Arrr! (Celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day) Thar be a hunt for treasure, Mateys!
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Lunacat is reading and gardening in 2017 (5)

This is a continuation of the topic Lunacat is alive and reading for 2017 (4).

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Apr 12, 2017, 6:22am Top

Five days to go till our Spanish adventure, and I'm really looking forward to visiting the Alcazar of Seville. And eating lots of tapas.

Edited: Apr 12, 2017, 6:24am 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


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

Edited: May 24, 2017, 1:38pm Top


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
44. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg
45. Asterix the Gaul by Rene Goscinny
46. Asterix and the Goths by Rene Goscinny
47. Asterix the Gladiator by Rene Goscinny
48. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
49. Talking to the Dead by Harry Bingham
50. Love Story, With Murders by Harry Bingham


51. The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths by Harry Bingham
52. This Thing of Darkness by Harry Bingham
53. The Dead House by Harry Bingham
54. The Painted Garden by Noel Streatfeild
55. Lies, Damned Lies, and History by Jodi Taylor
56. March: Book One by John Lewis
57. And the Rest is History by Jodi Taylor
58. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
59. We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis E. Taylor
60. March: Book Two by John Lewis
61. March: Book Three by John Lewis
62. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
63. Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel

Edited: Apr 12, 2017, 6:30am Top

Currently reading:

The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell

Edited: Apr 12, 2017, 6:33am Top

List of veg being grown (for my own reference):

Silverskin Onions
Dwarf French Beans
Climbing Beans
Pak Choi
Sweet Peppers
Jalapeno Peppers
Spring Onions

Apr 12, 2017, 6:31am Top

Happy new thread, Jenny, I am looking forward to hear about your Spanish adventures :-)

Apr 12, 2017, 6:36am Top

>6 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita. I'm looking forward to having the adventures!

Here, have some tapas as a reward for being first. TheBF and I are fully expecting our clothes to be rather tighter when we come back.

Apr 12, 2017, 6:39am Top

I've got a poorly cat on my lap currently, who is off to the vet in 5 hours or so. He came in with some puncture wounds on Monday, having obviously been fighting. Though we have been treating them at home and keeping them clean, his face has puffed up today and he's clearly unhappy, so needs some TLC. Fingers crossed some anti-inflammatories and antibiotics will have him back to his normal self soon.

Apr 12, 2017, 8:46am Top

Hi Jenny and happy new thread!

Sorry about your kitty. Been there, done that. I always thank my kitties for protecting us and our property. I hope the vet gives you what you need for him and that he perks up soon.

Impressive list of what you're growing and reading, too.

Apr 12, 2017, 9:27am Top

Happy new thread, Jenny. I hope they find a quick fix for your kitty at the vet's. I am looking forward to posts about your Spanish adventures.

Apr 12, 2017, 9:32am Top

Happy new thread! Not quite sure what happened, but your threads 2-4 vanished from the Threadbook. I've got them back in, added number 5, and all's right with the 75er world! :)

Apr 12, 2017, 10:09am Top

Happy new thread, Ermi!

Whilst in Spain, please drink lots of tempranillo for me.

Apr 12, 2017, 11:17am Top

Congrats on your shiny new thread, Jenny. I'm so sorry to hear that your cat is doing poorly. I hope they can give him the right meds. Here is hope that he recovers quickly.

Apr 12, 2017, 1:44pm Top

>9 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen. He's an obnoxious little blighter who was probably being the antagonist rather than the defender of our property, so he doesn't deserve too much sympathy. He's had a couple of jabs, and has antibiotics for the next week. It's not an expense I really needed just before the holiday, but oh well!

>10 Familyhistorian: An easy fix for the cat, if a bit of a pain. His small puncture wounds have gone a bit yucky is all. I should have wifi for most of the holiday so I'll be sure to post some pictures.

>11 drneutron: How rude, Jim! I shall lodge a complaint with the authorities! Or maybe, because you've returned me to my rightful place in the threadbook, I'll forgive you ;).

Apr 12, 2017, 1:59pm Top

>12 katiekrug: I shall be sure to drink plenty of.....well, lots! I can't wait. It appears there are plenty of places you can get a glass of wine for €2 or a glass of sherry for €1 so I'll be sampling those. And plenty of tapas. I will have some glasses of Rioja and toast your health.

>13 Ameise1: Thanks for the well-wishes, Barbara. I'm so pleased to see there is nothing long lasting with Piccola. He'll be alright with some antibiotics.

Edited: Apr 12, 2017, 2:57pm Top

Happy Day To You

Apr 12, 2017, 8:07pm Top

Happy new thread, Jenny.

Have a safe and wonderful trip to the beautiful country of Spain. xx

Apr 12, 2017, 8:50pm Top

Glad the kitty is getting better, and I hope you all have a wonderful time on your trip!

Apr 13, 2017, 1:50am Top

Jenny--Happy new thread. Spain is almost here! Can't wait to live vicariously through you. And that is a lot of veggies you are growing!! Yum.

Apr 13, 2017, 3:57am Top

>16 Whisper1: Thanks Linda! Lovely to see you here.

>17 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul. I'm counting down the days. There is a ridiculous amount to try and get done before we go, and a huge birthday barbeque being hosted in the house on Saturday. I'll have to try and be restrained with my alcohol intake so I can achieve something on Sunday! Only a drop in the ocean compared to what you've got going on though.

>18 ronincats: He's much better, thanks Roni. Currently cross cos he hasn't been let out yet this morning - we need to try and clean the wounds before he can go out. He's a very talkative cat, so when he's angry we get to hear about it.

>19 Berly: Yay for Spain! I'm ridiculously excited. It will be so good to get away and not have to think about real life stuff too much. And it looks like the weather will be perfect.

We've managed to kill the beans, so will need to sow some more of those (we didn't transplant them from windowsill to garden soon enough), but apparently all the other veg is looking good. Let's hope TheBF's dad can manage to keep them watered while we're away. It's not a sure thing.

Apr 13, 2017, 6:15am Top

>4 lunacat: well red!!
At a friends wedding a few years back, the invitation asked for no presents but if people had to then could they be "red". I gave them a book each, one that I had read ("red"). I thought it was an excellent way around wanting to give books. But in order to give the groom one he would like, I had to read a book about rugby. That is how selfless I am.

Apr 13, 2017, 6:22am Top

Happy new one, Jenny! I am looking forward to vicariously sharing your adventures in Spain. Here's hoping the kitty is on the mend and that the garden gets watered while you are away.

Apr 13, 2017, 10:30am Top

Hi Jenny! The countdown continues, and I will also be happy to vicariously share your adventures in Spain., as Crazymamie says.

While I was in college, in the early (gulp) 1970s, my neighbor had a tom cat who always got in fights. He and his girlfriend didn't have money to spend on vets, so Stephen and I would doctor the cat - I'd hold him tightly wrapped up in towels while Stephen cleaned out, medicated, and occasionally stitched the wounds. It's much nicer to have the money and let the vet do it.

Apr 13, 2017, 3:13pm Top

Hi Jenny, happy new thread my dear and wish you a lovely time in Spain my dear.

Apr 13, 2017, 4:08pm Top

>21 LovingLit: That is a very cool idea. I'm assuming they meant red wine as one of the gifts? ;) I enjoy rugby but I'm not sure if I could read a book about it - possibly for some good friends, I'd manage. It's very selfless of you!

>22 Crazymamie: I'll do my best to share all the good stuff Mamie. I'm slightly apprehensive that TheBF's method of going on holiday (don't think of any details till the last minute and assume everything will simply work out) is very different to mine, but I think we'll make it work. Tashi (the cat) is indeed on the mend - he's currently happily asleep in the suitcase I dug out today to start throwing clothes in!

Apr 13, 2017, 4:11pm Top

>23 karenmarie: One of my old cats was also invariably getting in fights and needing antibiotics. He was hell to treat, clawed the vet on numerous occasions, and could spin round in his skin (somehow) so even a scruff wouldn't work. Wrapping him in a towel also didn't work. One day, my mum was so sick of trying to get the pills down his throat that she just offered it to him on her hand. He ate it right up. All those years of having battles and he'd have munched them the whole time! She couldn't help but laugh. Sadly the same thing didn't work with wormers. Thankfully we can give these antibiotics in food and Tashi is the world's greediest cat, so he's wolfed them down.

It's certainly much easier to be able to (just about) afford the vet so that we don't have to worry :)

>24 johnsimpson: Thanks, John. I can't wait - both TheBF and I are really stressed (for differing reasons) so the break should be great. Some sun, sangria and tapas will help as well.

Apr 13, 2017, 4:22pm Top

>26 lunacat:, Sun, Sangria and Tapas always helps, lol.

Apr 13, 2017, 4:31pm Top

>27 johnsimpson: I was going to add another S but I thought I'd keep this thread clean and suitable for minors ;) so tapas it is! There should be some sand as well, as we're staying in a wooden hut type thing on the beach for one night. So maybe it can been Sun, Sand and Sangria for that evening!

Apr 13, 2017, 4:39pm Top

>28 lunacat:, is Sleeping a non clean word my dear, lol. Any other S words I am not sure I know, liar liar lol.

Apr 13, 2017, 6:47pm Top

Ah yes, sleeping is the non clean word I was thinking of! After all, my grandmother told me a lady never tells about what goes on in the bedroom.....that's what she meant, I'm sure.

Apr 13, 2017, 6:55pm Top

Happy New Thread, Jenny. I'm glad your trip is so close.

Apr 13, 2017, 10:42pm Top

Happy New Thread, Jenny. I'm excited for you with the upcoming trip. It's fun to be counting down in days rather than weeks!

And your veggie list is wonderful. We have a vegetable garden down at the neighborhood p patch but we don't have enough space for that many things. We grow peas (usually), tomatoes, potatoes, chard, lettuce, green beans (my favorite because they always do so well), radishes, zucchini, carrots....
Huh, now that I type out that list, I'm kind of impressed with how much we grow in our little rectangle of land!

Apr 14, 2017, 7:27am Top

Happy Friday, Jenny. Glad to hear that your cat is doing well.

Apr 14, 2017, 7:37am Top

Happy new thread, Jenny! I'm almost as excited for your trip to Spain as you! Hope you get the chance to post pics.
Your garden is going to be awesome! I'm not planning on a garden this year, too much out and aboutness going on.
Safe travels and bring on the tapas!

Apr 14, 2017, 10:49am Top

Hope you have a great Easter weekend!

Apr 14, 2017, 2:36pm Top

Only a few more days until your trip! Spain sounds so exotic! Sun, sangria, sand, "sleep" and tapas. ;) Works for me!

Sorry to hear about the beans. I'll be crossing my fingers that BFdad will take good care of your garden while you are away on your glorious adventure!

Apr 14, 2017, 2:42pm Top

>31 jnwelch: Thanks Joe. I can't believe it's so close. This week has been incredibly stressful so I'm glad to be collapsed on the sofa with a cider now. Two days to go!

>32 EBT1002: It certainly seems like your veg list is long enough! I don't like zucchini and we haven't currently got an appropriate space for potatoes, but we've got seeds for everything else on your list. I hope your garden ends up productive.

>33 Ameise1: He's still a little squinty on one side as one of her puncture wounds is on his cheek and it's slightly puffy, but the antibiotics are doing their job and apart from being a bit sleepier than usual, he's fine. It seems it was the week for our cats needing the vet! I hope you have a wonderful long weekend.

Apr 14, 2017, 2:50pm Top

>34 Carmenere: Thanks Lynda! I'm so excited, I love visiting new places. And tapas is one of my favourite ways of eating, so I will be in my element. I think I'll have wifi in most places so I should be able to post a few.

