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Lunacat is alive and reading for 2017 (4)

This is a continuation of the topic Lunacat is staying alive for 2017 (3).

This topic was continued by Lunacat is reading and gardening in 2017 (5).

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Mar 10, 12:15pm Top

It's 5 weeks until I'm off to Andalusia. I cannot wait.

Edited: Apr 12, 6:23am Top

Welcome to this corner of the world. I'm a country girl from the east of England who has too many animals, too many books and not enough concentration for any of it! Because of currently spending a lot of time on the road between home and my boyfriend, I am addicted to audiobooks but I do still read paper ones, if rather more sporadically and only when my struggling brain will allow.

I mostly read history, historical fiction, fantasy, YA fiction and short literary fiction, but I'm always trying to expand my reading.

Other interests currently are baking, gardening (mostly vegetables) and making homemade gifts. I'm also looking in to beekeeping, though I'm not sure if I'll get round to it this year!

The only challenge I'll be even attempting to do is the bingo card:


1. The Secret Library by Oliver Tearle (BINGO - book about books)
2. More Than This by Patrick Ness
3. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams
4. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro (BINGO - set in a time before you were born)
5. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
6. The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
7. The Frozen Thames by Helen Humphreys (BINGO - short stories)
8. The Girl of Ink & Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (BINGO - debut work)
9. A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig (BINGO - set in a country you've never been)
10. Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz


11. Ostrich Boys by Keith Gray (BINGO - book or title about an animal)
12. The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald
13. The Mangle Street Murders by M.R.C. Kasasian
14. A Plague on Both Your Houses by Susanna Gregory
15. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
16. The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson (BINGO - published in the 1940s-60s)
17. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (BINGO - next book in a series)
18. Emotionally Weird by Kate Atkinson

Edited: Apr 12, 6:26am Top

Mirrored sisters


19. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
20. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
21. My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
22. March: Book One by John Lewis
23. Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast
24. Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
25. The Gathering Night by Margaret Elphinstone
26. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
27. Persepolis: The Story of a Return by Marjane Satrapi
28. The Comical Tragedy or Tragical Comedy of Mr. Punch by Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean
29. Dotter of her Father's Eyes by Mary M. Talbot
30. A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
31. The Cornish Coast Murder by John Bude
32. We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
33. Saints by Gene Luen Yang
34. Line of Fire: Diary of an Unknown Soldier by Barroux
35. Chicken With Plums by Marjane Satrapi
36. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
37. Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman
38. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle


39. Fifth Chinese Daughter by Jade Snow Wong
40. Palestine by Joe Sacco
41. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
42. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
43. The Warden's Niece by Gillian Avery

Edited: Mar 27, 12:28pm Top

Currently Reading:

Palestine by Joe Sacco
Boxers by Gene Luen Yang
The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

And I'm done :).

Mar 10, 12:24pm Top

Happy new thread!! I love Bingo Card challenges. Not this year though...I am full up!

Mar 10, 1:02pm Top

Happy New Thread, Jenny!

Andalusia - looks lovely in that painting, and even the name sounds romantic.

Mar 10, 1:34pm Top

Hi Jenny! Happy new thread.

I adore that picture of the kitties - are they yours?

Mar 10, 1:44pm Top

>5 Berly: It's the only challenge I'm doing this year, Kim. And I'm only doing it because I think I can hit all but about two squares from books I would read anyway. It will be a fun way to keep my reading going.

>6 jnwelch: Thanks Joe. I can't believe I'm on thread four already. Who'd have thought people would come visiting so much :) it's certainly been a help over the last few weeks. The Alhambra, which is in the painting, is going to be one of the highlights of our trip. Although we might not have any spending money if TheBF doesn't sell his old car in order to fund it!

>7 karenmarie: Hi Karen. Yup, the cats are ours, those two are Zita and Mouse. We've got five here altogether. The two pictured were born on that very bed - their mother, Luna, is my LT name, and is in my profile. She's mostly known as Mummycat now though.

Mar 10, 2:32pm Top

Happy newone, Jenny. Only five weeks to go. Yeh.

Mar 10, 2:38pm Top

Happy new thread, Jenny, love the picture of the furballs :-)

Mar 10, 3:58pm Top

Happy new thread!

Mar 10, 3:59pm Top

>9 Ameise1: I'm bubbling over with excitement when I think of it, Barbara. I've been away on 3 or 4 day breaks a few times in the last couple of years but it's been at least.....5 years since I've been away for longer than that so I can't wait.

>10 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita. They are pests, but adorable ones.

Mar 10, 4:00pm Top

>11 drneutron: You snuck in there! Thanks, Jim.

Mar 10, 4:02pm Top

Have a Great Adventure!

And, is that a Lion Head carved into the front of the green hill?

Thank you.

Mar 10, 5:28pm Top

>3 lunacat: I love how they are all curled up.

Mar 10, 6:34pm Top

Happy New Thread, Jenny! I love the Andalusia topper. Lovely.

Hooray for RPO! I am looking forward to a reread too. Sorry, Lucy Barton fell flat for you. I liked the book. Don't give up on her until after you read Olive Kitteridge. Her masterwork, IMHO.

The Burgess Boys was good but not great.

Mar 10, 7:31pm Top

Hi Jenny! Sorry that Lucy Barton did not work out for you. I loved it, and I'd tried Olive Kitteridge and dropped it. I might try Olive Kitteridge again. We are all so different in what we like.

Mar 10, 7:51pm Top

Happy new thread, Jenny.

I look forward to plenty of tales of your adventures in Southern Spain (with photos of course) - hope that bruise clears up too so you can get a nice tan in the process.

I am with you on Lucy Barton. I didn't hate the book but I thought it uninspired.

Mar 10, 9:33pm Top

Checking in on the new thread, Jenny!

Mar 11, 2:10am Top

>1 lunacat: you are counting down to the lovely overseas trip, I cam counting down the same amoint of time to the kids' school holidays- when I will have to find 20 hours per week to work that doesn't coincide with my lovely others work hours. Meaning- evenings and weekends. It'll be hard core :)

>3 lunacat: two fluff balls! Cute :)

Mar 11, 9:07am Top

Hi Jenny! Five kitties. Good stuff. We had five at one point, but by old-age attrition, we now only have two; one of them is 17 or 18 and the other one is 10. I keep resisting the idea of getting another one, but kittens are so much fun.

Anticipation of a trip is half the pleasure. Your Andalusia trip sounds wonderful.

I don't feel the urge to read Lucy Barton, but I do have Olive Kitteridge on my shelves and may have a go with it soon.

I hope you're having a great weekend.

Mar 11, 4:15pm Top

Happy new thread!

Mar 11, 5:03pm Top

>14 m.belljackson: It certainly looks like a lion's head, but I'm assuming not. If one jumps out at me, I'll know I was wrong. I can't wait for the adventure :).

>15 Morphidae: They do love each other. The black one, Zita, adores her family and is never happier than when she's got other cats or humans around her. Her favourite thing in the world is to curl up with Mummycat.

>16 msf59: I've got The Burgess Boys already lined up on my Kindle, but if I like (or at least tolerate) that, I'll give Olive Kitteridge a go. Thanks for the recommendation, it might keep me going with her if I'm struggling. She was an easy read, I just don't think I found her that enjoyable.

Mar 11, 5:13pm Top

>17 vancouverdeb: Isn't that part of the joy of books, how so many of us have different reactions to the same stories? I love the varied opinions, and it's part of the fabulousness of this community.

>18 PaulCranswick: There will certainly be plenty of photos, Paul. In fact, you'll probably be sick of them! I don't really tan, being a true English rose, but hopefully I'll get a vague bit of colour. TheBF bought me a beautiful dress today to take with me, very summery and light. I should look the part anyway.

Uninspired is a good description of Lucy Barton for me.

>19 alcottacre: Thanks Stasia, lovely to see you here.

Mar 11, 5:26pm Top

>20 Ireadthereforeiam: Yikes, that's not ideal. I'm glad I'm not in that stage of my life yet. TheBF keeps saying that if we ever have kids, he's more than happy to find the money for an aupair, but whether that would happen is another matter. I have so much respect for parents - the thought terrifies me!

>21 karenmarie: Kittens are wonderful. I'm very wary of when the cats start getting elderly here, as they are all close in age, so I think we'll be in for a hell of time :(. But not yet, touch wood. Anticipation is so much fun, it's like Christmas - at least half of the enjoyment comes of the thought and excitement about it! I hope it's going to be as good as it feels it will be.

The weekend is pretty good - I've got a new dress (thanks to TheBF), a lovely lunch, and we watched the rugby with some friends of his. Now we're curled up in bed and chilling out.

>22 ChelleBearss: Thanks Chelle! I hope your weekend is going well.

Mar 11, 5:37pm Top

It's been an extremely nice weekend.

Last night, we went for quick Japanese/Chinese food before going to see one of TheBF's friends play blues in a tiny club. It wasn't the best, but at least we showed our faces.

A lie in this morning, and I worked Connie while TheBF caught up on some much needed rest as his week at work was hell on earth. We tootled off to the local town, he bought me a beautiful dress ready for our holiday, and we got fresh meat and veg ready for dinner. Then we went to the pub with his friend (from the blues club) to watch England (unexpectedly) demolish Scotland and win the Six Nations (Rugby) before coming home, stopping for wine en route. Tomorrow will be a day of rest, catching up on irritating chores and errands we haven't achieved, and playing badminton, before a dinner of roast pork with all the trimmings.

All in all, it's been fairly good, only blighted by constant and fairly high level anxiety from me that had me in tears on several occasions. But I'm curled up in one of my favourite places now (next to the radiator in his bedroom), and all is OK with the world for now.

Mar 12, 1:01am Top

Hi Jenny! I love your no-tanning description of being "A true English rose." Perfect thing to be! Hope the anxiety settles down; and glad you found a happy spot. Best wishes for Sunday. : )

Mar 12, 5:23am Top

Happy weekend, Jenny. I hope you have a lovely spring day as we have.

Mar 12, 10:23am Top

Happy new thread, Jenny! Watch out for those pesky rosemary sellers when you're in Granada.

Mar 12, 10:57am Top

>27 Berly: My hair is possibly too dark for me to be considered fully English rose but my skin is the pale kind that goes freckle-y in the sun. If I'm careful and use sun cream, I can get a gentle tan but never very much! My dad had the most wonderful skin that, infuriatingly, I didn't inherit. He only had to stand outside for five minutes on a vaguely sunny day and he'd get a golden glow. I just go red!

>28 Ameise1: Thanks, it's very mild here Barbara. We've been outside potting on our tomato and pepper plants, and measuring glass to replace the broken panes in the greenhouse.

Mar 12, 10:58am Top

>29 kidzdoc: Lovely to see you here Darryl. I shall be wary of rosemary sellers indeed - I'm pretty good at avoiding that kind of street vendor :).

Mar 12, 11:49am Top

>31 lunacat: I thought I was good at avoiding them, until a middle aged gypsy woman grabbed my arm and would not let go as she tried to force a spring of rosemary into my hand during a tour of the old city in Granada last year. My biggest mistake was communicating with her in Spanish, so she knew that I understood her when she offered "Un regalo para ti, mi amor." ("A gift for you, my love.") It's a scam perpetuated throughout Spain on unwary tourists. If you take the sprig of rosemary you'll be asked "Una donación, si por favor." ("A donation, if you please.") If you give the gypsy a coin it's "mala suerte" ("bad luck"), so if you go along with the game you're automatically out 5€. If you pull out your wallet or purse, though, you run the risk of getting it snatched if the gypsy has a partner, so you're out far more than that. I struggled to get away from the gypsy while the rest of the tour group, including Bianca, left me in their wake, but she had to literally fight to get away from two of them the following day when she visited the Alhambra.

