An A to Z for a Summer Day

A is for ALIAS GRACE. I was planning a re-read before the television series, I was sure I had a copy but LibraryThing told me I didn’t. I have a library copy for now but I suspect I will need to buy a copy to keep.

B is for A BOOK AT BEDTIME. It was lovely to hear Rachel Joyce reading her own abridgement of ‘The Music Shop.’

C is for COLOUR-WORK. I’ve really improved by technique knitting Franziska. I can’t do the two-handed thing that many people recommend, but holding two yarns over two different fingers is working well for me.

D is for DOCTOR THORNE – my next Trollope!

E is for ELIZABETH TAYLOR. The Virago Book Club has finally picked I book that I have, that I haven’t read and that I want to read – In a Summer Season by Elizabeth Taylor.

F is for FRANZISKA – growing slowly and steadily.

G is for GRIEF – it comes in waves,

H is for HOME IMPROVEMENTS. We’re waiting for scaffolding to go up and works to begin on our roof.

I is for IT’S GONE. I’ve been hacked more than once, so the email address I used for my old home on the internet is no more.

J is for JETTISONING a bag of books and a bag of clothes I hadn’t worn in a long time at a charity shop last Saturday.

K is for KNITTING ALONG. After two blankets – which wouldn’t have worked in our house and, though they were beautiful, I know I wouldn’t have enjoyed knitting – Marie Wallin’s Fair Isle Club is knitting a garment. I couldn’t resist signing up.

L is for LOVE HENRY JAMES. A wonderful season of programmes on Radio 4 has inspired me to do some reading and re-reading.

 M is for MIND THE GAP. We put the dog blanket that we brought home from my mother’s nursing home down next to Briar’s chair. She seems happy to have it there, and it holds the curtains back a little so she can see out.

N is for NAKED FLAGPOLES. The promenade flags have been taken down but the (removable flagpoles) have been left behind. Strange, especially at the height of the visitor season …

O is for O’FARRELL. There was a wonderful piece about Maggie O’Farrell and her soon to be published memoir in The Guardian yesterday.

P is for PATRICIA WENTWORTH. ‘The Chinese Shawl will be my next Miss Silver mystery, and it’s one of the few that I own.

Q is for QUEEN’S PLAY – my next Dunnett!

R is for ROWAN. The new autumn/winter magazine is the best for some time. It feels like a return to old-school Rowan values; there are two things I want to knit right now and lots of other interesting possibilities.

S is for SUNFLOWERS. I’m so pleased that I spotted Sunflowers Live

“In 1888–9 Vincent van Gogh produced one of the most famous series of paintings in the world – seven glorious variations of the ‘Sunflowers’. Today, five of these masterpieces hang in five art museums around the world, and are being united virtually in a world-first Facebook Live relay this August.”

T is for THIRKELL. The Man of the House often spots VMCs I already own in charity shops but this week he found one I didn’t have – ‘Northbridge Rectory’ by Angela Thirkell.

U is for UNCHAINED MELODY by Lykke Li – I love this!

V is for VICTORY. The current birthday-to-birthday Scrabble tournament ends next Saturday and – unless we Up the rate of play considerably – I have a winning lead.

W is for WAR AND PEACE. Reading five or six chapters a day and plucking a quotation from each chapter has proved to be the perfect way to read for me. I’m nearly half way through now.

X is for EXHIBITION. I couldn’t place John Armstrong – subject of this autumn’s exhibition at Penlee House – but when I looked him up I recognised one of his paintings from the cover of a Virago Modern Classic by Margaret Atwood.

Y is for YOU AND I by Tori y Moi – another new addition to the soundtrack of my life.

Z is for ZOLA – an author I still have to fit into my 100 Years of Books project.

A New A to Z for a New Month

A is for ALEXANDRE DUMAS. I have ‘The Black Tulip’ lines up to fill the 1850 slot in my 100 Years of Books project.

B is for BLANKET. Briar usually takes a while to get used to knew things, but she sat on the new blanket I bought for her visits to my mother’s nursing home room the first time I laid it out.