We've got this holiday which is at a rather inopportune time garden wise, and another at the end of May which also isn't ideal. But I'd rather risk the garden than not go away. If nothing grows, we can just pop down to the shops. At least we're not dependent on it, which is a blessing. TheBF enjoys going out in the evening and watering, so it gets some vague care and attention most days, it's just the holidays that will cause the most problems!

>35 ChelleBearss: Thanks Chelle. I hope yours is full of relaxation and chocolate :)

>36 Storeetllr: I've never been to Spain, but I'm looking forward to all the Moorish architecture and history. And, of course, all the S's and tapas. It's a hard call as to which S I'm looking forward to most ;) . Apparently BFdad (excellent abbreviation) is going to set up the sprinkler so we stand some chance of the garden being ok. The beans seem very happy to germinate so I think we can replace the ones we killed.

Hope the moving prep is going smoothly :)

Apr 14, 2017, 3:02pm Top

I'm happy for you as the countdown continues.

Happy Easter Weekend!

Apr 14, 2017, 3:23pm Top

Wishing you a very Happy Easter.

Apr 14, 2017, 5:23pm Top

>39 karenmarie: Thanks Karen, you too! I hope you have a lovely weekend.

>40 johnsimpson: Thank you, John. You too.

Apr 14, 2017, 8:00pm Top

Happy new thread, and wishing you a happy Easter.

Edited: Apr 14, 2017, 10:16pm Top

Happy New Thread, Jenny. Hooray for your upcoming Spanish adventure. Sounds fantastic.

Apr 15, 2017, 5:15am Top

Apr 15, 2017, 6:19am Top

Hi Jenny, wishing you a wonderful Easter weekend.

Apr 15, 2017, 6:47am Top

>42 tymfos: Thanks Terri. Happy Easter to you too.

>43 msf59: I can't wait, Mark. I'm not enjoying the manic nature that always occurs before a holiday though. I keep forgetting so many things it's unreal! It will all be worth it though.

>44 DianaNL: Happy Easter to you, Diana.

>45 Ameise1: Thank you, Barbara. I hope you're having a lovely weekend.

Apr 15, 2017, 6:18pm Top

It wouldn't be a trip away without the frenetic lead up, Jenny. Almost there and then you will be able to relax and enjoy all the s's!

Apr 15, 2017, 7:02pm Top

>47 Familyhistorian: I can't wait! It's been the housemate's birthday BBQ tonight so we're all rather the worse for wine.

Tomorrow will be manic and then we're away early on Monday so we can vanish from the world. I suspect I'll be off the grid for a couple of nights, just enjoying our space and company so I might not check in for a couple of days. I'll be sure to share some pics though!

Apr 15, 2017, 8:16pm Top

>48 lunacat: Not long now, Jenny. I hope you have a smooth trip there.

Apr 15, 2017, 9:07pm Top

>46 lunacat: yes, there are always a lit of things to remember before a holiday. Usually in the middle of the night. (keep a list near the bed?)

Apr 16, 2017, 1:54am Top

Hap9y Sunday, Jenny. Only one night and then off to your vacation. Take it easy today ;-)

Apr 16, 2017, 10:03am Top

Have a great trip, Ermi!

Apr 16, 2017, 11:11am Top

>49 Familyhistorian: Thank you. Suppose I'd best finish my packing in order to ensure a smooth evening!

>50 LovingLit: Yeah, I know there are at least two things I thought of last night that I have now forgotten. As long as I've got money, phone, passport, medication, everything else can be purchased if it's been left behind. I think I should be fairly organised though.

>51 Ameise1: I've had a wonderful afternoon nap, so took it a bit easy, but now I need to try and get things done. Both TheBF and I are very tired so I foresee a lot of downtime and resting in the next few days!

>52 katiekrug: Thanks Katie. I'm hopeful it's going to be awesome. Weather is for 30C and sun tomorrow, so it will be a bit of a shock to the system. I've got plenty of suncream packed so the heat will be most appreciated.

Apr 16, 2017, 11:29am Top

And you leave tomorrow!!! You are going to have an awesome time. Take pictures!

Apr 16, 2017, 12:21pm Top

>54 Berly: Gulp! I've got about 5 hours to get everything done that I need to, in order to get to bed at a reasonable time ready for a 4am start. Suddenly, 5 hours doesn't seem nearly enough time. Maybe I should stop messing around on the interwebs and actually do some of my list ;). I will be sure to post pictures!

Apr 16, 2017, 2:36pm Top

I'm having real trouble deciding which paper books to take with me on holiday. Of course, I'm taking my Kindle, but I always take a couple of others in case my kindle breaks or something. I simply cannot decide this time. I haven't even narrowed it down.

Annoying, I thought I'd treat myself to A Gentleman in Moscow on kindle, as holiday reading, but it's more expensive as an ebook (£9.49) than it is as a hardback (£9.09) which seems ridiculous to me, so I changed my mind.

Apr 16, 2017, 2:44pm Top

I completely understand your dilemma! What books to bring with you on vacation is actually much more important than how many pairs of shoes to bring. lol

When I was in Italy, toward the end of my trip, I had run out of books (this was before Kindles). In the beach town of Jesalo on the Adriatic, I discovered an English bookstore within walking distance of my hotel. It was one of my best moments in Italy - which says a lot because Italy...

Safe flight, and have a wonderful time in Spain!

Apr 16, 2017, 2:53pm Top

>57 Storeetllr: I can completely understand that being a highlight. The problem of books on holiday stand out for me as one of my strongest memories of the last holiday with my dad. I had raced through the ten books she had brought with us for me to read, and there wasn't a good bookshop in town, but she found the Swallows and Amazons series in a newsagents so bought me the first one. We had to visit five more times to get me the next ones, as I devoured them.

Even now, 22 years later, it is one of the overriding memories of that holiday, and not only does it all come flooding back when I revisit Swallows and Amazons, but it also comes to mind whenever I'm trying to choose holiday reading, and makes me smile.

Apr 16, 2017, 3:13pm Top

I hope you have decided by now, Jenny, safe travels tomorrow!

Apr 16, 2017, 5:06pm Top

>59 FAMeulstee: I've decided to take the first two Ariana Franklin books, and a couple of others. My Kindle is fully loaded and all should be good. We've also packed a couple of games, and a pack of cards.

Really should be going to bed as we have to be getting up at 3.45am.

Apr 17, 2017, 3:32am Top

I love the Ariane Franklin series. Enjoy Andalusia. By now you should be there.

Apr 17, 2017, 7:33am Top

Safe travels, Jenny, and I hope you're enjoying your first day of holiday.

I'm also glad the stress of book picking and packing and etc. has dissolved in the warm heat of Andalusia.

Apr 17, 2017, 9:22am Top

Arrived safely, we're landed at our airbnb, the weather is glorious and we've already eaten plenty of jambon, manchego and olives. TheBF is doing his holiday notes for work while I chill out on the bed for a bit. All is good in these parts. And I read a big chunk of The Rosie Project on the plane before falling asleep.

Apr 17, 2017, 9:36am Top

Glad to hear that you're safely arrived. Enjoy your time.

Apr 17, 2017, 12:57pm Top

>64 Ameise1: Thanks, Barbara. It is bliss here.

Apr 17, 2017, 2:01pm Top

>65 lunacat: Looks good, Jenny, enjoy!

Apr 18, 2017, 4:40am Top

Hope you have a wonderful time, Jenny. In fact I am sure that you will. xx

Apr 18, 2017, 8:49am Top

I'm happy for you - yourBF, being away, books, relaxation.

Apr 19, 2017, 11:35am Top

We've had a really good time so far - warmth, horses, tapas, sherry, wine, cheese, sun, sand, sleep, games, and a night of no communication with the world whatsoever. We're now in Ronda, staying inside the ancient city walls, and it's amazing. The drive up here was awesome, winding along the side of mountains for an hour, although less good for TheBF as he's afraid of heights. He coped remarkably well though.

Now we're off for a wander around the old town, and to find some sherry for TheBF to calm him down after the terrifying heights.

Apr 19, 2017, 11:44am Top

Oh! Sounds perfect so far (except the drive on the side of the mountain)! Enjoy the sherry and your time in Ronda!

Apr 19, 2017, 12:30pm Top

Ronda is beautiful. Enjoy it.

Apr 19, 2017, 12:53pm Top

Sounds like you're having a great trip!

Edited: Apr 19, 2017, 4:58pm Top

Pretty carriage ponies

In Jerez, the stables are sponsored by port!

Spanish sand dunes

View of the valley Ronda is in

Jerez library

The 'new' bridge in Ronda

The royal palace where the horses are

The gorge at Ronda

Not one of my photos, as I will NEVER get TheBF down the gorge in order to get this view. But this is the bridge :)

Apr 20, 2017, 5:45am Top

>73 lunacat: Thanks for sharing the pictures, Jenny, it looks great all around, the horses, the library and the deep gorge.
Btw Sandeman is sherry, I remember long ago, when alcoholic beverages were regular advertized on TV, there was "The sectret you share with Sandeman", where some woman had a fabulous time and you saw the man with the cape in the background and a smooth voice whispered that sentence.

Apr 20, 2017, 8:42am Top

Beautiful photos, Jenny! Thanks for sharing.

Apr 20, 2017, 9:12am Top

So jealous!! I hope that you're having a great time!

Apr 20, 2017, 9:59am Top

Great pictures! Thanks for posting!

Apr 20, 2017, 1:37pm Top

>74 FAMeulstee: I believe it is both port and sherry - it may well be sherry implied here, as Southern Spain is sherry country (as shown by us getting glasses of sherry for €1 each in a bar in Jerez. But mostly we drink Sandeman port at home - it's only their port I have ever purchased anyway. They don't sell Sandeman sherry in the UK, or at least not readily available.

Apr 20, 2017, 1:41pm Top

>75 karenmarie: Thanks Karen. Today has been fairly stressful for a number of reasons, but we had a nice wander around Ronda this morning, had a great lunch, and are now in Granada. So far, Granada has not impressed - particularly because TheBF failed to get tickets for the Alhambra ahead of time (even though I kept asking him to) and now it's sold out. So after coming all this way, we may not get to see it. But we may be able to get tickets tomorrow.

Also, traffic is a nightmare and there are a lot of people demanding money. It's quite intense! I hope we're going to see a better side of Granada soon.

>76 DFED: A great time, apart from some of today. But if there is one bad day in the whole holiday, we can't complain too much!

>77 mstrust: Thanks :)

Apr 20, 2017, 2:09pm Top

>78 lunacat: Funny, my mistake, I looked it up and indeed Sandeman sells both port and sherry. The Sandeman sherry adds are etched in my brain, brain has trouble accepting Sandeman in combination with port. Although I much prefer port over sherry ;-)
I hope you get into the Alhambra tomorrow and Granada starts to treat you nice!

Apr 20, 2017, 4:10pm Top

>79 lunacat: - Interesting about Granada. If I remember correctly, Darryl had a not-great visit there...

The photos you shared were wonderful! Keep 'em coming!

Apr 20, 2017, 4:54pm Top

Great photos Jenny and it looks like you are having a really lovely time my dear, jealous about the weather though, lol.

Apr 21, 2017, 1:06am Top

Happy Friday, Jenny. I love your photos.

Apr 21, 2017, 1:41am Top

>73 lunacat: ooooh aaaah! Wow, what scenery.

Apr 21, 2017, 4:13am Top

No Alhambra for us - TheBF got up at 6.30am to try and get tickets and after two hours of waiting, they sold out before he got to the front of the queue! Including any tickets for the gardens! Ah well, we're off to breakfast now, and will spend the day chilling out and wandering round. We're staying in a cave tonight which should be interesting.

