World book day in Gibraltar

Book crossing, book fair, it was all happening across the street from me, so the idle roughseas legs didn’t have to walk too far to see if there were any goodies for her to snaffle. So this will be a book post with a few reviews thrown in, including some very good reads.

But first, on the subject of snaffles and freebies …

Having successfully, well almost, apart from a couple of leaks that will get fixed, sorted the plumbing for the block, the vamp upstairs generously offered us her flat screen TV as she was getting a new one.

‘I know you don’t have one, so I thought I would offer it to you first.’

Wow! Although where to put it in our overcrowded flat was another matter.

And we’d also need to get a rip-off contract from the local supplier for satellite or whatever it is.

‘It’s analogue,’ she told Partner. I don’t think she did. She more than likely said it was either a) not analogue or b) digital.

Regardless a free TV is a free TV even though we have no time to watch one, and I don’t have the desire.

‘I’m dismantling it tonight, and I’ll bring it down tomorrow.’

Partner could hardly contain himself with excitement. I wondered how much I could get for it in Friday Ads after it had sat unused for a while.

Coming back in the door on Sunday afternoon with Snowy, I bumped into her. She was carrying some disgusting-looking MDF out of the block to dump in the street. I don’t like MDF which is one reason I don’t have fitted kitchens. Or fitted anything. Or tat furniture. Wood should be solid and last far longer than I will. And age better than I will.

‘Hahaha,’ she laughed, carrying out the huge pieces of tat as though she was Zena. ‘Your partner thought I was giving him a TV, hahaha,’ and she collapsed again in laughter as she dumped it tidily on the street. Her flatmate held the door open for me.

‘I’m not going out,’ said the flatmate, and pointed to her jimjams. I can’t remember the last time I saw this woman dressed. This was of course, Sunday afternoon. Given that Spanish women do it all the time in my pueblo and so do the Gibbos on the local estate where Partner works, I shouldn’t have been surprised. But hey, we live in a posh part of the city.

‘Why would I give him a new TV? I’m getting new units. This is what I’m getting rid of,’ added the vamp, as she came back for the tat that her flatmate wouldn’t take out.

I wandered upstairs laughing and relieved that I didn’t need to find space for a nasty intrusive noisy large TV.

Partner was also laughing his socks off. Even he thought it was funny. He started to tell me the story but I told him I had already heard it from the vamp’s mouth.

She’d originally said he wanted us to have the TV (!) because she didn’t want the Moroccans who come to scavenge our bins for rich pickings to take it. This TV MDF unit thing was so bad – and mouldy – that even the Roccies never took it. A British couple looked at it as they needed to put up a shelf, and they rejected it. It got taken away by our street cleaning service.

Apart from anything else, we actually have a TV unit left behind by the previous occupant of the flat. It is full of books, and hopefully will stay so.

Onto books.

Black Out by John Lawton

There are a number of books with this title but this is somewhat older (1995) and is set in the London Blitz of 1944. I’m not a fan of wartime books but this looked interesting and sounded as though there was more to it than met the eye.
It’s basically a crime novel, or rather that’s how it starts out. Smart unconventional copper has been exempted from signing up to fight in WW2. His family were rich Russian émigrés and he didn’t do what was expected, unlike his brother who joined the RAF. He is an instinctive police officer rather than a plod.

The beginning is not particularly gripping but after a few pages I was wrapped. The main character is brilliant, partly because he isn’t perfect. He breaks the rules at work. He has two women on the go at once, one of whom is connected with the case. He totally gets it wrong. Flawed heros. Don’t you love them?

There is good dialogue, excellent depiction of characters, some sex and some swearing, enough to make the story valid, but not too much to over use it. Just right. It has action. Lots of it. Although it is complicated, even roughseas managed to follow the plot, and certainly couldn’t have guessed the end. Working out who was going to be the baddie was such fun.

So if it started off as an ordinary crime scene novel, the ending was very good, very good indeed. Better a good ending than a good beginning?

I read hard copy books very quickly indeed. Partner doesn’t. He was half-way through it in a day. Three hundred and forty two pages of an excellent read.

Marks out of five?