I loved Sevilla, along with the Pueblos Blancos (White Villages) of Andalucía, especially Arcos de la Frontera and Ronda, but I was far less fond of Granada, although I did like El Albaicín, the old Moorish Quarter of the city.

Mar 12, 4:12pm Top

>32 kidzdoc: Thanks for the tip, Darryl. We shall be careful. TheBF is a fairly forceful human being at times so fingers crossed we'll be OK.

We looked at staying in Arcos de la Frontera but settled for Ronda in the end - we may end up driving that way on our way to Granada but at the moment we're just planning on heading the direction our feet take us and seeing where we end up.

One of the nights in Granada we are staying in a cave which is ten minutes walk down to El Albaicin, so I'm looking forward to sightseeing in that area. And we've got three nights in Seville so we should be able to see at least a small amount of what we want to. TheBF desperately wants to do a food/wine/tapas/market tour of Seville so we'll be signing up for that soon.

I cannot wait. Any tips of things we absolutely must see or do?

Mar 12, 4:14pm Top

So much missed, Sir Terry Pratchett. This made me chuckle out loud in a bittersweet way when it popped up on my FB.

Mar 13, 7:00am Top

Happy new thread Jenny. Sorry to hear about your bumps and bruises rom Connie. Hope you are healimg and getting less sore.

>34 lunacat: Oh yes, bittersweet.

Mar 13, 7:29am Top

"It's been an extremely nice weekend. " This is always a good thing.

>34 lunacat: LIKE!

Mar 13, 7:42am Top

>35 souloftherose: I'm getting there, thanks Heather. Hopefully she'll treat me more kindly this week.

>36 msf59: It is indeed. I hope that your weekend was similarly pleasant.

Mar 13, 7:47am Top

Happy new thread, Jenny! Beautiful topper. I have a friend who told me Ronda is her most favorite city in Spain. I think you and BF are in for a real treat.
I agree with others, preparing for the trip is almost as good as being at your destination. Are you bringing books? I often change the books I'm taking right up to the time we leave the house but that too is great fun!

Mar 13, 9:35am Top

Happy new thread, Jenny. Have a great week full of holiday anticipation and, hopefully, good behaviour from Connie.

Mar 13, 10:41am Top

>38 Carmenere: Excellent, it all sounds like we've made the right decision in heading that way then! I love the anticipation, but I'm hopeful being there will be simply fabulous. As long as TheBF and I don't tire of each others company ;). I'll probably take 3 books and my Kindle, so I won't run out of reading material. Choosing the books will certainly be tricky!

>39 Familyhistorian: Thank you. Good behaviour would be wonderful, but she likes to keep me on my toes.

Mar 13, 10:43am Top

It's been an absolutely beautiful spring day outside, so after a rough start this morning I spent some time in the garden helping TheBF's father fit new panes of glass to the greenhouse. Much swearing ensued, but no blood was split and it is now watertight and ready to go. We potted our tomato plants on yesterday so it shouldn't be too much longer until they can go out there, unless we hit a cold snap. It was so nice to be outside with only a jumper on.

Mar 13, 11:06am Top

It really is lovely out there.

Mar 13, 11:10am Top

Wishing you a lovely spring day.

Mar 13, 11:11am Top

Awesome weather!! And nice job fixing the green house without spilling blood. ; ) Happy Monday. Connie: Be nice!

Mar 13, 11:17am Top

>43 Ameise1: Hah! I love it! Definitely me on most days, not just Mondays. I hope your week has started off as well as possible.

>44 Berly: Thanks Kim. I've got a few 'almost scratches' but nothing worse. I'm looking forward to getting it into production in the next few days. I shall pass your message on to Connie and hope she listens to you more than she does to me.

Hope you're feeling better now.

Mar 13, 7:09pm Top

Question: What are your favourite board or card games to play, particularly with a variety of people?

I'm looking for a couple of games to take to Spain, that are small, easily transportable and playable with two players. So far, we'll take a pack or two of cards, travel Scrabble, and maybe Bananagrams.

I'd also like a few games to take to France, which we're driving to so space isn't so much of an issue. Games that can be easily picked up by people, and enjoyed by a wide range. Again, Scrabble and Bananagrams will come, as well as Cards Against Humanity, but other simple game recommendations would be great. Stasia has recommended a few which I shall investigate, but I thought I'd ask here as well. The more the merrier when it comes to suggestions!

Mar 13, 8:24pm Top

Mar 13, 10:25pm Top

>46 lunacat: Trivial pursuits used to be the game for me. Unbeaten in my family which, knowing my family, is hardly surprising.

Mar 14, 11:16am Top

>48 PaulCranswick: I find Trivial Pursuit insanely hard, but I saw a card game version of it that I'm tempted to try. I'm not surprised you are unbeaten :).

Mar 14, 11:26am Top

22. March: Book One by John Lewis

Before he became a respected Congressman, John Lewis was clubbed, gassed, arrested over 40 times, and nearly killed by angry mobs and state police, all while nonviolently protesting racial discrimination. He marched side-by-side with Martin Luther King as the youngest leader of the Civil Rights Movement that would change a nation forever.

BOOK ONE of this graphic memoir spans John Lewis' youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Dr. King, the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall.

The first I had heard of John Lewis was when the ghastly orange gas-Trump turned on him via twitter in January. I'm so glad that it happened, because otherwise I doubt I'd have ever read this brilliant graphic memoir. Compelling, heartbreaking, and inspiring, the artwork is clear and makes the events come alive. The simple black and white theme accentuates the memoir's topic, and the visual impact matched the emotional impact perfectly.

I wish I'd taken the plunge and ordered these so I could have raced through them as a set, but as it is, I need to wait for my library to get the second volume in. I loved every frame of it.

Mar 14, 11:44am Top

Hi Jenny!

Cribbage? Backgammon? Enough decks of cards to play Spite and Malice (aka Cat and Mouse and my favorite, used by my Grandmother - Shit on Your Neighbor).

I hope Tuesday is treating you right. Thanks for sharing the pic in >42 lunacat:! it's cold and icky and dreary here in central North Carolina USA.

Mar 14, 11:54am Top

>51 karenmarie: Hi Karen!

I've never played cribbage or backgammon, though I have obviously heard of them. We'll certainly take a few packs of cards with us. Sorry to hear it's so cold and icky, but at least no snow, hopefully!

Edited: Mar 14, 12:02pm Top

Currently reading:

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
The One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood
A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle, part of the Sherlock Holmes omnibus read by Stephen Fry

Mar 14, 1:42pm Top

So glad March Book One worked for you, Jenny. The other two in the trilogy are just as high quality. What a story. And Persepolis is by now, IMO, a classic GN. A number of years ago, before GNs became so popular, it's the one I gave to my skeptical English prof BIL to convince him that GNs could be readworthy. He ended up wanting to teach it in his class.

Mar 14, 3:11pm Top

>41 lunacat: It was lovely yesterday wasn't it? And then overcast and grey again today. But I have hopes that Spring might be properly springing soon. Also yay for no blood being spilt when DIY is happening - not an insignificant achievement in my experience!

>46 lunacat: I'm not sure how many of these work as two player but we've enjoyed Dobble and Ligretto which are quite fast paced card games and relatively easy to pick up. San Juan is another good card game but requires more brain and tactics and time learning to play.

>50 lunacat: I really enjoyed March, Book One too - need to buy the next two volumes as my library doesn't have any of them.

Mar 14, 4:44pm Top

UNO and a set of magnetic Dominoes?

Mar 14, 5:35pm Top

>54 jnwelch: I enjoyed March Book One more than I did Persepolis, but I liked both more than I expected. I found some of the teenage segment of Persepolis a little wearing at times, but it was interesting to see how honest she was about her flaws, as well as the flaws of those around her. Both books have given me a lot to think about. I'm really disappointed that my library doesn't have book 2 or 3 of March available currently, so we'll see how patient I can be in waiting for them.

>55 souloftherose: Same here with March Book Two and March Book Three at the library. I may well resort to buying the trio, given how much I liked Book One.

Thanks for the card game suggestions. I haven't heard of any of them so I shall investigate.

>56 m.belljackson: Uno is always a classic, thanks for the reminder!

Mar 14, 7:48pm Top

I'm a bit late to the party, but happy new one, Jenny!

I'm glad you had a (mostly) good weekend.

As for games, The Wayne and I love "Pass the Pigs," which is kind of like a dice game but with plastic pigs. Umm, it sounds weirder than it is...

Mar 14, 7:51pm Top

>57 lunacat: I will be reading Persepolis next month so I am pleased to see it was not an absolute disaster.

Mar 14, 8:04pm Top

>27 Berly: >30 lunacat: fair is fine! So many people tan to within in inch of their lives (in NZ that is quite literally a health hazard on account of the incidence of skin cancer). By that I mainly mean the orange glow that tanning gives....*shudder*. It is so obviously fake, I don't know why people do that to themselves. Maybe they like that people know they can afford to tan? Who knows?

>46 lunacat: I have been looking to create a 500 group for YEARS now. I love playing 500, and I only need 3 more people to make a game. It's a shame my Lovely Other wont play. Harumph.

Mar 15, 6:50am Top

>58 katiekrug: Thanks Katie! I hope your week is going as well as possible. Pass the Pigs looks hilarious - what's not to love about throwing pigs around :)

>59 PaulCranswick: Definitely not a disaster, Paul. Do you have the omnibus edition that contains both books that make up Persepolis?

>60 Ireadthereforeiam: I'm never going to be orange so I'm certainly not looking for that. I know tanning is a health hazard and I shouldn't be looking for any colour at all - I guess I would like to be able to stand out in the sun for more than 10 minutes without thinking about burning though. So mostly what I'd like is for my body to put out a little more melanin to protect my skin. But it isn't going to happen so I'll resign myself to lots of sun cream.

500 looks incredibly complicated - I think I might side with your LO on that one. Sorry you can't find people to play with you though, that must be frustrating.

Mar 15, 7:43am Top

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and I'm.............not feeling it. Even caffeine isn't assisting. Blah, bleugh and meh are the descriptors of today. Here's hoping yours is going better!

Mar 15, 9:11am Top

>62 lunacat: Aww. Love that poor pup. Someone give him a boost!

Hope the blah, bleugh and meh pass for you, Jenny. I haven't had enough coffee yet to be able to assess. :-)

Mar 15, 11:31am Top

>63 jnwelch: Those little wrinkles on his face completely resemble mine today. I hope you can imbibe enough coffee to find it is a good day, Joe!

Edited: Mar 15, 4:08pm Top

23. Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast

In her first memoir, New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging parents. Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through four-color cartoons, family photos, and documents, and a narrative as rife with laughs as it is with tears, Chast's memoir is both comfort and comic relief for anyone experiencing the life-altering loss of elderly parents.

I haven't experienced the loss of elderly parents, but I was old enough to watch the process with grandparents, and I am going through a similar process of change with my mother, as the roles slowly reverse themselves. This was touching, heartbreaking and oh so familiar, as Chast's sadness, frustration and difficulties adjusting become clear. I can't imagine there are many people of 25 or over who haven't had to go through some of the things she talks about, whether with grandparents or parents, and it can feel impossible at times. The funny moments are a lovely counterpoint to the sadness, and make it clear that humour can, and should be, found in even the most difficult of places.

This is up there with Being Mortal as a book that should be read and discussed by families, so that everyone has some idea of what they want to occur, and where they see their lives going when they reach old age. I raced through this, and will likely read it again before I have to return it to the library.

Mar 15, 11:51am Top

Mar 15, 12:23pm Top

Jenny, I know I was here when you were first setting up your thread, but evidently I never posted. Bad Mamie! Your trip planning is going well, it sounds like. We love board and dice games of almost any kind. Yahtzee and Farkle would be easy to travel with. We also love Boggle, which is a word game and any number can play.

