Tuesday 24 August 2010

A temporary hiatus...

It's finally the end of the summer - not something I really look forward to; much as I love Autumn - the smells, the light, the clothing, yet again I feel I haven't had my fill of summery weather. But it does mean that it is time for Cardigan Girl's Annual Fortnight Away From Work. Actually, last year I managed three and a half weeks, and this year it's two weeks and three and a half days, so I'm doing quite well and by the time you read this I will hopefully have left work. We're planning a Staycation for the first ten days - we have relatives to visit, shopping to do (Ikea for bits for our wedding reception), Reading for clothes to wear for our wedding - fiance needs a new suit, and I need a dress for the party), excursions that we want to make (a river trip to Abingdon, a venture to the Waterperry Gardens), and hope to do some swimming in the sunshine as final training for our Great North Swim.

We're then heading up to the Lake District for the Swim; it's a mile in the extremely cold water of Lake Winderemere which I am hoping to complete in around half an hour (it took me 40 minutes and 57 seconds last year). The picture above is from last year's swim; isn't it a fantastic setting? I'm raising money for the mental health charity Mind, and if you have any pennies to spare, please do consider using them to sponsor me - pop along to my Justgivingpage for more details. Mind is a charity extremely close to my heart and I'm hoping to raise £1000 with my swim, and I'm still quite a long way off!

We had a lovely weekend in the Lake District when we did the Swim last year, and it just wasn't long enough to visit all of the literary places. We "did" Beatrix Potter last year, and this year as we're staying in Coniston, I intend to concentrate on Arthur Ransome. I'll be rereading Swallows and Amazons, and probably Christina Hardyment's Captain Flint's Trunk and have the DVD of Swallows and Amazons to watch as well. I have a couple of E.J. Oxenham's children's books set in the Lake District to take with me, kindly given to me by Geraldine who reads this blog. In fact, there is a whole wealth of wonderful children's literature set in the region; I have a bibliography of them by James Mackensie, and need to look through it for some more ideas of things to read - I have ordered one of Geoffrey Trease's Bannermere books from the library. If anyone has any suggestions of adult books then I'd love to hear them!

I intend to pop into the blog with some pictures of where I've been, but bookish and domestic arts discussions will be resumed when I resume routine in mid-September.

Monday 23 August 2010

A brief post on being back from Edinburgh

It's been a long day at work, getting ready to go on leave (more about that tomorrow), and I spent lunchtime busily rushing around doing the grocery shopping that usually gets done at the weekend, but I did want to write briefly post-Edinburgh-trip when so many people offered me suggestions of things to do and things to read.

To be honest, the highlight of my trip was being reunited with my fiance. As he and his brother were pretty busy with the play that they were putting on, time to explore the city was at a minimum. I was impressed with the way that the city fitted into the landscape - it seems a very tall city as buildings go up high to utilise the fact that the environment is very hilly. The castle and Arthur's seat looked absolutely stunning. I hadn't looked at a map, so was incredibly surprised when we ended up by the sea at one point. And I loved the drive back out of the city through the Highlands. Otherwise, I saw the Royal Mile, ate chips, and lots of noodles, and hobnobbed with a few minorly famous people who had shows at the fringe in the performers' bar.

The play, The door, was an incredibly gripping political black comedy, based on the interaction of a former army officer and one of his former squaddies who awaiting a tribunal, in a waiting room plagued by a constantly banging door. I don't know very much about drama or acting, but my attention was held by strong performances from the two men and I was intrigued to see where the story would go - there were surprising twists along the way. Obviously, my fiance's title-role was essential; he was very convincing making door-banging noises from being the scenes.

I didn't actually manage any reading, owing to catching up on work emails whilst on the bus to the airport and at the airport too, and then being in a camper van with very little lighting at night! But I am now intrigued to read some of the books suggested; I think I am certainly going to seek out some of Alexander McCall Smith's Scotland books and the first of the Kate Atkinson Brodie books to read.

I was also very kindly sent by The Heart of Midlothian by Walter Scott, by Kirsty from Oxford World Classics. It's a mighty tome of a book, which didn't quite make it into my hand luggage but I am looking forward to It's my first encounter with Oxford World Classics and I'm quite impressed- there is a lengthy introduction which I look forward to reading as I am completely unfamiliar with Scott's work and the book is beautifully designed.

