27 January 2022

A Very Good Read

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Ove is a grumpy old man. He thinks himself surrounded by idiots - sweaty joggers, neighbours who can’t reverse a trailer properly and shop assistants who talk in code. The world that he knew is becoming more foreign to him every day, with its new gadgets and trends that he doesn’t understand. Ove has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. He doesn’t shy away from doing battle with bureaucrats. He spends his days inspecting the small housing development he lives in, and thinking of ways to end his life so he can be with his beloved wife again.

One November morning a chatty young couple with two boisterous young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox, and grumpy Ove finds his solitary world turned upside down.

But is he grumpy just because he doesn't walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time? In the weeks and months that follow we see another side to Ove. He has experienced great happiness and great sadness.

Funny, endearing, and entertaining, this is a lovely heartwarming tale of unexpected (and initially unwanted) friendships, an unkempt cat, sheds, cars and a loveable kind man. I liked Ove and could identify with him on many levels.

 ∼ Happy Reading ∼ 

Polly x

23 January 2022

The Dolls Houses

Lake View Hall And Landings

I'm so glad the build of the hall and landings is finished, believe me dear reader the making of them frazzled my brain! it just seemed to take such a long time, partly due to me overthinking things, and re-doing some things.

I have wanted the Lake View house ever since I saw it on a website over ten years ago, but at over £300 for the kit, the price was prohibitive, and, apart from the price I knew I would never actually build it. Then in July 2019 I saw this on ebay for £100, huzzah, a done deal.

I came across an article on the Dolls House Past and Present website written by a guy who had re-designed his Lake View House house. I liked what he had done and will adopt some of his ideas. 

The first job was the removal of the mezzanine floor because it was too small for anything useful. The room will look much better with the addition of that space up to the ceiling. Next was the removal of the spiral stairs in each room because they were taking up a lot of space. New stairs will be created in the small areas on the side. So after inspection and demolition, seen here, it was time for construction.

Starting with a complete staircase.

I removed the spindles because I wanted square ones. I also bought two newel posts because the ones that came with the staircase were two different sizes - a larger one at the bottom and a smaller one at the top of the stairs. They needed to be the same size because this one set of stairs is now two.

After cutting it in half I masked the tread of the stairs and sprayed the risers and sides white.
I also sprayed the spindles and newel posts. I left the hand rail natural.

After that I fixed the stairs to pieces of polystyrene for support, and
because I needed a surface to glue a side of wood and skirting board on.

I then put a coat of clear varnish on the treads, and another piece of
skirting board on the other side which will be glued to the wall.

The stairs will fit in the corner with false walls

The false wall will fit into that groove at the top of the stairs

and will disguises the fact that the stairs don't actually go anywhere. This is the entrance hall which has a cupboard under the stairs, so the next job was to make a cupboard door.

to fix onto the wall like this

Oh dear, here we go again, my brain isn't wired for angles and maths. I can't figure out what to do when two pieces of identical size wood don't match when one is cut at an angle, then I thought that perhaps I should cut both edges at an angle. I chose the easy option of fitting them together the best way I could. Then I had a brainwave .....
cut the frames in one piece. These are for the standard doors,
I forgot to take a photo of the sloping one.

Three options for the style of door. I chose the middle one.

The door components are five upright slats of wood bevelled,
with two larger side slats and top and bottom ones. 

After fixing the spindles and handrail in place
I glued the door to the wall, put a light stain on it,
added a door knob, and put the whole wall in place.

Another time consuming job was cutting the coving. Oh my word, I just didn't
know how to do it, I must have wasted a whole length trying to work it out.
Then I looked on good old Youtube and .... eureka, sorted!

The next job, the first floor, should have been easier because it was just a plain wall.
However .......
after looking at the opening at the top of the stairs I decided that it wasn't wide enough to accomodate a figure!!! I didn't want to make it wider from the hall side because the external door to the balcony wouldn't have enough room to open fully, so I set about removing that piece of wood at the back, the bit the arrow is pointing to. Why, why do I do this?!! I made extra work for myself by painstakingly cutting it away with a craft knife and a hammer and chisel. There's going to be a dividing wall between the hallway and bedroom so not much of it will be seen, but the thing is once I get an idea in my head I've go to go with it because it would forever bug me if I hadn't changed it. It was a bit of a mess though so I filled it in with some pollyfilla, put a strip of paper over it and painted it. I'm pleased with the result, it was worth the extra work.

That door to the left is a fake, I'm not sure where it's going to at the moment!

And so to the top hall which is just a wall with imaginary stairs behind it.
I couldn't make it a permanent structure because I might need access
to the wire for the lamp that will go on a table.
I put a support behind the wall so that it would stay put when in place.

before and after
I will put tables, plants, pictures, lighting and a lamp in eventually.
But for now I'm working on the bedroom.

∼ Be safe and well∼
Polly x

16 January 2022

A Good Read

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

A murder...A tragic accident...or just parents behaving badly?

The story deals with ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and little lies that can become dangerous. 

The main protagonists are Madeline, Celeste, and Jane. Madeline is outspoken, funny, passionate, and a force to be reckoned with.

Celeste is rich and beautiful, the kind of woman who makes people stop and stare, but she is hiding a dark secret behind the facade of perfection.

New to town, single mum Jane is running away from a mysterious past with her son, Ziggy. She is younger than the others and harbours a great deal of sadness. 

