It feels like time for an A to Z ….

…. because I’ve been a little distracted by life and work, and because I don’t think I’ve done one for a while now.


A is for ANOTHER TALE FROM ANOTHER ENGLISH TOWN by Lanterns on the Lake. It’s still love.

B is for BLUE HOUSE. My ‘big knitting’ of the moment, using some lovely Rowan Summer Tweed that has been waiting to be knitted for ages.

C is for COACHES. We know the tourist season is here when we see big coaches going up and down the promenade.

D is for A DISTANT MIRROR: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara H Tuchman. It’s on my library pile and it looks wonderful.

E is for ELEVEN bags of books waiting to be dropped off at a charity shop. I’ve been spring cleaning, I’ve been as ruthless as I can be, and I really must get rid of them before I’m tempted to go through them again.

F is for FLIGHT by Isabel Ashdown. I’ve read it, I really liked it, and I’ll tell you more soon.

G is for G B STERN. I was so pleased to find a copy of ‘Modesta’, her 1929 novel.

H is for HOCKING. Mary Hocking Reading Week is nearly here, and I have a book on hand.

I is for INDEXING. I’m sorting out my tags and categories, and I’m pleased with the system I’ve developed but it’s going to take time to bring everything up to date.

J is for JULIENNE PEELER OR SPIRALIZER? I have the book, I love the ideas, and now I need to make the decision.

K is for KNITTING NEEDLES. My circular needles are living in a hat box at the moment, but I’m sure there’s a better way.

L is for LONG GRASS. Briar had a lovely run in long grass in the fields near my mother’s nursing home before we went visiting this afternoon.

M is for MISSING. We’ve looked everywhere for my tablet, and I know that it’s in the house somewhere, but it seems to have vanished into thin air.

N is for NEW PLANS. The library is moving in September, we see the plans for the area the new library will have in the town hall, and I like the layout but it’s clear that it’s going to be much, much smaller.

O is for OBLIVIOUS. I remember buying ‘High Land Hard Rain’ with my first student grant cheque and I still think that it was a very good investment.

P is for POLICY AND PASSION by Rosa Praed. The book in progress for my 100 Years of Books project – it dates from 1981.

Q is for QUEENIE. My ‘big knitting’ of the moment. It’s a hat for children but I love it and others have up-scaled it too.

R is for RED. I ordered ‘The Red Notebook’ by Antoine Laurain from the library, it arrived yesterday and I collected it this morning.

S is for SPIN. I didn’t finish my book for the last Classics Club Spin. I still want to read Balzac but it wasn’t the right moment, so I chose another book from my list to read instead.

T is for THEME. I was experimenting with some new looks a few days ago, and somehow I lost my background and couldn’t find it again.

U is for TRENCROM. This week’s destination for Briar’s big Sunday walk.

V is for VIRAGO MODERN CLASSICS. I’ve been checking Victorian titles to see which might fit onto my 100 Years of Books project. ‘The Semi-Detached Couple and the Semi-Detached house’, ‘The Beth Book’, ‘Red Pottage’ and ‘Diana of the Crossways’ are all pencilled in now.

W is for WINTER WHEAT. I love the patter – especially the version pictured a little way up the page – but I’m not sure that I have the patience for such a big project in very fine yarn.

X is for XCLUSION. Usually dogs are banned from the town beach from the first day of May to the last day of September but there are no signs on the promenade. It might just be that the council forgot to put them up, but we’ve decided to assume that we’re allowed until we’re told we’re not.

Y is for YOUR LIBRARY RADIO from has been a lovely soundtrack to my life over the last few busy days.

Z is for ZZZZZZ. A park walk, a field walk, a nursing home visit and a beach walk – no wonder Briar is sound asleep in her chair.

Beginning Again with an A to Z

Days have been flying by lately.

Life has been busy. Work has been stressful. WordPress has been playing up.

I’ve found myself wanting to do things around the house – after work and dog- walking – rather than sit to read or write.

But now – I think – things are settling down again.

And, once again, I’m beginning again with an A to Z …..

Current Collage

A is for AN ANGEL IN THE CORNER by Monica Dickens. An excellent charity shop find by the man of the house.

B is for BERGERE DE FRANCE. I’d not read this particular knitting magazine before, but I spotted a new issue with lots of cable patterns and I knew it was time to try. I love that it came in two parts, one with photographs and one with patterns.

C is for COWS, We were surprised to see cows grazing on Madron Carn for the first time, but Briar was transfixed. She’d never seen animals that big quite so close before.

D is for DAVID COPPERFIELD. I’m trying to read a Dickens a year, and I think this might be this year’s book.

E is for ELLEN THORNEYCROFT FOWLER was the sister of Edith Henrietta Fowler, and now that I’ve read one I’d like to read the other.

F is for THE FLOWERING THORN. My next Margery Sharp read.

G is for GULVAL. Briar loved walking through the paths and the fields last weekend; and at the highest point of the walk there’s a lovely view across Mounts Bay.

H is for HI-FI. I’ve just passed my father’s beloved hi-fi on to a collector. I was sorry to let it go but we were never going to use it, it took up space and because he looked after it it was in lovely conditions. We even found the guarantee cards he’d filled in, back in 1979.