Thursday 19 August 2010

Some more cross stitch

As you might know, my fiance has gone away for a while, and before I left I gave him this cross stitch which I'd been working on to remind him to call me (the bear is holding a mobile phone (I hope it *is* recognisable as a mobile phone but this had to be explained to the recipient)). I have a feeling that the cross stitch has been left buried in the car as calls have been somewhat sporadic, but I did think it was a lovely design and didn't take too long to complete. I have had this frame for some time, so we'll be able to have it on display when he brings it back.

I'm now working on a cross stitch for a friend's birthday - however, I didn't start it in time and as the birthday is on Saturday, I'm not sure it will be done, but I think she'll appreciate it when I do get it done. Could make her a matching decoupage birthday card!

As I mentioned on Monday, I'm off to Edinburgh for the weekend, so I won't be posting tomorrow or over the weekend. (And, I'll only be back for a couple of days before taking a longer, fortnight break, although I may pop in and out). Thanks to you all for your wonderful suggestions of books to read and things to do in Edinburgh. Many of the ideas were on loan from the library, but Kirsty from Oxford World Classics has kindly sent me a Walter Scott tome (which nearly took me over the limit for hand luggage!). Otherwise I have packed Juliet Naked, by Nick Hornby, Swimming by Nicola Keegan, and The house of Mirth by Edith Wharton. Should I run out of reading material, I know my fiance went to the Old Children's Bookshelf to pick up the two latest Greyladies titles for me, which I was planning to save for my holiday in the Lakes, but will provide emergency words. I'm intending to visit the Scottish National Gallery and maybe a National Trust property; the castle being extortionately expensive, and my fiance has got tickets for Morgan and West, the Time Travelling Magicians which sounds fun, as well as for two performances of his brother's play. I now just need to find out whether British Airways will let me take my cross stitch on board...

Wednesday 18 August 2010

I covet...

I stumbled upon these on Amazon yesterday and haven't been able to resist pre-ordering them.

I loved the set of Penguin Postcards that came out last year, there seems to be a postcard for almost every occasion, and I loved flicking through the cards again and again before I started using them to look at the publishing history of Penguin. I think I am going to love these even more - I adored reading Puffin by Design and am regularly using my pink puffin book bag - and I am looking forward to finding more appropriate cards to send to people. They're not released until October though.

There are two books which I would love to pre-order, but won't, because I'm trying not to buy books at the moment (is August too early to start writing my Christmas list??), both in a similar theme featuring material from the Mass Observation Archive.

The first is the third installment of Nella Last's diaries. I came across Nella Last well before she had the big revival following the Victoria Wood TV Drama "Housewife 49" which led to the publication of a second volume of diaries, Nella Last's Peace, because she was one of the "set texts" for a module on my degree course. I was delighted to be able to meet her again in the second volume, which proved a fascinating insight into post-war life in Britain - there was certainly no immediate end to the hardship which the British had endured since 1939. This new volume, Nella Last in the 1950s, picks up where the last volume left off.

The second is another book providing a window into women's experiences during the Second World War. Domestic Soldiers by Jennifer Purcell describes the lives of six women (including Nella Last) and the effects that the war had on their circumstances. It sounds absolutely fascinating and one of my favourite sorts of books.

I do hope to get copies of these eventually, and will certainly write about them when I do!

Tuesday 17 August 2010

Librarians in literature : Lewis Percy (Brookner)

The first of my librarian reads was Lewis Percy by Anita Brookner, which I selected in part because the author was familiar. I went through a bit of an Anita Brookner phase last year, until I started to find her novels a bit samey. But I had had sufficient break to enjoy this one, even if it wasn't exactly a "feel good" read.

The novel tells the story of the character Lewis Percy, an academic, who lives with his mother. We first meet him studying literature in Paris, which seems a promising start to his adult life. But on return home to his mother, and to finishing his thesis, he ends up establishing himself in a lonely, isolated existence, centring on his academic work and based in a library. His mother dies, and I think Lewis starts to feel the importance of having a woman in his life. From this somewhat depressed existence, he meets, and befriends one of the library workers, an agoraphobic girl who works in the library and lives with her mother. He decides to marry her but the marriage, which is happy to start with, soon falters. Lewis again feels lonely, and she starts struggling with being able to go out. They divorce . Lewis by now is working in the library himself; the routine is helpful but it is his nightly visits to his child which keep him going. This wouldn't make a hugely interesting story, but it is obvious that the book is being set up for something to happen - the arrival of another character who will transform his life.

