Fab Friend Fridayx

When Martin and I decided to make our home on the Isle of Wight we discovered that it had a thriving and diverse Arts scene. Over the past fourteen years we’ve met ~ among others ~ talented authors, artists and illustrators, musicians, dancers, crafters and bloggers. I’d like to introduce you to some of these creative people, whom we’ve come to know well.

First in the spotlight is My Fab Friend Jules Marriner, children’s author and illustrator ~ who just happens to be one of my granddaughter’s favourite writers, (the other two being Roald Dahl and Jill Murphy.)


This photo was taken last November, when Grace came over from the mainland for her Surprise Birthday Treat ~ she had no idea that she was about to attend a workshop where she would meet Jules in person, until we arrived at Cowes Library, where it was being held. As you can tell from her expression, she was thrilled!

After reading out her latest story, about a fussy owl called Fidget, Jules helped the children make Christmas tree decorations from pine~cones, then chatted with them as she signed copies of her books. Grace is holding ‘Wally and Bert BFFs’, the only one of Jules’ quirky tales that she hadn’t yet read. She has now, of course, and she loves it!

My imaginative and creative friend is so talented and productive that I can’t possibly do her justice just by telling you all the amazing things she gets up to. So, with her permission, here’s an excerpt from her latest blog post, written earlier this month after the Isle of Wight experienced a rare few days of snow and ice:


As the post is on Jules’ own website, I wasn’t able to simply re~blog it and when I tried to cut and paste it, it just came out in plain text, without the colourful background and illustrated header. So I decided to take a screenshot and insert that instead. To read the rest of the post, which includes a pic of Jules’ adorable little chihuaha, Maisie, please click here: Jules Marriner Books.

Once you’ve done that you can download a free ebook and taster of another; visit her Etsy shop ~ from which she sells books, prints, mugs, cards and custom work, follow the link to her YouTube Channel  ~ and so much more. If you’d like to you can even support her on Patreon!


So now that you’ve met My Fab Friend Jules ~ pictured here at a local Wood Fair, where she ran story~telling sessions ~ I’ll leave you to browse her website and get to know more about her.

Have fun!



WIP Wednesday

IMG_2785 2.jpgHaving completed my tiny blanket for a teeny~tiny newborn, I decided I’d like to tackle something a little more substantial.

So here is my latest work~in~progress ~ a crochet ‘mandala’ blanket or throw.

At our Wednesday afternoon drop~in get~together Ursula, my very good friend and expert needlewoman, suggested that ~ if I make it big enough ~ I could fashion into a loose~fitting jacket or shrug. By her reckoning I’m about half~way there.

Another friend remarked that they’ll be able to see me coming when I’m wearing it, which made us all laugh.

In this jazzy colour scheme I reckon I’ll be visible from outer space!

I’ll let you know how I get on.


It’s OK not to be perfect

Nearly five years ago I suffered severe trauma to my neck and was subsequently diagnosed with Osteoarthritis. Since then I’ve found writing and craftwork less enjoyable ~ if I push myself too far I can end up with ferocious headaches and burning pains in my muscles and jonts for several days.

Nevertheless, by practising an (almost) daily Qi~gong routine to keep myself as supple as possible, I’ve managed to keep going to my fortnightly craft group, The Crafty Bees. Even though I haven’t been able to accomplish as much as I would like, the lively chatter and unbridled laughter have definitely helped to keep my spirits lifted. And when I’m taking a break from my own halting work~in~progress, I can always wander round and find out what interesting and unusual projects other members have brought along.

A few weeks before Christmas, inspired and mentored by my super~talented friend Chrissie, (who actually spins her own yarn, weaving and knitting it into a wide range of lovely items,) I began to crochet a small blanket to be sent to a hospital Neonatal Infant Care Unit. Once I’d got my head around the pattern it proved fairly easy but at first I couldn’t manage more than two or three rows at each meeting and ~ since it remained in my knitting bag until the next session ~ progress was pitifully slow.

I wasn’t all that happy with the way it was turning out. The pattern had to be closely worked, with no lacy detail that could trap tiny fingers, which made it very firm. And it had to be made in acrylic yarn, so that it can be machine washed. I didn’t like the way the colours in the variegated yarn that I’d chosen were panning out and, more than once, I felt like ripping it all out and not starting again.

My friends kept reassuring me that it was really pretty and that the hospital would be very grateful, which reminded me why I’d decided to do this in the first place. And, more importantly, for whom ~ fragile little beings who have arrived in this world too soon and who deserve to be surrounded by love and support, not resentment and complaining.

Once my attitude changed I found that I could work for longer periods without suffering too much. And instead of repeatedly moaning, ‘I’m not feeling it,’ I began to enjoy myself, like I used to when absorbed in one craft or another.

