I first read this book years ago, before my sister moved to New Zealand, when its New Zealand setting was just another exotic place to me. I was looking forward to reading it again now that I have a mental image of the place.

It is set in New Zealand in 1945. It is possible that things have changed. So far, I have learned that menservants are very hard to find and that kiwis refer to England as “Home.” Always capitalized.

Home may be a concept that we all particularly appreciate right now when so many of our countrymen and women are without homes. It is easy to take that simple thing for granted, to be dissatisfied with our homes or resentful of the amount of effort they require, but having one makes all the difference.

One busload of refugees is now sheltering in the county where I live. We are not very close to New Orleans, but they could not find any place between there and here with space for the entire busload. They were fortunate to leave the city early, though I am sure that they do not feel fortunate at all.

Our local university is offering to take in displaced students from the Gulf for a free semester while they figure out what to do next. Relief efforts are strong here — and I’m sure everywhere — but money cannot solve all the problems.

With this in mind, I am trying not to be too cross about the fact that #1 son in insisting upon taking his driving test today, a process which will use up the little bit of gas I was hoping would see me through the week. Plus keeping me from getting to the gym, yet again, in a week which has been filled with places I have to go. Oh, yes, having to go places is probably part of my being cross. I don’t think that he is ready, but perhaps he is. Then we will see firsthand what having a teenage boy does to insurance rates.

Larissa has written out a pattern for a nice felted bag which she is encouraging readers to make and vary as they like. She is asking that folks get back to her with their variations and pictures of their completed bags. She is also asking people who make a profit from this pattern to donate to an organization that helps kids get bicycles.

No more felted bags are currently on my knitting horizon — I have my zombie and epic projects, prayer shawls, and Christmas gifts to make — but I love the concept. If you have been toying with the idea of making a fleted bag, consider joining Larissa’s project. The bag rejoices in the extremely cute name “Spork.”