Wednesday 30 October 2019

Wednesday Medley - 29/10/19

https://wednesdaymedley.blogspot.com/2019/10/wednesday-medley-for-october-30th.html

If you would like to join in with the Medley click on the picture above.


1. During Red Ribbon Week a red ribbon or rubbery silicon bracelet is worn to remind others to live drug free lives and honor the sacrifices of all those who've have lost their lives fighting the war against illegal drugs.
Do you have family members or loved ones in law enforcement? Wearing any memorial ribbons or bracelets?

I don't have anyone who works in law enforcement and fortunately I haven't lost any loved ones in this way. 
2. There isn't an International Day for October 30th.
What is your suggestion for a new national or international day?

I'm not sure I could come up with anything worthy of its own day.  There are so many daft ones out there already I wouldn't want to add to them. 
3. On this date in 1938, Orson Welles performed his radio play of H. G. Wells' The War Of The Worlds. Some people understood it to be an actual news broadcast of a Martian attack though there were disclaimers throughout the show.
Have you witnessed an example of people behaving to the contrary in spite of warnings?
No but I was watching something on TV today about how people don't follow the safety instructions for example putting on life jackets when told to. Bonus question: Did you listen to or do you stream radio shows? Listen to books or prefer reading?
I usually only listen to the radio in the car and I prefer reading books than listening to them. 
4. Happy 80th Birthday, Grace Slick!



She sang with psychedelic band Jefferson Airplane and later reincarnations Jefferson Starship and Starship.

All rock 'n' rollers over the age of fifty look stupid and should retire. — Grace Slick.

Is pop music solely the domain of younger artists?

I think the Rolling Stones and Rod Stewart (and many others) would disagree.
5. Tomorrow is Halloween. Any fond memories of Trick Or Treating or escorting little ones while they made the rounds? Favorite costume?

Trick or treat wasn't really a thing here in the UK when I was growing up or even when my kids were young.  It seems to be getting bigger each year now though. 
Bonus question: As an adult, have you attended a Halloween party or fancy-dress ball? Sexy? Or spooky?

No

6. Please share with us something interesting about your week.

I will probably be a bit Bah Humbug on halloween.  Keep the front lights off and pretend to be out. 

Sunday 27 October 2019

It's nearly Winter!

Last night our clocks went back.  Today it was dark by 5.30 and it that will gradually get earlier and earlier.  It's definitely been colder the last couple of days and tonight we may get our first frost.

Yesterday I posted about dresses for weddings.  (Thanks for all the lovely comments.)  Today I'm in my comfy attire of jogging bottoms and a warm top.  Catching up on TV.  

We had a busy evening yesterday babysitting Nathan.  Every time we see him lately he is talking more and more.  He was lovely with us last night.  He didn't make any fuss when his Mummies went out.  We had fun in the bath.  He let me give him both his inhalers with no problems.  (He's had a cough the last couple of weeks.)  We cleaned his teeth and then we settled down to read some stories.  I'd read him a couple and was going to read some more but he told me "No Nanny.  I go sleep now."  

And he did fairly quickly.  But then just as I tried to creep out of the bedroom he sat up looking wide awake.  My heart sank as I envisiged it taking a long time to get him back to sleep but actually he went off again quite quickly.  I managed to escape and he was still asleep when his Mummies came home.  Job done!  (Of course he woke up soon after - he seems to have a 6th sense of when they get home lol)

The darkness outside makes it easier to justify snuggling up on the sofa with my laptop and the TV and when you have this

who cares if it's dark outside?

Birthday cake from my DIL.  I don't know what the bakery call it but I think it should be Death by Chocolate!

Saturday 26 October 2019

#SoCS - 25/10/19 - Dress


Welcome to the new SoCS badge.  Isn't it a great picture?  Congratulations to Shelley who won the latest badge competition.

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “dress”  Use it anyway you want.
Have fun!

#SoCS is hosted by Linda G. Hill - check out her site here for details and participants. 

I am not known for wearing dresses.  Or even smart clothes really.  I prefer jeans and comfy tops.  Nothing fancy or frilly.  My priority is comfort.

But of course there are times when smart dress is required.  Obviously I had a work wardrobe which did contain a few dresses but also a lot of trousers.  Much more practical when dealing with emergency situations.  (I was a school Business Manager which included being responsible for Health & Safety.  Rushing around the school in a dress and heels wasn't my idea of fun - trousers and flats were more my uniform.)

Yesterday's prompt of  "dress" was rather apt as it was my daughter's 4th wedding anniversary.  As the Mother of the Bride at the wedding a dress was almost compulsory!  But tricky.  It was only a year since I'd been the Mother of the Groom at my son's wedding.

