I Get Around

This is house number 35 for the husband. I think I’m in my 20s, but I can’t be bothered to count it up. Archie is at number three. The house we’ve just left is the longest anyone in our little family has lived anywhere since we left home (me) or ever (the boys).

We’re unpacked enough to function, but despite our best efforts of going through and purging heaps, we’ve still got too much stuff to wade through. This is not helped by us starting packing in October and November of last year, so as we’re un-doing boxes, there are lots of ‘I forgot we had that!’ and ‘Oh, that’s where that was.’

Needless to say, we need to go through again and take a long hard look at what we’ve got, why have we got it and do we really need it? Really really.

Chances are, no. We don’t really, really need it. Especially if it’s been in a box for this long…

We’ve also got lots of prints that have been rolled up and stored carefully in poster tubes since we left the UK, in 2008. Le sigh.

The house itself is lovely, the office space for Hubs and I is working well already. I’m loving the bookshelves, but we’ve loaded the floor space in front of them up with boxes as we’re having a house full this weekend. Every bedroom will have one or two people sleeping in it, it’s going to be great. But where we’d put boxes into their respective rooms to unpack and sort through; we’re moving them back out again tomorrow to make room for guests lest they think they’re sleeping in a storage unit.

My new job is going well, I basically work for a bunch of nutters, so I fit in a treat. The three that I support are out on the road a lot, but when we talk either on the phone or when they’re in the office there are frequent gales of laughter. I’m above the shop floor, so like today when I was working on my own and was fed up of my own company, I’ll toddle downstairs and chat to the boys for a couple of minutes if they’re not too busy.

The office and new building next door which has the admin centre (accounts / WHS / HR etc.) backs onto Victoria Park, so on my lunchtime walks I get greenery and trees, not car fumes from the bypass and fricking great hills. Although, I’ve not been out this week, it’s been a short week due to Easter, but also because I was side-swiped with a head-cold that left me in bed for two days. I cannot get this sinus surgery soon enough.

Leeloo-The-Paw has settled in ok, although we had a few stress pees, which seems to have settled down now we’ve added another litter tray in to our bathroom, and spent a fortune on pheromones. Every morning we tidy her toys away, every night they appear by my side of the bed, along with socks, pieces of paper and a cotton bud this week as she’s worked out how to open drawers now.

That’ll do for now, I need to get back to blogging. Need to get a new routine going. But as Keith Abraham said on his weekly video this week, 2021 will be the year of us all stopping and starting. Knowing that things will change, but being able to be flexible with the change, while remaining focussed on what we want to do. As vaccines roll out and people start moving again, we know there will be other waves of infections and other variants coming, but how we manage them will be the key.

Every day I get up and savour my coffee of a morning, that is a good day. I know, there is more to life than coffee, but that first mouthful?

2018 reading review, including my book of the year

In 2018, I was aiming to read 52 books. I hit 80 this morning on 28 December, I’ll explain why I posted this early at the bottom of the post.

For one of my “19 in 2019” I want to get to 100 books, which means less time on social media (can only be a good thing) and broadening my reading repertoire (can only be a good thing). The hardest part of getting to 100 books will not be turning books I love around to promptly re-read them – I will be strong! This year has been a period of growth for me, mostly thanks to two women:

  • Mel Robbins, The 5 Second Rule I read this twice and listened to it twice this year.
  • Brené Brown, with Daring Greatly and Dare to Lead which I promptly brought for the Management Team at work. Yes, seven additional copies. Mine is already dog-eared, highlighted all the way through. Both of these got listened to and read at least twice as well.

As you will see from the list, I’m also addicted to Agatha Christie, with a penchant for audiobooks Joan Hickson reading Miss Marple and Hugh Fraser reading Poirot. Agatha Christie has been a companion for 30 years, I don’t see that changing any time soon. I also finally got round to reading His Dark Materials trilogy, Book Club gave me a couple of books I wouldn’t have picked up, and also one that I could not finish. My rule of thumb is 100 pages plus my age; if I’m not in it by then, I close the book and move on.