Apr 21, 2017, 8:21am Top

Hi Jenny!

I'm sorry about the Alhambra, but chilling and wandering around means you might find something exquisite and exciting! I hope you do, anyway.

A cave. Fantastic!

Apr 21, 2017, 9:20am Top

A few setbacks, but one can't argue with the wonderfulness of "warmth, horses, tapas, sherry, wine, cheese, sun, sand, sleep, games, and a night of no communication with the world whatsoever".

And now you have the chance to forgive the BF magnanimously so he'll be in your debt forever! heehee.

Thanks for posting all the photos. Absolutely wonderful.

Apr 22, 2017, 4:27pm Top

Hi Jenny, hope you are having a really good weekend my dear with gorgeous weather, sending love and hugs.

Apr 22, 2017, 10:36pm Top

Jenny, your pics are gorgeous! Keep enjoying!

Apr 22, 2017, 10:40pm Top

Loving the pics. Too bad about the Alhambra, but everything else has looked lovely.

Apr 23, 2017, 7:31pm Top

Sounds like you are having a wonderful time, Jenny, in spite of any set backs itinerary-wise. Great photos.

Apr 23, 2017, 8:49pm Top

>85 lunacat: Staying in a cave? Sounds interesting.

Apr 24, 2017, 5:04am Top

Great photos, Jenny! Your pictures of Ronda bring back great memories from my trip there last year.

As Katie said, my stay in Granada was a mixed one, at best. I also missed seeing the Alhambra, but I'm in no rush to return there.

Apr 26, 2017, 11:41am Top

Home from holiday and we loved Seville. We did not love returning to a hailstorm and a broken laptop. The laptop is going to be about 3 weeks to fix if we choose to do so, as the part has to come from abroad! So I might not be around much at the times I can't borrow TheBF's laptop. I will try and post about the holiday this weekend, when I can use it :). And I have tonsillitis. It's certainly been a rocky return to the UK.

Apr 26, 2017, 1:44pm Top

Hi Jenny! Yikes. Bad weather, broken technology, and sickness. I'm sorry for all that, for sure.

I'll look forward to pics and description about your holiday whenever you get the chance to post.

In the meantime, breathe.....

Apr 26, 2017, 3:24pm Top

Glad you had a good holiday. I loved the look of Ronda!

Apr 26, 2017, 4:34pm Top

>94 lunacat: - This is why no one should ever return from holiday ;-)

Apr 26, 2017, 7:59pm Top

Hi, Jenny! Your trip to Seville sounds wonderful. Love the photos. Sorry, things weren't as good at home. Sending positive vibes...

Apr 26, 2017, 8:07pm Top

>94 lunacat: I hope the tonsillitis clears quickly, Jenny, and the laptop part arrives soon!

Apr 27, 2017, 5:07am Top

Agreed that it's a reason for not coming home, Katie! The heating in my house also isn't working and it's been 1C overnight the last couple of nights, and we came home from overnights of 17C. The laptop is going to cost £400 to repair, and take at least 3 weeks, so I need to decide if it is worth doing or if I should buy a new one for that money.

I'm missing LT but it's so tricky to post much on my phone! And I feel rough as hell. The holiday was amazing, and I feel awful for complaining, I've just hit the real world with a huge thump!

Off to a back massage/physio appt today, but alas it's not for me, it's for Connie. I should have scheduled one for myself ;).

Apr 27, 2017, 7:29am Top

And now Connie is lame. So she needs a vet. And I am broke from the holiday. I shouldn't have come back from Spain!

Apr 27, 2017, 8:07am Top

Oh no, I am sorry for Connie, I hope it isn't sincere.
Sorry so many things went wrong at the same time as your return from Spain.
(((hugs))), sending good thoughts for both you and Connie.

Apr 27, 2017, 8:19am Top

>102 FAMeulstee: It isn't too bad, thanks Anita. In some ways it would be simpler if it were worse as the decision as to whether to call the vet or not would be made. We grade horses lameness out of 10, with 10 being horrendous, unable to move or bear weight, and 0 being perfectly fine, and she is 2/10 on one leg currently. I'm leaning towards giving it a week of at home stretches and seeing which direction it goes in.

It's just a lot of stress to be dealing with the moment I got back :/.

Apr 27, 2017, 8:30am Top

I'm sorry to hear about Connie, Jenny, and hope that the week solves the problem.

Apr 27, 2017, 11:08am Top

Yikes. Sorry to hear about your and Connie's ailments, Jenny.

Thanks for posting the photos from Ronda. As I mentioned on your Facebook timeline they brought back good memories of the two days we spent there.

Apr 27, 2017, 1:28pm Top

Awww, that's a lot of problems to come home to! Why don't these things have the decency to spread themselves out?

Apr 27, 2017, 5:27pm Top

>94 lunacat: aw crap! Tonsillitis and a broken laptop!? What a come down. The last time I had tonsillitis was when I moved to Australia (about 16 years ago). There was ahead wave (3 days in a row of 40 degC or more) and I was bed ridden. The fan felt like a hair dryer on the hottest setting and I seriously wondered if I had made the right decision to live in Oz.

I hope you get better soon, rest up and be patient!!!

May 1, 2017, 6:47am Top

It's been a tricky reentry into the real world. My anxiety is quite high and the combination of that, and various things going wrong has left me a bit kerfluffled.

I've been reading a fair bit, but not visiting here for some reason. It's fairly standard for me, when my brain starts playing up then I retreat a bit and don't feel social. I need to make an effort to come round and catch up with all my friends. My brain just tells me to hibernate and vanish far too often.

May 1, 2017, 8:11am Top

Come out and play, Jenny! Your friends miss you.....

Seriously, I can relate to the hibernate reaction when things are stressful. I'm getting back into that mode now with sister problems and Mom estate things to resolve.

Take care of yourself and we'll be here when you are feeling more up to it.

May 1, 2017, 2:36pm Top

I shall get round to sharing some more holiday photos soon. I just thought I'd share the visitor we had this evening. Bold as brass. We suspect there are cubs somewhere as well. As much as rural folk often hate foxes, as we don't have chickens or other outside pets (for this very reason), having these folks around makes me smile a lot. I've ordered a wildlife trap camera with infrared to see what else we've got going on in the garden.

Edited: May 1, 2017, 2:41pm Top

I hope all gets better soon, so you can recuperate, Jenny.

eta Beautiful fox!
I see one once in a while when I walk the last round with Ari.

May 1, 2017, 3:05pm Top

Wow, that's cool! There's some serious fox angry face in that second pic. :)

May 2, 2017, 12:38am Top

>110 lunacat: What a beauty!

Edited: May 2, 2017, 1:16pm Top

I'm so excited by the foxes. We put some leftover chicken out last night and two younger foxes (or we assume younger, certainly smaller and nervier) kept coming down to scout it out but when they saw us indoors, they'd scarper. We went away from the kitchen for an hour and when we came back, it was all gone, so they enjoyed their meal!

The trail cam is now set up (but I'm not sure if we've done it right) so I'm looking forward to seeing what else is out there. We've only got it set up on the patio for now but we'll put it further down the garden later to see what goes on down at the bottom where the fox den/earth is.

May 2, 2017, 1:54pm Top

Jenny, I am glad the holiday went so well and it is understandable that its immediate aftermath would be a process of coming down to earth. I trust that you'll have no laptop blues indefinitely and that the fox likes cooked chicken!

May 2, 2017, 2:28pm Top

Garden update:

There wasn't too much that suffered while we were away. Three of the strawberry plants have died (out of 33 so we're still doing ok!) along with one thyme plant. And the young cauliflower and broccoli plants we put in got munched. Our fault, we forgot that you have to drastically protect brassicas around here. Most of the beans died as well but they are SO easy to start again, we're not too worried.

We've got 20-25 tomato plants still going, with a few more just sown. The gherkins (pickling cucumbers) suffered for some reason but they might be perking up now. We've planted kohlrabi and brussel sprouts out in the raised bed and protected them this time, but we didn't acclimatise the young plants so they may not make it. The cape gooseberry plants have gone from the house to the greenhouse. And we planted out sweetcorn but some of it we had left too long in the house (because we were away) so we suspect it won't survive. The smaller sweetcorn plants look a little healthier.

The garlic is going great guns, the pickling onions, lettuce and carrots are beginning to come through, and the raspberries are mostly beginning to get going. The two fruit trees I got TheBF for Christmas are yet to show any signs of life which is slightly concerning, but we'll give them some more time and see if they come to life.

The local fox has just come round again and the wildlife camera got some very cool shots and video. I shall be sure to post them tomorrow when I get them off the memory card.

Reading update

I read The Rosie Project on the plane which was nice, light fair, and have been reading the Fiona Griffiths crime series since then. I'm not 100% sold, but they are easy to read and I like that I know the environment as I grew up around there. My brain isn't up to much, so little hints of familiarity are nice.

May 2, 2017, 5:24pm Top

Hi Jenny! Way cool pictures of Mr. Fox!

We used to see a fox take her kits from one side of the field to another side of the field, one at a time, every spring, but haven't seen any foxes around here in a while. I did see 4 deer the other morning in our pasture.

It sounds like your garden, even with a few issues, is basically doing well. Congratulations!

May 3, 2017, 11:50am Top

>117 karenmarie: It's so cold here for this time of year that I'm surprised things are doing OK in the garden. I guess we'll see how stuff starts coming on in the next couple of weeks.

I love seeing Mr. Fox. We think, based on size and behaviour, that we have 3 in the den/earth. A youngish male not quite in his prime, a young female, and possibly a year old one just growing up. But we're not quite sure. I guess we'll see what video/photos we get of them over the next few days. We will probably move the camera to near the fox earth soon, in order to watch their comings and goings. I suspect we'll get a few deer as well!

May 3, 2017, 2:21pm Top

I expect some people round here could rise to the challenge of using these! I could possibly fit 'jumentous' into my life sometimes ;).

May 3, 2017, 2:29pm Top

I liked The Rosie Project, Jenny. Tickled my funny bone, especially the cocktail party. The second one, The Rosie Effect, is pretty good, too.

May 3, 2017, 2:57pm Top

>119 lunacat: Woo-hoo! I knew one - aglet.

May 4, 2017, 3:37pm Top

Hi Jenny, glad you had a good holiday my dear and now you are busy with the garden and dealing with our unpredictable weather, sending love and hugs.

May 4, 2017, 4:55pm Top

>120 jnwelch: I enjoyed The Rosie Project while I read it but can't actually remember that many details now! I know I chuckled a couple of times though, which is a good sign. I'm not sure I'll go out of my way to look for The Rosie Effect but if it crosses my path, I'd give it a go.

>121 karenmarie: I recognised aglet when I saw it written but couldn't have plucked it from my brain. Well done on knowing it!

>122 johnsimpson: It's certainly been an unpredictable re entry to real life, John, both weather wise and life wise. It was a fantastic holiday, and I'd be back in a heartbeat!

It's 10pm and TheBF is still at work (he's supposed to finish at 5.30pm. No fun for him, and I'm trying to be supportive by text which isn't quite the same as being able to give him a hug! Ah well, nearly the weekend.

May 5, 2017, 2:16pm Top

One plus point to a very bad day, my reservation of A Gentleman in Moscow came in at the library so I can hopefully settle down to that for the weekend. Comes at the right time, as I just finished the Fiona Griffiths series and was ruminating on my next choice.

May 5, 2017, 2:23pm Top

Happy Friday, Jenny.

