Thursday, November 16, 2017

This Anticipatory Time... Bits and Bobs, Books and Thoughts

This Anticipatory Time
...Bits and Bobs, Books and Thoughts...

For the past few years in my town, autumn has been a bit of a dud.  The leaves of the oaks and poplars stubbornly refused to change into their garments of fire and simply turned a dun-colored hue and let go of grey branches to fall in great uninspiring heaps in the gardens.  Even the maple trees, usually the undisputed stars of the show, sat out the festivities.  But this year has been different.  Perhaps sensing we need them this autumn more than ever, all over town the trees have risen to the challenge magnificently and dressed themselves in a brilliance usually reserved for fairytale illustrations.  Their beauty has transformed the most pedestrian of errand runs into a journey through Aladdin’s cave.  

It’s been colder, earlier.  Fires have burned in the grate for many nights already.  And on an evening last week, last week (!), I saw a Christmas tree twinkling merrily in a neighbor’s window.  Normally, I would add my voice to those tut-tutting about it being much too early to stick a toe in the festive season, but this year…. well, this year I totally get it.  If ever there was a year when we all need more than the usual dose of comfort and joy, this is it.  For myself, I’m still busy getting ready for Thanksgiving.  The menu is written; mincemeat is being made today.  But on Thanksgiving night The Songwriter will switch on the lights that encircle the tall evergreen tree that stands watch by our front porch and I’ll hang a fragrant wreath on the door. 

This year we once again look to the holiday season for warmth and light, even as the world seems colder and darker than ever before.  This is the season of hope and I intend to participate with enthusiasm, sharing as much of that hopeful light as I can.  So in that spirit, here are a few ideas and thoughts for this anticipatory time.  A few books to read, and maybe to wrap up as presents.  A new movies to see.  A few thoughts, a few ideas. Even some emerald green shoes.  Please share anything special of your own in the comments below. 
And love to you all!

1.  Books
I’ve been doing a lot of reading by the fire recently.  Also reading under layers of quilts in a warm bed while owls hoot outside my window in the dark.  Also, reading at restaurant tables and in passenger seats of cars.  I’ve never mastered the art of reading in the bathtub, but in a more concentrated effort to get to all the books I’m dying to read just now, I might give that a try soon.  Here are just a few of the books I’ve read lately, and some I’m looking forward to.

Magpie Murders
by Anthony Horowitz

The Christmas Chronicles
by Nigel Slater

by Mary Oliver

The Antlered Ship
by Dashka Slater
illustrated by The Fan Brothers

An Almost Perfect Christmas
by Nina Stibbe

The Way Home in the Night
by Akiko Miyakoshi

2.  Knitted Love
I finished knitting the sweater above just before I left for Scotland.  I’m in love with the stag design in the cables, as well as the colour and the fit… but the real reason it is now my favourite sweater is that when I cast it onto the needles Edward was curled up beside me on the sofa.  I’ve no doubt a bit of his fur made its way into this sweater and therefore I was wearing it on a sunny day last month when I buried a bit of that white fur on top of Fingal’s Cave on the Isle of Staffa.  A very special memory. 
If you’re not a knitter, but you’d like an authentic Scottish knit of your own, check out THIS SITE.
I also love THIS ONE for winter.
3.  Giannetti Clothing
A lot of you know the gorgeous Brooke Gannetti from her blog, Velvet and Linen.  I’m happy to say that along with her husband and son, Brooke has embarked on a new clothing line that looks utterly scrumptious.  Just take a look at that cashmere duster above.  
Find it HERE.
Oh, and be sure and take a look at this wonderful baby blanket.

4.  New Movies
I’ve said it before but it bears repeating:  I am lucky in my friends.  One of those friends, in addition to being thoughtful, beautiful, funny and creative, is a bit of an expert on England in the Second World War.   I have had the privilege of accompanying her recently to lectures on the topic and have found them illuminating as well as fascinating.  There is truly, as Ecclesiastes tells us, nothing new under the sun.  If we are determined not to heed its lessons, history will most certainly repeat itself till we do.  
In that vein, I am looking forward to these two new movies with relish.
Perhaps you are too?