Well, I couldn’t fault it. Not even any glaring proofing errors or inconsistencies. Given that it is crime/thriller/spy, it is pretty near the 5s. It is difficult to compare scores between genres, eg I unhesitatingly gave Tolkien 5 and Rowling 1 (and that was generous). I’d have to give it 4.8/4.9. It was just such a great read, I’ve already read it another couple of times before I take it back to the library. And look for more of his books, do hope there are some. I’ve just looked him up, and apparently he has written quite a few. Gets around four stars awards on book sites, but I think Black Out is well worth more than four, it also won a book award.

Highly recommended in case you haven’t worked that out.

Two Faces of Nemesis by Antony Melville-Ross

MI6. Need I say more? M-Ross writes a good tale. Fast-paced, and moving from London to New York to the Columbian jungle as the story unfolds.

mrossAs with all spy stories there is some deceit in there somewhere, and like the Lawton book, I was trying to guess just who was the spy on the inside, but was taken totally by surprise with this one. M-Ross doesn’t pull any punches and things don’t always end happily ever after. The good people get killed too.

Well-written, plausible characters, and a good easy read. Marks 3.8 to 4. It’s the second M-Ross book I’ve read (with the same main characters), and I’ll be hunting down the rest in our library.

And now for something completely different.

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

This is a very good fantasy novel, allegedly aimed at young people I suppose, but is perfectly good for adults. nlights It’s 400 pages of mystery, imagination, twists and surprises. Our heroine Lyra lives in Oxford with her demon. Everyone has their own personal demon. Brilliant. I want one. Almost as much as I want a Gollum (Tolkien). Your demon is basically your soul – impossible to live without it. And in a more physical sense, your demon is your companion.

There are witches, iron bears, wolf-demons and all sorts of exciting warring factions. There are gyptions who are barge people (without demons). From the genteel cloisters of Oxford, Lyra travels to the frozen North in search of her missing friend Roger, a kitchen boy from the college, and commits, unwittingly, the ultimate betrayal. Poignant and powerful.

This one won the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian award and justifiably so. First published in 1995.

It easily merits 4 out of five, and I’d push it up to 4.3. It’s the first part of a trilogy, so I’ll be looking out for the other two.

Once in a full moon by Ellen Schreiber
botoxThis one was, well, nothing. Schreiber has written a series of books called Vampire Kisses. This book is actually about a werewolf. And obviously the nice girl (with botox lips by the look of the cover) who falls in love with him.

He comes from the wrong side of town so her mates are all very snotty with him, although he actually does come from money.

The plot is thin, the characters and conversation banal and the designer who thought having a black page for every new chapter with a full moon at the top needs to stop watching so many films. What works on films doesn’t work in print. I did not like having to read white print on black at the start of every chapter. The cover is vile too. As you can see.

Marks? One out of five on the grounds that if you have nothing else around it is readable but has no literary merit. It is nothing like as good as Meyer, but I suppose I should read one of Schreiber’s vampire novels to see if I just read a poor example of her work. Although based on that one, Enid Blyton is a more interesting read.

Book fair

The book day was interesting. It was meant to be book crossing, but in fact, the sign just said, help yourself, all books free. So I did. I only took four. No Tolkien, no Lawton, M-Ross or Pullman, needless to state.

Four free books, plus publicity blurb, cute little bird postcard to bottom right that was a kiddy book
Four free books, plus publicity blurb, cute little bird postcard to bottom right that was a kiddy book

There were dated chick lit books including Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding. The success of a mediocre book, leading to a hollywood film leaves me cold. Especially as we went to school together (year above me) so naturally I am insanely jealous of her success. There is a bit of a difference between someone who lives in Los Angeles and London and someone who lives in Spain and Gib. OK, so I would prefer the latter even had I the choice, but still, the choice would be nice.

But it made me muse how fickle fiction tastes are. Back in the 90s when Helen’s book was first published, there was a waiting list in my office for people to read someone’s version for free. And there it was, unloved and unwanted on a book giveaway. Instant success isn’t lasting. Read once, throw away later. Apparently her new book received poor reviews, but isn’t selling badly. What do you want, sales or critical acclaim? I’m no longer sure which I would prefer.

