29 November 2022

A Good Read

The Thursday Murder Club
by Richard Osman

If I ever have to live in a retirement community, I would like it be like Cooper's Chase, where Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim have a lot of fun. They formed The Thursday Murder Club with the intention of trying to solve "cold cases" from former member Penny's police files. They invited PC Donna De Freitas over to talk about home security, but really they wanted to ask about murder and stab wounds.
When new murders occur in the community, they are convinced they can find the culprit. Eventually, working with two reluctant police detectives, they take up the challenge.

Celebrity writers can be a hit and miss experience. I found this delightful. I loved the senior citizens with their sassy antics and their zest for life. I loved the twists and turns of their unorthodox investigations. The gentle humour strikes just the right balance, without being too flippant or cheesy. I also liked the detectives, with their protectiveness of the septuagenarians and their good-natured acceptance of their often questionable behaviour.

∼ Happy Reading ∼ 

Polly x

26 November 2022

Another Chromebook

Proof, if proof be needed that I am sometimes a silly old woman, was confirmed when I revisited Currys website where I purchased my Chromebook.
In September I posted about my new chromebook saying that it was a touchscreen which I hadn't ordered but that someone must have sent by accident. HOWEVER turned out it WAS a touchscreen, I just hadn't noticed when I ordered it!! The word touchscreen wasn't in the title description but further down in product details. Anyway I was happy with it, the touchscreen mode was super fast......but with what I think might be a bit of arthiritis in both elbows it was tiring and a tad painful using my arms, so I mostly used the cursor......UNTIL it disappeared. It re-appeared after re-starting but then disappeared again. This kept happening for a few days until finally it didn't re-appear. I looked online for a fix, nothing worked, and when re-setting back to factory setting didn't work I took it into the store where a tech guy tried all the things I had tried, to no avail. 40 minutes later I asked for a refund or replacement. Now I have chromebook #2, it's not a touchscreen 😀

∼ Be safe and well∼
    Polly x

17 November 2022

A Good Read

Let This be our Secret by Deric Henderson

The shocking true story of a killer dentist, his mistress, how they murdered their spouses, and how they almost got away with it.
The date was May 1991. The location: a quiet, picturesque seaside town. The scene: two bodies in a car filled with carbon monoxide. It was thought that police officer Trevor Buchanan and nurse Lesley Howell had taken their own lives, unable to live with the pain of their spouses’ affair with each other. The adulterers - Sunday school teacher Hazel Buchanan and dentist Colin Howell had met in the local Baptist Church. Deeply religious and deeply in love they wanted to be together but Howell would not entertain divorce, opting instead for murder. It was uncomfortable reading about how they planned and executed the murders.  
Two decades later a series of disasters in Howell’s life - the death of his eldest son, massive losses in an investment scam and the revelation that he had been sexually assaulting female patients led to him declaring that he was a fraud and a godless man. He confessed all to the elders of his Church. What followed that dramatic confession were two of the most sensational murder investigations ever seen in Ireland, leading to Howell’s conviction for murder in December 2010, and Buchanan’s in March 2011,  despite her protestations of innocence.

Polly x

14 November 2022

Rufus' Diary

Hello dear reader, I hope you are well. All is good here, not much to tell you though. Polly has started her Great Mince Pie survey, she bought some when she hosted her book club meeting last week. One of the book club ladies bought some apples for people to help themselves, Polly made an apple crumble. The crumble was a tad browned but I heard her say it tasted delicious.

The countryside is looking beautiful

We've seen a lot of geese lately

And funghi, I didn't eat that one!

This was from four years ago. Polly wasn't happy with it at first, she thought
it was a bit blurred, now it's a favourite, she says it's atmospheric!

Polly has been tidying the gardens for winter, she has mowed the lawns,
cut the huge lavender bush back and brutally pruned the roses

The cherry tree is almost naked.

Some flowers still look pretty even though they are dying off.

This is from quite a few years ago, it's another favourite. That sofa has been replaced, that old collar broke, and I'm looking much younger! 😄

∼ Be safe and well∼
    Rufus 🐾

9 November 2022

A Good Read

Big Sky by Kate Atkinson

This is the last of the Jackson Brodie series, it’is not essential to read them in order but after this I did then want to do just that. I love Atkinson’s novels, she has a wonderful way with words, evocative and vividly descriptive characters and plots. 

