SandDune reads in 2023 - thread 2

Tämä viestiketju jatkaa tätä viestiketjua: SandDune reads in 2023 - thread 1.

Keskustelu75 Books Challenge for 2023

Liity LibraryThingin jäseneksi, niin voit kirjoittaa viestin.

SandDune reads in 2023 - thread 2

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 1, 2:40 pm

Welcome to my second thread of 2023 and to my twelth year doing the 75 Book Challenge. I'm a 61 year old accountant and, after spending most of my career in the City of London, I was until recently the Finance Manager of a local charity which provides support to children and adults with learning disabilities. But at the beginning of 2021 I retired and my husband (aka Mr SandDune) also started working part-time. We live about thirty miles north of London although retirement may take us elsewhere in the U.K. Our 22 year old son Jacob is now at the University of Lancaster in the North of England studying History. There's also our 10 year old Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Daisy, who tends to feature prominently in my threads.

I'm originally from Wales rather than England, so I do have an interest in all things Welsh and I tend to get huffy if people call me English rather than Welsh! I'm currently studying a second year Welsh course after passing my first year exams in the summer (I learnt it at school but had forgotten most of it). I read mainly literary fiction, classics, science-fiction and fantasy, but I have been trying (and enjoying) some crime fiction. As far as non-fiction goes I’m interested in a number of topics, in particular books about the environment and nature.

I used to reach 75 books a year without difficulty, but the number of books I'm reading is down these days, mainly as a result of no longer listening to audio books during my commute to work.

All my family are avid readers. Jacob has inherited a love of reading science-fiction and fantasy from me and a love of reading history from Mr SandDune so our books are frequently shared. I read hardbacks, paperbacks, on kindle and listen to audio books particularly when driving or walking the dog.

Apart from reading I love travelling, eating out, and going to the theatre. Over the last couple of years when going out has been less practical I've enjoyed craft activities and learnt to crochet . I'm also getting more and more concerned about environmental issues: I'm a member of the local Green Party and have been quite involved in campaigning on climate change. Recently, I've also become more involved in community activities: I'm treasurer of my local food bank and a trustee of my local Home Start group, a charity that provides support to families with children under five.

This year I'm returning to the idea of starting each thread with a piece of art. This month's picture is 'Tiger in a Tropical Storm' (1899) by Henri Rousseau:

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 1, 2:19 pm

Favourites from 2022:

Five star reads:
A Bear Called Paddington Michael Bond
Just William Richmal Compton
Arabella Georgette Heyer
Small Things Like These Claire Keegan
West Carys Davies

Four and a half star reads:
The High House Jessie Greengrass
The Island of Missing Trees Elif Shafak
Unsettled Ground Claire Fuller
The Pull of the Stars Emma Donoghue
The Hired Man Aminatta Forna
Miss Buncle's Book D.E. Stevenson
Komarr Lois McMaster Bujold
A Civil Campaign Lois McMaster Bujold

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 1, 2:20 pm

Reading Plans for 2023:

I belong to a RL book club which has been going for 22years and that meets monthly except for January & August. Our choices so far are as follows:

February: Persepolis Marjane Satrapi
March: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue V.E. Schwab

We are also reading the Women's prize shortlist:

Great Circle Maggie Shipstead
The Island of Missing Trees Elif Shafak
Sorrow and Bliss Meg Mason
The Bread the Devil Knead Lisa Allen-Agostini
The Sentence Louise Edrich
The Book of Form and Emptiness Ruth Ozeki

I have also recently joined another book club with the U3A which also meets monthly. Books are as follows:

February: Secret Service Tom Bradby

I hope to participate in the Africa book challenge for 2023, hopefully reading books that are in the house already:

January - North Africa - Libya The Country of Men Hisham Matar
March - CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE or Buchi Emecheta
July - CHINUA ACHEBE or Ben Okri
December - WEST AFRICA

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 1, 2:21 pm

Books acquired in 2023:

1. The Book of Chameleons José Eduardo Agualusa
2. My Phantoms Gwendoline Riley
3. The Octopus Man by Jasper Gibson

helmikuu 1, 2:57 pm

Happy new thread, Rhian. The Rousseau painting is eye-catching.

helmikuu 1, 3:43 pm

9. The Lantern Bearers Rosemary Sutcliff *****

On to the third in the trilogy that started with The Eagle of the Ninth. More than a hundred years has passed since the events of The Silver Branch and it is now 410AD. When the Roman legions are ordered to leave Britain for the defence of Rome itself, young Aquila is torn between his loyalty to Rome and his loyalty to his family and Britain. As the final ships prepare to leave the harbour he deserts his position as decurion in an auxiliary legion, climbing the massive Rutupiae lighthouse one last time to light the beacon as the ships sail away.

But within a few days of returning to his father's house on the South Downs Aquila's life is changed for ever as Saxon raiders attack and burn the family farm, killing his father and all his household. Only Aquila and his sister Flavia remain alive, but she is taken by the raiding party, while Aquila remains alive only by a fluke circumstance to then be captured by a second Saxon band who take him back to Jutland as a slave.

The Lantern Bearers follows Aquila through the next twenty years or so, through a time when Romano-Celtic Britain gradually succumbs to the Saxon advance. Rosemary Sutcliff is particularly good in portraying this decline, both in The Silver Branch and in this book, as here where Aquila is appalled at the obliviousness of the townsfolk of Viroconium Cornoviorumto (modern day Wroxeter) to the coming dangers.

But the evening was as warm as summer, with the still, backward-looking warmth that returns sometimes when summer is long past; and the little group of ladies who came out from the Forum gardens across the way wore only light wraps, pretty and fragile as flower petals, over their indoor tunics. One of them carried a late white rosebud, and another sniffed at a ball of amber in her hand, and they laughed together, softly, as they went on up the street. A man came out through the Forum gate, with a slave behind him carrying his books. Maybe he was a lawyer. How odd that there were still towns where the Magistrates sat to administer the laws and discuss the water supply, and women walked abroad with balls of amber in their hands for its delicate fragrance. The town was shabby as all towns were, the walls that had gleamed so white against the distant mountains of Cymru, stained and pitted here and there with fallen plaster, the streets inclined to be dirty. But there were things to buy in the shops, and on the citizens’ faces a look of unawareness that made Aquila want to climb on to the mounting-block and cry out to them. ‘Don’t you know what is happening all round the coasts? Haven’t you heard?’

(The town never made it by the way - once the fourth largest town in Roman Britain - a few ruins in a field is all that remains).

This is a much more thoughtful book than its predecessors: not just a great yarn, albeit a very well written one, but a heart-wrenching one as well. Psychologically damaged by his experiences, the carefree young man that Aquila had been has gone, but the past can not be blocked out for ever ...

Highly recommended.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 1, 3:45 pm

Happy second thread, Rhian!

>7 SandDune: I also liked that one.

helmikuu 1, 4:13 pm

Happy new thread Rhian!

>7 SandDune: The Lantern Bearers is my favorite of these novels.

helmikuu 1, 4:36 pm

Hi Rhian my dear, Happy New Thread.

helmikuu 1, 5:00 pm

Happy new thread, Rhian.

I bought The Eagle of the Ninth for the BAC challenge thinking that that would be that but your enthusiasm for the series and my enjoyment of the opener means that I am now certain to go and add the other books.

helmikuu 1, 5:04 pm

I've always liked >1 SandDune: that painting Rhian. It quivers with movement.

helmikuu 1, 5:09 pm

HAppy new thread!

helmikuu 2, 8:59 am

Happy new one!

helmikuu 2, 9:23 am

>2 SandDune: >7 SandDune: Clearly, I need to get me some Rosemary Sutcliff books to read. I do not know any of her work except through your excellent reviews.

helmikuu 2, 4:37 pm

>6 katiekrug: >12 Caroline_McElwee: It's maybe not the most realistic portrait of a tiger ever, but I like it ...

