Mona and True Love’s Reward by Mrs Georgie Sheldon

‘Mona’ and ‘True Love’s Reward’ are presented to the world as two separate books – the latter being the sequel to the former – but, because they tell one story, divided into two part of equal length at a place that really doesn’t feel like an ending before a new beginning, I am going to treat them as one.

Both books were published in 1891, and they were the work of a very, very popular author. They aren’t great works, but they are very engaging and very readable. They do what they do very well.

There’s mystery, there’s intrigue, there’s romance ….

MonaMona was raised by her uncle, but he fell in and died before he could sign a will and before he could finish telling Mona the story of he mother – who had died – her father – who had left – and the secret that he was holding until she grew up.

She was heartbroken, but when her uncle’s estranged wife had her turned out without a penny she drew herself up, with pride and with spirit, and set out to use her skill with her needle to support herself.

A position as a seamstress fell into her lap, but Mona realised that it might not be the blessing that it seemed to be. Because she believed that her employer was her father’s second wife. She knew that the lady would wish her ill – would quite probably do her harm – if she discovered who she was, but she also realised that her new job might offer her an opportunity – maybe the only opportunity – to uncover the secret that her uncle had been holding.

Mona was disappointed that her young man, the son of a wealthy jeweller, hasn’t been in touch with her since her uncle died. She didn’t know that he and his father had been stung by some clever and audacious thieves, and that he really had no way of getting in touch with anybody. And once things were sorted out she was living a different life in a different place under a different name, so it wouldn’t be at all easy for him to find her.

Would Mona uncover the truth about her family …. ?

What would the diamond thieves do next …. ?

Would her employer find out the truth about Mona …. ?

Would the young lovers be reunited …. ?

The story is very well plotted, with lots of twists and turns. At times it was predictable, and I caught echoes of other stories, but it was always engaging and there were more than enough tines when I was puzzled and intrigued.

True Love's Reward At first I thought that Mona might be a little too nice, a little too good to be interesting, but she grew into a very fine heroine. She continued to be good, but she was ready to stand up for herself, she learned to be practical and capable, and she coped well with some very tricky situations.

Her young man became a wonderful foil.

And the jewel thieves continued to prey on high society – thay provided great entertainment, and a lovely contrast to Mona’s story.

Everything worked out as it should in the end. This is that sort of story. It’s very black and white.

There were some small flaws in the logic, but as a whole the story worked.

It was wonderfully diverting at a time when I wanted something not too demanding to read.

The Mystery of a Hansom Cab by Fergus Hume

Fergus Hume was born in England in 1832. His family emigrated to Australia, where he became a barrister and aspired to be a writer. His early efforts were met with complete disinterest, and so, unwilling to admit defeat, he asked a local bookseller what type of book was most popular. The answer was detective novels, and so Hume bought and studied all of the works of the popular crime writer Emile Gaboriau that the bookstore had to offer.

The result was ‘The Mystery of a Hansom Cab’, the first of some 130 books that the author would publish between 1886 and his death in 1932. That first book though was his only success. And it was a huge success; quite probably the best-selling detective story of the eighteenth century.

Other books of the period may have stood the test of time better, may speak for their times more eloquently; other authors may have left a greater body of work; but this book has much to hold the interest.

untitledThe book opens with a newspaper account of a murder. A drunken man had been put into a cab by another man, who instructed the driver to take him home. And when the driver stopped to ask his fare for directions not long afterwards, his passenger was dead, suffocated with a chloroform soaked handkerchief bearing the initials OW. There was nothing else that gave any clue to the dead man’s identity, and nothing at all to indicate who the man who had put him into the cab – the man who must surely be his murderer – might be.

Mr Gorby, the police detective at the head of the investigation, was very capable, and he was quick to establish that the dead man was Oliver Whyte, a newcomer to Melbourne society.

It was interesting that Whyte had been courting Madge Frettlby, who was the only child of Mark Frettlby, one of the richest men in the city. Madge was in love with Brian Fitzgerald, an Irishman who had come to Melbourne to make his fortune; her father knew that, and yet he was encouraging Whyte’s suit.

Whyte and Fitzgerald were, understandably, on very bad terms. Gorby learned that Fitzgerald has been heard to threaten Whyte at his lodgings; he learned that Fitzgerald wore a light coat & wide brimmed hat, just like the man who had put Whyte into the cab; he learned that Fitzgerald had been out in the city that night. He was convinced that he had his man.

