Tuesday, 18 November 2014

A study in Hibernation/Hibernia and Hairy Men in Flares.

Hello! Thank-you for coming back to Oriel. How fast this fortnight has flown. I have been sequestered at my desk, reading, reading reading and watching the rain. How dark and damp it has been, we have also seen pretty extreme flooding in these parts, thankfully not at the door of our home but elsewhere in the town which was fairly disruptive for a few days.

I have also been totally bitten by the crafty bug and have been waiting for a good light to share with you my works-in-progress. My big 'precious-yarny' granny-square blanket is nearly fully-grown, just six more squares and then I can tackle joining them all together. I am loving all the blanket making in the blogs, there is Lucy of-course, Bunny Mummy and Heather from Tiny Tin Bird all busily crocheting away. This long autumn certainly has been inspirational for gorgeous colour combinations and all those ladies are certainly a rich source of inspirational creatively.

I have also been knitting E a scarf-at a snails pace- but I do like the colours which remind me of a raspberry ripple.

I even started putting my skirt together, the McCall's A-line pattern, previously mentioned here and here and inspired by totally fabulous Lazy Daisy Jones blog.

Home has been such a comforting retreat, is has been very difficult to leave!  So much so, when my long suffering friend P called me up unexpectedly to go to the pub  I almost wailed 'Oh No!' I do fear the onset of a major inability to be spontaneous. Mind you, Mr S had just poured me a large glass of red and we were just about to sit down to a feast of pulled-pork from this recipe. These long evenings are perfect for slow-cooked meals like these.

I have been occasionally emerging from my cave for my music and driving lessons. I have written previously about my love/hate relationship with my violin, here. I have been making slow progress but was pleasantly surprised to find I had been promoted to 'Intermediate Fiddle'. Yay! Sometimes though my playing sounds so laboured and stilted I can barely pick it up to practise. Regularly, a new/rediscovered tune will bring a new energy to my practise, reminding me why I love Irish music so much. Last week we started this one:

I do so want to believe that this tune was the atmospheric battle-cry of the O'Neills of Ulster, a romantic legacy from the early-medieval Gaelic High Kings but a terse search of the internet can find no definitive source for this piece, perhaps it was composed by the brilliant Sean O'Riada  in the 1960's. Whatever its beginning this piece was incorporated into this piece of 1970's flamboyance:

These boys crack me up! I really don't know what was going on in the 1970's but I nearly like it ...then in the 1990's Ireland qualified for the world cup for the first time and some mad eejit did this:

I'm really not a fan of the football song as a genre but to me it shows the vibrancy of this music and how this wee tune has become almost embedded in our popular culture (and er the optimism of our football supporters) so it doesn't really matter if it is not an ancient song...and it is so much fun to scrape it out on my fiddle!

Next time...I brave the virgin roads of Dundalk for my pre-test practice...eek! Bye.xxxx

EDIT: So sorry but I have just discovered that the links may not work on some devices-I cannot seem to rectify that at the moment so here are the full links if you so wish. Apologies if some of the music gives you the Earworm. xxxxx

Monday, 3 November 2014


(A Young Girl Reading Jean-Honore Fragonard.)
It is very hard to concentrate on my degree sometimes. I do blame the OU for the percentage of online study it requires. Here I am on a most beautiful autumn afternoon supposedly broadening my understanding of the development of the political and social structures that were born out of the aftermath of the First World War, specialising in the analysis of the 'psychological modernity thesis' but because I am reading a journal on the PC, I am swayed, distracted and intrigued by many other interests. Thanks to the internet I have the attention span of a gnat, preferring to investigate:
  • recipes for banana bread, there are five very ripe bananas in the fridge.
  • recipes for toffee apples, we are not yet done with Halloween, it appears.
  • pom-pom scarf tutorials, so cute.
  • Mise's curtain malaise and subsequently what to do with my single quince...
  • The lovely crochet blog header on Emerald Cottage, so new blanket inspiration approaching very quickly. Need. More. Yarn.
  • Benedict Cumberbatch.
  • Is chocolate good for you? It is in The Guardian, must be worthy of a read, right?
  • the amount of dog hair that has suddenly become visible in the low afternoon light.
If I was in the dim library reading through a dusty old paper journal I would not have to endure these problems. In the years before the communications revolution, I would be frantically scanning through for the pertinent section and then queuing up at the photo-copier with my fellow students, desperately hoping for a pocket full of enough change. I do fear though that my restless brain is not the type of organ that wants to wrestle with phrases such as 'psycho-physical parallelism'. Instead it wants to laze around indulgently preoccupying itself with lovely fluff.