>8 FAMeulstee: >9 quondame: >11 PaulCranswick: I was virtually in tears at the end of The Lantern Bearers - not many books do that.

>10 johnsimpson: >13 figsfromthistle: >14 drneutron: Welcome John, Anita, Susan

>15 SandyAMcPherson: You definitely do need to find some Rosemary Sutcliff.

helmikuu 3, 9:32 am

Happy new thread! The tiger is my favourite painting in the National Gallery!

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 3, 11:12 am

10. Under Another Sky: Journeys in Roman Britain Charlotte Higgins ***1/2

Having spent a lot of last month reading about the fictional Roman Britain of Rosemary Sutcliff, it seemed appropriate to look a little at the reality as well. In Under Another Sky Charlotte Higgins undertakes a journey around the Roman archeological sites of Britain and considers how those sites have been viewed over the centuries since the Romans abandoned them as well as considering some of the stories of their excavators. All the main sites are covered of course, such as Hadrian's Wall and Bath, but many unknown sites are visited as well: a Roman fort known as 'Y Gaer' on a remote farm near Brecon; a bath house on the fringe of the Lake District.

In fact, there seem to be a lot more Roman remains about than I had actually realised, some of them hiding in plain site. For instance, I've been to the nearby town of Colchester any number of times, and I knew it was the first town established in Roman Britain and that in the vaults of its castle can be seen the foundations of the Temple of Claudius, but I'd never realised that Colchester's Roman walls can still be seen.

For anyone who has been reading Rosemary Sutcliff, this book is an interesting companion as many of the locations that she mentions are covered: Silleva (now Silchester) can just about be seen in bumps in the fields and a little masonry; the great light of Rutapiae is no more but the platform on which it stood can still be seen at Richborough, near Sandwich on the South Coast. Of course the most obvious Roman remains in Britain are the remnants of Hadrian's Wall (which feature strongly in The Eagle of the Ninth and The Silver Branch) with its associated forts and towns, and the chapter on this is particularly good.

What can the effect on the Britons of this astonishing structure? This wall in the wilds of northern Brittania divides nowhere from nowhere. Visually, it makes about as much sense as René Magritte's open door suspended in a cloudscape. The effect of all this insistence on uniformity and precision despite the terrain must have been impressive, if not cowing; part of its purpose, surely, was to intimidate. It is now thought that its value as a symbol of Roman might was at least as great as any practical purpose

And I liked this account of William Hutton, possibly the first person (presumably since Roman times) to walk the length of the Wall:

In 1801, William Hutton, a native of Birmingham, walked from his home city to the wall. He tramped along it twice, there and back, and then took himself back to the Midlands. At the end of his account of the walk, published in 1802, he reported his 'loss by perspiration, of one stone of animal weight; an expenditure of forty guineas; a lapse of thirty-five days, and a walk of six hundred and one miles.' That was an average of seventeen miles a day. He was seventy-eight years old. 'Perhaps,' he wrote, 'I am the first man that ever travelled the whole length of the Wall, and probably the last that ever will attempt it.'

Not all the chapters are equally successful, surprisingly the weakest (in my view) is the chapter on Bath, but overall a good read.

helmikuu 3, 11:12 am

>7 SandDune: The only book I have read in that series was The Eagle of the Ninth and that was several years ago. I need to correct that!

Happy second thread, Rhian!

helmikuu 3, 11:56 am

Happy new one, Rhian! That is a very interesting painting you chose for your topper. The bottom portion almost looks like embroidery, and it's a very cool effect.

helmikuu 3, 12:31 pm

>18 SandDune: that sounds really interesting, Rhian. I love that sort of history, and it would be even more interesting to be able to head out to see some of those areas for yourself.

helmikuu 3, 3:55 pm

>18 SandDune: Sounds like a good read, Rhian. I went with school to St Albans (I think?) to visit the Roman museum there - and of course Chester is just round the corner from me. I think I take it a bit for granted as grew up with the Roman road near Cambridge, which was part of a regular family walk. The new(ish) mosaic find struck me as amazing though - that something could survive near complete despite all the wars since.

helmikuu 3, 4:52 pm

>19 alcottacre: Rosemary Sutcliff has rapidly become one of my favourite authors.

>20 Crazymamie: It does doesn't it? I'd not noticed that before.

>21 lauralkeet: I have a list of Roman places that I want to visit now, including the Mithraeum in London (just around the corner from where I used to work, although it hadn't been excavated then), Porchester Castle (where the castle utilised the walls of the original Roman fort) and Fishbourne Roman Palace. Some of the places mentioned I've been to several times, like some of the sites along Hadrians wall and the Roman Baths at Bath.

Here's Hadrian's Wall as it is today in one of its most impressive locations. We took the photo when we were in Northumberland in 2020. You can see what Charlotte Higgins means about the terrain - the wall carries on no matter what the ground does.

But it would have been so much more impressive in Roman times when it was five metres tall.

>22 charl08: It's not that I didn't realise that there were Roman remains (we are a family who never knowingly miss a good ruin), it's more that I hadn't realised just how many there were, sometimes almost hiding in plain site. Our local main road, the A120, apparently follows its original Roman path westwards from Colchester. It should have been obvious, as it is very straight, but it had never occurred to me that it was originally a Roman road until recently.

helmikuu 3, 10:20 pm

>18 SandDune: Thank you for that recommendation, Rhian. I will go and see if I can order it.

>23 SandDune: I have paid a few visits to the Wall over the years and the fact of its longevity is hugely impressive.

helmikuu 3, 11:10 pm

Happy new thread.

>18 SandDune: Got me with that one.

helmikuu 4, 1:05 am

Happy new thread. An interesting opening art piece.

helmikuu 4, 3:31 am

>23 SandDune: Apologies, Rhian: I didn't mean to imply you weren't aware, more that I should take Roman history less for granted, and make more of an effort to find out more about it.
The Northumberland photo is so impressive, such a striking barrier.

helmikuu 4, 11:52 am

Hadrian's Wall is on my bucket list. The photo is impressive.

Happy new thread. I love the Rousseau at the top.

helmikuu 7, 8:03 am

>24 PaulCranswick: the fact of its longevity is hugely impressive Especially when you consider that for centuries people were carting away stone to build things with!

>25 ArlieS: >26 WhiteRaven.17: Thanks & welcome.

>27 charl08: No offence taken!

>28 BLBera: I find Hadrian's Wall so interesting, and there are such a lot of other Roman remains in the vicinity. One of the most interesting is Vindolanda, where they found the Vindolanda tablets which provide so much information about day to day life in Britain in Roman times.

helmikuu 7, 8:24 am

Happy New Thread, Rhian. Hadrian's Wall is amazing. How much of it, have you seen?

helmikuu 8, 1:30 pm

I didn't realize when you got me with a "must read" for Eagle of the Ninth that it was part of a trilogy. Under Another Sky also made it to my library holds list.

My trip to Scotland last year included a bus tour to Hadrian's Wall and Vindolanda. It was fascinating.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 8, 2:18 pm

11.Persepolis Marjane Satrapi ***

Everybody seems to love Persepolis, but somehow it just doesn't quite work for me. I read it a few years ago and this is what I wrote then.

This graphic novel didn't grab me quite as much as it seems to have grabbed a lot of other readers and I'm struggling to quite understand why. The autobiographical novel starts in the Iran of 1980, a year after the Iranian revolution, and ends around 1994. At the start Marjane is 10, the daughter of a family that has supported the deposing of the Shah, but who now find that the resulting Islamic Republic is not what they had bargained on. From attending a mixed bilingual French school, Marjane finds herself in a world where even young girls have to wear a headscarf and must be kept separate from boys. Soon Iran is in a state of war with Iraq, and Marjane's family's more westernised beliefs put them in constant danger. As an outspoken girl, Marjane is at more at risk of falling foul of the strict laws on female behaviour than most, and eventually at age 14 her parent take the decision that she must be sent abroad to study, and send her to Austria alone.

