A quick word on International Women’s Day



Women in Whitby, courtesy of the Preus Museum

So this – hopefully – short post is borne out of my mild irritation with something that started with the best of intentions: every year on International Women’s Day (day after my birthday, which is International This Woman’s Day) Richard Herring makes a point of finding idiot men tweeting ‘When’s International Men’s Day???’, and publicly telling them that it’s on November the 19th. Well and good, but now what happens in my timeline is men rubbing their hands with glee about the chance for a man to be sarcastic to other men meaning that – imagine my surprise – an opportunity to celebrate women ends up as an opportunity for men to receive attention.

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The Valentina Experiment


That’s Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space. It is, really, and you definitely don’t need to do anything like finding photographs of Tereshkova to compare it to so you can check. I made this linocut print as the latest in my attempt to make a print a week and then post it on Twitter on a Monday. Don’t check against a photo, really. I have my own hashtag and everything (#linomondays) and though it is wrong and bad of me I’m a bit glad that no one else thinks that doing the same is a good idea because it makes it easier for me to find all of my linocut tweets. I’ve also just started putting all of my lino pictures in an album in Flickr

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Knitting part 3: all this useless beauty


You see that there? I did that. It’s a circular or maybe nonagonal shawl, made from Icelandic lace-weight wool. The pattern is based on a Victorian pattern for a baby’s cap, but scaled up. It took me about a month and a half, but remember the weather in the first half of this summer was terrible and also I don’t have a job. There’s eighty thousand stitches in it, or slightly over.

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My brilliant idea for making all the money while saving your workplace that cannot possibly fail


My husband and I found ourselves needing some coffee and half an hour’s worth of shelter on Old Street this last weekend. He’s a cycling type so the first place he thought of was Look Mum No Hands. We found it looking like the staff had carried out a trolley dash in the Disney Princesses aisle at Toys R Us. The Giro d’Italia would be on later on in the day, and Alberto Contador would be confirmed as the winner of the maglia rosa, and thus all the pink. Alberto might be more of a fan of bunting than I am.

While waiting for my coffee I was flicking through the flyers left on the counter. Everything was pretty much as you’d expect: green film festivals, bespoke bike makers, exciting new black cycling jerseys with words on them that the other jerseys don’t have, season leaflets for theatres on the other side of town. I picked one of them up and pushed it under my husband’s nose. It was advertising corporate events at the Lee Valley Velodrome. He nodded and mumbled something, again, about cycling being the new golf. I didn’t understand: how are you supposed to network while you’re whizzing round on a single-speed bike at 45 degrees from upright? No, no, he explained. You probably have drinks after, and talk about all the amazing times you’ve set and how the boss looked like the last bike he’d ridden had three wheels and now let’s have a quick chat about the deal.

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Ahem…a-HEM…sorry, clearing my throat


So this place is still here, eh? Look, there’s the comment box I used to type in…looks like the new people have changed it a bit though.

So I have many reasons and excuses why I haven’t been here for more than a year. Perhaps you’ll find it a welcome change to know that busy-ness was not in the least one of them.  I have not at all been busy.

Except, in another way, I have – as is usual for any given 13 months of my life many enthusiasms and fads and obsessions have swept through. Sometimes I felt like writing about them. Sometimes something really annoyed me, and I had thoughts longer than 140 characters about it, and I thought I should put them down somewhere. And I didn’t, in either case, because I had an old blog that was generally about baking, and another that was about gardening, and I didn’t think that those thoughts would fit in either place. Madly, when I did write two things, shortly after coming back from Hong Kong (about the place in general, and about its language) I sort of hid them away.

I’m going to turn forty very soon … no, wait, where are you going? This isn’t going to be another post where you suspect that the writer talks about the joys of being middle-aged in an attempt to persuade herself, I promise.  What I mean to say is:  I might as well come to terms, in my advanced age, with who I am. And who I am can be described in two ways, depending on how forgiving I am being of myself.  Either I have a curious mind, or I’m an Olympic-standard dilettante, your choice.

So I know that most blogs have a theme, I know that generalist blogs are mostly pointless, I know that actually, pretty much all the blogs I read myself are about a thing.  But if I’m honest, I find it very difficult to be about a thing. So as an experiment, to see if I can bring myself back here more often, from now on I give myself licence to talk about whatever I like.

I haven’t given up on the Mary Bradley Project, in fact my next post will be about something from Mary’s notebook. But I do feel like it might be better if I allowed myself to talk about stuff that isn’t baking, given after all that I rarely bake.

It’s the time of year when the snowdrops begin to stir, the days are appreciably longer and I find that though I hadn’t previously noticed I was apathetic about absolutely everything, I was, and now I’m overtaken by mad enthusiasms. So I’ll try to bring some of that over here.  Hope to see you more often in the future.