If I find my school photo with us both on I’ll scan it in. I’m sure I was more blonde than she was back then, and she is far blonder than me now. How can that be, I ask myself?

Local authors

I also visited the local authors’ stalls. I had no idea Gib had so many local writers. There was a very nice-looking self-published children’s book about a bird story (see postcard in pic above), yet more indeterminate fantasy/love stories, and some good factual publications by Richard Garcia, one of which was a compilation of his own historical postcard collection. Very coffee table.

And, from one day to another.

International Women’s Day

Two days later, March 8 was International Women’s Day. This year’s theme was Inspiring Change. Suitably bland I must say. Apparently we can all be advocates for inspiring change. Really?

There were two events in Spain listed on the official international website. One was a yoga class and the other was to get on your motorbike and travel abroad. I really don’t think lack of yoga or imagination to travel abroad on your motorbike are the biggest problems facing women in Spain or elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the UK was listed at the top of the events schedule and won gold with a whopping 420 events, USA had a mere 263 to fall in for silver, and Aus caught bronze with 158, only just pipping Canada however, who had 154. The next country on the list after these glorious white patriarchal powers was India with 91 events.

For those of you who are relatively new to my blog/s, here are my previous women’s day posts, which summarise my views about this token gesture of one day a year towards women, while ignoring their serious plight for the other 364/5.


Health warning for sensitive souls on this one – some swearing:


And if you don’t believe me, read this:


See, nothing ever changes.

But in the spirit of doing my part to inspire change, I shall continue to point out these uninteresting facts, and try and persuade you all to be at least a little less sexist in your choice of language. (Clouds readers will know exactly what I mean.) Similarly behaviour.

Many years ago, before automatic locking was invented for ordinary cars, I used to go out with three friends from work, and we would take it in turns to drive. Two of us would always unlock the passenger side first so that the other person could get in before we got in the driver’s side, rather than leaning across and unlocking it. We were both perfectly capable of opening the passenger door, so there was no need to do that, but the passenger wasn’t standing around like an idiot waiting for the driver to get in and reach across. My friends were all women. The other two didn’t do the unlock gesture. I found it really courteous when the one friend did.

The message there is, do something to help someone or be polite and respectful regardless of gender. Not because of.

Commonwealth Day

Another two days later, we have Commonwealth Day. Never let it be said I am not patriotic. I like Commonwealth Day. Here in Gibraltar we get a bank holiday so it means a long weekend and we all promptly hot-footed it back to Spain. Where it is not a bank holiday, obviously.

The Spaniards on the firm where Partner works feel most discriminated against. While they are happy to take Gib bank hols, they want the Spanish ones too. I just love that. It says it all. I don’t just want to come and get my cake in your country, I want to eat it in mine too. Can you imagine Gibraltarians working in Spain (some do) asking for Commonwealth Day, Queen’s Birthday and National Day as holidays for them?

Every time a bank hol comes around they moan about it. The firm closes down for holidays. All firms do. So no, they can’t work triple time and get a whacking wedge for being in on a bank hol and take the Spanish ones of their choice as a quid pro quo. What they simply want is their bank hols as well as ours. And they want to run Gib?

The theme for Commonwealth Day this year is TeamCommonwealth, as Glasgow is hosting the Commonwealth Games in summer. I do hate these ghastly phrases like TeamThis, TeamThat, and TeamTheOther.

It’s another bland theme about we all need to work together and co-operate. Yeah.

TeamRoughseas worked to put up a boat cover as a sunshade over my garden on Commonwealth Day. TeamNextdoorSpanishNeighbours promptly pointed out the rain wouldn’t get through which was a bit of a cheek as he has dirty great corrugated steel roofing over his terrace so no rain gets through there, it just bounces off it like a dustbin lid.

Boat cover over the veg patch
Boat cover over the veg patch

The commander of TeamRoughseas (me) decided we weren’t likely to get much rain in the near future, so we left it up.

TeamRoughseas (him) also repaired the bedouin’s tent above our terrace (lets the rain through :D), and changed the cockerel’s water, as well as generally messing around in the garden, weeding the path, mopping out the house, and going into town (him) for cable ties and dog biscuits. Great teamwork.

