Saturday 30 September 2017

Review: Lost For Words

Lost For Words Lost For Words by Stephanie Butland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look closely, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are things she'll never show you.

Fifteen years ago Loveday lost all she knew and loved in one unspeakable night. Now, she finds refuge in the unique little York bookshop where she works.

Everything is about to change for Loveday. Someone knows about her past. Someone is trying to send her a message. And she can't hide any longer.”

I really enjoyed this book, based around the sort of bookshop any booklover wants to spend time in, the story of Loveday’s troubled childhood and how that has impacted on her current life is told from her point of view in the present and with flashbacks to the past.
Her back story is gradually filled in while she slowly allows Nathan into her life. Fiercely independent and secretive of her past this is difficult for her to do. And of course the path of true love never runs smoothly.

Sensitively written I was willing there to be a happing ending for Loveday.

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#SOCS - 30/9/17

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “do/dew/due”. Use one, use two or use all three. If you start and end with two of them, you get bonus points. 

Due date to a woman often means only one thing - the day that you expect your baby to be born.  It's easy to become fixated on it.  9 months can seem a very long time and as the due date approaches you can struggle with a variety of emotions, many of which will have you dewy eyed.  Impatience.  How can 9 months seem so long?  Well it's more like 10 months when you can confirm a pregnancy so early these days.  Trepidation.  Will you be able to cope with labour?  Excitement.  Finally you will get to meet your baby.  Of course once the due date comes, and goes, those feelings become more intense.  Anxiety can creep in.  Why isn't the baby coming?  Will there have to be interventions?

I was fortunate with my children.  The first was a day late, the second and third were both a week early.  Everything was fine.  Well I'm glossing over the difficult deliveries of 1 and 2 but the end results were pretty good.   Actually the end results were more than good.  My children never cease to amaze me.

Now one of them has had her own due date.  Except she never got near her due date.  Baby Nathan decided that he wasn't going to wait for that.  He was early, very early, but thankfully not too early.  He's progressed really well and seems to be fine.  He's now 6 months old.

That whole experience though reminded me that we should never take anything for granted.  Nothing is guaranteed.  Sometimes things don't go to plan and maybe due dates should be given a new name, why not anticipated date or provisional date?  Due date makes it sound like it should be a definite and it's anything but definite.  About 95% of births do NOT happen on the due date but still, having been an expectant Mum I know how we count down to that due date.  After all if a package is due to be delivered tomorrow we don't expect it to arrive later.  It might be a nice surprise if it arrived early but it definitely wouldn't be great if it arrived late and caused disappointment.  

So there's my SOCS for today which of course is the due day and will need to be linked back to Linda's site here

You can check out all the rules (I broke one by looking up that birthing statistic) and see who else is participating.  Why don't you give it a go?

Friday 29 September 2017

Friday's Fave Five - 29/9/17

Fridays are a time to look back on the week and share our blessings.
If you want to join in or check out the other participants pop over to our host Suzanne's blog at Living to Tell the Story

Well I have 2 weeks of blessings to catch up on here!  How did I ever find time to work?

1)  Retirement.  Well I still don't think of myself as retired as I'm not old enough to draw my pension but I'm fortunate not to be working and although there are days when I feel I'm being lazy there are others, like today, when I do look back on the week and think where did the time go?  Hubby does sometimes (jokingly I think/hope) suggest we do a role reversal where I go back to work and he quits but I think he's happy still working 3 days a week.  Gives us a long weekend every week.

2)  Celebrating my friend's 60th birthday.  She just had a quiet gathering at her house last Saturday with her hubby, their 3 daughters and partners, another couple and us.  It was exactly what she wanted and it was lovely catching up.  Kim and I have been friends since she first asked to come and see my firstborn just after I'd brought her home.  She lived across the road from me then and we were always there for one another as we quickly produced 6 babies between us.  We still live quite close and get together when we can, but I know that if I had an emergency she would be there for me and vice versa. 

