Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year Wishes

As 2011 draws rapidly to a close, it is my heartfelt prayer that 2012 may be a peaceful and blessed year for all of us.

We are all missing our dear Matt, and send heaps of love winging across The Pond to him and his wonderful parents in Colorado !
 It's not the same without you, my dear son-in-law; fingers crossed that all legal formalities will be completed quickly so that DoomHamster will soon be reunited with you and we will then have an awesome excuse to come and visit you all :-)
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Recently Read

Finished a few more :-)





I have yet to read anything by the Chief Rabbi of the UK which has failed to engage me deeply.
 Radical Then, Radical Now is a remarkable Apologia for Judaism, written for his son
on the occasion of his marriage, and explains why Judaism has been so important
throughout history and why it continues to be relevant even now.
I borrowed this from the Library and will certainly be buying a copy of my own......



For some reason, my "point and shoot" digital camera did not like the glossy cover of this book and refused to auto-focus properly in the gloom of the evening...... 

The book is called Vanilla Beans and Bodo and chronicles the life of a couple who
 settle in the small fortified Tuscan village of  Montalcino,
a place with a truly remarkable history and breadth of customs.
 Some sections I found a little tedious and skipped over quite quickly,
and at 456 pages it was longer than was truly enjoyable.
Verdict - interesting, but not going on my "keep heap".
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Year's Mind

This evening is the sixth anniversary of my dear stepfather Gordon's death.
Of your charity, please say a prayer for the repose of his soul.........
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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Recently Read


Two medically oriented books. Mountains Beyond Mountains is the remarkable story of a determined American doctor working to bring health care to someof the remotest and poorest areas of Haiti. 
The Essential Difference is  a fascinating account of research done into the differences between male and female brains  and the links with autistic traits.




Climbing Jacob's Ladder relates the story of  Alan Morinis' quest to find out more about Jewish Mussar spirituality, and is a book I have read - with great profit- several times. Definitely a keeper !



I love historical books, and this one,  Princesses, by Lady Antonia Fraser's daughter Flora is a fascinating account of the quite sad lives of the daughters of King George III.



Come, Follow Me is another much read book of mine, which I dearly love.



I have read several books by the mother & daughter team, P J Tracy, but Want To Play?  is the first in the series, and was exceptionally cleverly plotted.



These two are Elinor Brent-Dyer books only tangentially connected to her Chalet School series, but excellent and enjoyable reads.



Travels in an Old Tongue is the story of an American who falls in love with the Welsh language and decides to travel round the world meeting other Welsh language learners. Her journeys take her to Scandinavia, Japan, India and many other places where one wouldn't imagine that people would be learning Welsh......



I ♥ Miss Read's delightful stories about life in Fairacre and Thrush Green :-)



Amish Peace is another re-read, to great spiritual profit.



I have three other of Carol Drinkwater's books about her passionate love of her olive farm in the South of France. In this book, The Olive Route,  she travels around the Mediterranean to try to find out more about the history of olive cultivation, and it makes for fascinating reading.



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Saturday, December 17, 2011

People Watching

I had occasion to visit a law court to settle some legal business last week. It was all routine and expected, so no cause for panic, but what did surprise me was the experience itself.

The door to the court was not properly signposted, so I ended up walking right around the building till I found an enquiries desk, and was directed back almost  to where I started, LOL.

Walking through the main doors triggers a buzzer mechanism which alerts the two security guards, one male and one female, both very burly indeed, but very, very pleasant. I had to empty the contents of my pockets into a tray to be examined, pass my bag to be checked and then walk through a metal detector. The chap who entered before me was being frisked, a fate which I mercifully escaped :-)

I was directed to go upstairs to a waiting area, where I met  my barrister at the appointed time and went through some last minute checks and form-filling, and was sent back out to sit in the waiting area. It was interesting watching what was going on;  apart from my self and half a dozen barristers and solicitors, who were dressed smartly, everyone else was either wearing jeans or tracksuit bottoms and hoodies.

It never even occurred to me to attend a court hearing, no matter how insignificant the reason, in anything other than respectable looking clothing, not casual slob-around-the-house clothing. They were lounging around in the waiting area, eating, drinking, chewing gum and playing games on their mobile phones.
I must be getting old....