C is for CELEBRATION. I’m delighted that Lory will be hosting another celebration of Elizabeth Goudge’s birthday on 24th April.

D is for DARE. I made it to the end of the TBR Dare for the very first time!

E is for ELIZABETH VON ARNIM. Author of the Month for April in the LibraryThing Virago Modern Classics Group.

F is for FOUR BAGS left the house last time we did a charity shop drop.

G is for GREEN PENGUINS. I picked up eight books, including titles by Anthony Berkeley, Mary Fitt and Elspeth Huxley, in my local second-hand bookshop. Someone with very similar taste to me – and I think I know who – has been thinning out their shelves.

H is for HAIR. It’s that time of  year when we start thinning out Briar’s winter coat, putting the hair out in the garden, and then watching birds fly off with their beaks full.

I is for IN PROGRESS. My easy knitting project and my more complex knitting project are both close to completion, so expect a knitting post or two very soon.

J is for JUNE. Margaret Kennedy Day will be happening again on June 20th. More details will be coming soon.

K is for KAFFE FASSETT. I love the pattern on the cover of the new edition of Vogue Knitting, but with Felted Tweed held double it would be quite an investment.

L is for LYMOND. I’m smitten, I was tempted to pick up ‘Queen’s Play as soon as I put ‘The Game of Kings’ down, but I decided I shouldn’t rush and that I really should write about one book before I start the next one.

M is for MARGARET LAURENCE. Author of the Month for June in the LibraryThing Virago Modern Classics Group.

N is for THE 1951 CLUB. I have books by Margery Sharp and Howard Spring lined up.

O is for OXFORD WORLD CLASSICS. The new editions are lovely, but at the moment I am smitten with older editions that I picked up in a charity shop a week or so ago.

P is for PUZZLED. We ordered Briar some steps, to help her get into her chair now she’s getting a little older. When they arrived we couldn’t work out how the pieces could fit together. When I rechecked the packaging I found some brief instructions and realised that we had been sent a dog gate instead of steps.

Q is for QUIET – but not as quiet as it usually is this time of year, as we have major building works two houses away.

R is for READING LIBARY BOOKS AGAIN now that the TBR Dare is over is a lovely prospect, but I’m going to be very selective now that I’ve been reminded how many wonderful books I have in the house already.

S is for SPIN. The Classics Club Spin gave me ‘The Beth Book’ by Sarah Grand. I’m not thrilled but it is a book I want to read and an author I’d like to get to know.

T is for TINDERSTICKS. I hadn’t listened to them for years but when I heard The Waiting Room I was smitten.

U is for UP IN THE ATTIC is where I have to go to do some clearing out now that spring is here.

V is for VISSER. I love this design, and I hope it won’t be too long before I can start to knit.

W is for WILLA CATHER. Author of the Month for May in the LibraryThing Virago Modern Classics Group.

X is for (E)XHIBITION. A Casket of Pearls is going to be hard to follow, but a summer exhibition of works by Stanhope Forbes at Penlee House is very enticing.

Y is for YIN YANG DANCE. Here is a knitting pattern with a fascinating construction. You begin with an i-cord loop and knit outwards …

Z is for ZZZZZZZZZZ. Border terriers are very good sleepers ….


A New A to Z for the New Year

A is for A YEAR OF WAR AND PEACE is a lovely proposition.image029

B is for BRIAR. I can’t quite believe that the picture I rediscovered recently must be more than ten years old, or that my lovely dog is eleven years old now.

C is for CATHERINE MARTIN. Her novel ‘An Australian Girl’ is in a pile of lovely books I assembled on my bedside table, to help keep me on track for the TBR Dare.

D is for DOROTHY RICHARDSON. My Pilgrimage is over but I have a biography and a collection of short stories to read this year.

E is for THE EYE OF LOVE. This lovely book was my introduction to Margery Sharp, and I am so pleased that I decided to read it again

29372657F is for FRUIT TEA, which has suddenly become my hot drink of choice.

G is for GAUGHAN. I really want a copy of Norah Gaughan’s Knitted Cable Sourcebook. I like trying different things but I’m a cable knitter at heart.