 
Finding another bridal dress was proving harder the 2nd time around.  The designer I'd favoured before had updated their range but it still felt too similar so I was still looking for something different and finding nothing.

Then we went on holiday.  To Wales.  And I stumbled across a very small bridal shop that had what could only be described as "Mother of the Bride" dresses.  But it was CLOSED!  Fortunately it reopened before we left to come home and I found THE dress. (And matching jacket.)

But if my search for a dress was hard don't even get me started on the wedding dress. 

(And the following year I had to do it all over again for my other son!)



Friday 25 October 2019

Friday's Fave Five - 25/10/19


It's Friday 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.

1)  Wow I'm here 2 weeks running and it's not even approaching midnight! I'm thankful for being a bit more organised this week and making time for blogging.

2)  A lovely (but hectic) weekend with all the Grandkids.  We saw all of them last weekend which was great.  We even babysat the two youngest ones together and survived.  (See here for details if you missed that post.) I also visited Rory during the week. 

3)  Being kind to myself.  I've been fighting some sort of throat/chest virus for a few weeks now.  Went from having one of those horrible tickly non-productive coughs to the opposite extreme.  Although it hasn't been that bad it did leave me feeling quite low and not very enthused about anything.  This week I've just accepted that I needed to rest and recharge my batteries and not worry about the To Do list or anything else really.  Fortunately it's been half-term here so I didn't have to look after Rory (Mummy is a teacher) and I've caught up on lots of TV I'd recorded and read several books.

4)  Feeling better.  I am feeling a lot better the last day or so and all the blood tests I had done at the beginning of the month were all okay.  Now I just need to work on lowering my blood pressure a bit.  I'd like to get out and do some walking but all we seem to be getting is rain and more rain!  There are flood warnings out for the weekend in the UK but not where I live fortunately - another thing to be grateful for.

5)  The supportive blogging community.  I know that crops up here time and again but I really do appreciate people taking the time to visit my blog and leave comments.  It means I'm not sitting here in a void!

And a bonus one today - it's my daughter's 4th wedding anniversary - where does the time go?


Have a good weekend all.

Thursday 24 October 2019

Voting is open!

You may have seen my earlier post entering the competition for a new badge for the:

Stream of Consciousness Saturday challenge hosted by Linda G. Hill.

Well today is voting day.

This is my entry:



To check out the other 9 great entries and cast a vote visit Linda's site here.

Review: A Keeper

A Keeper A Keeper by Graham Norton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the bestselling author of Holding comes a masterly tale of secrets and ill-fated loves set on the coast of Ireland.

Dear Lonely Leinster Lady,
I'm not really sure how to begin . . .

The truth drifts out to sea, riding the waves out of sight. And then the tide turns.

Elizabeth Keane returns to Ireland after her mother's death, intent only on wrapping up that dismal part of her life. There is nothing here for her; she wonders if there ever was. The house of her childhood is stuffed full of useless things, her mother's presence already fading. And perhaps, had she not found the small stash of letters, the truth would never have come to light.

40 years earlier, a young woman stumbles from a remote stone house, the night quiet but for the tireless wind that circles her as she hurries further into the darkness away from the cliffs and the sea. She has no sense of where she is going, only that she must keep on.


This was a book club choice and I wasn't sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. Norton spins a good yarn and although the story flips between present and past it was easy to follow.


View all my reviews

Wednesday 23 October 2019

Review: The Familiars

The Familiars The Familiars by Stacey Halls
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fleetwood Shuttleworth is 17 years old, married, and pregnant for the fourth time. But as the mistress at Gawthorpe Hall, she still has no living child, and her husband Richard is anxious for an heir. When Fleetwood finds a letter she isn¹t supposed to read from the doctor who delivered her third stillbirth, she is dealt the crushing blow that she will not survive another pregnancy.

When she crosses paths by chance with Alice Gray, a young midwife, Alice promises to help her give birth to a healthy baby, and to prove the physician wrong.

When Alice is drawn into the witchcraft accusations that are sweeping the North-West, Fleetwood risks everything by trying to help her. But is there more to Alice than meets the eye?

As the two women's lives become inextricably bound together, the legendary trial at Lancaster approaches, and Fleetwood¹s stomach continues to grow. Time is running out, and both their lives are at stake. 


This was a book club read. Not my usual genre but I did enjoy it.  I found myself turning the pages wanting to know if the baby would survive, wanting to know what was going to happen to Fleetwood and to Alice.

View all my reviews

Wednesday Medley - 23/10/19

https://wednesdaymedley.blogspot.com/2019/10/wednesday-medley-for-october-23rd.html

To join in with the Medley click on the picture above.

