Autumn Moon

September and I’m editing the story – the book – the novel – the whatever – aka Butterfly Coffee. Third in to fourth round. A change of main character, of emphasis. It has been helpful to have others crit my work and me. Asking me why I am compelled to tell this story, what I can do to improve it and me.

It’s not been an easy process. I lost it once. Retrieved some of it. Some of it written by hand or printed. This turned out to be a blessing as it made me evolve the tale, it made me let go. and I do not let go easily, of anything.

I had a bit of a scare this week and was sent to hospital where I spent the day being shunted around on a wheel chair ( I could have walked!), monitored here and there, waiting for results. Eventually they let me away – they could let go – ruling out another escalating MI. The pain, they concluded, was muscular – not my heart, but other muscles. Asked if I had taken painkillers I replied no. So they stuffed some in my pocket and home I went – on the bus! I wondered if knitting could have done it. I certainly don’t do many strenuous weight-lifting style things any more. No more logs to stack!

It dawned on me as I sat in a corridor that my father died of his second heart attack on 24th September – six months after his first, the same hospital. Let’s not go there, hey. I went to visit his grave today – he’s looking pretty much okay, says all is fine. the aroma of Turkish coffee and Woodbines lingered, as always. I came across the artist Alexandra Dvornikova recently – this image reminds me of me and my father. He was definitely a bear, a very protective one.

I like the transition from summer salads to autumn vegetables – red cabbage for coleslaws, a hearty green cabbage salad, nuts and apples, soups, casseroles, crumbles. I am in a purple mood – my knitting is all purples at the moment, I’m liking purple fruit and vegetables too!













I’m also interested in playing a balalaika – giving it a shot – if I can. I’m learning Italian again, watching Samurai films, exploring Nordic patterns. Books – arriving in the post from far away places. The Slavic in me is a strong force, a flow I have to go with. My father knew what he was doing when he taught me so much before I went to school. It’s always left me straddling two worlds and having an interest in many places and cultures.  I have come to accept that’s how I am. Many not few.

There ends my weekend burbling. Why do I write here? I write everywhere. This is only one part of the story!

Balalaika come to me…


A fine design

This wee bag was made by my mother. I’m not too sure when, but possibly in the 1950’s when she was still living in her home village. In a post-war communist Yugoslavia things seemed to carry on as per usual in the mountains and forests where people hid from the offer of volunteering to rebuild cities.

My mother’s eyesight faded over time but she was a fine, detailed textile artist of the peasant tradition. Here you can clearly see the influence of the South East Balkans. The beads are tiny and they make the bag heavy. It is lined with a geometric fabric and has a metal zip. She could knit anything, weave, stitch, anything. She understood patterning. It was logged in her mind just like finding her way around places, never getting lost. I believe this is something that is not just taught, but also caught – my son could see the patterns in music from a very young age.

I have a photograph somewhere of me age four, in the studio in Bradford, holding this bag, wearing blue and a Nordic design cardigan. If I locate it, I’ll post it up.

There goes the doorbell. It’s a bit of yarn in the post. I have a jumper, a cowl and fingerless gloves to finish. Knitting with a Samurai film is on the cards tonight!



Stuffed peppers – punanje paprike

This recipe serves 4 and is vegan.

You will need:

4 red bell peppers – medium to large


A generous cup of brown rice 

A good cup of red lentils

Half an onion – finely chopped

2 carrots – finely chopped

1 tsp of vegetable stock

Thyme, oregano and basil – dried or fresh



Tomato puree




How to:

Put all your ingredients for the stuffing in a large pan of water and bring to the boil, then simmer for around 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Drain off any excess water.

Take the top off the four peppers and stuff them with the rice mixture  to the rim then place the stalk lids back on.

Leave any excess stuffing in the pan and add some water, tomato puree, olive oil and paprika, then stir. Place the 4 peppers in the sauce. Put on the lid and simmer for an hour. Serve hot with a red or white cabbage slaw and bread.

Please remember to be careful when reheating rice if you have leftovers. You can also add garlic to the recipe.DSCF0534