Mar 15, 1:09pm Top

>65 lunacat: Yes. Well said, Jenny. If you post the Can't We Talk About Something review on the book page, I'd be happy to thumb it.

Mar 15, 1:21pm Top

>65 lunacat: Loved this book! Very nice review. Okay...games! Bananagrams is a yes, and it takes up like no room. Also Farkle, a dice game, is really fun. And then what about Catch Phrase?

Mar 15, 4:44pm Top

>66 ronincats: Me too. It made me smile a lot, as I'm sure it would have done for him too.

>67 Crazymamie: Bad Mamie indeed! Disgraceful behaviour. I shall have to lodge a written complaint with..........well, someone. I grew up playing a lot of Boggle but haven't played it in a long time - I was a bit Boggled out. I'll have to give it a go again at some point. Farkle looks good, I shall round up enough dice and give it a go.

>68 jnwelch: Thanks Joe. I've duly posted it, but I don't expect thumbs, my reviews are never very good. I just note down a few thoughts.

>69 Berly: Bananagrams is in the Amazon basket so it will go through soon, as will some more dice for Farkle. I am loving all these suggestions.

Mar 15, 4:46pm Top

>70 lunacat: Thanks, Jenny. Those few thoughts were very good, IMO. It's thumbed.

Edited: Mar 15, 5:18pm Top

>71 jnwelch: Thanks Joe

Connie was enjoying the sunshine today

Mar 16, 3:20pm Top

I hope you had a better day today, Jenny. Love the red on Connie, it looks really nice,

Mar 17, 12:34am Top

Doesn't she just look as though sugar wouldn't melt in her mouth? She'd never do anything as nasty as nip her owner, right? ;-)

Mar 17, 3:03am Top

>61 lunacat: I guess I would like to be able to stand out in the sun for more than 10 minutes without thinking about burning though
We burn quick down here. Even with my religious suncream application I still note that Lenny's torso is really brown, especially compared to his little white bottom!

Mar 17, 4:28am Top

>73 Ameise1: It's been a tricky couple of days, but onwards and upwards! Thanks Barbara.

>74 ronincats: She doesn't really do nipping, but she will happily tread on your feet! Butter wouldn't melt, indeed. She's such a monster.

>75 Ireadthereforeiam: You've got to love strange tan lines. We tend to get weird ones as we often wear thin gloves when riding for extra grip, and then short sleeves. So we have white hands, brown arms, white shoulders!

Mar 17, 6:33am Top

Happy Friday, Jenny! Yah, for Connie and the sunshine. Such a good looking girl.

Good review of the Chast memoir. I am a big fan too. How are you enjoying Persepolis? It is also one of my favorites.

Mar 17, 10:29am Top

Hi Jenny!

I was off visiting a friend in RL Wed/Thurs, so got a bit behind. Sorry you've been feeling meh.

Connie's a very pretty girl.

I hope your Friday's been a good one.

I was always envious of people who could tan. In the summer I'd go to the beach with high school girlfriends a couple of times a week (about 1 1/2 hours drive), tan in the backyard reading a book, get this slight golden glow which I thought was a tan after almost 3 months of hard work, then one week after I started school again in September would have lost even that little glow. Then it was distressing, but now, of course, I'm grateful that my face doesn't look like leather and I don't have wrinkle lines.

Mar 17, 12:55pm Top

>72 lunacat: Love Connie in the sunshine! It's shining here and it's wonderful

Mar 17, 1:55pm Top

Beautiful photo of Connie, Jenny.

Happy Friday!

Mar 17, 4:36pm Top

>72 lunacat: Connie looks happy in the sun :-)

Mar 18, 4:09am Top

Happy Saturday, Jenny. We have a rainy dsy.

Mar 18, 6:46am Top

>61 lunacat: Yep it is the omnibus edition of Persepolis.

We have monsoon weather here at the moment so it is a job staying dry and getting through the drenched streets in the car.

Have a lovely weekend.

Mar 18, 2:26pm Top

>77 msf59: I definitely enjoyed Persepolis, though not as much as I liked March: Book One or Can We Talk About Something More Pleasant?. I'm appreciating GNs more and more so I'm looking forward to continuing to explore what is out there.

>78 karenmarie: Friday was a busy day, as today as been. More on that in another post. I hope you had a lovely time visiting your friend, and that your weekend is a good one.

>79 ChelleBearss: Hi Chelle! I hope your week has picked up. No sunshine here, winter appears to have returned to a certain extent. Hopefully spring will return soon.

Mar 18, 2:29pm Top

>80 jnwelch: Thanks Joe, she can be pretty when she turns on the charm.

>81 FAMeulstee: Happy indeed, thanks Anita.

>82 Ameise1: Same here Barbara, Spring seems to have vanished for a few days. We'll hope for a quick return all round.

>83 PaulCranswick: I hope you manage to stay as dry as possible, Paul. We mostly dodged the showers today, thank goodness.

Mar 18, 2:38pm Top

It's been an exhausting few days as we've started the monumental job of clearing my mum's house of 25 years of accumulated stuff. She is a serious hoarder so there is a HELL of a lot of stuff to sift through. So far we have filled two huge skips, with another two required to clear it. White goods (big chest freezer, fridge, tumble drier and oven) still to go, as well as a what feels like a million books to donate or sell. Then some other furniture to sell, and boxes and boxes of things to take to a car boot sale.

Once that is all done, it is carpets up all through the house, the kitchen knocked out, wallpaper stripping, getting a plumber and electrician in to check things and replace as need, the central heating system to be replaced, a ceiling to be torn down and replaced, and plain paint etc on the walls. And the garden to be stripped down as close to the ground as possible.

As I said. Exhausting. It will be cathartic and useful in the end, and I will be SO relieved when the house is sold and she can set up anew. I'm desperately hoping that she doesn't do the same with a new house - I shall be keeping a close eye on her acquisitions as I don't think I can bear doing such a process again. Certainly not to this extent.

Mentally it's one of the most tiring things I've ever done - going through the house of my childhood, finding things both positive and negative, and slowly saying goodbye to it. It will be SO hard to let it go for good, as nearly all of my memories of my dad are wrapped up there. I can't imagine what it's going to be like, not being able to walk in there and remember moments like they were yesterday. But it's time for us all to move on.

Mar 19, 9:01am Top

>86 lunacat: That sounds like an awfull lot of work, Jenny!
And a trip down memory lane... (((((hugs)))))

Mar 19, 1:05pm Top

>87 FAMeulstee: Thank you, Anita. It's hard work but we're plodding through. It will be nice to have a rest tomorrow.

Mar 19, 1:48pm Top

No book reading over the weekend, alas. I tried to read a bit earlier but ended up having a 3 hour nap with my book in hand! Maybe this evening will be better.

I hope everyone has had a lovely weekend.

Mar 19, 3:12pm Top

This made me chuckle today:

Mar 19, 3:17pm Top

>90 lunacat: Made me chuckle too.

Happy Sunday, Jenny!

Mar 19, 4:06pm Top

>86 lunacat: {{{hugs}}}

Connie is so gorgeous (and looks like she knows it too)!

So glad you're enjoying the GNs you've been reading! Another great duo are Maus 1 and 2, if you haven't already read those. Also, I love Alison Bechdel's stuff, especially Essential Dykes, though that is more a compilation of her comic strip from over the years.

Mar 19, 4:17pm Top

>91 alcottacre: I'm glad it raised a smile! I hope your Sunday is progressing nicely.

>92 Storeetllr: Hi Mary. I've got Maus on my shelves, but haven't got round to it yet. I shall have to remedy that. Essential Dykes looks intriguing, I will investigate. Thanks for the recommendation.

Mar 19, 9:21pm Top

Mar 20, 7:49am Top

Hi Jenny!

>86 lunacat: Wow. What an emotional ride for you, much less the physical work of clearing out and getting things done. Your mother is the opposite of mine - my Mom and Dad didn't keep hardly anything. I'm glad I took away most of my stuff over the years, otherwise I'm sure they'd have thrown it away.

>94 lunacat: We're in the same boat - I got 2 1/2 hours of sleep last night, have been up since 4:30 a.m. I'm okay right now, although my eyes are a bit gritty, but know that later on will be rather more hellish.

Mar 20, 8:03am Top

>95 karenmarie: That gritty feeling is the worst. I'm sorry you're running on so little sleep as well. Hopefully you can stumble your way through the day and get an early night tonight.

I'd definitely like a bit less stuff, but there are small things that could have been thrown away and I'm glad they weren't. Like a small business card type size ID card from Dar-Es-Salaam Hospital for my mother in the 1950s! So funny to come across. There will be a few shoe boxes of things like that that will be saved, to go through and reminisce about later. I'm glad you were able to rescue most of your stuff from the clear outs.

Mar 20, 3:06pm Top

Mar 20, 4:48pm Top

>86 lunacat: Well said, Jenny. Sounds like a monumental task, that also tugs on the heartstrings. Your mother is lucky she has you.

Mar 20, 7:15pm Top

>97 Ameise1: Thank you Barbara, you too!

>98 jnwelch: I'll simply be glad when it's done and dusted Joe.

It was a less mentally exhausting day today, or it should have been, but I think I had a mental hangover from the weekend as the silliest little things have stressed me out. I went for a run to try and blow off some steam but that didn't work either.

I'm simply going to have to accept this is an extremely stressful and tiring process, and I need to adapt accordingly. Of course it doesn't help that I am now on 1/3 of the antidepressant I was previously on, in preparation for the change, which is making me very snappy.

This too shall pass and all that!

Mar 21, 5:04am Top

I'm dropping balls all over the place. Mainly the ball being dropped is the Connie, unfortunately. She's fine in terms of welfare etc, she's extremely well looked after, but the time/energy/logistics of keeping her fully fit and exercised at the moment are failing.

For example, I was going to go and ride her this morning but I messed up ordering a skip for my mum's and stupidly asked for it to go there AM. When I knew I was planning on riding Madam. I've called and tried to get it changed, but it's now an unknown, so I daren't go and ride Connie in case the skip delivery rings and needs me there in 10 minutes to sign for it. If I'd managed to use my brain yesterday and NOT order the skip for the wrong time, none of this would be an issue.

I feel like I'm failing her, even though TheBF points out she is a recreational animal and there to make me happy, so me 'failing her' doesn't really apply. As long as she is fed and well taken care of, the rest isn't so important.

I'm trying to use the enforced time at home this morning to rest and recharge, but it is never easy to do so with a lump of guilt. At least the sun is shining!

Mar 21, 5:09am Top

>86 lunacat: yikes. That does sound like a process. How lucky she has to have you to go through it with her! And I totally get how it must have been a process for you too, all those childhood things. I am dreading helping my mum with her stuff.

>100 lunacat: If I'd managed to use my brain yesterday..
Using your brain ALL THE TIME is impossible, and highly overrated. Connie will be OK, and you will ride her another day.

PS what time is it there? Should you be in bed, or is it me that needs a talking to today? ;)

Edited: Mar 21, 5:17am Top

>101 Ireadthereforeiam: Thank goodness it's highly overrated, I'd hate to be aiming too high ;)

Thanks for your words, they've made me smile and I feel a little better. I'm not actually going through the process with my mum as she's distanced herself from the project. It's frustrating that she isn't required to deal with the aftermath of her actions, as I fear it makes it more likely she will repeat the behaviour, but having her there to try and cope with simply isn't worth it. It's easier for everyone concerned if TheBF and I take control of the situation and do it ourselves, without her physical presence. She will see the house for the first time since we've started the work when she comes to pick up some last things tomorrow, and I'll be interested to see her reaction.

It's morning here, so no lecturing required. I'm dressed, but back on my bed trying to gather some energy.