1.On this date in 2001, Apple introduced the iPod, a pocket-sized media player. Are you old school with Sony Walkman and CDs? Has your iPhone or smartphone eclipsed those functions? Hop in the car and listen to the radio? Or you don't require a soundtrack to your life? 

I don't really require a soundtrack playing - I prefer the quiet.  I never had a Sony Walkman with CDs (I might have had something that played cassettes though!  They're the things with tape in them. lol) I have an iPod shuffle that I do use if I'm going for a walk and want some music playing and I do put the radio on in the car or play CDs - our car came with a 6 slot CD player which is great for long journeys.
 

2. Today we celebrate Mole Day. Not the burrowing subterranean rats. Not angel kisses. Nor the Mexican sauce which is pronounced to rhyme with olé as if we are cheering a matador at a bullfight and is great with chicken and rice.
This mole is a relationship between mass and weight and is a basic unit of measurement in chemistry.

H2O has a molar mass of 18; a mole of water weighs eighteen grams.

It is expressed as 6.02214076 × 1023. Ten to the twenty-third meaning October 23rd and 6.02214076 translating to 6:02 in the morning. Or I suppose if you don't keep military time you could celebrate in the evening, too.

So. Are you a science or math nerd? Which begs the eternal question: Why are we cool and guy nerds are dorks? 


Well I enjoyed science and maths but reading the above makes me wonder how? lol  
 
3. Because Mole Day is all sciencey, it kicks off National Chemistry Week.

Did you take a chemistry class? What were your first impressions on being in a laboratory classroom? Do you recall your early experiments? Did you have a lab partner? Did you want to strangle her? Was the prospect of capital punishment or twenty⁠—to⁠—life in the slammer and getting a poor grade on your report card a deterrent? Or was her enthusiasm infectious and she was a sheer joy to be around?
Yes I took chemistry for 2 years and it was ok.  Don't remember having a specific lab partner but it was a long time ago!  Experiments using Bunsen burners or things exploding were the best.
ALTERNATE QUESTION: Ever been on a date and the chemistry was just all wrong?
Many!
 
4. National Boston Cream Pie Day. Not a pie. Two yellow butter cakes baked in pie tins. A vanilla custard cream filling with luscious slathering of chocolate ganache over the top. Mmmmm. Custard cream. Luscious slathering of chocolate ganache.

Have you ever spontaneously without forethought gone out to the frozen custard stand or ice cream parlour or soda fountain to treat yourself? Met up with friends for coffee and dessert?
I can't say that I have although I'll often skip a starter or just have a starter and no main so that there is always room for dessert.  Best part of the meal in my opinion.
ALTERNATE QUESTION: When reading about something delicious, do you do a mental checklist of ingredients and think about heading to the kitchen to whip up whatever strikes your fancy?
I am not a spontaneous type of cook.  I can produce pretty good results but I need recipes and a plan!
 

5. Heeeeeeeere's Johnny! Happy Birthday, Johnny Carson! And Happy National TV Talk Show Hostess / Host Day! Have a favourite talk show you regularly watch?
The closest to a favourite would probably be Graham Norton but I don't always watch the show.
BONUS QUESTION: Do you miss Johnny Carson? Do you think he was a great host who set the standard for current talk show hostesses and hosts?
From the little I know of him (yes I know shock horror but remember I'm from the UK) yes probably.
 

6. Please share with us something interesting about your week. 
We survived looking after 2 of the grandchildren at the same time - just!  Blogged about it here.


 

Tuesday 22 October 2019

We survived!





Aren't these two cute and adorable?  Well of course I'm biased but having had them together on Saturday I didn't find them quite as cute as when they're on their own lol.

Both my sons and their wives had been invited to the same wedding in London so we were tasked with looking after Noah and Rory.  Both their other grandparents are too far away and there really wasn't anyone else who could step in.  Consequently hubby was informed that under no circumstances could he make alternative plans for the day - he was coming with me.

I'm thankful that he did - hats off to anyone who has twins to cope with (and as for triplets or quads....)  Makes me wonder how I coped with 3 under the age of 4 when mine were little but my Mum was around and I had friends who helped out too.

We looked after them at Rory's home - lots more toys and equipment there for them and the bonus of no stairs to worry about.  

And I had a plan - we would probably arrive during Rory's nap time so we could get Noah settled without having to cope with Rory too.  Fail #1 - Rory had just woken up from an early nap when we got there at 1pm so we were plunged straight in.  Noah had also already napped so the afternoon stretched out ahead of us.

I planned to let them play for a while.  Then we would take them for a long walk in the park.  Fail #2,  we got them all ready to go out (a major task in itself) and hadn't gone very far when the rain started.  And didn't stop.  We did walk a bit but Noah's buggy didn't really have a waterproof cover so we were forced back to the flat.