May 5, 2017, 4:52pm Top

Oh, I think you'll love A Gentleman in Moscow, Jenny. I've read all the Fiona Griffiths, too. We're supposed to get a new one later this year.

May 6, 2017, 10:30am Top

>119 lunacat: I don't see myself as a likely sufferer from tarantism given my development of two left feet.

Have a great weekend after that slog of a week. xx

May 6, 2017, 12:16pm Top

Glad you had a mostly good holiday. I'm sorry you came home to sickness, hail and broken laptop!

Have a great weekend!

May 6, 2017, 2:16pm Top

Aglet is a very useful word, as is qualtagh.

May 6, 2017, 2:49pm Top

Hi Jenny! I hope you're having relaxing and uneventful weekend.

May 7, 2017, 2:09am Top

I hope that all the woes you came home to are starting to right themselves, Jenny. Have a great weekend.

May 7, 2017, 7:12am Top

>125 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara. I hope you have had a good weekend so far.

>126 jnwelch: Good to know, Joe. I wouldn't say the Fiona Griffiths books are my favourite ever, but they were nice, easy reading so it worked for me. I'm very much looking forward to starting A Gentleman in Moscow. It hasn't happened yet this weekend as I haven't had much downtime, but maybe later on it will.

>127 PaulCranswick: There must be a word for someone with two left feet, Paul. I think you could probably be afflicted with tarantism, it just wouldn't be particularly elegant or coordinated!

May 7, 2017, 7:16am Top

>128 tymfos: Thanks, Terri. So far, not much has resolved itself in terms of the issues, and there are a few additional problems causing stress, but it's been a good weekend so I'll take that.

>129 banjo123: Given the amount of cheese I eat, I reckon tyrotoxism might be one of the things I'll suffer with one of these days! I think aglet and qualtagh are the two I stand the best chance of slotting into conversation.

>130 karenmarie: It hasn't been relaxing, but it has been vaguely productive and distracting from a few issues that are buzzing round my brain. And I'll take that at the moment.

>131 Familyhistorian: They should do in the next few weeks! At least my tonsillitis is settling down now, it's been an irritation this week.

May 7, 2017, 7:40am Top

Weekend update:

We have taken the turf up on a small patch of the lawn as we've outgrown the space in the vegetable garden. The land grab has started! Not sure what is going in there yet as we have so many choices, but I'm sure we'll figure it out. We bought a few plants as well - another lavender, oregano, thyme (cos the foxes killed one of ours!) and a curry plant. Plus some wildflower seeds that I'll figure out a place to sow.

Then we decided to have a barbecue with 3 friends round. It was a simple one, but was fabulous all the same, with good food and good conversation. We did: sausages, chicken marinated two ways, pork loin steaks, and ribs. The sides were guacamole, potato salad, and Greek salad, and pudding was a double layer pavlova. It was a very, very enjoyable evening.

Now we're off to a Sunday roast with a couple of other friends, and I'm sure we'll chat about our week in France as we are going with them. Then it's back to TheBF's house to do a bit of sowing/planting and shortbread making, and then it's off home. Another busy-ish day!

May 7, 2017, 8:05am Top

Happy Sunday, Jenny! Your weekend sounds lovely and A Gentleman in Moscow should definitely lift your spirits and put a smile on your face. Enjoy!

May 7, 2017, 8:52am Top

Hi Jenny! Just a quick hello to say it all sounds great and Yum! for the barbeque!

May 7, 2017, 3:19pm Top

>135 msf59: I've been in a difficult mood all weekend, but there have been plenty of good things going on. I started A Gentleman in Moscow in the bath just now and am only 18 pages in but I can already see I'm going to live it.

>136 karenmarie: Yum for the barbeque indeed. It was great, and we've vowed to have one at least once a month this summer.

May 8, 2017, 4:10pm Top

I've not been feeling the best so TheBF offered to buy me a book to cheer me up. Of course, now he's done so, I can't possibly decide what I want! It's very frustrating!

May 8, 2017, 7:18pm Top

>119 lunacat: I was also familiar with aglet. Now I'm waiting patiently for the promised fox pictures!

May 8, 2017, 7:34pm Top

>119 lunacat: I don't know, Jenny. Doesn't everybody use "erinaceous" at least once a day in conversation?

Sorry the Fiona Griffiths series didn't grab you. I really enjoy them and am looking forward to the next, which may require a reread of the earlier books.

The fox photo and story are so cool!

May 9, 2017, 7:33am Top

A few fox photos as requested :).

May 9, 2017, 7:36am Top

>139 ronincats: Thanks for the nudge, Roni, I've duly obliged! I need to do some editing on them to get better looking photos but there are a select few there.

>140 Storeetllr: I know I do, Mary, but I figured I was a weirdo for doing so ;). I have enjoyed the Fiona Griffiths series, as shown by the fact I raced through them, but they definitely had a few flaws for me. Still, they kept me reading while my brain has been playing silly buggers, and I'll keep reading the series as they come.

May 9, 2017, 7:50am Top

A quiet couple of days before a busy week coming up. I had a horrendous night sleep on Sunday night and had to be up early (for me) to go to a stressful appointment on Monday morning. Once that was done, TheBF dropped me off back at his house and I proceeded to sleep from 1-6pm! I obviously needed it. I slept through the two alarms I'd set for 2.30pm and was rather befuddled when I rolled over and it was 6pm, as I felt like it would be 3pm at the absolute latest.

I then got a big chuck of A Gentleman in Moscow read between 10.30pm (when TheBF fell asleep in a snory heap) and 1am when I finally got sleepy. I can see why everyone has been raving about it, and I'm looking forward to another hour of reading this afternoon, before I drive back home and see Madam Connie.

May 9, 2017, 8:53am Top

>141 lunacat: Even TWO foxes on the last picture! :-)
How is Connie doing?

May 9, 2017, 9:23am Top

Oh, nice pics!

May 9, 2017, 12:11pm Top

Thanks for posting the fox photos! And you have a beautiful yard, which they seem to appreciate.

May 9, 2017, 12:53pm Top

>144 FAMeulstee: She's happy enough, though she wasn't best pleased when she had to do some work today. She's still looking ever so slightly stiff in one leg but the vet says it isn't enough to bother treating or investigating at the moment and it either needs to get better or worse! So he advises getting her back into work and seeing which way it goes. So it's a wait and see currently. Obviously I'd like it to just be that she's stiff from not working recently, and that she'll loosen up as she gets fitter and muscles up. It doesn't help that she is tubby, and isn't even on the summer grass yet. She lives off fresh air!

The foxes haven't been around as much the last couple of days but we are still having occasional visits and the leftovers we put out go. It's lovely to have them nearby, particularly as it keeps the rabbits off our veg patch! When I went out earlier, I discovered something, possibly a young fox, had taken a whole, bruised onion from the compost heap and bitten into it before leaving in the middle of the lawn!

I'm at mine now where there are much fewer foxes but more cats and ducks.

May 9, 2017, 12:56pm Top

>145 drneutron: Thanks, Jim. We're playing around with the trail cam to see where we can get the best shots. I'll have to figure out editing them at some point.

>146 mstrust: It is a wonderful garden, and ridiculously long for a British one. TheBF is very lucky, and I am too now I'm getting to use it. The one I have at home is a postage stamp! The foxes generally seem very pleased with it :).

Edited: May 9, 2017, 2:04pm Top

>141 lunacat: Wow, Jenny. Not something we see here in the city, as far as I know. Although other wildlife comes in along the river, so maybe foxes do, too. Anyway, those photos are beautiful.

Are they pests at all for you, or simply enjoyable to see?

May 9, 2017, 2:24pm Top

>149 jnwelch: Where they are hanging out currently, they aren't a problem at all. I think it's important to accept the wildlife you have around and adapt to it. I'd love to have chickens but it would be a fruitless activity. We wouldn't be able to let them be fully free range and the amount of protection we'd have to provide is mad. And I don't really want the constant fear of going out and finding they have all been killed. So no hens for us,

I'm surprised you don't get any in the cities as urban foxes are a fairly common sight around here. Maybe, because you have larger wildlife like coyotes etc in the US, they are less obvious?

May 9, 2017, 4:12pm Top

>150 lunacat: Maybe, because you have larger wildlife like coyotes etc in the US, they are less obvious?

Maybe, Jenny. We do get coyotes, and wildcats, and opossums, and raccoons, and occasionally deer. I've never heard or read about foxes in the city, but now you've gotten me curious. According to a little research, foxes have been spotted near Chicago's zoo on the north side, and near Hyde Park on the south side. So it's a little more uncommon, but it does apparently happen.

May 9, 2017, 5:10pm Top

So very far behind on your thread. Apologies. Love all your stories from your vacation and I am glad it turned out so well! Bummer about the computer. Love the fox photos and your veggies sound like your garden is enormous!! Hope your mood picks up and you'll have to let us know what book you decide on. The BF gets points. : )

May 9, 2017, 5:48pm Top

>151 jnwelch: We often get deer - roe and muntjac. The roe deer are everywhere, and it's not much fun to have them jump out at you when you're riding! The only other larger animal we have are badgers, but I have only seen one a couple of time alive. They are much more common to see dead at the side of the road.

I'm so surprised about your lack of foxes but I'm guessing (wildly, admittedly) that opossums and raccoons go for the same food sources as urban foxes would, so that might be the difference. I'm sure someone more educated than me would know.

>152 Berly: Hi Kim, lovely to see you here. The garden is indeed enormous (by modern UK standards) at around an acre, though in a slightly annoying shape, being long and thin. We are planning on putting fruit trees all down the longest bit, to make better use of the space. And maybe a hut/den type building at the bottom, with a wine fridge in ;).

I picked The Time Traveller's Guide to Restoration Britain as its one we will probably both read. It seemed only fair.

May 9, 2017, 6:02pm Top

It felt like ages since I'd stopped by a charity shop, so I hit three today. I got:

Pure by Andrew Miller - 2011 Costa Book of the Year. A historical novel set in Paris, 1785.

The Prisoner of Zenda and Rupert of Hentzau by Anthony Hope, as they are lovely copies that caught my eye. I shall have to find the covers as they are very striking.

John Saturnall's Feast by Lawrence Norfolk. Set in 1625, "A brilliant, erudite tale of cookery and witchcraft" according to A. S. Byatt.

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. Northern Iceland, 1829. A historical, Scandinavian crime novel based on a true story. Shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award.

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry. "A violent, superbly lyrical Western offering, a sweeping vision of America in the making."

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

And my best find of all wasn't a book for once. It was a board game, Ticket to Ride Europe. I'd nearly ordered the original last night, ready to take to France, but couldn't decide between the original or the Europe version. But there it was today, slightly used and priced at £4 rather than £30. I haven't checked if it is all there though. Fingers crossed!

May 10, 2017, 2:54pm Top

I also managed to find Rules of Civility in a charity shop today. I really must stop wandering into them, the book acquisition:book read ratio is getting out of hand.

May 10, 2017, 3:26pm Top

Nice book haul Jenny, I have been meaning to get hold of The Storied Life of A.J.Fikry for a while now, must look harder my dear.

May 11, 2017, 11:46am Top

>156 johnsimpson: I left a message on your thread, re Fikry :).

There is only one room to go with the wallpaper stripping at my mum's old house! Of course, it's the landing/stairwell/hallway combination, but still, the end of that particular task is in sight.

Connie is still not quite right, but she seems to be improving. She's on diet rations and is NOT appreciating it.

I have listened to the two Chronicles of St Mary's books that I had somehow managed to fall behind on - Lies, Damned Lies and History (which I was disappointed by) and And the Rest is History. They aren't as good as the beginning of the series but they make activities like wallpaper stripping far more bearable, and the humour is still brilliant. Now I need to find something else to keep my brain distracted from the tedium. Maybe I'll just start the series from the beginning again!

