Monday 14 August 2023

Monday 14th August - blog admin, tunisian crochet, rice pudding, birdsong,

 The title lists the subjects for today in the wrong order.

Let's start with the birdsong.

I was feeling really bleah this morning - no particular reason, just bleah. As I opened the door and came down the steps I heard a brief moment of birdsong, so clear, so true, so beautiful, that I was lifted out of my grey inner world and transported to a full colour, joyous morning of sunshine. My surroundings were  drear (the hospital car park; I'd been for a routine blood test) but I hardly saw the tarmac for gazing up at the trees nearby.

Walking back to the car I spotted a corner of wilderness among the dilapidated sheds and stashed broken furniture in an unkempt corner;

Some of the blackberries are nearly ripe. I could have taken this photograph anywhere in the local nature reserve... indeed, it is a tiny, forgotten little nature reserve.

I have just about perfected my basic rice-pudding-in-the-slow-cooker recipe. Bear in mind that mine is a small slow cooker for two, or at a pinch, three people.

1 pint milk
2 heaped serving spoons rice (a generous 2 oz)
1 serving spoon sugar (about 1 oz)Cook on high for between 2 and 3 hours, stirring once or twice. At 2 hours it is still a bit thin. A 3 hours it is surprisingly thick - heading towards solid! 

This makes 3 portions. Of course, your serving spoons may be larger or smaller than mine... you might have to play around a bit. 

Flavourings; any of brown sugar, nutmeg, cardamom pods, bay leaf, lemon zest...

It is certainly the weather for a good rice pud.

Tunisian crochet - if you haven't come across it before it's a bit hard to describe. The proper crochet hook for this is as long as a knitting needle, and really needs to have a stopper of some kind at the non-hooky end. Also, the handle needs to be smooth all the way along. If you are making a dishcloth, or a strip, then normal hook is fine. Try going up one size - eg 5mm hook for DK. 
Having done the usual way of starting, ie a single chain, or maybe a row of single crochet which will stop it curling, you set off on the forward pass, doing a row of single crochet BUT KEEPING ALL THE LOOPS ON YOUR HOOK.

When you reach the end, do a turning chain, and then do a bind off until you are back where you started, with just one loop on your hook. You can see in this picture how I am binding off by holding the yarn round the hook and drawing it through two loops at a time.

You can see all the vertical lines created in the fabric, with chains running horizontally through them beneath the hook. When you get back to the beginning, with only one loop left on your hook, you are now ready to work the magic;

Do a turning chain, and go forwards again, doing the yarn over, and then INSERTING THE HOOK THROUGH THE VERTICAL LINE and drawing the yarn through, but keeping your new stitch on the hook. 

Then once you have created all the loops, do a turning chain and bind them all off again! Keeping going, backwards and forwards until you have finished.

I don't know how to do shapings and fancy stitches, and I don't have proper hooks but that's ok - this is fine for dishcloths and flannels. 

For properly detailed instructions I advise you to have a trawl round youtube, especially if you would rather look at right-handed photographs and videos!

Blog admin
I often whack out the blog on my tablet with Antiques Road Trip burbling on in the background, (unless I don't care for the presenters for some reason, or the commentary starts to drive my a bit crazy). But this means I have been very lazy with adding labels to the posts. Today I went through and labelled April, May and June, so hopefully July and August will get caught up soon.

Sue asked her readers a number of questions in recent blog post of hers  about what makes them choose to follow a blog, or leave a comment and so on. That set me thinking, and is one of the reasons I have gone back through and added labels.

Reading back through the posts was interesting - I found I had already consigned most of the events into dusty corners of my mind (oh, how quickly the dust, real and virtual, accumulates) so it was good to do a little remembering. 

I have to say that if you prefer a blog that doesn't skitter about from one subject to another then you are out of luck, because that's not how my mind works! It also set me thinking about 'who am I writing for?' I will come back to this when I have done some more thinking - that's if I don't forget in the meantime.

(One vicar at our church, long moved away, was convinced I had a 'gift' for organisation and admin... he was serious, but everyone in earshot who heard him say this were convulsed with laughter, including me...) 


  1. I love blogs which cover a variety of topics, which are honest about the ups and downs of life , and make me think and make me laugh and lift my spirits - or challenge me with hard questions . I don't read repetitive , anodyne, " look how perfect I am" blogs. I like crazy blogs, written by those who know the arcane mysteries of the Egyptian Walking Onions...