Fixing the bedouin's tent above the terrace
Fixing the bedouin’s tent above the terrace
Our cockerel has earned his spurs at teamwork -check out the size - bigger than his feet!
Our cockerel has earned his spurs at teamwork -check out the size – bigger than his feet!

World Days

Today is World Day of Muslim Culture, Peace, Dialogue and Film.

Then we have two days off before a heady March 14 when it is International Day of Action for Rivers, and Pi Day. Pi Day?? The following day is World Consumer Rights Day. Having a laugh. What rights? World Consumer Service Day would be a good start, let alone world consumer service year.

But the one I’m looking forward to is the third Friday in March (21st this year). World Sleep Day. zzzzzzzzzzz

Here one world day, gone tomorrow.

69 comments on “World book day in Gibraltar

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed your take on “Once in a full moon”: “The plot is thin, the characters and conversation banal and the designer who thought having a black page for every new chapter with a full moon at the top needs to stop watching so many films.” That there is how you skewer a book correctly. And personally, as much as I enjoy reading, I would rather scratch figures in the dust with a stick than peruse this sort of tripe so I think you were generous with your mark of a 1 out of 5.

    There is something to be said for a well-written bad review. In my earlier years I can remember two journalists whose work I would always read: One was a television writer for the San Francisco Chronicle and the other the boxing beat writer for the Boston Globe. I watch little television, especially mainstream television, and care not a whit for boxing, but both writers were so good at their craft, critiquing shows and boxing matches, that I read their pieces avidly. I also remember coming across a wine reviewer’s words in the San Francisco paper when I was a teenager. He described one particular vintage as “Almost Episcopalian in predictability.” I didn’t drink wine then, don’t much care for it now, but recognized the genius of that line even at age 17.


    • Thank you. I actually don’t go out of my way to be deliberately vindictive. It was just meant to be, this is no great shakes, there are better books to pick up. While Meyer’s Twilight series is little different in plot, it is actually better written.

      It got a one, because I finished it, and it was readable, say on a bus, or wherever. Seems I am outvoted though. She gets four stars on good reads for ‘once in a full moon’ :D

      Regardless, I stand by my review.

      I read a load of different books, and you have to think about how they compare within their own category of fiction, and then compare against others.

      So Twilight wouldn’t hold up against good adult fiction, but it is a good read within its sector. Full moon isn’t as good. Simple.

      When I’m comparing adult fantasies (eg Garcia Marquez, Tolkien), teenage fantasy, spy, crime, thriller, autobiographies, etc, the marking is inherently subjective.

      I might as well say, poor, average/medium or good. Occasionally excellent. Maybe I’ll change my scoring :D

      But people seem to like numbers these days, and stars. Because understanding words is too difficult.

      Don’t you think it is easy to destroy poor writing? It’s harder to describe why something is good.

      One of my readers says that we have an ‘everyone is a winner now’ culture and I think it is fair to say why I thought a book was good/flawed/rubbish. I could say why I struggled with Tristram Shandy or Grapes of Wrath for example.

      It’s only my view after all. I don’t go in for fancy phrases, I don’t recite the book, but, as I discussed on another book blog, it’s important to say what is good or bad about the book.

      The bottom line is, don’t put Full Moon on your reading list. The other three above are worth a read though.


      • I would much rather have someone give me their reasons for liking or disliking a book than attaching a simple numerical rating system. What you may like I may not like and vice versa. Explaining your rationale gives me a much better idea if a book is going to be something I’ll want to spend time on, which is why I prefer your method. I would argue that it’s easy to trash a bad book, but hard to do it well, just as it’s hard to write a good book review well. You hit all the right notes.


        • I’m doing both, ie text and numebrs, because you can’t get better than five out of five, eg Tolkien is the only one I have given that to. Numbers do give some indication of how good something is, ie excellent.

          Good reads are three to four.

          Crap is two, and appalling is 1, and I’m thinking of introducing 0 and -1 :D

          But you always have to take into account what you are reading, rather than your individual literary preference when you are writing a review. I’m pretty omniverous with books (unlike my vegetarian diet), but I do have preferences. Do I need to write reviews of classics? I suppose I could, that would be a change.

          I will always say, this is good because, or this is good because. Or I like this because.