I also reread March: Book One last night as I now have books two and three from the library, so hopefully I'll get to them in the next few days.

Edited: May 11, 2017, 12:21pm Top

On foxes, I captured one (photo, of course) running across a golf course in Aurora, a city near Denver, a few years ago. Since then, I haven't spotted any in or around any urban landscapes.

Your garden looks and sounds wonderful! And the little hut with wine bar at the end would be brilliant!

Sorry to hear about Connie's woes. Hope the healing continues.

Your charity shop adventures makes me think I need to look around here for some thrift shops.

Yeah, wallpaper stripping sound like too much fun. Glad to know you are seeing the light at the end of that tunnel. What's next? (There's always a "next.")

May 11, 2017, 12:25pm Top

This is fast becoming a pretty foxy thread.

>154 lunacat: Looks like a discerning charity shop, Jenny as they have (or had) some bloody good books.

Edited: May 11, 2017, 1:22pm Top

>159 PaulCranswick: Can we refer to Jenny as a foxy mama from now on? 😎

May 12, 2017, 6:31am Top

>158 Storeetllr: Oh so true about there always being a next. Once the stripping is done, it's cleaning down the walls, filling all the screw holes in, then waiting for the electrics/plumbing/heating people to get going. It's turning into a giant hassle. But I'm sure it will be worth it in the end. I'm having a quieter day today as I am knackered, and garden clearance will be occurring tomorrow (on my mum's old house, not the boyfriend's).

Cool picture of the fox. I'm a definite fan. Connie seems to be improving a bit, but no sign of her tummy reducing!

>159 PaulCranswick: I was very pleased with my haul. Of course, I've got nowhere to put them, but c'est la vie!

>160 kidzdoc: Hang on, I'm their mother now?! I never signed up to be a fox mama. In fact, I've never signed up to be anyone's mother! The joy of the foxes is that, apart from leftovers, no care is required :)

And when fox watching, I'm nowhere near foxy, given that I'm usually gardening, so am grubby and in ancient clothes!

May 12, 2017, 6:37am Top

Happy Friday, Jenny. Love all the fox photos. It has been years since I have seen one.

And hooray for snagging a copy of Rules of Civility. I am hoping to read that one this summer.

Edited: May 12, 2017, 8:08am Top

>161 lunacat: Ha! Funnily enough, yesterday afternoon my father told me that he saw a fox in the creek that runs just behind their house. He says that he sees that fox, or a similar one, occasionally.

May 12, 2017, 9:31am Top

>162 msf59: I was hoping to get some bird photos on the trail cam as well but I don't think I've set the motion sensor sensitivity high enough. I shall have to play about with it.

I need to get back to A Gentleman in Moscow as it has fallen by the wayside this week, but if it is anything to go by, I will enjoy Rules of Civility as well.

>163 kidzdoc: Excellent, I'm glad to hear that they are knocking around the US, I was beginning to wonder! How nice for your dad to see one occasionally. I guess they have much more space to spread out in over there, so they can avoid heavily populated areas more. No such luck for ours.

May 12, 2017, 9:41am Top

>148 lunacat: It is a wonderful garden, and ridiculously long for a British one. I remember visiting my grandparents in Sanderstead. Their garden was very long so that seems normal to me. After the discussion on foxes I had to see if we had any in the area. The Vancouver websites talk about foxes as part of the urban wildlife. The website in my local area a bit further out of the city tend to concentrate on bears with a little bit on coyotes and cougars. Any mention of foxes is usually about Terry Fox.

May 12, 2017, 3:17pm Top

>165 Familyhistorian: Large gardens are definitely not the normal here! The one at my home (not the boyfriend's) is four strides one way and five strides the other. So so tiny.

I would think the foxes would struggle rather when competing with bears, coyotes and cougars! Foxes are pretty much our biggest wildlife round here (apart from deer) so they get more attention from us. Do you see a lot of the bigger predators or do they keep themselves to themselves?

I just looked up Terry Fox and I can see why he still gets attention. What an interesting person.

May 12, 2017, 3:19pm Top

Hi Jenny, hope you have had a good week my dear and wish you a really lovely weekend dear friend.

May 12, 2017, 9:52pm Top

>160 kidzdoc: & >161 lunacat: Good job I wasn't skimming Darryl or you would have surely gotten me into trouble.

Wishing you a glorious weekend foxy mama Jenny. xx

May 13, 2017, 2:31am Top

>166 lunacat: We honour Terry Fox by holding runs - usually in September at the beginning of the year. The runs are used to raise money for cancer.

Your garden is probably still bigger than mine, Jenny. I have nowhere really to plant anything as my back garden is mostly taken up by a deck and is mostly in the shade anyway. The front garden is even smaller.

I wish the bigger predators would keep to themselves. Bears get into the garbage, coyotes are death on cats and there are occasional sightings of cougars. There was footage of a couple of cougars on the skytrain tracks in a local station - it was early in the morning so there were no trains running and no commuters in the station, thankfully.

May 13, 2017, 6:59am Top

Happy Saturday, Jenny. Have you heard of this new book called How to Be Human? A fox is featured prominently...Just sayin'...

May 14, 2017, 10:01am Top

>167 johnsimpson: It was a difficult week, and not an ideal day yesterday as we were in my mother's garden all day and it decided to rain! We are all feeling battered and bruised today as it was mass clearance, taking down a whole load of weed trees and a HUGE pyracanthus, complete with huge thorns. We made a big difference to the space but I am exhausted now. It's been a slow day today. I hope your weekend is going well.

>168 PaulCranswick: Thank you, Paul. Exhausting day yesterday, slow day today! TheBF is watching cricket and I'm dozing on the sofa.

>169 Familyhistorian: Yikes. I don't think I'd like having all those predators around - I can see why you want them to keep their distance. It's bad enough being worried the cats will get hit by cars without worrying about coyotes etc as well.

That's a shame about your tiny garden. Or do you like the lack of maintenance?

>170 msf59: I shall investigate it, thanks Mark.

May 14, 2017, 4:24pm Top

>171 lunacat: I used to like to garden but don't have time for it anymore so the lack of maintenance is a good thing especially not having to mow the lawn! There weren't as many predator sightings when I moved into this neighbourhood in the '80s but as building has taken over more and more land the critters don't have many places left to go.

May 14, 2017, 4:35pm Top

Jenny-- You have been very productive, stripping wallpaper, etc. I agree with your assessment of the Chronicles of St.Mary; like you I still enjoyed the later books, but not as much. They do help the chore go by! Hope the recuperating is going well today after the garden clean up. ; )

May 14, 2017, 5:52pm Top

>172 Familyhistorian: Very similar to here then, people and animals simply come into contact more often cos there are fewer untouched spaces for them. I hate mowing the lawn as I have bad hayfever, so I am with you on that one.

>173 Berly: The recuperating is ongoing - I've come back down to TheBF's house for a rest tomorrow as I am exhausted. I was going to try and go for a run tomorrow (my weight is creeping up to the point I can't do up my jeans, so it's time to do something about that! Hitting 30 definitely saw a slowing down of my metabolism!) but I am not sure that will happen. I might do some gentle gardening here instead.

May 15, 2017, 2:17pm Top

It's been a bloody awful day (mostly in terms of my own brain) but at least we've had some rain which is good for the garden. My anxiety and stress has ramped up to an extreme point that has meant I can't keep down much food, so no run for me. I feel like all I do is complain at the moment. I should at least comment on a few books!

TheBF bought me The Time Traveller's Guide to Restoration Britain to read on holiday, and it's a lovely feeling tome. Heavy, thick pages, delightful hardback. I think we're both looking forward to it. 11 days till we go and I can't wait. Of course, I haven't done any of the things I need to, in order to get the car ready (we're driving down to Bordeaux). My procrastination is sky high at the moment.

May 17, 2017, 10:37am Top

Hurrah for rain! We've had downpours here in the last 12 hours. Just what we needed.

Unfortunately, my best friend had to have one of her horses put down yesterday. She's obviously devastated, as am I as I knew the horse very well. It's a horrible situation, particularly as it was entirely unexpected and such a shock. So everything is pretty glum around here currently.

Edited: May 17, 2017, 11:36am Top

Book comments:

39. Fifth Chinese Daughter by Jade Snow Wong

This was one of my favourite autobiographies as a teenager, and just as interesting to read as an adult. A Chinese American girl, the fifth daughter in an immigrant Chinese family, tries to find her way in her family and the world, and struggles between the independence she wants as a person, and the ties to the traditional that her family would prefer. Fascinating depiction of Chinese life in San Francisco just before WWII. 4.5 stars

40. Palestine by Joe Sacco

A graphic memoir account of his time as a reporter in Palestine and Israel. He tries to be balanced, but it is clear which side has his main sympathies. I agree with those sympathies. This isn't an easy book to read, and the graphics are quite 'in your face', bold, and attention grabbing. It's hard hitting, important, and taught me a lot. 4 stars

41. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Classic Holmes, and not much need for any description. It was lovely to have it read by Stephen Fry, his narration style is wonderful. 4.5 stars

Edited: May 17, 2017, 11:37am Top

42. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

A novel describing the special relationship between two rural Chinese girls in 19th century China, over their lifetimes. The practice of footbinding is looked at in detail, and it's interesting to have it looked at from the girls' perspective rather than a Western one. Good, but not brilliant. 3.5 stars

43. The Warden's Niece by Gillian Avery

Children's book - Set in the late Victorian era, a young girl runs away from her boarding school and ends up living with her uncle at Oxford University. Along with the boys in the next garden over, and an eccentric tutor, they get up to mayhem and mischief. Great humour and some very very funny moments. A childhood favourite for me, and a very enjoyable reread. 4.5 stars

44. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg

Children's book - A brother and sister run away from home for an adventure, and end up staying in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It's good fun, and the details are interesting, but as an adult, I kept wondering about the parents. I really enjoyed this as a child, and when I could shut that voice down in my head, I did so now. Believable characters and a fun premise. 4 stars

Edited: May 17, 2017, 11:37am Top

45, 46, 47. Asterix the Gaul, Asterix and the Goths, Asterix the Gladiator by Rene Goscinny

Asterix was my first ever graphic novel love, and it's just as good to revisit. A village of Gauls determinedly hold out against the Romans, thanks to the magic potion that gives them superhuman strength, with Asterix as their hero and Obelix as the plucky sidekick. The puns are fantastic, the humour brilliant, the drawings and stories great fun, and the historical details give a wonderful feel. A lot of funny stereotypes, with some true history thrown in for good measure. I love them, they are wonderful escapist reading for me, and will always hold a place in my heart. 5 stars

48. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

A look at attempting to find love with Asperger's, this is funny and charming. It was good airplane reading, doesn't require too much attention, and Don's struggles with his desire for order and data were amusing and touching in equal measure. It didn't stick with me that much, but was a nice, light read. 3.7 stars

49, 50, 51, 52, 53. Talking to the Dead, Love Story, With Murders, The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths, This Thing of Darkness, The Dead House by Harry Bingham

A Detective Constable in Cardiff, Fiona Griffiths has everything required for a modern detective novel. A psychiatric diagnosis, an intriguing back story, an unconventional approach to policing, a disregard for rules, and an ability to get into, and out of, trouble.

I enjoyed these a lot, but didn't absolutely love them. I felt that, at times, the author 'went on' about Fiona's psychiatric problems rather too much. And the Holmes/Poirot idea of a genius discovering things that mere mortals can't can get a little tedious. As can the rule breaking with few official repercussions.

