This Sparks Joy! Autumn 22 edition

I sat down to draft this post and my mind went entirely blank. I could have spent the last three months alone in prairie country for the amount of tumbleweed blowing through my brain. Thoughts? Memories? Anything? Nope. All I got was the human equivalent of ++?????++ Out of Cheese Error. Redo From Start.*

Having gone and rectified that particular problem by eating some cheese – Cornish Yarg, the nettle wrap makes it so wonderfully tart and moreish, please do take this as a thing that sparks joy that you should also try if diary products are not your nemesis – I have cudgelled my brain into providing me something sensible to talk about.

*If you have never read any Terry Pratchett you need to a) remedy that immediately and b) know that this is a quote from Interesting Times

First off, another TV show. This time it’s the first season of Amazon Prime’s The Rings of Power. Which I thoroughly enjoyed. Especially the relationships between Durin & Elrond and Galadriel & Halbrand.

Now I’ve been a Tolkien fan since the age of about eight when my teacher read The Hobbit to us a chapter at a time. Or rather she attempted to but she made the fatal mistake of starting it on a Friday afternoon. I have never been the most patient of people so I made Mum take me to the library the moment she picked me up and I’d finished it by about 10am on Saturday. So Dad took me back to the library where he handed The Hobbit back to the librarian and asked if Mr Tolkien had ever written anything else. To her credit the librarian, who knew we quite well by that time, simply fetched me their copy of Fellowship and advised me to read it slowly and with a dictionary to hand.

It took me a few weeks to finish reading the trilogy, I learnt a lot of new words (none of which I knew how to pronounce), and came out the other side with an enduring love of Middle-earth and a wish to re-read all of them again and again and again. My own copies of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were duly acquired once I had enough pocket money and they still live on my shelves today, alongside quite a few newer, prettier editions and many more of Tolkien’s works and quite a few works about Tolkien.

Basically I wanted to live in Middle-earth and so any book or film or show that get the setting right is going to be a hit with me. Peter Jackson did it with the LoTR trilogy and I still rewatch the extended editions at least twice a year (the setting of the Hobbit was fabulous too but … I could read the book twice in the time it takes to watch the first film for goodness sake!). The Rings of Power hit the nail on the head with their sets and costuming too. It felt like coming home in the best way possible and I loved the casting decisions and how they shaped the characters over the course of the 8 episodes. I will not say that it was not without its flaws (no work is perfect, this one has some quite big plot issues in parts) but watching it felt like sinking into a hot bath after a hard day working in the garden. It felt familiar. It felt right. I’m really excited to see where they go with season 2.

Book-wise I have continued to be both delighted and disconcerted by the Reading Wales 2022 challenge I started in the summer. As you can see below another four books have been read since the last This Sparks Joy! post and again I am so grateful to Anwen Kya for putting the challenge together because I doubt I’d have picked them up without the prompt. I found Reasons She Goes to the Woods a dark, difficult but ultimately rewarding read, rekindled my love of Dylan Thomas (and found the commentary on the play almost as good as the play itself) and was enchanted by Telling Tales, an anthology of poetry retelling the Canterbury Tales for the modern world.

  • Until Our Blood Is Dry by Kit Habianic (finished over the summer)
  • On the Red Hill by Mike Parker (finished over the summer)
  • The Green Hollow by Owen Sheers (finished over the summer)
  • The Anglesey Murders by Conrad Jones (finished over the summer)
  • The Mab edited by Matt Brown and Eloise Williams (still reading)
  • Or What You Will by Jo Walton (finished in the autumn)
  • The Matter of Wales by Jan Morris (still reading)
  • The Awakening by Kate Roberts (reading)
  • Telling Tales by Patience Agbabi (finished in the autumn)
  • let me tell you by Paul Griffith
  • Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas (finished in the autumn)
  • Reasons She Goes to the Woods by Deborah Kay Davies (finished in the autumn)

However it was Or What You Will by Jo Walton that was the stand out, hands down favourite of the four. Such vivid, clever, intense writing about writing as well as being a story in its own right. It reminded me what can be done with words if you stop worrying about what you’re supposed to do and just get with creating what you want to create. I cannot recommend this one highly enough. Just fabulous.

In yarn wrangling news, I have finished both the ruana poncho and the textured poncho but have photographic evidence to show you as I packed them away before I remembered I hadn’t taken any pictures. I’m not completely without wrangled yarn to show you, though, because thankfully I did remember to take pictures of my rainbow dragon scale rune/dice bag (my newest product line) and the rainbow dragon scale yarn basket I made as a gift for a friend (who is now in possession of said gift so I can post the photo).

I’ve also started to learn mosaic crochet which is miles easier than it looks!

As some of you probably already know, I’m in the process of moving myself and my parents closer the rest of our family, who all live in and around Northumberland. The pandemic, and the effect of it on my mother’s health, created quite a lot of delays and other issues with have been … less than helpful. However I think we are getting to the point where, if we are very lucky, 2023 may be the year we finally get it all sorted. This optimism has mostly been created by actually getting up to Northumberland twice in the last half of this year and having some very productive location hunts across what I enjoy referring to as “north of the wall, south of the border”. Please cross your fingers for us to get to where we need to be and please take these photos of the glorious scenery (mostly from Wallington Estate) as inducement!

Lastly I have something I wouldn’t have been able to include if I hadn’t waited to be able to share the yarn basket:

Leverage:Redemption is back, baybee! Season 2 dropped on Amazon Freevee over the weekend, three episodes available off the bat and then a new one every Wednesday! I’m one and a half episodes in and they are not disappointing me so far. The channel is free to view, you just have to not mind the commercials, so get yourselves over there post haste for more wonderful taking to task of people who deserve everything they get by the best found family on TV.

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