February is the month I like the least, I think it's because it's usually the coldest month, so I'm glad that it's also the shortest month.
The month started out blustery with some very high winds but we still managed to get out when there was a break in the weather. We had a walk through the ancient woodland at Middleton Park which Archie enjoyed. The lake was very quiet on this particular day though there's usually lots of people fishing.
My crafting mojo has finally returned. I hardly picked up any of the projects I've got on the go last year so I've got a few things which have been languishing. I really want to get them finished off now. I finished the Scrappy Dog Blanket as you'll have seen in an earlier post and I've pulled out my Twelve Days of Christmas cross stitch to continue with. I didn't do any cross stitching at all last year but I've been putting just twenty minutes stitching into it each day and I'm sure that will soon see it completed. I really want to start some new things but I want to get my older projects nearer completion, if not totally finished off, first.
If January was the month of daffodils, February has definitely been the month of tulips. I just love the different look each bunch I return home with brings to the house depending on which colour I choose. I'm like a child in a sweet shop when I stand there trying to decide between each of those jewel tones, it's always such a hard choice. I'm glad I'm not restricted to just one bunch throughout the tulip season and that I can work my way through many of the different colours.
I've read three books this month.
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
"Fiercely romantic and hugely influential, The Scarlet Letter is the tale of Hester Prynne, imprisoned, publicly shamed and forced to wear a scarlet 'A' for committing adultery and bearing an illegitimate child, Pearl. In their small, Puritan village, Hester and her daughter struggle to survive. But in this searing study of the tension between private and public existence, Hester Prynne's inner strength and quiet dignity make her one of the first great heroines of American fiction."
I have to say that I've never heard of Nathaniel Hawthorne, nor had I heard of this book, but as it's included in the Penguin English Library I picked it up. It was published in 1850, though set in the mid seventeenth century in Puritan Boston, Massachusetts. The overall theme is that of sin, redemption and social stigma. I found the writing style quite challenging so I did have to concentrate and perhaps this is why it didn't really hold my interest. It's not the worst book I've read but it definitely wouldn't be among my favourites.
Return to Thrush Green by Miss Read.
"Problems never come singly in Thrush Green.
Joan and Edward Young have to face an illness in the family, while crabby old Albert Piggott is rapidly going downhill without his wife Nelly, and the Curdle's family fair is making a loss.
Loyal Miss Foggarty welcomes an old friend to the village, and Harold Shoosmith catches himself hoping - at the ripe old age of sixty - that his bachelor days are over.
In the expert hands of 'Miss Read', Thrush Green once more springs to life for the reader."
I've been reading one book each month by Miss Read for over two years now and yet each one is so different so there's no chance of becoming bored. I really enjoyed this story of characters returning to Thrush Green, some to stay and another to just up and leave again before the story ends.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.
"At First Sight, Ove is almost certainly the grumpiest man you will ever meet. He thinks himself surrounded by idiots - neighbours who can't reverse a trailer properly, joggers, shop assistants who talk in code, and the perpetrators of the vicious coup d'etat that ousted him as chairman of the Residents' Association. He will persist in making his daily inspection rounds of the local streets.
But isn't it rare, these days, to find such old-fashioned clarity of belief and deed? Such unswerving conviction about what the world should be, and a lifelong dedication to making it just so?
In the end, you will see, there is something about Ove that is quite irresistible..."
The book has recently been made into a film called A Man Called Otto starring Tom Hanks and I've heard of quite a few people taking trips to the cinema to see it. Whilst looking at the Kindle deals I saw the book reduced to just 99p so I downloaded it.
It's an enjoyable story, some sad parts but plenty of humour too and it kept my interest and was entertaining, one of those heart-warming reads. I think we all know people like Ove so it's easy to relate to him. I'd like to see the film. I more often than not think that a film doesn't do a book justice but with Tom Hanks in the starring role, I think this just might be one of those films which is better than the book. What a brilliant actor, Tom Hanks can really bring a character to life and I'm sure he'll be fantastic in the role of Ove/Otto.
Shrove Tuesday always falls forty seven days before Easter Sunday and so as the date of Easter fluctuates each year, so does Shrove Tuesday. It always falls somewhere between the 3rd of February and the first week of March and this year it fell on the 21st of February. I often made pancakes when Daniel and Eleanor were young, though I don't think that either of them were particularly bothered about them. I don't often make an effort now that they've left home but I thought I would this year. I have lemon and sugar on mine and Mick has gravy, yes, gravy. I've never heard of anyone else having pancakes with gravy, though perhaps it's not all that weird really as it's only the same batter mixture as Yorkshire Puddings.
We've had some glorious sunsets this month. This photo was taken from my craft room window, no filters, this is exactly how the sky looked. Isn't it beautiful.
In my end of month post in January, I mentioned that I wouldn't be writing as many posts as I have done in the past. Some of you commented saying that you hoped I wouldn't be giving up blogging all together. Well, no, I still enjoy blogging, it's just that I'm cutting back on the time I've been spending on it. I shall definitely still be here with one post at the very least each month. Also, I mentioned last month that you can find me on Instagram, just search jothroughthekeyhole, and thank you to those of you who have done just that and who already follow me over there. I do enjoy Instagram but I don't think you get the connection with other people as you do through blogging and that's why you'll still find me here too.
Mick's got two separate weeks holiday from work in March so we're hoping for fine weather so that we can get out and about a little. I'm hoping for an action packed month.