They actually played reasonably well together - well side by side - considering they don't see that much of each other.  Rory was a bit bewildered by Noah constantly throwing everything around and Noah seemed bemused at Rory getting up and walking away.  It was also the first time that we've ever really babysat Noah and he did get upset at times which was understandable.  Difficult for Rory to understand why I couldn't physically pick both of them up together though. 

Anyway we got to dinner time.  We'd taken our highchair over to make feeding them easier though we did have to keep them as far apart as possible in the limited space to stop Rory pinching Noah's food.  Both of them are good eaters BUT - Rory scoops up handfuls of food and eats quickly, Noah picks up food a piece at a time and savours it, therefore taking ages!  It was a bit tricky making Rory wait for his yogurt dessert but I didn't want Noah to leave his dinner if he saw Rory with yogurt.  We got there eventually.

Bedtime for Rory was a doddle - he understands that when his bedtime routine is done he will be put in his cot and left to go to sleep.  He doesn't like the last bit - he'll cry.  But only for a few minutes and then he sleeps.  He didn't let me down.  He was in his cot and asleep by 7.15 and we didn't hear another peep from him.

Noah was the opposite.  He got upset while I was seeing to Rory and Grandpa had managed to calm him and snuggle him and he'd gone to sleep.  I tried to transfer him to a buggy but of course he woke and then he was not happy.  I changed him and got him into nightwear and tried to settle him again but it took ages and I ended up just sitting on the rocking chair with him.  Eventually he gave in and got into a good sleep so I was able to lay him down on the sofa.  He was still asleep when the parents came home at 11 pm.



They managed to get him back here and into bed without too much upset and they'd all had a good time at the wedding so I was glad we were able to make that possible for them.  And of course I do love Grandsitting, just one at a time please!

On Sunday we hosted all of them, including Nathan and his Mummies for brunch come lunch.  I do like to try and do that when Noah and his parents are down from Nottingham but of course it is a bit hectic although at one point all the little boys were asleep.

Rory had the comfort of the travel cot:


Although he won't fit in that for much longer!  And Nathan fell asleep on Mummy.

I didn't get a pic of Noah asleep in his buggy -  I went in to take one and found him awake.

The little ones took their parents home early in the afternoon but we had Nathan here a bit longer as his Mummy went to see one of her friends and new baby nearby.  It's hard work looking after them and having them all here together but they are growing up so fast and I'm just so grateful to be able to spend time with them and watch them all developing.

I'm thankful that this week is half-term though and I haven't got to look after Rory.  A few days rest and catching up at home are very much needed!


Review: I'll Keep You Safe

I'll Keep You Safe I'll Keep You Safe by Peter May
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

WHATEVER HAPPENS

Niamh and Ruairidh Macfarlane co-own the Hebridean company Ranish Tweed. On a business trip to Paris to promote their luxury brand, Niamh learns of Ruairidh's affair, and then looks on as he and his lover are killed by a car bomb. She returns home to Lewis, bereft.

I'LL ALWAYS BE THERE FOR YOU

Niamh begins to look back on her life with Ruairidh, desperate to identify anyone who may have held a grudge against him. The French police, meanwhile, have ruled out terrorism, and ruled in murder - and sent Detective Sylvie Braque to shadow their prime suspect: Niamh.

I'LL KEEP YOU SAFE, NO MATTER WHAT

As one woman works back through her memories, and the other moves forward with her investigation, the two draw ever closer to a deadly enemy with their own, murderous, designs.


Niamh and Ruairidh seem the perfect couple - happily married, running a successful business and living in a fantastic home in a beautiful part of the Scottish isles. Then Niamh begins to suspect Ruairidh may be having an affair but before she can discover the truth he is killed by a car bomb in Paris.

The story focuses on the crime but there are also flashbacks told by Niamh in the 1st person giving us the background to their lives and who might have wanted Ruairidh dead. It's not too confusing but I found it a bit annoying at times.

The back story is needed to show the reasoning behind the outcome. There were some attempts to make the book suspenseful but it didn't really work for me. Some events didn't ring true and the twist at the end didn't work for me either. Not sure it would be consistent with forensics techniques.

I did enjoy reading it but I probably wouldn't search out other books by the author.

View all my reviews

Saturday 19 October 2019

SoCS - 19/10/19 - Oh!

https://lindaghill.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/stream-of-consciousness-saturday-2018-19.png


Oh I do like to give myself a challenge!

Oh I do like to do something that's fun!

What am I rabbiting on about?  Well I noticed that Linda was looking for a new badge for SoCS and although it's a long time since I participated and I can hardly be considered a regular I do like a challenge.  So I whizzed through some photos and found one that seemed quite apt so I entered!  (check out Linda's post here for all the details) or here for my entry.

