Knitting in Public

While writing a previous post I searched our catalogue for the title Sideways and spotted this gem Knitting cuff to cuff : a dozen designs for sideways-knit garments. To me it just sums up the weird and wonderful world of knitting books which from time to time I get excited about – although I never attempt any of the projects.

That might all change if I join the merry band of knitters on World Knit in Public Day this 13 June. Last year 180 people celebrated together in Christchurch – this year organisers are hoping for a bigger mob to descend on the Dux de Lux where they can take part in Knit Surgery (get some help on that project that’s got all tangled up), lasta pasta casta (knitting on dried pasta), fastest knitter and most improved knitter and the winner of the knit your own alien competition will be announced.

In the leadup to the day there is an extreme knitting photo competition and a special knitting class. Check it all out on the  Knit in Public website

A brief delve into the library collection produced some great titles – Men who knit & the dogs who love them, Knitting with balls : a hands-on guide to knitting for the modern man and Never knit your man a sweater unless you’ve got the ring! : 22 handsome projects for every level of commitment (takes me back to the good old days when knitting a sweater for your bloke was part of the Kiwi courting ritual)

Bottle Shocked

red wine glass and bottleThanks to a bit of serendipity (aka Mo-mo) I scored free tickets to the movie Bottle Shock. It purports to be about the events around the 1976 Judgement of Paris. I always thought this was a painting?

Anyway some Napa Valley wines outscored top French wines in a blind tasting by top French wine experts and made the world aware of the potential of New World wines.  These days I think of the potential specials at my local supermarket – but where Napa Valley led, so Kiwi winemakers followed and these days the cheeky beggars are even challenging on the red wine front, at least in the taste buds and wallets of a lot of British wine drinkers.

The film was a bit cliched at times – did they all run around in Deux Chevaux and Citroens in 1976? Or were they the only French cars Americans would be likely to recognise? But it did provide light hearted entertainment and a good story. It whetted my interest in Californian wines, although another movie of a couple of years ago, Sideways, gives an idea of how over-hyped it can be now. We have DVD copies of Sideways in our libraries.

The “effete Pom” character, Stephen Spurrier, is still around on the wine scene – as a consultant editor for Decanter magazine. If you want to explore the wide world of wine there are some great specialist magazines in our libraries – Decanter, Winestate, WineNZ plus the wine sections of magazines like Cuisine, Dine, Australian Gourmet Traveller.

Deep fried book supper

Being Emily by Anne Donovan
Being Emily by Anne Donovan

Both at home and abroad, the Scots use Robert Burn’s birthday as an excuse to get quite extraordinarily drunk and mind bogglingly maudlin; I like to think we do it very well.

This year it was even better as Rabbie aka the Bard turned 250 on January 25th and gave the Scottish Government and tourist industry a chance to roll out Scots culture big time, celebrating whisky, golf, ancestry, Scottish inventors and innovation, as well as another opportunity for Scots everywhere to get pissed of course.

As a little side project “Reading Roots” has been developed to showcase Scottish literary diversity. Tartan-clad Scottish librarians have been playing hunt the haggis not with “puddins” but with books deposited in public places à la Bookcrossing. Hopefully copies of the Oor Wullie annual, Trainspotting and the Bard’s finest poems will find grateful homes.

The Reading Roots website also has a taster of titles celebrating Scots writers both old and new. The lists include:

  • Glaswegian writer Laura Marney, her latest title My best friend has issues is apparently “a romp through the fleshpots Barcelona”. I also suspect Nobody loves a ginger baby by her may too be worth a scan based, if for no other reason, on the sheer outrageousness of the title. How very un-pc.
  • Jackie Kay is a well-known poet, short-story writer and novelist, Wish I was here is her haunting collection of short stories on the eternal theme of love. She also wrote The trumpet a fantastic and surprising novel from 1998.
  • Christopher Rush’s Hellfire and herring: A childhood remembered records the authors 1950’s childhood in the small Fife fishing village of St Monans and sounds suitably “Wee Free Church” with a salty tinge.
  • To further reinforce that no one does dark as well as the Scots Lin Anderson’s Rhonda MacLeod detective series is described as “a heart-stopping sprint through Glasgow’s dark underbelly”, a welcome distraction now that John Rebus is no longing scooping pints at the Oxford Bar.
  • Finally Anne Donovan gets a mention; she is the author of Buddha-Da, strong in Scots dialect and strong in story, a tale of worlds colliding. Her latest title is Being Emily and follows the family life of Fiona O’Connell, a young girl whose mother has recently died.

Over thirty million people globally claim Scottish ancestry; prove your Scots credentials, grab a whisky, snack on a haggis and read a great Scottish novel.