I loved the Welsh setting, and it was fun to read a book with constant mentions of the places of my childhood. Bingham obviously knows the environment and appreciates it. I'll certainly continue reading these as more are released, but for me, they have a few flaws. Still good reads though. 3.9 stars

May 17, 2017, 2:30pm Top

Nice reviews and good reading output, Jenny! I see that you read and reviewed From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, a book which Claire and Amber recently mentioned on my thread.

I'm sorry to read about the sad news about your friend's horse.

May 17, 2017, 2:33pm Top

>180 kidzdoc: Thanks Darryl. It's a sad house here today.

I'm not sure they count as reviews, more like brief comments! Looking forward to seeing you in a few weeks.

May 17, 2017, 9:23pm Top

I'm sorry about your friend's horse! So sad. Hugs to you and her.

Lots of good reading going on in your neck o' the woods! I'm going to have to check out the Asterix books for sure.

May 18, 2017, 6:17am Top

>182 Storeetllr: The Asterix books are wonderful. Of course, they aren't historically perfect as they are entirely entertainment rather than educational, and they are primarily aimed at children/teenagers, but there is so much within them that appeals to an adult sense of humour. I certainly missed a lot of the puns and references when I read them as a child. I'm really enjoying revisiting them, so I hope you can find one to try. The first is Asterix the Gaul, and while it isn't at all necessary to read the series in order (they are standalone and each gives a quick introduction to the world at the beginning), it's probably easiest to start with the first, and then pick and choose others.

May 18, 2017, 7:44am Top

I am sorry about your friends horse, Jenny, hugs to you and your friend!
What happened?

Asterix has always been one of my favourite comics, I re-read the whole series a couple of years back and thought they were still enjoyable and funny :-)

May 18, 2017, 1:06pm Top

The only Asterix GN I'm able to find from the library is Asterix and the Picts. I'll be reserving it as, from the description, it sounds hilarious.

May 18, 2017, 5:45pm Top

>184 FAMeulstee: Thanks - her horse coliced and there was nothing to be done. Very sad, but we're coping. I'm glad to hear of another Asterix fan.

>185 Storeetllr: It's definitely more than a comic than a GN, but don't let that put you off! I haven't read Asterix and the Picts so I can't comment, but hopefully it's good. Unfortunately, it's the first one not written by Rene Goscinny or Albert Uderzo, so it might be a little different to the original series. How strange, that they only have the 35th book in the library!

I hope you enjoy it anyway, but I also hope you can get hold of some of the early ones.

Edited: May 19, 2017, 3:11pm Top

It's going to be a weird weekend, as TheBF has gone to a wedding without me. It was my decision, I was invited, but I didn't feel comfortable as I don't know anyone there, and it's my best friend's birthday so we're off to the circus. Still, I'm missing him, and feeling very left out, even though we decided it was for the best that I didn't go. I'm desperately trying not to be the clingy girlfriend but it's tricky!

May 19, 2017, 11:41pm Top

I am sorry about your friend's horse, and also for your left-out feeling. Sometimes a weekend alone seems better in advance than it does in reality.,

May 20, 2017, 12:09am Top

>110 lunacat: He is beautiful! I love foxes although I think I have only seen two in my lifetime and both of those were quick glimpses.

>176 lunacat: Oh, I am so sorry to hear about the horse. We do get so attached to our various animal family members and friends. The fact that it was unexpected can make it harder to process. When we lost our Edgar (cat) a few years ago, it was totally unexpected and I was devastated. I was "supposed" to have him for several more years! Take good care.....

You're doing some great reading, lately! I need to reread The Hound of the Baskervilles.

May 20, 2017, 6:22am Top

>188 banjo123: Thanks for the understanding. I often get this way when declining events for anxiety reasons - I beat myself up afterwards and wish that I'd gone. It's something that goes right back to early childhood as I was always very shy and struggled to make friends. So the 'left out' feeling is a constant theme of my life, and although I do my best to handle it, it still rears its head. And of course, knowing it was my decision not to go just means I am beating myself up for that choice now! Ah well, c'est la vie, it is what it is.

>189 EBT1002: I love having the foxes around, particularly good looking specimens like he is. I would love it if they had cubs in the garden as well.

I've had two cats in my life go very quickly, and the others we had to make the decision on. I'm not sure which is worse - for them, it can be difficult to watch them grow old but for us, it's nice to have the time to say goodbye. When we lost Marmite at only 11, I certainly had the feeling that we should have had longer. It's horrible, isn't it? It's the same with my friend's horse as it all happened so quickly.

Alas, I'm not doing much conventional reading but a lot of GNs and audios. Still, everything counts! I think The Hound of the Baskervilles is my favourite longer Holmes.

Edited: May 20, 2017, 4:17pm Top

The wedding decision sounds tricky. Having been to a few where I knew no one, I'd say you made the right choice!

Loved Asterix and am always pleased when I see issues in libraries and friends' shelves.

The fox pictures are wonderful. Was the wildlife camera difficult to set up? I'd like to try one of those. I like the idea that we might have night time nature going on.

Any pictures of the veg garden? I wondered if you were going to put blackcurrants in - as part of your fruit trees plans. Love them, and the bushes are very low maintenance. Gooseberries not had so much luck with. Or rhubarb, come to that! I put in a raspberry bush last year - not sure how much of a crop we'll get this first year. Your strawberries sound wonderful - 30 plants! That's a lot of sundaes :-)

May 21, 2017, 7:10am Top

>191 charl08: I shall try and get some updated pictures of the veg garden. It's going great guns at the moment, with the addition of some rain! I'd love to have a couple of blackcurrant bushes, they are on the 'in the next year' list. I'm not a huge fan of gooseberries so probably won't bother with those. We did put a rhubarb plant in but I'm not holding my breath as they seem very hit and miss plants. I had one as a child that was completely neglected and did wonderfully, and my grandparents had one that was tended to and did appallingly. We will see how it goes.

Some of the strawberries didn't survive, so I think we're down to about 23. I'll look to take runners off the plants this year to fill in the gaps. I'm hopeful for lots of Eton mess, but I think that will have to wait till next year, they are just establishing this year. The raspberries have mostly taken, but we have a couple of duds.

The wildlife camera was insanely easy. Follow the instructions (put batteries and memory card in, check that it is working) and place in an appropriate position. 90% of the time it works perfectly - it can be a bit hit and miss when the light levels are fading from day to night, in terms of whether it uses infrared or not, but I'm pleased with the footage we've had.

Edited: May 21, 2017, 7:30am Top

Happy Sunday, Jenny! I see you are doing plenty of reading over here. Yah! I am also glad to see you enjoying your wildlife cam. I am not sure we get enough interesting critters, to make it worth it, but then again you never know.

Hope you are enjoying the weekend.

May 21, 2017, 9:00am Top

>193 msf59: I really enjoy seeing what is going on in the garden so I'm pleased I have the camera. You might be surprised at what you get coming through.

Yesterday was a bad day mentally, and quite busy, so today I'm resting. A nice sleep in, and then I finished March: Book Three. I need to settle back in to A Gentleman in Moscow but I felt like revisiting my childhood and watching a Sunday afternoon film, always an old classic. It was a household tradition in my family, so I'm curled up in bed watching Rear Window. I'm sure I'll get back to the reading afterwards.

May 21, 2017, 9:13am Top

Sounds like you have a perfect day planned and A Gentleman in Moscow is the perfect book to kick back with. Enjoy!

May 22, 2017, 4:58am Top

>195 msf59: I got a decent chunk of it read, thanks Mark. A lot of it was spent curled up on our outdoor sofa with the fire pit going, before I remembered that it is a library book and they probably don't want it smelling of wood fire.

It was a really stressful weekend, and promises to be an equally stressful week, but the good news is that TheBF is getting a 10% pay rise this year. I've been worrying about money a LOT so this was well timed news. And it's five days until we go to France - hurrah.

May 22, 2017, 5:50am Top

Oh, I love the idea of reading A Gentleman in Moscow on your outside sofa by the fire pit, Jenny. What a wonderful book.

May 23, 2017, 1:39am Top

Hi Jenny. Dropping by to say hello. There's so much going on here! Beautiful holiday photos - made me smile. Sorry about your animal troubles, yay for the foxes. We used to have some wandering through our garden; it left such a slim track that my sister imagined it cycling along!

I'm sorry to hear about your friend's horse. We lost 3 at Riding for the Disabled this year, though I don't know the horses that well (I sidewalk the riders and I focus on them so I'm pretty oblivious to everything else). To be honest, most of them are brown, so unless they're very different in height or colouring, I can't name them. Embarrassing, I know.

Nice gardening. However, I only have middling success - and that with pot plants - so I'll just be envious from a distance.

May 23, 2017, 12:38pm Top

>197 jnwelch: I finished it in the wee hours of last night, after another evening of reading outside until it got dark. Very enjoyable indeed.

>198 humouress: Hey, lovely to see you here! I love the idea of a cycling fox. What a delightful image. For some reason, I immediately imagined a fox in a top hat cycling across the garden. No idea where the hat came from!

We only have middling success with the gardening as well, we just have enough space that it doesn't become too obvious. I know the feeling of identifying brown horses - there are a lot of them about and they can be tricky to tell apart if you don't spend much time with them. I'm glad you're still volunteering with the RDA though, it's such a worthwhile charity.

May 24, 2017, 8:05am Top

Goodness me, I'm exhausted this week. France can't come soon enough. Some (large) unexpected bills have been stressing me out, and the preparations for the holiday have added to it. I'll be glad when we're safely ensconced in the farmhouse for a few days.

I managed to get a decent deal on the ferry crossing to France, so we're driving down to Dover on Friday evening, arriving in Calais at 1.45am and driving through the night down to Bordeaux. It's an 800 mile journey and will take about 12hrs, but with TheBF and I splitting the driving and another person in the car, it will be easily doable. Hopefully we'll stop off at a market to pick up some food for a few days, and grab some lunch, and then we can collapse in a heap when we arrive. It's going to be a much more relaxed, laid back time than Spain was, so I imagine lots of reading and napping will occur. I feel like I'm counting down the hours!

May 24, 2017, 11:10am Top

I am sorry you feel so stressed, Jenny, when are you leaving for France?

May 24, 2017, 12:06pm Top

>201 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita. We're hoping to leave at around 7pm on Friday evening, and make our way down through France in stages, depending on how long we feel we can drive for.

May 24, 2017, 3:09pm Top

Hi Jenny, sorry to hear you are stressed my dear but hopefully your trip to France will take it all away and you will be refreshed. Have a lovely time my dear, sending love and hugs.

May 24, 2017, 5:13pm Top

Your farmhouse stay in Bordeaux sounds heaven, Jenny! Hang in there until Friday!

May 24, 2017, 7:09pm Top

I can think of no better ways to reduce the stress of bills than to get away for a few days, Jenny.

Have a great road trip in France. Bordeaux does wine as well as anywhere I have ever been and if you can get across to Collioure you'll find it charming.

May 25, 2017, 5:26am Top

A Gentleman in Moscow Very enjoyable indeed. Hurrah!

May 25, 2017, 6:45am Top

>203 johnsimpson: Thanks John. I'm counting down the hours today. Thankfully, I think I'm fairly on top of the things I need to do. Just the last of the packing and organising left. My boyfriend is even more stressed than me (work stuff) so this is coming at an ideal time.

>204 Storeetllr: I am hanging in, Mary! Feeling a little better now that most of the logistics are sorted and I've started packing. I'm hopeful for a heavenly experience :).

>205 PaulCranswick: The wine is one of the things we are most looking forward to. I have orders from various people to bring back some bottles, so the car may be rather loaded on the way back! I'm looking forward to switching off and chilling out.