Mar 21, 5:23am Top

>102 lunacat: probably easier for her not to see it all *disappearing*. I know for myself when I try to downsize possessions, I pick up an item and think "I can get rid of this" ad then my inner self chimes in with "but, then again, I remember when I found this in _____, it was such a special time, I think I'll have to keep it". Etc etc, ad infinitum....
I sometimes say to mu lovely other, if you wanted to get rid of this one day when Im not here, I probably wouldn't miss it? But he is too scared to test it out, in case I flip ;)
(talk about being kept on his toes!!)

So it is me who needs to go to bed then. It is 10.23pm. And I do have a big day tomorrow. OK, I can self-manage.
Good night. :)

Mar 21, 6:44am Top

Thanks to Megan, I know that a skip is a dumpster - learned that a few years ago when we were discussing dumpsters on my thread. Ordering it for the wrong time sounds just like something I would do. And UGH for the clearing out of your mom's house - my sisters had to do that a few years ago when my mom had to move in with my sister for health reasons, and she decided to sell the house. Very draining both physically and emotionally. Keeping you in my thoughts and wishing you luck.

Mar 21, 7:38am Top

>102 lunacat: Much easier for her. I'm so lucky to have good people around and helping, who can stop me when I start with the 'but it might come in useful one day'. Lots of stuff will be going to a car boot sale. I hope you've self-managed yourself and went to bed!

>104 Crazymamie: Ugh indeed, but once it's done, it will be a huge relief. We're about 1/3 of the way there on clearance etc, and then it's the easier bit of DIY etc. Not physically harder, but mentally so!

I feel like I should display this sign every morning to get through this process:

Mar 21, 8:06am Top

>105 lunacat: LOVE that!

Mar 21, 4:18pm Top

>106 Crazymamie: Thanks. It's definitely the way forward! I've done 6km of steps today just going to and fro from the house to the skip and back. The kitchen units are almost completely knocked out and all but one of the carpets are up.

Mar 21, 4:32pm Top

>105 lunacat: Love the sign! I need to get one of those for my youngest.

Edited: Mar 21, 6:27pm Top

>108 alcottacre: I'm thinking of having it tattooed somewhere. Maybe straight down my back so I can sit facing the wall and have my needs clearly understood.

In mother/house sorting news, I came across the first ten Andrea Camilleri books while organising, so I'll be liberating them rather than donating or selling them. The duplicate copies I have can been donated instead. I'll need to be brutal about the books I bring home with me - there will be a mass cull of the books from my shelves here to make room as it is. So far there are eight huge bookcases and about fifty boxes full of books that I need to sort through at my mum's house. Gulp.

Mar 22, 12:06am Top

So far there are eight huge bookcases and about fifty boxes full of books that I need to sort through at my mum's house. Gulp.
Gulp indeed!!! Yikes.

PS I did self manage, and I did go to bed. And today I have been fairly productive as a result. *pats self on back* (fairly is good enough)

Mar 22, 6:37am Top

Hi Jenny!

>96 lunacat: I'm glad, now, that there's so little to go through, although also sad that 84 years of her life and 84 years of dad's life have been reduced to so little. I brought back her thimble in January, regarding your mention of little things, and it's on the organizer on my desk.

>105 lunacat: I really like that a lot.

Yikes. 8 bookcases and 50 boxes of books. As much as I love books, that seems daunting even to me!

Good luck with the continuing house saga.

Mar 22, 7:56am Top

>110 Ireadthereforeiam: Hurrah for self management and productivity! Both are good :)

>111 karenmarie: Some are fun to go through as they are old favourites from my childhood, but the sheer amount is daunting. In the spirit of things, I bagged up 30 books from my own shelves at home to add to the pile of books to donate/sell.

Mar 22, 10:16am Top

Another step forward - today my mum came and picked up the last things she wanted to keep. There is one table that wouldn't fit in her car that I will take to her at some point, and a couple of books I need to look for. But at least we now have free rein to dispose/sell/donate everything else in the house. It's not a huge step but it will be nice not worrying I'm throwing the wrong things away.

It's pouring with rain here, so I suspect I'll get soaked when I go to do Connie later. I am a true fair weather rider and won't ride in the rain, so she'll have another day off. At this rate, no competing will happen this Spring at all! So far, March is turning into a month of high stress.

Mar 22, 10:36am Top

>113 lunacat: I think, based on what you've said, that it is a huge step to get your Mum's 'keep items' out and have the rest available for disposition. Yay.

Mar 22, 1:42pm Top

Eight bookcases and 50 boxes of books.

Sounds like your mum and I are kindred spirits. Even with the close-to 300 books I've culled, I'm still looking at around 30 boxes of books.

And I too save little keepsakes from the past. Yesterday, I found the business card of the woman who counseled me after my first baby was stillborn. I doubt she's still there, but I love having that little reminder of a caring therapist who helped me survive 40 years ago.

But, I'm getting rid of a lot of clutter because I don't want my daughter to someday have to do what you are doing for your mum. My goal is to have almost empty cupboards that are filled only with things I actually use, and to display only the things that make me happy. That's hard for a hoarder like me, but honestly, as I go through my "stuff," I'm constantly astonished at some of what I've kept over the years!

Congrats on getting everything in order to sell/donate/trash! That is a huge step!

Edited: Mar 22, 2:03pm Top

>114 karenmarie: Yeah, it's a good step.

Saddened to see breaking news of the terror attack at the Palace of Westminster in London, and on Westminster Bridge. It comes so close to home, seeing these things happen in places I've been. TheBF used to work in London and these events are so scary. Four people are now known to have died, including the attacker, an armed police officer who was stabbed, and a member of the public. The fourth person is not known.

Mar 22, 2:03pm Top

>115 Storeetllr: There are some items that we're glad have been kept, but I'm determined to keep sorting and re-sorting until it gets to a manageable level and the only things being kept are either usable and required, beautiful, or have really strong emotional value and historical significance to us.

We found a hospital card for my mum from the Dar-Es-Salaam hospital, assuming from the late 1950s. That kind of thing is cool to have and doesn't take up much space. `

One of our big problems currently is the logistics of getting rid of things. A fair amount of it is usable and could be wanted by someone, but only worth £1-2 so the question is, is it worth trying to sell it? We're going to gather usable things together into boxes and try and sell it at a car boot sale, and take whatever we get offered for it.

I can certainly sympathise with your struggles with getting rid of things. I have the hoarder gene as well. But hopefully, this process will lessen my own hoarding desires.

Mar 22, 8:53pm Top

>46 lunacat: Munchkins. You can play with 2 players though 3 - 4 is more fun.

>72 lunacat: Gorgeous picture of Connie!

>86 lunacat: Why is she moving out of the old house? Something closer? Smaller?

>109 lunacat: I'd consider that a treasure trove but then I'm not having to clean up that house!

Mar 22, 9:04pm Top

>116 lunacat: Very scary news! I did not hear about it until I got home from wok this evening.

Mar 23, 9:30am Top

>118 Morphidae: Morphy! Lovely to see you here. Treasure trove indeed, But I simply don't have the space to keep them so I'll have to go through and cherrypick the ones I desperately want. TheBF has said I can keep a couple of boxes at his, so at least I can keep a few more. I wish I could send box loads to people here at LT but alas, the cost would be so prohibitive. I will probably send a few out though, when I know they are things people have mentioned.

The house is too big and in terrible condition, hence the clearance and renovation. She got to the point where she just wasn't coping, and had buried her head in the sand for far too long so things were out of control. We've been offering assistance for years - at one point I was cleaning for her - and I've discovered plenty of help has been on offer from neighbours etc as well, but she just didn't want it. Or couldn't accept it.

Anyway, she's now moved about 90 minutes away, into rented, and although she won't admit it she seems happier. We have a very difficult relationship but keep plodding on regardless.

>119 alcottacre: Scary initially, and now just sad. Londoners are more used to this type of thing than many, given the IRA activities in the past. Brits in general just pick up and carry on. What is scarier is the fuel this gives to the prejudice and hatred out there. A particularly repellent human being called Katie Hopkins appeared on Fox news saying people are scared and divided. A few are, the vast majority are NOT. Her agenda is spouting hate and vitriol. It's most upsetting to think that her narrow-minded and vile views are considered the views of the UK as a whole.

Mar 23, 9:59am Top

Today is my first day on a new drug, albeit at an extremely low dose. So if I start saying bizarre things (or more bizarre than usual, as TheBF commented) then you'll know why!

Mar 23, 12:36pm Top

>121 lunacat: Oh? I just figure you ran out of booze or chocolate.

Mar 23, 12:51pm Top

>122 Morphidae: That could also be the issue ;)

Mar 23, 5:16pm Top

>120 lunacat: This article from the Grauniad is very good on Katy Hopkins

Mar 23, 8:15pm Top

>117 lunacat: It may not work this way in the UK, but here in the US if you donate items to a charity that can write you a receipt for estimated value of your donations, you can use that on your taxes as a deduction. We never donate enough to make a significant dent in our taxes, but I love donating stuff. It benefits the charity (in our case, we donate to a thrift store that gives profits to the local schools) and it's easy to just put stuff in boxes/bags, drop it off, ask for a tax receipt, and you're done.

>121 lunacat: Okay, on the watch for statements that are more bizarre than usual (as per TheBF), we'll let you know! I hope it's an easy transition.

Mar 24, 4:27am Top

>113 lunacat: my horsey friend has recently moved to a house that has a paddock, and she is LOVING having her horse nearby. She will stop when doing the dishes and just stare out the window at her lovely horse. My boys like going about with her helping to shovel up the poo. And Lenny can identify which poo comes from the mother horse, and which poo comes from the (big) foal. So funny.

>121 lunacat: on the look out for bizarre comments! Do we need a signal, or a special word to signify concern? Or shall we just call you out on bizarre-ity were it is seen. (oops, I could have just displayed bizarre-ism there myself, feel free to call me out on it). ;)

Mar 24, 8:14am Top

>117 lunacat: Given that I don't pay tax currently, it's not too much of an issue for me. We have Gift Aid here, which doesn't gain people any money but means the charity can claim 25p for every £1 of donated goods back from the government. It balances against the taxes you pay, so nothing I donate is gift aid eligible anyway. I don't really understand it, but as it doesn't apply to me, I haven't paid that much attention.

There will be a LOT of stuff going to charity so I'm not feeling bad about selling some items instead of donating them. We're mostly planning to use the money as lunch money while we do the house, paying for our grab and run meals, drinks etc that are an added expense.

TheBF says I've been rather away with the fairies, but nothing too noticeable. It's an extremely low dose currently, and is 'non-therapeutic', but is to ease me in. I'm hoping it will go smoothly too.

>126 Ireadthereforeiam: Bizarre is good, extremely bizarre is not ;) I think just calling me on the bizarre-ity will suffice. Though it could be fun to come up with a special word............

I often think it would be nice to have Connie at home, but it ties you to such an extent I change my mind. If I could have her at home AND afford reliable help so I wasn't tied to checking on her/feeding her/poopicking etc, that would be perfect. But unrealistic, so I'll make do with the situation I have currently. At least when I'm feeling awful, I know she is getting taken care of.

Mar 24, 8:19am Top

Not much reading happening here, as my attention span has been minimal. So far, the only side effects of the new drug is a slight spacey feeling, an intense craving for spicy food, and terrible heartburn. The latter two are probably related ;). It did cause TheBF to raise his eyebrows at me in a panicked fashion and ask whether he should be dashing out to buy me a pregnancy test...................thankfully I was able to reassure him!

I am plodding on with The Cornish Coast Murder by John Bude, which is one of the British Library Crime Classics. I weakened, and bought a box set of ten more of them the other day. Oops. No More Books! The book is good, my attention span is not.

I've also been trying to listen to Sherlock Holmes, but it keeps sending me to sleep. This is a good thing, given my insomniac tendencies, but does mean I've heard the start of one short story about six times now, and never reached the end of it. Stephen Fry's voice is simply too soothing.