          Book reviews should be short, they don’t need to rewrite the story, just a quick summary and why it is good or bad. Easy huh?

          Thanks again for your kind comments.


          • I don’t think I would have given Full Moon minus 1. More probably 0. I would probably also have moved Potter to 0 if I introduced those scores. But then I would have to give Tolkien 7 out of 5 :D So I might as well score out of ten. Except that having 0 and -1 and 7 out of five, actually sound more meaningful because they are off the normal scale, and indicate either truly appalling or exceptionally good.

            But it’s important to know something about the book. If someone doesn’t like crime/espionage/thrillers/vampires/romance/fantasy, whatever, it doesn’t matter whether I say it is a five or even a seven, they aren’t going to like it. There again, some authors just get a five – or a seven – because they do. I’ll stop at that and think about another post on those sort of authors.

            I’ve got a pretty catholic taste, and will read almost anything these days. Reading free books has actually widened my taste a lot further as I was probably a literary snob before. I draw the line at vivid gratuitous violence that adds nothing to the plot. I wonder not only about the readers who enjoy such writing, but the authors who paint such disgusting images in the first place. I chuck books like that in the bin. They don’t get -1, they don’t get a review, they get binned. Censorship? Yes. But if snuff films are illegal and therefore censored, I think throwing away such violent and degrading books is justified. Sorry, I’ve gone slightly off topic there!


          • Not censorship – there’s literally millions of books that have been written over the centuries, so why waste your time reading something that’s bottom of the barrel? I’d call that a judicious use of time.


          • Of my time yes, but I’m making sure that at least one person doesn’t read what *I* consider to be violent, abusive and nasty. That is censorship. Because otherwise I would pass on the book via a street bench or sell it. If it is so bad I won’t.


  2. World day of Muslim Culture had passed me by without a glance till I popped in here. Now that I know I’ll have to think of a suitable celebration. I don’t suppose eating naan bread counts? :)


  3. Actually reading a free book – a real print one seems called for a book holiday….I do miss all my bookshelves in our old house. But the library here ended up with most of them.
    That’s the best use of a boat shade I’ve ever seen – it looks perfect there.
    Knew you’d have to sell that TV if it showed up – even if it was on the wall, a cord hangs down and Snowy would be able to jerk the whole thing down…and be so entertained while doing so.
    I caught Molly trying to pull out the grounding wire for the house out of the brick and foundation…she got some of the insulation off, but the wire is still whole. heavy large plant now in front of that – but it makes the faucet hard to reach, so there will be complaints.
    The week celebrations here include festival celebrating France, and a Bollywood Pageant – and some other stuff. Rodeo continues and it’s unseasonably warm today…cold tomorrow. But the redbud trees, the pear and plum trees are blooming. Plants seem determined to force spring.
    Thanks for the reviews – the first one sounds good


    • I would struggle to get rid of my books I tell you. I’ve got two full size bookshelves, one small one, one cupboard used as a book store and various overflows.

      I suspect it started off as an aspirational thing. Although my parents read a lot, they used a library (my mother worked in one in her youth), so her books although classics, were few. As a child, I probably had more than her. At some point I realised middle class people had houses full of books. So my collection escalated.

      Partner was rather smug with his idea. I’m ambivalent, it looks quite elegant and we can even sit under it too. It makes it more difficult to walk round, but it’s doable, and as José next door said, it doesn’t let the rain in. But as Partner received it as a freebie he had to find a use for it.

      It would have had to on the wall. And yes, I can see Snowy doing that, so laughed when I read your comment. He’s already taken to yanking the mobile ‘phone charger if I don’t tie it out of reach. Snowy and Molly are interchangeable twins across the waters?

      Nothing more here until Easter, followed by Workers’ Memorial Day, so that should be a nice break in late April. Just an irritating six weeks work or so inbetween. Eso va la vida. No particular spring flowers here, just changeable weather. Cold, windy, wet, sunny, warm, cloudy, the usual.

      The first book was excellent. I will probably read it again as Partner has had no time to finish it. Northern Lights was very good, and Two Faces of Nemesis was a good read. Just don’t bother with Full Moon. I’ve already got through one of my freebies and started another, so they will be fun to write about.


