25 February 2022

A Very Good Read

Girl Woman Other by Bernardine Evaristo

This was a book club choice and I was sure I wouldn’t enjoy it, I thought it was going to be very political, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Full of life and energy, Girl, Woman, Other has been described as a love song to modern Britain and black womanhood.

The novel follows the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years.

It is written without punctuation at the start and finish of sentences, which at first is a bit off putting but I quickly adapted to it and it didn’t detract from the narrative or the enjoyment. Whilst one could say that sentence punctuation is not essential to interpretation, which might be of interest in an academic linguistic sense, I couldn't really see any literary purpose.

It's an excellent read, I was enthralled with the characters and their lives. I thoroughly recommend it.

∼ Happy Reading ∼ 

Polly x

21 February 2022


My art group is in full swing again. Most people are back, it was good to see them and to start painting again. Most of us admitted that despite intentions we didn't do any painting during lockdown. 

I'm not an artist, our talents range from very good to those who, like me, enjoy having a go and get excited when something turns out really well.

I like watching painting programmes, my favourites are "Landscape Artist of The Year" and "Portrait Artist of The Year". Most of them are brilliant, and a few I don't get! Art is subjective.

You know how you read a blog, and then another and another, well the other day I was doing just that and I found myself at the site of an artist who is considered to be one of the great American abstract expressionist painters. Well dear reader I was lost for words. One painting was a grey background with three connecting black lines and a couple of smudges of white. The price tag was £3,589, it was on handmade paper though. Another was what looked like a kind of brick surrounded by black charcoal swirls on a cream background, price tag £4,000. And a third was a white background with a solid black shape with skin tone colour in two diagonal corners with the bottom one looking as if the black paint was running down, price tag £12,560 !!! REALLY.
Perhaps I should put a canvas on the lawn, do a few brick stencils, throw some paint down,  then stand it up and let the paint trickle down! 

∼ Be safe and well∼
Polly x

15 February 2022

A Very Good Read

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

Long before we discovered that he had fathered two children by two different women, one in Drimoleague and one in Clonakilty, Father James Monroe stood on the altar of the Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, in the parish of Goleen, West Cork, and denounced my mother as a whore”.

At 701 pages this is a long read, but don't let that put you off reading this magnificent novel. It is a story of Ireland from the 1940's to present day through the eyes of one ordinary man, Cyril Avery, from conception to old age, beginning with the above paragraph narrated by Cyril before his birth.
In an Ireland that was almost theocratic in its obsession with the church Catholic priests saw themselves as self appointed Guardians of public morality. I hope those hypocrites are burning in hell.
Cast out from her West Cork village, 16 and pregnant Catherine Coggin makes her way to Dublin. Unable to support herself and a baby, she entrusts her son to a Redemptorist nun, knowing that she will see to it that the baby goes to a good home. Cyril is adopted by a wealthy eccentric Dublin couple, Maude and Charles Avery. They mean well but are ill equipped for raising a child. Maude and Charles’ relationship is cordial and business-like. Maude treats Charles like an ottoman - of no use to anyone, but worth having around. Charles shows scant interest in Maude, finding her presence both reassuring and unsettling. And they constantly remind Cyril that he is not Real Avery.
All his life Cyril seems to miss out on something. A little clueless to the way the world works he struggles with trying to discover an identity, a home, a country. Being a gay man in an extremely conservative Ireland, his experiences of the harrowing history of Ireland, LGBT rights, the AIDS crisis, the sexism and homophobia typical of the era leave Cyril adrift in the world. His only anchor is the tenuous friendship with the  glamorous and dangerous Julian Woodbead.

The Heart's Invisible Furies will make you laugh and cry while reminding us of the enduring power of the human spirit. I liked how the story connected so many people over the years. Cyril even met his real mum at one point and neither of them knew. I felt so sad for them, I wanted them to know that each had found some peace and happiness, I wanted Boyne to re-write it!!
I thoroughly recommend it.