So why didn't I enjoy this book more? A lot of the information on Iran during this period was fairly familiar to me, so I didn't feel that I learnt very much that was new. And I didn't particularly warm to Marjane as a character - especially in the latter part of the book I found her a little irritating. So worth reading, but not great.

The reason I read it again was it was this month's pick for my RL book club, which should have been on Tuesday. But at 2pm on Tuesday afternoon, OFSTED announced a inspection of the school at which this month's host is Head of English, to start first thing the next morning. So of course the meeting had to be postponed - we are reconvening later in the month. I'm looking forward to this meeting, as I'm hoping that it might throw some light on why everyone loves it, and I don't, especially as the host teaches it as a set text. The only thing that has occurred to me is that I prefer graphic novels where the pictures are doing more of the work than is the case with this book (it's quite wordy), and while sometimes the pictures are very evocative it's more dependent on the text than some.

helmikuu 8, 5:18 pm

>32 SandDune: I don't know about loving it, but I liked it well enough.

helmikuu 9, 10:58 am

>32 SandDune: I have not read this one, Rhian, but I am hoping to eventually get to it. I will be interested to hear what your book club thinks of it.

helmikuu 9, 4:11 pm

>32 SandDune: I'm with you Rhian. Read it with my RL book group some years ago, but didn't especially sing for me. As someone who loves art, I'm not sure why GN novels/books don't entice me. I do have 3-4 in the tbr mountain still to read, and they are mostly non-fiction too.

helmikuu 10, 8:58 am

I've been meaning to post some photos all week. We went to Saffron Walden on Sunday morning, which is the next town north of us, and happened to notice a most beautifully pargetted building (pargetting is a traditional local style of decoration where decorative elements are applied to the plasterwork). This one was pretty much the best example of pargetting I have seen and I don't understand why I hadn't come across it before, as we go to Saffron Walden quite regularly.

Apparently, the house itself dates from the 14th century and the pargetting is 17th century. It's where Oliver Cromwell stayed in 1647.

helmikuu 10, 9:07 am

Such a lovely town, Saffron Walden. That building is especially gorgeous. If it's the one I remember, there is (was?) a sort of junk furniture shop nearby. SW has gone quite upscale since our time.

helmikuu 10, 9:09 am

>30 msf59: The pictures that you see of Hadrian's Wall are always the parts where there are most remains, but for much of its length the stone was carted off for building over the centuries and very little remains. We have probably seen a good proportion of the actual Wall over the years. And I've been to Housesteads Roman Fort several times, as well as Corbridge Roman Town and Vindolanda. But there are several other forts that are supposed to be well worth seeing that I haven't visited.

>31 Familyhistorian: It's such a dramatic location isn't it, as well as being historically interesting.

>33 The_Hibernator: >34 Crazymamie: I know not everyone loves it, but there are certainly a lot of five star reviews! It's the first graphic novel we've discussed and I wouldn't be surprised if most people hadn't read one before, so it will be interesting to see what they make of it.

>35 Caroline_McElwee: I've read graphic novels before and certainly enjoyed some a lot more than this. But I think I do enjoy the ones where the pictures do more of the talking better.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 10, 2:34 pm

>37 lauralkeet: We've noticed Saffron Walden going noticeably upscale since we've moved here too. It has so many interesting buildings, and I seemed to remember that at one time some of them looked a little run-down but no more. I think the building was an antiques shop but looks like it is currently being sold as conversion into two properties. They won't be able to alter the framework though as it is Grade I listed.

helmikuu 10, 11:50 am

>23 SandDune:, >29 SandDune: Such interesting history here (on Rhian 's thread) about Hadrian's wall.
I also enjoyed looking up the story behind Vindolanda tablets. This was all new knowledge to me.

helmikuu 10, 12:54 pm

>36 SandDune: Beautiful building Rhian. It's funny when things seem to hide themselves from you.

helmikuu 11, 4:27 am

>40 SandyAMcPherson: I think the Vindolanda tablets are fascinating - ordinary people going to parties and worrying about money and the fact they need new socks!

>41 Caroline_McElwee: To be fair, we probably haven’t walked down that road very often, as it isn’t one with shops on and we are usually going shopping when we go to Saffron Walden (it’s got a nice book shop and a little market). But we certainly have walked down it before on some occasions. I suppose if we were walking down on the same side of the road it wouldn’t be so noticeable.

helmikuu 11, 8:30 am

Love the SW architecture photo. I wonder what it must be like to live in such an old building. I can't imagine it.

Slightly odd coincidence that I read this short article this week about the town too.

helmikuu 12, 4:02 am

>43 charl08: We have friends who live in a 16th century thatched cottage and Mr SandDune used to work with someone whose house was 15th century, and I went in that once or twice, but it think the only time I’ve been in a normal house that dated from the 14th century was when we stayed in a B&B in Kent once. Around here, very old houses tend to be timber-framed with wattle and daub infills (although sometimes this has been bricked in), and often the whole wall is plastered over (as in the pargetted building) so I think heating costs would be high. My sister used to live in a building that dated from the 1770s, and she used to say that maintenance costs were astronomical, but then it was a pretty big house!

I read the article and it sounds spot on about Saffron Walden. House prices are high - they are similar to here (we might not be quite as pretty but we have better transport links). I mentioned the fact about Levellers to Mr SandDune, and he said he didn’t know that particular fact, but he wasn’t surprised as East Anglia in general was a hotbed of revolutionary fervour during the Civil War. I went to school in the 1970s though, and I’d heard of the Levellers!

It doesn’t tell the whole story though. I am treasurer of the Uttlesford Food Bank (Uttlesford is the district council area in which Saffron Walden is the biggest town) and demand for that has gone through the roof over the last few years. But you just wouldn’t think it to look at the town.

helmikuu 12, 11:08 am

Happy Sunday, Rhian!

>36 SandDune: Well that is full of gorgeous! Thanks for sharing.

helmikuu 12, 2:04 pm

We've had a nice day out today in Lavenham, which is about an hour away from us in Suffolk. Lavenham is one of those towns that was very prosperous indeed in the Middle Ages, and then declined so many of its old houses never got redeveloped. So it has a very large number of timber framed houses to be seen.

The Guildhall dates from 1529:

Little Hall dates from 1390s:

Just a slightly skewed house:

We also had a walk with Daisy along the disused railway track there, when she insisted on carrying a pretty large stick for over two miles …

helmikuu 12, 2:18 pm

Great pictures, thanks for sharing.

helmikuu 12, 3:47 pm

Wonderful pictures of all the old houses that have survived, Rhian. I especially liked the fancy one with the pargetting in >36 SandDune:.

helmikuu 12, 7:00 pm

>46 SandDune: That's a lot of variety for 3 buildings, each quite remarkable. I get dizzy looking at the skewed one!

helmikuu 13, 4:01 am

>44 SandDune: We have friends who live in a 16th century thatched cottage...
I can scarcely believe that is even a thing! Not much around here is older than 140 years old :)

>46 SandDune: amazing pictures, I love the history.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 13, 5:06 am

>46 SandDune: I love Lavenham. As kids we used to have a friend who lived in Great Cornard, near Sudbury, and whenever we visited we'd insist on being taken to Lavenham. I've since holidayed there myself.

Daisy needs a new hobby, yuck I can taste the bark just thinking about it.

helmikuu 13, 11:52 am

Thanks for sharing your photos, Rhian. I love that about your thread.

helmikuu 14, 6:22 am

I remember visiting Lavenham when I was at university in Colchester. Loved the lurching rooflines and coloured paintwork. Your photos are great!

helmikuu 14, 4:53 pm

>45 Crazymamie: >47 kaida46: >48 Familyhistorian: >49 quondame: >52 BLBera: They are fairly characteristic of old buildings in this part of the country, we have several in Bishops's Stortford where we live, just not as many as Lavenham. In South Wales where I come from originally, you wouldn't see any buildings like this: anything old would be in stone.