Stand out reads of the year include:

  • Uncommon Type, Tom Hanks – damnit, the man can do everything.
  • Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern – a book I hugged with joy when I finished it.
  • Promise Me Dad, Joe Biden – read with tissues, then tell everyone you love that you love them.
  • Not My Father’s Son, Alan Cumming – I listened to this, then went back and watched his Who Do You Think You Are episode, which prompted the book. Glorious but heartbreaking and his Scottish burr in your ears is really rather lovely.
  • Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, Samin Nosrat – I think I’ve watched the Netflix special eight times (see a pattern here when I get excited about something?) I ordered this for my Christmas present, to me!

Book of the year though, has to be Osher Günsberg’s Back, After The Break. I cannot stress how well this book captures what it feels like to live with ‘a different brain’ as Osher puts it. The book also addresses via Audrey his wife, what it’s like to live with someone who lives with a different brain. I’m up to my fourth reading of it, it is now a permanent fixture on my bed side table.

Thanks to the book and subsequent media attention, Australia is now, (at last), catching up with those who’ve been listening to his podcast and had heard from the man behind the TV presenter persona. Sharp suits and counting roses is one thing, but Osher is also proud about sharing his mental health and sobriety journey. I really recommend his podcast; Osher is a skilled interviewer, not being afraid to go ‘there’ in conversations. Also as they are long-form interviews, the conversations are wide-ranging, intimate and every single one of them brings an “a-ha!” moment.

What I really love about the podcasts though is Osher still getting goofy talking about his family, Audrey and Georgia. Audrey recognised how scared he was in one of his fragile moments and told him “It’s ok, because I’ll be there with you” which started leading him towards the light again. Here’s Osher talking about that moment with Todd Sampson – when Todd interviewed him after the release of the book.

I’m so bluddy proud of him. It has been an extraordinary year, Men’s Health cover and all. Here’s me, bursting with joy to meet him back at the Melbourne Writer’s Festival.

Happy Second Anniversary to all of you. I was going to post this review on 31 December, with my final number but brought it forward to today after he popped a wedding photo up. There was no doubt what my book of the year was as soon as I’d finished reading it.

Osher

 

Favourite Humans

I’ve been muttering a bit about ‘favourite humans’ on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram a fair studio-boketto-you-are-my-favourite-human-bean-funny-valentines-card-foodie-card-pun-valentines-card-anniversary-card_grandebit the past few weeks, while at acupuncture tonight I thought I really ought to do a list for you. Here we go, in no particular order:

