Saturday 30 May 2020

20 in 20 - Weekly Photo #21 - 24/5/20

We have been having some lovely warm sunny weather here and my garden is blooming.

The climbing rose that is gradually hiding the shed!

A solitary Peony but at one point the plant looked like it wasn't going to survive!

The evening sunsets on our daily walk have been pretty lovely too!

Friday's Fave Five - on Saturday! 30/5/20

Friday's Fave Five is hosted by Susanne over at Living to Tell the Story.  It's a place to come together and share our blessings of the week.  Pop over there to find out how to join in and who else is taking part.

Yes I know it's Saturday and this is supposed to be a Friday post.  I just didn't feel like doing it yesterday.  Actually I just didn't feel like doing much at all the last couple of days.  We are still in Lockdown, although things will be easing slightly on Monday.  We are still in limbo with the house moving.  In theory we still have a buyer but we don't know if they still have a buyer so there's no point in getting set on a house until we know for sure what the situation is.

All of this has left me feeling demotivated this last few days but that's why it's even more important to join in with this meme and remember that I do have things to be grateful for.

Here goes:

1)  A socially distanced chat with 2 of my "Ladies Lunch" group.  They walked over to me and I joined them on the common by my house.  It was so nice to see them after so many weeks of us all "Staying at home"!

2)  Beautiful weather.  It has been warm (even hot) and sunny here most of the week.  It makes such a difference, especially when our only outings are for a walk each day.

3)  Video chats with family members.  It's really hard not being able to see the Grandkids (and their parents of course)  but being able to chat with them and watch videos of their antics does help.  We didn't see evidence of Noah putting a tea bag in the toaster but we certainly heard about it!  Fortunately no damage was done.  He's a climber.

4)  Deliveries still coming.  I ordered a few things for Rory's birthday and they've all arrived which is good because his birthday is on Monday.  Our food deliveries keep arriving and because they changed the day this week due to the bank holiday and didn't notify us until the last minute they reduced the cost of the box this week.  I mean I never expected it to arrive on the Monday but hey if they want to give me a credit I'm not going to argue.  They even offered to give me a reduction on next week if I swapped the delivery day to Tuesday but actually I prefer it to arrive on Monday so I declined.

5)  Lots of reading time and Kindle downloads.  I've felt more like reading the past few weeks and I've read quite a few books from my TBR pile but this week I also downloaded a few to my Kindle app, 2 of which I've already finished!

Today has been a better day and I'm looking forward to seeing Rory and my son and his wife on Monday.  The plan is to stay socially distanced in their communal garden.  Not sure how well that's going to work with Rory but we'll do our best.  And my DIL has promised cake!  I'll try and keep my positive hat on too.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend all.

Review - Saturdays at Noon - Rachel Marks

Saturdays at NoonSaturdays at Noon by Rachel Marks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Jake and Emily meet, sparks fly.  And not the good kind . . .

Emily just wants to keep the world away.  She doesn't want anyone to know all the ways her life is messed up.  Going to anger management every Saturday, talking to strangers, was not part of the plan.

Jake just wants to keep his family together.  He's also messed everything up.
Going to anger management is now his best hope for bonding with his six-year-old Alfie.

Emily can't understand why Jake - who seems to have it all - is even there.
Jake can't understand why Alfie - who never likes strangers - lights up around spikey Emily.

Everything they think about each other is about to change.
But can they change how they feel about themselves?

I really enjoyed this book. I think most of us with children can relate to the temper tantrums of young children but this story is about the more challenging behaviour of a child eventually diagnosed with a form of autism. It's also about how the damage inflicted on children affects their later life and how we could all easily find ourselves in need of anger management classes. Throw in a romance and a good dollop of humour and it's hard not to like this book. It's fictional but it felt realistic to me.

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Review - Holy Island - L J Ross

Holy Island (DCI Ryan Mysteries, #1)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Detective Chief Inspector Ryan retreats to Holy Island seeking sanctuary when he is forced to take sabbatical leave from his duties as a homicide detective. A few days before Christmas, his peace is shattered and he is thrust back into the murky world of murder when a young woman is found dead amongst the ancient ruins of the nearby Priory.

