, purple and quite a lot of understated elegance.  Year after year I have my favourite designers, Jil Sander, Lanvin, Balenciaga.  

This sow thistle caught my eye when I was out walking recently with it's elegant simplicity.  Grey green studded with purple and so beautifully made.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Flowers of the Field

A jewelled patch of flowers on a drizzly morning
A couple of Saturdays ago I went for a long walk, first time in weeks.  It was drizzling, there was a rainbow, but I took a chance.  I was rewarded with more flowers than I have ever seen on the hill.  I found myself walking along with a big smile on my face.  I took masses of photographs and this one appeals to me because of the mix of species on one small patch of earth.

Among the ones I can name are Red Clover, Viper's Bugloss, Self Heal, Birdsfoot Trefoil and Hop Trefoil.

Pink, bright blue, purple, yellow and green.  What a range of colours to play with.