5.  Holiday Shoes
When I was in London in May, I found the most perfect pair of black suede heels, the sort of heels for women like myself who refuse to slide their feet into anything painful.  The same shop now has the a charming pair of emerald green shoes, perfect for holiday dinners and parties. 
 I mean, emerald green shoes!  
Find them HERE.
7.  Scarves 
It’s no secret that I adore scarves, my sartorial style stops just short of Isadora Duncan for safety reasons only.  One of my favourites is a large honey-colored creation which features the a full-length portrait of Oscar Wilde.  Of course, when its draped and knotted around my throat it’s like a private secret; no one knows it’s Oscar, his visage is hidden in swirls of soft colour.
Photographer Mary McCartney (yes, sister of Stella, daughter of … well, you know) has just released a line of beautiful scarves, all reproductions of her photographs.  I adore the dancer above.  Like my Oscar, she would totally disappear into blues.  Love it so.
Find it HERE
8.  Holiday Tins
I do a lot of baking during the holidays and am always on the lookout for pretty new ways to package these gifts.
Being a fan of William Morris, I’m crazy about these tins.
Find them HERE.

9.  Edward Speaks at Midnight, A Christmas Story
I never really realized when I wrote Edward Speaks at Midnight what a treasure it would one day come to be for me.  Orders have already begun and books are being shipped out for Christmas.  It makes me so happy to know that once and forever Edward will be a part of so many holiday seasons.  
Order your copy HERE.

St. Conan's Kirk, Scotland
October 2017
And Finally, A Few Thoughts on Faith
As a person of faith, the past few years have been painful in the extreme.  I have watched in horror as America’s white evangelical church resolutely aligned itself with our current president despite his every word and deed being antithetical to those of the Christ they profess to follow.  With each new atrocity, I wait for that support to disappear or, at the very least, wane a bit, but am disappointed every time.  A friend recently said he has ceased calling himself “Christian” because of what that word now means to the vast majority of Americans.  I sympathize and understand. 

 In crossing so many lines of decency and truth, humanity and love, this new version of christianity has made a liar out of Christ.  Perhaps it’s past time for this question:  “When does such a stark difference in basic beliefs, values and practices actually become a different religion? For me, the answer is mighty close to ‘now.’”
  Those last two sentences are from a particularly cogent article recently written by another friend of mine.  If you’ve thought at all about this issue, as we enter this holy holiday season, you might like to give it a read.
Find it HERE.
See you soon, 


  1. Thank you for the list. I love your lists and am going to check out the books and the article.
    I just KNEW something of Edward's was going to Scotland with you! I peruse your gallery of Instagram pictures often to look at pictures of dear Edward. 💖

  2. Edward on Staffa. Very fitting .

  3. Oh Pamela, the sweater is exquisite. Unbelievable how talented a knitter you are. I taught myself, long ago and have forgotten how to now. Still have some skeins of the softest furry wool from Paris. I have to relearn again one day. I said the nothing new... forever and never knew it was from the bible. I lost my religion many years ago, yet all my friends are so. We just don't talk about it. I agree about the sad state of affairs in our country and think about how our country has changed. Still think of Edward and that sweater must be extra special to you.


  4. What a lot you have given me to think about Pamela as I sit here without my beloved farmer in my new bungalow.
    Life goes on, dark clouds hang over so many parts at present but we soldier on and as the festive season approaches we just have to hope that better times are ahead.

  5. Thank you for the list of books. And I definitely want to see both those movies! So many other things I liked, too, including your concerns about what has happened to the Christian faith. I'm a Christian, but I don't go to church formally, and I am appalled at how the so called "Christian" right have hijacked the term and claimed it for their views, which are antithetical to Christ's preaching. But I'm going to continue to call myself Christian and chastise those who are using the term falsely. These are some of the false prophets Christ warned against.

  6. I will echo Donna's words and say I've never seen such an equisite sweater. You are a talented knitter. Lie Donna, I gave up up years ago but would like to start again. One day soon, I hope. I doubt that even if I live to be 100 I;ll ever knit someting that beautiful, though.

    So glad to hear that your memories of Edward are so warm, and that he is now a special part of Scotland. He was truly someone special.

    These days are grim, indeed, and we must not accept the version of "Christianity" being foisted on us by the likes of that unfortunate person in the White House.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Pamela.