I is for I TOO HAVE LIVED IN ARCADIA by Marie Belloc Lowndes. It’s a memoir of the author’s mother, and I do hope it’s good, because I’ve spotted three volumes of her memoirs in the library.

J is for JESSICA CORNWELL. It’s not the sort of book I often read, but I do like the look of ‘The Serpent Papers.’

K is for KEEPING UP. I started recording the books I was reading and the books coming into the house in my Persephone Diary last month, and I’m not quite up to date but I do want to keep it up for the whole year.

L is for LADY ANNA. It’s this month’s Trollope, and I’m liking it very much.

M is for MARGARET KENNEDY. An old copy of Return I Dare Not! was ordered in December but it arrived in January, so I’m trying to save it until the TBR dare is done. Luckily I remembered that ‘Troy Chimneys’ had been waiting on the Virago bookshelf for quite some time.

N is for NATALIE PRASS. A lovely part of the current soundtrack to my life.

O is for ORIGINAL DENIM. I’ve not knitted with it before, but I love the deep shades of blue and I’m very taken with Hestia from the most recent Rowan magazine.

P is for PIPIT. A pair of rock pipits visit our garden regularly, eating from the feeder, picking up bits from the ground, and coming right up to the house to drink from Briar’s bucket by the front door.

Q is for QUESTIONS. I rarely win things but a few weeks ago I won a £50 book budget by answering survey questions.

R is for RAILINGS. The storm battered railings on our promenade our being replaced, and that’s lovely, but Briar is not at all happy that the promenade is completely fenced off and that she can’t get to her own beloved beach.

S is for STICKY LABELS. I know that charity shops have to label books, I know that gift aid is a very good thing, but I do wish they wouldn’t stick the kind of sticky labels that are impossible to remove bang in the middle of front covers.

T is for TBR DARE. It’s just past half-time and I’m still on track.

U is for THE UNFORGOTTEN by Patrice Chaplin. A very readable psychological thriller, with echoes of ‘Rebecca’, that had been sitting on a shelf for long time.

V is for VANESSA AND HER SISTER by Priya Parmar. A lovely book.

W is for WOLF HALL. I love the BBC adaptation and I’ll re-read the book one day soon. First time around I read it much too quicly, because I had to take it back to the library for the next person in the queue

X is for EXHIBITION – ‘Then and Now: An Enchanted Landscape – Photographic Excursions Through West Penwith’ is at Penlee House until the end of March

Y is for YOKED SWEATER. I’ve never knitted one, I’m planning to try some new things with my knitting this year, and I love William.!

Z is for ZZZZZ – it seems to be the sleepy season for border terriers!

* * * * * * *

Back soon ….

An A to Z while the year is still quite new ….

… because I like to do this from time to time, and the time seems right.


A is for ANTHONY TROLLOPE. I have a book and a half of the Pallisers left to read and then  I plan to read some of the standalone novels, seeing how many counties I can tick off for Reading England. Any suggestions would be very welcome.

B is for BEACH. The rain has stayed away this week and we haven’t had much wind either, so with low tide in the afternoon Briar has enjoyed several good runs on the beach.

C is for CROOKED. I read ‘Crooked House’ (by Lissa Evans) and Crooked Herring (by L C Tyler) last month and I loved them both.

D is for DISTANT SUNI’ve always loved this song.

E is for ELIZA ROBERTSON. I’ve read several from her new volume of short stories – ‘Wallflowers’ – and I am intrigued.

F is for FOUNTAIN. Rebecca West’s ‘The Fountain Overflows’ is on my Classics Club list and I have it ready to read on my bedside table.

G is for GREEN DOLPHIN STREET. One of several lovely books that I might read for Elizabeth Goudge Reading Week in April,

H is for THE HEART TO ARTEMIS. I’ve loved Bryher’s historical novels and this bookish memoir looks wonderful.

I is for ISHMAEL. Lyn’s enthusiasm for William Hootkin’s narration of Moby Dick tempted me to listen to a sample, and it sounds fabulous.

J is for JOURNAL. The man of the house have me a Persephone diary for Christmas. I’m not a diary keeper, so I’m going to use it as a book journal for the year.

K is for KNITTING. After a year of small projects (and an aran for the man of the house) 2015 is going to be about wardrode building for me.

L is for LOCKED. Nobody came to open the Morrab Gardens on Monday or Tuesday, and Briar was so disappointed that she couldn’t have one of her favourite morning walks.

M is for MARGERY SHARP DAY – 25th January 2015! What are you going to read?

N is for NATIONAL GALLERY. I’m re-reading ‘The Faithful Servants’ by Margery Sharp, Miss Quartermaine and Miss Xavier are making daily pilgrimages to the National Gallery, and I so wish I could go with them.

O is for O PIONEERS! I tidied the Virago bookcase yesterday, and I line up all of my Willa Cather novels in the right order for re-reading. ‘O Pioneers!’ is next.

P is for PROW PULLOVER. Still on the needles.

Q is for QUIXOTE. Helen has me thinking that maybe I will read ‘Don Quixote’ one of these days.

