Having , on occasion , got slightly lost in Wolf Hall , thanks to the BBC's take on Tudor indoor lighting and my Catholic upbringing , I thought I'd do a bit of homework for episode 5 .
By this time I've worked out that the man in black with a expression like a disappointed dog was Cromwell ... though not a Cromwell that my history teacher would recognise (she , after all , had been given the name of one of the English Martyrs on becoming a nun) . Quite a few of the people remain a mystery .
Luckily Hilary Mantel is not the only writer to deal with the period , so I decided to go straight to another woman whose books have inspired many a successful costume drama , Jane Austen .
"It would be an affront to my Readers were I to suppose that they were not as well acquainted with the particulars of this king's reign as I am myself . It will then be saving them the task of reading again what they have read before , and myself the trouble of writing what I do not perfectly recollect , by giving a slight sketch of the principal Events which mark his reign ."
In the interests of saving you the task of reading it , I'll give you Miss Austen's opinion on his reign in a sentence ,
"The Crimes and Cruelties of this Prince were too numerous to be mentioned ... " . I have a feeling it's going to end in tears ....
The weeks trickle by . It's February , when every day seems to last thirtysix hours and all desire for hearty soup has waned , everything is brown and I can't imagine ever taking off my polo neck jumpers again ... do they make polo neck nighties ?
Still , there is some consolation in the fact that almost anything at all can cheer one up instantly . As I came home the other day in the drizzle , a shambling , redfaced drunk bellowed a compliment after me , "Woahhh ! Lekkerrrrrrrrrrrr ding !! " and then fell flat in a heap , burbling appreciatively , making me grin all the way home .
I survived a talk about town development in Leeuwarden , while sitting behind a middle-aged man who seemed to subscribe to the theory that baldness could be staved off by vigorous and constant scalp massage .... and was rewarded by a short video about local events in the '50s . The clothes ! The hats !
I had lunch with two dear friends who always amuse and can window shop to perfection .
It snowed and I've got a photo to prove it , though it was shortlived and no one needed these .
Celebrity Bake Off has begun and , last night , Joanna Lumley was at her giraffe-like best .
I seem to be able to do press ups , much to my astonishment ( and no small pride ) .
And best of all , I bought and useda C.D. player cleaning disc and Lorraine Hunt is restored to her full glory this afternoon .
If only they'd bring you a menu .
" Rain again , Madam ? Gale 'n Hail ? Or chef has some very fine wet snow ... that comes with a side dish of icy slush ." Then at least you could plan the next few days .
I mightn't have found myself travelling through banks of fog on a nearly empty train , peering out for some sign that I wasn't an extra in a next season's Dr. Who episode . Still , I was rewarded by glimpses of a deer and a very large flock of geese . Three grey Shetland ponies stood expertly camofluaged in a frosty field . The odd hawk stared beadily out over the frozen ditches . A red bulldozer and a couple of men with a theodolite loomed out suddenly , like ghostly Bob the Builders .... they could probably have done with a menu , too .
Once in Groningen it was only slightly better , and someone had been knocked down on a corner of the market square . He lay in a puddle of blood , under a pile of table cloths ripped off a nearby cafè's tables , a couple of building workers giving him first aid . An ambulance tah-too-d round the huge square ... and stopped on the wrong corner . A bunch of people , coats flapping , ran up trying to redirect it , confusing things further . A tall foreman walked towards it waving his yellow helmet and order was restored , the man loaded into the ambulance and a policeman tidied up . We stood feeling a little lost . Luckily there was a clue
" At least we know where the tower is ", said a woman clutching her coat closer , before disappearing in the general direction of the shops ...
On the return journey we were suddenly treated to sparkling hoar frost , just till I'd found my camera and we'd hit the fog again . That night all the weather maps had Amber warnings . No , not snow but sheets of rain and rough seas .
Still , Middle daughter reported a light dusting of snow yesterday , when I 'phoned . Small Grandson the Adventurer, had apparently already put on his wellingtons , grabbed the binoculars and was ready for action .