>206 jnwelch: Hurrah indeed, it was great. I probably won't get round to doing a 'proper' review as it has been commented on a lot by others, but I'm very pleased to have read it.

May 25, 2017, 6:56am Top

Sweet Thursday, Jenny! Good luck with the packing preparations. Your trip sounds fantastic. I will be going on vacation to, but not to France...just Tennessee. Grins...

May 26, 2017, 5:17am Top

>208 msf59: I hope you have a wonderful time away! Tennessee is somewhere I've always liked the sound of - there and Kentucky. Maybe I'll get there someday.

May 26, 2017, 7:56am Top

Have a great time in Bordeaux, Jenny! Please take lots of photos for us.

Our coastal plans for June 11th are starting to take shape, after I heard from Fliss earlier this morning. I'll mention it on the Facebook group meet up thread; I hope that you can still come!

Be careful if you ever go to Kentucky, especially the less civilized portions. I don't think they like furriners there. ;-)

May 26, 2017, 2:02pm Top

>210 kidzdoc: As I said, I shall confirm closer to the time about the seaside. It should be lovely but I can know further after we get back.

After 45 minutes of hunting for TheBF's passport, we are finally close to being underway. Death or serious injury nearly occurred. My patience has been tested! But crisis averted.

May 26, 2017, 2:45pm Top

>211 lunacat: Sounds good, Jenny. Rachael might join us but probably won't, based on her email message from a couple of hours ago. Fliss and I are definitely going, and hopefully others can join us.

I'll arrive in London next Friday, so we have plenty of time to firm up our plans.

Ack. I'm glad to hear that TheBF didn't lose his life today. The husband of a colleague of mine was nearly put to death by his wife last year on the eve of their 10th anniversary trip to Paris and London. He didn't realize until the morning of their flight from ATL to CDG that his passport was invalid for international travel, as it was set to expire in less than six months. Fortunately for them (especially him) he was able to go to the Atlanta Passport Agency, where I got my new passport in March, and get a new one in time to make their late afternoon flight. His wife is tiny, but she regularly participates in triathlons and would have broken him into tiny pieces if they had to cancel or postpone their trip because of his error.

Have a safe trip to Bourdeaux!

May 26, 2017, 3:50pm Top

Have a great time in France, Jenny!

May 26, 2017, 3:53pm Top

>207 lunacat: >209 lunacat: Some very alcoholic-sounding destinations there, Jenny!

Then there was the time (when I was moving from the UK to Singapore) that I couldn't find my passport. My parents helped me turn the house upside down looking for it, and it was exactly where I thought it was, on the bookshelf. Only, it had slipped down between the shelf and the back of the bookcase and was hidden by all the junk I'd parked on it for 'when I had more time' to sort it out. I'm not sure I survived that one, and I still get reminded of it occasionally...

Edited: May 30, 2017, 4:53pm Top

Is some of the pressure off now that the logistics are figured out, Jenny? Impressive amount of reading you are doing. I hope you have a relaxing time in Bordeaux.

Edited: May 31, 2017, 12:27pm Top

Re Asterix:

So in the original French, the catch phrase is 'Il sont foux ces Romains!' (I think I have the spelling right) which in English is translated, well, as 'These Romans are crazy!'

However, in Italian, it's totally cool. They translate it as 'Sono Pazzi Questi Romani!'. Which of course means exactly the same thing. But look at the first letter of each word: SPQR

And of course SPQR is short for Senatus PopulusQue Romani (The senate and people of Rome), the motto of the city of Rome for 2+ millenia. Cool, hunh!

Asterix is great for learning other languages ....

Jun 1, 2017, 2:24am Top

Just catching here. Sorry you hit a rough patch but hope that France makes everything right again! So excited for you! And we love Asterix here. I think we have 4 or 5 of them around here somewhere from when the kids were young. I remember reading them in high school!

Jun 1, 2017, 5:58am Top

Have a wonderful time in France, Jenny! Looking forward to hearing about your adventures.

Jun 1, 2017, 3:47pm Top

Hi Jenny, hope you are having a lovely time in France my dear, sending love and hugs.

Jun 7, 2017, 6:13am Top

Checking in after an eternity, seeing you've been to Spain and are now in France, how lovely! Enjoy - sending hugs! :)

Jun 11, 2017, 8:32am Top

Hi Jenny! Hope you are having a fabulous time away!

Jun 11, 2017, 7:28pm Top

Come and update us on your trip as soon as you can, Jenny. xx

Jun 14, 2017, 10:18am Top

Hi Jenny!

I'm back, you're away. *smile*

I hope you have a lovely time in France.

Jun 18, 2017, 1:28pm Top

Eagerly awaiting trip tales and photos...! Hope you are having a blast.

Jul 2, 2017, 5:12am Top

Missing you, Jenny.

Come back and update us on your adventures soonest. xx

Jul 3, 2017, 7:37am Top

Apologies for vanishinpg, it's been an absolutely crazy time since we got back from France - loads going on on my mum's house and the veg garden. Also, my laptop is still broken (long story) and updating and reading on my phone is often a nightmare!

I will be back to update everyone on my life soon. Thank you for the visits, it's much appreciated :).

Jul 3, 2017, 8:12am Top

When I saw that you had posted, I got a smile on my face! "Lunacat is back!"

Sorry about the laptop problems, glad you're back.

Jul 8, 2017, 4:27pm Top

Hi Jenny, hope you are having a good weekend my dear.

Jul 8, 2017, 8:51pm Top

Hey, Jenny - miss you! Hope all is getting worked out, esp. the laptop problem.

Jul 8, 2017, 8:53pm Top

Glad you checked in on the third, Jenny. We were getting worried!

Jul 9, 2017, 7:13am Top

Hi, Jenny! Just checking in. I hope life has been a little less crazy for you. Update us, when you can.

Jul 9, 2017, 8:18am Top

Hi Jenny, I myself was absent for a long time. I hope all is well at your place. Happy Sunday.

Jul 11, 2017, 4:38pm Top

>226 lunacat: phone computing is a major hassle. I hope your laptop is on the mend??!? (or there are plans for a working one soon)

Jul 17, 2017, 1:36am Top

Just checking in....looking for updates. Hope all is well and the laptop might be mended soon! : )

Jul 17, 2017, 8:50am Top

Just checking in, too - I hope you're doing okay!

Jul 28, 2017, 2:51pm Top

Hoping things are going well, Jenny, and that your absence is only due to being busy in the garden and with other life joys.

Aug 3, 2017, 12:14am Top


Aug 3, 2017, 7:21am Top

Hi Jenny!

Miss 'seeing' you around here. I hope you're doing well.

Aug 4, 2017, 6:24pm Top

>226 lunacat: Nice to see that you are still buzzing and busy.

Have a great weekend. xx

Aug 5, 2017, 3:24pm Top

Hi Jenny, it appears you are very busy my dear. Hope you are having a good weekend dear friend.

Aug 16, 2017, 11:15am Top

Hope all is well!

Aug 18, 2017, 5:03pm Top

Hi Jenny, hope all is well with you my dear and wish you a great weekend dear friend and send love and hugs.

Aug 31, 2017, 4:53am Top

Hi Jenny!

I do hope you're doing okay, my dear. I'm only one of many who miss you.

Sep 2, 2017, 2:42pm Top

Hi, Jenny. Hope all is well.

Sep 9, 2017, 10:00am Top


Sep 15, 2017, 12:40am Top

>247 I hope the caps help get Jen's attention--missing her!!

Sep 22, 2017, 9:32pm Top

How many moons ago was it that Jenny posted that updates were imminent?!

Hope everything is well, my dear. Missing you in these parts. xx

Sep 23, 2017, 5:03pm Top

Sending hugs your way, Jenny!

Sep 24, 2017, 5:37am Top

Hi Jenny! I was hoping all this activity on your thread meant there was a sighting .... but no :0/

Nov 23, 2017, 12:35pm Top

This is a time of year when I as a non-American ponder over what I am thankful for.

I am thankful for this group and its ability to keep me sane during topsy-turvy times.

I am thankful that you are part of this group.

I am thankful for this opportunity to say thank you.

Nov 23, 2017, 3:29pm Top

Hi Jenny, Happy Thursday my dear.

Nov 23, 2017, 4:08pm Top

Hi everyone.

Thank you so much for your messages. It's been a fairly hellish and emotional 6 months, what with emptying, stripping (back to bare bones of everything - walls/kitchen/bathroom/electrics/plumbing etc, and re-doing my childhood home ready for sale. Sifting through 26 years of accumulated belongings was overwhelming, as was needing to get rid of most of it.

It hasn't been easy, both physically and mentally, but the house sold just over a week ago and, while handing over the keys on the anniversary of my dad's death was horrendous, I've slowly felt myself coming back to life in the last week.

Exhausted, emotional and overwhelmed is basically what I am currently. I even picked up a book today, the first time in half a year.

There is still lots of stuff to sort through, and I'm having nightmares about the house, but I'm getting there.

I'm sorry to have been absent but my exhaustion has meant I haven't been up to much - I haven't even seen Connie in about 6 weeks! She's well cared for but I'm looking forward to having the energy to do her again. And hope to be back here, if only intermittently, soon. Given my propensity for falling off the world, I can make no guarantees though. I really appreciate all your messages.

Nov 23, 2017, 7:02pm Top

So nice to see you, Jenny! Sounds like you have been through the wringer, but I am so glad the house has sold. Please take care of yourself and I look forward to seeing more of you here again soon.

On Thanksgiving, I am grateful for many things, one of them being

Thank you for being a part of my LT joy. : )

Nov 23, 2017, 7:24pm Top

Jenny, so glad that stage of your life is over and done with, but I'm looking forward to seeing some of you here again.

Nov 23, 2017, 7:38pm Top

>254 ronincats: Great to see you posting Jenny but not that you are struggling with so much upheaval in your life at the moment. Keep your chin up and know that your pals here are always thinking of you and rooting for you.

Nov 23, 2017, 8:31pm Top

What they said...

Nov 24, 2017, 1:48am Top

>254 ronincats: Good to see you posting, Jenny. It sounds like the worst may be over. I hope that you will be able to get back to LT as you gradually get back to your normal routine.

Nov 24, 2017, 7:16am Top

Hi Jenny!

I'll add my two cents - I'm sorry you've been going through so much and even though it's still causing you stress, at least it's sold and you can get your equilibrium back.

I know it had to be bad if you couldn't even read.

Take good care of yourself.

Nov 24, 2017, 8:58am Top

Chiming in with evryone above, glad to see a post from you, Jenny!
Take care and I hope you can get back on Connie soon.

Nov 24, 2017, 12:32pm Top

Good to see you here! I'm sorry you've been so overwhelmed, and I hope things go more smoothly for you now that the house is sold.

Nov 24, 2017, 2:32pm Top

That's a miserable job. I've been working on it with my Mom's stuff for a year now and still have items in her storage unit and boxes in the LR. :(

I'm looking forward to a single foal in April or Mayish (you know how mares are!).

And I'm excited over the moon because I just bought a new-to-me used horse trailer. Now I can haul to arenas here in the winter. I won't have to worry about bad footing and also there will be someone around if one of the sillies tosses me on my head. :-) Hope you will be back to enjoying Connie soon!

Nov 24, 2017, 4:17pm Top

Oh good, Jenny. I'm glad the house is sold, and you're feeling more yourself again. What a huge project! I hope you can relax and recover a bit.