This one has a sinister opening – eastern European sisters Nadja and Katja are skyping with the representative of an employment agency called Anderson Price Associates, who is arranging to fly them to the UK to take up jobs in high-end hospitality. Nooo, the reader cries, don’t do it. Sure enough, with the Skype connection severed, we learn that the swanky offices they can see behind “Mr Price” are a stage set.

Meanwhile ex-military police, ex-Cambridge Constabulary Jackson has relocated to a quiet seaside village, with the occasional company of his recalcitrant teenage son and an ageing Labrador. Now working as a private investigator, his current fairly mediocre job is gathering proof of an unfaithful husband, but a chance encounter with a desperate man on a crumbling cliff leads him into a sinister network of  child  abuse, human trafficking and kidnapping.

With a trio of golfing mates, a feisty trophy wife and an excellent plot there are plenty of turns to keep the reader engrossed, and although it is far from a comedy, it does have some funny moments.

Despite the subject matter it is a very good novel, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

∼ Happy Reading ∼ 

Polly x

4 November 2022

Gunpowder Treason And Plot


The Gunpowder Plot of 1605 was a failed assassination attempt against King James I by a group of provincial English Catholics led by Robert Catesby who wanted to restore the Catholic monarchy to England. 
English catholics had suffered decades of persecution which they hoped would change when James I became King of England in 1603. His mother was a catholic and they hoped the King would grant more religious tolerance to Catholics. He didn't, nothing changed, so in 1605 Catesby and 12 others decided that violent action was the only way to highlight their cause. They planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament, hoping to kill the King, maybe the Prince of Wales and the members of Parliament who were making life difficult for the Catholics. 
However as they worked on the plot it became clear that innocent people would be injured or killed. Some of the plotters started having second thoughts and one of them sent an anonymous letter to his friend, Lord Monteagle warning him to stay away from Parliament on the 5th November. The letter reached the King and his forces made plans to catch the conspirators. In the early hours of November 5th the authorities stormed the cellars and found Fawkes with 36 barrels of gunpowder and fuses. If their plan had succeeded it would have been carnage.
Fawkes was arrested and the gunpowder was removed. Such was the relief that the King was safe bonfires were set alight later that night, thus starting the tradition of bonfire night or Guy Fawkes night. The tradition was added to by the burning of an effigy of Fawkes.

∼ Be safe and well∼
    Polly x

3 November 2022

A Good Read

I Made A Mistake by Jane Corry


In Poppy’s mind, there are two types of women in this world: those who are faithful to their husbands, and those who are not. Until now, Poppy has never questioned which one she was, but when handsome, charming Matthew Gordon walks back into her life after almost two decades, that changes. 
Once an aspiring actress Poppy now runs an agency providing extras for film and TV roles.
At the Association of Supporting Artistes and Agents' Christmas party she bumps into Matthew Gordon. When they were at drama school, they were an item for three years but Gordon broke Poppy's heart when he left her for another student.
Now married with two daughters, she shares her home with her mother-in-law Betty. Betty and Poppy are very close, more like mother and daughter. Although happily married, a recent series of events leaves Poppy feeling lonely and unsupported, and in a hotel in Worthing the following week Gordon happens to be in the same town and they spend the night together.
The story is told alternately between Poppy and Betty, and is interspersed with scenes at The Central Criminal Court where a murder trial is underway.
Betty tells her story to Poppy in a series of letters describing her life with her deceased husband Jock, a selfish, controlling and imperious man who has since passed away. A marriage that Betty considered a mistake, but behaved as the social pressures dictated at the time and stayed with him. She opens up to Poppy, revealing secrets and regrets from a very naïve and oppressed young woman.

Jane Corry turns the tables brilliantly from excitement to a rapid descent into fear and dread. 
It’s a very good psychological crime story.

∼ Happy Reading ∼ 

Polly x

1 November 2022


In the original Roman calendar November was the ninth month of the year. It got its name from the Latin word "novem" which means nine. However, it became the eleventh month when the Romans added January and February to the start of the year.

