Monday 28 May 2018

Review: The Fix

The Fix The Fix by David Baldacci
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amos Decker witnesses a murder just outside FBI headquarters. A man shoots a woman execution style on a crowded sidewalk, then turns the gun on himself.

Even with Decker's extraordinary powers of observation and deduction, the killing is baffling. Decker and his team can find absolutely no connection between the shooter - a family man with a successful consulting business - and his victim, a schoolteacher. Nor is there a hint of any possible motive for the attack.

Enter Harper Brown. An agent of the Defense Intelligence Agency, she orders Decker to back off the case. The murder is part of an open DIA investigation, one so classified that Decker and his team aren't cleared for it.

But they learn that the DIA believes solving the murder is now a matter of urgent national security. Critical information may have been leaked to a hostile government - or, worse, an international terrorist group - and an attack may be imminent.

Decker's never been one to follow the rules, especially with the stakes so high. Forced into an uneasy alliance with Agent Brown, Decker remains laser focused on only one goal: solving the case before it's too late.

Another fast paced thriller from Baldacci. Kept me turning the pages.

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Review: Dancing Over the Hill

Dancing Over the Hill Dancing Over the Hill by Cathy Hopkins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When a boxset of Broadchurch is more appealing than having sex with your husband, then perhaps it’s time to hide the remote…
Cait and Matt have been married for 30 years. They are rock solid; an inspiration to others; stuck together like glue – aren’t they?
But Cait can’t shake off the feeling that something is missing. They are fit and healthy, if a bit skint – but the whole world should be their oyster now that Matt has retired, giving them the time to do those things that really matter – and more importantly – together. So why is she left wondering if this is all there is? Has Matt always been this annoying and infuriating? And where have those ants-in-her-pants suddenly come from?
It’s not helped by the reappearance in her life of Tom Lewis, the love of her life who broke her heart at university and who, despite the fact she hasn’t she hasn't seen him for decades, is still exerting his magnetic pull.
Her friends are Lorna, who recently lost her husband, and Debs whose husband recently left her. The three women must all question what they want out of the rest of their lives – and how they are going to get it…

Nice observations on married life, its ups and downs and how changes such as redundancy/retirement/empty nest etc can prove challenging even in a long established marriage.

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Saturday 26 May 2018

This is a baby free post! (Almost)

Having a cold that also includes an annoying cough and lack of sleep from a husband who can still manage to rumble and grumble despite his CPAP machine working flat out has left me well out of sorts today.

Mainly because I don't have the energy or inclination to tackle my very long (and seemingly never decreasing) to do list.  I usually make myself an immediate list each day and I do like the satisfaction of crossing things off.  Not today.

Today is a "let's look after myself (or feel sorry for myself) day so I'm whiling away time either here or with a book or knitting.  (Oops that could have led to a baby reference.)

Except the book (Dancing Over the Hill by Cathy Hopkins) is, so far, about a marriage that seems to have stagnated and hit difficulties when the husband is made redundant.  Good Housekeeping states it's "Funny and feel-good".  Not so far.  Hopefully it will get better as it's making me thing a little too hard about my own situation.  Of course my hubby is still working, although only 3 days per week, but my being at home full time has taken some adjusting too and just when I start feeling like I'm on track to get some projects underway I go down with another cold.  It's frustrating.  Although of course it feels like I'm working 2 days per week now (not mentioning the baby word) but this work is a joy if somewhat exhausting.  Heaven help me when the baby becomes mobile!

Anyway I will persevere with the book for a little bit longer to see if it improves.   I actually gave up on a book earlier this week which is unusual for me but I really wasn't liking it and decided life's too short to be doing things you don't have to.  Especially when your "to be read" pile resembles the Leaning Tower of Pisa and could collapse at any point.  I did cull some books from there yesterday.  I'd kept several (well maybe more than several) books that hubby had read because they looked interesting, but on second glance I just thought No!  I'm not going to enjoy reading that.  I have plenty of other books that I will enjoy reading so time to get rid.  Of course this now means I have a pile of books to take to the local market stall bookseller.  The stallholder raises funds for charity so I don't mind passing them on to him especially when it will more likely be hubby that takes them.

