Friday, 1 July 2011

Myself through a looking glass . . .

This is an idea inspired from another blog - what your possessions say about you, basically. Well, as far as interests go, cats, horses, baking, gardening are all a given. As are books really, but I do have several areas of interest. This is just a very small selection of my archaeology books. Some of my favourites there, especially the well-thumbed ECMS which was my rock whilst I was researching my Dissertation. The Picts are a particular interest of mine, and Early Christian Monuments (especially those linked to the Picts), but you will note two Welsh reference books on the same. My children always rolled their eyes and said, "Oh mum, you and your STONES!!!" I always told them, stones rock : )

My literary collection, or at least, about a third of it. Mostly biographies about Thomas Hardy here, and poet Edward Thomas, though I also have books by and about the Brontes, Dickens, Jane Austen, Mary Webb, Eden Philpotts, Trollope, and poetry books in this bookcase.

I have quite a good collection of books by and about Edward Thomas, who is my poetry hero. A fascinating man but good grief, he can't have been an easy one to live with!

Just a wee part of my 200+ cookery books. I think you should quickly see a theme going . . . Anything farmhouse/cottage/countryside orientated.

Some of my craft books. Quilt making was a passion of mine 30 years ago, but I know I don't really have the mind for colours and planning and these days I just stick to making hexagon quilts to throw about the place.

This part of my book collection is one that pleases me greatly as it comes under several areas, by author, by area, by content. It is always being added to and these books are ones which I would NEVER part with.

Some of my botany books. They are good companions and regularly referred to.

I have a "thing" about big old storage jars. The one at the front, complete with its original earthenware lid, is the most recent addition, and all are in use.

I have a small collection of Gillian McDonald limited edition prints. They remind me of Scottish holidays when the children were smaller.

I love old cottage pictures. This is one of a set of three and I still have a jigsaw puzzle (a few bits missing now) which I had as a child, showing a cottage garden scene painted by this artist, Sid Gardner.

I adore Celtic interlace. This is a design from - I think I remember rightly - the Book of Kells. My husband and I bought it when we were holidaying in Cornwall and found this at a Tintagel gift shop. The design is worked on slate.

I love old things - furniture, china, and big earthenware jars. The latter never pretend to be anything other than what they are - down to earth (and from the earth) and functional with the minimum of decoration and they link me to my "ag. lab." roots.

When my children were smaller I did a lot of x-stitch. The Quilting was an American pattern.

This picture reminded me of "home", Dorset, and such happy memories of walking in the Purbecks. My late m-in-law was once horrified to see me tucking into half a pint of prawns outside the pub in the picture (The Greyhound) as to her, prawns were what came to shore on the drowned bodies in the Scarborough of her mother's memory . . .

Spinning is something I need to get back to. I learned to spin many years back, before we moved to Wales, and then I had a 6 week course about 4 years ago. Life has rather got in the way these past couple of years

Plain hexagon patchwork. Something I can work on my lap, hand sew (which is what I like best) and pick up for 5 minutes or an evening. This is an "extension" to turn a large single quilt made for middle daughter's Uni bed into a king size quilt for our own.

I love walking down by our river as it is never the same two days running and it has such energy, even when water levels are low as they are here.

I love wild flowers. Ever since I was given the Observer's Book of Wild Flowers when I was 6 years old, I have identified them and learned more about them.


Deep pink Valerian.

Roses of course. This is a beauty from Haddon Hall.

Kiftsgate back at home, against a glowering sky. It has finally reached the top of the Hawthorn tree and given it a silver crown to wear. Paul's Himalayan Musk to its left.

Historic old houses, of course. Haddon Hall below and above is the last working snuff factory in the country, in Sheffield.


  1. What a great post and full of all the things I love too - well, you've seen my bookshelves:) Isn't Wilson's snuff factory wonderful, such unexpectedly lovely surroundings in a very urban area. I think I may spend some time on abebooks later adding to my collection of C Henry Warren and George Ewart Evans books! And I shall also have to get out my hexagons and actually complete enough to make something with:)

  2. Interesting post, books tell a lot about us, as do our collections. We too are "mad" for stones, we've spent many a trip in Britain searching for stones. Not much like that here in the States though we have visited the Indian Mounds in Oklahoma.

  3. Speaking of mirrors, your botany bookcase and your literary one mirrors mine!

    Abebooks have been a great find, especially while we have been searching for our Arts and Crafts Edwardians.

  4. Beautiful and and interesting post. Do people still use snuff?

  5. Hi jennie, nice to see you rose to the challenge I set on my blog!! interesting post!

    Leanne x

  6. What a wonderful post! It's amazing how we find so much in common with the people we get on with on our blogs when we see inside their homes! I could browse your bookshelves for hours.

    I grew up in Scarborough but never learned to hate prawns. (And I sat outside that very pub in Corfe last September eating scallops. Not sure if I'm following you or you're following me.) :)

  7. A return visit to this delightful post, now that I have a moment to check out your bookshelves and leave a comment.
    Many of your books are more "serious" titles than I have collected. I'm glad you introduced me to C. Henry Warren and wish for more writers with his ability to capture and portray 'place' without being pedantic.
    Daphne Du Maurier's "Vanishing Cornwall" is one I have enjoyed.
    Your photo of meadowsweet reminds me to search for that plant--maybe re-search first to see if it can bear our hot summers. The first of that plant in my Vermont garden came from a mountain-side herb nursery of the same name. Once established I found it could be divided and "took" well in other parts of the garden.
    We could surely enjoy a ramble around each others' gardens, cuddle the cats, and if it rained, retreat to the books or to the kitchen for an orgy of baking.

  8. A lovely journey through your books and treasures :D I enjoyed it very much :D

  9. A great post, - very illuminating... I love your spinning wheel. I, too, hope to get back to spinning - have lots of fleece tucked away to inspire me. My husband, Charles, was a Lancaster Pilot during the war and had very kind friends in Sheffield.