wool 0%

One of my personal bugbears is textile product description – particularly as concerns the word “wool.” Most of my clothes purchases are made online these days, and it really annoys me to be looking at what I assume to be a nice wool dress, only to discover that it is, in fact, 100% viscose. Take… Read More

gurning, kippers, and colour

For the record, I have had two really ‘bad’ days this week, during which I’ve been unable to do much because of fatigue. (Will it ever just fook off?) At times when brain and body refuse to do anything strenous, knitting and the BBC can often save me from getting too crotchety. But it is… Read More


I’ve been so saddened and appalled by the story that has been unfolding in your comments that I couldn’t sleep last night. Emma writes that “it is generally understood that you have to have two or three goes at the DLA to get what you are entitled to,” and indeed, from what you have all… Read More

stitched up

Though I love the Gainsborough films, Tony Richardson’s Tom Jones and Michael Winterbottom’s A Cock and Bull Story, I am not generally a fan of contemporary cinematic takes on eighteenth- and nineteenth century literature. This is probably because of what I do: a generation of students who have grown up with the unshakeable idea that… Read More


It has been a very frustrating week. I’ve not been up to anything much, and have been unable to go outdoors. Tom decided to cheer me up with a non-taxing outing, and we drove to Hawick. I love to walk in the Borders, but when one cannot walk, pootling around in the car will do… Read More


(Scavenging for minerals among the hazardous electronic waste at a dump in Accra. Image © Times Online) Having recently replaced the mac I work on at home, I needed to get rid of my old one. This machine was five years old, had been repaired several times, and was becoming rather unreliable. I didn’t want… Read More


Needled reviews: The F-Word. Tuesdays, 9pm, Channel 4 Richard Sennett, The Craftsman (Allen Lane, 2008) Don’t get me wrong, I do not like The F-Word, but it is worth watching it occasionally for a few cheap laughs. You know the bit I mean: when Gordon tells you how to make his pea and lettuce soup… Read More


The postie has been bringing me a right bag of treats lately. Here’s a selection. Big thanks to Lara, Felix, Jesse, Annushka, and Philippa! The top pic shows some absolutely delicious Oxford Kitchen Yarn’s sock yarn in the plum colourway. The colour (which is not quite true in the photo) has a precise and very… Read More

The domestic in drag

needled reviews: Nigella Express, BBC2, Mondays, 8.30pm Jane Brocket, The Gentle Art of Domesticity (Hodder & Stoughton, 2007) Despite my best efforts to avoid it, last night I encountered Nigella Express. It was much more diverting than I’d assumed. Indeed, Mr B and I spent the programme in a state of near hysteria. How we… Read More