Fitzgerald pleaded innocence, but herefused to provide an alibi for the time of the murder. He had one, but he would not use it because he knew that to do so would cause irreparable damage.

It was fortunate that his lawyer, Mr Calton believed him, and prepared to investigate. Another police detective, Mr Kilslip, was convinced that his old rival, Mr Gorby, had got things wrong; and so the two men set out to uncover the truth.

They came to understand why Fitzgerald wanted to keep a secret that he wished he had never been told, a terrible secret, with roots in England and Australia, involving some of the highest and some of the lowest of Melbourne society …..

The plot rattled along nicely, from crime, to investigation, to trial, to aftermath. And as it did that it shifted from crime story to sensation story. Hume did better with the former than the latter, and though I enjoyed most of the journey in the end I could see how things were going to play out and ready for the journey to be over.

But I had found much to appreciate along the way:

I admired the professionalism of the police and lawyers, and I was pleased that they all proved to be capable. I liked that there was some moral ambiguity in the way the story played out. And I found it easy to believe in these people, to believe in their world, and to enjoy spending time there.

A hint of misogyny was disappointing, but Madge did develop into a credible heroine – albeit a woman of her time – after a shaky start, and this was a story about plot much more than characters. The characters did their job but no more.

The very best thing though was the wealth of literary references that peppered the story, the many times when the characters mentioned something they’d read about: I spotted Gaboriau, De Quincy, Zola, Braddon, and I suspect that there were others that I didn’t recognise. Sometimes it felt a little contrived but it was lovely, and I loved the author’s generosity of spirit.

The authors I didn’t see mentioned but whose influence I was sure I saw were Charles Dickens – in the slums – and Wilkie Collins – in the melodrama.

Fergus Hume is nowhere near their class, but he has left the world a rather nice period entertainment, pitched at a very interesting point in the evolution of crime fiction.

Knitting Resolutions: Project 7

I’m sorry to have disappeared, but I’ve not been entirely well – it’s been nothing too serious, but it’s been leaving me too tired spend much time with the computer, or even to face reading very much, at the end of the day.

I’ve just been doing a little bit of knitting and browsing back issues of the Rowan Knitting and Crochet Magazine.

And I’ve crossed the finishing line of this year’s knitting resolution. I made up a dozen bags of single skeins and leftover yarn and I vowed to use at least half of them before the end of the year.

I now have six and a half bags of yarn used!

Knitting Resolution target

Here’s project 7 ….

The Yarn

Fyberspates Scrumptious DK. It’s lovely, and Project 5 used a single skein of the very same yarn.

I bought two skeins in a lovely shade of blue with a shawl in mind. I changed my mind about the pattern, and so I put the yarn to one side and waited for the right idea to come along.

The Pattern

I’d always meant to try my hand at a Clapotis one day

It’s a free pattern, it’s hugely popular – at the time of writing there are  21, 604 of them on Ravelry, and it’s more of a scarf/wrap than a shawl, and definitely the sort of thing I would wear.

I didn’t have quite enough yarn, but the pattern is simple to adjust – I did five repeats of the increase rows instead of seven, so I lost some width but I kept the length.

It’s a very clever pattern,  much easier than it looks or reads, and once I caught on to the logic I hardly had to look at the instructions at all.

The only two things I’d say to someone thinking of knitting one are:

  • You’ll need a lot of stitch markers.
  • Because there are stitches to drop and ladder you’d do best to chose a slippery yarn.

The Result

I love it.

My Clapotis  grew when it came off the needles, and blocking really paid dividends.

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I’d definitely knit another, in a different colour and weight, one day ….

Coming soon

I have an entrelac scarf in progress, and I’d like to use up a little more of my project yarn before the end of the year.

But I’m working on a much bigger knitting project now, and because it’s rather special I’ll write about it …. one day soon ….

 

The Getting of Wisdom by Henry Handel Richardson

I don’t know a great deal about Ethel Richardson – who adopted a male pseudonym when she wrote – but I do know that this story, the story of an Australian girl sent to boarding school, is said to be autobiographical, and, if that is the case, I suspect that I would like her very much.

The book dates from 1910, but the story that it tells could easily have happened years earlier or years later.

I loved twelve- year old Laura Rambotham. At home she was a benevolent queen, ruling over her younger siblings, leading them in wonderful games, enchanting them with lovely stories; while her widowed mother worked had as a needlewoman to support her children, and give them the education that they needed to get on in the world,

Of course her mother sent Laura to school, of course Laura was not happy about it, and of course neither could quite see the other’s point of view.