That doesn't mean I've totally given up on the BBC reading list I'm working through but I'm currently stuck on Wuthering Heights.  I started it so long ago and put it down I'll probably have to start again.

I've decided I need to invest in some vitamin C and some early nights with a book.  I tend to go to bed quite late but recently I've been waking fairly early so the amount of sleeping time has suffered.  Of course if I could just resist the urge to make one last check of my social media or whatsapp etc I might not be quite so tired!

What I should be doing right now is going through my e-mails and dealing with all the ones relating to the recent changes to Data Protection.  Hopefully it might result in less e-mails finding their way into my inbox.  

Of course I could do the Pub Quiz in the weekend paper first.  Yep, that's another good way of procrastinating!  Especially now I'm done with waffling.

Friday's Fave 5 on Saturday! (26/5/18)


Friday is time to look back on the week and find five things to be grateful for. Drop in to Susanne at Living to Tell the Story for full details and other participants.

1) Well one thing I'm not grateful for this week is another cold! Again courtesy of Nathan. He's been runny nosed all week and wheezing but he was still cheerful so I'm thankful for that.

2) Warm days. Even some sunshine. I did a lot of walking on the two days with Nathan. It was good not to have raincovers and blankets.

3) A hubby who can cook and doesn't mind shopping. Thursday with Nathan was hard this week as I was feeling the effects of the cold but at least I didn't have to come home and cook - hubby took care of that and yesterday too.

4) The Royal Wedding. Definitely a good distraction although I didn't watch it until Monday because:

5) This:

Grandson #2 Noah Henry. He arrived 3 weeks early on Thursday 17th and I was itching to write about him on last week's Friday Five but hadn't got Mummy's permission by then. We spent the weekend up in Nottingham having lots of cuddles. Mummy and baby are doing well but of course he's feeding very frequently at the moment so everyone is tired but my son is now on leave from his job so he's doing a great job of keeping everything under control.

Of course we'd love to have gone again this weekend but not with this cold but hopefully next weekend, unless of Grandchild #3 decides to put in an early appearance too! Watch this space.

Apologies to regular readers for the repetition of the baby news but I am besotted so expect lots more pictures and updates.

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 23/5/18

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.
Have fun!

1. The last place you visited/patronized where you felt like you were given 'the royal treatment'?
We stayed at the In-laws of our eldest son at the weekend and they really made us feel welcome and provided a lovely breakfast before we left the next morning.
2. The last task you completed that was a 'royal pain'?
Cleaning the lawnmower blades.
3. How have your strengths helped you succeed? How have your faults hindered you?
I’m quite a patient person and I’m also determined – I hate leaving things half finished or admitting defeat so that’s been useful over the years.  Lack of confidence has probably been the biggest hindrance.
4. If you found a remote that could rewind, fast forward, stop and start time, what would you do with it?
I’d rewind it so that I could have conversations with my parents and ask them things I never had the opportunity to ask.
5. Any special plans for the Memorial Day weekend? Will you in some way honor or recognize the meaning of this day (remembering people who died in service to their country)? Have you ever been to Arlington National Cemetery? Does your town do anything special to mark the day?
No because we honour this day in November.  There is a Remembrance service organised by the local council and of course a big service in London that’s televised.
6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Look who's here:   

Grandson #2 arrived 3 weeks early last Thursday, weighing in at 7lb 1oz this is Noah Henry.  Of course we're besotted and spent the weekend in Nottingham enjoying lots of cuddles.

Wedding? What Wedding?

Of course living here in the UK it was impossible to avoid being aware of the recent Royal Wedding.  I've lost count of the number of TV programmes dedicated to all things Royal and how they met, where they met, how weddings are planned and so on and so on.

Don't get me wrong, I love following the life stories of our royal family, unlike my husband who thinks it's a great drain on public finances.  Not that he has any idea of how the finances actually work.

