Coffee is one of my favorite beverages. And I had not had even a sip of coffee for the past year………but yesterday I got our ancient coffee maker out of the cupboard, figured out how to assemble it, got a 1 1/2 year old pod out of the cupboard, pressed a few buttons in random order, and presto it resulted in a fresh cup of real coffee. Aah – bliss. I think I’m back to drinking coffee.

That coffee maker is huge relative to the size of our kitchen shelf – that’s why I put it away in the first place, that and a general reluctance to do anything kitchen related when we first moved here. But I guess this could be considered adjusting to living at Ida Culver as opposed to our own home. Adjusting has taken a while. – we’ve only been here almost a year and a half.


The photo below should go with yesterday’s post – Montserrat Memories

Eruption of the volcano on Montserrat

Victorian pincushion on spindle stand by Victoria Sampler: 1 – getting started

I am thinking about other projects besides knitting.

Janet Granger's Blog

I’m just starting the next embroidery project that I want to stitch, and I knew right off that it would be one of Thea Dueck’s lovely designs. I’ve got so many of her Victoria Sampler chart booklets in my stash, and several are already kitted up, so it shouldn’t take long to decide which one to get going on, right? Wrong!

This is the one I had planned to do – it’s the Victorian Purse – a beautiful shaped bag and stitching accessories set. I’ve had this in my stash for about 8 years already.

Victorian purse embroidery by Victoria Sampler

I bought the thread pack are the same time that I got the chart booklet. These seem pricey at first, until you work out that if you had to source all those speciality threads from scratch, it would cost way more! Plus, I love getting the little packets in the post 🙂

I chose some…

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Montserrat Memories

Montserrat is a tiny island in the Caribbean. I have never been there but my husband Ian worked there for about 8 months in 1965-66, shortly before we met in Kenya in August 1966. Memories of Montserrat were still fresh and over the years he has told me quite a few. The most dramatic memory that he shared of his time in Montserrat was of climbing up the mountain to the site where a Pan Am flight had crashed, killing all on board – 21 passengers and 9 crew members. Of course this tragedy was big news in September 1965. This happened shortly after Ian’s arrival in Montserrat. This was his first assignment with the Ministry of Overseas Development to develop a Master Plan for Plymouth, the capital.

Incidentally when he had completed his assignment and left Montserrat in February 1966, he stopped in New York for 3 days. This was his first visit to the United States. Little did he know that 6 months later we were to meet and marry in Kenya in February 1968. And another coincidence was that he stayed in the Hotel Lexington in New York – the same hotel where my father stayed in the post war years 1946-1949. (At that time my father had been transferred from the Boston to the New York office of his company. He commuted between Boston and New York.)

Moving forward, years later in the mid-1990’s, the long extinct volcano on Montserrat had a series of eruptions resulting in the obliteration of the town of Plymouth. Around 2005 we happened to be in an outdoor restaurant in London and we overheard 2 men talking about some consulting work they were doing in Montserrat. I was all ears and wanted to speak with them – but Ian was reluctant. So …..

Letter III – SMITTY, Somewhere At Sea At A Loss

Wartime experience from one who served.

Pacific Paratrooper

May 1944 – US troops relax laying cards while a troopship takes them to their deployment.

From my father’s description of his transport ship out of San Francisco and the approximate number of soldiers that were aboard, I can speculate that it was a Heywood class ship. As the ship lumbered out to the ocean swells, many of the young men took their final glance of the USA. Smitty thought that his most boring time in the army was while he sailed on this cruise, although he did well in learning how to play cards – as did many other G.I.’s.