Dec 1, 2017, 2:49pm Top

What a whammy....houses are chocka full of memories, I am glad for you that you got through it!
Read, horse, sleep, repeat. Is my advice :)

Dec 5, 2017, 10:41am Top

Good for you! I can’t even tidy up my own mess or convince the kids to put stuff back on shelves when they’ve finished with them. Good to see you again and to know you’re reading.

Dec 10, 2017, 7:14pm Top

Jenny hope all is well with you my dear.

Missing your warm and witty contributions to the group. xx

Dec 14, 2017, 4:18am Top

Hoping to get an update soon. : )

Dec 14, 2017, 8:55am Top

It's a combination of all go and utter exhaustion around here still.

My immune system, dicey at best, has taken a hit because of pushing myself far too hard, and I'm now struggling to get rid of a simple cold that J (partner) managed to clear in about 2 days. Even his 78 year old father got done with it quicker than I have! But there is now time for intermittent resting which is great.

My reading is still pretty much curtailed to audiobooks. J lives an hours drive away, and I/we do the drive at least three times a week, so there is plenty of time for catching up on some reading time there.

I'm still very slowly sorting through the last of the things I need to. We're looking at extending J's house next year, in the hopes of making it into our forever home, and possibly a three generation household in the next few years, and it would be great to have more space to do so. We could make it work as it is, but have decided to at least get an architect out and apply for planning permission. It's going to be a huge task, as he currently lives in a bungalow and we'll be looking to add another level on top, so the roof will have to come right off and we'll build up from there. If we can make it work (and more importantly, afford it!) we'll have a 6 bedroom house, so plenty of room for guests which is what the house is missing now - it's in a very isolated part of the world and we have no guest bedroom, so it's hard for us to invite people round.

Other than that, plans are afoot for Christmas. J declared he wanted a tree this year (the first time in about ten years) so we went and got one in the snow last weekend, and we spent the afternoon decorating it and drinking mulled wine. It's real, so the house has a wonderful smell. J has 12 days off over Christmas thanks to some clever manipulation of his holiday days, and while we have plans for 4 or 5 of them, including Christmas Eve/Christmas Day/Boxing Day, the others are ours to do with as we wish, which will basically involve napping, eating to excess, drinking wine, and loving each other's company.

We're also looking at extending the family by getting a dog some time next year. Unfortunately we've had no luck getting a rescue dog, as all the rescue places deem the garden too insecure, which drives us up the wall. It's an acre and a half of garden, with hedgerows all along, and we'd always be supervising the dog when it goes out there, but still we aren't allowed to offer a dog a second chance, so a puppy it will have to be. And before anyone suggests securing the whole lot - no thanks, we cannot afford to fence the entire thing, and so much wildlife comes and goes, we wouldn't want to!

Plans are afoot for some holidays as well. We've already planned two weeks in France in July, driving down through France, spending some time around the French/Spanish border, then driving home again. Other adventures being considered are: Namibia - 10 days of a self drive holiday, seeing something completely different, the US - driving from Northern California down to Mexico, or Sri Lanka or Goa, chilling out and going on mini adventures. Whatever we choose, it should be fantastic.

Dec 14, 2017, 9:03am Top

Hallo, Ermintrude! It's lovely to hear from you. Life sounds full but fulfilling, which is all to the good.

I hope you and J have a lovely Christmas!

Dec 14, 2017, 9:05am Top

Great to see you pay us all a visit, Jenny.

Holiday plans look exciting. Malaysia is not much further than Goa and Sri Lanka - just sayin!

Dec 14, 2017, 9:26am Top

Jenny, so great to see you posting! All of your plans sound wonderful, and I wish you happy with them. I love the smell of a real tree - an added treat at Christmas time.

Dec 14, 2017, 12:33pm Top

Except for your persistent cold, it all sounds good, Jenny. Hope the cold lets up on you soon, and you and J have a wonderful holiday season.

Dec 14, 2017, 11:10pm Top

It's good to hear from you and wonderful to know that your plans are going in a positive direction, Jenny. Have a great holiday season.

Dec 15, 2017, 8:33am Top

Hi Jenny!

Good to see you posting again. I'm sorry you can't seem to get over the cold. It does sound like things are coming along, with happy plans for the holidays.

Take care of yourself!

Dec 15, 2017, 9:01am Top

Nice to see you again! And if you make it to Malaysia, Singapore is only a hop from there (hint, hint).

Dec 15, 2017, 10:43pm Top

Have a lovely weekend, Jenny.

A Singapore / Malaysia double whammy surely appeals.

Dec 19, 2017, 12:39am Top

Hi, Jenny, great to see you posting. I hope you get rid of the cold soon, and hooray for the good stuff!

Dec 21, 2017, 12:12pm Top

Hey Jenny. I join others in saying how nice it is to see you when you can manage to stop by (and no pressure!! you don't need more pressure!!). You're juggling a lot and the selling of the house sounds draining, both physically and emotionally. I hope you are able to find a puppy that matches your wishes; I admit that my initial thought was "what? a puppy when you're already so busy and overwhelmed?" but I also know from friends (and my own experience with kittens) that getting a puppy is, yes, an additional responsibility. But the joy they bring so balances it out! And you clearly have so much love to give. So I hope you find one and, when you do, they will be lucky indeed.

My immune system is pretty hearty and the cold I have has knocked me off my feet for several days. I hope you're already feeling much better!

Dec 23, 2017, 10:35am Top

Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones.

Dec 23, 2017, 5:26pm Top

Sending you warm holiday wishes, Jenny!

Dec 23, 2017, 5:30pm Top

>269 PaulCranswick: So nice to get an update, Jenny!

It is that time of year again, between Solstice and Christmas, just after Hanukkah, when our thoughts turn to wishing each other well in whatever language or image is meaningful to the recipient. So, whether I wish you Happy Solstice or Merry Christmas, know that what I really wish you, and for you, is this:

Dec 24, 2017, 6:19am Top

Merry Christmas Jenny!

Dec 24, 2017, 8:41am Top

Hi Jenny!

Stopping by to wish you and yours all good things this holiday season.

Dec 24, 2017, 9:22am Top

Hi Jenny, wishing you and your beloved a very Merry Christmas my dear and sending love and hugs dear friend from both of us.

Dec 24, 2017, 2:30pm Top

(Or in other words, Happy Christmas, to you and yours!)

Dec 25, 2017, 3:39am Top

Wishing you all good things this holiday season and beyond.

Dec 25, 2017, 4:55am Top

A Happy Christmas from Philadelphia to you and J, Jenny! I'm glad that we were able to meet up this year, and I hope to see the two of you again in 2018.

Dec 25, 2017, 3:32pm Top

wishing a holiday and new year of peace for you and yours!

Dec 26, 2017, 4:24pm Top

Yay! An update!! Thank you. : ) Hope you find a cute little puppy and that you found a nice tree for the holidays. Also hope you are 100% recovered and healthy.

And Happy Boxing Day!!

Dec 27, 2017, 3:40pm Top

Thank you for all the Christmas wishes.

I also have some news - a wedding date has been set. I've got 18 months of freedom, and then John and I will be wed, on the 31st August 2019. It's the day before my parents' wedding anniversary, so it felt fitting, and we need that long to save up for the free bar!

Dec 27, 2017, 3:44pm Top

Hi Jenny, congratulations on the news of your wedding date my dear, it does seem a long time but I assure you it will fly by and what a lovely thing it is that it will be the day before your parents' wedding anniversary.

Sending love and hugs dear friend.

Dec 27, 2017, 3:50pm Top

Congratulations Jenny, that's wonderful news.

Dec 27, 2017, 4:06pm Top

Congratulations, Jenny!! That is so exciting. You should have fun in 2018 planning things. : )

Dec 27, 2017, 6:54pm Top

Congratulations, Jenny!!! Craig and I had a two year engagement, and I loved not having to rush to plan things and just getting to enjoy the moment of being engaged.

Dec 27, 2017, 7:00pm Top

Congratulations, Jenny, to you and John!

Dec 27, 2017, 7:55pm Top

Wonderful news, Jenny! Congratulations to you and John.

Dec 27, 2017, 9:51pm Top

Congratulations, Jenny! That's great news.

Dec 28, 2017, 6:24pm Top

Happy Holidays, Jenny!

And congratulations on the wonderful news of your wedding date. He must be quite a guy.

Dec 29, 2017, 5:38pm Top

Thank you everyone. He is indeed quite a guy. I'm incredibly lucky.

Not to sound money grabbing or anything, but our next challenge is to decide on an engagement ring. It appears I have very specific taste. This may well take some time to choose. But I want it to be something he likes as well as me, as he will have to look at it for the next 40 years as well. Who knew this marriage lark could be so complicated ;)

Dec 29, 2017, 6:16pm Top

I picked out my engagement ring. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted, and then I tried it on, and it looked weird. It was a fun outing :)

Dec 29, 2017, 6:19pm Top

Well, poop. I didn't get to pick out my engagement ring - I was completely surprised by Craig's proposal, and he already had the ring. I love Craig, really I do, but the ring notsomuch. And yes, he will have to look at it, but you will have to wear it, so make sure you get the one that speaks to you.

Dec 30, 2017, 3:05pm Top

>301 lunacat: Yeah, I thought I knew as well, but now I’m not so sure. I went and tried on a few yesterday but none of them were quite right, so I’ll keep looking.

>302 that’s a shame you didn’t get to choose your ring! I’m not sure what John would have picked had he chosen before we decided, but as we didn’t do the conventional proposal, there wasn’t really any planning involved. I’m definitely happy for the right ring to appear - we found a design we like, but I’d want to change the stone, and it remains to be seen if that’s affordable or not! Decisions, decisions.

Dec 30, 2017, 3:22pm Top

Ha. My husband and his mother shanghaied me on a couch in her living room - his mother had a gaudy amber topaz ring, extremely valuable and good quality, that they wanted me to have as an engagement ring. At the time it didn't bother me because I didn't feel a strong need for an engagement ring at the age of 38, but still. Anyway, my wedding band was also a family heirloom. The topaz was cleaned and returned to MiL, and on our 20th anniversary my husband finally bought me a diamond engagement ring. I don't particularly like the ring or the engagement ring, but they're less important to me than the fact that we've been married 26 years and more of it's been good than hasn't.

The right one will speak to you.....

Dec 31, 2017, 8:54pm Top

Congrats and best wishes, Jenny!

We picked out the engagement ring together (actually, rings -- we were "modern" and exchanged rings) but in recent years I mostly just wear my plain gold wedding band, as it's much more comfortable, and hubby does likewise. It's worked for a quarter century.

Jan 1, 10:18pm Top

Hope you had a great Christmas and a wonderful New Year! Congratulations on your engagement!

Jan 4, 3:45am Top

Congratulations Jenny! That's the second LTer with a wedding next year (so many travel arrangements for me to make). Wonderful news.

My husband designed our engagement rings but mine tended to rub an awkward spot in my skin, so I stopped wearing it so often. Plus I felt a bit odd wearing diamonds for changing nappies and to Gymboree classes and I got out of the habit of wearing it altogether. Now I just wear my wedding ring - which also has diamonds, but a much more subtle design. Either way, as >304 ChelleBearss: and >305 humouress: say, we're happy and coming up on 20 years.

Jan 4, 11:59am Top

I sort of designed my wedding ring myself by going to a gemologist. He had bands to choose from and loose diamonds so I could pick the size and shape I wanted. It ended up costing significantly less than a jewelry store too. We just sat in an office and I played around until I had exactly what I wanted.
And this was after my future MIL showing up with wedding rings that she had picked out and purchased with no say from us, thinking we'd be thrilled to wear her decisions on our fingers the rest of our lives. To say she attempted to take control of the wedding would be an understatement, lol.

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