>50 LovingLit: Mr SandDune used to say that one of the things he found odd about Australia (he spent a year there after Uni) was that there were no old buildings. I don't think sixteenth century houses are that uncommon: earlier than that is pretty unusual though.

>51 Caroline_McElwee: Daisy just loves sticks. She just has this inbuilt instinct to destroy them. I don't think anything we could do would change that!

>51 Caroline_McElwee: >53 Sakerfalcon: It's a very pretty town, but we haven't been there for ages.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 15, 9:19 am

Hi, Rhian! I saw the photos of the building in Saffron Walden you posted in >36 SandDune:, and they looked very familiar to me, since I went there with you, Alan, Fliss, Jenny and Bryony back in 2015. Bryony and I took a train from London to Wenders Ambo, met the rest of you for Sunday roast in a pub close to the station, and you and Fliss (and Jenny?) drove us to Saffron Walden, as I'm sure you remember. I searched Facebook for the photos I took that day, and I did remember correctly:

That was the day that I got in trouble with Alan after I proclaimed that Yorkshire pudding, which I had for the first time that day, was the same as unsweetened popovers.

helmikuu 16, 3:43 pm

An exhausting day today. Our plan for the day was to drive down to South Wales first thing, get there for lunchtime and spend a couple of days doing more sorting out of my Mum’s flat. My sister was coming as well, so we could make some decisions on what to do with stuff together. But as I was eating my breakfast I had a call from my sister to say that my Mum’s care home had contacted her and that Mum had had a fall and they had called an ambulance. (They had apparently tried to phone me first but I have my phone on ‘do not disturb’ until 7.30am which I will need to sort out as regards the care home.) So I rang the care home at 8am to find that the ambulance had been, that they were not too worried, but were taking her to A&E to be on the safe side. So we dropped Daisy in the kennels (on the assumption that we would be going to South Wales at some stage) and then headed off to the hospital. Spent all morning in A&E, but she was eventually given the all clear just after lunch and we got her back to her care home.

So 6 hours late at 3pm we finally set off for South Wales. We’d intended to meet up with my sister for a meal this evening and we might still have done it, but the traffic was awful, so we ended up getting something from a motorway service station to take away, and arrived here at 8.30.

Hoping for a better day tomorrow.

helmikuu 16, 3:44 pm

>55 kidzdoc: Darryl, so I had seen it before! Just not remembered! That was a lovely day (and I do remember the Yorkshire pudding incident).

helmikuu 16, 4:13 pm

>56 SandDune: How frustrating Rhian. Hopefully things will now go to plan, and you can have your nice meal out tomorrow night.

helmikuu 16, 4:54 pm

>56 SandDune: Oh dear, that was a long and stressful day. I'm glad your mum is okay and that you were still able to make the trip. Tomorrow simply must be better!!

helmikuu 17, 3:28 am

And now I’ve discovered that the B&B I thought I booked for 2 nights, I actually only booked for 1. Oh well! Lots of other availability in February I suppose!

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 17, 11:06 am

I'm sorry that you, and your mother, had an awful day yesterday, but I'm glad that she wasn't seriously injured by her fall. Today has to be a better day, right?

>57 SandDune: I remember the six of us walking down the street that this building was on. It seems to me that someone pointed it out to me before we walked past, which makes sense as the first photo is before we were in front of it, and the second was taken right in front of #27. IIRC Alan was the person who mentioned it to me, and the rest of you were walking ahead of us, but perhaps he could confirm my recollection.

>60 SandDune: Ugh. Thank goodness the weekend is nearly here.

helmikuu 17, 11:32 am

>36 SandDune: What a gorgeous building! Thank you for posting the pictures. I have never heard of pargetting before.

>46 SandDune: Wow, such old buildings. Being in the US, we do not have such old stuff. I love the 'slightly' skewed one.

>56 SandDune: I am so glad to hear that your mother was given the all clear!

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 17, 12:49 pm

>58 Caroline_McElwee: >59 lauralkeet: >61 kidzdoc:>62 alcottacre: A tiring day today but more productive sorting out things from my Mum’s flat. We’ve had two massive trips to the charity shop, a trip to the recycling centre and sorted out a lot more things for taking to the charity shop tomorrow.

My Mum isn’t exactly a hoarder, but she’s always been pretty dire at getting rid of stuff. And she was always one for keeping stuff for ‘best’ (which pretty much often meant ‘never’ in her case). So much stuff sitting in drawers and never used.

>61 kidzdoc: Alan didn’t remember that building either! Maybe because we tend to think of Saffron Walden as somewhere to go shopping or go to the cinema we just don’t usually think of it in the same light that a visitor would!

>62 alcottacre: Talking about old buildings, the B&B that we stayed in last night dated from the fourteenth century originally, and tonight’s hotel (we booked in to the same place as my sister) dates from the fifteenth century.

helmikuu 17, 2:34 pm

>63 SandDune: Ah yes, keeping for "best". Along with "that might come in useful one day"! Charity shops doing very well out of us too at the moment.

helmikuu 17, 4:48 pm

>63 SandDune: >64 charl08: My mom's generation had so little when living through the Depression that they hung onto almost everything, just in case. She was also unable to sort things out later in her life, which left it for my sister and me (and our spouses) to handle when the time came. Unfortunately, we both lived so far away that we had to make special trips instead of being able to work at it gradually over time. Which meant that it was really overwhelming, and we made mistakes that we'd like to have back. For one thing, I let a set of Trollope go to the auctioneer that I wish I had back now.

Good luck with all the sorting, Rhian! I'm sending you my best wishes for your ability to get through it all!

helmikuu 17, 9:47 pm

It sounds like you're having a productive time after a difficult start, Rhian. I'm glad your mom is OK.

helmikuu 17, 9:57 pm

>52 BLBera: Me, too (what Beth said) ❣️

helmikuu 18, 7:01 am

Me three!

helmikuu 18, 7:48 am

>63 SandDune: Looks like you are making great progress with the sorting and recycling. A big job indeed.

My cousin is 92 and has a lot of "stuff". For Christmas, she wraps the present in the same wrapping paper she has kept and reused for 20 years! Every little scrap of paper, twine, empty container, she saves and upcycles it. I think it must be a habit left over from the depression era.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 18, 11:13 am

>69 figsfromthistle: My cousin is 92 and has a lot of "stuff". For Christmas, she wraps the present in the same wrapping paper she has kept and reused for 20 years! Every little scrap of paper, twine, empty container, she saves and upcycles it. I think it must be a habit left over from the depression era.

I blush (slightly) as I was guilty of that gift wrap up-cycling. We always used good quality wrapping paper and it recycled wonderfully. In recent years I finally got so fed up with this ever-smaller (from trimming) stash and at the first opportunity gave it away to people I knew well enough to offer it without offense. So a win-win.

I've since sewed themed fabric as gift bags and given them (with gifts) to family. The caveat is that we are not to be given anything in return. We stopped giving presents to anyone else and discourage store-bought items added to our home. Home baking is now the theme and each family has their own specialty. It's fun and consumable in the best way. Except for expanding waistlines in December...

I think the best gift to our families (not that Mr. SM and I are the eldest in the gifting sense) is to not have anyone add to our 'stuff' because we are culling and donating or shredding as much irrelevant belongings and old paperwork as is reasonable. Takes a lot of energy and a lot of work for institutional donations.

Best of luck in successfully sorting and recycling, Rhian. As Anita said, a big job indeed.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 18, 2:07 pm

>63 SandDune: Great job Rhian.

