4 October 2008

long time coming

still warm

Seems I don't have much time for blogging, although there's lots going on here behind the scenes. The menfolk have gone off to see Melbourne Victory play Queensland Roar (or something like that) so I have a precious couple of hours to listen to Vivaldi and knit and see what you've all been up to.

another smocked dishcloth

And me, you ask? Well.

The children have been on school holidays for two weeks which led to me taking one week off work, and in the second week the mister and I juggled and tag-teamed the parenting. Thankfully it's been semester break at my book-learnin' place too, so apart from the first couple of days when I was writing a paper and the boys had to rediscover the joys of reading and playing Lego without parental intervention, I have had some time to do things with them (like go to the Show, or hang out by the river, or instruct them in the finer arts of vacuuming, or go rockclimbing).


Sporadic, scattered knitting has taken place with more dishcloths, more green vest, more Haruha scarf, more Luminare socks and now god help me, a brown mohair shawl (hmm, not sure about that last one but I needed some chartless, mindless dvd knitting and so I cast it on. And hey, why did no one ever tell me shawls are quick and easy?)

Nigella's breakfast bars

I've become obsessed with baking two things. Nigella's Breakfast Bars (which I think I originally saw on Ali's blog but can't now find the link), and lemon cake. I have baked these two items every weekend for about the past seven weeks.

little acorns, metal and wool

Some fabulous books have been devoured. Dear BB, noting my recent penchant for historical fiction, put me onto Sandra Gulland's excellent trilogy about Josephine Bonaparte. I gobbled up the first two (note to self: put third one on hold). They are written as diary excerpts and letters and are chock full of tidbits, anecdotes and fabulous detail.

Prior to those I read Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love to see what all the fuss was about. A quick and entertaining read but it smacked of rich white spoilt woman too much to be truly enjoyable for me.

In the car ... oh and by the way, meet my newest love! It doesn't belch smoke, or shudder violently when stopped at traffic lights, all the door handles work and the radio doesn't mysteriously turn itself on when I go over bumps. Nor is it sixteen years old. It's all round good stuff.


Where was I? Oh yes, In my car. In my car, my new, blue, shiny, pretty car, I'm listening to more historical fiction.

I'm on a Philippa Gregory roll. I recently watched The Other Boleyn Girl (the movie, not the BBC improvised thingie) and thought it was so mediocre (except for the frocks which were very fetching and Eric Bana who was also rather fetching although swarthy which isn't usually my thing but hey he wore tights and a ruff) that, you know, I just ached for more. So I googled and discovered the general consensus that the book is better. What a surprise. And lo, my keyboard somehow put on hold every Philippa Gregory audio book it could find at the library and now I've listened to not only The Other Boleyn Girl (yes, heaps better than the movie) but am now onto The Virgin's Lover (about Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley) which gets a bit bodice-rippitty at times but is holding me in thrall. Next up is The Boleyn Inheritance and I am beginning to suspect that Ms Gregory is a bit of an English history nut.

wee birdhouse

I also listened to Joanne Harris' Chocolat which is truly madly deeply superior to the movie and was narrated by Alan Rickman's Truly Madly Deeply costar, the honey voiced Juliet Stevenson on whom I've had a crush ever since she and Mr Rickman sang When I'm Without Yoooouuuuu loudly and out of tune in her tumbly down full-of-dead-people London flat. Anyway, if you get a chance to read (or listen to) Chocolat I highly recommend it. Much darker and more poignant than the film and with a different but more satisfying ending. Interesting that the filmmakers chose to make the baddie the town mayor, rather than the priest as in the book. Hmm yes, funny, that.

And I will not let that segue into the frightening realm of American politics because if they win and he has a heart attack in the excitement of it all and she is in charge then I'm digging a great big hole in the backgarden and hiding for a few years. Or moving to Iceland with Bjork and the geysers.


In other news, Altissimo is flowering which means it's Spring around here.


bluemountainsmary said...

You have always taken beautiful photos but can I say that I think you have outdone yourself here!

Frogdancer said...

I'm currently 3/4 of the way through Philippa Gragory's latest one, 'The Other Queen', all about Mary Queen of Scots.
I had no idea how close Elizabeth came to losing it all.

M said...

I really must get onto this Philippa Gregory thing. All sounds right up my alley.

You are such a prolific reader, knitter, baker, worker. I feel you must have the most superb time management skills. I just seem to muddle along, productive one minute, time-waster the next. Mostly time-wasting.

Isabelle said...

Yes - I'm seriously worried about the world being ruled by someone who calls her children Track, Trig and Bristol. Sorry any Palinist Americans who may read this. She probably has a great heart, hidden by the media, but - judgement?

I love that acorn! And the rose. And your life. Could I perhaps be you for a while, do you think?

docwitch said...

Oh that acorn...I have knitting envy.

The rose is beautiful.

Ditto Juliet Stevenson. Adore her.