  7. what a wonderful post. the two trailers are definitely on my movie list. and several of the books.
    my book of Edward's midnight voice is always out for my Christmas and will be read and re~read.
    the stag sweater you knitted is fabulous. and especially dear because of a beloved's white fur finding its way into the weave!
    and dearest Pamela. yes.
    john's words are my own too. thank you for that link.
    "I want out of their fold. I welcome expulsion from their fear-driven, protectionist club."
    it all makes me think of the climate of Germany in the years before the war and how ripe it was for the Nazis.
    frightening stuff to think about.
    hatred always is.
    in spite of 'the world' I wish for you and the song writer and Apple a wonderful thanksgiving. and right there by your chair will be a small white ghost. XO♥

  8. A very special event happened in Australia just this past Wednesday. The results were announced of the same sex marriage survey. Everyone had received a simple voting card with the request to indicate support or otherwise for the right of people who identify as LGBT to marry. 61% of Australians gave their blessing. An emphatic song of joy from nearly 8 million Australians (we are a small country population wise). A day of light in these dark times and now we trust our politicians to respect the will of the people and pass the bill to make it law. We still have those on the right trying to limit the scope of the bill but the people will prevail.

  9. What tempting and delicious possibilities you have given us, Pamela, and all beautifully presented. Your sweater is so lovely and will always have Edward inextricably bound within it.

    Among those who call themselves Christians, there are some who earnestly wish to follow His teachings and some who make a mockery of them. My concern needs to be what people think of Christ, not of me. I can’t hope to lessen confusion in the minds of others if I seem to deny Him. I will continue to call myself a Christian.

  10. Pamela, how is the Thistle and Broom site !!!
    I may never attempt knitting again!!!
    So many wonderful things to click on and explore.
    I've ordered Nigel Slater's book and cant wait to read it.
    Thank always
    Anita xx

  11. Pamela,
    The stag sweater is beyond wonderful! You are such a talented knitter (is that the word?). I always love your book recommendations, including the 2 children's books.
    I gain some comfort from your words about the world today and always leave feeling hopeful for a brighter tomorrow.
    I know you'll miss Edward this holiday season (so will your readers) but I wish you the best Thanksgiving, filled with love and gratitude.

  12. How wonderful. The sweater is nothing short of extraordinary. Your knitting talents, I think, unsupassed. And remember, nearly one year down. He can only shoot himself in the foot so many times... Gabrielle xxx

  13. Thank you for this post. Everything about it is comforting in some way. Your own version of hygge.
    I am not religious and don't call myself a Christian, but I feel like I admire (and attempt to follow) many of the moral teachings of Christ more than most Christians I know. I am also sickened by the hypocrisy, but in spite of the people currently in power and their followers, I still believe most people are good. I plan to surround myself with my kind and thoughtful friends and family this holiday season, and tune out the evil, at least for a while.

  14. Hello Pamela.
    We are so honored to have our clothing included on your beautifully curated list.
    Steve and I want to wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving. We are very thankful to have you as a friend!

  15. Thank you for this post that expresses so much of what I know to be true. I have said for many years that Christ must be appalled by what is being taught and preached in his name. The meek will inherit the earth. Truth and holiness are our goals. In these days of turmoil I cling to this, knowing that righteousness will win out. I, too, am looking forward to Christmas this year--almost bought a tree yesterday, but am holding off. There is much to celebrate if we can allow ourselves to connect to the good, beautiful and life-giving.
    Wishing you a joyous season--I'll be watching on Instagram and here.
    xoxoxo Mary

  16. I made the comment to a friend the other day, I have seen so many more decorating so early this year and I think it is because we need the hope of Christmas so much more it seems this year, some light amidst all the darkness. i love the book recommendations! I being also of Celtic descent, love listening to Celtic Christmas radio during season, I love the story songs and the many old favorites I remember from my childhood. It is on 24-7 currently! Many blessings to you and your family during this season!

  17. Extraordinary sweater, Pamela! And I love the precious, private ceremony of Edward travelling to the Scottish Isle awaiting your return. I miss that white furball! I don't know if it's my age(qualifying for Medicare in the Spring—gulp!) or the horrific sorrow that exists upon this magnificent planet caused by mankind, but everything now bears the stamp of poignancy to me. I have to make a conscious effort daily to center my attention on what is true and good and kind. Christmas has always felt like a reprieve from the harshness of life and as Alexander Smith stated "...the day that holds all time together." Joy to the world and to the Terry family.
    P.S. I just placed my order for Edward's Christmas story as I want him to remain a part of my life too.

  18. Ditto!! The new faith, born out of fear and loathing, will not stand...I am sharing the article; I hope it reaches far and wide.


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