Mar 24, 9:46am Top

Hi Jenny!

I had what we call a garage sale once only, in 1990. People kept trying to talk me down, people switched tags to cheaper tags when I wasn't looking, people asked if they could go into the house to look at the record albums I didn't have out for sale. I can't imagine having another one, especially as there are internet web sites like eBay and Craigslist to sell stuff on.

Hang in their with the new med. I hope you get your reading energy back soon.

Mar 24, 9:59am Top

>129 karenmarie: I hate phone calls or any kind of phone interaction so anything where I had to communicate that way would be hell on earth for me. Thankfully I won't be too hands on with the selling, my best friend loves that kind of thing so she'll do a lot of it! There are a few things I'll put on gumtree or ebay, including a boxed model train that is worth a bit more (although I'm half tempted to keep it) but mostly I just want it gone as simply as possible, with a few pennies in the bank at the end.

Mar 24, 10:21am Top

I can understand wanting it gone.

I think when I go back to California near the end of April, my sister and I are going to deep 6 as much as we can, give away some, keep a very small amount for ourselves, and sell the furniture as quickly as possible. Get it done.

Mar 24, 1:33pm Top

>132 lunacat: That sounds very much our plan. Just get it done, deal with it all, have it over and done with. I cannot wait until all the stuff is out and gone. I hope your sorting goes smoothly.

Mar 24, 1:58pm Top

>130 lunacat: lunacat Re: model train - you could maybe wait till after Christmas to decide?

I've always regretted giving away my (by now vintage) Lionel train even if it would just come out
once a year. It was just REALLY COOL and FUN!

Mar 24, 3:23pm Top

Ugh, I'm so behind on book comments. This will have to be mini-summations.

24. Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith - Much better than the second in the series, this was both thrilling and exciting. Much less focus on Strike's physical disability and more on his history getting in the way of clear thinking. I'm still not as in love with these as some are here, but I am glad I enjoyed this as much as I did. The narration was excellent again.

25. The Gathering Night by Margaret Elphinstone - I have a soft spot for prehistoric fiction, other than Jean Auel's (I may go into that rant another time!). This was a good addition - a group oral history, sitting round a camp fire over many nights and telling stories of events that had happened years ago. I enjoyed the imaginings of the spiritual world, how believable it felt, and how well researched the book seemed. Elphinstone doesn't shy away from the facts of life - the hunting of animals etc, but it's done in a skillful way. While it is impossible to know for sure, I felt her depiction of life at the times was within the realms of possibility, and the characters were engaging and stayed true to themselves. The descriptions of the world and nature were lyrical, the plot was well structured, and the jumps in narrator didn't annoy me (as they sometimes do). All in all, an excellent, medium-weight historical fiction.

26. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood and 27. Persepolis: The Story of a Return by Marjane Satrapi - A graphic memoir depicting growing up in Iran, and then being sent abroad for an education as things became more unstable in Tehran and limitations on women grew stronger. The format worked well, and a lot of the memoir was extremely interesting, but I found Satrapi's teenage self very difficult to like which detracted somewhat from it's overall impact. Having the changes illustrated, in terms of the amount girls and women were required to cover up, and the segregation that began to occur, provided more impact than a description would have done, and the simple illustrations made some moments even more poignant. However, I didn't find this as enjoyable or as hard hitting as March; Book One. I'm glad I've read it, but I'm also glad I got it from the library instead of buying it.

Mar 24, 3:49pm Top

Hey, lunacat, best wishes for a wonderful springlike weekend.
ps. I'm on March: Book Three, wow! Sadly, it begins with horrible violence right from the start. Very tough read but so well done!

Mar 24, 6:02pm Top

28. The Comical or Tragical Comedy of Mr. Punch by Neil Gaiman - A mixed media graphic novel telling the story of a young boy staying with his grandparents. His grandfather owns a down-and-out amusement/arcade show, and sinister and disturbing characters pop up here. Interspersed with this, is the dark and twisted history of Punch and Judy shows, demonstrating just how black the humour is in these setups. There is an interesting link between the narrator's life experiences and the stories he finds being told by the puppets. However, it was so dark, and the photography and illustrations so bleak, I couldn't really enjoy this.

29. Dotter of her Father's Eyes by Mary M. Talbot Telling the story of the daughter of a Joycean scholar and her difficulties with her volatile and distant father, interspersed with the story of James Joyce's own daughter Lucia, the illustrations in this part graphic memoir, part graphic history were a delight. Drawn by the author's husband, they brought both stories to life, though I was more interested by Lucia's story and struggles as the daughter of the wayward and difficult Joyce, than of Mary. An interesting take on the graphic memoir, this was very enjoyable to read.

30. A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle Listening to Sherlock Holmes narrated by Stephen Fry is a wonderful experience. I could rave, but anyone who knows Stephen Fry's voice will known how lovely this is. I'm relishing every minute.

Mar 24, 7:14pm Top

For me, this is strongest message I've seen about the terrorist attack in London. The British are bigger and better than anyone who tries to defeat us:

Andrew Neil on Terrorism

Mar 25, 10:45pm Top

Thank you for posting that Jenny and over at my place. Well said, Andrew Neil.

Have a lovely weekend.

Mar 26, 9:17am Top

Happy Sunday, Jenny.

Mar 26, 11:49am Top

Hi, Jenny! Just wanted to stop by and wish you a lovely Sunday.

Mar 26, 12:44pm Top

Happy Sunday from me, too, Jenny!

Mar 26, 1:57pm Top

>138 PaulCranswick: Thank you Paul. It seemed like the most perfect statement about the British people and their reaction that I've come across. I hope you've had a lovely weekend.

>139 Ameise1: Happy Sunday, Barbara. I hope it's been a good one for you.

>140 Storeetllr: Thank you so much, Mary. Delightful to see you here. I hope you've had a good weekend.

>141 karenmarie: Thank you, Karen. Here's to good weekends all round.

Edited: Mar 26, 3:28pm Top

It's been a busy, busy weekend. Up early on Saturday to go and do a bit more on my mum's house, where I was so happy to discover two pieces of jewellery in my old bedroom that I had thought lost forever. Tears of joy occurred. Then it was off to TheBF's for the rest of the weekend - we went out for dinner with some friends of his last night, and have been in the garden all day today. We built a raised bed and planted 33 strawberry plants, which will hopefully provide us with strawberries for a long season this summer! We're also about to have the first fresh vegetables from the garden this year.

No reading, but at least lots of good things have been happening anyway.

Mar 26, 3:25pm Top

Oh, yay for finding your lost jewelry! Your reward for being a good daughter. :)

Also yay for the strawberry plants!

Edited: Mar 26, 3:34pm Top

>144 Storeetllr: Thanks Mary. It was a wonderful find, and I'm so relieved they aren't lost forever. We've also got 18 raspberry plants waiting to be put in when we've decided where they will go.

I am feeling pretty rubbish this evening as a few of the girls from my yard have been out competing and having success, and because of Madam Connie's behaviour and my lack of time riding her, I didn't go. It was the best decision, but I'm still disappointed and it's hard seeing their photos on FB. I may have to hibernate for a while.

Mar 27, 12:52am Top

Wishing you a good start into the new week, Jenny.

Mar 27, 8:43am Top

Thank you, Barbara. You too.

Mar 27, 9:26am Top

Despite this, I've made three lasagnes, potted up a few more tomatoes and done two loads of washing! Now TheBF is working from home this afternoon so we're going to sit out in the garden. I'll read, and so will he, but at least mine will be enjoyable and not work related!

Mar 27, 9:37am Top

Congrats on the strawberry plants and raspberry plants, Jenny! I'll plant a (very small) tomato-cucumber-green beans vegetable garden at the end of April, when there is no more chance of frost.

Congrats on find those pieces of jewelry, too, Jenny! My sister and I haven't found missing jewelry at Mom's, but we have been finding sentimental things.

I'm sorry about not competing with Connie - our neighbors' daughter across the street competed for years until she was in a terrible accident. She survived and is doing well, but couldn't compete for more than a year, so got out of the rhythm and quit.

I hope you enjoy your afternoon reading.

Edited: Mar 27, 9:37am Top

I've read the first one of the box set of Boxers & Saints which are companion graphic novels looking at each side of the Boxer rebellion. I've read Saints, told from the Chinese Christian side, and am looking forward to starting Boxers this afternoon.

Mar 27, 10:46am Top

31. A Cornish Coast Murder by John Bude

The Reverend Dodd, vicar of the quiet Cornish village of Boscawen, spends his evenings reading detective stories by the fireside – but heaven forbid that the shadow of any real crime should ever fall across his seaside parish. The vicar’s peace is shattered one stormy night when Julius Tregarthan, a secretive and ill-tempered magistrate, is found at his house in Boscawen with a bullet through his head. The local police inspector is baffled by the complete absence of clues. Suspicion seems to fall on Tregarthan’s niece, Ruth – but surely that young woman lacks the motive to shoot her uncle dead in cold blood? Luckily for Inspector Bigswell, the Reverend Dodd is on hand, and ready to put his keen understanding of the criminal mind to the test.

This novel from the golden age of British crime fiction is set against the vividly described backdrop of a fishing village on Cornwall’s south coast.

Coming from one of the founders of the Crime Writers' Association, which is now most well known for it's Dagger Awards, this is a worthy publication from British Library Crime Classics. The author deserves to be more well known as his characters and setting were well written and extremely enjoyable. The eventual resolution was surprising but believable, with the only criticism being there weren't quite enough clues left throughout the story for many people to be able to decipher the crime for themselves. I like it best when I can look back on a story and see the breadcrumb trail, and tell myself off for not noticing the clues earlier. However, I liked the emphasis on collaboration between the Vicar amateur-detective and the Inspector, rather than it being the local police who are inept and the amateur who comes in and saves the day.

If you're a fan of golden age crime fiction, this is a good author to try.

Mar 27, 1:20pm Top

Hi, Jenny.

I was just talking with Mark about Boxers & Saints. We're both fans. Really well done.

A Cornish Coast Murder sounds good. I am a fan of golden age crime fiction, and I'll add it to the WL.

Mar 28, 11:49am Top

>152 jnwelch: I have moved onto Palestine currently as it's a library book and I own Boxers & Saints so there is no rush to read the second half. I'm really looking forward to getting around to Boxers. I'm wondering if there was a correct order to have read them in though?

Mar 28, 11:51am Top

Question of the day: why on earth would someone steal a broken (and ancient) washing machine and tumble drier, a disgusting and ancient oven/hob/grill, and the motor/cooling bit from a fridge (that I don't think works!). I don't care as they were put out for collection by the council, but do they have some scrappage value?!

We also acquired a fully boxed, unopened, still wrapped in plastic, TV unit that was left in the skip over the weekend. We have taken it out and will investigate it further! The oddities of house renovation, it gets weirder and weirder.

Mar 28, 3:21pm Top

>154 lunacat: It's fairly common for things to get taken from outside houses round here. In fact, most people know you don't arrange for anything to be taken away until it's been on the kerb for a couple of days and still not gone. At first it surprised us, and we did get caught out when an old bike Andy was stripping for spares was taken while he had a break, bit it's actually pretty useful. We've got rid of all sorts that way - old saucepans, broken washing machine, random electrical cables. And acquired a few bits too - tupperware type boxes, kids DVDs. My favourite was a dated but good condition wing arm chair which I got my Mum (a reupholsterer by trade) to do a fitted cover for and is now my favourite spot in the living room!

Mar 28, 3:41pm Top

>155 eclecticdodo: I know people want bits of furniture and things like that, but disgusting, old appliances was a surprise! Plenty of vaguely useful things have gone into the skips but I simply haven't got the mental energy to deal with selling/giving them away. And we're trying not to annoy the neighbours too much by leaving loads of bits and bobs waiting for the fairies to come and take them away.