H is for HAP. Now that the weather has turned colder I’ve finally been able to wear the House Martin Hap that I made last summer. It’s wonderfully warm and cosy.

I is for IN THE LEAD. I’ve established a 2-0 lead in the household Scrabble tournament that will run from new Year’s Day to my birthday.

J is for JONI MITCHELL. I love this song.

K is for KRISTIN VESTGARD. It was lovely to see her paintings ‘in real life’ for the first time, at the Cornwall Contemporary Gallery.

itemsfs_1544L is for THE LIGHTHOUSE GALLERY and another lovely Christmas exhibition  Catherine Hyde is a new favourite (and you may have seen her robin in my Christmas post) and Michael Praed is an old favourite, who used to teach in the same school as my mother. That’s his painting of my father’s home town on the right.

M is for MARGERY SHARP DAY. I’m delighted to see so many people lining up books to read for the celebration on the 25th.

N is for NORDERNEY. It’s my most recent addition to my Ravelry queue and will be a good test of my resolution (see the letter Y!)

O is for ORIEL MALET. I took my copy of ‘The Horses of the Sun’ off the shelf to read later this month, and it looks lovely.

game-of-kingsP is for PLANNING to finally start reading Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond books this year.

Q is for QUEUE. I have a stack of books I read last year but haven’t written about, and so I’m going to have them form an orderly queue and then write about them in turn. At least, that’s the plan …

R is for READING MY OWN BOOKS. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but this really is the year I’m going to focus on the books I have and be sparing with new acquisitions and library borrowings.

S is for SLOW PROGRESS. Scilly is taken longer to knit than I thought, partly because of all the slipped stitches and partly because I haven’t been giving it too much time. I love the fabric, I’m sure the finished sweater will be lovely, but I’m definitely ready to be knitting something else.

T is for TO WALK INVISIBLE. I loved it!


U is for UP IN THE ATTIC. It isn’t so much that there are masses of things, but when I put the Christmas decorations away I realised that there were a lot of things that hadn’t moved for yours, and that  it was time to have a good clear-out.

V is for VIRAGO AUTHORS. Monthly author reads are underway in the LibraryThing Virago Modern Classics Group. Vita Sackville-West this month, Rebecca West next month, and then we choose more authors. Do come along to vote, read and talk.

W is for WEATHERLAND by Alexandra Harris. Another book on the bedside table.

X is for I’M (E)XTREMELY PLEASED to have discovered magazine clips and to finally have all of my knitting magazines tidy but still accessible in their new lever arch files.

Y is for YARN DIET. I’m not going cold sheep, but I’m saying that I can only buy more wool if I’m going to start knitting within a week of it arriving.

Z is for ZOE OLDENBOURG. Another author in that pile of books on my bedside table. ‘The World is not Enough is on my Classics Club list and I’ve been meaning to read it for such a long time.

An A to Z of Books and Events and Other Things

A is for AUTUMN. The weather has definitely turned here on the Cornish coast, and the evenings are drawing in.

Dorothy HowellB is for BENJAMIN CLEMENTINE. His own music has passed me by, but I was very taken by his selection of tracks for 6 Music’s Playlist last Sunday.

C is for COUNTRY HOUSES. I’m moving up the library queue for a copy of Adrian Tinniswood’s ‘The Long Weekend: Life in the English Country House Between the Wars’ – I’ve progressed from 19th to 11th.

D is for DOROTHY HOWELL. I was delighted to be introduced to her by this post.

E is for ELIZABETH BERRIDGE. When I realised that I hadn’t read a Persephone Book or a collection of short stories for the year I knew that I had to take action. I picked up Elizabeth Berridge’s collection of stories from the 1940s – ‘Tell it to a Stranger’ – and I am so pleased that I did.

fm03-rachel-ferguson-a-harp-in-lowndes-squareF is for THE FURROWED MIDDLEBROW PRESS is looking wonderfully collectable, with books by Frances Faviell, Rachel Ferguson and Winifred Peck soon to re-enter the world.

G is for GARTER STITCH. I have the yarn line up to knit a very simple – and very classic – jacket.

