Its celebrated in South Africa with the call to make things better. Some people commit to volunteering for 67 minutes (the length of years of public service Mandela gave). I shall continue to crochet squares for one of the 500 children who are orphaned by AIDS in Southern Africa every day. If you are a crafter and have some stash do think of doing one. Info here. All you need to do is make an 8 ” square crochet/knitted/loomed with a 18 inch tail to help sewing and post it out there. If you live in Edinburgh contact me I’m happy to post out squares. Above is a blanket sewn up with 30 or so squares I sent to SA in the last month.

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As I arrived quite late on Wed evening it was getting dark as I walked to my pension so I didn’t take many photographs. I emerged super early to walk around before going to a work appointment at 9am. The brass plaques were pointed out to me in the evening as ‘stumbling stones’ an innovative private art project to document all the Jews who used to live in buildings in Berlin who were deported and killed.  As it was it turned out I was staying at a once predominately Jewish district.



Some years ago my mother descended up on my garden – probably directed me to weed and planted a daisy plant (‘because there was a space’). I’d taken up some of the paving slabs in my front yard hoping to expose more soil and plant more things and also have somewhere for the rainwater to sink into. The plant must have been small because I don’t even remember her planting it. Then one summer I saw this vast protuberance of dark leaves straight stems, and these frankly vulgar white blooms on top which STANK!  But I lived with them. For at least 5 years. Then I noticed that as I walked to hang up washing when wet they would droop across the path and snare me slapping me wetly on the legs. I found my secateurs and snipped at some offenders.   A  week or two back I had another go and sipped away at a third of it. Tonight since it was such a lovely evening I cut off ever last bloody stem of that ugly ugly plant. I’m off on wed so not sure that I’ll have time to tackle it’s probably vast root system before then.

‘because there was a space’ why why why… I talked for a friend this evening wrestling with sighing up for a one year long course.  We discussed that it was ok to have time without something fixed filling it. In the same way its fine to have some bare earth.. that space could have been filled by fox gloves… as it its I have a fine hedge of chickweed which is infinitely prettier and self seeded… why not leave the space? As I snipped I thought of all the times I rush to fill the space, facebook, twitter, media, socialising. Anything to fill the space.


Just be, just be.


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Last week I had a great conversation with a garden designer – all about Chelsea, guerilla gardening, using gardening as part of an art / activism project (The Pansy Project). We even discussed park planting those lovley startling  clashing colour combos  – these pics I think taken in Soho Square in London last visit. She said that this kind of planting is really the most unsustainable way to plant but I love the mad lush results. I’m 3 days into a course of antibiotics for an infection. And feel truly rubbish. When I turned down a meal out tonight I realised that things were serious. Hence looking at lush lovely colour – tis a comfort. I shall now retire to bed with crochet and undemanding iplayer and await my next dose.




Retiring to my metaphorical chaise longue. I’ve got a cold not a terrible cold but I ache and cough. I’ve got Radio4extra on and am slowly crocheting  through my acrylic yarn stash. Outside  it seems to have got colder or is it because I’ve just not moved physically in the last four hours? Nevermind smooth rhythmic movements of the hook  while my mind drifts to the radio and I give my body time to get well. As I don’t have a chaise long my bed will have to improvise.



I’m about 2/3rds into finishing a blanket for knit-a-square… I bought the wool in Cambridge (Sew Creative on Kings Parade has a very good sale on !) I’ve been crocheting away for a week – not the pic above – blog is being odd and refusing to upload new pics. Today I shambled out with my recycling went to get life essentials loo roll and milk and have spent the ENTIRE day with the hook and yarn. I’m making a blanket I’m calling African Sun. I was very busy over the weekend doing work preparing stuff for this week and socialising so a day of deep engagement with one thing has been bliss. Off to see Derek Jarman’s The Tempest and a bit of crafting later at Granny Greens. 


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Stop! I wanna get off!

I’m always amazed at my plans for the season… the ambition.

The first was to make up cards via Moo and I started uploading pics for postcard making before my London trip. Moo decided not to co-operate and I threw in the towel and decided to buy cards on my return.

I decided vintage style postcards of old xmas cards would be good. Then  I realised it would be an extra trip to another part of town to source the cards. I down graded my plans to local charity shops and picked up some packs.

I managed to sort out a goodly amount of presents on one trip back from my parents for lunch in Stockbridge – hurrah!. I sourced my wrapping paper from Poundland. My emporium of choice. I’ve made two batches of tablet. Recipe here. This is for all the other present giving. They are being wrapped in parchment paper and tied with gold ribbon and put into paper bags from Ikea. I’m keener on presents which are consumed rather than hang about. Or books which were bought from secondhand bookshops.

One essential picking up more gold stars to stick on Christmas card envelopes… not sure why but I think they are a  non negotiable.  I used to be snotty about Christmas cards only sending them after Christmas until one year I woke up and realised that I would be pretty peed off if I didn’t get any cards so revised my card sending attitude.

I took some tablet to friends locally today and  spent some time helping them look for cheesy pictures of Hollywood stars at Christmas for a facebook project. The best thing about this time of year is seeing people and reconnecting.





Not a very good picture! On Monday I trekked into the centre of London from Darkest Essex. My friend had a business meeting so we parted outside Charing Cross Station. I walked towards the National  Gallery crossing Trafalgar Square (I was deep in thought about the blue cockrel – a snub by the French in the place celebrating their defeat? or what?) Then a large bird swooped in front of me and perched outside the National Gallery. A substantial bird of prey. I noticed it had a leather strap hanging down from one leg and every now and again it would circle (menacingly) and that a man was stalking it from a distance. I stopped and looked. Fascinating –  the tourists continued to take selfies and squabble and text and ignore it. The bird which I think was there to scare the hell out of the pidgeons of Trafalgar Square flew down on to one of the ‘NO feeding Pidgeons’ signs in a manner which made me think it was having a good laugh up its wing, as it was undoubtedly going to turn any unfortunate pidgeon which passed it into brunch… Eventually while perched there a tourist did notice it and started marching forth towards it, camera phone held out in front of him. The bird was unimpressed by this display of digital technology and launched its self straight at the man from the sign, who had to drop to the pavement to avoid a collision or being made into breakfast.

Any way there is a point. When I first noticed the bird I could have hurried onto the National Gallery extension (my plan was to see an exhbition) but I didn’t I loitered I  enjoyed the moment. It’s these unscheduled moments in trips I enjoy the most. Less planning more experiencing.


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