The Inconstant Gardener

Hello All

This time last year I was a library lady and with Children’s Librarian FT gearing up ready for the Summer Reading Challenge, Creepy House. Do you remember all the batty bats?


Although now in a different job I am still very excited that libraries all over the country will be preparing themselves for the 2014 Summer Reading Challenge, Mythical Maze.



It starts next Saturday….good luck all.

Remembering my time with the Young People’s Library Service there is one aspect that I really miss, story times. Reading to children is a special thing. Always rewarding especially when your young audience becomes completely absorbed in the tales you are sharing with them. There are many wonderful books written and illustrated by a wealth of fabulous children’s authors so there is no shortage of brilliant material.

One story is particularly relevant to my present endeavours in the garden. I am not the most consistent nor patient gardener and always chuckled when I read the account of Jasper the cat and his horticultural mis-adventures.


In Jasper’s Beanstalk by Nick Butterworth and Mick Inkpen our friend Jasper soon loses patience when the bean he sows does not immediately respond to his intensive nurturing. I know how he feels….where are my pumpkins?


Where are my chives?


I planted them DAYS ago and we’ve had sunshine and rain since then….. Guess I will have to show a bit more forbearance. You never know like Jasper something incredible may grow. I have some hope…


In any event thank goodness for re-potting plants that gardeners with more tolerance have started off.



In the midst of all these earthworks (ermmm) you’ll be pleased to know that I have finished the Minimalism Game. Yippee!!! To the untrained eye it would be hard to tell. However one of the things I dispensed with has made a difference. The telly is no more (wow) and after a furniture move around I find I have a big patch of bare floorboards. Not for long. My t-arn rug is finished and covers the spot perfectly.


The shades may be at odds with the room’s colour scheme – like that has ever troubled me! – but I think my little rug has nonetheless lent the space some homespun cosiness. I’m hoping the slightly wobbly edges will settle down after being trampled over… Thanks again B for all that t-shirt cutting.

The weather here is glorious and I hope it is the same wherever you are.

Until next we meet. Moke.

a BIG week

I said it would be a BIG week and here’s the reason why…I’m leaving the library service!!!!!  From Sunday night I can no longer be called Library Lady! Its an exciting time for me but as I am sure you can imagine a sad one too. I have had some wonderful adventures over the last six years (who can ever forget Pumpkin Monsters???) and made some very very good friends. I can honestly say it has been a privilege to work for the library service and I am very proud to have spent time in such an important branch of public service.

Kendal Library is like a big family and it feels a bit like leaving home…gulp. Yesterday was the LAST of all the LASTS I’ve done, the last Rhymetime, the last Saturday (Monday, Tuesday Wednesday, Thursday, Friday), the last Toddler Tales and the ‘last list’ goes on….

But Frances and I had one more children’s Batty Bat Hat session to run. Here’s Red with Frances ready to run us to Grange Library,Frances and Red

And there were no shortage of Batty Bats fluttering around the library,

When we got back it was time for a special lunch at Waterside Cafe (all veggie restaurant, yummeeeee), DSCN0548

This was a real treat and a chance for me to say goodbye (au revoir really) to some very important people. But there was more to come. Amongst their many talents my friends at the library know how to put on a spread

It really was a leaving do with a purpose, raising over £100 for Marie Curie (did I ever mention she was Polish?).

For which some lovely folk had also made and baked things to raise funds

I had two very special cakes made by AlW (her husband AW had also put together the bunting!),

A spectacular bouquet DSCN0562

Some wonderfully thoughtful gifts and a collection of cards I will keep to remind me of happy times whenever I feel blue

One of the gifts (thank you Frances) allowed me chance to get us all to join in an unforgettable and rousing rendition of “I’m a little teapot”, so that’s everyone trained for Rhymetime! Sorry guys I just had to do it. What a smashing bunch. Aren’t I a very very lucky girl?

I am going on to pastures new but still within the Council. They will be very different pastures and I am sure I will miss my friends at Kendal Library but I have a wealth of marvelous memories (and a huge repertoire of rhymes) to take away with me. Talking of which, so that Frances will never forget the paperbag Puffins we made in the May half-term I left a little gift of my own,

BIG THANKS to all the wonderful staff and patrons of Kendal Library. But as Arnie said “I’ll be back!”…well I don’t want fines on me books.

Abandon hope all ye who enter here

The Summer Reading Challenge gathers pace with hundreds of children already taking part in Kendal alone! After a couple of sessions with two community artists local children have decorated the library with their own ghoulish creations…brace yourselves here they come…

We’ve even got bats in our belfry!

Now if all that is too much for us faint hearted grown-ups we can always escape upstairs where my friend and colleague AW has placed some beautifully scented sweet peas and roses, thoughtfully cut from her garden before the burst of heavy rain yesterday could damage their delicate petals. Sorry these can’t be in smell-a-vision.