R is for THE RAVEN’S HEAD. I loved Karen Maitland’s last book and it’s lovely to know that this new one will be out on March.

S is for SARAH SMITH. Lisa has been singing her praises and so I’ve tracked down my copies of her books and I’ll start reading soon.

T is for TIDE TIMES. We can look out of the window, but I need to buy a little yellow book showing tide times and heights for the new year so that we can plan ahead for beach walks and know when the biggest high tides are coming.

U is for UNHAPPY. Lips are Unhappy by Lucky Soul is one of those songs that always works.

V is for VOGUE KNITTING. I love the mosaic knitting in the new issue.

W is for WEATHERING is Lucy Wood’s first novel,  it’s published in January, and I’m already sure it will be in  my box of books for 2015.

X is for EXHIBITION. I’m so pleased that there is another exhibition of rare photographs, from local archives, coming to Penlee House next month.

Y is for YOKES. I try to not buy too many knitting books, but this one was irresisitable.

Z is for ZEMINDAR by Valerie Fitzgerald. I’ve read much praise for this book and so I was delighted to find a brand new copy in the library just before the deadline for the TBR dare.

An A to Z: looking behind and looking ahead

October is coming, and it is looking very promising:

Margaret Kennedy Week is nearly here!  I have a week’s holiday!

So it feels like time for an A to Z …..


A is for AUSTRALIAN READING MONTH. I loved this last year and so I’m very pleased that Brona will be hosting this again in November. I read My Brilliant Career last year, I want to read ‘My Career Goes Bung’ this year, and I have other possibilities too,

B is for BACKS OF BOOKS. I always enjoy perusing lists of other titles that publishers used to display in the back of books, and I’m in the middle of a lovely book by an author I discovered that way.

C is for CURTAINS. Automatic curtains are lovely when they work but a nightmare when they break down. We’ve taken two deliveries of spare parts, the curtains have been up and down and hanging elsewhere for a while, but we have fixed them and they are working beautifully.

D is for DAPHNE DU MAURIER. Kirsty has plans to read lots of her books in December, and I may join her for a book or two.

E is for EDGE OF THE WORLD BOOKSHOP. I was seduced by a lovely display of Slightly Foxed editions last Saturday. And that’s all I’m saying!

F is for FLORENCE. Do you remember Florence and Giles? I loved Florence’s wonderful narration of that story, so I was thrilled to find out that there is a sequel – ‘The Girl Who Couldn’t Read’ – and I have ordered it from the library.

G is for GODREVY. Briar loves the beach there, the summer dog ban ends tomorrow, so it’s a definite possibility for a walk next weekend.

H is for THE HAPPY TREE by Rosaling Murray. A new Persephone book, coming next month. I know that the Whipple-lovers are eagerly awaiting ‘Because of the Lockwoods’ but I’m much more intrigued by an author I’d never heard of before.

I is for I START COUNTING. I love this song, and I particularly love Dusty Springfield’s interpretation.

J is for JANE CASEY. I’ve caught up with the two most recent Maeve Kerrigan books, and there’s a post about them both sitting in my drafts folder.

K is for KAFFE FASSET. The first clue for my ‘mystery cushion’ is due tomorrow, and I am ready to start knitting. I explained the plan to my mum when I went to see her on Saturday, and she loved the yarn and the whole concept.

L is for LAZARUS. I loved this but it had slipped out of my mind; luckily it was pulled back in again, when I heard it on the radio at the weekend.

M is for MARGERY SHARP. I’ve borrowed ‘The Innocents’ from the library three times but now I have a copy of my own and somebody else may have a turn. It really is a gem.

N is for NIGHTINGALE. You really should meet Miss Nightingale, in Edith Olivier’s recently reissued Night Thoughts of a Country Landlady.

O is for THE ORACLES by Margaret Kennedy. It’s in my library pile, ready for Margaret Kennedy Reading Week.

P is for THE PAYING GUESTS by Sarah Waters. I’ve advanced from ninth to fifth in the library queue since the book appeared in the library catalogue.

Q is for THE QUICK by Lauren Oliver. I started reading in the summer, but it was a book that needed dark evenings so I’ll pick it up again in a week or two.

R is for RE-READING WILLA CATHER. Ali has a reading week planned, and I don’t have anything new to read but I am giving serious though to reading all of Willa Cather novels again, this time in chronological order.

S is for SEDITION by Katherine Grant. It sat in my library pile for a while, but now I’ve picked it up and read the opening, and I have to say that it looks very promising.

T is for TROLLOPE. Definitely my author of the year. I finished ‘Phineas Finn’ last week and I’ve already begun ‘The Eustace Diamonds’.

U is for UNA SILBERRAD. I’ve just read her novel ‘The Good Companion’ for Shiny New Books last month, I loved it, and now I’m on the lookout for more of her work.

V is for VHS. I’m clearing out a stack of old tapes, but it’s taking time because I’m sure there are some interesting things, that I recorded years ago and forgot.

W is for THE WILD SWAN by Margaret Kennedy. I’ve already started reading, and it’s very, very good.