However, I did not watch the wedding on Saturday.  What?  I hear you scream.  The biggest event of the year and you didn't watch it.  Well of course I watched it, in full glory, but not until Monday!

I had more important things to be doing, like travelling to Nottingham to meet this little man:

Introducing Noah Henry, born 17th May and weighing in at 7lb 1oz.  Grandson #2.

Friday 18 May 2018

Friday's Fave Five - 18/05/18

Friday is time to look back on the week and find five things to be grateful for. Drop in to Susanne at Living to Tell the Story for full details and other participants.

Here are mine:

1) Sunny weather. On Monday it was even quite hot and although it's been cooler for the rest of the week it's still been sunny which just puts me in a better mood.

2) New fencing in the garden. The fence at the bottom of the garden was getting a bit delapidated. We're not even sure if it's our fence or the neighbours but we decided to replace the panels that cross our garden. It also enabled our gardener to get behind our shed and remove a lot of weeds/ivy that were growing back there. Looks much better.

3) Two days with Nathan. Always sure to brighten my week even if it is exhausting. Thanks for all the compliments last week about the photo. He really does have long eyelashes - that's from hubby's side of the family and fortunately our kids all seem to have his genes!

4) Reading time. The journey to Nathan is an hour each way, including a bus and train ride. I always get a seat on the bus and usually get a seat on the train for at least half the journey. It gives me time to read. Of course I try and read at other times but that journey time is definitely devoted to reading.

5) Being focussed. I've had quite a good week for doing things around the house and mentally adjusting to having the house to ourselves again. I feel like I've wasted less time this week. I hate weeks where the days have slipped past and I don't feel I've achieved much.

Going to have a busy weekend. But it's going to be fun! Watch this space.

Hope you all have a good weekend too.

Note to self - use your camera!
I do usually take a few of Nathan each visit - I have to send them to his Mummies who of course both miss him when they're at work!

Wednesday 16 May 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 16/5/18

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.
Have fun!

1. What would you say is your biggest day to day challenge?
Keeping on track and not wasting time.
2. May 16th is National Biographers Day. What's a biography you really enjoyed reading? Is this a genre you read regularly?
Dear Fatty by British Comedian Dawn French.  It’s written as a series of letters and I enjoyed it although it had mixed reviews.  Biography is not a genre I regularly read although I’m sure there are many lives that would be very interesting to read about.  What I find hard to accept is books written about people who have hardly lived any of their life yet so you know there will be a sequel and a sequel…. and the money will keep pouring in.  What happened to waiting until a life had at least been mostly lived?
3. How important is keeping a clean house? Do you need to de-clutter your life?
I like to think my house is clean – especially areas such as the kitchen and bathrooms but I’m not fanatical about it.  I have decluttered some things but now we have the house to ourselves again there is a lot of sorting out to be done and rearranging.  But as and when.  I’ve reached a stage in life where you realise it’s short and sometimes there are more important things to do than cleaning.
4. You're the 8th dwarf. What's your name?
Common sense/Elf & Safety/Logical……..
5. What's surprised you the most about your life or life in general.
My ability to cope when things got tough.  I was always such a shy, timid child who wouldn’t say boo to a goose (and I still hate confrontation) but when life threw me curveballs I just got on with it.
That and the capacity we have for love.  I wondered how I would react to a Grandchild – other family babies didn’t really hold me in thrall but as you all have probably gathered I am absolutely besotted with Nathan and so excited about having more to dote on.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
Ok, so thinking back on #1.  Today was supposed to be the day for doing the laundry and re-organising my kitchen pantry style cupboard.  So far the laundry is ticking along nicely, (thank goodness for a tumble dryer as it’s cloudy and a bit showery here today) and I have washed the lovely new containers I bought for organising the cupboard.

Then I remembered it was Wednesday………Thanks Joyce for another great set of questions but they’re not helping me keep on track – although I don’t regard composing a Hodgepodge post a waste of time! lol