Having done all that I thought I at least should post a SoCS post today.  Of course the first two lines of the post were to the "Oh I do like to be beside the seaside" tune and I do actually like to be beside the sea.  I don't get the opportunity to do that too often but recently holidayed in Kos and we did see the sea.  We also spent a lot of time beside the pool.

And now we're back home to wet and rainy weather and soon the clocks will be going back and it will be dark all the time.  Well at least it will feel like it. And of course it will soon be halloween.

I learnt an important lesson last year.  I bought lots of treats in case we got any callers.  We don't usually get too many, Trick or Treat is catching on in the UK but I don't think it will ever be as big as it is in the states.  Anyway we didn't get any callers so of course I had lots of treats to eat.  Lovely, but not great for the diet.  When talking to my daughter about this she asked me if I had put a pumpkin out?  Put a pumpkin out?  Why?  So they know it's ok to knock she replied.  Oh!  

(I didn't know that. Soooo grump that I am I will not be buying a pumpkin but I will still have some treats ready just in case!)

If you want to find out more or take part in this week's SoCS challenge hosted by Linda go here.

Friday's Fave Five - 18/10/19

It's 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.

I can't believe it's a month since I've done one of these posts.  There is always so much to be grateful for.

Here are my 5 for this week:

1)  A hair cut and colour.  By the time I went to get that done last Friday it was well overdue so I felt so much better afterwards.

2)  A catch up with family members I haven't seen in ages!  My cousin had a big birthday this year (She's 46 again!) and celebrated with a party.







From l - r my SIL, my brother, me, hubby, cousin's husband, cousin, cousin's husband, birthday girl and her husband.

It was a great evening and we stayed over till the Sunday so lots of catching up done.

3)  A visit from Nathan & his Mummies on Sunday.  They had been to a party nearby so they called in before heading home.  

4)  A gap in the rain showers on Wednesday so I could get Rory out for a walk.

It was still windy though!

5)  A car to do the shopping with.  Hubby uses a CPAP machine because he has sleep apnoea so we need to stock up on de-ionised water when we can.  One of the big Tesco's sells it in 5 litres so I make a point of going there and stocking up.




Well it's just after midnight now so almost got finished on time.  I was interrupted by the arrival of Noah and his parents.  Another blessing.  They're here for the weekend and will be attending a friend's wedding.  Hubby and I will be looking after Noah and Rory (whose parents are also going to the wedding) for most of the day and into the evening.  Wish us luck!

Enjoy your weekend.


Friday 18 October 2019

Entry for SoCS badge competition 2019

Linda, who hosts the regular Stream of Consciousness Saturday meme is looking for a new badge.  Well I do like to give myself a challenge but I'm not particularly artistic, however scanning through my photos I came across this pic from when we were in Australia.  The wallaby is obviously contemplating something and with the No Stopping sign it seemed quite apt for this challenge.  

I'll admit to not being a regular poster in SoCS so if Linda wants to disqualify my on that front I will not be in the least bit offended.   I just enjoyed finding my photo and playing around with it.

If you want to see other entries or put your own entry in pop over to Linda's site here.

Wednesday 16 October 2019

Wednesday Medley - 16/10/19

https://wednesdaymedley.blogspot.com/2019/10/wednesday-medley-for-october-16th.html
To join in with the Medley click on the picture above.

1. Today is Bosses' Day. Workplace politics at the highest level of competition. Is this a day for employees to thank their bosses for being unfailingly kind and understanding throughout the year? A meaningless holiday pressuring backstabbing co-workers to kowtow to tyrannic managers? Or just another way for the groveling sycophants to max out their credit cards in a piteous attempt to curry favor?

This could be taken in two ways as our host suggests.  It's very ambiguous but my guess would be it's their day so everyone should be nice to them but that might be a bit tricky. 

Bonus question for those of us who've retired: On the One-To-Ten Scale, how incomprehensibly ecstatic are you about not having to put up with this kind of malarkey anymore? Or any words of encouragement to those of us who still have forty years to go before Social Security kicks in?

I am so glad that I don't have to deal with a boss (particularly my last one) anymore.  Having said that I was also a manager and I hope my team wouldn't be feeling the same way. 

2. October 16 is also National Fossil Day! Just as new living species are discovered, new fossilized animals are found.

A type of trilobite was named Aegrotocatellus jaggeri after Mick Jagger, lead singer of The Rolling Stones. Believe it or not, there are plenty of people who feel Mick Jagger is a fossil.

If someone was to name something after you, what would you like it to be?

Not sure I'd want a fossil named after me.  Maybe a flower? 