I'm glad you've found some useful things though! My cousin really enjoys finding things on the street in Berlin.

Mar 28, 4:02pm Top

>156 lunacat: Yes, some of the things that go are odd! The only use I know for a broken washing machine is that the drums make great fire pits.

Mar 28, 7:20pm Top

>157 eclecticdodo: Maybe they took a punt that it was still functional? Though they did leave the detergent drawer behind...............

The only item that is certainly working is a big chest freezer. That they didn't take. Not that I think anyone would want it, it's pretty grubby, but I know plenty of people who use them for storage in barns etc as they are rodent-proof.

Hey ho - I hope whoever took them gets some use out of them anyway!

Mar 29, 6:59am Top

I started Without You, There Is No Us last night, and I'm surprised at how much I'm enjoying it. It took my mind off feeling unwell, as I've got a flare up of cystitis. Off to the doctors today, in the hopes they'll give me the usual antibiotics to nip it in the bud.

Mar 29, 8:04am Top

Hi, Jenny! Just checking in. Sorry, to hear about the cystitis. Bummer!

I am a HUGE fan of Boxers & Saints and so is Joe. Glad you are enjoying.

A lovely LT pal, sent me a copy of Without You, There Is No Us, so I have that one in the stacks.

Mar 29, 9:41am Top

Hi Jenny! I'm assuming scrap value, possibly even parts that can be salvaged. As long as you're done with it, it saves the hauling I guess. Maybe the freezer will go too. *smile*

I'm sorry about the cystitis too, Jenny. Thank goodness for antibiotics.

Mar 29, 11:44am Top

>160 msf59: Thanks Mark, lovely to see you. I hope you like WYTISNU when you get to it. I'm not a huge way in but it's good so far. The cystitis magically cleared up when I got to the doctor (surprise surprise) and she did a dip test but found no sign of infection. However, she's given me the prescription for antibiotics and said to take them if it flares up/continues in the next few days.

Aren't LT pals wonderful?

>161 karenmarie: Alas, we'd done all the hauling, and I'd already phoned (and paid) the council to take them away! I'm just glad it's a flat rate for up to 5 items, so it didn't matter that someone had taken them. The fridge and freezer had been collected by the council by the time we got there today, so that's another thing off the list. And the helpful skip man said it was OK (as long as we kept them hidden) to put old paint cans in the skip so we've disposed of those as well.

Mar 29, 11:49am Top

A small hint of the books:

This is one corner of books that totals about an eighth of the books I need to sort through. All the brown boxes are stuffed. There are about 10 bookshelves the same size as the brown one, full to the brim and double stacked. And at least 3 times the number of boxes as are on those shelves. These are just the ones that had to come out of the living room for us to get the carpet up.

Gulp. I wish I could have an LT party where everyone could drop round and take what they want off the shelves!

Mar 29, 11:54am Top

163 I'm drooling, Jenny! I wish I could snap my fingers and be there.

Mar 29, 12:36pm Top

>164 karenmarie: It would be wonderful! I'm probably going to pick out some of the books I've seen people mention, or that are related to interests I know people here have, and offer them. It would be nice to think of some of them jetting off to new LT homes.

Mar 29, 12:46pm Top

>163 lunacat: That is a lot of books, Jenny, too many to take them all...

>165 lunacat: That would be nice, rehoming some with LT-ers

Mar 29, 12:49pm Top

At least I know I've got a lot of treasure :).

Mar 30, 8:01am Top

It's all go here today. Connie had the vet again, for the ongoing eye issue, and is not best pleased to have eyedrops for the next two weeks. I slept appallingly and have now over-caffeinated in response, so have been in an interesting mood all morning. One of the cats climbed into a drawer last night (having pulled all the socks out of it), went down behind it, and got stuck. So I've got to fix said drawer where he broke it in his struggles. And I split super-strength horse fly spray all over myself so I smell rather peculiar.

On the plus side, I was feeling rather fidgety, so took myself off for a drive, and ended up visiting a 15th century packhorse bridge nearby, that I haven't been to for years.

I didn't feel like taking photos, but here are some from online:

Moulton Packhorse Bridge

And when the stream isn't dried up!

Mar 30, 2:41pm Top

That's a beautiful spot.

Edited: Mar 30, 4:02pm Top

Hi Jenny! Boy, did you have a day! I'm sorry, but I did snigger a bit about the horse fly spray because we did that here several times when we had horses. Although I must admit that I'd rather be smell like horse fly spray than be bitten by one of those nasty things.

The Moulton packhorse bridge is beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I'd never heard of packhorse bridges, living over here in the States, so I learned something new today.

Your comments about horses and the industry on PaulCranswick's thread were interesting to me. I still liked Seabiscuit but can't watch horse racing. And I sobbed when I watched Black Beauty. I did, however, read and like all the Dick Francis books.

Mar 30, 7:16pm Top

>168 lunacat: Beautiful! I'm taking an online course on Richard III, the War of the Roses, and generally life in the 1400s, so that bridge is of particular interest to me right now.

Mar 30, 8:01pm Top

Hi Jenny!! Wow. I fall off the face of LT for a bit and look what all happens here!! Sounds like you are handling the stress of going through all your Mom's stuff pretty well. Kudos!! Hope Connie's eye stays healed up and that maybe the end of April will be conducive to some riding time again. I know how you love it. Good luck getting rid of the books (hardest thing ever!!), but I hope you find a few more treasures. And hope your strawberries do really well. Yum. Big hugs and take care of yourself.

Mar 31, 6:02am Top

>169 Ameise1: It is, Barbara. There is also an extremely nice pub right next to it that has excellent reviews but that I've never been to, so I was eyeing it up. Alas, it's more 'rare treat' prices than run of the mill, so I'll have to save a visit there for a special occasion.

>170 karenmarie: The fly spray smell finally wore off, thankfully. At least it's not among the most offensive smells in the world, but rather strong! The packhorse bridge is lovely, though I discovered that it shouldn't technically be referred to as one, as it is just wide enough for a cart as well. Still, it's a delightful thing to look at, and a nice reminder of the past. I love historical items that simply sit there, doing their job peacefully as the world rushes by them.

>171 Storeetllr: I read a bit more about it and they aren't sure about the exact date, but know that the absolute latest it could have been built is the 15th century, but could be a lot earlier. It gives me a thrill to be able to walk across a bridge that is so old, and stand in the middle imagining the thousands of people who have crossed it before, and what their lives and stories were. I can lose far too many minutes in that kind of daydream.

>172 Berly: It's been a trying few days with my mum's house, having unearthed some unexpected family papers that need sorting through and have made me rather emotional. I'm getting there though. Once Connie has had her saddle fitting, I might stand a chance of staying on her, but I doubt I'll get any proper riding in until we come back from Spain and I can knuckle down for a couple of weeks. And then we're gallivanting again so she gets another rest!

I hope you're feeling better now, and fingers crossed all your illnesses for the year are behind you.

Mar 31, 10:04am Top

I've just been sat in the doctors waiting for a prescription refill, and the man next to me had the lovely name of Mr Rainbird. I am very jealous, I think it's a beautiful surname.

Mar 31, 4:02pm Top

Does anyone here collect, or know someone who collects, Dent/Dutton hardbacks from the 1950/60/70s? The ones I have are editions like this:

All with the repeating pattern covers of various designs, all in decent condition. I haven't made a list of the ones I have but of course I can do so. Just wondering if anyone wants them, or if I should sell them to a dealer. I'd rather they went to someone I know, or a friend of a friend. I'd love to keep them but I simply don't have the space.

Mar 31, 6:38pm Top

>175 lunacat: I wish I did know someone who collected those books, Jenny!

Apr 1, 3:33am Top

Happy Saturday, Jenny.

Apr 1, 6:26am Top

Apr 1, 7:40am Top

>176 alcottacre: I shall carry on trying to find someone who wants them :)

>177 Ameise1: Thank you, Barbara. I hope you have a lovely weekend.

>178 DianaNL: Hi Diana!

Apr 1, 9:17pm Top

Hi Ermintrude! Just getting caught up with you...

>175 lunacat: - Oooh, pretty, I would totally start a collection, but I expect the shipping cost would be excessive :)

Apr 1, 9:32pm Top

>175 lunacat: Another here who could easily collect those. Would look lovely on the shelves.

Have a great weekend. xx

Apr 2, 4:22pm Top

>180 katiekrug: I'm not sure what the shipping cost would be, but I suspect you're right, it would be rather excessive. Such a shame, and I really wish I could keep them. Maybe I'll box them up and see if I can make it work.

>181 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul. I hope you had a lovely one. I've been busy busy busy, and have only just had time to sit down. I'm so tired. It will be nice to have a rest tomorrow when TheBF is at work.

Apr 2, 4:42pm Top

We built another raised bed today, taking the total to three. We've now purchased nearly 2000 litres of compost over the last three weeks. I and some friends also picked up a second hand kitchen yesterday, to go into my mum's house once we're ready for it.

The list of veg being grown is ever increasing. We have now planted:

24 tomato plants of various varieties (with another 15 to go in)
33 strawberry plants
18 raspberry plants
18 dwarf french beans
2 row of tiny silverskin onions
A row of carrots
Half a row of radishes
Half a row of pak choi
Half a row of rocket
Half a row of spinach
A patch of little gem lettuce

And we already have:

Two cardoon plants (a vegetable similar to artichokes apparently)
18 garlic of various varieties
About 30 broccoli plants of various types that aren't doing particularly well

All in all, we seem to have set up a miniature smallholding. We also have peppers (both chilli and sweet), kale, sweetcorn, climbing beans, peas, kohl rabi, brussel sprouts, purple sprouting broccoli, gherkins, crystal lemon cucumbers, cape gooseberries, and lemon grass. Gulp. It seems even more now I've listed them!

Edited: Apr 2, 5:08pm Top

March roundup

Books read in March

19. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
20. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
21. My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
22. March: Book One by John Lewis
23. Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast
24. Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
25. The Gathering Night by Margaret Elphinstone
26. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
27. Persepolis: The Story of a Return by Marjane Satrapi
28. The Comical Tragedy or Tragical Comedy of Mr. Punch by Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean
29. Dotter of her Father's Eyes by Mary M. Talbot
30. A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
31. The Cornish Coast Murder by John Bude
32. We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
33. Saints by Gene Luen Yang
34. Line of Fire: Diary of an Unknown Soldier by Barroux
35. Chicken With Plums by Marjane Satrapi
36. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
37. Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman
38. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

20 books read = 1.55 per book

60% male, 40% female
70% fiction, 30% nonfiction
30% paper, 25% audio, 0% ebook, 45% graphic

Favourite book: March: Book One by John Lewis
Least Favourite book: The Comical Tragedy or Tragical Comedy of Mr. Punch by Neil Gaiman

Apr 2, 6:14pm Top

First Quarter Summary

Books Read: 38

Male Authors: 19
Female Authors: 19
50% exactly!

Contemporary/Literary Fiction: 5
Historical Fiction: 7
Fantasy: 4
Science Fiction: 3
Graphic Novel: 3
Graphic Memoir: 6
Detective/Mystery: 9
Non-Fiction (not including graphic): 1

Books of the Month:

January: Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
February: The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson
March: March: Book One by John Lewis

Apr 2, 6:41pm Top

Hi Jenny!

Wow, all those vegetables! I'm impressed. I'll be lucky to get tomatoes, cucumbers, and pole beans in.

It looks like you've had an excellent reading year so far, too! Congratulations.

Apr 3, 12:59am Top

>183 lunacat: Love it. Have a wonderful start into the new week, Jenny.

Apr 3, 4:11am Top

>163 lunacat: an LT book swap party! Sounds like a great idea. You certainly have a few to get rid of.