H is for HARRY RUTHERFORD caught my home town very accurately and from an angle I don’t think I’ve ever seen, when he painted the view looking back to town from the end of the pier

I is for IN PROGRESS. My major knitting project of the moment is a lovely sweater names Scilly.

this-oneJ is for JEAN RHYS READING WEEK is in progress and, though it wasn’t the right time for me, it is lovely to see so many people reading her books.

K is for KNITTING ALONG. The Picture This KAL is turning many knitters’ images into lovely knitwear. My own inspiration was bookish ….

L is for JOHN LAVERY. After reading about him in Jane Harris’s ‘Gillespie and I’ I spotted his autobiography in the library’s art collection. It looks very promising.

M is for MARY STEWART. Celebrations for her centenary begin on Saturday, and I  shall be reading ‘Airs Above The Ground’.

N is for THE 1947 CLUB is coming soon and, though I seem to have more books from 1946 and 1948, I have found a couple of interesting possibilities.

airsabovethegroundO is for ONLY FOUR MORE BOOKS to the end of Dorothy Richardson’s Pilgrimage!

P is for PLANNING A PROJECT. I think that next year might be my year of reading Virago Travellers

Q is for THE QUINCUNX by Charles Palliser.  I picked up my copy from the shelf a few days ago because I think that the time and the season to read it is coming very soon.

R is for THE REMEDIES by Katharine Towers. This lovely little book of verse caught my eye in the library last weekend.

S is for SQUIRREL. Since their favourite tree in the park was cut down the squirrel population has spread out, and we have even seen one in our little sea-front garden. It ran along the top of the bench, jumped on to a spade that the Man of the House had left stuck into the ground, the along the wall and over into the garden next door.

unseeingT is for THYNNE. I didn’t really need to find another must-read author from the Golden Age of crime fiction but I have, and her name is Molly Thynne.

U is for THE UNSEEING by Anna Mazzola. It’s sitting on my bedside table, and it looks like just the right book for this time of year.

V is for VIRAGO SECRET SANTA. I know it’s early but I have to let you know that your new Virago Elves – Cate and I – will be starting the ball rolling next month; so do keep an eye on the LibraryThing Virago group. Old hands and newcomers will all be very welcome!

W is for WOOLLY DOZEN. I’m knitting my tenth hat in between other projects, and one day – when I have my dozen – I’ll make sure they are all photographed and give them a post of their own.

arka_1_medium2X is for EXHIBITION.  Compass’d by the Inviolate Sea was wonderful, and Penlee House is wise to follow that with something else very different and interesting for quite different reasons. I’m looking forward to visiting Wilhelmina Barns-Graham: A Scottish Artist in St Ives.

Y is for YOUNG IN ALL THE WRONG WAYS by Sara Watkins: a lovely recent addition to my life’s soundtrack.

Z is for ZINNIA. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned that Zinnia is Briar’s pedigree name. Her breeder chose a different letter of the alphabet to name each litter of puppies.

It feels like time for an A to Z ….

7622ab2bd7a52b6af5825b75c917600aA is for ANNA BILING. I found her painting ‘Lush Green Summer’ when I was searching for seasonal images.

B is for BRYHER. I’ve read three of her books now and I know that a small press has a few of her books in print but I do wish that she was better known and her books were more readily available.

C is for CENTENARY. Mary Stewart was born on 17th September 1916 – does anyone have any plans for celebrating her 100th birthday?

D is for DON’T GO OUT TONIGHT MY DARLING by Rachel Newton. I love this. I love the album ….

E is for ELIZABETH BOWEN. I’m reading ‘The House in Paris’ and I’m very taken with it.

F is for THE FISH LADDER by Katharine Norbury. This book passed me by until I saw the programme for our local literary festival, and when I heard the author ‘in conversation’ I knew that I had to buy a copy.

imageG is for GHOSTBIRD by Carol Lovekin was added to my library pile today.

H is for HAPS. I’m not really a shawl knitter but I am so taken with the history and the patterns in The Book of Haps.

I is for IN PROGRESS. And I’m knitting a Nut Hap.