  4. Whilst not being a big fan of films made from books, I have to say that Northern Lights was a good production. If you get the chance to see it on any television you do /don’t get, it’s worth the watch in my opinion.
    xxx Hugs Galore xxx


    • You watch way more TV than I do. Well, that’s hardly saying anything is it, given my lack of TV. My problem with films from books is that when I read a book, I have vivid pictures in my head from page one. I have an overactive and very visual imagination (probably helps to explain my whacky dreams). For all that I am a writer, I see things in pictures. I have my own in-built cinema so when I see a film and it doesn’t correspond it really jars. A good example would be reading Lynda La Plante’s Travis books and then seeing some of them on YouTube. Neither Travis nor Langton remotely resembled the characters in my head.

      Northern Lights as a book was very pictorial to me. I suppose it would be on DVD but I’m not very patient at watching things. We haven’t watched a film for at least a year I guess. Lack of time when he’s working.


    • I could have taken a few more, but British restraint held me back! The birdy postcard is cute and so was the book. It was based on some photos her husband had taken and she just decided to make a kids’ storybook out of it. I was impressed with the quality of the self-publishing version though. It was very nice and the photos in there looked good. I was very tempted to buy it for myself :D


  5. I went to a fair for small producers on Saturday and walked back with a laden bag or three – I have no shame in asking for more from the organisers – through the parks in the centre of San Jose which were alive with activities for kids…lots of happy noise and no ill tempered screaming.
    I came across the booth of ‘Leamos’ whose aim is to give away a book which you in your turn will give away and found ‘Among the Believers’ by V.S.Naipaul.
    I’m not his greatest admirer, but when I saw that he had been in iran at the beginning of the Islamic revolution I had to take the book.

    I’m three quarters of the way through and his interviews with the muslim (and other) activists make me wish that i had read it when it was written in the early 1980s.


    • It’s taken me a long time to ask for or scavenge freebies. ‘Shy bairns get nowt’ and all that. It’s all to do with upbringing isn’t it? Poor people have to take what’s given, aspirational people don’t want to be seen to be, and rich people think it’s stupid not to take something for free. A rough summary but you get the idea. Partner was the first, I’m the second, and you sound like the third. It’s a generalisation, but it works well enough.

      There was meant to be a session for kids at the book fair but luckily I missed that. As I vaguely remember part of the idea of world book day is to promote literacy and get children to love books. That wasn’t what I saw but free books for adults suits me, even if they didn’t have the books on my wish list.

      I don’t dislike Naipaul, can’t remember if I have one of his novels back at the finca or i I have just read them at the library. Seem to remember he was slightly turgid. That sounds interesting though, so I’ll add it to my library hunt. You’ve reminded me I must write about the Pilger books I got for free that to my surprise, were very good.


      • I’m not the greatest fan of the Pilger self righteousness, any more than the general turgid nature of Naipaul, but this book has an angle on Islam in Asia which is interesting in that he argues that from what he has seen the practice of the religion makes for a disorganised state and economic stagnation for the poor.


        • I was dubious about reading Pilger, but dived into it, and actually did learn something from his description of various conflicts and colonial mistreatment (tautology in that colonialism inevitably leads to mistreatment). He’s probably the first person in my life who has shed some light on the Arab/Israeli/West Bank wars. I would buy the Telegraph and Observer at university (both chosen for ease of crosswords) and attempt to make myself aware of international news. I could never understand the middle east news.

          That figures re the effect of Islam, but doesn’t that happen with organised religion anyway? It’s all about control and oppression. OK if you have money (Im thinking here of some of my Jewish neighbours) but if you are at the bottom of the heap it certainly doesn’t help you climb up. Religious politicians eg Americans, Blair, and religious leaders who want to run the state are an evil to avoid.


  6. i also liked your critique of white font on black for the start of every chapter. quite funny comment, actually.
    i didn’t acknowledge any of the days at my end, as time is rather thin these days. i did think about International Women’s Day as it was on its way in. there were some special mentions on some women at my place of work, one of them a former Olympian no less. but you posted, so we are good to go. kindness and consideration go a long way, regardless of gender. well put.
    one of my favourite books of all time is ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee. i bumped into the b&w movie on TV once, with Gregory Peck who played Atticus perfectly imnasho, and i remember enjoying it, too. i thought the movie actually did the book justice. but as you say, that is not always the case.
    World Sleep Day! that is brilliant. :D and on that note, it is time to call it a day at my end….


