The End

One of my most favourite book stores closed on Sunday. Waterstones in St Margaret’s Street.

There was something character-full about this branch of Waterstones. The chair in the window made you want to come and read a while. To crease a spine, to peruse the table-fulls of books.

There are not many bookshops where you can see Captain Haddock from the Tin Tin books in the window.

As you take the escalator up to the first floor, there is a wall full of autographs including J.K.Rowling.

It has such character such soul.

It was the first shop I ever went into when I visited Canterbury for my university interview many years ago in 1990. It was newish then and I remember going regularly to the cafe on the top floor. I’d take the escalator up to the first floor then ascend the staircase to the second. I guess given the laws around accessibility that it was a step too far to get a lift put in especially when they put their all into a shiny refurb of a bigger store just round the corner. I used to love going in the cafe for a read and a toasted teacake and a cup of tea. There were great pictures on the wall of wildlife.

I loved these rocking horses in the children’s section. Much played with, much loved.

I loved the quirkiness, the little signs which tell of history. And the books. It was wonderful to spend many a happy hour looking at the books laid out on the tables and stare at shelves.

I used to love to bring my friends to the basement

and surprise them with the remains of the Roman bath house you could see there

It was one of those places you had to know about like the Roman well in the basement of Canterbury’s Pret a Manger (when it was Boots – you used to be able to go and look at it if you asked nicely). So it was nice to be able to walk down the stairs and see it.

So this farewell is a farewell to my first chapter in Canterbury. The store is as old as my connection with the city. It is so sad to see such a beautiful friendly building go. It is going to be the new C&H fabrics so full of yarn and fabric one of my other loves but it will be refitted and the wonderful signs and personal touches will be stripped away and just a distant memory.

Good bye, dear friend. Your fancier, moderner replacement won’t have the same memories for me but I will still go as we still need bookshops. And the rocking horses are moving in so there is hope for it yet.

My mum

When I was a teenager, I used to rage about how unfair it was I wasn’t allowed to do this and that. My mum was a typical Tiger Mother so anything apart from studying hard was not allowed. It is only in later years, that I really feel a bit of sadness that I spent so much time with her studying at home and quietly resenting it. After all, I didn’t ever get invited to the longed for slumber parties that my friend’s did. I did think of her when I did manage a-kind-of-version-of-that-kind-of-slumber-party when my friend from school and I stayed in a hotel in London together for our school reunion in October but it was nicer and we got more sleep and had spa treatments. So I definitely won on that front.

So my mum would have been 80 today. I miss her.


I liked this quote but I am a planner and at the end of this very unusual year, I’m reflecting on the year to come and the endings that I’m contemplating.

2017 will be the year I change jobs – towards the end of January to be more precise and then I’ll be freewheeling a little as the new job is part-time. It is scary but I keep telling myself it will be ok 🙂

I’m also deciding to wind up my jewellery business with a close-out sale on Etsy coming in the new year. I’ll still be making the odd things but for myself and for friends rather than doing shows and making more work for myself.

But one thing is for sure, it won’t be the end of my blog! I’m going to keep going with that with renewed vigour 🙂

I have to keep you up to date with these fluffy ones… and the knitting that I’m planning!

Back on the road again – Kansas City

It seems only fitting that today of all days that I take a moment to think about my favourite country and the wonderful trip we had this summer. We flew to Kansas City, MO for our 15th wedding anniversary as we planned to drive to Paris, MO the next day to meet a friend. Right around the corner, I saw this and it made me smile thinking of Jeanne’s kitty Louie.

It was horribly hot in Kansas City but being weird Brits, we decided to walk around for a bit much to the surprise of the lady who checked us in to our fancy anniversary hotel (Crowne Plaza which was brilliant and kind and gave us some lovely comps for our anniversary but were genuinely lovely).

If we hadn’t we might not have seen wonderful painted ads like this one. I was reading this article about how they are dying out and I love to record the ones I see.