When former local girl Dr Anna Taylor arrives back on the island as a police consultant, old memories swim to the surface making her confront her difficult past. She and Ryan struggle to work together to hunt a killer who hides in plain sight, while pagan ritual and small-town politics muddy the waters of their investigation.

This was the first DCI Ryan book I've read and I wasn't disappointed. It looks like part of the thread running through this story will be revisited in future books and I will be interested to see how that pans out. It kept me turning the pages although some of it was a bit predictable.

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Review - Sail - James Patterson & Howard Roughan

SailSail by James Patterson
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Since the death of her husband, Anne Dunne and her three children have struggled in every way. In a last ditch effort to save the family, Anne plans an elaborate sailing vacation to bring everyone together once again. But only an hour out of port, everything is going wrong. The teenage daughter, Carrie, is planning to drown herself. The teenage son, Mark, is high on drugs and ten-year-old Ernie is nearly catatonic. This is the worst vacation ever.

Anne manages to pull things together bit by bit, but just as they begin feeling like a family again, something catastrophic happens. Survival may be the least of their concerns.
Written with the blistering pace and shocking twists that only James Patterson can master, Sail takes "Lost" and "Survivor" to a new level of terror.

Patterson should never win any prizes for literary content but this must be the worst book of his I’ve read. Normally I’d say he can put together a good thriller that keeps you turning pages but this just felt like it was a first draft with no depth or detail. Probably explains why I managed to finish it in a day. Thankfully it was a charity shop purchase. I’d be angry if I’d paid full price for it.

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Review - On Chesil Beach - Ian McEwan

On Chesil BeachOn Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It is July 1962. Florence is a talented musician who dreams of a career on the concert stage and of the perfect life she will create with Edward, an earnest young history student at University College of London, who unexpectedly wooed and won her heart. Newly married that morning, both virgins, Edward and Florence arrive at a hotel on the Dorset coast. At dinner in their rooms they struggle to suppress their worries about the wedding night to come. Edward, eager for rapture, frets over Florence’s response to his advances and nurses a private fear of failure, while Florence’s anxieties run deeper: she is overcome by sheer disgust at the idea of physical contact, but dreads disappointing her husband when they finally lie down together in the honeymoon suite.

Ian McEwan has caught with understanding and compassion the innocence of Edward and Florence at a time when marriage was presumed to be the outward sign of maturity and independence. On Chesil Beach is another masterwork from McEwan—a story of lives transformed by a gesture not made or a word not spoken.

A very sad story - beautifully told.

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Wednesday 27 May 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 27/5/20

Wednesday's Hodgepodge is brought to us courtesy of Joyce at
From this side of the pond 

If you want to take part or just see what others have posted pop over to Joyce's page - the Linky List is at the end of Joyce's post and don’t forget to visit at least your neighbours on the list.

1. The US of A celebrated Memorial Day this past Monday. Does your family have any military ties? If so, tell us about them.
My Dad was in the army - he signed up before WW2 so got caught up in that.  Travelled to lots of places and trained as an engineer.  He survived Dunkirk and the war.

2. Cole slaw, potato salad, baked beans, potato chips, mac and cheese, macaroni salad...your favorite BBQ side? How many of these do you make from scratch vs. buying from the deli?
Cole slaw & potato sald would be my favourites and sometimes I make them from scratch.  Depends on how many we're catering for and what else is going on.

3.  I enjoyed asking this question back when the Hodgepodge was a regular thing...Lake Superior State University posts a list each year of words they think should be banished from the Queen's English for misuse, overuse, and/or general uselessness. The 2020 list includes-quid pro quo, artisanal, curated, influencer, literally, I mean, living my best life, mouthful (word used by foodies to describe texture of food in their mouth), chirp (basically an insult, you can read more on the website), jelly (short for jealous), totes (short for totally), vibe, and OK Boomer (internet response from millenial to older generation).

Of the words/phrases listed which would you most like to see 'banned'?

All of them? I don't think I use any of them but I have noticed (well hubby has definitely noticed because he picks me up on it)  "like" creeping into too many of my sentences.