  • Stephen Fry – I have to start with him really don’t I?
  • Oprah – closely followed on the heels by another constant in my life. As Rosie O’Donnell said to her, ‘You’ve been huge in my life, you just never realised it’.
  • Ewan McGregor – I named my son for him.
  • Nathan Lane – wonderful, generous actor. Saw him in The Producers in London when he stepped in for Richard Dreyfuss. Being in the same room as him made me giddy with joy.
  • Dame Judy Dench – saw her in an RSC production of All’s Well That Ends Well, my favourite Shakespeare Comedy, started crying when she walked on stage.
  • Eddie Izzard – utter, utter god of sheer loveliness.
  • Brené Brown – her research and clarity of language around vulnerability is opening up and re-shaping the world.
  • Eckhart Tolle – “Enlightenment means saying ‘yes’ to what is”
  • Dr Wayne Dyer – his explanation of him as a child trying to find the tomatoes in the seeds being planted tells you all you need to know about potential.
  • Hibo Wardere – tireless Female Genital Mutilation campaigner.
  • Malala Yousafzai – “Extremists have shown what frightens them most. A girl with a book.”
  • Alan Rickman – always.
  • Dr Oliver Sacks – a wonderful writer who share his world so those who weren’t in it could understand it.
  • Osher Günsberg – so much more than the rose counting TV host.
  • Bill and Melinda Gates – for throwing money against inequality, bringing education and healthcare to millions.
  • Alan Alda – for using improvisation and language to educate and break-down barriers so STEM students communicate clearly. Clear+Vivid is a great podcast, his books make me weep with laughter and of course, M*A*S*H.
  • Alexandra Heminsley – British journalist and author, Running Like A Girl is so reassuring when your legs on fire and you’re wondering why the hell you’re doing this…
  • Caitlin Moran – British journalist and author. Bluddy love this woman.
  • Sali Hughes – British journalist and author, In The Bathroom vlogs on YouTube are glorious. Co-founder of The Beauty Bank, collecting toiletries and sanitary products to pay them forward to people who’ve fled domestic abuse, are in poverty and can’t afford them.
  • Glennon Doyle – Love Warrior, co-creator of #BlackFridays.
  • Carrie Fisher – who’s novels were the voice in my head when I couldn’t find or share the words.
  • The Honorable Julia Gillard, 27th Prime Minister of Australia, worked tirelessly to negotiate and manage Bills and Legislation to pass through the political system. And for this speech.
  • Christopher Hitchens – for all his foibles, his critical thinking was extraordinary.
  • Douglas Adams – do you know where your towel is?
  • Amanda Palmer – for giving me the courage to take the fucking donuts.
  • Neil Gaiman – for pointing me to his wife and for writing like Neil Gaiman.
  • Nancy Mitford – if only for Love In A Cold Climate.
  • Agatha Christie – if she’d only written Miss Marple, I’d be happy, but there’s so many more to choose from!
  • Dame AS Byatt – Possession, my favourite book and for that talk in Winchester where you gave so much of your time, as your husband took you out the door, you were still finishing off your sentence over your shoulder.
Picture credit

A year of reading – February redux

Here was January‘s selection if you missed it, or are bothered *cough*

This has been a slow month, not sure for why, but I didn’t feel like I read much.

Deenie was a completely impulsive grab off a trolley in the library, read in one sitting and returned the next day. I loved Judy Blume growing up, I’ve still got Wifey and Smart Women on my shelves at home. However, after reading the exorable In The Unlikely Event last year, it’s fair to say her writing style is her writing style and has not changed in forty years. I will revisit Wifey and Smart Women again this year, and if I’ve grown out of them, I will pass them on to someone else who will enjoy them.

Gratitude, working my way through the Oliver Sacks back catalogue. This was one of the last books published, and is only four essays he wrote towards the end of his life. It’s slim enough to keep in my handbag, but at the moment it’s by my bed. Either way – I can’t bear to put it back in the bookshelf yet, as I keep re-reading them.

The House of Hidden Mothers by the gloriously talented Meera Syal. Although selected by BC, I would have read this anyway, as I love her writing. I love the seamless way she weaves India, India-UK, UK cultures, smells, foods, architecture, families – life. Since I read this, I’ve made no end of curries from scratch.

The Mysterious Affair At Styles, Agatha Christie. Introducing Hercule Poirot, not only through the first book with him in, but also to three Agatha Christie newbies. All of which liked it. Hurrah! We suggested they either read some of the short stories or a Miss Marple or even And Then There Were None next, as they all said keeping up with the characters was a bit hard work. This iconic book now re-set on Soldier Island (ahem) has only 10 characters and rattles along nicely. V said she wasn’t sure if she’d read Styles again, as she knew what happened. Both L and I said that re-reading them is half the fun, as the clues are (sometimes) there, and then the big reveal at the end is very much a part of the fun.

Curtain and Cat Among The Pigeons, Agatha Christie. Closing the loop, Curtain is the last Poirot. Both audiobooks, really well read by Hugh Fraser, I listened to these while pottering about the house.

