Sunday 29 September 2019

I had a holiday!

For once I have a good reason for being missing - I've been away to Kos one of the Greek Dodecanese islands in the Aegean sea and it was wonderful.  I went with 3 of my cousins.  No husbands, no children, no grandchildren. Just lots of sunshine, blue skies and it was hot!  (But bearable!)

We stayed in Tigaki in an aparment complex that is family run and quite small but very friendly.  My cousins went last year and when they planned a return visit this year I was determined to join them.  We don't see much of each other these days but as children we often went away on family holidays together so it was great to spend quality time together again.

And I took pictures! 

This is the pool area:

A typical small church.  I love the blue and white colours.

A nearby salt lake.  It was really weird walking here - nearly lost my shoes!

I took this shot on our way out one evening.  There are lots of buildings on the island where work has started and then for whatever reason has just stopped.  This one has been taken over by some goats and it just seemed a perfect photo opportunity.

On one of the days we went up into the mountains to a village called Zia and we enjoyed a break at a very colourful cafe.

Zia is billed as the place to go for a sunset dinner so we found ourselves a restaurant where we had a table with a lovely view of the sunset.  Unfortunately this was the one evening when the sky was not as clear so the sunset wasn't quite so spectacular.  But we had a nice meal and travelling up and down by taxi was probably less scary than by coach - the roads are very narrow, not always in a great condition.

We ate out every night and had some lovely food but of course you know how I love my desserts, especially if there is chocolate involved.

There was a lovely beach nearby but we mostly relaxed by the pool.

The apartment complex:

More food

Our last evening we had a barbecue meal at the apartments followed by some traditional greek dancing,
The four of us, Pat, me, Julie and Jill.

We laughed so much and of course there were plenty of cocktails to try but I stuck to wine or martini as I'm not really a spirit drinker.

Of course all good things come to an end and now I'm home!  A week is not enough.  Although of course we all have commitments so getting away for longer would take a bit more organisation.  

I've had a lazy week since I've been back.  I didn't actually feel very well for the first few days but I'm ok now and I've had a catch up with Grandsons Nathan and Rory.  

Tomorrow things will really get back to normal as I will be Grandsitting Rory as usual for a Monday.

Hopefully normal service on the blog will resume too.

Friday 27 September 2019

Review: The Doctor

The Doctor The Doctor by Lisa Stone
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

How much do you know about the couple next door?

When Emily and Ben move in next door to Dr Burman and his wife Anita, they are keen to get to know their new neighbours. Outgoing and sociable, Emily tries to befriend the doctor’s wife, but Anita is strangely subdued, barely leaving the house, and terrified of answering the phone.

When Emily goes missing a few weeks later, Ben is plunged into a panic. His wife has left him a note, but can she really have abandoned him for another man? Or has Emily’s curiosity about the couple next door led her straight into danger?

I read this for a book club otherwise I might not have finished it. I nearly listed it under fantasy as well as crime fiction etc but cryonics is a real thing. That's not a spoiler because that subject comes up on page 6 of the book.

It's a creepy book and I usually enjoy thrillers but there was just something about it that I didn't like. The characters felt a bit 2 dimensional to me. The writing didn't feel polished. Not everything seemed plausible. As for the twist at the end, that didn't work for me either.

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Review: The Other Wife

The Other Wife The Other Wife by Michael Robotham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Childhood sweethearts William and Mary have been married for sixty years. William is a celebrated surgeon, Mary a devoted wife. Both have a strong sense of right and wrong.
This is what their son, Joe O'Loughlin, has always believed. But when Joe is summoned to the hospital with news that his father has been brutally attacked, his world is turned upside down. Who is the strange woman crying at William's bedside, covered in his blood - a friend, a mistress, a fantasist or a killer?
Against the advice of the police, Joe launches his own investigation. As he learns more, he discovers sides to his father he never knew - and is forcibly reminded that the truth comes at a price.

A good thriller that kept me hooked from the beginning. Lots of twists and secrets gradually spilled. I read it in a couple of days while on holiday. I didn't realise it was actually part of a series (#9!) but it can easily be read as a stand alone. I will be looking out for other titles from this author.

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Review: Every Breath

Every Breath Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

In the romantic tradition of The Notebook and Nights in Rodanthe, #1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks returns with a story about a chance encounter that becomes a touchstone for two vastly different individuals -- transcending decades, continents, and the bittersweet workings of fate. 

Hope Anderson is at a crossroads. At thirty-six, she's been dating her boyfriend, an orthopedic surgeon, for six years. With no wedding plans in sight, and her father recently diagnosed with ALS, she decides to use a week at her family's cottage in Sunset Beach, North Carolina, to ready the house for sale and mull over some difficult decisions about her future. 

Tru Walls has never visited North Carolina but is summoned to Sunset Beach by a letter from a man claiming to be his father. A safari guide, born and raised in Zimbabwe, Tru hopes to unravel some of the mysteries surrounding his mother's early life and recapture memories lost with her death. When the two strangers cross paths, their connection is as electric as it is unfathomable . . . but in the immersive days that follow, their feelings for each other will give way to choices that pit family duty against personal happiness in devastating ways. 

Illuminating life's heartbreaking regrets and enduring hope, EVERY BREATH explores the many facets of love that lay claim to our deepest loyalties -- and asks the question, How long can a dream survive?

This is a beautifully told story but for some reason it didn't really grab me. (I even stopped and read another book before I came back to it and finished it.) Maybe I just wasn't convinced enough about the events. Maybe I need to read The Notebook and see what the fuss is about! Definitely a good escapism book for holiday reading though.