X is for XI. One for the Scrabble players! We started a new tournament in August, on the Man of the House’s birthday and it will run until my birthday in March.

Y is for A YORKSHIRE FABLE. It’s a lovely book of knitting patterns, and I was so pleased to be able to snap up a very reasonably priced used copy.

Z is for ZZZZZ. Briar was not at all happy with the failure of the curtains and the consequent disorder in ‘her’ bay window, but now things are right again and she can sleep peacefully in there.

An A to Z as another month begins …..

I haven’t done one of these for a while, and it just felt like time ….


A is for ANBOLYN who will be hosting Mary Stewart Reading Week again this autumn. It begins on 14th September and I an leaning towards a Greek book or an Arthurian book.

B is for BROOME STAGES by Clemence Dane. It tells the story of a theatrical family, and it’s line up for the 1931 slot in my 100 Years of Books.

C is for CLAPOTIS. Mine is knitted and now it needs a good blocking. It’s a lovely pattern and I suspect that – like Jo – I will be making another one of these days.

D is for DEVIL IN THE MARSHALSEA. It shot up my list of reading priorities after I heard Antonia Hodgson speak at the Penzance Literary Festival.

E is for ESTHER FREUD. Her new novel – Mr Mac and Me – in so enticingly wrapped, and my hopes are high.

F is for FOLLY. August Folly by Angela Thirkell must be read this month, of course it must!

G is for GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF – back next Wednesday!

H is for HAT. I really don’t need another hat, but Asymcloche is so unusual, the construction is so interesting, and I’m sure I have some suitable yarn in one of my storage boxes ….

I is for I DON’T WANT TO BE A BRIDE by Vanessa Carlton – a lovely song.

J is for JILL by Amy Dillwyn, sitting it my library pile waiting to 1884 slot in my 100 Years of Books

K is for KAREN MAITLAND. I started reading The Vanishing Witch last night and I think – I hope – it’s going to be a return to form.

L is for LOST – one notebook full of book lists. I know that I can rebuild it, but I was trying to stop myself spending too much time hunting for books instead of reading them.

M is for MARGARET KENNEDY READING WEEK. I am delighted that there has been so much interest, and I am really looking forward to getting things underway on 6th October.

N is for NEWLYN GREEN. Works to restore the terrible damage done by the storms last winter are well underway, and Briar is hoping it won’t be too long before she can go there and play like she used to.

O is for THE ORACLES by Margaret Kennedy. It’s on its way to me from the library’s reserve stock.

P is for PHINEAS FINN by Anthony Trollope. I’ve only just begun but I am quite sure that it will be love.

Q is for QUITE SIMPLE WHEN YOU KNOW HOW. I’ve just learned entrelac knitting, and I’m making a scarf.

R is for ROWAN MAGAZINE NO. 56. My copy arrived a little while ago and there are so many things I’d love to knit.

S is for SUNSHINE – It’s back today, after a horrible, wet Friday.

T is for TELL ME A STORY – It’s lovely to see Cat come back to blogging again.

U is for UNEXPECTED HAT. It was a hat I made a few years ago. it came up a little small, it didn’t feel quite right, but I didn’t want to unrip it, because the yarn was sticky and there were bobbles. So it just sat around until last week, when I decided to wash it and pass it on. It grew just a fraction, and now it fits, I love it and I’m going to keep it!

V is for Virago. All Virago All August is underway in the LibraryThing group, but it’ll be Very Virago All August here, because I know that I get more out of books when I mix things up.

W is for WOMEN IN TRANSLATION MONTH. I brought The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Danmartin Fenollera home from the library this morning.

X is for EXITS. There has been some major sorting out, and now seven bags of books are sitting by the back door, ready to leave.

Y is for YARN SHOPPING. I’ve been restrained this year, but a 40% reduction on Cascade 220 in a closing-down sale was too fine a bargain to resist.

Z is for ZZZZZZZ. There’s a dog – who has enjoyed three walks and a nursing home visit today – asleep under the television.

An A to Z, with clues to the game from Briar and (mainly) bookish thoughts from Jane ….

Jane wanted to write about this and that, Briar wanted to give a couple of hints to help with the last round of her game, and so an A to Z felt like the right thing to do …..


A is for ANGELA CARTER WEEK. It’s so very nearly here, and I have plucked my copy of ‘The Magic Toyshop’ – the first Angela Carter book the I wrote (I think it was my first Virago Modern Classic too) from the shelf to re-read.

B is for #BOOKADAY – bookish fun for the whole month

C is for CAN YOU FORGIVE HER? by Anthony Trollope – my next audiobook

D is for DEMON. It’s not one of the Thirkells reissued by Virago – yet – but the library has a copy on The Demon in the House and so I placed an order.

E is for ELIZABETH HAWKSLEY. I don’t know a great deal but I spotted a historical novel set in Cornwall and another called ‘Frost Fair.’ The library won’t send out the first book – it’s in the Cornish reserve – but they will send out the second one and so I’ve placed my order.

F is for ***CLUE NUMBER 2*** You have the intital letter now, and you could find the answer in the blog list at Persephone books too ….