The Getting of Wisdom

Miss Richardson began her story beautifully, illuminating her characters and their situations with both clarity and subtlety.

I had high hopes for the school story that was to come.

Laura struggled to fit in with her school-mate. They were from the town, and she was from a rural backwater. They were from wealthy families, she was the daughter of a widow with aspirations …. but Laura was set apart by more that that.

She was artistic she was creative. She couldn’t understand that no one shared her appreciation of the writing of Sir Walter Scott, that no one appreciated the descriptions of the English countryside that she had to share. And nobody could really explain to her satisfaction why it was necessary to be able to be able to pinpoint English towns on a map, or to learn the foreign policy of Oliver Cromwell.

And Laura never really learned to compromise, to learn from her mistakes, to do what she needed to do to get by.

She did try to fit in, and often she did, but there were slips. She lost standing when it became known that her mother had to work to support her family. She lavishly embroidered her account of a day out to make a good story, but when the truth came out she was accused of deception and sent to Coventry.

But I had to love Laura. Her letter’s home were a riot. I loved that she delighted the invitations to tea that the other girls dreaded, because it gave her a chance to examine new bookshelves, and that made the fear of being called on to recite or perform fade into insignificance. I loved her joy when an older girl look her under her wing; and her outrage when she found that she had a young man.

Miss Richardson brought the school, and a wonderful cast of girls around Laura to life. It was very easy to believe in the time and the place and the story.

There was just one wrong note at the very end of the story. Laura did something I wished she hadn’t, she wasn’t called to account for it, and she should have been. Maybe it was something she would have to live with, maybe there was to have been another story. But there wasn’t.

This story ends as Laura leaves school, still not sure what her future might be, what it could be, what she wants it to be.

It makes the point quite clearly that education offered nothing to the creative and the artistic.

But it lacked structure – it was difficult to know how much time was passing – and it lacked a sense of purpose. There was no real journey, for Laura, no real lesson learned.

Maybe that was the point ….

Certainly this was a very fine school story, and an engaging and believable tale of one girl’s life at school.

The Classics Club Spin has spun me to Yorkshire!

Seredipity!

This morning – a few hours before the spin – I pulled ‘Anderby Wold’ by Winifred Holtby from my Virago bookcase, to read for All Very Virago All August.

I love Winifred Holtby, but because she didn’t write many books I’m trying to spread them out. But I decided it was time.

And the spin agreed with me:

Anderby Wold

#17 – Anderby Wold by Winifred Holtby

I couldn’t be more pleased!

How was the spin for you?

The People In The Photo by Hélène Gestern

‘The People in the Photo’ arrived from France garlanded with literary awards. I’m inclined to be a little wary of books like that, books that are often too serious and too modern for my taste, but I fell in love with this particular book. It tells wonderfully moving and though-provoking human story; and it is so very east to read, to become involved, to keep turning the pages because you care about these people and you need to know what happens ….

Hélène didn’t remember her mother, who had died when she was an infant, and no one would ever speak of her. Her father, her step-mother, anyone who might have known her mother drew a careful veil over the past.

But Hélène found a picture, a picture of her mother as a very young woman, at a tennis tournament with two young men she did not recognise at all. Her need to know more was overwhelming, and so she placed an advertisement, asking for more information about the people in the photo.

Stéphane, a Swiss scientist who lived and worked in England, responded. He recognised one of the young men as his father, and that made him realise that he also had unanswered questions about his own history.

18528158Each hoped to learn more from the other, and so they continued to correspond – by letter, by email, by text message. Slowly and steadily they find out more about their parents, their history, and the relationship between them.

They are intelligent, they are articulate, and that illuminates their correspondence.  Their words bring Hélène and Stéphane to life, as real, complicated, living, breathing human beings. Two people drawn together by their need for  answers about their childhoods and the secrets of the past that their parents have kept from them.

The photographs they found were described so beautifully that I could see the past, could see the people in their photo. That was lovely, and it gave brought those people to life too, and set them apart from the story in the present and the questions being asked about them.

There were photographs from the Swiss mountains, the Brittany coast, and the streets of Paris ….

The plot was intricately and cleverly constructed. Sometimes questions led to answers, and sometimes they would lead to more questions. There were moments of understanding, moments of despair, moments of doubt, moments of hope, before the final pieces fell into place.