>184 lunacat: that is some list! My March list consists of two completed books, I think. :(

Apr 3, 6:59am Top

Hi, Jenny! It looks like you had a productive reading month, in March. Yah! And congrats on that amazing garden. Wow!

Apr 3, 8:55am Top

>186 karenmarie: I hope you manage to get those you want in, though I'm very much of the opinion to only do as much or as little as you want to, and not turn it into a chore. I'm surprised at how much I'm enjoying it, though I still don't like the feeling of dry earth or compost on my hands.

>187 Ameise1: Thank you, Barbara. I hope your week goes as well as possible. The sun has come out here so it's looking up.

>188 Ireadthereforeiam: A book swap party would be excellent. Alas, not particularly practical! Oh well, I'll find some way of shifting them all.

It was only such a good month because of graphic novels and memoirs. My 'normal' novel reading is not nearly as prolific!

>189 msf59: Thanks Mark. My numbers have been very much boosted by GNs and memoirs. I shall try and keep going, though busy weekends certainly reduce the amount I read.

Apr 3, 9:01am Top

Today's additions to the garden:

Two lavender plants have gone in and I'm hopeful of many more. I'm very keen to make a good habitat for bees and butterflies, particularly as bees are struggling so much at the moment. Thyme and rhubarb have also gone in, and hopefully, come Autumn, I'll be able to make apple and rhubarb crumbles and pies with fruit coming only from the garden.

Reading wise, I'm on to The Hound of the Baskervilles on audio which is possibly my favourite Sherlock Holmes mystery, and I picked up Fifth Chinese Daughter from my mum's house, which is an old childhood favourite.

Heading off shortly as Connie has a saddle fitting this afternoon in the hopes of resolving some of her issues - the saddle moves a lot when she bucks, which doesn't help me stay on!

And then 90 minutes of badminton this evening. Life seems to be going at an extraordinary pace at the moment. Hopefully I'll be able to catch up with a few threads at some point.

Apr 3, 10:27am Top

You are going well with your garden, Jenny. I have some fruits in the garden, bur in smaller numbers.
The two we like most to eat from the garden are the blueberries and Japanese wineberries.

Apr 3, 12:25pm Top

>192 FAMeulstee: Ohh, I might have to investigate Japanese wineberries. They sound fabulous. We've now got raspberries, strawberries, loganberries and tayberries. And the fruit trees I got TheBF for his birthday - a medlar tree and a quince tree. As well as apples, plums, cherries, walnuts and hazelnuts. But we never see any walnuts, cherries or hazelnuts, as the squirrels have all the nuts off the trees before we can get any of them, and the birds have the cherries.

Apr 3, 2:39pm Top

>193 lunacat: The same happens to our plums, Jenny. When we are lucky we can get 5% of the plums before the birds have their plum feast :-)

Apr 3, 4:25pm Top

I'm so jealous of your garden, Jenny! I'm hoping to get a garden started as soon as I move in - first of May shouldn't be too late, though it won't be as extensive as yours and most of what I plant will need to be seedlings from the nursery, except some of the herbs and flowers.

Apr 4, 12:22am Top

>190 lunacat: some reading months are good, some not so good. Cest la vie.

Apr 4, 5:40am Top

Good morning, Jenny. I love lavender. Wishing you a lovely day.

Apr 4, 6:19am Top

Happy Tuesday, Jenny!

Apr 4, 9:51am Top

Hope you had a nice, quiet day yesterday, Jenny!

Apr 4, 12:00pm Top

>194 FAMeulstee: I may have to start being more assertive over the sharing of fruit between birds and us. Though I'm not sure how - the trees are too big to net! I will probably simply resign myself.

>195 Storeetllr: 1st of May will be plenty of time for a lot of things, as far as I know. TheBF spoke to his neighbour at the weekend and they said they haven't started putting anything in yet, though we have. I guess we'll see how productive his garden is, compared to ours! It isn't really 'my garden' as it's at TheBF's house, so if we split up, I'll lose it all. He did make the comment, in relation to one of the fruit trees I gave him for his birthday, that he was looking forward to saying to 'someone' in the future, "you're eating fruit from a tree your mum gave me for my 31st birthday", so it might be safe to say he's thinking ahead. I panicked a little, even as I smiled. One step at a time! I hope you can get at least a herb garden in this year.

>196 Ireadthereforeiam: I think you have a pretty decent excuse, what with 2 kids, 2 jobs, studying etc. :)

Apr 4, 12:03pm Top

>197 Ameise1: I'd love lavender everywhere in the garden. Two small plants is the beginning, but I'm also attempting to grow some from seed, so we'll see what happens with them.

>198 alcottacre: Thanks Stasia. You too!

>199 katiekrug: Extremely quiet day today, as I've got migraine symptoms thanks to the change in pressure from high to low. Only a moderate headache so far, but I've had flashing lights, fuzzy vision, numb face and hands and some difficulties with speech. It has settled for now, but I won't be spending too long looking at screens, just in case. Hope your week is going well.

Apr 4, 12:17pm Top

Hi Jenny! I'm sorry to hear that the barometric pressure changes give you migraines. Hope you're feeling better soon. No screens is a good idea.

Apr 4, 3:32pm Top

>200 lunacat: That is so sweet! The bf is definitely a keeper! (As I think I've said before.)

Apr 4, 4:03pm Top

>202 karenmarie: The no screens didn't last long as I started feeling better. I'm still quite spaced out but the low pressure is sticking around for a few days so hopefully my head will adjust.

>203 Storeetllr: A keeper indeed. We're loving life at the moment. Gardening, cooking, sipping wine, playing badminton, chilling out. Just under two weeks until we go to Andalusia, and I can't wait. From conversations that we've had, we most definitely have a future together, though nothing is set in stone yet (no rings on fingers yet!). It is simply assumed by both of us that we're in this for the long haul. If you'd asked me about this 18 months ago, I'd have said it was impossible. Who'd have thunk it? ;)

Apr 4, 4:11pm Top

New shoes arrived today. I am sick to death of sore feet, and the only sandals I could find in the shops were unsupportive, flat based ones with no padding. They are NOT good for someone like me with extremely high arches and bunions.

So I splashed out, and have (slightly middle aged) sandals that are padded and supportive and comfy, and can keep my feet happy for hours while we walk around Spain. And they are rather pretty as well :).

Apr 4, 4:46pm Top

Hi Jenny, thanks for your message on my thread my dear, I have starred you so I can see what you are up to my dear. Whereabouts are you in the UK?

Apr 4, 6:24pm Top

Best of luck with The Power when you find, it , Jenny. Though I want to read from the Bailey's Shortlist, I'm not not sure that The Power appeals to me. Wow! Such a garden that you have going! Best of luck with clearing things out.

Apr 5, 6:10am Top

>206 johnsimpson: I'm down in Suffolk, John. Rather different to Yorkshire!

>207 vancouverdeb: Thank you. The beginning of The Power was extremely good - now just to find it! I am headed to the library today so I might see if they've got a copy.

Apr 5, 2:12pm Top

>205 lunacat: Lovely sandal, Jenny. Happy Wednesday.

Apr 5, 2:21pm Top

House clearance update:

Today, the rest of my bedroom was cleared, as well as the attic! Which still had boxes in it from when we moved in 26 years ago. It is now empty. All the carpets except the one on the stairs are now out.

In my old bedroom, we found:

An extremely precious piece of scrap paper with doodles by my dad on it.
A letter he wrote when he was first diagnosed with heart disease, telling me to be strong, be happy, and that I'd made him the happiest and proudest man in the world.
My dad's old passport.

And in the attic, we found:

A TV, cassette player and camera, all from the 70's
My mum's wedding dress, which was handmade by (I believe) my grandmother and great-grandmother
And a rat skull and skeleton (!) (along with many, many, many other things). I had been dreading doing the attic as I knew there was the rat there - I saw it last time I went up there, 10 or 12 years ago. It was quite a shock at the time, to come face to face with a rather desiccated rat as I flashed the torch around, and in my surprise, I simply grabbed whatever I needed and escaped without dealing with it. I feared that the dry conditions of the attic would mean it had mummified and would still be there, but thankfully there were just some small bones lying harmlessly around. Phew. I'm not squeamish or jumpy at all normally, but coming upon him unexpectedly last time had rather shaken me.

We also had some help today:

This cat is not my mother's! He showed up a few days ago when TheBF and I were there, and he helped and inspected all afternoon today. I don't know what his name is, but I recognise the surname on his collar so I know he's a local pet. It was nice to have him in and out of the house with us, and he supervised very well.

Apr 5, 2:22pm Top

>209 Ameise1: Thank you, Barbara. I'm extremely happy with them. Hope your week is progressing well.

Edited: Apr 5, 2:46pm Top

>210 lunacat: Great report, Jenny. How wonderful that you found those things relating to your dad (what a special letter to you) and your mom's wedding dress. And I love your cat helper. Thanks for the photos.

P.S. What a huge project!

Apr 5, 3:22pm Top

>212 jnwelch: Huge project indeed. There is so much to get rid of. But we're four skips down and might be getting somewhere, apart from the ever present books. The next week will be wallpaper stripping, filling up holes etc, and looking at how much work the walls need to be presentable. Then the trades can start coming in! It's been great finding all the things - I even tried on my mum's wedding dress. Rather outdated, but it was lovely to know it is handmade by my grandmother etc, and their love and care was poured into it.

Apr 5, 6:09pm Top

You've found some very exciting things, Jenny, gotten a lot of work done, and looks like your visiting cat thinks he owns the place!


I like your sandals, too. Comfy looking yet cool.

Apr 5, 6:47pm Top

>214 karenmarie: So, so comfy. I was really disappointed today that it wasn't warm enough for sandals.

The cat definitely strutted around, and gave excellent assistance. It was nice to have a feline friend accompanying us most of the time, he made us smile a lot.

Apr 6, 9:22am Top

>215 lunacat: Assistance? In that last picture it's clear who's boss. :)

Apr 6, 2:27pm Top

>216 drneutron: He took his supervisory role very seriously and shouted at us occasionally to keep us going :)

Apr 6, 2:30pm Top

Wallpaper stripping today. One room down, four to go! I'm absolutely exhausted and accidentally fell asleep on the sofa for 2 hours after doing Con. Not sure how I'm going to muster the energy for a badminton lesson in 30 minutes.

Apr 6, 3:20pm Top

How lovely to find the stuff from your dad and your mom's handmade wedding dress. My grandmother made mine (and my mother's) and they are precious.

Wouldn't it be great to have an LT party there to go through and handle all the books!!

Your garden sounds wonderful. You reminded me I need to add lavender to my drought-tolerant bed--my last plant died over the winter. You might consider starting a thread over in the Gardens and Books group to post pictures! My thread there is

Apr 6, 5:07pm Top

>219 ronincats: If only! I am SO overwhelmed by the books. And the other stuff. There is just too much, even after we've filled 5 skips of actual rubbish and things not worth saving. I wish there was a tradition of garage sales over here, but oh well, I'll figure it out. How wonderful that yours, and your mother's, were both handmade as well. It's a route I think I'd want to go down, but I can't sew!

The garden is slowly getting towards wonderful. My next aim is to find somewhere for a wild flower area to encourage the butterflies and bees. We've placed the lavender as 'brush past' shrubs so hopefully we'll get the scent of lavender all around the place. There will be quite a few more plants to go in, but two is a good start. I hope you can get yours in :).

I wish we'd got a photo of the veg garden before we cleared it - it had had 10 years of being fallow before TheBF and I started it up again late last year, so it's very much a work in progress. We've got plans for at least four more raised beds to be built this weekend, and possibly more. I'll have a look at the Gardens and Books group, thanks.