One barrister approached me and asked if I was there for the house re-possession hearing against a mortgage lender. Mercifully I was not, but I felt so sorry for whoever it was who was indeed facing the loss of their home over the Christmas period. Lord have mercy.....

Once in court, the business was over and done with in less than five minutes; the Judge was so pleasant and  as I left, he even wished me a Happy Christmas. For the rest of the day, I couldn't help thinking of everyone else who was there for more distressing reasons, and hoped things went well for them all.
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Book Review of Proverbs "Reconstructed"

 
 
Proverbs "Reconstructed "
by Gus Dallas

Published by Thomas Nelson

 

The Book of Proverbs has always been one of my favourite Bible books. It is chock full of wisdom and advice relating to just about any everyday situation you can imagine and remains as relevant to us in the twenty-first century as it was when originally written down.

Most people from even a nominally Christian background will be familiar with some of the proverbs as they have passed into everyday speech and usage, but the original arrangement of them in the Bible makes it pretty difficult to quickly locate the one you might want unless you have access to a Bible search engine which can isolate the quote for you using a keyword. Gus Dallas has produced a book which solves the problem in a neat and no-nonsense fashion.

He has looked at the themes running through Proverbs and categorised them; enabling partially-remembered proverbs to be quickly identified, and also making it possible to study which proverbs relate to a particular theme so it is possible to see what said about marriage, being a good or bad neighbour, etc. Just about every topic you can think of is included, from Abomination through to Zealous, covering ants, horses, feet, rebellion, and winking....

This is definitely a keeper; the only minor drawback is that a modern translation is used, and to my ears, the proverbs are much more memorable and impressive in the King James Version.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program.
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Friday, December 16, 2011

Recent Photos



 At strategic points in our town, there are three almost life-size Nativity scenes. 
This is the one outside the medieval parish church.




 On a recent visit to BlogTown, we had to go by bus
and it was so very lovely to walk through the bus station
and see a very large and lovely Nativity scene !



  
The bus station is completely enclosed,
but the pigeons still manage to get in and forage for food. 
This one actually flicked the food up into the air, hence the blurry shot !





 Another shot of a pigeon... 
as requested by DD3, who loved this pigeon :-)



 This ornamental cherry tree is on my daily dog-walking route; 
it is in full blossom in December !



 We have had heavy hail showers every day this week; 
this one happened up my Mum's
on Tuesday, so I took some photos of her back garden. 
It went white within twenty seconds....




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Friday, December 09, 2011

Recent Photos



The Dog of Doom relaxing in front of the fire :-)





 Taken at the seafront on Monday. 
Yes, we do have a tarmac beach. 
Don't ask .....




  The landmass you can see in the distance just below the rain clouds is the coast of Somerset !




 We stood for ages, watching the waves crash on to the beach. 
It was a very blustery day.



These last two pictures were taken today, when I was walking the Dog of Doom...the sheep were grazing tranquilly.


 The view across fields and sand dunes, and across the bay to the next town is so pretty.....
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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Saturday, December 03, 2011

The Band that Played On



   The Band that Played On

The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians Who Went Down with the Titanic

By Steve Turner

Published by Thomas Nelson



Like so many other people, I have always been fascinated by the tragic and doomed first voyage of the magnificent Titanic. So much has been written about the survivors, the conditions on board the ship and the amazing rediscovery of the wreck at the bottom of the Atlantic. Then came James Cameron's epic film, with the evocative scene of the band, heroically playing to try to keep the passengers and crew calm , before the ship finally sank with such dreadful loss of life.

But are any of these names familiar ?

Wallace Hartley

Roger Bricoux

William "Theo" Brailey

John Wesley Woodward

Percy Cornelius Taylor

Fred Clarke

Georges Krins

Jock Hume





These were the band members who provided music on board the ship throughout the voyage.

They came from a variety of backgrounds and educations; two were French, but all were united in their love of music and a certain longing for travel, excitement and adventure.

For the first time, the story of these men, their lives, families, work and music has been told. This truly fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable book tells us about these men, and how their loved ones reacted to the news of their deaths, and what happened afterwards.

BookSneeze provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.
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Friday, December 02, 2011

I Just Liked Them....

Walking up to Mum's a few weeks ago, the weather was lovely and these horses were in just the right part of the field for me to photograph them.........