I loved that as well as the big picture there were so many little nuances. Little things like a change in salutation, a change in tone, made this correspondence so very real.

At times it was predictable, but sometimes people are predictable.

If I have reservations, it was because I felt that at times the story ran too smoothly. Sometimes answers came too easily, suspense was maintained artificially, there was a little too much good luck …..

But the story held me, because I believed in these people, I cared about them, and I was caught up with their emotional journey and their voyage of discovery from the first page to the last.

(Translated by Emily Boyce and Ros Schwartz)

Spinning With the Classics Club

The Classics Club Spin is beginning again.

      • Pick twenty unread books from your list.
      • Number them from one to twenty.
      • On Monday a number will be drawn.
      • That’s your book, to read by 6th October.

I’m going to do it.

whirlingdervishesegypt

And this time – after a couple of successful spins – I’m going to be brave.  There’s a very big book in there that I haven’t put on a spin list before, and there are a couple that I think I might find difficult …..

Here’s my list:

Five that I’d read in translation

1. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (1857)
2. Doctor Glas by Hjalmar Söderberg (1905)
3. The Trial by Franz Kafka (1925)
4. Kristin Lavransdattir by Sigrid Undset (1922)
5. The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi Di Lampedusa (1958)

*****

Five that were published before Queen Victoria came to the throne

6. A Simple Story by Elizabeth Inchbold (1791)
7. The Coquette by Hannah W Foster (1797)
8. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (1814)
9. The Collegians by Gerard Griffin (1829)
10.Old Goriot by Honore Balzac (1835)

*****

Five that were published during her reign

11. A String of Pearls by Thomas Peskett Prest (1847)
12. Bleak House by Charles Dickens (1854)
13. The Odd Women by George Gissing (1893)
14. The Beth Book by Sarah Grand (1897)
15. Red Pottage by Mary Cholmondeley (1899)

*****

Five from five decades of the 20th century

16. Fidelity by Susan Glaspell (1915)
17. Anderby Wold by Winifred Holtby (1923)
18. The Weather in the Streets by Rosamond Lehmann (1936)
19. The Far Cry by Emma Smith (1949)
20.The Fountain Overflows by Rebecca West (1957)

*****

And now I must wait to see which number comes up on Monday …

Which number should I be hoping for? Which number should I hope to avoid?

Strangled Prose by Joan Hess

Picking up the first book in a nineteen book series is not something I do lightly, but this particular book in this particular series had a protagonist I was curious to meet.

Claire Malloy was the proprietor of a bookstore in a small American college town, a widow with a teenage daughter, and a woman who readers seemed to either love or hate. I think I’m coming down on the side of love. I found her to be brash and outspoken, I appreciated that she was strong and capable, and I loved her dark wit. I wouldn’t want to meet her in real life, but she was excellent company on the printed page.

strangled-prose-978144727687601Hosting the launch of an erotic romance was not something Claire would usually do – and ‘The Professor of Passion’ was definitely not the kind of book she would have on her shelves – but she agreed because the woman who stood behind the pseudonym ‘Azalea Twilight’ was her friend and neighbour Mildred Twiller. And because Mildred was the type of lady who would not take no for an answer.

The launch party was one to remember. There were protestors outside. A reading from the book revealed that it was a very thinly veiled roman a clef. And later that day the author was found strangled with her own silk scarf.

There were plenty of suspects. A good number  of people recognised themselves in the text, and had secrets come tumbling out that they had hoped to keep hidden.

There were lots of reasons for Claire to get involved. Her business was affected; her friends were affected, her daughter was taking rather too much interest in what was going on; she was getting on rather well with the detective in charge; and she was the kind of woman who had to do things, had to find out for herself.

I appreciated that; there weren’t any of the contrivances that some books use to pull a protagonist who isn’t a professional detective in the story,

And I appreciated the way that Joan Hess handled the drama. She brought different characters to the fore, she showed another side to Claire through revelations in the book, and she twisted her tale very well.

There were some nice nods to classic detective fiction – but you shouldn’t read this book before you read ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ – Claire considers a theory that gives the ending away.

I have some reservations. The tone was a little uneven, some of the characterisations were less than subtle, and the finale was disappointing.

But those are all things that I hope will settle down as the series progresses. I see a good deal of potential here. And some interesting ideas in the next few books in the series.

This was a short book,  a quick easy read, and a lovely diversion between more serious books.