As I said at the beginning, it wasn't a hugely warming read, but as usual, Brookner writes a novel that gives insight into the life of the characters that she describes; a book about people and their lives rather than anything more plot driven. And what of the librarian aspect? I have to confess I was more interested in Lewis' life and what would happen to him that I quite forgot why I was reading it in the first place!

I have my hands on several other librarian-featuring-novels now, so do look out for more posts on this theme, I think I will probably be reading the DE Stevenson, Young Clementina next, in celebration of my first ever visit to Scotland at the weekend.

Monday 16 August 2010


I was intending to start my series of posts about books with librarians in today, Mondays are always about work so it seemed like a good time to begin. However, I reckoned without the prospect of an exciting adventure coming up very soon. My fiance has been away for a while, helping out his brother with a play at the Edinburgh Festival, and although I feel somewhat feeble about it, I have been missing him dreadfully. When he kept saying "I wish you were here" and telling me about how much fun he was having, I got out my credit card and booked a flight up. It means flying (something I don't do terribly well, not even in a plane), and sleeping with the guys in the camper van which is apparently parked on some residential street somewhere, so no prospect of a shower... But, I'd do almost anything to see him 24 hours sooner and see his performance in the festival (my fiance is providing the sound effect of the door, in a play named The door, a very crucial contribution).

Anyway, to get to the point, as this is in general a blog about books or cooking. What Edinburgh themed reading is there? Muriel Spark has already been suggested to me, but I think I've read most of hers. I think actually I am going to have to just choose the books with the smallest print as I'm intending not to check in any bags. Which means Juliet Naked by Nick Hornby from the TBR, and Swimming by Nicola Keegan which is on my library pile, both of which have offputtingly small type. But I'd love to read something Edinburgh related, perhaps even before I go to get me in the mood.

Also - suggestions of things to do in Edinburgh much appreciated. To be honest, I don't anticipate having much time as the men will be busy with the play, and I know they are keen to get around a lot of shows, but if I do find myself at a loose end - what should I see? I've been given this list of secondhand bookshops (I'd already dispatched my fiance to buy me the two latest Greyladies titles which sadly means I'm unlikely to make it down to the Old Children's Bookshelf on canongate).

Sunday 15 August 2010

...this is what I was doing yesterday.

Well, perhaps it's not hugely obvious from the second picture! The empty bag shows that I came back without the books that I set off with; the books on the floor are those I came back with. Yes - I managed to get rid of some books - I took them to the Books and Comics Exchange in Notting Hill! The best thing is they give you twice as much money if you take it in vouchers/credit for the shop, so I was able to have a guilt free look around, and, despite managing to amass quite a pile of goodies, I didn't spend all of the £14 I was given for my books and have £6.50 for a future visit!

I was pleased with the books I picked up, especially the beautiful green Elizabeth Taylor - I am particularly on the look out for these at the moment - I love the beautiful flower pictures on the covers. And this takes me up to 10 out of 16 of the collection. I LOVED Teddy Robinson as a child so was thrilled to see this ex library edition of three of the books - I need to do some research as the titles don't match up with my later puffin copies. I have been enjoying the Family stories by Enid Blyton in the last 12 hours - I read some of them as a child but not the whole series and they were perfectly unchallenging for a tired cardigan girl after quite a tiring day out! Anyway, I don't quite feel I have broken my run of not buying books for 4 weeks - I'm sure it doesn't count if you've sold and got rid of books beforehand.

The trip to the exchange was part of a day out meeting up with the lovely Claire from Paperback Reader (she also sold and bought books). We then went on to visit Carlyle's House, down in Chelsea - Thomas Carlyle was an eminent Victorian historian, although hugely unfashionable these days; he may be familiar to some of you if you've read the wonderful Persephone book The Carlyles at home. It was a lovely townshouse full of the original furniture - we were both very taken with the wallpaper which was in 19th century Cath Kidston style! Unfortunately we got very lost trying to find the house and walked absolutely miles, but it was definitely worth it. Another long walk back to the tube took us back past Slightly Foxed, a fantastic bookshop which we could have spent hours in. Cardigangirl's feet were quite weary at this stage and she was in need of iced coffee so we repaired to Starbucks to swap some books (Claire has kindly lent me the new Rosy Thornton, and gave me a VMC that I didn't have) before catching the tube to head home. Thank you Claire for entertaining an otherwise lonely booklover who is missing her fiance.