I learned it was better to use something for 20 years, break it but have enjoyed it (and that's happened a couple of times), than have it sitting pristine and unseen for most of that 20 years.

helmikuu 19, 11:56 am

>64 charl08: >65 atozgrl: >66 BLBera: >67 SandyAMcPherson: >68 lauralkeet: >69 figsfromthistle: >70 SandyAMcPherson: >71 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks for the good wishes everyone.We're back home now. We did consider staying an extra day and trying to finish it, but we decided that a) we wouldn't finish and b) we really needed to organise someone to take away the furniture to coincide with our next visit.

What I feel is sad in my Mum's case is that the time for many of the things she put away for 'best' has passed. A whole drawerful of hand embroidered tablecloths, for instance, were never used while there was anyone around to appreciate them. And now hardly anyone uses tablecloths anymore, let alone embroidered ones.

My sister was happy for me to have the thing I most wanted: a piece of pottery that when I was growing up was always referred to as "the chicken". In other words, one of those chicken shaped pottery items that are designed for putting eggs in . You can still buy them, but I don't think I've ever seen one quite as nice as the one my parents had. I had a feeling it might have come from my grandparents, which means it might be other a hundred years old. So not exactly an antique, but oldish.

helmikuu 19, 2:06 pm

The chicken:

I've also taken my Mum's tea service (again virtually never used), not that I really need a tea service, but it is very pretty. Maybe I'll make afternoon tea. And also some Ewenny pottery, for sentimental reasons. Ewenny Pottery was just down the road from us and it was the sort of place we used to go when I was a child if we were entertaining visitors. I loved it as it didn't seem to have changed much in centuries (it is the oldest pottery in Wales) and you could watch the potter throw the pots by hand. It's not expensive, but has its own look. I had several Ewenny pottery mugs during my childhood, but none of them survived more than a few years

helmikuu 19, 2:39 pm

>73 SandDune: Yup, that chicken has a personality of its own Rhian. Glad you adopted it.

helmikuu 19, 3:06 pm

12. An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk, According to One Who Saw It Jessie Greengrass ****

The first published work by Jessie Greengrass whose The High House I enjoyed last year. Short stories are always difficult to review and the twelve short stories in this collection are no exception. These are thought-provoking and puzzling stories, frequently heart-wrenchingly sad, where the protagonists agonise over their choices in life, or debate the circumstances which have led them to their current position.

Of the twelve stories, my favourites were:

'Dolphin' - a young child's visit to the dolphin enclosure takes a tragic and unexpected turn.

'The Comfort of the Dead' - a very average and unambitious man finds that he begins to be haunted by the ghosts of those that he has lost from his life, whether alive or dead.

'An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk, According to One Who Saw It' - a heartbreaking account of the extinction of the great auk, by one of the men responsible.

'Looking at them, at the numbers of them, you would have thought them infinite, you would have thought there could be no end to them, to their proliferation. This island was larder to us then, store and pantry for all it bore no vegetation, not grass or moss, no tree, no soil, nothing but the rock and the spray and the birds, and now not even the birds.

These are beautifully written stories that are well worth reading.

helmikuu 19, 3:25 pm

>74 Caroline_McElwee: I've been looking up information about the chicken and it looks like it might be older than I thought. The only ones I can see that are at all similar are nineteenth century Staffordshire ones.

helmikuu 19, 4:21 pm

>78 lauralkeet: Even better Rhian. Less likely to be mass produced as the Industrial revolution in its infancy perhaps.

helmikuu 19, 4:54 pm

I adore that chicken, Rhian, it's definitely worth hanging on to!

I have a bunch of old china and glassware from my parents and grandparents -- just couldn't bring myself to get rid of it all, even though I didn't actually need it myself.

helmikuu 19, 5:20 pm

>73 SandDune: A very special bird! I hope you have many lovely afternoon teas!

helmikuu 19, 5:41 pm

>73 SandDune: Hi Rhian I looked at the Ewenny pottery website and do I ever love their bowls and jugs, especially the blue glazes.
Your ceramic chicken is brilliant, really nice breakfast tableware.

My best friend's mum (Welsh) had one similar to that and I wonder if it is especially a Welsh design, because I've never seen them here. The mum emigrated to Canada when she married and had such interesting mementos. There was a ceramic jug with all these glazed pottery loops on the outside, and as a kid, I couldn't understand why there had to be so many 'handles'!

helmikuu 20, 2:45 pm

>77 Caroline_McElwee: Apparently most of the hand painted 'chickens' date from between 1860 and 1880, so that's probably when mine dates from as well.

>78 lauralkeet: When my Mum moved into her flat she had enough glassware to open a small bar. Not that she drunk a lot, but my Dad was the manager of the brewery's second biggest customer in the whole of South Wales, and the brewery reps would fall over themselves to give him free stuff. So loads of glasses, but all with logos on! (I remember as a child getting quite annoyed that everything seemed to have logos on). We got rid of quite a lot, but there was still a lot left, especially considering she was someone who virtually never drank at home.

>79 quondame: Thank you!

>80 SandyAMcPherson: No I don't think they are peculiarly Welsh, from what I can make out they were largely made in Staffordshire (that's the centre of the traditional pottery industry in England). You can still buy new ones, although they are not particularly common, and I don't think I've ever come across anyone who keeps eggs in on, which is apparently their intended purpose.

helmikuu 20, 3:30 pm

13. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue V.E. Schwab **1/2

Adeline LaRue is born the daughter of a woodcarver in a small town in France in 1692. From a young age she has rebelled against the constraints that are put on her. She is expected to marry and have children and stay in the town of Villon for the rest of her life, and she does not want to do any of that. On her inevitable wedding day, arranged by her parents, she runs away and makes a bargain with ... the darkness ... the devil ... an old god? Adeline doesn't exactly know but her life is changed for ever as she sells her soul for immortality. For no one can now remember her, not her parents or her oldest friend or any new acquaintances: once she is out of someone's sight her existence is forgotten.

In 2014 Addie (as she has renamed herself) is still alive and still young. She has come to terms with her existence as best she can. Until one day someone remembers her, a bookseller called Henry in a small bookshop in New York, and everything changes ...

I've come to the conclusion that V. E. Schwab isn't for me. This is the second of her books that I've read, and it's one that gets consistently good reviews, but I honestly don't understand why. The basic premise is interesting enough, but it doesn't stand up to the constant repetition of Addie's plight through several hundred pages. And really I don't find Addie very interesting ...

So I can't recommend this one I'm afraid, and probably wouldn't have persisted with it if I wasn't reading it for my book club.

helmikuu 20, 4:51 pm

I'm supposed to be reading The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell for my next U3A book group. This is the epigraph:

Arachnophobia. It’s one of those words that sounds as bad as that which it describes. The hard ‘ack’ at the end of the second syllable suggestive of the repulsive angles of a spider’s legs; the soft sweep of the ‘fo’ like the awful wave of nausea that washes through your gut at the suggestion of a sudden movement across a wall or floor; the loud ‘no’ at its centre the sound of your brain screaming, in disgust, nononono.

No no no no am I going to be reading that!

helmikuu 20, 5:49 pm

>83 SandDune: You and me both.
I hated that spider web trap in The Hobbit which I first read in grade 5. I have *never* read that chapter.

helmikuu 21, 7:38 am

>84 SandyAMcPherson: Funnily enough, I can read that chapter in The Hobbit. Maybe it's because they are fantasy spiders! But I don't do well with psychological thrillers generally. I don't like that sense of dread that they create about what is going to happen (or what has happened already but the reader just doesn't know it yet). Creating a sense of dread about something to do with spiders that may or may happen in the future is just too much!

helmikuu 21, 1:45 pm

I love the chicken, Rhian. I am a fan of pottery as well.