Kansas City is well known for it’s beautiful fountains.

pao thought he might have found a new wife but she seemed a little wooden.

I took a photo of this building without realising what an iconic image it was. It was getting hotter so there was only time for a quick snap and run.

Our trip to KC was quite last minute so I was surprised to find out it was the Hallmark HQ.

We spent a delightful hour or two enjoying the Hallmark Visitors Center. pao got close up to Maxine and we had a fun time making bows with the bow making machine.

The Hallmark Christmas trees were quite brilliant. Sadly, they were in transition so were only just going to get their Christmas ornaments when we visited the gift store. I did get a lovely anniversary gift of this cartoon though. It is good advice to remember especially today. I send you many SMAKs, US friends!

I really loved this tree with the Santas on it.

My favourite display was about Snoopy.

I think this says it all. Whatever happens in the US after today, we can keep hold of the thought of happiness in small things. I can take my happiness in remembering a wonderful trip with wonderful friends and warm cookies.

Caturday’s Duluthian Cats

Eileen and Tom do have some beautiful kitties. Jasmine is a big old softie to look at but is very quick when it comes to catching chipmunks even on a leash!

pao and Jeanne were sitting outside when she quickly dispatched one in the middle of the lawn.

Libby is a great beauty. She isn’t as forward as Jasmine but is lovely all the same!

Check out that pretty face!

In which I should start at the beginning of July

We went on a trip to the USA at the beginning of July for just over two weeks. Of course, we had to go to MN which we have become immensely fond of and we stayed with Jeanne and Michael (and Jeanne’s parents) most of our trip. We became great friends straight away with Bette who crawled right between us in our bed the very first night and revelled in the warmth. She is a cheeky minx 🙂

Louie is quite the brilliant, lovely friendly chap who is always immensely pleased to see you but is so chilled out.

Nora (my favourite) was rather skittish around us to start with but with some time and gentle persuasion, she became my friend. The first night she sat on the dresser and stared at us the whole night.

And so, we started our journey with the downstairs faction.. 🙂

Good night, Sirius Black

I am sorry to tell you that we had to have Sirius Black put to sleep a short while ago. Born on 25 July 2009, we met him ten days later and soon fell head over heals in love with him.

What is not to love about this furry little bundle of fun. I’d christened him Pesto from time to time when he got into things he shouldn’t or tried hard to get his tail cut off

(remember how much he loved the sewing machine, Louise).

And paper patterns were the business. Jan and I had quite a lot of help cutting out this blouse.

Sadly his brother, Minerva, passed away quickly too so we like to think they will be reunited together with their other sibling who only made it for a few days. He’ll get to meet Ophelia and Merlin again who he knew when he was tiny.

He was definitely Paul’s cat and would greet us every day by running up and jumping on the hall table with a ‘Wah!’. It was his ‘Wah’ that made him as he’d often surprise us by launching himself mid air remembering to ‘Wah’ just as he landed.

Those of you who knew him would know this wild-eyed crazy look he would get. We knew we were in for some fun as he loved to be part of things.

He really loved gardening and helping with gardening and frightening the life out of us when he made a break for it and ran off to the neighbour’s garden.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do without my seed inspector. There is nothing quite like putting your hand in a bag of compost to find a kitten in the bag. He spent his last morning at home with me in the garden and I’m glad he was able to feel the sun on his fur and breathe the fresh air as he loved it so much. He was taken much too soon and will always have a place in our hearts.

Good night, Sirius Black. We will miss you, dearly.

Healing thoughts, please

Sirius is critically ill at the vets with a blocked bladder. He had an op yesterday but took a turn for the worse this morning. We are waiting to take him to our vet to be unblocked again as he is currently with an out of hours service for nursing care overnight.

UPDATE: I saw him as he was being transferred back our own vet this morning. He looked a bit sad, a bit in pain but he did manage to pee on the way back to the vet which is an immensely good sign. Poor chap 🙁