USS Heywood

As they boarded, the ship’s crew immediately began enforcing the security procedures. All portholes and hatches were covered and no lights were allowed after dusk. The heat below deck would become intolerable. The arrival of the “ditty bags” filled with toiletries, cigarettes, gum and a harmonica brightened…

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A Fading Dream

A very mixed up dream and a fading one. The components were as follows – Kilternan Market, shopping in Dundrum, return to shopping for a special pair of shoes, high school graduation, dealing cards for a game of bridge with people who didn’t know how to play, the deal kept getting wrong as advertising cards kept appearing, a trip to the bank to deposit a small amount of money, the balance of the money I had was kept as cash for the purchase of shoes with just the right amount of heel, I was dealer for this game of bridge – the players kept changing, the players didn’t know what they were doing nor did I in the end, I kept getting mixed up in the deal. The setting was the old shopping center in Dundrum in Ireland and the bank was just across the street. High school graduation, Janet Higgenbottom the daughter the Principal. A good dream with lots of components jumbled together. Do you -or I – want to analyze it??

What to Write? Ian Broad? COVID? Random Immigrant? Nantucket?

COVID. The COVID Virus has dominated the news for many months It is still circling the earth with new variants. One country in particular, India, is currently suffering the most. But to date I have only heard of one person that I actually knew who died as a result of the Covid virus. This person is someone I first met over 30 years Bhutan and then we met again in Dublin. He was an interesting person with whom we had a lot in common but we didn’t keep in touch.

Recently I was randomly searching the Irish Times Obituaries and our friend’s name – and picture – appeared. There was no missing it – Ian Broad – our Irish friend whom we met in Bhutan had passed away – cause of death – COVID VIRUS. I was so struck – and saddened. I just felt low for days afterward. But what an interesting life he lead. He certainly made a mark. A Trinity graduate, a well loved and respected and inspiring teacher of geography and geology at the High School in Rathgar, an activist in civic and conservation causes. He was particularly interested in trees and he made gifts of trees to many of his friends and neighbors. He taught school in the northern part of China, in Bhutan, and in South Africa. I remember in Bhutan he collected botanical specimens which he sent to Kew Gardens in London.

The way we met Ian in Dublin was. somewhat accidental. We met through mutual friends who lived near us in Dundrum. Just a casual mention in conversation – oh when you were in Bhutan did you ever meet?………..

The tributes to Ian in the obituary were striking. I was very moved. .

Flowers for Ian Broad

Activities at Ida Culver

Marching along – seen at Ida Culver lane several months ago – a parade to entertain the residents and staff

Now at Ida Culver with the gradual easing of COVID restrictions, more and more activities are opening up for the residents. I looked in on the bridge players the other night. I understand that pre-COVID they would have 4 or 5 tables for an evening of bridge. But sadly they only managed 2 tables the other night. One of the players was named Richardson – reminded me of my sister Nan Richardson who loved to play bridge but when she advanced in years toward her 90’s there were no other people to play with in the retirement community where she lived. A pity because she really thrived on her games of bridge. My mother too was a very keen bridge player. She was able to play until she passed away in her late 80’s.

Another activity that I investigated this pst week was the ART CLASS. As soon as I entered the room I was reminded of the sketching class I did in Dublin. The class in Dublin was offered by the town and was mainly for retired people but anyone could participate. Well would you be surprised to learn that the Ida Culver Class was doing the exact same lesson that we did in Dublin 25 years ago? The first class/lesson was to carefully observe and draw a fruit. Here in Seattle the fruit was an apple. In Dublin I can’t quite remember which fruit the teacher chose, but the objectives were the same..

Jigsaw Puzzles Quiet The Mind……..

So say the manufacturers – Jigsaw puzzles quiet the mind and entice a state of creative meditation. Well I sort of agree when the making of the picture is going well. But when no progress is being made and pieces that fit together cannot be found then I feel very disgruntled and generally out of sorts.

Well I wanted to show you my latest try at another 1000 piece puzzle. I was doing all right when along came my son and 2 grandsons and now I am doing even better. Alas my computer has hidden the photos of my progress. Instead here are some recent photographs to “quiet the mind and entice a state of creative meditation.”

Dame Edith Sitwell 1916 Alvaro Guevara 1894-1951 Presented by Lord Duveen, Walter Taylor and George Eumorfopoulos through the Art Fund 1920