Secret History, Donna Tartt. Reviewed on A Good Read last week, I ordered it from the library, but it had another back order behind mine so I would have to read it earlier than some of the other library books I’ve got waiting. It got bumped up the list, it’s one I read back in 2002(?), and loved it. It is so dark, so claustrophobic, probably better read in the winter, not in the summer, but I still love it.

Upcoming, is a revisit of The Rosie Project for BC2, Uncle Tungsten and Hallucinations from Oliver Sacks and I’ve got 6 hours left of Neverwhere to go, which I’m heartily enjoying Neil Gaiman reading to me.

A year of reading, January redux

Four days into our second month of 2016 and I’ve read eight books already, go me!

After such a dismal selection towards the back end of last year of over-long, clunky, badly edited books; to start off this year with four out of the eight as new reads, all of which I’d read again, that’s not a bad start. Here are some random thoughts on the books, only by order of reading:

Magda Szubanski’s Reckoning was truly life-changing, I still am thinking about it over a month after finishing it. It’s visiting a friend from work who was looking forward to reading it, I don’t usually lend books. I’ve had too many not come home, but I know L will take good care of Magda and return her when she’s done.

Ghost River split our Book Club, some have really struggled to finish it, I think only two of us have completed it. I quite enjoyed it – although not being Australian, I didn’t pick up some of the cultural nuances through the story line. On Monday we spent more time discussing where along the Yarra it was set than the story.

The Little Paris Bookshop was glorious. It was a book I didn’t want to finish. A mixture of The Collected Works of AJ Fikry and The Elegance Of The Hedgehog as well written as All The Light We Cannot See; I am going to be making room for this on my annual re-reading list. A lot of books can lose something in translation from their native tongue to English, I’m glad to say this book was divinely French throughout.

On The Move was ordered not long after the death of Oliver Sacks was announced, along with Gratitude which is waiting patiently to be read too. Dr Sacks was a hero of mine; the way he writes is so intimate, but at the same time explicitly clear and scientific. He never dumbed-down for us layman types, Dr Sacks wrote to share his knowledge and findings with us, lifting our understanding in the process.

I absolutely inhaled Brooklyn yesterday. I wanted to turn it around and re-read it straight away as well, which for me is always a good sign. I think like Snow Falling on Cedars, now I know the story, the next time I read it, I will get more out of and marvel at the language Colm Tóibín has used.

What is coming up?

I’ve collected our next Book Club selection of The House of Hidden Mothers, by Meera Syal at the library on Tuesday, which is a book I’m looking forward to reading. At the same library visit, I also checked out the only Oliver Sacks book on their shelves, Hallucinations. I finally succumbed to Paulo Coelho and checked out The Alchemist and a Neil Gaiman audiobook, Neverwhere.

Our other Book Club selection was The Mysterious Affair At Styles, introducing several book club members to Mr Hercule Poirot, I have him on my bookshelf. I adore Agatha Christie, the ridiculous plots, the overwrought emotions, the ‘of an age’ language, they’re great fun. Next week I’m meeting with Book Club 2, where we are provided with a pack from our library, so I never know what we will be reading (Brooklyn was for that group).

Happy reading!

 

 

On an unnatural high

After a lovely Monday off to myself, and a relaxing lunch with relatives on Tuesday, Wednesday was busy at work. BossMan had received more emails over three days than in the previous three weeks; we’re blaming the full moon.

Thursday dawned bright and early with a croak from the croup chorus. Once heard, never forgotten. Hubs was only just back at work after a week off, so I sent off text messages and emails to the Managers in the office and stayed home with the wee man.

Our GP the last time Peanut had croup had given us a prescription for prednisolone, telling us to keep it in the fridge just in case. Getting 4ml of the medicine into him used all my UN Peace Keeping negotiation standards I can tell you. He had a mouthful of breakfast, a bit of medicine, covered his mouth, complained vociferously that it was “dis-gust-ing” – obviously enunciating every syllable makes it get through to your Mama. I got the rest in, and some nurofen (which my phone constantly wants to correct to nitrogen *boom*), he then finished breakfast muttering about the indignity of it all.