>75 SandDune: This sounds like a great collection. I will look for it.

helmikuu 21, 2:11 pm

I've finished a red panda for Caroline's birthday:

helmikuu 21, 4:06 pm


helmikuu 21, 4:08 pm

>87 SandDune: so cute.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 22, 3:58 pm

14. Sorrow and Bliss Meg Mason ***

Martha's fortieth birthday is being celebrated at a party organised by her husband, Patrick, a party that she does not want, and where she spends most of her time crying in the toilets. Two days later, her husband walks out ....

'An observer to my marriage would think I have made no effort to be a good or better wife. Or, seeing me that night, that I must have set out to be this way and achieved it after years of concentrated effort. They could not tell that for most of my adult life and all of my marriage I have been trying to become the opposite of myself.'

Facing the break-up of her marriage, Martha revisits the events of her life that have led her to this point. Her childhood wasn't easy, with an alcoholic mother who is a 'minorly important' sculptor and a father who once had a poem published in the New Yorker (described as 'a male Sylvia Plath') but who has had writers block for decades. From adolescence onward Martha's life was blighted by numerous bouts of what was seemingly depression. Her incredibly close relationship with her ever pregnant sister Ingrid, and her marriage to her long-suffering husband Patrick, at times seemed to be the only constants. And now the marriage is no more ...

I can't quite decide about this book. I didn't consider giving it up but I don't think I will be searching out something else by the same author. And I was very disappointed to find that the illness with which Martha is diagnosed (and which is referred to as 'X' in the audiobook), is not a real mental illness, and that the author apparently knows very little about mental illness at all. Towards the end of the book I felt I was getting an insight into what I assumed it to be, only to discover it was an invented illness. I felt a little cheated about that. And it's one of those books where the protagonist just happens to knows someone with a flat in Paris and just happens to have very rich relatives so is completely insulated from the practical and financial difficulties of her position in a way that I found irritating. And why some reviewers think it is 'laugh out loud funny' is completely beyond me.

So an OK read although I think it likely that some people will like this a lot more than me.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 22, 4:44 pm

15. Mort Terry Pratchett ****

This is a reread for me. Mort was my first Terry Pratchett and it's a favourite. (Well, I dipped into The Colour of Magic once years and years ago but decided that it wasn't for me). But I like the character of Mort, a gangly teenage farm lad who is taken on by Death as his apprentice. And I love even more the portrayal of Death as being somewhat bored with the business with the scythe and the hour glasses and wanting to go for a curry instead...

Mort ate ravenously, but curbed his curiosity and didn’t watch to see how Death could possibly eat anything. The food was there to start with and wasn’t there later, so presumably something must have happened in between. Mort got the feeling that Death wasn’t really used to all this but was doing it to put him at his ease, like an elderly bachelor uncle who has been landed with his nephew for a holiday and is terrified of getting it wrong. The other diners didn’t take much notice, even when Death leaned back and lit a rather fine pipe. Someone with smoke curling out of their eye sockets takes some ignoring, but everyone managed it.'

Of course, Mort's apprenticeship doesn't quite go according to plan, especially when he saves the Princess Keli from an assassin rather than just ushering her soul into the afterlife. She's supposed to be dead, and things start to go badly wrong ....

helmikuu 22, 9:08 pm

>90 SandDune: That's the kind of story I would give 1/2 a star and abandon. What cheating author. Kudos to you for soldiering through. The title sounds *completely* misleading!

helmikuu 22, 11:02 pm

>90 SandDune: Rhian I felt the same way when I read this book. I read your spoiler and you are spot on. I felt cheated.

helmikuu 23, 3:08 pm

>46 SandDune: I love that skewed house!!!

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 24, 4:21 am

>88 lauralkeet: >89 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks! I didn't enjoy making it so much as some of the other things I've made as it is quite small so there was a lot of sewing together compared to the amount of crochet.

>92 SandyAMcPherson: >93 BLBera: It's a well written book, and I quite enjoyed it while I was reading it although it wouldn't be my usual choice. (It's shortlisted for the Woman's Prize, which is why was reading it). But as regards the illness I'd assumed that it was schizophrenia (that was the mental illness that occurred to me from its description of being well-known by name, very stigmatised and tending to run in families.) I was actually thinking that perhaps it was giving me an insight into the behaviour of someone I know with that condition. And then it wasn't a real condition at all! And I would never even have noticed this if Mr SandDune hadn't been given the paperback copy of this book, as it is mentioned in a note on the text right at the end of the book, something that isn't read in the audio version.

>94 The_Hibernator: It's amazing isn't it?

helmikuu 26, 3:36 am

A nice day out yesterday - we went into London to see Orlando at the Garrick Theatre. I enjoyed it, but didn’t feel that it was as impressive as Best of Enemies, which we saw last month: Emma Corrin was Orlando. We visited a Vietnamese restaurant for lunch and had a short(ish) visit to Foyles, where I might have picked up a few books:
O Caledonia Elspeth Barker
Does Snow Turn a Person White Inside? Max Lobe
The Fall of the Stone City Ismail Kadare
Addlands Tom Bullough
Tales from the Inner City Shaun Tan

helmikuu 26, 7:57 am

>96 SandDune: Nice haul: impressive work in a short visit. I think Foyles is hard to beat.

I think I liked Sorrow and Bliss a bit more than the readers here. I think it may have helped that I knew about her choice re not naming a condition going into the book. I could see if you were expecting a reveal that would be disappointing. The way she described the encounter with doctors (and the long term impact of that) felt true to me.

helmikuu 26, 8:37 am

>97 charl08: I think I was just in the mood!

I don’t think I would have minded the illness not being named. But the sentence in the note on the text says The medical symptoms described in the novel are not consistent with a genuine mental advice’ and I did mind that.

helmikuu 26, 9:25 am

>90 SandDune: Hmm, I enjoyed the book, probably not much more than you, as you say, not enough to seek other works. I hadn't realised what you mentioned in the spoiler Rhian.

>96 SandDune: Nice haul. I read O Caledonia years ago. I think that was her only book, which was disappointing, as I liked it. That has happened a couple of times with debut's I liked. She died last year.

helmikuu 26, 11:56 am

I have had two book clubs this week. The first on Tuesday where we discussed Persepolis (the one that was delayed from a couple of weeks ago). It was interesting to see how far out of the comfort zone a graphic novel was for most of the group members. I think apart from the two English teachers (who have both taught Persepolis I was the only person who had ever read a graphic novel before.

And then on Wednesday afternoon we had The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell, the one with the arachnophobic epigraph (which I hadn’t read but went along for the chat). Apparently, there was only one very small scene with any spiders in it, so I probably could have managed it after all.

helmikuu 26, 2:20 pm

I minded that the book is obviously about someone with mental illness and she is just making up a disease instead of maybe trying to give insight into a real illness.

helmikuu 28, 3:06 am

Another traumatic day yesterday (or at least last night). My Mum had another fall, and this time it looks like she's broken her arm. We were with in in hospital until half past midnight and got to bed about 1.30am. Hopefully she might be allowed out today - I'm going to ring them shortly. I'm wondering if she's having mini-blackouts. She fell when she was walking to supper (using her walker) on a wide and perfectly clear corridor, and again can't remember what happened.

helmikuu 28, 6:51 am

I'm sorry to hear about your mum's fall, Rhian. I hope you can get some clarity as to the underlying cause.

helmikuu 28, 8:31 am

So sorry to hear about your mom's fall. That is scary.

helmikuu 28, 8:45 am

>102 SandDune: Oh no, I'm sorry to hear this. It's so worrying when older people start falling.