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Review: The Fourth Monkey

The Fourth Monkey The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For over five years, the Four Monkey Killer has terrorized the residents of Chicago. When his body is found, the police quickly realize he was on his way to deliver one final message, one which proves he has taken another victim who may still be alive.

As the lead investigator on the 4MK task force, Detective Sam Porter knows even in death, the killer is far from finished. When he discovers a personal diary in the jacket pocket of the body, Porter finds himself caught up in the mind of a psychopath, unraveling a twisted history in hopes of finding one last girl, all while struggling with personal demons of his own.

With only a handful of clues, the elusive killer’s identity remains a mystery. Time is running out and the Four Monkey Killer taunts from beyond the grave in this masterfully written fast-paced thriller

Having read the sequel already (The Fifth to Die) I had a good idea of what was going to be covered in this book which took the edge off a bit. It's a good thriller but it is gory in places, not for the faint hearted.

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Saturday 14 September 2019

Friday's Fave Five - 13/9/19

It's still Friday, just, so it's time to share 5 things I'm grateful for this week. This meme is hosted by Susanne over at Living to Tell the Story. Pop over there for more details and to see who else is taking part.

Here are my 5 for this week:

1) No mishaps with Grandson Rory this week. He gave me a few scares as he's walking more and more but he's still very wobbly at times but he loves doing it.

2) Getting rid of some clutter. We took part in a jumble trail last weekend (think yard sale) and although I still have stuff to get rid of it's all gathered together now and there is a plan in place!

3) Catching up with one of my sister in laws. She had some things I needed to collect that had got left behing at the family holiday so I popped over one afternoon and we had a good natter over a cup of tea.

4) Catch up TV. I've been so tired most evenings that I've not really watched much TV but thankfully I can either record programmes or watch them on catch up when I have more energy and time. Hello Fresh meals have also been a blessing as well. The two days I do with Rory are quite long so it is tiring but I don't help myself by not going to bed very early!

5) A visit to Grandson Nathan today. It's almost 2 weeks since I'd seen him and after seeing him twice a week regularly that felt like a long time. He's attending nursery 4 days a week now and my DIL stays home with him on Fridays. He's talking more and more and today he was sporting a haircut. I had dinner there and stayed until he went to bed. He was very tired as it was a bit later than usual so hopefully he went to sleep quickly.

Talking of which, I should be getting to sleep now too.

Enjoy the weekend all.

Friday 6 September 2019

Friday's Fave Five - 6/9/19

Well once again it's two weeks since I've done a Friday post so I'm grateful to be here, pausing to think of 5 good things from the past week (or two!).  As always this meme is hosted by Susanne over at Living to Tell the Story.  Pop over there for more details and to see who else is taking part.

Here are my 5 for this week:

1)  Holiday time with extended family.  Getting away with hubby's family is a regular thing for the end of August.  We love getting together, even if it is a bit chaotic and noisy.  For some pics see my previous post here.

2)  2 free bottles of wine!  Hubby often buys wine from our local Majestic Wine store so he's on their mailing list.  He had a letter saying that to celebrate a new venture they were giving regular clients a free bottle of wine.  Of course he went to claim it but was told at the store the offer was a free bottle if you bought 6.  Well buying 6 bottles is no hardship for hubby but he was a bit put out.  Especially when he got home to discover that yes, in the VERY small print on the back of the letter it states that in order to claim your free bottle you have to make a purchase of......ONE bottle.  Well he rattled off an email complaining about the whole episode and today they dropped off another free bottle!

3)  A successful shopping trip.  I'm going away soon with my cousins and I needed a new swimming costume (or two).   I also wanted some flip flops to wear around the pool.  I managed to get both today which was good as lots of the stores now have their autumn and winter clothing ranges in so swimwear choice was quite limited.

4)  More additions to the garden.  I've added a bird feeding station and an ornamental butterfly.  I also took down my rotary airer.  Typically hubby spotted the bird feeding station and noticed the hole where the airer had been but not that the airer was gone!

5)  No lasting damage done to Rory.  He's started walking now.  Just a few steps between the furniture etc but on Wednesday while I was looking after him he overbalanced and managed to hit his head on their wooden rocking chair.  It was one of those awful moments when you dread picking them up to see what damage has been done.  Of course he screamed the place down and there was a small mark on his forehead which was obviously going to bruise but he let me hold an ice pack on it and fortunately he seemed ok afterwards.  I felt bad but of course I know these things will happen.  

This was afterwards.  He does love looking at his books.

Have a good weekend all.

Thursday 5 September 2019

I'm back!

Well actually I've been back from my family holiday since last Friday but it's been hard to find time to blog.  Since we arrived back I've babysat Nathan, had Rory for 2 days, been househunting with Nathan's Mummies and been catching up with stuff at home.

Which is totally different from the week spent away which was very relaxed.  Well as relaxed as spending a week with more than 40 family members including all our kids and Grandkids.  Yeah it's not relaxing but it is lovely.  

We were very fortunate with the weather.  For the first half of the week we had a heatwave.  In fact for me it was too hot.  We then had rain overnight on the Tuesday but by Wednesday afternoon the sun had returned but it was much cooler.  Still warm but much more pleasant.  

The kids still loved being in and out of the pool and as usual the younger generation did their pool photo.  These are all grandchildren of Nick's parents.  There are 23 of them but a few were missing this year.  This is our seventh year at the Oast House and they always line up by the pool:


And then jump!


We had our own special water babies!

 And our own annual photo

 Family time is so special.