He’s definitely my son.

We spent the morning on the couch, me reading the remnants of the papers, him watching DVDs. I’d an osteopath appointment at noon, so he came with me to that and chatted happily to Jo. We then headed to the plaza for some lunch and also to get him out the house, we ran some errands, ate some sushi and I let him lead me around to the shops he wanted to visit. The party shop, toy shop (unsurprisingly) and then the homewares section of K-Mart and Target.

He’s definitely my son.

Anyhoo, at the party shop I brought some Reese’s Pieces and a can of Dr Pepper. I’ve not had caffeine for most of this year, not had a soft drink either (tonic water in gin does not count) so the effects on my system were quick and long lasting.

In the afternoon I was ratty and irritable. It took forever for me to get to sleep, then I was restless all night. I had a headache this morning, despite drinking gallons of water all afternoon. Twenty four hours later, my skin still feels dry and itchy. I also weighed myself this morning. I’m puffy and bloated, my body is really not happy; even so to say ‘one was not amused’ at the figure on the scale is an understatement.

Listening to Late Night Woman’s Hour podcast while pottering around the house this morning, (Late Night so they can discuss slightly more risqué topics), they were covering purity. It’s well worth a listen, not least for the wide ranging definitions of purity, but about how women use terminology about being ‘good and bad’ so easily around food. I am fully aware that the drink did me no favours at all, even if the first mouthful was quite tasty. The film on my teeth and aftereffects are a clear signal that for all that the first mouthful was nice, the past day has been less so on my system as a whole.

On the podcast they discussed how “clean eating” is popular buzz words amongst smug middle-classes who have to Instagram their food to prove how well they’re doing. Not photographing the Reese’s Pieces and Dr Peppers, as they don’t happen *snort* We’re human, punishing ourselves doesn’t help anyone. Rubbing other’s noses in about how well we’re doing compared to them doesn’t help either. That middle road is such a fine line to dance, is it any wonder us mere mortals have a wobble and fall off every so often?

It’s been a funny week, I’ve not been sleeping well anyway, maybe that’s why I reached for the can? Who knows. I do know I’m not going to beat myself up over it, it’s done. I ran on Monday, but not since, so my weight fluctuation may be more than just the empty calories. It’s ParkRun tomorrow morning, I’m going to potter round the route and feel all the better for it.

Standing under the shower after running on Monday, I felt great. I’m also three quarters through Oliver Sacks memoir; at the point of finding sheer joy in a well-written, funny, lovely book, but I don’t want it to end. I had that with the Little Paris Bookshop when I was at 80% and forced myself to put the book (kindle) down, make a cuppa and go back to it. I knew I’d finish the book that night, but the world I was in was so lovely, I didn’t want to leave. To have found two books like that in a week is remarkable, it’s a much rarer and nicer feeling than a caffeine fix.

Lesson learned universe, lesson learned.

 

Ten on Tuesday – Community edition

Carole has a corker of a list this week, what makes your community interesting? I wasn’t sure how to approach this, then had a flash of inspiration in the shower. Libraries these are the very symbolism of ‘Community’ for me. Before I’d even moved to Australia, (Hubs had left the UK before me and found a house for us), I looked at what was going to be our local library and enrolled online, collecting my ticket and first books two days after I arrived.

Libraries a hub for people for a variety of reasons, and it is maddening to me that governments think they’re only about books and rental figures. Here are some arguments about why they’re so important to me.