>96 SandDune: I adore Tales from the Inner City and Tales from Outer Suburbia!

helmikuu 28, 9:36 am

Rhian, just delurking to offer sympathy on the situation with your Mum. So scary to know she's perhaps having these falls due to black outs and I'm hoping the medical system in your town can provide the diagnosis for this.

helmikuu 28, 9:57 am

So sorry about your mom's falls and broken arm. I hope she can come home soon and that the cause can be determined/fixed.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 28, 1:28 pm

Oh my, this brings back memories of my mother's final few years. It's so hard to watch them go through this. Prayers and blessings to you.

helmikuu 28, 11:07 am

>102 SandDune: You might be right about blackouts Rhian. Sorry to here things are not settling down after your mum's relocation. I hope the someone can find a way of supporting her and your family.

helmikuu 28, 12:30 pm

So sorry to hear about your mother, Rhian.

helmikuu 28, 12:58 pm

>103 lauralkeet: >104 katiekrug: >105 Sakerfalcon: >106 SandyAMcPherson: >107 bell7: >108 ChrisG1: >109 Caroline_McElwee: >110 curioussquared: Thanks for all the good wishes. Well my mother was released from hospital at the end of the afternoon. X-Rays last night confirmed she'd broken her humerus, although not damaged anything else noticeably. She's still got the black eye and bruising from the last fall. They did an MRI and that came back normal as well, and no obvious heart issues. What didn't look right was that her blood pressure on standing was much lower than that when she was lying down, and they thought that might be contributing to the falls: that basically she is getting up and then fainting because her blood pressure is too low. Apparently that might be being exacerbated by her medication, so they have changed that, or by her not drinking enough, but sometimes is just due to age, especially in someone as old as my mother. I'm just glad that she is in the care home now, as she absolutely wouldn't be able to care for herself.

She has to go back to attend the fracture clinic in a week's time, and they are booking in some physiotherapy as well. Anyway, I'm back home now with a large glass of red wine.

helmikuu 28, 1:27 pm

Rhian, I am so sorry to hear about your mom. It's scary when they start having falls. But I am glad to hear that at least there doesn't seem to be any more damage besides her arm. It sounds like she is in the right place now to receive care.

Take care of yourself too!

helmikuu 28, 2:03 pm

>111 SandDune: I'm just glad that she is in the care home now
For sure. And she's closer to you as well. I'm sure your mind has already gone down the path of "what if she were living on her own, hours away, and this happened?" It's a horrible thought and I'm so glad you were able to arrange a better living situation and care.

helmikuu 28, 3:53 pm

Hi Rhian my dear, sorry to hear about your mum's fall, not good to have broken her humerus but glad nothing else was broken. I hope they sort her meds out to resolve the blood pressure issue. Sending love and hugs to you all and hope your mum recovers well dear friend.

helmikuu 28, 5:44 pm

I am so sorry about your mother. What a stressful time you must be having. I do hope they can find medication levels that will help her avoid future falls.

maaliskuu 1, 8:19 am

>112 atozgrl: >113 lauralkeet: >114 johnsimpson: >115 quondame: Thanks everyone. To be honest, I think her body is just failing at the moment, and I think she feels that too. So they might be able to stabilise her for a short time but I don’t think whatever they do is going to last for that long. Seeing my Mum has robbed me of any desire at all to live to 100 to be honest.

maaliskuu 1, 11:41 am

For St David's Day, here is a photo of three of my relatives dressed in their Welsh costumes: two great aunts and my great grandmother.

We think the photo possibly dates between 1915 and 1920. They didn't go around dressed like that all the time of course - just for the photographer.

maaliskuu 1, 12:59 pm

>117 SandDune: Beautiful photo Rhian. Happy St David's Day.

Lots of good wishes to you and the family as you support your mum. It sounds so hard.

maaliskuu 1, 2:34 pm

>118 charl08: One weight off my mind today - she has an appointment at the fracture clinic next week and I was wondering how on earth I would get her there as I am not at all comfortable that I could get her in and out of the car safely on my own at the hospital. But I have discovered that the care home can book hospital transport who will take her and bring her back, so I can just meet her there.

maaliskuu 1, 4:42 pm

Hi Rhian my dear, seeing ones parents starting to fail does make you think about your own mortality and the length of time we would like to live. I have to admit that i would like to see my century up and to be honest i look at myself as i approach my 60th birthday in July and then look back to how my Dad looked at 60. We are totally different in all aspects and compared to Dad, i probably look about 40 to when he was 60, sadly due to Leukaemia, i lost Dad when he was 62 in August 1990 and then five years later i found my Mum dead on the kitchen floor aged 66, she had suffered a massive heart attack and was most likely dead before she hit the floor.

You will not need to be told this BUT make the most of the time left with your Mum, if you have any questions that she might be able to answer, ask them now. You probably know most things whereas we never considered that there were things to ask BUT the number of time over the intervening years we have thought of things that they could have answered and yet they were not with us to answer them.

Sending love and hugs to you and your sister and the rest of the family at this time, dear friend.

maaliskuu 1, 10:54 pm

>119 SandDune: I'm so glad to hear that you have one less thing to worry about, and the care home can take care of her transportation. My best wishes to you both!

>117 SandDune: What an interesting photo! Thanks for sharing. I hope you had a good St. David's Day.

maaliskuu 2, 3:22 am

>120 johnsimpson: Thanks John, unfortunately my mother's memory has been deteriorating rapidly over the last few months and these days both her short and long term memory are very hazy. If I ask her if she remembers a particularly event that happened in the past she very rarely does: a few days ago she struggled to remember my Dad.

>121 atozgrl: Thanks!

maaliskuu 4, 8:48 pm

Hi Rhian. I'm so sorry you're going through such a rough patch with your mum. I'm glad she is in a home where she has the 24-hour care she needs. Even with that, it still takes a toll on you both mentally and physically.

>117 SandDune: The photo is priceless. What a wonderful treasure!

maaliskuu 7, 1:12 pm

>123 cbl_tn: I’m a bit behind. I’ve had a nasty cold for the last few days. Was feeling a bit groggy over the weekend with a sore throat and a bit of a cold, but yesterday and today have had a streaming head cold. Unfortunately, today was the day that my Mum needed to go back to the fracture clinic to have her arm checked. As I’ve said, we had organised hospital transport but she needed someone to accompany her and I realised yesterday morning that I wasn’t going to be able to do it, not without spreading my germs around the waiting room. Unfortunately, at such short notice the home couldn’t provide anyone to accompany her, so Mr SandDune has to take the day off work in the end. Anyway, she had her arm x-rayed again and saw the consultant and apparently it seems to be healing well, somewhat surprisingly given her age. She has to go back in six weeks to get it checked again, so I should be able to accompany her then.

maaliskuu 12, 9:28 am

Very irritated today. What I SHOULD be doing at this precise moment is having lunch at a party for my sister's birthday at Le Manoir Aux Quat'Saisons, which for people who may not have heard of it is a VERY nice restaurant with two Michelin stars in Oxfordshire. What I AM doing is eating minestrone soup out of the freezer. My bad cold turned into a bad cough, and I am not fit for polite company, so Mr SandDune has gone without me.

maaliskuu 12, 9:45 am

>125 SandDune: Oh what bad timing! Poor you to miss the occasion and the food. I hope your cough improves soon. (Well, not improves, but that you get better!)

maaliskuu 12, 1:01 pm

Sorry you've been feeling ill, making it so much more trying to deal with your Mum's situation, I'm sure. And to miss a nice party...
Nice of Mr. SandDune to step up as needed, though. I hope you mother's fx continues to heal, and that she can avoid more falls. And that you soon feel much better.

maaliskuu 12, 2:29 pm

>125 SandDune: Sorry to hear that Rhian. To be ill is bad enough, but to miss out on a treat is miserable.

maaliskuu 12, 4:53 pm

>125 SandDune: What a bummer, to miss such a fine celebration because of a cold. I hope it passes quickly.