The problem I have is that hubby sometimes need things explaining.  He also doesn't always hear my soft voice too well either.  I'll start to say something to him and then pause, for his benefit, working out how to best phrase what I want to say but then he gets impatient and interrupts me!  It's very frustrating.

4. I'm sure next year's list will be filled with words springing out of this weird season we're all in currently. What word or phrase associated with the Corona would you be happy to hear less often?

Social distancing!

5.  The month of May wraps up in just a few days. Bid her adieu in ten words or less.
Non birthdays, missed family.  Hope May 2021 is a better one.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
We are supposed to be working towards an easing of Lockdown but having seen some of the scenes at beaches and beauty spots last weekend it's clear that many people still don't understand the concept of social distancing.  It doesn't help when advisors to the Government don't follow the rules that they helped to create.

Oh and getting used to the new blogger is going to take a bit of time!

Review - Her Fearful Symmetry - Audrey Niffenegger

Her Fearful SymmetryHer Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
When Elspeth Noblin dies she leaves her beautiful flat overlooking Highgate Cemetery to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina Poole, on the condition that their mother is never allowed to cross the threshold. But until the solicitor's letter fall through the door of their suburban American home, neither Julia nor Valentina knew their aunt existed. The Twins hope that in London their own, separate, lives can finally begin but they have no idea that they have been summoned into a tangle of fraying lives, from the obsessive-compulsive crossword setter who lives above them to their aunt's mysterious and elusive lover, who lives below them and works in the cemetery itself.

As the twins unravel the secrets of their aunt, who doesn't seem quite ready to leave her flat, even after death, Niffenegger weaves together a delicious and deadly ghost story about love, loss and identity.

This started off slowly for me then I started to really enjoy it. Not my usual genre and wasn't really sure how to categorise it. It's a love story, a ghost story and it's also about the relationships between twins.

Julia & Valentina are the twin daughters of Edie, herself a twin. When Edie's twin Elspeth dies she leaves her flat in London to her nieces with some strange stipulations. Nevertheless the twins travel from America to spend a year in the flat they have inherited, which backs onto Highgate cemetery.

The have 2 neighbours, Robert (their Aunt's lover) lives below them and Martin a crossword setter who suffers with extreme OCD and never leaves his flat above them. They also have the company of their Aunt's ghost.

It's quite a spooky story, very atmospheric and actually quite creepy. But it's well written and interspersed with a lot of information about Highgate cemetery and its inhabitants. I do like a book where the author adds depth to their story and characters.

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Sunday 24 May 2020

#WDIIA - Sunday 24/5/20

Well my Fitbit tells me it's Sunday so it must be so.  Am I the only one losing track of the days here?  As as for the actual date - well thankfully my Fitbit tells me that too!

Today has been a lazy day.  We did get out for a walk but I've spent most of the day looking at houses for sale on my laptop.  We're still waiting to hear that our chain is definitely still intact so it's hard to get too excited yet.  I have bookmarked a few houses that look promising but I'm not sure how the viewing process is going to work.  

Some agents seem to be saying they'll be doing virtual viewings - hopefully that would be like a video call so that you could direct them on what you want to see rather than the agent not showing you things they don't want you to see.  Others seem to be putting steps in place so that one of us could go and view the property and be socially distanced and safe. It's all a bit nerve wracking.

I've sent the house details to Hubby so we could end up viewing none of them if he doesn't like them.  It's been fun looking at them all though and working through all the estate agent's jargon and trying to visualise what a wrong might look like without the various decorating disasters - or with furniture in if the place is empty.

Although it's likely to be difficult to find and purchase a house at this time at least it would give me a sense of purpose.  I think that's what I'm finding hard at the moment.  Not knowing whether we're staying or going makes it hard to focus on doing much at home.  I'm not always the most patient of people!

But another day is almost over.  That must be one day closer to a successful treatment or vaccine right?  Let's hope so.  

Apparently it's a Bank Holiday tomorrow.  Who knew?  Well I do now because they e-mailed today to tell me our HelloFresh box will be delayed until Tuesday.  Because they notified me so late they've also given me a £10 credit.  Not going to complain about that!  Better go and get something out of the freezer for tomorrow's dinner before I forget.