Seaside Library

  1. Free or heavily discounted activities for all ages. From baby sing-alongs and story sessions, to showing how use tablets and computers, to language classes, to keeping chickens and researching your family history, there is something to do for everyone. If a session isn’t being run, have a look at the notice board, there will probably be something advertising a group or meeting you may be interested in. Sometimes, getting out the house with Peanut and going to a reading session was all that I achieved that day, but it meant a walk there and back, a reason to shower and some adult conversation, with the possibility of a coffee afterwards!
  2. A place to study. Even before I got to high-school, there were reference books that were permanently onsite that I used to refer to complete homework at the Seaside Library in my hometown, see above picture. I can still smell the room now, parquet floors and wooden floor to picture rail shelving, with moveable shelves, tables and desks in the middle of the room, the librarians had a central desk towards the front of the room, where your books were stamped in and out. I could probably still direct you to my favourite books in my mind.
  3. Access to more books than I could ever afford. Books are not cheap. When you devour them as quickly as I do and with a birthday not long after Christmas, my main book buying binge was usually in the sales in January with book tokens (remember them) and gift cards to WH Smith. I can remember carrying a stack of a mixture of Arthur Ransome and Sweet Valley High (oh my) to the counter, for the lady on the till to say “I think you like reading!” My mum fell about laughing.  Through the library, I was able to borrow books, read them, try them on, if I loved them, I could renew them, then put them on a ‘to-buy’ list. It also widened my sphere of reading, (way over and above Sweet Valley High), I’m still an eclectic reader now.
  4. A thirst for knowledge. If I want to learn about something, I read about it. Despite it being a digital age, (and loving my kindle), I love the tactile feel of paper. Most of my books have pen or pencil marks and notes in the margins. I love following the breadcrumbs of a subject, when a book point to another title or topic for me to lose myself in.
  5. Knowledge of how to research properly. Long before Google, there were microfiche readers and images of newspapers on reels. Standing up in front of a bank of cards, rifling through, taking the number of the tape or sleeve you needed to the librarian, waiting while they dug it out. Hoping a machine would be free. Another smell that is still there as I type this: the hot, dusty, celluloid, chemical tang. Going back and forwards over your tracks, making notes of where you were so your references were complete and correct at the end of your assignment. Kids these days…
  6. A place of refuge. In Eastbourne we also the ‘Central Library’, a concrete and glass monstrosity, but right by the train station. So if it was piddling it down with rain, you could make a made dash across the road and wait for the rain to stop. It also was a place I could spend hours in when my mind was struggling. Finding solace in Dewey, the smells of the books and stacks, people watching, writing endlessly, throwing the notes away and starting again.
  7. Librarians. A font of knowledge, support when you’re struggling to make a decision if you’ve accidently chosen too many books. I heartily miss the clunk-clunk of the stamp and my own little cardboard wallet with the tickets from the books I’d taken out in it. While Peanut loves scanning his books to take them out, it ain’t the same. Plus, we can take out 30 items at a time, so no quandary over what book to leave behind, wondering if I’d left the wrong one there.
  8. Meeting place. I cannot stress this point enough. Libraries are not just about books, they provide a safe, clean and welcoming place to meet. For mother’s groups, for play-dates, for friends, study-groups, you name it, you can meet there. You can also hire rooms out for meetings proper if your group needs somewhere, or for a change of scenery if you need an off-site work meeting.
  9. Resources for use/hire. I saw a picture of a bake pan library yesterday! See, I told you it is more than books. Catalogues now include DVDs, CDs, audiobooks, magazines, reference and text books, knitting patterns, board games. Our library is a networked group across different municipalities, there are nine sites in total. You can browse across the entire catalogue, ask for what you want to be sent to your local site. This arrangement is fantastic as the Councils can pool resources, to provide a truly excellent service.
  10. They help give back to the community. This leads off all the previous points, when you’re new in town, head to your local library. They will be able to help you get settled with lists of activities, doctor and dentist surgeries, more local historic information than you can shake a stick at.

I don’t think I will ever get off my soap-box about libraries. They are a necessity. They are precious and should be cherished, with funding secure. They’re a lifeline for many people, including me. I take Peanut to one of our local three every month, we check out a bag full (or two) of books, each time. He loves it as much as I do.