In the year 835 AD the Roman Catholic Church made the 1st of November a church holiday to honour all the saints. This feast day is called All Saints' Day which also used to be known as All Hallows (Hallow being an old word meaning Saint or Holy Person). The feast day actually started the previous evening, the Eve of All Hallows.

On the 4th November 1922, one of the most important archaeological discoveries of modern times occurred at Luxor, Egypt when the tomb of the child-pharaoh of Egypt was discovered by English archaeologist Howard Carter. Tutankhamen became pharoah at the age of nine and is thought to have died in the year 1352 BC, when he was 19.

The 5th November is Guy Fawkes Night (Bonfire Night). 

🎂The 7th November is my darling daughter's birthday.

And on this day in 1867 Marie Skłodowska Curie was born. A Polish-born French physicist and chemist, Marie Curie is famous for her work on radioactivity and the first person ever to receive two Nobel Prizes. In 1903, she became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize for Physics. The award, jointly awarded to Curie, her husband Pierre, and Henri Becquerel, was for their discovery of radioactivity. Her second Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1911 for the discovery of the radioactive elements polonium and radium.

On the 8th November 1895 Wilhelm Röntgen, a German professor of physics, discovered the X-ray, while experimenting with electricity. 

Also on the 8th November 1920 Rupert Bear was "born". The Daily Express published the first Rupert Bear strip cartoon.

On the 9th November 1989, the Berlin Wall separating Western and Eastern Germany was opened, allowing citizens from both  east 
and west to cross freely.

On the 10th November 1983 Microsoft Corporation formally announced Microsoft Windows 1.0

 November the 11th is remembrance day. At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 the Allies and the Central Powers ended WWI with the signing of an armistice agreement. People remember the millions of soldiers who died in the two World Wars and in other wars by wearing a poppy and taking part in a two minute silence at 11am.

On the 18th November 1307 William Tell, a Swiss patriot, refused to pay homage to the Austrian Governor. As a punishment he was made to shoot an arrow through an apple placed on his son's head.
Taking his bow, William Tell aimed. His arrow split the apple, and his son's life was spared.

On the 23rd November 1963 the first episode of Dr Who was broadcast. It was in black and white and starred William Hartnell as the Doctor.

America celebrates Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday in November. It dates back to 1621, the year after Pilgrims from England arrived in Massachusetts.
The Pilgrims were the first settlers of America. They sailed from England in September 1620, on a small ship called the Mayflower, in the hope of finding a new home where they could live in peace and freely practice their faith. It took them 66 days to reach America.
Only half of the 110 Pilgrims survived that first year. Many died during the first winter. The survivors turned for help to neighbouring Indians, who taught them how to plant corn and other crops. The next Autumn the harvest was plentiful and inspired the Pilgrims to give thanks by holding a three-day feast. 200 years later, in 1863 President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November a national day of thanksgiving. In 1941 the US Congress passed a law officially establishing the celebration of Thanksgiving.

The last Sunday of the Church Year, the Sunday before Advent is often called 'Stir-up Sunday', the traditional day for everyone in the family to take a turn at stirring the Christmas pudding. Before Christmas puddings were sold ready-made, they were always made at home. They were made a month before Christmas day to give the flavours plenty of time to develop. Families returned from Church to give the pudding its traditional lucky stir which was always stirred from East to West in honour of the three Wise Men. Whilst stirring the pudding mixture, each family member would make a secret wish.
A Christmas pudding is traditionally made with 13 ingredients to represent Christ and His Disciples.
A coin was traditionally added to the ingredients and cooked in the pudding. It was supposedly to bring wealth to whoever found it on their plate on Christmas Day. The traditional coin was an old silver sixpence or threepenny bit.
Other traditional additions to the pudding included a ring, to foretell a marriage, and a thimble for a lucky life.

C.S. Lewis was born on the 29th November 1898. As well as a writer he was also a professor, teaching university students at Oxford and Cambridge. He is best known for his series 'The Chronicles of Narnia". The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is his most famous book. The Narnia books have been translated into more than 45 languages.

The 30th November is St Andrew's Day, 
celebrated in honour of St Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland.

∼ Be safe and well∼
    Polly x

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