3. Today is Hagfish Day! What is a hagfish? Well I wouldn't rush to look it up. Those things should come with a warning. All the cuteness of a viper and the cuddliness of an eel. Allegedly very delicious and plentiful, though, if you can get them to stop slithering around long enough to cook them. Which is why we celebrate Hagfish Day!

Which member(s) of The Animal Kingdom gives you the creeps? Or is it a slimy co-worker from Question #1?

I can't imagine EVER eating Hagfish or anything else that wriggles!

4. Cheers! We also celebrate Drink Local Wine Week and National Liqueur Day! Is there a winery in your locale? Do you have a favorite cordial or a mixed drink made with a liqueur? A non-potent potable such as a refreshing smoothie?

The UK doesn't have a great reputation for wine.  We never drink it.  We do drink wine though, from all sorts of places.  We very seldom drink liquers and if I take a drink out with me it's more likely to be water. 

5. Happy Birthday, Angela Lansbury! Her first two roles were as the maid in Gaslight and Sibyl Vane in The Picture Of Dorian Gray. Truly a star of stage, screen and television, Angela played on Broadway and as Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote. One of her most respected film roles was that of Laurence Harvey's mother in The Manchurian Candidate, an often overlooked political thriller. She was believable despite being only three years older than Laurence Harvey.

Can you think of any out-of-the-ordinary casting? Or the type of casting in which Hollywood expects us to suspend all logic?

I am rubbish at remembering who's who in which films.  I am aware of Angela Lansbury though - Murder she wrote can usually be found on at least one of our cable channels most days!

6. Please share something about your week.

Quite a run of the mill week this week - 2 days grandsitting and no other major plans during the week but Noah and his parents are here at the weekend so I'm looking forward to that, although on Saturday hubby and I will be grandsitting both Noah and Rory while their parents attend a wedding.  That could be interesting!


Tuesday 15 October 2019

Review: Sleep

Sleep Sleep by C.L. Taylor
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

All Anna wants is to be able to sleep. But crushing insomnia, terrifying night terrors and memories of that terrible night are making it impossible. If only she didn’t feel so guilty…

To escape her past, Anna takes a job at a hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat from the world turns into a deadly nightmare.

Each of the guests have a secret but one of them is lying – about who they are and why they’re on the island. There’s a murderer staying in the Bay View hotel. And they’ve set their sights on Anna.

Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One deadly lie.

Someone’s going to sleep and never wake up…


This book is definitely atmospheric and creepy but I struggled to keep all the different characters straight in my head. They seemed a bit two dimentional and the book generally felt lacking in depth. Having said that, I enjoyed this book but not as much as some of the other books by the author.

View all my reviews

Thursday 10 October 2019

Wednesday Medley - 9/10/19

https://wednesdaymedley.blogspot.com/2019/10/wednesday-medley-for-october-9th.html 
To join in with the Medley click on the picture above.


1. Space. The final frontier. October 4th ⁠— 10th is World Space Week. Over the course of your lifetime, how many solar systems or science projects have you created for the school Science Fair? Were any of your projects memorable? Have you ever peered through a telescope or visited a planetarium? Been away from city lights and enjoyed the night sky? I don't remember doing too many science projects but I have looked through a telescope and been to a planetarium.  I have been away from the city lights but we didn't enjoy the night sky - compared to where we live, our country retreat was soooo dark outside once night fell.  There were no street lights, it was a cloudy night so no moon.  We felt we needed a torch just to go around the corner for a meal in the nearby pub!
 
Bonus question: If you helped your child or a younger sibling with a science project, what grade did you receive?

2. It is also National Carry A Tune Week. Do you sing in the shower? In a choir? Carpool karaoke? Whistle while you work?
I do not sing aloud very often although I have been known to do karaoke at our annual family gathering.  (It's almost compulsory lol)
 
3. On this day in 1992, seventeen-year-old Michelle Knapp was watching television when she was startled by crash in the driveway. Little did she know but she'd have to cancel her date with her boyfriend. Her Chevy Malibu had been struck by a meteorite!


What is the strangest excuse you've ever heard? Or come up with?


It's a long time since I was dating!
 
4. Happy Birthday, John Winston Ono Lennon! John Lennon was resistant to The Beatles wearing identical suits which played a part of their early image leading to commercial success.

Have you ever worn a uniform or an outfit that you disliked?
Yes, when our school merged with another - our uniform was bottle green, theirs was navy blue.  The new uniform was described as petrol blue.  It was awful.  Plus you had people still wearing the old ones until they outgrew them.  It was such a mish mash.


5. We are in the midst of the Major League Baseball playoffs.




At the time of writing, the New York Yankees swept the Minnesota Twins to advance to the American League championship.