Friday 22 May 2020

Friday's Fave Five - 22/5/20

We are on day 60 of Lock Down here in the UK due to Covid-19.   In these difficult times it's even more important to take a breath from time to time and be positive.  That's why this meme hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story is a lovely place to come and share our gratitude and positivity.  Check out the link above to find who else is taking part.

Here are mine:

1)  3 Grandchildren on the way.  Our 3rd DIL had her 12 week scan this week and all is well so I can share that news.  Christmas is going to be hectic this year!

2)  Lots of phone calls catching up with family members this week.  When the lockdown started I set myself a challenge to try and make a phone call each day to a different person, either an extended family member or friend just to see how they're doing and catch up.  This week I've been better at remembering to make a call.  It's good to talk.

3)  Slightly better news than we had feared for one of my SILs.  She had been diagnosed with secondary cancer but following scans etc this week the news is, yes you have cancer but you can live with it.  Much better than being given a time limit.

4)  Beautiful weather this week.  I've been out for a short walk everyday and the garden is looking lovely too.  Helps to keep the positive attitude going.

5)  Webcasts of funerals.  My elderly Aunt passed away last Sunday, not from the virus but existing health issues.  She was 88 and the last of the 4 sisters on my Mum's side of the family.  In normal circumstances we would have attended her funeral but that's not possible right now.  However the cremation service was available to us via a webcast so at least we could see and listen to it.  Not the same as being there of course but good not to be totally excluded.

I hope you're all keeping well and sane in these difficult times.  Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday 21 May 2020

20 in 20 - Weekly photo #20 - 17/5/20


Getting this pic in before I forget.  This was taken at the end of our walk yesterday evening.  The sun had set and there was a lovely pink to the clouds.  It was warm enough not to need any sort of cardigan or jacket and we managed to get back before it started to get dark.

Going later in the day like that the space isn't crowded at all.  It isn't really crowded during the day but it is busier.  Especially now that we're allowed to just sit outside or meet with a friend or family member at a social distance.  We are so fortunate to have this space on our doorstep.

It will be hard to find another house with such a lovely outlook.  We're hoping to hear by Saturday whether the buying chain is still intact for our house.  If it is we will have to begin looking again.  If not I think we will just stay put for a while, even though with all the extra grandchildren we hope to have it's even more urgent we move to somewhere with a better living space!

Wednesday 20 May 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 20/5/20

Wednesday's Hodgepodge is brought to us courtesy of Joyce at
From this side of the pond 

If you want to take part or just see what others have posted pop over to Joyce's page - the Linky List is at the end of Joyce's post and don’t forget to visit at least your neighbours on the list.

1. In a single sentence tell us something about your 40's. If you haven't reached that milestone yet tell us (in a single sentence) something about whatever decade you're in now.
The kids were getting older, I went back to working full time and life was good.

2. Life begins at forty. Agree or disagree? Tell us why. And if not at forty, when?

It really depends on what you mean by life beginning.  For many people they might feel their life begins when they reach adulthood and can make their own decisions, live their lives the way they want to - and have to cope with the consequences!  Others might well agree that by 40 any kids you have might have flown the nest and you can begin to lead your life without the responsibilities that parenting brings.  There are different phases to life depending on which paths we take and some people will reach milestones at different times.

3. Share a favorite book, song, or quote with a number featured in it somewhere.
Three Things about Elsie by Joanna Cannon

4. A picture's worth a thousand words, a stitch in time saves nine, back to square one, catch-22, on cloud nine, my two cents...pick a number phrase and tell us how it applies to your life currently.

A picture's worth a thousand words I think - not being able to see family members make the pictures and videos they send so precious.

5. Last time you drove more than 40 miles from home? More than 400 miles from home? Where were you going? Was it before or after this current season of social distancing?

We last drove more than 40 miles from home when we visited Grandson Noah at the end of February.  I can't remember the last time we drove more than 400 miles although I suppose the driving we did in Australia could count?  We did a lot of driving while we were there but that was back in 2017!

6. Insert your own random thought here. 
Happy news - all 3 of my DILs are expecting babies now.  The end of this year is going to be busy!