    • Thanks p&k. The problem with the white font on black was that it jarred. It would have been OK once, say for the first chapter, but every single chapter was too much. Good design for impact – but not for reading through a book. It pulled you up short every chapter.

      I couldn’t miss the book day because it was so near. Less than five minutes away.. And it was good. I should have gone back before they closed and taken some more books :D I knew it was women’s day but I’ve said all I have to say on that in previous years. A token gesture, no more no less. I forgot to mention that I had a boyfriend at one point who came to stay with me at my parents’ house and I did the same unlocky thing for him (as he did for me).

      I let older men go on the bus before me, except of course, they stand back and expect me to go first :D But I’ll also let younger women with children or other women with more shopping than me (unlikely) or who are frail or whatever go first. I don’t let rude pushy kids in though.

      We studied that at school. It totally passed me by, in that I didn’t get it. I should probably read it again. Regarding films and books, see my reply to David above.

      Hopefully you will be sound asleep by now practising for March 21st.


  7. π day: extra excitement at 34 seconds before two in the morning- though as it is not 1592, π day is not terribly remarkable. Get a telly! They’re brilliant! You can get them mounted on the wall like a painting.


    • No excitement here before 2am, sound asleep. And no excitement for pi day either. I think it’s one of the sillier international days. And people throw pies for it too? Uh? I think they do pie throwing in the UK too for some day or other, what a waste of pie.

      I’ve spent a large part of my life without a television, although the TV licensing authority found it hard to believe. I reluctantly only got one again when I went back into PR as I thought it was a bit stupid if I couldn’t watch the news and see people in my organisation when they had been interviewed on local TV. I don’t miss it. But I don’t like noise. I nearly succumbed one year around Wimbledon, I do like to watch that. Trouble is I would get nothing done. So now, no TV unless anyone donates a working flat screen digital one :D


  8. I loved the “His Dark Materials’ trilogy by Pullman. I’m currently reading P.G.Wodehouse ‘Jeeves & Wooster’ on my kindle and a big whopping doorstop of a book that has 50 of Agatha Christie’s short stories featuring Poirot……there seems to be a theme there, of an era when wood definitely was made to last and age well. Also art deco is one of my favourite interior design periods…..I think I good pretty much just live in an art deco library, read for the rest of my life, break out the bees wax and silver polish now and again and survive on salad and G & T’s. Some may say that’s the saddest aspirational dream ever, but the world’s complicated enough isn’t it?! I just need a simple dream with as little TV and noise as possible….unless of course I’m watching David Suchet as Poirot, …..and we are watching rugby tonight, if we can’t make it to a game then TV does have it’s uses:)


    • I was favourably impressed with Pullman, good style, imaginative, and an interesting story and not all happy ending mush either. I like Wodehouse too.

      I may join you in your library, sounds pretty good. It needs a nice atrium for sunny days too. I am not a noise for the sake of it person. My father would drive me insane by putting on the radio and TV, and then walk out leaving them still on!!


      • oh….my……atrium’s are some of my favourite building spaces! I was never a big fan of the ‘conservatory’ in all of it’s white pvc and regimental nonsense in the UK but a natural light filled, wall to ceiling space with the odd potted plant and a gentle breeze to read a book by, heaven :)


        • My mum and dad had a conservatory but it had already been built onto the house by the time they bought it in 1960. It had a short brick base and then wooden framed windows all around. It was also huge. At one point my dad had some funny heating in there for the plants, it was full of plants, I’ll find a pic and scan it in. I too hate the PVC ones that sprung up all over the place, but I hate UPVC anyway.

          I haven’t done enough with my Spanish patio at the finca, it’s got two compressors, washing machine, dishwasher, an outside toilet, a sink, two bikes etc etc whereas really I should tile the bottom bit, change the sink and magic all the other stuff away. And replace the asbestos partial roof with something aesthetic.