J is for JUBILEE POOL. It’s been open for a while, but it was officially opened by the Prince of Wales last Monday.

K is for KIP – Darlene’s lovely puppy.

L is for LADY MAISERY. I am so pleased that their new album has been successfully crowd funded.

3054631879M is for MUSKETEERS. I’ve just finished reading ‘The Three Musketeers’ and I loved it at some levels but I was disappointed at others. It’s going to take a while to pull my thoughts together.

N is for NEXT UP TO READ is ‘I, Rachel’ by March Cost.

O is for AN OLD BOOK. I found a lovely World Book Club edition of ‘Kingfishers Catch Fire’ by Rumer Godden in a charity shop yesterday. It looks to be the fiction inspired by the real life events she wrote about in This Far But No Further which I read last year.

P is for PILGRIMAGE. This month’s book is ‘The Trap’. I’d planned to read it this weekend but I was distracted by other books and so now it is lined up for next weekend.

Q is for QUITE EASY WHEN YOU KNOW HOW.  I’ve learned how to do Japanese short rows, I love it, and I don’t think I shall ever wrap and turn again.

174216R is for RABINDRANATH TAGORE. Cirtnecce is hosting a readalong of ‘The Home and the World’ next month, to mark the book’s centenary. I must confess that I didn’t know a great deal about the book or the author, but I am intrigued.

S is for SIXTY. I’ve been looking at previews of Rowan 60 and there are many things I should love to knit and to wear.

T is for TO THE BRIGHT END OF THE WORLD by Eowyn Ivey is a wonderful, wonderful book.

U is for UNDERNEATH ALL THAT PAPER – is my desk. We have been incredibly busy, but I am very nearly top of things.

V is for VERY VIRAGO ALL AUGUST. The LibraryThing Virago Modern Classics group is gearing up for ‘All Virago All August’. I can’t do ‘All’ but I’m aiming for ‘Very’. Rebecca West, Willa Cather and Rumer Godden are the authors I have in mind.

hedgehog5W is for WOMEN IN TRANSLATION MONTH is coming and I have ‘Grand Hotel’, ‘The World is not Enough’ on my bedside table ready to start reading.

X is for XHIBITION. We have Marine Painting – from Turner to Wallis – at Penlee House this summer and I am quite sure it is going to be wonderful.

Y is for YOU SEE LOTS OF THINGS OUT OF OUR BAY WINDOW and a few weeks ago Briar saw a hedgehog. She went out to investigate – before we realised what it was – and she was bemused by the little spiky creature. We brought her inside and watched his progress across the garden. He was gone the next morning and we haven’t seen him again.

Z is for ZZZZ. After playing ball at the boating pond this morning and visiting my mother’s nursing home this afternoon a certain small brown dog fell asleep – and slept right through supper time!

An A to Z to pick up the threads ….

… after being distracted by life for quite a few days …

A is for A SITE OF HER OWN. Ten of Margery Sharp’s novels are back in the world and her publisher – Open Road Media – is showing them off in a lovely little site of her own.

Spring on Lewesdon Hill
‘Spring on Lewesdon Hill’ by Nicholas Hely Hutchinson

B is for  BLUEBELLS. I love the bluebell season, and I hope that we will find the time – and have the weather  – to take Briar for a walk in the woods while they are still flowering .

C is for CRASH! My computer went into meltdown at the beginning of the bank holiday weekend, it couldn’t be nursed back to health, and that is why I disappeared for a little while.

D is for DEADLOCK. This month’s book – the sixth of thirteen – in Dorothy Richardson’s Pilgrimage sequence. The reading hasn’t always been easy but the many wonderful things that these books have to offer make me so glad that I began my journey through them.

E is for EXHIBITION. I’m looking forward to an exhibition of paintings of Cornish seas, and then an exhibition of the work of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, at Penlee House.

F is for FURTHER DOWN THE ROAD. Should you come to Penzance and think that our second-hand bookshop has vanished, don’t worry. It has moved to new premises just a little further down the road.

c4604G is for GARAGE DOOR. Something else that went crash! It was very old, it was probable time to replace it, and when a cable snapped it forced the issue. A neighbour was very happy with the new garage door he had installed recently, and so we have asked the company he used to take a look and give us a quote.

