More imitation

Copying Jo’s reading list idea this time. This is what I read in January (most recent first):

Fourpence for Four Meals by Grace Noakes Reminiscences of an East End childhood. Clearly an amateur writer, but I love reading the life stories of ordinary people.
Rough Justice by Gilda O’Neill (read by Annie Aldington) This is so dire I almost didn’t admit to it, but honesty prevails! It did however make me think that surely I must be able to write something publishable…
The Smith of Smiths by Hesketh Pearson Biography of the Rev. Sydney Smith – a very interesting character.
Full Tilt by Dervla Murphy (read by Kate Binchy) Absolutely wonderful! My first Dervla Murphy book, but definitely not the last. Sadly the only one available on audio from the library, but plenty of others in print for me to work my way through.
Our Hidden Lives edited by Simon Garfield Fascinating Mass Observation diaries from the years just after WW2.
The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson An interesting easy read, but left me feeling somewhat uneasy about the commoditisation of madness.
Nemesis by Jo Nesbo (read by Sean Barrett) Sean Barrett is one of my favourite narrators. Clever plot, if a bit improbable in places.
Underground London by Stephen Smith (read by Karen Cass) Interesting subject matter, tiresome writing style, not particularly well read.
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham (read by Sir Michael Horden) A lucky CS find for £1. Wonderfully read by Sir Michael.
The Caller by Karin Fossum (read by David Rintoul) Standard Karin Fossum fare, well read.
Rumpole at Christmas by John Mortimer (read by Bill Wallis) Enjoyable background listening whilst sock-knitting.
Spencer’s Mountain by Earl Hamner Made me want to watch every episode of The Waltons all over again.
The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder I love the “Little House” stories and this was a lovely winter read.
Snowdrops by A D Miller (read by Kevin Howarth) A tad implausible in places, but enjoyable listening.
Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg (read by Pat Starr) Sentimental twaddle, but pleasant easy listening.

Not sure if I’ll keep the list going all year, but when I feel a bit glum about how little I achieve due to being ill I can at least be pleased that I do get time to read a lot. Thank goodness for West Sussex library service which helps to keep the cost of my book-reading to a minimum. I’d rather read a book than watch TV any day and listening to an audio book when ill is a wonderful way to take your mind off life’s difficulties.



Vintage media

To celebrate the addition Nicky’s interesting and amusing Knit for Victory to my blogroll, here’s an image from my own, much smaller, collection of vintage knitting patterns.

As well as my knitting patterns I have …um… quite a few vintage magazines, mostly from the 1940s, 50s and 60s and a collection of early to mid 20th century household management, gardening, cookery, craft, DIY and self-improvement books.

I find old print media utterly fascinating and although I’m not an obsessive collector by any means, I do love picking through a pile of dusty musty paper in pursuit of treasure.

OK, so a picture of a bloke wearing a fancy-knit pullover and lighting a fag might not be everyone’s idea of treasure, but to me it’s 20 pence worth of interesting social history.

Couch travel

I’ve been feeling a bit feak and weeble this weekend and have spent a lot of it recumbent, thanking my lucky stars for wifi, a laptop and the fact that I recently discovered Spitalfields Life. Thanks to @thegentleauthor my mind has been fully occupied with interesting things while my body rested.

I’m very glad that it’s taken me nearly two years to discover this absolute gem of a blog, because I’m thoroughly enjoying reading every single post of the archive in sequence. I started off by dipping in and out, but soon realised that I had to go back to the beginning and read systematically to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

What with popping off to explore the links, which sometimes lead to other links, it’s going to take a while longer to get from February 2010 (where I am now) to May 2011 (when I started being a daily follower), but it’s good to have it in my “treats box” for days when I’m feeling too weedy to rise from my couch. I’ve accumulated a few more blogs to read too…

Happy New Year

If you aren’t partying tonight, may I suggest you spend a while clicking back through 2010 on daily dose of imagery by Sam Javanrouh. I get an immense amount of pleasure from ddoi and I hope you do too.

Best wishes for 2011.

Sustainably Creative

Earlier this year I discovered a great blog called Sustainably Creative by Michael Nobbs. In Michael’s own words “Sustainably Creative, is aimed at people, who for whatever reason are limited in energy. It’s about showing that it is possible to stay creative even when energy is in short supply, and how working on small creative acts on a regular basis can build over time into a substantial body of work (and a creative career).”

Whether you have ME, another illness or are just “too busy” to be creative there’s a lot of excellent wisdom in Sustainably Creative to help you focus your energy on what you really want to do and get on with your Important Work.

I’m still a beginner, but I’ve already started to implement some changes in my life using ideas I’ve gleaned from Michael. These include doing 20 minutes worth of creative activity regularly rather than waiting for perfect conditions, accepting imperfection in what I produce, and keeping focused on my Important Work rather than wasting time and energy on “interesting” diversions.

If you feel that you don’t have the time/energy to be creative, but wish you did, pop along to Sustainably Creative and get yourself some inspiration and guidance. Thank you Michael!

Living abroad

I’ve never been much of a traveller, nor have I ever really aspired to live abroad, but I love reading about the experiences of people who have decided to move to another country. A big thank you to the following bloggers for the pleasure I get from reading about their lives in foreign parts:

La Pasera in Asturias, Northern Spain
Eco-Gites of Lenault in Calvados, France
Lap(Fen)lander’s Natural Lore in Swedish Lapland

Why not do a bit of armchair travelling this evening and have a browse round their blogs?