20 in 20 - Weekly Photo #19 - 10/5/20

Well somehow I managed to miss doing this last week so here is a pic of me wearing a home made mask.  It will suffice if we go anywhere that wearing a mask is compulsory or we feel it's necessary but I wouldn't want to wear it for very long!

Saturday 16 May 2020

#SoCS - 16/5/20 - Want

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “want.” Make the word “want” the first, second, or third word of your post. Have fun!

Haven't done one of these for a while.  You can join in here.
Thanks to Linda for the prompt. 

I want to wake up tomorrow and find this whole corona virus thing has been a nightmare.

Yep I know that's not going to happen so just have to get on with it.  To be fair, although here in London it's been awful and we're still locked down pretty tight, it hasn't really been too bad for us.

We have a roof over our heads, we are still putting food on the table and Hubby has got to grips with working from home.  I'm still getting to grips with having him home ALL the time but now that we are allowed to take more than one daily walk I can at least look forward to some time and space on my own.

The worst thing for us has been not seeing the family, especially the grandbabies.  I miss them so much but technology does help.  It would be so much worse if this had happened pre Internet or video calls etc.  Imagine that?  No I don't want to either!  

Things were eased slightly in the UK this week, well England - there's a bit of divide opening up between us and the other countries.  We now don't have to stay home, instead we have to stay alert!

The message is ridiculous because actually the Government are still telling us to stay at home and socially distance unless we have to go to work.  (Thankfully neither of us do.)  But if we do have to go to work we shouldn't use public transport unless we have to.  In London that is not an option for most people going to work everyday!  Oh it's ok to use your car.  But then you give notice that you're going to make it easier for cyclists and pedestrians to move about and socially distance so....don't try using your car - you'll just get stuck in gridlock!

Better off just staying in lockdown if you can.  We are.

Friday 15 May 2020

Friday's Fave Five - 15/5/20

We are on day 53 of Lock Down here in the UK due to Covid-19.  (Things were slightly eased this week but we're still staying home.)  In these difficult times it's even more important to take a breath from time to time and be positive.  That's why this meme hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story is a lovely place to come and share our gratitude and positivity.  Check out the link above to find who else is taking part.

1)  A surprise delivery from our niece, gifted by my daughter and family:

It was yummy!

2)  A family quiz via Zoom.  It was a bit chaotic and noisy at times but great fun.  We were no good at the quiz (need to drink more cocktails!) but I did win the prize for the best hat:

It was my Corona virus hat.  It also hid my grey roots nicely lol.

3) Dry weather - we've been able to get out for a walk each day and since Wednesday we've been allowed to go out for more walks or exercise if we want to.

4)  Hearing the heartbeat of one of our coming Grandbabies.  Our DIL has a midwife appointment and recorded the baby's heartbeat.  Lovely and reassuring.

5)  We still have a buyer for our house!  We're still waiting to hear about their buyers but as part of the easing of restrictions this week it's been announced the house purchases can go ahead. So.....we have to find somewhere to buy.  Not sure how a viewing can be done safely but we'll cross that bridge as and when.....

And we're still all safe and well.

I hope you are too and have a good weekend.


Wednesday 13 May 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 13/5/20

Wednesday's Hodgepodge is brought to us courtesy of Joyce at
From this side of the pond

If you want to take part or just see what others have posted pop over to Joyce's page - the Linky List is at the end of Joyce's post and don’t forget to visit at least your neighbours on the list.

1. Ever played the game Farkle? Are you a risk taker? In games only or also in life?
I hadn't even heard of the game but now I have I think I'll be challenging Hubby.  I would probably take risks in the game but not in life.

2. What's your favorite thing about your yard or whatever outdoor space you may have?

I'm grateful that we have a garden right now - it's blooming nicely but I love sitting on the patio which is usually quite shady.

3. Tell us about the most interesting building you've seen or been in.
That's a hard one.  I like comparing the architecture of buildings like e.g The Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Sydney Opera House for their innovative styles but also looking at some of the older buildings like Westminster Abbey etc and being amazed at how they managed to get them built!