H is for HAIR. It’s the nesting season, and so I’ve been grooming Briar daily, putting the hair out in the garden, and watching birds arrive and fly off with beak-fulls of the stuff.

I is for I WAS DELIGHTED TO FIND a lovely old hardback copy of Come Hither: An Anthology of Poetry collected by Walter De La Mare.

J is for JEAN. This is my main knitting project at the moment. The body is complete, the first sleeve cap is nearly done, and so it shouldn’t be too long before I’m finished. It’s a lovely pattern, and I’m pleased that my second project with top-down short-row sleeves is an advance from the first. The pattern said wrap and turn but I didn’t like the look of that and so I went back and used shadow wraps instead. They look much better.

Jean by Nadia Crétin-Léchenne
Jean by Nadia Crétin-Léchenne

K is for KATE IN THE KETTLE. When I caught sight of that name I just had to find out what she sounded like!

L is for LIBRARY. It’s open again, in the town hall now, alongside the one-stop-shop. I’m sorry that it’s much smaller than the old library, but I’m finding a lot to like, especially that the art library is much easier to look around than it was. And, I didn’t know until a librarian told me, they had a lot of trouble with damp in the old building.

M is for MARGARET KENNEDY DAY. It’s happening on 20th June, and it’s very simple. Just read a book between now and then and post about it on the day. I hope to read a book and hopefully give away a book or two between now and then.

N is for NEGLECTED. I am horribly aware that my 100 Years of Books project has been stuck at 67 for ages. I don’t want to be project-driven, I want the years to fill up naturally from books that I want to read, but I looked at the years that were unfilled and the books that I had in mind and now I have a small pile of books sitting on a table ready to help things along.

badgeO is for O PIONEERS! by Willa Cather. I loved this book when I first read it, many years ago, and now that I have re-read it I think I might love it even more.

P is for PLUMBING. This has been our big domestic crisis. South West Water said that there was a leak under our boundary wall, and because it was our side of the boundary wall we had to find a plumber with listening equipment to find it and fix it. There aren’t many of those down here at the far end of Cornwall, but we found one who was willing to come and take a look in the end, I’ve got a quote, and they’re coming out to do the work next Tuesday.

Q is for QUEENEY. I have ‘According to Queeney’ lined up for Annabel’s Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week next month.

51z+j9nWlYL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_R is for RUAN by Bryher. There’s a line of library books sitting on top of the desk that I inherited from my godmother, and this is the one I have chosen to read first. It tells the story of a young boy in the 6th century who is destined to be a druid but dreams of the sea and a very different life.

S is for SUMMER. I see signs that summer is coming, and I’m particularly pleased to see a lovely new anthology, edited by Melissa Harrison for the Wildlife Trust.

T is for TWISTED STITCHES. I’ve finally mastered cabling without a cable needle, and now I’m thinking of knitting Birch Bay or – when I’m feeling brave – Aviara.

U is for UP TO THE VERY TOP. We haven’t been to Chapel Carn Brea for ages but we went last weekend, and we walked right up to the top of the highest hill in West Cornwall.

V is for VILLETTE. I missed Charlotte Bronte’s birthday, but several mentions of Villette in Dorothy Richardson’s Pilgrimage inspired me to pick up my copy and see if I might read it all the way through – after several failed attempts. I did!

30075219W is for WENTWORTH. I was thinking of reading another Miss Silver Book when I noticed that the Dean Street Press had reissued lots of Patricia Wentworth’s other mysteries. I’ve read and enjoyed one and I’m sure I’ll be reading more soon.

X is for eXCLUSION. How do you explain to a border terrier that she isn’t allowed on the beach just outside the front door across the road between May and September? I know I’ve asked this before, but I’ve never found an answer!

Y is for THE YOUNG DOCTOR. I love Francis Brett Young’s writing, but this early, autobiographical work is not his best. It’s still interesting though, it’s still worth reading, and I will finish it soon.