3)  Pilates.  I went to my third session this morning and I'm really enjoying it.  It feels good to be doing something just for me and I'm sure it's helping my posture and my dodgy knee.  It's an early start, 9.15, but it's only a five minute walk away so I still feel when I get home that I have the whole day ahead and I'm ready to go.

4)  Reading group.  I attended my library's monthly reading group for the first time this week.  I was a bit nervous as I had no idea how many people would be there or how "bookish" they might be, especially given the book choice for the month.  (Two short novellas by the Japanese writer Murakami which I reviewed here).  It was an interesting session with only a few people so it wasn't daunting at all and I wasn't the only one not to have enjoyed the book.  

5)  My son and his wife have had an offer on a flat accepted.  We're all going to see it tomorrow.  They seem really pleased about it although it was the first one they had actually visited but it ticks all their boxes.  Of course lots of things could go wrong before they complete and get the keys but it's exciting that they are now looking for their first real home together, although that will leave us empty nested again.  But it's time.

I hope you've all had a good week and enjoy the weekend!

Thursday 28 September 2017

Ups, Ups and downs

Don't you just love it when things go to plan or are easier than you think they're going to be?

Today I chased (again) the company that supplied our fridge.  We've only had the fridge since the end of March but already we have had 4 engineer visits and were waiting on a call back to fit a part.  This has been an ongoing saga and I will admit to not being very prompt at chasing things.  But this was getting ridiculous.

I was supposed to have received a call back yesterday but having heard nothing today I began by asking to speak to a Manager.  I was duly connected to a very reasonable man who eventually agreed with me that the fridge does not actually seem fit for purpose and should be exchanged.  I was expecting to have to fight my corner and I hate confrontation, even over the phone, so I was pleased that the matter has finally (hopefully) been resolved.  I just have to contact the orginal retailer to arrange the replacement.

Next I decided to return the recent items I bought for Nathan to the store.  We realised that they will still be too big for him when we go to Australia so it would be better to have a smaller size.  Well I hunted high and low for the receipt.  I don't know what I did with it as I know I had it recently and I'm usually very organised with them but today it seemed to have vanished into thin air.  I spent ages looking and in the end decided to hope it wouldn't be a problem, especially as all the tags were still on the clothes.  Well it was absolutely fine and they had all the 4 items in the smaller size so another job done.

I did a few more bits of shopping, including buying the latest John Grisham book out in paperback.  I don't buy many books these days but I needed to buy one for a book swap I'm doing and it was buy one get one half price.  Would be silly not to wouldn't it? 

I finished up by picking up something for dinner and then headed home.  That was when it went downhill.   The drive home was slow and frustrating, mainly because I forgot about the temporary traffic lights near our house that caused a hold up and potential road rage when some drivers were really impatient and irresponsible. Note to self  "Avoid that route when possible!"

Wednesday 27 September 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 27/9/17

Wednesday's Hodgepodge is brought to us courtesy of Joyce at

Pop over there to see other posts and if you want to join in add the link to your Hodgepodge blog post to the Linky List at the end of Joyce's post and don’t forget to visit at least your neighbours on the list.

1. What pets did you have while growing up? Tell us a little something about them.

We had a dog when I was very young.  A crossbreed called Sandy.  He was very gentle and although he was my Dad’s dog if he ever thought Dad was getting cross with Mum, even in a joking way he would bark at Dad.  Mum was the one that fed him!  We also had guinea pigs for a while. 
2. What is one thing you absolutely must accomplish today?
Apart from this post? Some ironing.  It’s beginning to take over the house.
3. Where were you ten years ago? What were you doing there?
We were still here in the same house but I would have been at work.  Back in 2007 I still enjoyed my job.  The kids would have been 21, 19 and 17 so one at home in final year of school, one away at uni and one taking a gap year.
4. September 26th is National Dumpling Day. Did you celebrate? Apple dumpling, xiao long bao (steamed Chinese dumpling), chicken and dumplings, pirogi, matzoh balls, or gnocchi...which dumpling on this list would be your dumpling of choice? Have you ever made homemade dumplings of any kind? 
I might have celebrated if I had the same calendar!  Who knew there was a dumpling day?  My favourite would be beef stew and dumplings and yes I have made them.  I don’t make them very often and usually when I do think about making them the suet is out of date so I end up not bothering.
5. 'There are two kinds of adventurers: those who go truly hoping to find an adventure and those who go secretly hoping they don't.' William Trogdon
So which kind are you?