4. In this current season of social distancing, what's something you've come to realize you take for granted in more ordinary times? Do you think you'll make a conscious effort to appreciate whatever that 'it' is once normal life resumes?
So much has changed here in London.  We haven't been in close contact with anyone since Lockdown was imposed (apart from a couple of forays into a corner shop for milk).  Not being able to see family members has been really difficult.  Before we could just pick up the phone, make an arrangement and be with them.  Keeping in touch has changed but we're probably doing more of it.

This week restrictions have started to be eased but it's very confusing.  The message "go to work if you can - but don't use public transport" is so contradictory.  You cannot drive into London - parking is a nightmare and expensive.  For most people that means having to use public transport - their commute is too far to walk or cycle.  Social distancing (which we are still supposed to be maintaining) is not possible.  Many people will, fortunately, be able to continue to work at home and that's what they will be doing. 

5. Share a favorite song with a springtime flower in the lyrics somewhere. 
I'm rubbish at remembering lyrics of songs.  Is there a song with daffodils in it somewhere?  Although my daffodils and tulips are done but my roses are starting to bloom.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Following on from #4 here - so I still cannot go and visit family members but, as someone looking to move house, it's ok for me to go and view a property as long as I socially distance!  This is the kind of confusion that has been unleashed this week!  I'm waiting to see how long it is before our agent contacts us to try and hurry us along to find a house!  Not going to be happening anytime soon for me.  I'm happy staying home and staying safe. 

I understand that for people living in more rural areas, particularly if the cases of Covid-19 have been low you may have less concerns but, where we are the situations in hospitals and care home have been horrific.   Hospitals have had to take measures like installing additional oxygen tanks to cope with the demand and, more depressingly, temporary morgues to cope with the number of people dying.  Our numbers are coming down but slowly.  I'm not sure our Government has got the timing and message right on the changes they've made!

Ending on a positive note though - on this day, quite a few years ago, I gave birth to our wonderful daughter.  Happy birthday Rebecca.  Can't wait until we can see you again in person.

Sunday 10 May 2020

Review- Everything I never Told You - Celest Ng

Everything I Never Told YouEverything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet.

Lydia is the favourite child of Marilyn and James Lee; a girl who inherited her mother's bright blue eyes and her father's jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue - in Marilyn's case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James's case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the centre of every party. But Lydia is under pressures that have nothing to do with growing up in 1970s small town Ohio. Her father is an American born of first-generation Chinese immigrants, and his ethnicity, and hers, make them conspicuous in any setting.

When Lydia's body is found in the local lake, James is consumed by guilt and sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to make someone accountable, no matter what the cost. Lydia's older brother, Nathan, is convinced that local bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it's the youngest in the family - Hannah - who observes far more than anyone realises and who may be the only one who knows what really happened.

I think this is a great book although it's rather sad. It centres around Lydia, favoured child of Marilyn and James. It's written from before and after Lydia's death by drowning in the nearby lake. The focus though is on the dynamics of the relationships between the family members and their wider society. It's slow moving but beautifully written.

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Review - The Fifth Witness - Michael Connelly

The Fifth Witness (Mickey Haller, #4; Harry Bosch Universe, #22)The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mickey Haller (The Lincoln Lawyer) has fallen on tough times. He expands his business into foreclosure defense, only to see one of his clients accused of killing the banker she blames for trying to take away her home.

Mickey puts his team into high gear to exonerate Lisa Trammel, even though the evidence and his own suspicions tell him his client is guilty. Soon after he learns that the victim had black market dealings of his own, Haller is assaulted, too--and he's certain he's on the right trail.

Despite the danger and uncertainty, Haller mounts the best defense of his career in a trial where the last surprise comes after the verdict is in.

Really enjoyed this. If you're a Grisham fan or like legal thrillers you will too. Good twist at the end.

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#WDIIA - Sunday 10/5/20

It's Sunday.  Although it could just as easily be any other day of the week.  Except for Mother's in the US - Happy Mother's Day.   No doubt it will be celebrated in strange, mostly virtual ways for many families if our experiences from March are anything to go by.  Let's hope next year's will be different.

We're planning a quiet day today.  Ha, we're always planning quiet days at the moment.

But yesterday was not a quiet day - our family quiz had 16 teams and a Quiz Master so 17 of us on Zoom!  It was a bit hectic at times.  Thankfully the Quiz Master made good use of the Mute All button when needed.