maaliskuu 12, 5:44 pm

Hi Rhian my dear, so sorry to hear that you have been so unwell and missing a fine celebration at such a fine restaurant. Sending special Yorkshire healing vibes along with love and hugs, my dear friend,

maaliskuu 12, 7:17 pm

I'm so sorry your plans were scuppered, Rhian. Get well soon.

maaliskuu 16, 8:43 pm

It's always the way, isn't it? Illness usually shows up at the worst time. I hope you feel better soon, Rhian. I liked your write up of Mort. You got me with a BB for that one!

maaliskuu 22, 4:58 pm

Are you recovered now Rhian?

maaliskuu 24, 7:27 am

Happy Birthday, Rhian! I hope that you're back in good health, and that you have a nice dinner to make up in part for the one you missed two weeks ago.

maaliskuu 24, 4:12 pm

Happy birthday Rhian my dear, hope you are having a nice day dear friend.

maaliskuu 24, 5:31 pm

Happy Birthday, Rhian! Hoping everyone is better there now, and you are enjoying yourself.

maaliskuu 24, 6:07 pm

Adding to the birthday wishes Rhian. I hope you had a special day.

maaliskuu 25, 6:15 am

I missed your birthday, Rhian. I hope you had a great day!

maaliskuu 25, 8:51 am

Happy belated! Hope you had a wonderful birthday.

maaliskuu 25, 4:17 pm

Oh thanks everyone for birthday wishes. I’ve been having a bit of a miserable few weeks, with my cold turning into a bad and persistent cough but luckily I stopped coughing just in time for the weekend. Very luckily, as we have been staying in my sister’s London flat for the weekend and had two theatre trips planned. So yesterday we had a meal at a Portuguese tapas restaurant and then went to see ‘Marjorie Prime’ at the Menier Chocolate Factory. The title character was played by Anne Reid, who is 87. She was excellent, but I find it amazing that someone can still be doing that 6 nights a week at that age. Then this morning we went to the ‘After Impressionism’ exhibition at the National Gallery. Lots of Cezanne, Van Gogh, Seurat, Degas, Toulouse Lautrec and Picasso. And then Oklahoma at the Wyndham’s Theatre this afternoon (the darker Daniel Fish version), finishing off with dim sum for supper.

maaliskuu 25, 7:46 pm

Happy belated birthday! Sounds like a really nice trip!

maaliskuu 25, 8:38 pm

>140 SandDune: That all sounds wonderful Rhian. Glad the cough abated too. Any book-shaped pressies?

maaliskuu 25, 9:23 pm

>140 SandDune: Rhian, so good to see you posting again. I was wondering if your cold had morphed into something serious, but how splendid that you had a wonderful time in London. I'm envious of the plays, art gallery and the tapas. I miss those 'big city' perks with lots of choice.

maaliskuu 26, 11:21 am

How was the Portuguese restaurant, Rhian?

maaliskuu 27, 1:40 pm

Happy belated birthday, Rhian. I hope you are feeling better, and that your mother continues to heal. I have also had a bad cold recently, and after not being sick for a few years, I am quite grouchy about it.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 27, 3:18 pm

16. Gangsters yn y Glaw Pegi Talfryn

17. Gorau Glas Lois Arnold

Two more Welsh readers for beginners learning Welsh.

18. Double Agent Tom Bradby ***

Set a few months after the events of Secret Service, MI6 Agent Kate Henderson is trying to come to terms with the events of the past year, both professionally and personally. When a senior Russian agent requests asylum, offering material that he insists proves that the current British Prime Minister is a Russian agent, Kate is drawn back to the events of the earlier book. But who exactly can Kate trust and just who is working for the Russians? A dangerous meeting inside Russia with an old friend might be the only way for Kate to find out ...

Again, a good page turner of a book. I'll be going on to read the final book of the trilogy when I hope all will be revealed!

maaliskuu 27, 3:32 pm

>141 drneutron: >142 Caroline_McElwee: >143 SandyAMcPherson: >145 BLBera:

Thanks all - we had a very nice weekend staying in my sister's flat which is exceptionally convenient, with everything within walking distance. Here is the view from her sitting room looking down over the back of the Festival Hall with the Thames behind:

>142 Caroline_McElwee: I did have some book shaped presents: two Welsh dictionaries (as requested) from Mr SandDune, as well as Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus and Elizabeth Finch by Julian Barnes.

>144 kidzdoc: The restaurant was excellent - Bar Douro on Southwark Bridge Road just next to the Menier Chocolate Factory. . Probably tapas isn't a correct discription - small plates would be more accurate.

maaliskuu 27, 6:17 pm

>147 SandDune: What an excellent location!

maaliskuu 28, 1:15 pm

>148 quondame: Oh it is! And very handy for snacks as well. Usually the area that you can see just in front of the Festival Hall is full of street food sellers. They'd all gone home by the time I took the picture though as it was very late.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 28, 4:08 pm

Us Three Ruth Jones ***

I've been meaning to read something by Ruth Jones (of Gavin and Stacey fame) for a long time, for the simple reason that we went to the same school. (She's younger than me, so although we were there at the same time, I don't think we ever met). We went to an author talk she gave at the Cambridge Literary Festival last year, and talking afterwards it turned out that her mother was a G.P. at the doctor's surgery we were registered at, so although I don't remember her myself, I'm pretty sure my Dad would have known her.

To get back to the book... Catrin Kelly, Judith Harris and Lana Lloyd have been best friends since they started primary school in a small (fictitious) town in South Wales. Now it's 1986 and they are 18, and having just finished their A levels they embark on their big trip, a month of island hopping around Greece and Cyprus. All three are conscious that their lives will change once they return home and go to university in the autumn: Catrin to study medicine, Judith to study economics and Lana to drama college. But for all three of the girls the trip has unexpected and long lasting consequences which they could not have foreseen, endangering their friendship for ever ...

Us Three follows the fortunes of Catrin, Judith and Lana during the decades after their fateful trip. I liked the depiction of the long-standing female friendship (and also the long-standing female animosity) here. It isn't anything very profound or demanding but it's a pleasant enough read. My home town makes a (brief) appearance too!

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 28, 4:06 pm

>150 SandDune: Looks like a perfect BB for me, Rhian! Good reviews do that!
Touchstone seems to lead to a not-Ruth-Jones book, btw.

maaliskuu 28, 4:12 pm

>151 SandyAMcPherson: I've fixed that now - led to a very different book. I forgot to mention that she was a great interviewee at the festival, as well.

maaliskuu 29, 8:47 am

>147 SandDune: Great view. Glad it was good weekend.

I really enjoyed Lessons in Chemistry (and it has a friend for Daisy too).

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 31, 10:38 am

>147 SandDune: Wow, saying that your sister's flat is in a convenient location is an understatement! I would hardly ever cook if I lived there, as I would buy lunch and dinner at the Southbank Centre Food Market on weekends, and dine in the other restaurants along the South Bank the rest of the time. I like the lighting of Charing Cross station across the Thames, which is one of my favorite newer buildings in the capital.

Thanks for the link to Bar Douro; I'll have to give it a try the next time I'm in London.

ETA: The sea bass & mussel feijoada looks especially interesting! The feijoada I made has black beans and sausage; I didn't know that a seafood version existed. Does the restaurant have azulejos inside?

huhtikuu 1, 5:13 am

>147 SandDune: Your sister's place does look especially well situated, Rhian. I am getting a bit stir crazy here and must get back to the UK soon.

Have a great weekend, Rhian.

huhtikuu 6, 7:08 pm

Sounds like you had a nice birthday and got good presents too. I really enjoyed Lessons in Chemistry. Hope it's a good one for you!

toukokuu 12, 5:03 pm

Hi Rhian, I've missed seeing you around the threads. I hope your hiatus this is just because you've just been busy and not that you are unwell, or dealing with anything difficult or stressful. Hope to see you return here soon.

toukokuu 16, 1:44 pm

What Laura said >157 lauralkeet:. Hope to see you back soon.