Finally  just a few words to say thank you to all my friends for your thoughtful birthday wishes. Its been a lovely day but with a busy one to come – children’s author Tom Palmer is visiting the library – its time to turn in. Night night.

Day off

The Summer Reading Challenge is now in full swing and Thursday saw me talking in assembly at lovely Levens School. Levens is a friendly village school and as they were my last school visit the children were ‘lucky’ enough to have the chance to smell this year’s pungent stickers. I finished my talk to choruses of “poooh”, “erghhhhh”. Think they liked them.

The playground has the most glorious view but my photographic skills didn’t do it justice. Must try harder.

Today I had a morning at home catching up with those jobs I put off as long as possible but in the afternoon I caught the bus into town to deliver my needle-felted dodos to Kendal Museum. I’ve talked about it often enough so I remembered to take my camera and took some photos for you.

Pleased to see that my crafts – Moke’s Makes – have been released from the confines of the glass cabinet and are spread out amongst the wonderful goodies made by local craftspeople.

Couldn’t let a day off go without some crochet. I often use long craft pipe cleaners in making needle felted bracelets. I wondered how they would work with crochet. I formed the pipe cleaner into a circle – making sure it would fit over my hands – and bound it together with some yarn. Then using a chunky multi-coloured yarn I double crocheted around the pipe cleaner circle. I then played about with creating ‘petals’ in the front and then the back loops. The ‘pattern’ could do with a little more work and a mix of colours would be fun but I’m pleased with the prototypes.

With all the blues I think they look like a strange jelly fish.

I know I’m British and obsessed with the weather but “Phew what a scorcher!”. Night night.

Another day another library

Pool CarLife is never dull working for Cumbria Library  Service. This morning I am off to cover at Grange Over Sands Library. Our trusty pool car driven by colleague L appeared right on time to whisk us off to the pleasant seaside town of Grange.

It’s a big day today as it is the first day of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge!

SRC display

Here it is…Creepy House. All the art work has been done by marvelous children’s illustrator Chris Riddell. Its free to sign up and all you have to be is a member of the library (also free) and aged roughly between 4 and 12 years old.

But what is the challenge? I hear you ask. To complete the challenge all the young people have to do is read 6 borrowed library books over the summer hols.

SRC goodies

Of course there are rewards along the way and where would we be without this year’s crop of evil smelling stickers (particularly malodorous this year, the word sulphur comes to mind).

SRC Dump Bin at GSL

There are also many new titles in stock and Talking Books count towards the six. Great for long car journeys, cleaning, washing, ironing, sewing, crocheting, needle felting……

Dodos 13.7.13 hatch

Talking of the latter, my three Dodos are complete and almost ready to fly…ermmm waddle from the nest over to Kendal Museum. I think you could say I have a rustic possibly naive style. Some might (rudely) say crude but I like to think of it as unique! and the Dodos look happy enough.

The sun is out – its our first summer in four years I can’t help getting excited – and I’m looking forward to making a couple of visits this evening to see relatives and friends but I might just grab a bit of time for a cuppa and a good read.

Just finished...13.7.13

I’ve just finished Susan Hill’s “The Shadow In The Street” a Simon Serailler crime novel. Susan Hill’s crime writing is a bit like my Dodos, unique. Usually I find it refreshing but sometimes I get really impatient especially when everyone seems to be either making or drinking coffee! A library patron pointed this out to me and now I can’t shake it off so I notice every cup. But the caffeine intake is not enough to stop me. Hill is definitely an author worth reading. After all “The Woman in Black” is one of the most tense and chilling books I have ever read.

Well read book

And as you can see “The Shadow In the Street” has been very popular with other readers too.

Current read - 13.7.13Now I’m turning my attention to Susanna Gregory’s “Blood On The Strand”. Its London in 1663 and Gregory’s hero Thomas Chaloner is on a bloody quest to find a murderer and prevent treason. Oooooo-er. I am enjoying this well paced book immensely and as I don’t know much about Restoration England getting an informal history lesson along the way. Gregory’s style reminds me of C.J. Sansom’s Shardlake series which is set in Tudor England and that is no bad thing as they are real page turners. Oh look a rabbit peaking out of my book…..

Blood on the Strand - Fireside Bookmark

It’s Morris! and Morris used to feature on the stationery of my favourite bookshop in the whole wide world Fireside Bookshop in Windermere. Morris was the well-loved rabbit of the family that own Fireside Bookshop. I think even to this day there is a small toy rabbit hiding out amongst the well ordered, delicious titles in his memory. Now as you can guess I lu-rve libraries all that access to books, CDs, DVDs, audiobooks, PCs, fun, information and much used public space but sometimes you want something special. A beautifully bound edition of a book that’s close to your heart, a rare copy or an out of print title and new reads at very good prices (often cheaper than charity shops!). These things and so much more are to be found in small independent bookshops like Fireside. I treasure them.

But time is short before my early evening amble. So I’m off to make that cuppa…or should it be a cafetiere?