 

What I read in 2015

In line with the intention to ‘Read More’, here is the list of books I completed in 2015.

  1. The Strays, Emily Bitto – book club selection
  2. The Darling Buds of May, HE Bates – re-read
  3. A Breath of French Air, HE Bates – re-read
  4. The Art of Asking, Amanda Palmer
  5. When The Green Woods Laugh, HE Bates – re-read
  6. Oh! To Be In England, HE Bates – re-read
  7. A Little of What You Fancy, HE Bates – re-read
  8. The President’s Hat, Antoine Laurain – book club selection
  9. At Home, Bill Bryson – audio book (this counts, right?)
  10. Perfume, Patrick Suskind – book club selection
  11. The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, Neil Gaiman
  12. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
  13. Nora Webster, Colm Tóibín – book club selection
  14. The Collected Works of AJ Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin; book club selection and an absolute joy
  15. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, John Le Carre. Re-read, love it still.
  16. One Wild Song, Paul Heiney.
  17. The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo
  18. Riders, Jilly Cooper. Gloriously, well-written, funny, trashy, re-read.
  19. All The Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr. Book club selection, magnificent.
  20. Being Mortal, Atul Gawande. It was a privilege to read this book. I’ve already brought it as a gift for someone else.
  21. Bonkers, Jennifer Saunders.
  22. Lord Edgeware Dies, Agatha Christie.
  23. The Body In The Library, Agatha Christie.
  24. In The Unlikely Event, Judy Blume. Book club selection. Bitterly disappointing.
  25. Halloween Party, Agatha Christie.
  26. The Two Of Us, Sheila Hancock. One of the haul I found in a second hand bookshop. A previous owner had dropped it in the bath, it’s been well loved! Unusually I have it as an audiobook too.
  27. A Lotus Grows In The Mud, Goldie Hawn. Loved it. Am loathe to give it back to my friend until I buy myself a copy!
  28. The Truth According To Us, Annie Barrows. Book club selection.
  29. Five Little Pigs, Agatha Christie.
  30. Body of Evidence, Patricia Cornwell. Borrowed from work, started it over lunch, finished it before bed.
  31. Postmortem, Patricia Cornwell. Got it out the library today, started it at lunch and finished it.
  32. Lyrebird Hill, Anna Romer. Book club selection. I don’t know, maybe I’m expecting too much, but the most recently published books we’ve been reading could really do with tighter editing.
  33. Farewell To Arms, Ernest Hemingway. (I joined a second book club, hereafter BC2) Loved it, although would have quite cheerfully smacked the characters into next week, as for the alcohol consumed… How did people function if they were drinking that much?
  34. Lunatic Heroes, C Anthony Martignetti. Found this on my kindle, finished but I hadn’t logged it. 
  35. A Spool Of Blue Thread, Anne Tyler. Book club book, loved it. I read 2/3 yesterday, finally finishing it about 10:30 last night. I’m a tad jaded this morning. I either love Anne Tyler or hate her, nothing in between with her books. This was one of the books I’m going to wear out, I can tell already.
  36. Did You Ever Have A Family, Bill Clegg. Oh dear me, this was stunning. Heard about it on Radio4, downloaded to kindle there and then and inhaled the first half. I had to put it down as my heart was breaking, but picked it up and finished it in two sittings after that.
  37. Wild, Cheryl Strayed. Book club selection. What a crock of shit. Deleted it from my kindle as soon as it was finished.
  38. Lake House, Kate Morton. Book club selection. This was terrible. Far too many adjectives. It was also repetitive, when you’ve described the location once, you don’t need to keep telling me what it looks like.
  39. Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins.
  40. Wait For Me! Deborah Devonshire. Loved this, a real glimpse of history over the C20th and also a ‘who’s who’ of London. JFK is also a feature, and a side not usually seen to the family.
  41. The Turning, Tim Winton. BC2 selection, collection of short stories. Beautifully, concise writing. Some stories were only a few pages long. Heartbreakingly dark at times, I skipped a fair few and finished up with the last one.
  42. The Descendants, Kaui Hart Hemmings. Another audiobook, but I loved it. One of my favourite films of the past few years too.
  43. Adding Lib, Kathryn Elliott. One of the people I met through twitter, very funny book about families, generations and consuming empty calories when stressed – right up my street.
  44. Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher. Re-read in one sitting.
  45. Decoded, Mai Jai. Recommendation from Radio 4, very good.
  46. Not Fade Away: A Memoir of Senses Lost and Found, Rebecca Alexander. Found it on my kindle last night, I vaguely remember reading about it, but don’t remember ordering it! Read it in one sitting, and a nice book to finish the year with.