G is for GREATEST HITS. As we maybe made Briar’s game a little tricky this time we decided that next time will will make it easier with a bumper greatest hits version – lovely bloggers who have been featured before but this time with different books.

H is for HOCKING. A name from West Cornwall, and an author published by Virago, being celebrated by Heavenali this month.

I is for INDIAN QUEENS by Nick Lowe. It was very strange when I heard a song about an unusually named Cornish town on the radio at work in London, many years ago now, and its stranger now that the song comes back into my head still whenever I hear the name of the town ….

J is for JANE GARDAM. Claire’s enthusiasm is infectious, and now I have a copy of ‘Crusoe’s Daughter’ on my library pile.

K is for KNITTING. I’m borrowing an idea from the Life During Wartime Challenge – footlets!

L is for LOVRIC. I had intended to write about ‘The True and Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters’ by Michelle Lovric tonight, but it was so wonderful that I am still lost for words.

M is for MARY STEWART WEEK. It was lovely last year and Anbolyn is hosting it again this year, between 14th and 21st September.

N is for NO NAME by Wilkie Collins. I just picked it up to check the date for my 100 Years of Books, I didn’t mean to start reading, but I had to.

O is for OPEN LIBRARY. I have ‘Mrs Westerby Changes Course’ on loan at the moment, and it’s ver good but not at all what I was expecting.

P is for PARIS IN JULY. It’s coming soon and I have the classics in mind. Balzac, I think, and maybe a little more Dumas.

Q is for QUOTATION. These words  from ‘Schoolhouse in the Wind’ – Ann Treneer’s memoir of her Cornish childhood – really struck me:

“Children should be taught that only if they carry nothing in their hands can they enjoy the earth and know life from death. Then when heaven’s breath smells wooingly they can sit among the sea-pinks and feel it gently lifting their hair and touching their cheeks; or when a great wind is rushing they may lean back against it and blow with it half off the earth!”

R is for RHODA BROUGHTON. I have ‘Cometh Up as a Flower’ lined up for my 100 Years of Books.

S is for SIXES. We’re nearly hallway through the year and then it will be time to play again.

T is for TOLSTOY. I’m still wondering how to write about Anna Karenina.

U is for UNDER THE DINING TABLE. We have a new vacuum cleaner, and the moment it came out of the box Briar ran to hide in her place of safety, under the dining table.

V is for VALENTINE by George Sand – ready and waiting on my bedside table.

W is for ***CLUE NUMBER 3 *** You have the intital letter now, and the books with a french connection are significant ….

X is for EXPOSED. We haven’t been to Madron Carn for a while, because a couple of years all of the non-native plants – mainly gorse and rhodedendron – where cut right back, and it became a barren wasteland. We went back recently, and things are beginning to grow back and it looks much better, And we found a small granite monument, simplt built but with a cross etched on the top stone. We’d never seen it before, my mother – who has loved the place ever since she went there with here two best friends when she was very young – was sure she hadn’t seen it. So it must have been exposed when the land was scalped.

Y is for YOU MIGHT HAVE BEEN LOST because my computer crashed, I had to completelly reset it, and I lost a lot of lists and documents in the process. So if you haven’t heard for me, of if you think I’ve missed something, so let me know, because that might be why.

Z is for ZZZZZZZZZZ – border terriers are very good sleepers.

Back soon ……

An A to Z as a new month begins ….

I’m not quite sure where April has gone.

Life has been busy.

My computer had a bit of a meltdown.

I’ve found myself wanting to do things around the house – after work and dog- walking – rather than sit to read or write.

But now – I think – things are settling down again.

May is going to be different.

And, once again, I’m starting again with an A to Z …..

new a to z

A is for ANGELA CARTER WEEK – coming next month …

B is for BLUEBELLS. I love the bluebell season, and chances are that – weather permitting – Briar will be having a walk in Bluebell Woods at the weekend.

C is for CAOUA COFFEE: lovely patterns for socks and scarves.

D is for DOG BAN. It starts today on the beach across the road, and Briar will miss going over there. Her trained humans will, of course, take her to other beaches where she is allowed until 1st October when she becomes legal again.

E is for EMMA BOVARY. I drifted away from the readalong, but I have been inspired and I will re-read Madame Bovary in the not too distant future.

F is for FADE INTO YOU by Mazzy Star. It’s still love …

G is for GRANIA: The Story of an Island by Emily Lawless. An intriguing, late Victorian novel that I am reading slowly and steadily.

H is for HARRISTOWN. A copy of The True and Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters by Michelle Lovric arrived in the post today, and it looks wonderful.

I is for IRWIN. I was very taken with And Still She Wished for Company and now I have another new book by Margret Irwin lined up – These Mortals.

J is for JULIET STEVENSON. I have the book but I’m thinking that I’d like to listen to her reading of The Signature of All Things.

K is for KNITTING NEEDLES. A while ago I moved them from pots to a drawer, but that didn’t really work, so I spent a couple of hours sorting things out and putting them all back in pots again.

L is for LOOK – THERE’S A SEAGULL ON THE GARDEN WALL! It’s a young one, it comes several times a day, and it stands there for ages.