10% Report: 100 Years of Books

100 Years of Books

It’s taken me a very long time to get to this second report for my 100 Years of Books project.

That’s partly because I’ve read a couple of big books that were published before 1850 – The Count of Monte Cristo and Vanity Fair – and partly because I ‘ve been going back to authors – Margaret Kennedy, Anthony Trollope, Angela Thirkell – and I want 100 authors for my 100 years so each author only gets one appearance.

And it’s also because I began to have doubts about whether this was the right project. Because I feel differently about the two centuries I’ve brought together. The twentieth century is home and the nineteenth century is somewhere I love to visit, so I thought that maybe I should have two projects, one short term and one long term.

That thinking distracted me for a while, but in the end I decided I would stick to the original plan; to read the books I picked up naturally and to read the books that I didn’t pick up quite as naturally but really appreciated when I did.

I may struggle to fill some of the earlier years but …. I think I have to try.

So, my first report is here, and this is the second:

1866 – Griffith Gaunt by Charles Reade

“Charles Reade was once a very popular author; and, though his historical novel ‘The Cloister and the Hearth’ was his most acclaimed work, ‘Griffith Gaunt’ was his personal favourite. You might call it a sensation novel, and it is a sensation novel, but its much more than that. This is a book that grows from a melodrama, into a psychological novel, into a courtroom drama ….”

1878 – Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

“Listening highlighted the quality of the storytelling, the characters, the prose, and the wonderful, wonderful rhythm of the words. That was something I would never have picked up if I’d read from a book. It didn’t take long at all for me to be smitten ….”

1911 – Mr Perrin and Mr Traill by Hugh Walpole

“Mr Traill is a new master, in his first teaching post. He knows that it is first step on the ladder. He is young, handsome, athletic, charming, and the boys love him. But he is oblivious to the tension in the air, and he is incredulous when one of his colleagues warns him to get out as soon as he can ….”

1923 – None-Go-By by Mrs Alfred Sidgwick

“I found myself listening  to Mary Clarendon, as she spoke about what happened  when she and her husband moved from London to a Cornish cottage they named ‘None-Go-By’, and it’s lovely because her voice is so real, open and honest; and because she catches people and their relationships so beautifully.”

1925 – The Mother’s Recompense by Edith Wharton

“It was not easy to feel sympathy for a woman who had abandoned her daughter, but I did. Because Kate Clephane was a real, complex, human being, and she was as interesting as any woman I have met in the pages of an Edith Wharton novel. “

1932 – Three Fevers by Leo Walmsley

“I learned recently that Leo Walmsley’s father, Ulric, studied art in Newlyn under Stanhope Forbes. and that pointed me to the best way that I could explain why this book is so readable: Leo Walmsley captured his fishing community in words every bit as well as Stanhope Forbes and his contemporaries captured the fishing community in Newlyn.”

1934 – Wild Strawberries by Angela Thirkell

“‘Wild Strawberries’ is the story of one aristocratic English family and one glorious summer in between the wars. And it is set in Angela Thirkell’s Barchestershire, a place where every single person, however high or low their situation, is happy and accepting of their situation and the role they are to play. You need to be able to accept that – and I can understand that some might not be able to – but I can, and if you can too, you will find much to enjoy in this light, bright and sparkling social comedy ….”

1939 – Nine Pounds of Luggage by Maud Parrish

“When I read the extract from her book I fell in love with her voice; it was the voice of a woman talking openly and honestly to a friend, a woman with lots and lots of great stories to tell. I so wanted to read everything that she had written, but there was not a copy of her book to be had. Until I found that I could borrow a copy from Open Library ….”

 1940 – The English Air by D E Stevenson

“The story played out beautifully, moving between Franz and his English family. It grew naturally from the characters I had come to like and to care about; it caught the times, the early days of the war, perfectly; and though it wasn’t entirely predictable it was entirely right. Even better – maybe because ‘The English Air’ was written and published while was still raging – the ending was uncontrived and natural. And that’s not always the case with D E Stevenson’s novel ….”

 1941 – The Castle on the Hill by Elizabeth Goudge

“This is a story of the darkest days of World War II, when only England stood against the Nazi forces advancing across Europe, and when the fear of invasion was very, very real. Elizabeth Goudge lived on the south coast of England then, close to the eye of the storm, it was during the war that she wrote this book, and it was clear as I read that she knew and she that understood ….”

And that’s it! It shouldn’t be such a wait for the next report ….

An A to Z as another month begins …..

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

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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.

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