They meet at the kindergarten their children attend, and although disparate the women befriend each other. As their friendship deepens, secrets are shared, issues surface, and someone dies.
It's an ok read, I wouldn't say rush out and buy it. I thought parts of it were a little weak.

∼ Happy Reading ∼ 

Polly x

12 January 2022

The Last Igloo

Yesterday I watched a BBC programme called 'The Last Igloo'. Described as a "meditative and poetic sensory immersion into the world of a lone Inuit hunter" it's a beautiful documentary following a lone hunter in Greenland as he hunts, fishes and constructs an igloo. 
The stunning image above was captured when he lit some candles and cooked the fish he had caught earlier in the day.
It's achingly poignant as it depicts a way of life that is rapidly disappearing due to changing times but mostly due to climate change.
At times it seemed a tad slow, but I think it added to the charm. It's well worth watching.

∼ Be safe and well∼
Polly x

9 January 2022



the first month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars and the first of seven months to have a length of 31 days. It is, on average, the coldest month of the year in most of the Northern Hemisphere, and the warmest month of the year in most of the Southern Hemisphere. 
January was named for the Roman god Janus, known as the protector of gates and doorways who symbolize beginnings and endings. Janus is depicted with two faces, one looking into the past, the other with the ability to see into the future.
The Romans often made promises to Janus and exchanged good wishes, which is probably where new year's resolutions came from.

A few traditions
In Scotland, December 31 is known as Hogmanay. “First footing” (or the “first foot” in the house after midnight) is still common across Scotland. To ensure good luck for the house the first person to cross the threshold into the home should be a dark-haired male bringing with him a piece of coal (to ensure the house would never be cold), bread (to ensure a full larder), and a wee dram of whisky.
In Spain people attempt to eat 12 grapes during the 12 strokes of midnight! Tradition says that if they succeed before the chimes stop, they will have good luck for all 12 months of the coming year.
❄ In the southern US, black-eyed peas and pork foretell good fortune. 
❄ In Dutch homes eating any ring-shaped treat (such as a doughnut) symbolizes “coming full circle” and leads to good fortune. Fritters called olie bollen are served, and diving into the North Sea, lakes and canals is popular.
❄ The Irish enjoy pastries called bannocks.
❄ In India and Pakistan, rice promises prosperity.
❄ Apples dipped in honey are a Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) tradition.
❄ In Swiss homes, dollops of whipped cream, symbolizing the richness of the year to come, are dropped on the floors—and allowed to remain there!

Did you know?
❄ New Year’s Day was once the time to swap presents.
❄ Gifts of gilded nuts or coins marked the start of the new year in Rome.
❄ Eggs, the symbol of fertility, were exchanged by the Persians.
❄ Early Egyptians traded earthenware flasks.

Some customs and beliefs are simply passed down through the ages. A few favorite age-old sayings and proverbs are:

❄ On New Year’s Eve, kiss the person you hope to keep kissing.
❄ If New Year’s Eve night wind blow south, It betokeneth warmth and growth.
❄ For abundance in the new year, fill your pockets and cupboards today.
❄ If the old year goes out like a lion, the new year will come in like a lamb.

"Begin the new year square with every man" [i.e., pay your debts!]
Robert B. Thomas, founder of The Old Farmer’s Almanac

So, whether we resolve to return borrowed farm equipment (as did the Babylonians) or lose a few pounds, we’re tapping into an ancient and powerful longing for a fresh start!

∼ Be warm and well ∼ 
Polly x

6 January 2022

A Good Read

The Accidental Apprentice by Vikas Swarup
Sapna Sinha works in an electronics store in downtown Delhi. She hates her job, but she is ambitious and determined to succeed, and her family depend on the money she brings in, without it they won’t be able to survive. 
As she leaves the shop on her lunch break one day, she is approached by a man who says he is the CEO of one of India's biggest companies. He tells her he is looking for an heir for his business empire, and that he has decided it should be her. But first she must pass seven tests.  And then the biggest lottery win of all time will be hers.
The story started well but it soon became contrived and predictable, I quickly picked up that the tests were just snippets from news broadcasts. The characters were likeable though, and I enjoyed the descriptions of Indian culture.
It was a little disappointing but It’s a quick read so I didn’t feel I had wasted too much time.

∼ Happy Reading ∼ 

Polly x

3 January 2022

Rufus' Diary

Hello dear reader. I hope you've had a good Christmas and new year.
It was quiet here, good food and wine, delicious desserts, chocolates
and some good films, the most notable being Daniel Craig in "No Time To Die"
Polly was happy.

I got some nice treats and a new squeeky, that green ball that I'm carefully guarding.
We haven't been out for many walks because it has been almost non stop rain since
Christmas eve 😞 We had a nice walk yesterday, it was an organised village walk, lots of people turned up, the weather was lovely to start with but then - yes - more rain. It was almost 4½ miles, we're not used to that distance, Polly had to recover on the sofa!!

In the week leading up to Christmas we had some lovely frosty mornings

I like frost because I don't get muddy and don't have to be hosed down when we get home!

The badgers have been busy again.

There are some fresh holes in the field.
I don't think the farmer will like that, he ploughed over some last year.
The horses are wearing their winter coats, this is a pretty one.

"You lookin at me"

🐾 Be warm and well 🐾 
Rufus x
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