Is there a team you are cheering for? Is your team out of contention? Do you prefer a different sport? Or are sports not your thing?


American sports are really not my thing.  I used to follow UK football more closely - had family members working in the industry but when that ended I lost interest. 
6. Tell us something interesting about your week.

Nothing exciting going on here but going to a family party at the weekend so that will be fun! Of course the week is flying by - that's why I'm doing this on Thursday!


Tuesday 8 October 2019

Review: The Escape

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

Military CID investigator John Puller has returned from his latest case to learn that his brother, Robert, once a major in the United States Air Force and an expert in nuclear weaponry and cyber-security, has escaped from the Army's most secure prison. Preliminary investigations show that Robert - convicted of treason - may have had help in his breakout. Now he's on the run, and he's the military's number one target.

John Puller has a dilemma. Which comes first: loyalty to his country, or to his brother? Blood is thicker than water, but Robert has state secrets which certain people will kill for. John does not know for sure the true nature of Robert's crimes, nor if he's even guilty. It quickly becomes clear, however, that his brother's responsibilities were powerful and far-reaching.

With the help of US intelligence officer Veronica Knox, both brothers move closer to the truth from their opposing directions. As the case begins to force John Puller into a place he thought he'd never be - on the other side of the law - even his skills as an investigator, and his strength as a warrior, might not be enough to save him. Or his brother.


Another solid thriller from Baldacci although keeping track of all the various military departments was a bit confusing at times.

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A bit of Waffle!

I have managed to catch a cold.  It started over the weekend and a day with Rory yesterday has left me feeling exhausted today so I'm being kind to myself and taking it very easy.  (I have another day with Rory tomorrow to be ready for.)

Like all my grandsons, Rory is a joy to spend time with but he is hard work.  He's also cutting more teeth so he's runny nosed and dribbly.  He did sleep for quite a bit yesterday but when he's awake there's no rest for Nanny!

I've been trying to catch up with your blogs and I was also looking back on some of my own.  In particular posts that I've written on Brexit.  It's hard to fathom that it's over 3 years since we the country voted to leave the EU and we seem no nearer to reaching an agreement on how it will actually happen.  In fact we seem much closer to crashing out with no deal at all as the latest deadline of 31st October draws nearer.  

Yes it's depressing and watching the news is not a fun activity but I still do, just to see what the latest craziness is.  After all who would have thought Boris Johnson would end up as Prime Minister?  As for the Benn Act as it's being called (or the Surrender Act depending on which camp you are in) which is supposed to prevent us from crashing out with No Deal, will BJ comply with it?  Probably not.  He's a slippery character and I'm sure he's plotted some way of not doing so, even though he says he will.

Keeping up with it all is difficult.  I've given up on being able to name prominent post holders.  There have been so many changes over the last few years (months even) and that's before you look at how the political parties are shifting.   Which of course is another problem.  In the past, one way to prevent the Conservatives taking us out of the EU with No Deal would have been to force a general election and put the Labour Party into power and for us all to take a deep breath.  Currently I don't think any party is capable of securing a majority and the prospect for any coalition being successly formed looks highly unlikely too.  Although scarily, it seems that Johnson is proving popular, particularly with those that voted to leave, and with the remainers possibly split between the Lib Dems and Labour, the possibility of the Conservatives remaining in power after a general election is becoming more likely.  It's no wonder that none of the other parties are rushing to call a vote of no confidence and trigger an election.

Meanwhile nothing of any other importance seems to be getting done, particularly with regard to climate change (yes it is real!) and we currently have Extinction Rebellion protesters causing such mayhem. 

All this against a backdrop of miserable weather and shorter, darker days to come.  Halloween could be particularly scary this year.  Thank goodness for Strictly Come Dancing, library books and blogging.

Sunday 6 October 2019

19 in 19 - Oops!


Oh dear, I am way off track with this.  I didn't even get an update done for August and now we're into October so this will have to be a 2 month catch up!

1. Be more organised, plan ahead and waste less time
Ha I am still wasting time but planning ahead is definitely better and I like to think I'm an organised person.  (I'm trying to see the positives here! lol) 


2. Work on the garden
I've made a few more additions to the garden including a bird feeding station.  It's looking a bit untidy at the moment as my gardener has been on holiday (as well as me) and we have had lots of rain in the last couple of weeks.

 
3. Plan a lunch date/date night with Nick once a month (theatre/cinema/meal/outing)
Epic fail on this front.  This needs serious attention.

4. Eat at 6 new-to-me restaurants
Well I certainly managed this while on holiday with my cousins.  We ate out every night.  Although of course I'm hardly likely to revisit those restaurants unless I get to Kos again.