Saturday 14 August 2010

Who can guess...

...what I'm doing today? All will be revealed on Sunday or Monday. Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday 12 August 2010


As regular readers will know from my cross stitching, I have a real fondness for Forever Friends things and when, in Hobbycraft for the second time, I spotted some Forever Friends decoupage to make cards with, I just couldn't resist.

The bottom two cards were made very simply with readymade decoupage bits, which I literally just had to stick onto the cards that I had bought.

The top one was a little more complicated as I used the kit to build up my own decoupage bear and followed a "project sheet" to turn it into a rather nice card.

A great Sunday afternoon activity...

Wednesday 11 August 2010

The wavewatcher's companion

I'm sure many of you will be familiar with the wonderful Cloudspotter's Guide by Gavin Pretor-Pinney which introduced us all to the concept of identifying different sorts of clouds in the sky. I was extremely excited to see that he had come up with a follow up book - The wavewatcher's companion, since I have always loved watching waves coming into a beach. And what a perfect book to take with me to read in the room with a view we had recently by the seaside.

I was particularly interested, being at the seaside, in his chapter on tidal waves and how these are governed by the earth and the moon, and the description of the wave that emanates from the Severn Bore. This phenomenon occurs because the tide from the sea is bunched up as it enters the estuary and progresses up the river, creating a wave that allows for a far longer "surf" than on any wave in the sea and it is from here that the longest continuous surfing record has been achieved. These sorts of tidal bores have been recorded on at least 67 rivers around the world.

What is especially good about the book is that it doesn't just look at waves of the beach variety, but also other sorts - sound, radio, light waves, electromagnetic waves, and those through our intestines. We learned about most of these at school, but I was hugely turned off by my physics lessons and never really got to grips with them - Pretor-Pinney makes these subjects accessible and most importantly interesting.

This is definitely a "dipping in" book, and definitely one to have to hand if you are lucky enough to be by the sea this summer. Many thanks to Bloomsbury who kindly supplied me with this book to read and write about.

In other news - it has been a beautiful day here, but definitely a hint of Autumn in the air. Whilst Autumn is certainly my favourite season, this displeases me somewhat as I don't feel that I have had my fill of warm and sunny weather this year. I am hoping that means it will be baking hot for our week in the Lake District in September, or if not then, absolutely glorious when we are in Austria next year for our weddingmoon (more on that in a future post!).

Tuesday 10 August 2010

Strawberry gateau

On our way home from our weekend in Cornwall, we stopped off for a wonderful cream tea at The Mad Hatters tearoom's in Launceston. Chosen because it offered gluten-free scones, which meant that I could participate (although I shouldn't really eat cream either, and I did regret it, but it tasted so good that it was sort of worth it). We bought extra scones and some clotted cream to take home to have with my homemade jam, but then there was some clotted cream leftover...

To use it up, I made my fiance an individual strawberry gateau - I did a one-egg Victoria sponge recipe, which I baked in the pork pie tin I'd purchased previously to make a mini celebration cake, and then sliced it into layers which I filled with clotted cream and strawberries. It was deemed extremely good, and apparently could have been eaten all in one go (I enforced some restraint as I didn't want to have to make another pudding for the next night).

Monday 9 August 2010

Knitted cakes

Who could resist this title that brings together two of my interests - knitting - and cake...both of which are frequent topics on my blog? I can't remember how I came across the title, I think Amazon recommended it to me, but I was sufficiently intrigued to pay the 85p reservation charge to request it from the library.

There are twenty cakes in this book, all photographed and looking good enough to eat (actually, I'm not sure about that as the thought of wool in my mouth is enough to make me shudder). There is a double chocolate layer cake, mini furry muffins, a Valentine's heart shaped cake, fruit tarts, iced donuts, carrot cake...

Unfortunately the standard of knitting required by the patterns in this book is far beyond my current abilities (although I could probably manage the swiss roll, which is essentially the equivalent of two knitted dishcloths stitched together). More fortunately, one of my more skilled colleagues was fascinated and horrified by this book and has offered to knit me the piece of wedding cake. She's got a year (well, 357 days now...) and I look forward to seeing how it turns out!