"It's snowing ! I'm going to build a NoMan !! " he yelled to me and went to the window in case any more fell . Daughter laughed and finished her coffee first, as we chatted . Perhaps the teaspoon might come in handy when they went out .
The curly kale still had a few snowflakes , later in our market .
Today we've got blazing sun and there's a fine display of snow shovels outside the hardware shop .
My grandmother used to grasp my hand firmly every time we crossed the road ... even after I'd grown up and become a mother myself . And when she had to take her eyes off me for a minute , I apparently had a Guardian Angel , who she'd personally vetted and passed fit for service .
The warm , fuzzy feeling of being safe from any slight harm carried on till my teens , when I promptly made it my life's work to avoid the sensible and safe .
But now it's 2015 , the world has changed and Health and Safety have taken up Granny's role .
This last few days I've been warned about 'functional sharp points' on an otherwise perfect packet of colour pencils ...
and of the possibility of a problem with my box of Free Range Eggs . Under Possible Allergens , it baldly said EGGS .
Good to know , though I was more alarmed by the fluorescent white shells . Perhaps next time , they could include the word Leghorn prominently on the box , as well ...
The new packaging on Hema's cold meat range pulls no punches either The smoked chicken fillet might , apparently , have traces of , among other substances : fish, shellfish , beef , carrots , coriander , invertebrates , kamut and oats . Fish ??
I briefly wondered about the warning on the folder in Husband's new medicine , too .
Unsuitable for people with beards ?
No . It seems to be "Avoid if you can't swallow tablets" ... just in case you'd missed the word TABLETS on the box . Husband has survived .
But I think the leaflet in a sample tube of Diaclin foot cream , being handed out the other day at the chemist , wins this week's prize for customer care . Should I ever overcome my reluctance to indiscriminately firebomb any and all bacteria that might find themselves on my insteps , I hope I'd be able to work out how to apply the stuff all by myself .
But I'm still comforted to think they care . I feel cocooned , in fact ....
Yesterday I was woken by an express train , roaring past the bed . Well , not really ... you'd have read about it in the papers , if one had ... but that's just what the wind sounded like , rushing down to the river .
I managed to get to the almost deserted market and back , but left the rest of the shopping for today .
Today it's worse .
Which makes me wonder what sort of sort of supper ... gourmet or otherwise ... I can conjure up from one and a half kilos of apples , five potatoes , a kilo of sweet peppers , a small bag of caraway seeds and a tin of sardines....
My resolve to be smarter and busier and do more , of course .
I used to but now I've settled on the sofa and have become almost L-shaped . So , while I'm reading a lot which is good , I'm becoming stiff and creaky and boring, which isn't . A bit of gentle exercise seems called for ... and , today being pleasantly windfree , a brief bike ride seemed an excellent start to my new regime .
It had an unexpected bonus in the shape of a not quite brief enough conversation with a couple who seemed to be convinced that summer was a matter of weeks away ,
" It's Global Warming , you know . We're going to move to a fifth floor flat . And then we can have a little boat for shopping ." Tied up to their balcony/jetty , perhaps . They were quite serious . The characters in the last two books I've read , Keith Donohue's The Stolen Child and Ransom Riggs' Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children , seemed quite rational in comparison . ( I heartily recommend both books , by the way ... well worth becoming L-shaped for . )
Anyway the sunset was in itself worth the ride .
I hope we all have a splendid year and that 2015 is kind to us all . And that no gaiters are involved .
SmitoniusAndSonata is a mother and daughter collective blog.
London based Smitonius (Jessamy) makes one of a kind jewellery using vintage buttons, as well as a combination of beads from all over Europe: from lampwork ones by a range of UK artists to vintage and modern glass beads.
Sonata is a miniature quilt maker based in the North of Holland (Leeuwarden). Geraldine Keyzer is already known to collectors of Hitty dolls and owners of vintage dollhouses. She likes to use vintage as well modern cotton to create a range of quilts from simple One Patch to the more complex Grandmother's Garden.