M is for MILK BOTTLE SYMPHONY by Saint Etienne. I heard it as part of a random soundtrack (courtesy of that was in the background as  I was reorganising my knitting needles.

N is for NURSING HOME. My mother is very frail now, and I am so lucky that she is in a good home and that the staff are taking good care of her.

O is for 110 – I’ve already hinted that I’d like The Persephone 110 – a diary for 2015 – next Christmas. I’m not a diarist but I’d use it to record my year in books.

P is for PROW. I love the pattern and I have the yarn. I just have to wait for the new issue of Interweave Knits

Q is for THE QUICK by Lauren Owen. I loved the opening but I’ve not really wanted to read gothic lately. Its time will come ….

R is for RUG MAKING. A few years ago my mother – wanting a change from knitting – made a latch-hook rug. She did everything except binding the edges, and I’m thinking that I should really get the necessary supplies and finish it off properly.

S is for SOPHIE HANNAH. I was horribly disappointed with her last book – ‘The Caller’ – but I am pleased to say that her new book ‘The Telling Error’ is a return to form. I don’t think its her best but it is a lot better

T is for TOLSTOY. I’m still listening to Anna Karenina.

U is for UNRIPPING – I unripped a sweater back to the armholes, I re-knit the body with different shaping , and I’m much happier with it now,

V is for THE VISITORS. I loved Rebecca Mascull’s novel of that name earlier in the year, and now I have another new book with exactly the same title in my library pile. The Visitors by Sally Beauman ….

W is for WILD STRAWBERRIES. Virago is reissuing Angela Thirkell’s books at such a rate that I can’t keep up, but there are worse problems to have. Wild Strawberries is next on my list.

X is for EXITS, I’ve had a bit of a clear out, and now I have six bags of books and a bag of yarn waiting to be taken to a charity shop.

Y is for A YOUNG SCHOOLTEACHER’S DIARIES 1939 – 1945. I found a copy of Those Wonderful Rumours by May Smith in our local Oxfam shop, and a paperback copy of Elizabeth Goudge’s autobiography too.

Z is for ZOLADDICTION. I started reading Pot-Bouille – the book before The Ladies Paradise in the Rougon-Maacquart sequence of novels – but I couldn’t get into it and so I put it to one side. I don’t think it’s one of Zola’s strongest works, but I also think it was the wrong book for my reading mood, so I will try again one day

Back soon ……

An A to Z as I may be more absent than present for a while ….

It has been quite a week.

Last weekend my mother’s health took a turn for the worse. I planned to take half a day off work on Wednesday to visit, but on Tuesday her nursing home suggested I come sooner. She was very woozy when we arrived, but when I spoke she opened one eye, and after a while she opened the other. I told her that she had been a good wife, a good mother, a good teacher, and that though I would miss her terribly I understood that it might be time for her to go, to a place where she believes she will see my father and my brother again.

But it seemed that it wasn’t time yet. She rallied and by teatime she was able, with help, to eat a little and drink a cup of tea. She is still very weak though, physically and mentally frailer than she was before.

And so you will understand why I have read little and why I lack the concentration to write.

This might be the end or it might be a plateau – that’s the nature of the condition she has.

Time will tell ….

So things may be quiet here for a while, or I may come and go.

For now, I leave you with an A to Z ….

A is for Anna Karenina

A is for Anna Karenina

A is for ANNA KARENINA. I’ve been comparing translations and narrations, and I’ve settled on the Maude translation read by David Horovich as my next audio book.

B is for BIRTHDAY BOOK TOKEN. I’ve had it for a month now, but that’s only because I keep forgetting to take it out with me.

C is for THE COUNT OF MONTE CHRISTO. I have reached the last hour of the story ….

D is for DARK AEMILIA by Sally O’Reilly. A wonderful Tudor novel that I will write about when I can.

E is for ELLIE GOULDING. I kept hearing this on the radio and it rather grew on me.

F is for FLOWERS. I bought roses for Mothering Sunday and tulips yesterday to brighten my mother’s room.

F is for Flowers

F is for Flowers

G is for THE GREAT BRITISH SEWING BEE. I was so sorry to see Lynda leave last Tuesday, and now I am hoping that Chinelo wins.

H is for HEROES OF CLONE by Margaret Kennedy – soon to be reissued under its American title – ‘The Wild Swan’.

I is for IN MAREMMA by Ouida – lined up for the 1882 slot in my 100 Years of Books.

J is for JACKDAWS. They come to the garden every day,  to pick up Briar’s hair – it’s lucky that the grooming season and the nesting season coincide!

K is for KNITTING. I wanted something simple, so I’m knitting this scarf with a ball of green wool that I wound a long time ago. I’m not quite sure what it is, or what I’d been planning to make, but it’s lovely. I think it might be Malabrigo sock ….

L is for Leo Walmsley

L is for Leo Walmsley

L is for LEO WALMSLEY. I’m reading chronologically at the moment, so ‘Phantom Lobster’ comes next ….

M is for MADAME BOVARY READ-ALONG. I’m re-reading at the rate of a chapter a day.