We didn't win the quiz although it was great fun.  Our knowledge of cocktails let us down.  But I did win the prize (not that there were any prizes) for the best hat. (See yesterdays post for pictures!) It was lovely to see so many of the family but difficult to hear all what was said.

#WDIIA - What day is it anyway? was started by Linda - the host of #SoCS and One Liner Wednesday. You can find her posts here

Hope you're having a good day whatever you're doing.

Saturday 9 May 2020

20 in 20 - Weekly Photo #18 - 3/5/20

A few photos this week:

Books chosen for a book group challenge - all from my TBR pile.  I've already finished 2 and enjoyed them both.  Just the Ian McEwan to read now.

An old photo of me (c early 1980s) in response to an Instagram Challenge

Another jigsaw completed (well almost - again it had missing pieces (2) - a downside of buying them from jumble trails/charity shops!)

 Sunset yesterday (Friday) on our daily walk.

A rare selfie (I'm rubbish at taking them) - of me wearing a home made hat.  We're getting together with the extended family on Zoom later for a family quiz and have to wear a hat.  I decided to make one!  I think there will be too many of us to get very far with the quiz (unless we all get put on mute lol) but we will see.

Close up of the front.

And the back!

Friday 8 May 2020

Friday's Fave Five - 8/5/20

We are on day 46 of Lock Down here in the UK due to Covid-19.  In these difficult times it's even more important to take a breath from time to time and be positive.  That's why this meme hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story is a lovely place to come and share our gratitude and positivity.  Check out the link above to find who else is taking part.'s hard to find new things every week so forgive the repetition:

1)  Video chats with the kids.  I think I'd really lose the plot without those!

2)  Good weather which means getting out for a walk everyday has been ok.

3)  A hubby who cooks!  Yep that one's on repeat, he just keeps cooking and I'm so thankful for that.  (He did ask how he could help during this crisis and cooking was my response!)

4)  We're all fit and well.  Including the growing bumps.  One DIL is really suffering with morning all day sickness but hopefully that will start to pass soon.

5)  Flowers from my daughter and a peek at a sleeping Nathan!  They drove past to collect something I'd managed to get for them.  Nathan was asleep in the car but that was probably best - if he'd been awake and seen us he wouldn't have coped with not being able to come close to us.  But it was good to see them.

I hope you and yours are all safe and well.

Thursday 7 May 2020

A - Z Challenge 2020 - Reflections!

Well it's taken me a week to get around to doing this but here goes.

I completed all the letters and on time!  I think that's a first for me.  I've always managed to do a post for every letter (even when they didn't work too well with my theme) but sometimes I've been playing catch up for a day or two.  This year all my posts went up on time even though I wasn't particularly well prepared.

I chose my theme (Moving House) a while back and started preparing some of the posts and at least thinking about what I could write about.  Then Covid-19 reared it's head and our whole situation changed.

Here in London it's been particularly bad and my borough (Newham) is the worst for deaths.  It's been pretty scary and we've been staying home for nearly 7 weeks now.  Moving house is not going to happen anytime soon.

However I stuck to my theme and just added bits and pieces here and there to reflect the current situation.

Overall I'm pleased with how things went but I did notice that traffic levels seemed much lower this year.  I did manage to visit the main A-Z blog site most days and I did have a few new visitors to my blog.  I returned the favour and visited back.  Maybe everyone was feeling a bit like me - I found it very hard to concentrate on much during this time.  The first couple of weeks weren't too bad but after that even reading didn't hold my attention for very long.   Consequently I didn't get around to visiting other blogs as much as I normally would.  I feel bad about that but maybe I'll do better on the roadtrip this year.

Wednesday 6 May 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 6/5/20

Wednesday's Hodgepodge is brought to us courtesy of Joyce at
From this side of the pond

If you want to take part or just see what others have posted pop over to Joyce's page - the Linky List is at the end of Joyce's post and don’t forget to visit at least your neighbours on the list.