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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bonfire Night

Doom Hamster and I took the little ones to see the public display of fireworks at the beach on Bonfire Night, whilst DH stayed home to keep the Dog of Doom company, as he really doesn't like the noise of fireworks.

As usual, I forgot my camera in the rush to get there on time, but I did have my Blackberry which DD2 very kindly gave me when she bought her brand new iPhone, so I was able to take a few pictures with that....









                                We stood on the beach, as the tide was out, and had a great view.

What wasn't so great was the behaviour of a  large number of people in their teens and early twenties, whose language was obscene and their  general demeanour appalling; it was not nice for those of us with young children, and for the elderly folk, to have to listen to such vile language and constant sexual references.

It might have been better if part of the viewing area had been designated for families only , which would then have solved the problem to a large extent. It wasn't just me objecting to having my children exposed to this, there were quite a few other parents expressing their dismay and concern......we quickly decamped onto the beach, where the general behaviour was much better.

We stopped off at the fish and chip shop on the way home, which was also fun :-)
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It's A Dog's Life....


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Monday, November 28, 2011

Fiction Fun

Some of the work I have been doing for NaNoWriMo 2011 is now up on my writing blog:

http://miscellaneousmumblings.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/the-babushka-chronicles-babushka-barbara-the-biter-of-bialystok/

http://miscellaneousmumblings.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/the-babushkas-guide-to-life/

and

http://miscellaneousmumblings.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/canes-excerpted-fromtbgtl/

Feedback will be welcomed :-)
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Recently Read



I did enjoy A Thousand Days in Venice  a great deal; it gives a very different picture from the normal rose-tinted view many people have of Venice, but still an affectionate and loving account of starting a new life in this wonderful city.


I so loved Katherine Swift's first book and was thrilled to find that she had published a second book about the garden she created at Morville. This volume is profusely illustrated in colour. Well worth getting the hardback edition if you can !


I disliked this book. I disliked the arrogance and foolishness of the couple concerned, their disdain for the French way of doing things and their expectation that the guests who were paying good money to stay at the Chateau should just have to put up with the chaos of extensive renovations and often malfunctioning amenities around them without complaint. My 2 cents worth, at any rate.
 I was glad I borrowed this from the library.




A good read if you like SAS fiction - which I do :-)




I have a great fondness for the writings of Lady Winifred Fortescue, capturing the Provencal way of life between the two World Wars, and this was a welcome addition to my collection. Perhaps not her best book, but enjoyable, nonetheless.





Fascinating, poignant and heartbreaking. It was good to read a factual account of one group of soldiers' experience of war in this troubled land.



I don't really know what to say about this book. It made for fascinating, if at times rather irritating reading but provided an insight into the British education system which was all too woefully familiar to me. It purports to be an absolutely true account of her time teaching, but has been criticised for being far too fictionalised. Borrow it, don't buy it.....



I waited a long time for this to be released, and read it twice in quick succession.
 It is a much better book than some of his more recent offerings, but there is still a very dark undercurrent running through it at times. There is much "laugh out loud" humour, and it is a delight to get a glimpse into the lives of Sir Samuel and Lady Sybil's life together, especially as young Sam is growing up to be a delightful hybrid of his parents' characteristics. Wherever Sir Samuel goes, he discovers crime, and this book is no exception to the rule.
Great fun, and I did love it.



It was interesting to see how socialist and  atheistic Winifred Foley's book detailing her life during the last century was. Quite how characteristic this was of the areas in London where she lived, and then back in her beloved Forest of Dean area, I really cannot say without doing further research, but the poverty and deprivation was really quite staggering. Despite her disdain for God, it is interesting the number of times she sees fit to drag Him into the conversation.....

Mallowan's Memoirs was a truly fascinating account of the travels and experiuences Sir Max Mallowan had as an archaeologist in the Middle East, particularly when he took his wife, Agatha Christie, with him on so many of his "digs". A little technical in places, but really interesting for those who like history.
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Sunday, November 20, 2011

On The Go !

DH has sorted out my Blackberry issues and this message is being
brought to you by phone. :-)
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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Baby Bertie :-)









Can't resist the pom-poms !



Sleepy Bertie


And it's been hard work, having to put up with all the love and attention of the whole family.........

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