29 August 2016

A Good Read

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger 

When Elspeth Noblin dies of cancer, she leaves her London apartment to her American nieces, twins Julia and Valentina. The girls had never met their English aunt, they only knew that their mother was a twin, and Elspeth was her sister. Julia and Valentina are fairly normal teenagers with an abnormally intense attachment to one another, and very little interest in college, finding jobs, or anything outside their cosy home in the suburbs of Chicago. 

The girls move to Elspeth's flat, which borders Highgate Cemetery, and soon get to know some of the other residents: Martin, a brilliant and charming crossword puzzle setter suffering from crippling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; Marjike, Martin's devoted but trapped wife; and Robert, Elspeth's elusive lover, a scholar of the cemetery. 

As the girls become embroiled in the fraying lives of their aunt's neighbours, they also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including, perhaps their aunt, who can't seem to leave her old apartment and life behind. 

Niffenegger weaves a captivating story about love and identity, secrets and sisterhood, and about the tenacity of life -even after death. 
I thoroughly enjoyed it, well written, good characters and a good story. I thought Valentina’s talk of suicide was somewhat contrived but nevertheless the plot worked.

19 August 2016

All Sorts

brrrr I've just changed into a long sleeved t-shirt having suddenly felt a little chilly. I have been sitting reading for a while though, inactivity usually lowers my body temperature, need a sandwich and a cup of coffee to warm me up. Sandwich and coffee prepared and already I'm feeling warmer.

I made an effort to get up early this morning to take the dogs out because my car was being collected sometime after 9am for a recall inspection. We had the best of the weather as it has been raining gently ever since. I was hoping to do some gardening today but I'm pleased with the rain as my garden has been looking very dry, the lawn even has a few chasms in it - only small ones! I hope it clears up as I have two plants that have been in their pots for weeks, they are screaming to be in the garden as their roots need to expand beyond the confines of the pots.

I regularly wear jewellery - rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, but I've never been a huge fan of charm bracelets, I have a gold coloured chunky one that I wear in winter and the rest are just smallish wrist adornments. Two of my friends have Pandora charm bracelets, one a silver one with loads of charms on it, and the other a simple band with just 3 rose gold clips on it. For a while now I have wanted to own one, it's not that they're out of my price range just something I never got round to buying, until yesterday. We have a brand new Pandora shop in town, so no excuses now, off I went and bought this.

ok, so its not Cartier or Faberge but I love it, and I will love it even more when it has some pretty patterned charms on it. Pandora gift vouchers will now be on on my pressie lists :-)

I feel very sad about the demise of Bhs and all those people, who, in a few weeks will be out of work. Our store looked forlorn, huge signs advertising closing down bargains, the windows full of rubbish. I went in but then thought "No, I'm not going to put any more money into, in my opinion, that odious little mans already ample offshore bank account". He must be the most reviled man in the country at the moment.

Does anyone have a foolproof cure for chocolate addiction?  This is my current favourite. 

I know, I should employ willpower and self control. I don't like Oreo biscuits but when it comes to this, I just devour it like a thing possessed. Over the years I have hoped that maybe I would be sick from chocolate binging and that would end my addiction, but I guess I will just have to cope with it.

My car is back and all is good.

The rain has stopped, the ground is nice and soft, perfect for re-homing my plants.

Thank you for reading, take care and have a good weekend.

16 August 2016

A Good Read

The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan
Pearl has a secret which she keeps from her mother Winnie, and Winnie has her own long kept secrets about her past and the confusing circumstances of Pearl’s birth. Fate intervenes in the form of Helen Kwong, Winnie’s so called sister-in-law, who believes she is dying and must unburden herself of all falsehoods before she flies off to heaven. Unfortunately unburdening herself would mean exposing Winnie’s secrets and thus having to expose the truth to her daughter. But truth comes in many guises, depending on who is telling the tale.... 
The story takes us back to 1920's Shanghai, through WW2 and the harrowing events leading to Winnie’s arrival in America in 1949. It’s a story of lost innocence, tragedy and survival, but most of all the endurance of hope, love and friendship. 

As well as achingly sad this is a mesmerising story, with wonderful strong characters, and a dramatic backdrop for the events of China during WW2 – the Japanese invaders, the Kuomintang, the Communists, all struggling for control and leaving a swath of destruction in people’s lives, relationships & families. 

Weaving together China’s epic tragedy with her characters’ predicaments Amy Tan has created an engaging read. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

7 August 2016

August Already

It's that time of year again

 the wheat and barley have turned golden

the blackberries have flowered and fruits are appearing 

and, most important at this time of year

Buster has had his first application of this to prevent this

On our walk the other morning I saw this, or rather I smelt it before seeing it. It smells lovely, like a honeysuckle. I don't know what it is, and because of where it is I'm guessing it's a wild plant but I've taken a stem and will harvest some seeds and try to grow it in my garden. It might be rampant and take over!!
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