Wednesday 29 December 2010

Back to the 1970s

It is a curious time, this limbo between Christmas and the New Year, which coupled with the arctic conditions in the house means that little "normal" anything is being done. Instead we are huddled round the woodburner, relaxing, which feels very odd. I don't normally sit down in there till about 3 p.m., when OH and I always have a cup of tea.

Anyway, yesterday I caught up on some programmes I'd recorded, which included one about the iconic programme The Good Life, which is still being shown in repeats on Sky and is still just as good as it was way back then. It coincided with the publishing of the equally iconic book on Self Sufficiency by John Seymour, which I bought at the time and still have on my bookshelf.

Whilst I was looking for a craft book this week, I came across Country Bizarre's "Country Bazaar", another book very much of this era. Its contents include brass rubbing, spinning, dyeing, weaving, making rugs, smocks and smocking, basket making, paper making, drying flowers, pot pourri, wine making etc. I have only to look at the cover and think of corn dollies, growing herbs and starting to learn crafts . . . I can remember my excitement as everything it included seemed to be something I was interested in.

It was the time when I started making home-made wine (as did my mum), and making my own bread, growing herbs and becoming very interested in them and particularly remedies using herbs and wild plants. I dried and pressed flowers to decorate writing paper. I tried smocking but really needed a guiding hand from someone who could sort me out when I went wrong. I learned to spin, but had to put that on the back burner until a couple of years ago when I went on a 6 week course and bought myself an Ashford wheel.

Of course, life gets in the way of things you want to try and I am a great procrastinator. . . . So many ideas, so little time. I have decided that I have lingered long enough and took myself to task yesterday and have blown the dust off a couple of books of knitted lace patterns - laid aside as I didn't have the confidence to try "complicated" patterns. But I have attempted a few yesterday, one basic-but-fiddly one I can't get the hang of yet - will try again today - but I was thrilled to master several others which gave me such pleasure and confidence! Now I can do holey frilly-edged knitting patterns which are MEANT to look like that!


  1. I have that Country Bizarre book too - it's just packed with wonderful stuff isn't it? I also have somewhere in the loft a pile of the later Country Bazaar magazines which I subscribed to until it sadly finished. In fact I shall go up there later on and find them!

  2. We had the foresight to get married between Christmas and the New Year, so there is something to look forward to. We married at gretna green and it was the coldest I have ever been in my entire life!

  3. I remember all those Good Life ideas from the 1970s! I still have the Practical Self Sufficiency magazines, along with a new version of John Seymour ( the old one got lost somewhere during one of our moves).
    A lot of it was a dream of something simpler than the city life we had just left behind, but it set the pattern for much of what we do now.

    The ideal has to be the best of both worlds, and has to include a warm house! I hope they will soon be out to do something about your central heating.......

  4. That brought back memories, Practical Sel-Sufficiency; I had Katie Thear's books on raising chickens and killing rabbits.
    looked her up, and sadly she died last year, I had their magazines for years, but threw them away not so long ago. Permaculture replaced it but it was never as exciting.....

  5. Gosh that is an interesting post..I too have the Country bazaar book (it was a present from my sister) Also the Self sufficiency book by John Seymour ..I'd bought a paperback about self sufficiency and written to one of the authors for more information, it was John Seymour and he recommended I buy his book as it was much so I did and it was.
    I subscribed to the Thear's magazine ..what a shame she died at 70 and to cap it all I love The Goodlife and as my brother kindly gave me the full set of DVD's as a cheer me up pressie I can watch them whenever I like ..the girls (8 and 9) love watching the Silly but it's fun episode each Christmas (and in between for that matter) all the best to you and your family and Good wishes for the New Year

  6. Oh, that makes me feel old, I can remember those magazines!Have a very Happy New Year and relax if you can!