Z is for  ZEE AVI. A lovely new addition to the soundtrack to my life.

* * * * * * *

An A to Z of Interesting Possibilities ….

…. and one or two other things.


A is for AEONIUM. I’ve entered a challenge to knit 12 hats in 12 months. 3 are knitted, 2 are in progress, and I think this will be the next one that I’ll cast on.

B is for BROODING OVER THE BRONTES.I have ‘The Bronte Cabinet’ lined up to read with Girl with her Head in a Book next month, and I’ve been meaning to re-read ‘Wuthering Heights’ for a while now.

C is for CLUNY BROWN is one of TEN Margery Sharp novels to be reissued by Open Road Media next month.

D is for DOD PROCTER is one of my favourite local artists, so I was very pleased to spot a book about her floral art in the library.

E is for ELIZABETH GOUDGE. I was delighted to find out that Lory will be hosting a celebration of her work next month. I have several novels I could read, and a book of short stories.

F is for FAME. The weather was windy but the tide was very low when I took Briar down to the beach one day last week. On our way back home we met a photographer from our local paper and he asked if he could take Briar’s picture for a piece about animals out in all weather.

G is for GRAHAM. I put this in when I started drafting this post and now I can’t remember why. Maybe it will come back to me ….

H is for HOCKING. Many of Mary Hocking’s books were reissued last month and Ali is hosting a week to celebrate her work next month. I have my copy of ‘Good Daughters’ sitting on my bedside table, ready to be read.

I is for THE IMPROBABILITY OF LOVE by Hannah Rothschild in the only book I’ve read from the longlist for this year’s Baileys Women’s Prize for fiction.

J is for JANET McNEILL. I was very pleased to spot a copy of ‘The Maiden Dinosaur’  when we were in Truro last week and I popped in to my favourite second-hand bookshop,

K is for KRISTIN VESTGARD. When I spotted an interesting young artist from Scandanvia I didn’t expect to learn that she had studied in Cornwall and that she would be having an exhibition in a local gallery in the autumn.

L is for LIBRARY. It’s open again and I’m very happy!

M is for MARGARET KENNEDY. As April is looking rather crowded I plan to have Margaret Kennedy Day on the day she left this life – 31st July – rather than her April birthday. More details will follow ….

N is for THE 1938 CLUB. Another reason to read good books next month – I have two titles by favourite authors lined up.

O is for OUIDA. I’ve been meaning to try her books for ages, an,d when I found Miriam reading one of them in the last part of ‘Pilgrimage’ I read, I took it as a sign that it was time.

P is for PRAWNS. We tried miso brown rice & broccoli salad with fiery prawns for the first time last Sunday, and I’m pleased to report that we both loved it.

Q is for QUALM on a triple word score after picking up the Q is the second round and not seeing a U until the game was nearly over. I’ve had a good start in our latest ‘birthday-to-birthday’ Scrabble tournament, but it still has a long way to go.

R is for RHODA BROUGTON. I brought a 1950s paperback copy of  ‘Not Wisely but Too Well’ home from  that Truro bookshop too.

S is for SEVEN SWANS by Rose Polenzani. The latest addition to the soundtrack to my life.

T is for THE TUNNEL by Dorothy Richardson. I’m loving the ‘Pilgrimage’ sequence of novels, this is the next book I have to read, and I plan to start reading very soon.

U is for UNDER THE TABLE. Briar used to spend her evenings in the bay window but lately she has relocated to her basket, and she moves under the dining table for short spells before going back to her bed again. We have yet to work out why ….

V is for VIRAGO. ‘The House on Clewe Street’ by Mary Lavin is my book in progress and it has led me to another book. I found it when I looked at the list of other Irish VMCs at the back of the book. It was listing as forthcoming but it never came and I had never heard of the title or the author. I couldn’t find out much but what I found I liked, and so I ordered a reasonably priced copy.

W is for WILD HEART by Starling. Another recent addition to my life’s soundtrack.

X is for EXPOSURE by Helen Dunmore. I’m in twenty-third place in the library queue for a copy, waiting none to patiently.