5. Complete the A – Z blogging challenge
Success!

6. Family weekend away for my birthday - in June
It was lovely! Read about it here.

 
7. Look after my health – eat well, sleep well, play well
I deinitely ate well and played well in August & September with our family get together and then a holiday with my cousins.  Not sure my health has benefitted though. 

8. Visit my brother
At some point!  (Although I may get to see him next week!  Rumour has it that he will be attending my cousin's birthday party which I will definitely be at.)

9. Visit the beach
Done!


10. Complete my reading challenge (52 books for the year) 

Yay!  Done!  I'm currently on about to start book #56.  I did a lot of reading during August and September (although reading up means blogging down).  I won't bore you here with the details but, as always, details and reviews can be found on my Goodreads site.  (Or you can use the tag book review to find them here on the blog.)

11. Keep a journal

Journal?  What's a journal?  Enough said!

12. Blog at least once per week (plus regular memes)
August figures were up, September down.  As I mentioned above, I've been doing a lot of reading and been away so the blogging has taken a back seat.

 
13. Organise/Take more photos
Well I definitely took photos while I was away so maybe a tick here.


14. Update my clothes/accessories/make up etc regularly
Well this is such a wooly target.  I will definitely build this in again next year but it will need to be more specific and time framed.  Although I did review my swimwear before my holiday family holiday and trip to Kos.  Just as well as I needed to buy new (and larger) swimsuits!  Definitely need to work on #19.

15. Do more crafting – move the sewing machine!
My one piece of crafting during this spell consisted of sewing some buttons onto a very plain dress.  The end result was well received by my cousins which was pleasing.  The amount of time that had lapsed between me buying the dress and the buttons and actually sewing them on was not.


16. Try out a new recipe or do a bake each week
Oh goodness this has fallen off the radar completely.


17. Visit/see Grandson Noah every month
Well we saw a lot of him in August (thanks to our family gathering) but September seemed to run away with us.  We will be seeing him in a couple of weeks though and then we'll need to get dates in our diaries to keep this on track.


18. Make progress on the house plan
Well the girls are making progress.  The house they are renting has been sold and they have to vacate by 8th November.  Unfortunately they have not been able to get a mortgage sorted out to buy anywhere but they have now secured another rental close to where they are living now and will move on the 1st November.  This will give them some breathing space to get their finances together (Becca has just started working as a consultant) get a mortgage offer and find a house.  They will probably wait about 6 months before looking again and hopefully the uncertainty over Brexit will have been settled by then.  (Sorry I had to mention the B word although it's all such a mess.)


However, now the girls have definite plans and we know we won't have to provide them with temporary accommodation between homes, it does mean that now we can get back on track with getting things done in our house.  We also don't have to worry about hosting Christmas either as Michael and Liz will be off to the States to visit Rory's other Grandparents and family, Matt & Amy will be staying in Nottingham with Noah and the girls have invited us to theirs for Christmas so that's all sorted!

19. Lose 19 pounds
Still on square 1 but considering I've had a holiday with lots of eating and not much exercise it could be worse.  I seem to have lost my "get up and go" recently which hasn't helped.  My medication review also revealed my blood pressure was up a bit so keeping an eye on that now and waiting on some blood tests to see if I'm just "getting older" or if anything else is going on.  Not sure which outcome is more depressing! 


Well a mixed bag of progress again.  It's definitely clear to me that my objectives need to be more specific,  actually they should probably be SMART! * Considering my background and training I should have seen that from the beginning but it's easy to get out of good habits when time is your own.

* Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant & Timely

Review: No Man's Land

No Man's Land No Man's Land by David Baldacci
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

No Man's Land by David Baldacci is an exciting thriller featuring special investigator John Puller, who is pursuing a case that will send him deep into his own troubled past. John Puller's mother disappeared nearly thirty years ago. Despite an intensive search and investigation, she was never seen again. But new allegations have come to light suggesting that Puller's father - now suffering from dementia and living in a VA hospital - may have murdered his wife. 

Puller is officially barred from working on the case - and faces a potential court martial if he disobeys orders - but he knows he can't sit this investigation out. When intelligence operative Veronica Knox turns up, Puller realizes that there is far more to this case than he had originally thought. He will stop at nothing to discover the truth about what happened to his mother . . . even if it means proving that his father is a killer. 

I always enjoy a Baldacci book even if they can be a bit formulaic. This was another solid thriller. It's quite long but I like the way he takes two completely separate threads and begins to interweave them leading to a thrilling conclusion.

One point my pedantic husband would agree with though, I don't want to hear the phrase "it was well dark" again. It really jarred with me and it was mentioned at least twice in the book. It's either dark or not.

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