1.  Question day this week lands on Cinco de Mayo. Are/were tacos on your Tuesday night menu? Hard shell, soft shell or just gimme all the tacos? Are you even a fan of Mexican food? Do you like your salsa mild, spicy, or somewhere in between? Margaritas-Frozen, on the rocks, or no thank you? Have you ever been to Mexico?
Well I had to google Cinco de Mayo so no we did not have tacos yesterday.  We rarely have tacos.  I don't dislike Mexican food but I'm not a fan of anything too spicy so not my favourite choice of food.  No Margaritas for me thank you and no, I've never been to Mexico.
2. What's something you may do this month?
Hard to know when we're still in lockdown and no details available until at least Sunday as to how it might gradually be eased.  Cut my own fringe (bangs) ?  

3. Tell us what's happening in your state or town as far as restaurants/salons/parks/beaches/businesses opening up. How do you feel about it? Are you out and about or hunkered down? Do you wear a mask?
We're still hunkered down and although things may be eased slightly after the weekend we'll probably stay hunkered down for a while.  With so many people in London it's hard to see how social distancing can be achieved if too many people start moving about.  Public transport will not be able to cope if too many people go back to work but I think many people who can work from home will continue to do so.  Masks are not compulsory at the moment but I think if we had to go out and about I would want to wear one.

4. Mother nature, everybody and their mother, mom jeans, like mother like daughter, soccer mom, mother hen, mother lode, necessity is the mother of invention, stay-at-home mom...pick one and tell us how it applies to your life right now.
Right now it feels hard to be a Mum when you can't be with family members who are struggling with this situation and give them a hug or help out coping with the Grandkids and trying to work from home.

5. April showers bring May flowers...what's blooming in your yard or garden today? 
My roses are blooming!  And lots of other stuff too. 

6. Insert your own random thought here. 
Despite all the doom and gloom mentioned above I am having a better week!

Monday 4 May 2020

#WDIIA - Monday 4/5/20

It's Monday, I think.  Yes it is - my Fitbit tells me so.

Having completed the A-Z Challenge in April I'm determined to keep blogging regularly but some days that's easier than others.

Today has been a good day.  I got up determined to get moving earlier and set myself some goals - for the week in terms of steps etc and for today as in a To Do list.  I had a few bad days last week thanks to this ongoing Lockdown but I really have nothing to complain about compared to some people so I'm trying to be positive.

I managed to do most of the things on the list.  I got the boring chores bit done first - getting dressed everyday means that washing still has to be done!  Then I managed some exercise courtesy of the Wii.  My yoga moves are not very impressive but as least I tried.

I spent an hour sorting out some photos - we have loads just stashed together in a couple of boxes so I'm trying to sort them and put them into albums and then discard the rejects.  Then I want to get some of our digital ones printed.  It's lovely having them all in one place on the PC but when do we look at them?  Also I did a photobook of our youngest son's wedding and have never got around to doing the same for our other son and our daughter.  And of course now I can't claim to not have the time.

I just need the concentration.  Something that's been lacking during these strange times!

I also need to do a reflection post for the A-Z Challenge and I'm way behind in responding to comments.  Where does the day go?  I mean it's gone - it's now 21.48 here as I'm typing but I did also manage to finish an online shop that will come tomorrow.  

I also watched some TV and Hubby and I went our for our daily walk.

Our youngest son video called us too so that was nice.  Grandson Rory is funny on the phone.  He will say things but then he sometimes just stares at the phone as if he's trying to work out how Nanny and Grandpa can be inside the phone!  But it helps to see him and the others.

And now I should be thinking about bed.  I didn't sleep very well last night.  I had a coughing fit about 12.45 and lay awake for ages thinking dark thoughts as you can imagine.  But I was fine when I woke up.  No cough, no high temperature.  I'm fine!  And so I reported on the app that's tracking people's symptoms that I was fine.  My nephew's wife reported she had a sore throat one day last week and received a testing kit for Covid-19 through the post!  She is also fine.   I've saved them an unnecessary test.  Although as their count of daily tests carried out includes any that have been mailed out, rather than those that have been sent back, the Government would probably have preferred me to declare my coughing fit so they could up their number!

I do not want to be a statistic! 

#WDIIA - What day is it anyway? was started by Linda - the host of #SoCS and One Liner Wednesday. You can find her post here.