Monday, 22 July 2019

The Tattooist of Auschwitz - Heather Morris



I tattooed a number on her arm.
She tattooed her name on my heart

In 1942, Lale Sokolov arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival - scratching numbers into his fellow victims' arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust.

Waiting in line to be tatttooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale - a dandy, a jack the lad, a bit of a chancer - it was love at first sight. And he was determined not only to survive himself, but to ensure this women, Gita, did too. 

So begins one of the most life-affirming, courageous, unforgettable and human stories of the Holocaust: the love story of the Tattooist of Auschwitz. 

As you can see this little book is a bit dog eared because so many of us around the office have wanted to read it.   Having bought my son a copy for Christmas he said I had to read it and I am so glad I did. 

Lale was  born Ludvig Eisenberg in October 1916 in Krompachy, Slovakia. He was transported to Auschwitz on 23rd April 1942 and tattooed with the number 32407. Gita was born Gisela Fuhrmannova (Furman) in March 1925 in Vranov nad Topl'ou, Slovakia. She was transported to Auschwitz on 13th April 1942 and tattooed with the number 34902 and was re-tattooed by Lale when she transferred from Auschwitz to Birkenhau in July 1942. 

It  is unimaginable what happened to Lale & Gita over the next three years but throughout their time in the camp they stayed strong for each other.  Lale made a promise to himself the day he arrived that he would survive this place and after falling in love with Gita he promised he would make sure she would survive the camp too so that she could become his wife. 

I know reading stories from the Holocaust would put people off but the way in which Heather Morris re tells Lale Sokolov's account is more about their love story and when faced with adversity how they stayed strong for each other. 

It is still incomprehensible to me that anyone could treat a fellow human being in such a way as the SS did in the camps.   I wish I could say this was a brilliantly written book of fiction but sadly it is a true story as told by Lale himself. with Heather Morris as his facilitator to get their love story told and I would definitely recommend it.



Mx






Wednesday, 17 July 2019

After the end - Claire Macintosh








Max & Pip are the strongest couple you know. Only now they're facing the most important decision of their lives - and they don't agree.

As the consequences of an impossible choice threaten to devastate them both, nothing will ever be the same again. 

But anything can happen

AFTER THE END....



Max & Pip Adams are one of the strongest couples they know, that is until their son Dylan is diagnosed with a life limiting illness.   He has spent months in PICU after surgery and treatment for a brain tumour.  He has seizures and is unlikely to ever walk and has considerable brain damage and no other treatments available to him.   Doctors have advised Max & Pip that Dylan should be given best supportive care and allowed to die and whilst Pip believes that her son has been through enough and agrees with the hospital, Max does not and wishes his son to travel to the States for Proton Beam Therapy.  Proton Beam Therapy is not the usual treatment for this type of brain tumour and whilst may prolong his life ultimately there is no cure. With the parents unable to agree the hospital goes to court for a definitive decision.   There will be no winner in this case and its whether the decision will bring them closer together or tear them apart. 


I have read all of Claire Macintosh's novels and loved them all.  Her latest novel is split into three sections. The first section begins with Max & Pip attending court whilst taking you through their journey to this point, about their lives prior to Dylan becoming ill. Allowing you to think about how you would make a decision like this about a child you love.

Section two was after the court case and at first I found it a  little confusing at first as I couldn't quite understand the direction it was taking.   I then realised that you were being given two scenario's the first should the decision be made to allow Dylan to die and how this would impact on Max & Pips relationship. The second being how their lives would unfold if Dylan were to receive Proton Beam Therapy and the impact of having a disabled child and the care he would need knowing that ultimately you would still loose him at some point in the future.

The third section takes you back to learning the decision of the court and how this will change the lives of Max & Pip forever and ultimately what happens to them both after loosing their son.

Like all Clare Macintosh novels it is very well written and each chapter is told from the perspective of one of the main characters of which there are three  over a period of 8 years. |Its no only thought provoking but also takes you on a very emotional journey and may have you reaching for the tissues. If my last book took me six weeks to complete this one took me six days and I would highly recommend it.