Y is for YOU KNOW THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS COMING when the bin by the steps to the promenade opposite our house comes back from wherever it goes for the winter.

Z is for ZOE OLDENBOURG. I have a copy of ‘The World is not Enough’ but when I spotted a very pretty, and much more portable, Penguin copy of the same translation I had to pick it up.

The First A to Z of the Year


A is for ANNA HOPE. I thought that ‘Wake ‘ might be a one-off, but I am pleased to report that I have just finished reading her second novel and I loved it.

B is for BERET. I lost my favourite hat, the very first beret that I made, and so I have knitted another one; in the same yarn but a very different colour.

C is for CATHERINE HOWE has been a lovely part of the soundtrack to my life lately.

D is for DAFFODILLS. I bought several bunches on Saturday – some for my mother and some for us.

E is for ELEANOR CATTON. ‘The Luminaries’ is my audiobook of the moment, and I’m loving my second journey through this extraordinary work.

F is for FORECAST. Who would have thought that singing the shipping forecast could be so lovely,

G is for GRIP-LIT? Psychological thrillers were around long before Gone Girl! A very good piece by Sophie Hannah, from last Saturday’s Guardian.

H is for HILARY MANTEL has written about Elizabeth Jane Howard in the same paper.

I is for IS IT IN THE GARDEN? We have to be very careful about saying anything in excited tones in our house; because any time we do Briar dashed over to the window to see if there is anything out there.

J is for JONATHAN UNLEASHED by Meg Rosoff. I’m hoping that this will be a lovely light read.

K is for THE KNIGHT OF CHEERFUL COUNTENANCE by Molly Keane. It was my Classics Club pin book, but I haven’t read it yet. I do like the look of it, but it just wasn’t the right book for now.

L is for LOPI. I love the look of Modern Lopi by Lars Rain, and I hope it will be available in the UK soon.

M is for MOLLY HUGHES. I was delighted to find a copy of ‘A London Family Between he Wars’ in a charity shop.

N is for NOBU. I’m not sure that I could wear it, but I love the design.

O is for THE ORACLES. When I looked through last year’ reading I realised that I hadn’t read anything by Margaret Kennedy, and I pulled this book from the shelf to read very soon.

P is for PILGRIMAGE. ‘Honeycomb’ is this month’s instalment of Dorothy Richardson’s magnum opus, and I am really looking forward to stepping into Miriam’s life again.

Q is for QUIET. I like this time of year, in between the fuss of Christmas and New Year and the business of the holiday season.

R is for RED RAG GALLERY. I’ve been doing a lot of browsing of online art galleries lately, and this one is a particular favourite.

S is for SONG OF THE SEA MAID by Rebecca Mascull. I must mention that one of my favourite novels of last year ha just been published in a lovely paperback edition.

T is for TROLLOPE IN CORNWALL. I’d been vaguely thinking that I hadn’t read any Trollope for a while, and wondering what I might read next, when I found a volume of his short stories, published by a local press, in a charity shop. There was my answer.

U is for UNDERFOOT. It has been so wet that the ground is completely sodden, and that is very sad when you’re a border terrier who like to have balls bounced for her.

V is for THE VOYAGE OUT by Virginia Woolf. I meant to read this in 2015, its centenary year, but I ran out of time. I hope that this will be its year.

W is for WOOLLYDOZEN. I’ve signed up to knit twelve Woolly Wormhead hats in 2016, and, as I’ve finished a hat in a fine gauge and worked on some other projects in month one, I think it’s eminently do-able.

X is for EXCLUSION. The railings on the steps down to the beach were battered by winter storms, and the council thinks it has closed off access to until they are fixed, but Briar and I have found a way through.

Y is for YARN DIET. I had planned to be sensible this year and to only buy when I was ready to start a project, but I lapsed when I saw tem skeins of Rowan Alpaca Colour in a lovely shade of  red being sold ridiculously cheaply,

Z is for ZOE OLDENBOURG. Her historical novel ‘The World is Not Enough’ has been sitting on my bedside table for ages and I really want to read it, but I haven’t found the right moment – yet ….