Today, as I finally finished the border and wove in the tails, I felt satisfied emnough with my efforts to write about them but hesitated to include a photo because it shows up mistakes, like the wobbly edges. I can probably pull it more into shape once it’s been washed and laid out flat to dry but this blanket will never be as perfect and the one that Chrissie made. I don’t think my Super-Needlewoman mother would be too impressed.

Oh Wow!! Now that thought has pulled me up short and given me much to ponder on. Actually she would probably tell me that it was absolutely fine ~ but would I beleive her? I mean, I don’t pay any heed to Martin when he says the same. Am I my own worst critic, sabotaging my own creative output? Hmm…I guess we all know the answer to that question!

OK, so my crocheting may not be technically correct but I don’t suppose that matters to the tiny recipients, as long as it keeps them warm and snuggly while they’re fighting to survive. So here, without apology for it’s glorious imperfections, is my premature baby blanket:






Happy Birthday Mum

Had she survived lung cancer fifteen years ago, it would have been my mother’s eighty~ninth birthday today.

Her fierce pride and controlling nature, combined with aching vulnerability ~ which she held in check until a few large glasses of what she called ‘tonic wine’ lowered her defences ~ had a negative effect on our relationship. Particularly when I was a tormented teenager, trying to figure out my own way through a confusing world.

But having had a girl~child of my own, I’ve experienced both sides of the complex mother/daughter dynamic and long ago came to terms with the volatile nature of my Mum’s personality.

When I was younger you’d often hear me say ‘I love my mother but…’

I just wished that she’d been different. I guess she may have felt the same way about me but about five years before her untimely death we made our peace and when she was admitted to hospital I stood up as fiercely for her rights as she would have done for mine.

Today, with age; wisdom, several sessions of counselling and a great deal of self~help under my belt, I’m happy to simply say, ‘I love my mother.’

And to know, without a shadow of doubt that ~ despite her human frailties ~ she loved me. ❤️

Testing… testing… very very testing!

The day before yesterday WordPress sent me a message, telling me that it’s been over a year since I published a post on this blog. It’s been some time since I felt in the mood for writing but I’m surprised that it’s been that long!

Over the past couple of years I’ve been settling into retirement along with my husband, Martin. This process has taken longer than either of us thought it would and I’m not even sure we’re quite ‘there’ yet. I spent my working life longing to be free from rules and schedules only to find it quite difficult to motivate myself without them!

Days can flow by without anything much happening and, at first anyway, that can be scary. But now life is gradually finding it’s own rhythm and we are both beginning to feel more creative again. So I’ve attempted to redesign the theme to this blog ~ although I’m not entirely sure how successful that has been, so I may have to make a few adjustments once it goes ‘live’.

Since this is the Chinese New Year of the Dog, I’ve spent some time now trying to add a photo of our own little poochie pal, Indie. But I just can’t seem to find it anywhere in my media library, even though I’ve tried to upload it three times.

Hence the title of this post!

Yay! I worked out how to add a photo to my WP Library and insert it here. 😁

Gong xi fa cai!

Important Message from Keeper of Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe. – Chief Arvol Looking Horse

As my Nurturing Thursday contribution today I am reblogging this important message:


Make No Bones About It


I, Chief Arvol Looking Horse, of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Nations, ask you to understand an Indigenous perspective on what has happened in America, what we call “Turtle Island.” My words seek to unite the global community through a message from our sacred ceremonies to unite spiritually, each in our own ways of beliefs in the Creator.

We have been warned from ancient prophecies of these times we live in today, but have also been given a very important message about a solution to turn these terrible times.

To understand the depth of this message you must recognize the importance of Sacred Sites and realize the interconnectedness of what is happening today, in reflection of the continued massacres that are occurring on other lands and our own Americas.

I have been learning about these important issues since the age of 12 when I received the Sacred White Buffalo Calf…

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Lake Vyrnwy

Shivers ran down my spine when I read this week’s ‘Nurturing Thursday’ post by ladyleemanila, and listened to the haunting folk song in Welsh. I was brought up near Lake Vyrnwy, so it brought back happy memories of my childhood , when we would regularly drive around the area on a Sunday afternoon. The water rushing down the side of the dam, when it was overflowing, was exciting and dramatic and the fairytale tower brought to mind the legends of King Arthur and The Lady of Shallot! Revisiting these memories and hearing the ballad in my father’s language has made me so happy that I just have to reblog the post!


Lake Vyrnwy is a reservoir in Powys, Wales. Its stone-built dam, built in the 1880s, was the first of its kind in the world. It was built for the purpose of supplying Liverpool and the districts later designated as Merseyside with fresh water. (Wikipedia)

What made you smile this week?

For: Nurt Thurs – Serenity Prayer, Night scenes of a sleepless city – Echoes of my neighbourhood 25, WW #66 rocky arch… , Weekly Smile 26 #weeklysmile, Three Things Thursday: June 30, 2016

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