Definitely the latter.  I am not an adventurous person.
6. Insert your own random thought here.

Thinking back on #1, I also remember my Grandad keeping rabbits only to discover in horror one day that they weren't considered pets.  Rabbit stew is very tasty apparently!

Oh and you didn't think I'd do a whole post without a Nathan mention did you?

I finally finished the blanket I was knitting for him and it's being put to good use.

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Review: Wind/ Pinball: Two Novels

Wind/ Pinball: Two Novels Wind/ Pinball: Two Novels by Haruki Murakami
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Difficult to categorise this book and I wonder, given that Murakami seems to be an acclaimed writer, whether I totally missed the point. Maybe the books suffer from being translated (they were written in English, translated into Japanese and then translated back into English).

Both stories seem to just amble along never really going anywhere with not a lot happening. Maybe the intention is that you should just go along for the ride but I like my rides to be a bit more interesting.

This was my library's Reading Group choice which I've just started attending. I like to be challenged so it was good in that way but I won't be rushing to seek out any of his other works.

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Thursday 21 September 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge 20/9/17

Wednesday's Hodgepodge is brought to us courtesy of Joyce at
Pop over there to see other posts and if you want to join in add the link to your Hodgepodge blog post to the Linky List at the end of Joyce's post and don’t forget to visit at least your neighbours on the list.

1. What's something you'd rate a 10/10? Tell us why.
Being a Grandparent.  I’m probably boring you all silly with it but I am loving it.  I’d like to say you get all the best bits of having a baby without all the horrible stuff but of course in Nathan’s case that wasn’t true in the early days.  Those were worrying times but now it’s lovely watching him grow and develop and seeing the relationship develop with his Mummies.  I babysat him for the first time yesterday (see here for the full details) and I had a great time, mainly because he made it very easy for me.  I might have to curb my spending impulses a little bit though otherwise he could bankrupt me!
2. What job would you be terrible at? What makes you think so?
Anything to do with selling.  I’d find it hard approaching people and convincing them to buy anything.
3. When did you last take a fall? What's something you're falling for (in a good way) these days?
I think the last time I really fell was 2 years ago – I was out walking and tripped on a paving slab and went flat on my face.  I scraped my knees and elbows but a woman saw me fall and kindly let me into her house to clean up. 
Falling for in a good way?  Maybe Pilates?  I enjoyed my first class last week and I’ve signed up to go again this Friday.
4. According to the Travel Channel here are some of America's best fall festivals-
National Apple Harvest Festival (near Arendtsville PA, close to Gettysburg), Harvest on the Harbor (Portland Maine), German Village Festival (Columbus Ohio), Wellfleet Oyster Fest (Cape Cod), and Wine and Chile Fiesta (Santa Fe NM)
Have you ever been to any of the festivals listed? Which one appeals to you most? Does your hometown have any sort of fall celebration, and if so will you make it a point to attend?
Never been to any of those and of course they are too far away for me!  Our local festival is in the summer but there’s usually a firework display in November that we sometimes attend.
5. What is your goodbye message to summer?
Come back soon!
6. Insert your own random thought here.
Well I’m here a day late (you all know where I was yesterday!) and I feel like my whole week has been on a catch up basis. But that’s such a minor thing to worry about when I listen to the news.
So many awful things happening and they make me so aware that I have so much to be thankful for.