Yes, it HAS been quiet around here. I have had the gentlest of kind and friendly prods from some of you asking if all is well. Thank you, and yes, it is really, in the grand scheme of things.
Do you ever have a crisis of confidence? When suddenly you seem to loose sight of quite who you are or what you think or what is important to you. It happens to me every once in a while. And I look round at everyone else and think how sorted and together and assured they seem. How secure in their own skin. And I flounder about feeling out of my depth and over-exposed.
And like a turtle, I long for the security of my own shell. Where I can just read a book or loose myself in a film and not be required to have an opinion about anything at all. The good news is, I have been cracking along with my reading pile and have seen more films in the last fortnight than in the preceding 6 months.
But at some point, you have to face up to sticking your neck back out. Because really, life is defined by interactions. Some wonderful and life affirming and others less so. But without them it's all a bit pointless. I would never make it as a hermit.
So, hello, waving from my shell and heading back to join the party. I was planning on bringing these walnuts to share.
But once I had hacked off the fibrous exteriors and broken the extremely hard shells open with a hammer (wearing latex gloves, to protect from the yellow staining), I discovered that they tasted absolutely revolting.
And don't even get me started on the smell. I had to search my memory banks for what it reminded me of - now I think I have it. Bile. Nasty eh?
Usually, my world of work at my world at home co-exist nestled in their own snug side by side compartments. But once in a while, they come together. Like last Tuesday, when we lured Ros Badger to come along and talk to a shopful of crafters about Homemade.
I know lots of you have this book already and enjoy it for the same reason I do - the simple message that homemade is special. So it was fitting that we should have a very special evening, with Ros (who is utterly charming) bringing along many of the items that feature in the lovely photographs of the book. And having the time to chat to everyone, swap making stories and help us do a couple of projects from the book (that's my button heart).
For me, it was also a chance to realize that there are so many creative people, and even fellow craft bloggers right under my nose. And it's doubly handy when they do a write up of the event, because there has been a little missing camera cable problem at the shop, and hence, no write up on the shop blog!
And I am so so so sorry that I didn't tell you about it here beforehand and let those of you within reach of Oxfordshire have the chance to come along. But the event sold out so fast, there was no time. I promise to do better next time.
So, the spirit of all things homemade seems to have seeped out of my home life compartment and pervaded the bookshop. First, our trophy for our mostly bookbrains literary quiz next month. It had to be an altered book really, didn't it?
I knew all that catalogue folding practice last year would lead to me making something eventually. Though I am rather nervous about taking it in to the shop, as in our publicity materials it has been billed as 'a magnificent trophy' and I'm not sure the Trade Descriptions Act would agree. Homemade charm and magnificence are not quite the same thing.
And then, I get to run my own event for the bookshop - a pre-Christmas evening of craft, where hopefully we capture the same spirit of camaraderie as Ros' event managed to. And make a whole stack of recycled and upcycled decorations for the Christmas window.
Do you ever get the feeling that the really important stuff happens in the periphery of the day? The child, who gives you the biggest insight into their inner life in the couple of sentences exchanged as you kiss them goodnight. The planning of a whole week's worth of domestic arrangements in a dialogue carried out between the shower cubicle and the bathroom sink as the day gets underway.
We are cramming an awful lot into life at the moment. But the most enjoyable bits are often at the edges - rather like the sticky margins of a perfectly baked crumble.
Or the Toasty gloves which fit neatly into the 'waiting in the car park' knitting slot.
I think they may have to be re-christened. Veggie and Bonnie?
Unless of course you have better suggestions. And somehow I feel you might. The boy is a big handsome ginger fellow and the girl is a small pretty tabby. Johnny is keen on calling them both Colin. Honestly, naming is not our strongest suit.
We pick them up next Saturday. And on Sunday I morph into dotty woman who takes too many pictures of her cats.