I loved The Other Boleyn Girl, but found the film dire. Really dire. And it looked like Harvey Scissorhands (aka Mr Weinstein of Miramax) had been indulging his usual habit of hacking away at films, because the editing was tragic and rendered much of the story pretty non-sensical. Erm, I think.

rhubarbwhine said...

You were more kind to 'Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love' than I was, I only gave it one star on 'library thing'. Like you, I wanted to see what the fuss was about, book reccomendations are usually on the ball for me, but not this time. I found it very self indulgent to the writer, and gave up before the end.

Your photos are gorgeous.

Donna said...

Lovely pictures! Congratulations on the new car.

Iceland does sound like a good option.

tut-tut said...

What a lovely synopsis, full of good ideas. My friend has taken your dishcloth idea and is making a bathmat, hold three strands together. It's good and thick, and soft. We are all waiting to have a go standing on it. My kitten Frank sleeps on one I made. What more can a cat expect?

Iceland?? I was seeing New Zealand as my go-to place in case McPalin . . . er, I can't even write it.

HeidiW said...

Funny... I've been reading your blog for over a year now and never felt the need to comment... until now. I did not enjoy Eat Pray Love because I DID.NOT.LIKE. the author as a person. Get over yourself, Liz! And as far as Sarah goes, she scares the crap outta me. If they win, I'm heading to Canada! Oh, and the kids' names -- don't even get me started. The joke is she named them based on the silly color names in the Pottery Barn catalog! PS Hi from Maine!

Eleanor said...

So much information to take in with this post.

But above it all...I am enchanted with the knitted acorn. My fingers are itching to write a little story about that acorn. Or maybe a short tale for children about a woman who knits tiny replicas of the special things she comes across each day. Soft, miniature replicas of her reality....can you tell it's Saturday night and well past my bedtime? Hehehe.

Oh my gosh. The book could be accompanied by a collection of the tiny knitted objects. Oh yes, it would be so popular with the adults as well, that it would be republished in an "adult" version, with accompanying knitting patterns, needles and wool.


Good night.

blackbird said...

I love everything.
There is nothing like a new car - especially when the old one is unreliable.

CurlyPops said...

I'm just about finished Eat Pray Love and I just don't get it. What was all the fuss about? The middle part is just drawn out and boring...I want my 4 hours back.

willowcaroline said...

If he wins and dies and she is in charge... or heck, even if he wins, can my family and I come and move in with you? I am losing sleep over this election, and life feels very much on edge.

Janet said...

now I feel I have to read eat pray love, just to throw rocks at it, is that perverse or what?

those eggs are gorgeous.

watching palin on telly feels like seeing a car crash in slow motion, you know someone's gonna get hurt, and it's fascinating and terrifying all at the same time.

excuse me for lack of caps and if i don't make sense, am delirious with tiredness, waiting for cake to finish baking....

telfair said...

I will move there with you -- she makes my blood run cold.

I also thought the film "other boleyn girl" was terribly second-rate...the casting! My God, the casting!

Michelle said...

i loved the books and have read all the series...the movie fell very short for me...and seemed like just another version of the bbc one...which was disappointing as i was really looking forward to it...oh well...

MsCellania said...

Ah, it's a lovely life you're living, Suse.
And I'm moving to Iceland (or possibly an island in the Caribbean) with you, my dear. The truly frightening thing is when friends call and say "Oh! She's JUST LIKE US!" HUH?!!!

Jen said...

What a yummy post! I wanna see a picture of the lemon cake, next.

As for Iceland, do you read The Icelandic Weather Report? US economic problems have a long reach.

sueeeus said...

First, congratulations on the new car. FINALLY!!!! Woohoo, hooray for the Soup Family.

Second, "they" can't possibly win, can they? CAN THEY? I'm such a buffoon when it comes to politics, but I'm loving Tina Fey's SNL parodies, and I've only seen snippets.

And the photos, glorious as usual. Very nice post, my dear.

nikkishell said...

I had read almost all of Philippa Gregory's books, i still have some of her older ones to get through. I LOVE her writing, i'm waiting on her new book from the library which should replace the Twilight series as my fiction fix.
I watched The Other Boleyn Girl last week and although i found the costumes nice and i can always dribble over Eric Bana i thought the actual movie was pretty rubbish. The book (of course) is soooo much better.

herhimnbryn said...

Have just been lend Eat, Pray, Love ( by a friend who loved it)and like you it is not appealling. Indeed am finding it hard to finish. I agree with your opinion.

Have you read the Chocolat sequel? The Lollipop Shoes. I think for a sequel it's very good.

I like 'bodice rippity', so verrrry descriptive!

herhimnbryn said...

ps. Have a new car (ute, my choice)also. The 27 yr old car died as I parked in a retirement home car park! Apt!
The new ute has Air con AND power steering And a radio that works.....bliss.

Stacey said...