My next knitting project is to make a little case for the ipod touch that I acquired whilst I was on my break from work - I'm not much of a gadget girl, but this is great as it enables me to follow blogs and keep up with my emails without switching the computer on, and when I'm out and about (if I find free wi-fi) (although I'm struggling with the touch screen keyboard). I've got a recipe, or should that be pattern, which looks quite straightforward in my Usborne "How to knit" book, so when I finish my current cross stitch it will be out with the needles again.

Friday 6 August 2010

There's nuffink like a puffin...book bag

I mentioned earlier in the week that I had decided to reward myself with something bookish that wasn't a book to celebrate the fact that I had gone for a fortnight without buying any books (and making inroads into my TBR at the same time...).

Just before I went on holiday, the Seven stories museum ran a competition on twitter to win a rather special book bag - unfortunately I was unlucky, but when I contacted them, I found out that their shop sold them...

And as you can see, I couldn't resist.

The bags have been produced as part of Puffin's 70th anniversary celebrations - I wrote a couple of months ago about two books which had been published as part of this.

There are also mugs, but at the moment I resist... (I don't think they are quite as good as the Penguin mugs - I wish they used some of the beautiful early puffin covers) I am tempted however to get the bag in the other, smaller size, in a different colour (they also come in Orange and Green; my colleague with the evil influence has the orange one and very nice it is too (and I blame her almost entirely for this purchase)).

Thursday 5 August 2010


I didn't used to tend to make recipes calling for large quantities of grated vegetables, as I have a very cheap (in fact from the Sainsburys "Economy" range which predated their "Basics" range) grater, which is fine for grating a small amount of cheese, but not large amounts of vegetables. This has all changed since the acquisition of my Kenwood mixer with its grater insert for the food processor attachment. It was SO easy to grate the quantity needed to make this appealing carrot and walnut loaf (decorated with sunflower seeds) from Leila Lindholm's Piece of cake book which I still have on loan from the library.

In fact it was so easy, that I ended up with far too much carrot, and had to make these little carrot muffins from The primrose bakery cupcake book too. Don't they look delightful in the pretty paper cases on my gorgeous cake stand??

Wednesday 4 August 2010

July Reading

The end of July passed while I was on holiday so I didn't have a chance to post about the books that I'd read during that month. I got back a bit more into my reading groove having finally got the medication that had made me feel so unable to concentrate out of my system, although still feeling unwell for a lot of the time, and being tired from being unwell alongside training for my swim, put paid to much reading, but the high total for this month again (74) is skewed by the fact that I read a large number of Babysitters Club titles during the month - comfort reading that didn't really require any concentration at all. I also read a large number of novels by Richmal Crompton, which I greatly enjoyed, which were lent to me by Simon from Stuck in a book, and I read a couple of books about Austria where we are heading for our weddingmoon this time next year (less than a year to go now!), and some more cake decorating books as I continue to think about making my wedding cake. One of the highlights of the month was rereading Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood which I read at school but could barely remember, and another was Olga Grushin's wonderful The concert ticket. I think I only read one Virago Modern Classic for my other blog which has been sidelined a bit.

Not too sure that I have many plans for August - I don't feel terribly interested in the Booker longlist, although that may change if I see some of the books in the library. My TBR is of reasonable proportions, but I intend to save most of the books on it to take away on my holiday at the start of next month. I hope I will find some books that I want to blog about...