Mx

Saturday, 13 July 2019

A Whiter Shade of Pale - Mirror Image Throw



Let me introduce you to my Whiter Shade of Pale Throw. Its for a friends birthday next week and she has no idea that I have made it.   Its what I call a mirror image throw as once you have completed the first 102 rows you will then begin to repeat the rows but in reverse order so that the blanket when folded in half is the same at both ends.  Clever eh. Well I thought so but then it doesn't take a lot to please me these days.  Its made using 10 balls of Stylecraft Special DK

1 grey (1099),
2 silver (1023),
2 parchment (1218)
5 white (1001)

and will cost approximately £20 or $25 to make.

I've not made a straight granny stripe blanket before.  I usually make squares as they are so much more portable and easy to take with you where ever you go but I have seen so many beautiful striped blankets that I thought no this time I will go for it and I'm so glad I did as it's turned out just perfect.

Using a size 4mm hook and silver (1023)  I made 152 chain this is enough to make a 42" wide blanket, which is big enough to fit across a single bed.

The following is in UK terms.

Starting with  the foundation row double crochet into the 2nd chain from the hook and continue to double crochet in each chain to the end.

Row 1: Chain 3 (counts as your turning stitch, this also forms your first treble of your next row) and continuing with silver make 1 treble in the same space miss the next two double crochet and make 3 treble into the next double crochet .  Continue along the foundation row by missing the next two double crochet  and working 3 treble in the next double crochet until you get to the last three double crochet miss two double crochet 2 treble into the last double crochet and turn.

Row 2: Chain 3, 3 treble into the next space between treble groups until you get to the 3 chain you made at the beginning of the previous row and treble into the 3rd of the 3 chain and turn.

Row 3: Chain 3, 1 treble in the same place, 3 treble into the next space between treble groups until you get the the end and 2 treble into 3rd of 3 chain, turn.

Row 4: Chain 3 into the next space between treble groups until you get to the 3 chain at the end of the row and 1 treble into 3rd of 3 chain, turn and break off the silver yarn.

Starting at row 5 repeat rows 3 & 4  changing colour as indicated in the chart below until you have worked all 180 rows. 

Rows

No of rows
Colour


Rows
No of rows
Colour
1-4
4
Silver 
103-104
2
Parchment
5-6
2
Grey  
105-106
2
Silver
7-10
4
Parchment 
107-108
2
Grey
11-14
4
Silver
109-110
2
Parchment
15-16
2
Grey
111-116
6
White
17-20
4
Parchment
117-118
2
Grey
21-22
2
Silver
119-120
2
Parchment
23-28
6
White 
121-122
2
Silver
29-32
4
Silver
123-126
4
Parchment
33-36
4
Parchment
127-128
2
White
37-46
10
White
129-130
2
Parchment
47-48
2
Silver
131-132
2
White
49-50
2
White
133-134
2
Silver
51-52
2
Parchment
135-144
10
White
53-54
2
White
145-148
4
Parchment
55-58
4
Parchment
149-152
4
Silver
59-60
2
Silver
153-158
6
White
61-62
2
Parchment
159-160
2
Silver
63-64
2
Grey
161-164
4
Parchment
65-70
6
White
165-166
2
Grey
71-72
2
Parchment
167-170
4
Silver
73-74
2
Grey
171-174
4
Parchment
75-76
2
Silver
175-176
2
Grey
77-78
2
Parchment
177-180
4
Silver
79-102
24
White




Row 181:  Continuing with the silver yarn, Chain 1, 1 double crochet into each treble of the previous row.

I have chosen to finish off with a simple border so that the blanket is the star attraction rather than the border but I think that is personal choice and there are lots of lovely borders out there to choose from.   

Having sewn in all the ends, of which there were many, using silver I double crocheted along each of the two sides so that it looks like the silver edges the whole throw. Once I have done this I broke off the silver yarn.

Join the grey yarn and work 2 rounds of double crochet. When it comes to the corners in the first round I  worked 2 double crochet, 2 chain and 2 double crochet. In the second round I worked three double crochet in the chain space between the 2 double crochets and this gives you a nice rounded corner. The finished throw measures approximately 42" x 74" and is big enough to cover a single bed.


Did you guess where the name of this throw came from?

For those of you of a certain age you may well remember the group Procol Harum and this was their debut single that got to number one in the UK charts in April 1967 and came from the album of the same name. 

Mx



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