Apr 7, 11:08am Top

Lots of things going up at your place, Jenny. When are you leaving for Andalusia? Happy Friday.

Apr 7, 11:28am Top

>210 lunacat: Must have been an absolute whorl of emotions going through and rediscovering all that stuff; all those memories. xx

Happy to report that this is the 1000th post on your threads this year and it is great to see you back so happy and so energised.

Have a lovely weekend.

Edited: Apr 7, 5:23pm Top

>221 Ameise1: We leave for Spain early (very early) on the 17th, Easter Monday. Can't wait, it will be fabulous to have some downtime.

>222 PaulCranswick: It has been very difficult, and lovely at the same time. There have been a LOT of tears and conflicted emotions. It doesn't help that my medications for mental health have been changed in the last three weeks or so, so brain chemicals are all over the place. I can't wait to go on holiday and escape for a while.

Edited to add: Of course, I am so so much happier than I have been for a long time, so this emotional time is bearable. TheBF is a wonderful addition and I simply cannot imagine my life without him. That's not to say life is perfect, and I still have chronic mental health problems that are very clearly brain chemical related - as shown by a strong genetic link. Currently I have a mini-meltdown nearly every night, because of the changes in medication, complete with anxiety, panic and lots of tears (when I usually only cry about once every six months) but having his love, care and support makes a huge difference. Under all the brain chemical nonsense, I know I am content, loved, and happy.

Apr 7, 9:21pm Top

>223 lunacat: having his love, care and support makes a huge difference.

Isn't that great?! xx

Apr 8, 8:11am Top

>224 PaulCranswick: Just a bit :)

My view currently, while I wait for TheBF to make me lunch. I'll put up before and after pictures of the veg garden once we've done a bit more.

Apr 8, 8:20am Top

Hi Jenny!

I'm glad you're happy, even with the house and meds issues. You're self-aware which helps, as does your wonderful-sounding BF.

>225 lunacat: Lovely view. Enjoy your lunch and the rest of the weekend.

Apr 8, 4:24pm Top

>226 karenmarie: Too self-aware at times, but it does become helpful. Noticing when I'm having unreasonable or overreacting, or when it feels like a chemical reaction rather than a truly emotional one is a good thing.

So far, so good on the weekend. We built another raised bed, double height this time as it had to go over a place with quite a few tree roots. 18 climbing bean plants and 24 pea plants have gone in! It's all looking like we know what we're doing..........ridiculously far from the truth!!

Apr 9, 7:30am Top

Reading update: I went through and picked out all my childhood favourites from my mum's house and am slowly working my way through them. On the go currently is The Warden's Niece. I'd forgotten it's as amusing as it is - who can manage not to chuckle when a member of the clergy ends up falling through the roof of a chicken house and stands there with the hens pecking his toes.

Also nearing the end of The Complete Sherlock Holmes, and I'll miss Stephen Fry reading to me.

Apr 9, 8:04am Top

>225 lunacat: Love the garden! Happy Sunday, Jenny. Glad you are finding some reading time, during a busy schedule. Hope you are enjoying the day.

Apr 9, 10:11am Top

>229 msf59: It is an absolutely glorious day Mark. I hope you can get outside and appreciate some spring as well. I've just come in for a 15 minute break as we've finished the construction of the last raised bed of the day, and needed a rest before filling it. I've picked up A Little History of British Gardening by Jenny Uglow, as it seemed appropriate.

Apr 9, 12:24pm Top

Hi, Jenny - Happy Sunday! Enjoy your gorgeous day in the garden! Just want to thank you for the warble for the audio of The Complete Sherlock Holmes. I just bought it using one of my Audible credits and can't wait to start listening!

Apr 10, 12:33pm Top

>231 Storeetllr: It's absolutely brilliant, Mary. I hope you enjoy it. Stephen Fry is a dream to having reading to you.

Apr 10, 12:35pm Top

Hi Jenny! Congrats on getting the last raised bed done.

Happy Monday, too.

Edited: Apr 10, 12:39pm Top

Before and after on the gardening:



Apr 10, 12:40pm Top

>233 karenmarie: Thanks Karen. Alas, only the last one for the weekend, there will be more going in after our holiday!

Apr 10, 12:40pm Top

Impressive! I love before and after pictures. Thanks for sharing.

Apr 10, 12:58pm Top

>236 karenmarie: It certainly felt impressive at the end of yesterday, when we were exhausted and sunburnt. Pleased with our progress so far - the next raised bed will be built specifically for sweetcorn.

Edited: Apr 10, 2:11pm Top

Quick reviews:

32. We by Yevgeny Zamyatin - A dystopian fiction that was the precursor to works like 1984, and was the first novel banned by the Soviets in 1921. Set in a glass city, controlled by the OneState, and with spies at every turn, the protagonist begins to notice the flaws in the system. Interesting, but I found this a difficult read. 1984 is much more readable, but it was intriguing to see the parallels.

33. Saints by Gene Luen Yang - One half of a graphic novel duo, in which the parallel lives of two people in China during the Boxer rebellion are depicted. In Saints, an unwanted fourth daughter finds a place for herself in Christianity, but her newly discovered religion quickly turns dangerous for her. A fascinating story, looking at faith and how far people will go, this was an extremely good graphic novel that is surprisingly in-depth, with good and thought provoking graphics. I'm looking forward to reading the companion novel, Boxers.

34. Line of Fire: Diary of an Unknown Soldier by Barroux -One day, Barroux discovered the real diary of a soldier from WWI lying in a rubbish pile on a street in Paris. Taking this diary, recounting the first two months of the First World War, Barroux brilliantly illustrates the story told through the soldier's words. The initial hopes and excitement expressed quickly change when the realities of war hit, and though the diary only lasts for two months, the alteration in his situation is very apparent. Simple illustrations add a lot to the diary entries.

35. Chicken With Plums by Marjane Satrapi - Best known for Persepolis, this graphic novel from the same author tells the story of a Tar player in 1958 Tehran who decides that life is no longer worth living and takes to his bed. During the following eight days, he has flashbacks, showing scenes from his life, and demonstrating how he has ended up at this point. An interesting depiction of Iran at this time, and one I actually preferred to Persepolis.

Apr 10, 2:30pm Top

>234 lunacat: Looks good, Jenny, you have been working hard.
Are those spring snowflakes in the front of the first picture?

Apr 10, 2:48pm Top

36. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle - A lot of my favourite Holmes stories here, including The Adventure of the Speckled Band, and The Adventure of the Copper Beeches. Expertly narrated by Stephen Fry. These are a joy.

37. Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman - a YA medieval novel written as diary entries by a fourteen year old girl desperate to avoid horrendous suitors and ladylike behaviour. "Shaggy Beard wishes to take me to wife! What a monstrous joke. That dog assassin whose breath smells like the mouth of Hell, who makes wind like others make music, who is so ugly and old! One of my old childhood favourites, this is funny, clever and wise in equal measure, as well as being educational. I love the quick-witted Catherine, and the host of supporting characters. Still as fun to read as an adult as it was when I was a kid.

38. The Sign of the Four by Arthur Conan Doyle - Another instalment of Sherlock Holmes. I prefer the short stories to the full length ones, but this is nearly as good.

39. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle - I didn't find this collection quite as good as the Adventures, but they are still pretty darn enjoyable.

Apr 10, 2:51pm Top

>239 FAMeulstee: Yes, I believe they are, Anita. It's a bit unfortunate we're having to transplant the bulbs as they were planted by TheBF's mother before she died, but hopefully some will survive the rude uprooting. Keep your fingers crossed!

Apr 10, 3:54pm Top

Wow your garden is coming along, raised beds are cool. Not for their height so much as that they define the space so well. Spain was just a plan so many weeks ago, and look at that- it is nearly time to pack those sandals and a sarong and get to where the warm is :)

And your reading....so much of it :) I read a short story last night and will have to count it as a whole books, seeing as I don't have much to show for myself these days and need to keep my reading spirits up ;) It's called The Yellow Wall Paper and was written in the late 1800s. Funny that I should read an account of someones descent into madness to keep my own spirits up, but no one ever said life was straight forward!!

Apr 10, 4:27pm Top

I read Catherine Called Birdy a few years ago, as an adult, and I absolutely loved it! I just "found" my old dog-eared copy (a library discard that I bought at a library used book sale) at the back of one of the bookshelves the other day when I was packing up and thought it might be time for a reread. Your review decided it. As soon as I "find" it again as I'm reshelving the books, I'll be rereading it.

Love your before and after garden pics! Good job!

Apr 10, 5:24pm Top

>242 Ireadthereforeiam: We are definite raised bed converts. I've been wincing at the expenditure on compost, but it's all an investment in the future. And the double height one that has peas, beans and carrots in is SO much easier to plant/weed etc. At some point, the whole patch will be raised beds but we've still got broccoli growing in the other side and are waiting to see what it does, so those beds might wait till next year. We'll build the beds around the plants, just not infill with compost yet. I love how ordered and vegetable gardeny it looks, with beanpoles etc as well. Almost like we know what we're doing?!

Congratulations on finishing the short story. Last year was much the same for me, I think I read about 2 books in the first 6 months. Too busy falling in love ;). I read weird stuff at times as well, like depressing things when I'm down. Who knows why?! And descents into madness can be fascinating.

>243 Storeetllr: Hurrah for another Catherine/Birdy fan. It's so fun, yet feels so believable. I hope it turns up soon after your move so you can revisit it. How are things going?

Apr 10, 10:19pm Top

I'm a big raised bed fan too, as you probably know, Jenny. I love the beds we put in last June in the front yard

Apr 11, 12:45am Top

Hi Jenny--Love the before and after pictures of the raised beds. Nicely done! And I am also loving Fry reading Sherlock Holmes. I have listened to the first two. Glad that despite the changes in meds, you are able to see the upside of life and I am glad the BF is such an understanding anchor for you right now. Vacation is on its way!!! : )

Apr 11, 4:48am Top

>234 lunacat: Wow, you did a great job, Jenny.
Congrats on doing such a lot of reading.

Happy Tuesday.

Apr 11, 5:58am Top

>245 ronincats: All of your activities inspire me, Roni. Your gardening, reading and pottery. I've given up pottery because my perfectionism was making it stressful, but I may pick it up again at some point. I'm glad to hear your raised bed was such a success - hopefully our five (so far) will be fruitful.

>246 Berly: TheBF's mother was a clinical psychologist (or maybe psychiatrist) before she passed away so he's got a greater basic understanding of mental health than many people. He has been brilliant. The changes in brain chemicals have been a rollercoaster and yet he is there with hugs, reassurance, patience, and encouragement to take rescue meds etc when I need them. I truly don't know what I'd do without him! I'm glad you're listening to Fry read Holmes, isn't it wonderful? And yup, less than a week till Spain now. Hurrah!

>247 Ameise1: Happy Tuesday, Barbara. I'm determined to keep myself reading rather than getting distracted by other things. It's working so far. I hope your week is going well.

Apr 11, 11:30am Top

Hi Jenny! I love the pictures of the raised beds. One of my coworkers has been recommending them to me and is trying to get me to try gardening that way. I remember ordering Line of Fire: Diary of an Unknown Soldier for work and wanting to read it, so thanks for the reminder. And I've been thinking about rereading Catherine, Called Birdy for a while now. I read it several times when I was young, but haven't done a reread as an adult. Glad to know it's still enjoyable for grown ups :)

Apr 11, 3:24pm Top

>249 aktakukac: I would recommend raised beds as well, though they do require a bit of expense with compost etc. We have put SO much in. But hopefully it will grow amazing veg, and it is easier to weed and keep under control.

Catherine, Called Birdy is still good fun. I hope you get around to rereading it soon.

Apr 11, 8:17pm Top

I truly believe being too tired to read but unable to fall asleep could be utilised as a form of torture to employ with book lovers :/.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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