N is for NEVER FOR EVER. It was love all those years ago, and it’s still love today …

O is for PROMENADE. The gaps where our lovely pink paving slabs were ripped up by the storm have been filled in with black tarmac. We have been told that it’s temporary and it had better be, because it looks horrible,

Q is for THE QUICK by Lauren Owen. I think the verdict is flawed but fabulous.

R is for RUMER GODDEN. My Classics Club spin book was ‘Black Narcissus’. I’ve read it but I have yet to write about it.

S is for Shiny New Books

S is for Shiny New Books

S is for SHINY NEW BOOKS. Launching next Monday …..

T is for TUDOR ROSES. The loveliest, most inspirational knitting book ever. It was my birthday present to myself.

U is for UNDER THE DINING TABLE, where a certain small dog is sleeping.

V is for VICTORIAN CITY by Judith Flanders. I pulled my copy off the shelf tonight. I don’t have time to read it, but Darlene’s words made me do it

W is for WRISTWARMERS. I have these in mind, as I have a certain amount of sock yarn but I’m not really a sock knitter.

X is for EXHIBITION. I’m looking forward to ‘Penzance 400’ at Penlee House.

Y is for YOUNG. I was thrilled to find a copy of ‘Jim Redlake’ by Francis Brett Young on the Oxfam Shop last weekend.

Z is for ZOLADDICTION. I have Pot-Bouille lined up to read next week.

An A to Z as I begin again …..

Life has been busy, work has been stressful, but I have missed this.

So it’s time to begin again, with the time-honoured tradition of an A to Z …..

A is for ADA LEVERSON. I’ve just finished ‘The Twelfth Hour’ – her first novel – and it was lovely.

B is for Burrard

B is for Burrard

B is for BURRARD. After a few smaller knitting projects I want a bigger project, and I think this might be the one. I’d turn it into a pullover rather than a cardigan, as a few others I’ve spotted on Ravelry have done, because the central cable is wonderful.

C is for CHARLOTTE SOMETIMES by Penelope Farmer. I’ve just discovered that it was the third in a trilogy and now I’m wondering if I should seek out the other two books.

D is for DUMAS. I’ve been watching ‘The Musketeers’ on Sunday evenings and listening to ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ whenever time allows – 5 hours down and 47 to go – and I’m loving them both.

E is for ELISABETH RUSSELL TAYLOR. She is that rare thing, an author whose work has been published under the Virago Modern Classics imprint and who is still writing. I’ve just begun this recent collection of short stories and I am very taken.

F is for FILLING IN THE GAPS. My five years is nearly up and I’m not going to hit my target, but I’ve learned lessons and I have a list to remind me of some books I still want to read one day and of books that I thought I wanted to read but I don’t anymore.

G is for THE GREAT BRITISH SEWING BEE. It’s back on Tuesday nights, making me wish that I’d learned to sew.

H is for HAIM – I love this.

I is for In Diamond Square

I is for In Diamond Square

I is for IN DIAMOND SQUARE by Mercè Rodoreda. A book I read and loved last year, and I have spotted that it is now available in a very pretty paperback edition.

J is for JUBILEE POOL. Our lovely Art Deco lido, where I swam as a child, has taken a terrible battering from the stormy weather and is in desperate need of funding so that it can be restored.

K is for KEEP LOVE AS YOUR GOLDEN RULE. I heard this yesterday for the first time in ages.

L is for LEO WALMSLEY. I’ve read my way through the sequence of four autobiographical novels that began with Love in the Sun and I was wondering where to go next. When I learned that the Walmsley Society was getting ready to republish the third of the earlier Bramblewick trilogy I had my answer.

M is for MARGERY SHARP. I’d missed Rebecca’s wonderful posts about Margery Sharp and so I was delighted to discover that she is back with a new blog.

N is for NO BOUNCE AT ALL because the ground is still saturated. That’s very sad for Briar, who loved to catch tennis balls.

O is for EDITH OLIVIER. I was thrilled to learn that Bello Books will be reissuing half a dozen of her books, and that I will be able to own copies of the titles that I so missed when I had to return them to the library and others that I have never been able to track down,

Q is for The Quick

Q is for The Quick

P is for PENGUINS. I don’t collect as such, but I always look when I see numbered Penguins, and I brought home a couple yesterday.

Q is for THE QUICK by Lauren Owen. It’s a very big book and it looks absolutely wonderful.

R is for READITSWAPIT. I reactivated my account last week, after a long break, and I’ve already swapped two books. Two duplicate Viragos have gone out and ‘Lionhear’t by Sharon Penman and ‘Helen’ by Maria Edgeworth have arrived.

S is for STRIPES. I’ve knitted a hat and I’ve nearly finished a scarf to use up the second bag of wool that I entered in my Knitting Resolutions project.

T is for THE THIRTEENTH TALE. I decided to re-listen rather that re-read, and I fell in love all over again.

U is for UNRIPPING. I’ve been looking at a sweater that didn’t fit well for a while and yesterday I finally unripped to back to the book where the body and the sleeves split (it was top-down) so that I can re-work it. The pattern is mainly stocking stitch, so this will be my nursing home knitting for a while.

V is for VANITY FAIR. I struggled with the book, but I’m thinking that I might do better with the audiobook.