          • gah! asbestos, yikes be careful with that stuff. It sounds like your Dad had a hothouse/greenhouse!! When I lived in the UK I would always sit near the warmest sunniest window in winter, hate being cold and not having enough sunlight (not as much of a problem in Brisbane). Somewhere we’ve still got some tiled house numbers that I bought in Teneriffe, I’ve always loved bright white, deep blues and terracotta and the sun beating down on it all. They didn’t look quite the same on the house wall in the North of England……but you have to dream of le sol sometimes :)


          • It’s OK, that’s one reason why it’s not been touched. I worked for the health and safety executive at one point and was well up on asbestos. So is Partner (construction).

            He had a separate greenhouse ! A double one. Let it go to rack and ruin though, lost interest, a real shame. He grew brilliant tomatoes, unlike me.

            As a kid I would sit in our armchair nearest the south facing bay window in the living room – with a book of course. I could sit there all day.

            Terracotta was too dear for our house in Spain when it was built :D Although we had it in the UK in one of our kitchens. I love it too. But I’m used to our cheapo finca now, changing it wouldn’t look right. Our outside wall has the streetname on – in blue and white tiles :D


  9. I love your review on Pulman’s, Northern Lights. This is part one of a trilogy known as, The Dark Materials Trilogy. The second book, The Subtle Knife and the final book, The Amber Spyglass complete the story and are as good as the first if not better.

    I have the three in my small “actually real paper books” personal library. I recommend the other two books to you, Kate. With any luck, you might find them in your local library. :)


    • Cheers Kev, it was a good book so it got a good review. You know my book review style by now :D No point wasting time on summarising the story, the idea is to give a flavour and say why it is good or bad. I liked the inventive idea of having demons that were good, as you would normally associate a demon as being a bad character. I wanted Pantalaimon as soon as he appeared, not quite as much as I want a Gollum, nice fishes nasty hobbitses, but Panta comes a close second.

      The reviews I did above were library books, I got a good haul with three decent books out of four. So the last one was crap but it didn’t take long to read :D I can’t remember if NL was in teenage fiction, I suspect it was as I have taken to browsing around there since I discovered Meyer’s Breaking Dawn lurking on those shelves. If they’ve got NL, as you say, they may have the others. So many books to read, too little time. I’m waiting for Pesky Partner to finish Black Out and Nemesis before I change the books. The library likes me to change all my books at once as it makes it easier for them. They still have those quaint little cardboard things that the ticket gets stuck into in a manual system. Love it!!


      • Your library is sooo retro…I love that! Technology sometimes take all the fun out of things. lol

        This is not a promo, I’m just saying it as you mentioned about characters being opposite…good rather than bad. In my book, The Wizard… The trolls and goblins are actually the good characters compared to Tolkiens bad ones. ;)


        • It’s wonderful. The fines are a penny a day. They never charge them. After a few months you might get a polite letter asking you to return an overdue book :D

          ‘hello nice librarian, I need to bring some books back but Adrian hasn’t finished yet.

          ‘Oh, there’s no rush, don’t worry about it.’

          Don’t spoil it for me!! I’ve got to work out how to comfily read on the laptop :(

          And how to download the app from Amazon so I can get the raunchy scenes :)


  10. Today is World Day of Muslim Culture, Peace, Dialogue and Film.

    Is this not sort of an oxymoron?
    I am inclined to believe there is more culture in yogurt..or just a bit more than a Manchester United supporter.


    • I have to say I think old islamic culture is extremely impressive – some of the architecture in Andalucía and the terracing for agriculture is impressive. There’s a lot of beauty in their work. Like everyone, some good, some bad, and some very bad.


    • Do try Pullman. More Tolkien than any other fantasy author that I can think of. Very vivid and good storytelling.

      1,2,3,4,5 isn’t enough. Got to slide up and down a bit. Anything above 2.5 is goodish, anything below is poor. Ranking the good ones, is harder than the bad ones. :( I’ve discovered the only way I can read on the laptop is to unplug and cart comp into sitting room and lie on sofa, so that will be Marionette being read soon. I did start and then got totally distracted.

      No. She didn’t. Not that I care. I was more interested that she came down and paid her block charges the other day so I can get on with block maintenance. Hell, if I watched TV how would I blog or read books?


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