∼ Happy Reading ∼ 
Polly x

9 February 2022


💝 February 💝

the second month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars.  In the Northern Hemisphere it is usually considered to be the last month of winter, and in the Southern Hemisphere it is the last month of summer.
February has 28 days clear and 29 each leap year. Every four years a day is added to the end of the month to adjust for the fact that although the calendar is 365 days long the earth’s revolution around the sun actually takes 365 days and 6 hours.
Leap year is the time when, in the olden days every February 29th, for 24 hours only, ladies could propose to their loved one and the gentlemen must say yes. It is thought the origins of such a revolutionary tradition started in Ireland in the 5th century. Allegedly two of the most famous Irish saints, Saint Patrick and Saint Brigid of Kildare were talking and Saint Brigid was complaining about how long women usually had to wait for their suitor to ask for their hand in marriage. Eventually, Saint Patrick decided to strike a deal with her, granting all women a chance every four years to be the ones to propose first. There is also a version of the legend that suggests that at that point, Brigid fell at Patrick’s feet and asked for his own hand in marriage. But history is not too inclined to believe that, seeing as  Brigid was only ten years old when Saint Patrick died! Either way, the legend says that Patrick kindly refused, and offered a silk gown as payment in return. 
The legend then became history, when in 1288 Scottish royalty passed a law giving all women the right to ask for a man’s hand in marriage every February 29th. If he refused he had to pay one of various fees: a kiss, a silk gown, or a pair of gloves. Silk gloves were actually specified in many Northern European societies as the proper fee to be paid. Apparently, gloves were considered a much more functional reparation than gowns, seeing as ladies could hide the embarrassment of not having a ring on their finger – while also being very fashionable at the same time!
When asked what the month of February represents, most people would say 'Valentines Day'. The tradition of Valentine’s Day is thought to be Roman in origin. A popular theory from the biographical account of Saint Valentine of Rome states that he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. It is said that during his imprisonment he healed the daughter of his jailer, and that before his execution he wrote her a farewell letter signing it "Your Valentine". 
By 1601 St. Valentine’s Day appeared to be an established part of English tradition, as William Shakespeare makes mention of it in Ophelia’s lament in Hamlet: "To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s day, All in the morning betime, And I a maid at your window, To be your Valentine".
In 1797 The Young Man’s Valentine Writer was first published. This contained gems of sentimental rhymes and ditties for those young gentlemen who were so much in love as to not be able to think clearly enough to compose their own verse.  Ahh bless.

Happy Valentine's Day

💝 Be warm and well 💝
Polly x

6 February 2022

A Good Read

The Trophy Child by by Paula Daly
Karen Bloom is not an indulgent mother, she believes in raising her daughter, Brontë for success, she is proud of the fact that she pushes her to excel in all aspects of life. So what if Brontë’s demanding schedule rarely leaves time for family dinner and has even led to her developing numbness in her hands? Karen can’t help but compare her perfect 10-year-old daughter to her teenage stepdaughter, Verity, who was recently discovered in possession of drugs and must now attend counseling sessions. Or to her older son, Ewan, who spends most of his time smoking pot. She even uses Brontë to distract herself from her disappointing husband, Noel, who has been ground down so far he now seems to lack a backbone, pretends not to notice his family responsibilities and problems, and spends his time with work, alcohol and other women.
When Brontë goes missing Karen is hysterical. She's rude to the detective in charge of the case, DS Joanne Aspinall, and even makes an offensive comment to the press about how her missing child is different from “those impoverished families” who are known to murder their own. Brontë returns unhurt and refuses to say where she was.
There is a huge public backlash against Karen’s comments, so when she is found murdered several weeks later, the list of suspects is a long one. Distracted by a past encounter with, and ongoing attraction to Noel, DS Joanne Aspinall must find and capture the killer as well as determine the truth of Brontë’s experience.
It's a very good read with a few twists.

∼ Happy Reading ∼ 
Polly x

1 February 2022


More surfing on BBC iPlayer for 'Ghosts', my daughter recommended it.
It's grown up comedy from the 'Horrible Histories' team.
I binge watched all three series, loved it so much I'm watching it again.

Alison and Mike (bottom of the pic) are a cash strapped couple hoping to be able to buy a house. Out of the blue Alison inherits a neglected stately home from a distant relative. The house is haunted by numerous squabbling ghosts from across the ages who died in its grounds.
Ignoring their solicitor's advice to sell the property, Alison and Mike decide to move in and renovate it, with the idea of turning the house into a hotel. The ghosts are not happy with their plans and conspire to get rid of the newcomers. After various failed attempts to scare them, one of the ghosts pushes Alison from an upstairs window, resulting in her  being clinically dead for three minutes. When she awakes two weeks later from an induced coma she discovers that her husband has arranged a huge mortgage, and ...... she can see the ghosts.

This is the image at the end of the introductions. I would love this as a dolls house.

Initially imagining the ghosts to be an after-effect of her accident, Alison eventually accepts the truth and confronts them. Because neither she and Mike (for financial reasons) nor the ghosts (who are stuck there for eternity) can leave, both sides eventually agree that they have no choice but to coexist as best they can. Meanwhile, the house requires a LOT of work, and Alison and Mike devise several schemes to assist their perilous finances. The ghosts actually prove to be quite useful. 

It's very funny, nice, laugh out loud funny, with a great cast.

∼ Be safe and well∼
Polly x

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