True things about me Kay Davies, Deborah
Out of the red, into the blue Comyns, Barbara AB
Mary Anne and the great romance Martin, Ann C
Roofs off Crompton, Richmal
Stacey's movie Martin, Ann C
The family GI diet Gallop, Richard NF
Jessi's babysitter Martin, Ann C
Frost at morning Crompton, Richmal
Diary of a mad bride Wolff, Laura
Cakes to inspire and desire Smith, Lindy NF
Mackintosh Pickeral, Tamsin NF
Stacey vs Claudia Martin, Ann C
The quilter's kitchen Chiaverini, Jennifer
A seasider practice Smith, Tom AB
Hello Mallory Martin, Ann C
River trail Lloyd, Marjorie C
Kristy's secret admirer Martin, Ann
Cake: a history Humble, Nicola NF
Road to Leenane Du Maurier, Angela
The great sister war Frewin Jones, Allan C RR
Quick and easy party cakes Farrow, Joanna NF
Food doctor diet Farber, Ian NF
Two lives Trevor, William
Mary Anne's big break up Martin, Ann C
Abby's twin Martin, Ann C
Maru Head, Bessie VMC
French revolutions Moore, Tim AB NF
Narcissa Crompton, Richmal
Mary Anne's New House Martin, Ann C
Blind man's buff Crompton, Richmal
Baby sitters European Vacation Martin, Ann
My sister, my slave Frewin Jones, Allan C RR
Inheritance: the story of Knole Sackville-West, Robert NF
No time party cakes Deaocn, Carol NF
Modern British posters Ree, Paul NF
Star search Frewin Jones, Allan
Wedding cakes and cultural history Charlsley, Simon NF
Cats eye Atwood, Margaret RR
Claudia and the middle school mystery Martin, Ann C
Fell top Watson, Winifed
Traveller's Austria Cook, Thomas NF
Dancing in a distant place Dewar, Islar C
Jessica Rushton, Rosie C
Oddysey of Euphema Tracey Crompton, Richmal
Austria Rough guide NF
Single girl in the city Gorman, Michelle
Mary Anne vs Logan Martin, Ann
Yellow lighted bookshop Buzbee, Lewis AB
Cake chic Porschen, Peggy NF
Stacey's emergency Martin, Ann C
Avalanche Rogers van der Luff, A C
Stacey's ex best friend Martin, Ann
Dancers dancing Dhubaine, Eilis Ni RR
Sandy Toye, C.R. NF
Dawn's big move Martin, Ann C
Get well soon Mallory Martin, Ann C
Making of Amelia Moriarty, Jaclyn
The song house Azzopardi, Trezza
School on the North Barrule Allen, Mabel Esther C
School at Skelton Hall EBD C
Summer term Greyfell
The concert ticket Grushin, Olga
Jean of storms EBD
Aloha BSC Martin, Ann C
Other people's marriages Watson, Shane
Getting over Mr Right Manby, Chrissie
The fancy Dickens, Monica RR
Dawn and the We love kids club Martin, Ann C
Welcome to the BSC Abby Martin, Ann C
The sea room Nicholson, Adam NF
The first woman doctor Baker, Rachel NF
Guyaholic Mackler, Carolyn

Tuesday 3 August 2010

I'm back!

My week off is over, and I'm back to work and "normal life", but not for too long, as it's only three weeks until I have over a fortnight of holidaytime. I was wondering whether or not I wanted to resume blogging, as I really enjoyed having a break from the computer and have enjoyed doing other things (more of later) in the last week or so, but I still have things that I want to write about. My focus may change somewhat, but I'm not sure in what direction!

It was a busy week off. The highlight was undoubtedly our weekend in a "room with a view", where I didn't make that much of a dent in the books that I had taken, but I appreciated having plenty to choose from (in fact I'd already read 2 of the books in the pile I showed before leaving, and added three library books).

The main purpose of our weekend in Cornwall was to participate in the Padstow-Rock swim - an annual event, which involves swimming a mile across the estuary to the other side. Friends and regular readers will know that I am a keen swimmer; friends and regular readers may also know that much as I love swimming, I hate being cold. Unfortunately I got very cold waiting for the swim to start, but I did manage to complete it, and it was an excellent preparation for The Great North Swim that I'll be doing in Lake Windemere in September. Long standing readers may remember that I did this challenge in order to raise money for the mental health charity Mind last year, and this is my motivation once more. Mind do an amazing job of raising the profile of mental health in Britain, and one of their current campaigns involves the promotion of mental health in the work place. Please consider sponsoring me if you can, however little the amount, as Mind are a hugely worthy cause and I am keen to raise as much as possible. There is more information both about my challenge and how Mind can use the money raised at my justgiving page.

And here's an action shot from last time around...

Besides the weekend in Cornwall, I managed to fit in a behind the scenes visit to a college library, courtesy of a friend who has just changed jobs, a behind the scenes visit to Chastleton House, a National Trust property where I was lucky enough to spend some time looking at the library collections, a wedding, and a trip to Hobbycraft. I also did quite a lot of baking and a few crafty things, of which more later in the week. Some reading also took place, and I have one book that I especially want to write about soon. Although I'd like to mention the fact that it is OVER TWO WEEKS since I have bought a book (a fact that I partly attribute to being away from the bad influence of one of my colleagues); this is something that I felt should be rewarded with something bookish (a fact that I attribute to returning to the bad influence of my colleague who has just purchased one) - when it turns up later this week, I shall reveal all (and take no responsibility for those of you who feel you have to have one too).