W is for Walking

W is for Walking

W is for WALKING to Madron Well this morning, with Briar.

X is for EXACTNESS IS NECESSARY when searching for authors in the library catalogue. I thought it was odd that the library had none of Eden Phillpotts’ books, but when I spotted – and bought – one yesterday I realised that I had been misspelling his name, and that the library has lots.

Y is for YARN DIET. It’s over – I bought some light blue wool to go with some dark blue wool to make this. But my new rule is project-specific purchases only because I still have a fair bit of yarn in hand.

Z is for MARKUS ZUZAK. I’m thinking that I really should read ‘The Book Thief’ before we see the film.

Back soon …… with a book or two …..

An A to Z, while the year still feels quite new

I meant to do this at the start of the year, but the inspiration just wasn’t there. Today it cam back …..

A is for Angel

A is for Angel

A is for ANGEL by Elizabeth Taylor. A book I plan to re-read later in the year.

B is for BUTTON-BOX. I spotted lots of books by Alison Uttley in reserve library stock, and I ordered this one first because I remember my mother telling me stories about a box full of magic buttons. Those buttons could take you on all kinds of adventures.

C is for CUSHION. And that reminds me, it’s not easy to chose gifts for someone who is frail and elderly, but my mother was thrilled with the tapestry cushion that one of her sisters-in-law gave her for Christmas.

D is for DEAF-BLINDNESS. I loved Rebecca Mascull’s novel, The Visitors, she has written a wonderful piece about its theme, and you can read it here.

E is for E TEMPLE THURSTON. I loved The City of Beautiful Nonsense, and I was thrilled to discover that there is a sequel – The World of Wonderful Reality!

F is for Frances Lymond

F is for Frances Lymond

F is for FRANCIS LYMOND. I’ve fallen a little behind on this reading project, but I’m going to start ‘The Game of Kings’ this weekend.

G is for GLOVES. I need another pair before next winter, I have yarn, and I’m thinking it might be this pair, it might be this pair, or it might be something entirely different. Time will tell …..

H is for HOW TO BE A HEROINE, or What I’ve Learned From Reading Too Much by Samantha Ellis. I knew that this was a book for me as soon as I saw that title, and I placed my order the moment it appeared in the library catalogue.

I is for IRWIN. I have ‘And Still She Wished for Company’, a time-slip story from 1924, in my library pile, and it looks lovely.

J is for JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR NORRELL. This was the right readalong at the right time. I’m already well onto book two, I’m ahead of schedule and I’m loving it.

K is for Knitting Next

K is for Knitting Next

K is for KNITTING NEXT. I’ve found more of the green wool that I thought was only enough for a hat, and so I plan to make a scarf the has been in my Ravelry queue since 2009. I

L is for LIFE DURING WARTIME CHALLENGE. A wonderful challenge, and a lovely new blog to follow. I picked up an interesting tip there today ….

M is for MUSKETEERS. I’m hoping that the new BBC adaptation – it starts on Saturday – does the story justice.

N is for NEW COAT. Briar had her first winter coat for Christmas. She really doesn’t like going out in the wind and rain, and I’m hoping that a coat will help on the days when the weather is at its worst.

O is for OBLOMOV by Ivan Goncharov – a possibility for 1859 in my 100Years of Books.

P is for Promenade

P is for Promenade

P is for PROMENADE. Storms have raged and it’s taken quite a battering. The main promenade is fine, but the lower walkway is breaking up.

Q is for QUEUE. I’ve tried to cut my Ravelry queue, but it still has 143 possible projects waiting for me. I just can’t do ruthless!

R is for RED POTTAGE by Mary Cholmondeley. This one sat on the virago bookcase for a long time, because I thought it might be difficult, but now that I’ve picked it up and read a few chapters I think it’s lovely.

R is for Red Pottage

R is for Red Pottage

S is for SHADOW CENTURIES. The hope is that they stop me dithering about what the project should be and what to read, and allow me to just go ahead and read and see how the centuries fill up. Or how they don’t.

T is for THORN. Briar stepped on one, on a footpath , not long after the council had been out to cut back the hedge. We pulled it out straight away but her pad will take a little time to mend.

U is for UNDER THE GREEENWOOD TREE. I’ve been meaning to start re-reading Hardy for a while, but this really will be the year and this will be the first book.

V is for VALENTINE by George Sand, one of the books that inspired my Shadow Centuries and I plan to read it later this month.

V is for Valentine

V is for Valentine

W is for WILKIE COLLINS. I have Andrew Lycett’s new biography on my library pile and, after re-reading The Woman in White and The Moonstone, I want to re-read ‘The Law and the Lady’ next.

X is for CROSSED OUT AND GONE. My library ticket wore out – I was quite proud of that – and I had to have a new one. But I didn’t realise that all my lists – of books I wanted to order soon, of books I might order one day – would be deleted along with my old ticket and barcode. Or that I’d have to get a new ticket number into my head, and the old one out ….

Y is for YARN DIET. I’ve done my year and I’m going to hold out for a couple of months more while I knit a couple of the projects I wrote about in my Knitting Resolutions Post.

Z is for ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Border terriers are very good sleepers ….