I love Philippa Gregory - I think I've read most of her books.
My favourite is one involving the slave trade in England - I'll google it - I'll be back.
Okay, I'm back - A Respectable Trade.
I thought the film version of The Other Bolelyn Girl was woeful - apart from the dresses of course.
That breakfast bar of Nigella's looks good. Is is from How to be a Domestic Goddess? I have that one, I'll look it up.
Might be a good back to school baking project.

Fuji Mama said...

I love Chocolat! And you're right, the book is SO much better (even though I loved the movie)! Have you seen Joanne Harris's cookbooks? I have the first one and it's fabulous! I just did a review on it if you're curious: http://lafujimama.blogspot.com/2008/10/butternut-soup-in-my-french-kitchen.html

h+b said...

I'm up to The Queen's Fool, which is lesser than all preceding, so far.

Like I said to Frogdance, I was actually at King Henry's Hampton Court Palace a few years ago, so am also concurrently re-reading my guidebook at the same time - there's a link to the HRH giftshop in my sidebar, it's sooooo droolworthy to pursue.

Oh, and also - don't forget to watch/record ABC1 next Thursday at 11am - "Monarchy" - next week is Henry VIII


The Awakened Heart said...

Nothing wrong with a bit of boddice ripping in my humble opinion. I'll have to check out some historical fiction, sounds lovely. Incidentally - lemon cake recipe please. I have a tree exploding with lemons and no good lemony recipes. Lovely photos - do you keep chooks? We're thinking of getting some for our new place. Any ideas on how to keep family felines from distressing/chasing/eating them?

Joke said...

I like the eggs.

Really like the eggs.


Badger said...

I was going to ask that you get the guest room ready just in case they DO win, but I see now that I will have to stand in line if I want a room at Chez Soup.

So instead, I will tell you that, assuming that is your hand holding the acorns up there, your palm is full of fascinating runes and I would love to read it someday.

katiecrackernuts said...

As always, such beautiful pics and a glorious spread of news from your week. Opening your blog is like opening a handwritten mailed letter – the closest thing.
School holidays can be tough going. I actually think it was easier when they were little. Now they’re old enough to look after themselves but the parade of passing teens and the mess is a little too much to go home to after a day at work. We’ve juggled like you for the past two sets of hols but we both run out of available leave after this lot.
I photographed a gorgeous shawl that I bought from a friend and knitter extraordinaire. It’s today’s posting. She also said there was nothing easy about knitting shawls.
The breakfast bars look good. I love oat slices. I must track down a recipe.
So glad you thought Eat, Pray, Love was self-indulgent. I also didn’t get what the fuss was about. I read Tales of a Female Nomad straight after it. It makes Eat, Pray, Love look like a teenager’s whim.
I am listening to Captain Corelli’s Mandolin on CD in the car. The last one was A Child’s Book of True Crime.
Chocolat. Ah yes, the book is better. Much better.
I have an iris in bloom and the crepe myrtles have come into leaf, finally.

Stomper Girl said...

It's bloody hard to blog in the school holidays, I agree. I love Juliet Stevenson too, she was VERY funny in Bend It Like Beckham too.

French Knots said...

Ahh Alan Rickman.....sorry missed the rest of your post was just thinking of....mmmm

I enjoyed the sequel to Chocolat, The Lollipop Shoes, worth getting hold of in case you need to move into your hole, could you make it a big one so lots of us can move in too??

sherry said...

Congratulations on the new car! Yay!

I have to agree that you had a particularly lovely bunch of photos this post. The light is gorgeous.

As for American politics...sigh. I was feeling very hopeful about this election, and now I'm really and truly anxious. I belong to the running away to Canada faction. The husband has been talking about doing a locum tenens in Austrailia, but that would be hard to stretch out into 4 years.

eurolush said...

Note to self:

Check out books by Phillipa Gregory, Sandra Gulland, and Joanne Harris from library.

Listen to more books on tape whilst driving...rather than belting out Les Miserables and Phantom show tunes, with great emotion--at deafening decibels--to horrified passengers.

Also--find Nigella's recipe for breakfast bars (!!!!)

PS-I love the little acorn.

(Additional note to self: Learn to knit.)

Kieren said...

Oh yes, I knew I liked your taste!!! So many great books ,why read the boring whiny ones like that Eat Pray Love...Yech!

and at least you don't have to hide your head in shame at your idiotic countrymen... we'll come join you in Australia if the old goat wins, here in CA I have yet to see one Mc-sorry can't even write it , sign or pin anywhere...it is OBAMALAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SOME of us have sense!

Sarah Louise said...

Oh, it's good to be among friends. I didn't esp. love Eat Pray Love either.

But I must must must get my hands on the audio of Chocolat. Read the book ages ago.

I have a new-ish car too.

And the lovely thing about reading an Australian blog is seeing that while we are losing leaves you are in the midst of spring.


readersguide said...

Altissimo! I've got one here, too, but it's just about to go to sleep . . .