And to balance the list out, books I could not finish:

  • The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt – for the love of god, talk about waffle
  • Woman King, Evette Davis – clunky, badly written and nothing happens

Marilyn-Monroe-reading-by-Ed-Feingersh-March-1955

Flipping heck

In the stream of big weeks, this has been up there. I’m exhausted, and it’s been a long time since I’ve been this exhausted, I can tell you.

Let’s just ignore that Peanut has been awake more times overnight than he has been asleep. Let’s just ignore that Hubs has been interstate, so I’ve been single parenting. At home, right here, now, this week has so far included:

  • A burst pipe, so an emergency plumber was called
  • Fetching and decorating a Christmas tree (never not easy, always takes longer than you think)
  • Thunderstorms, which means the roof in the kitchen leaks
  • Nearly 40c days, which means the air con has to go on, I’ve got to chase the cat into the house, and work is either baltic or boiling
  • Launching a major project at work
  • One Christmas party
  • One Christmas breakfast
  • One morning tea
  • One afternoon tea
  • I’m worried about a girlfriend and what she’s going through at work
  • I’m worried about another girlfriend and the surgery she’s had
  • I’m worried about another friend and their family and health worries
  • I’m worried about family and friends in the UK and the storm

I went to bed early last night and could not sleep. So I lay there, read a bit, wrote a list of things I’m worried about (see above), worried about things I hadn’t written about. Eventually got off to sleep about 3ish for Peanut to wake me up with ‘I’m hungry!’ at 5:20am. I got him breakfast, got a DVD going, (needs must), and went back to bed and overslept.

I’ve also been a day ahead of myself all week, thinking today was Friday, when it was Thursday. You never quite get yourself sorted out when you wake up thinking it’s a day and it isn’t.

We’ve been so busy with this project over the past few weeks, everything else has gone by the wayside. I wrote my to-do list this afternoon: 2.5, (that’s two and a half), A4 pages, and I’m still not 100% I’ve got everything down. Whereas, one girl in earshot is already winding down for the holidays ‘I’m on leave, I can’t do it.’ Never mind that they’ve had all year to do it *deep sigh*

I’ve got breakfast with the Managers tomorrow. I cannot wait, mainly because I’ve chosen the venue (the perks of being a PA). It will also help with a predicted small hangover, as a bit of white wine has been drunk today. For medicinal purposes, obvs.

I’ve got so much work to do tomorrow before BossMan leaves to go on holiday. I don’t want to think about it really. I’m focussing on the 24 December, because after Christmas lunch, I’m not back at work until 4 January.

If anyone wants me, I’ll be reading, in my hammock. Or sleeping, in my hammock. Processing another year.

cat-napping-c2a9-mgm

Fifty-two?

I’m going to have to get a wiggle on if I’m to read on average one book a week. I’ve had a quick count up, I think I’m up to 37 according to the list on my page anyway. I’ll double check later.

While I’ve been impressed with some of our Book Club selections, some of them have been dire. Wild, I’m particularly looking at you *she said darkly* the ‘heroine’ of the story memoir has absolutely no redeeming features at all.