Monday 31 January 2022

#JusJoJan22 - 31st January - The End!

I made it!  I've posted something every day this month which means I've survived the Just Jot it January challenge.

It's certainly been challenging on some days, particularly the last week or so while I've been helping my daughter and her family move house but that's done now too!  We cleared the last lot of stuff out of their old rented house today, cleaners came in to make it look good and the keys were left for the agent.

Another challenge today is that my internet seems to be running really slowly.  I gave up trying to put the Just Jot it image on this post as it was taking too long to load my photos.  There were definitely issues with our connection yesterday and I think both the router and my laptop would benefit from a restart but not until I've finished this post!

It's getting late, as usual, so I want to finish up here and then head for bed.  I don't want to risk a restart that doesn't actually happen and miss out on the last day of the challenge.

The prompt for today was "facetious" but I'm too tired to try and work that into this post.  Apologies again for not doing as much visiting of blogs as I wanted to or responding to comments.  They're all appreciated of course.  Well the nice ones anyway.  Oooh I think that might be me being facetious!  What do you think?  No need to answer that.


Sunday 30 January 2022

#JusJoJan22 - 30th January - Prepare

The prompt for today is prepare.  For details of the challenge go here

I'm the sort of person who likes to prepare.  I don't always do it as well as I'd like though, for example if I'd been better prepared I would have had all my Just Jot it posts done in advance and scheduled to post on the relevant day.  Instead of which, particularly the last few days, I've been composing posts at the last minute.

Sometimes that's fine, as in doing a post that also fits in with the Stream of Consciousness Saturday posts, but when you're really tired after helping your daughter and her family move house having to put a post together when you really want to be in bed is a bit tricky.  I apologise for the lack of quality in many of my recent posts but I was determined to post something every day in January and there is just one more day to go! 

That goes for the moving saga too.  Tomorrow is the last day my daughter and family have their old house which was rented.  The cleaners are coming in the afternoon so that it's left clean and tidy and then the keys have to be handed back.

Of course that's only half the story because there is still lots to be done at the new house - many boxes still to be unpacked and things to be found homes for, new surroundings to explore and get used to.  That of course takes time.  

We're still adjusting to our new home and surroundings and we've been here over a year now.  But then we did move during a pandemic which presented us with lots of challenges, most of which we were ill prepared for.  Had anyone warned me of what was to come back in 2020 though I don't think I would have believed them!

Saturday 29 January 2022

#JusJoJan22 / #SoCS - 29th January

Your prompt for #JusJoJan and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “let go.” Write about the first thing that comes to mind when you think “let go.” Enjoy!

For info on these challenges go here.

Let go? I'm not good at letting go.  I like to be in control.  I can get anxious if I don't feel in control.   One of the things I have had to let go of is my kids.  They all adults now and married with their own children, living their own lives.  But of course you never stop being a parent.  

I think I've been a good parent this week.

Friday 28 January 2022

#JusJoJan22 - 28th January - Abscission

The prompt for the Just Jot it January challenge today is Abscission.

Well I have to admit to needing to look this word up.  I don't think I had ever heard of it before.  Which is quite surprising when you consider it means:

the separation or falling off of part of a plant

and I am useless at keeping plants alive.

I'm very good with spider plants but then even those lose leaves quite often because I forget to water them.  However we were given a Swiss Cheese plant when we moved into this house and so far it's doing ok. I do try and remember to water it weekly as instructed.  It's even survived being pulled onto the floor by our granddaughter and being repotted.  

Right that's my jot done for today.  It's been another long day helping my daughter and her family.  We have the children here tomorrow while the actual move of their furniture and belongings takes place so I'm off to get some sleep!

Go here for all the info on the Just Jot it Challenge.

Thursday 27 January 2022

#JusJoJan22 - 27th January - Understanding

The prompt for today is understanding.  To find out more go here.

Well I need your understanding as I've spent another day helping my daughter and her family prepare to move.  I am very tired but I'm determined not to miss a day posting something here even if it is just a jot.  As is the case today.

I didn't get home until about 8 pm.  Fortunately my hubby does the cooking in our house so my dinner was soon placed in front of me.  Crispy Sesame Chicken with Red Curry sauce, garlic rice and green  beans.  A HelloFresh dinner.  Yummy!

Since then I've finalised my online food shop which will arrive in the morning.  

Now I've done this mediocre post I'm off to bed!  Move day is Saturday.  Sunday might be a duvet day.

Wednesday 26 January 2022

Wednesday Hodgepodge & #JusJoJan22 - 26th January

The Wednesday Hodgepodge is hosted by Joyce over at "From this side of the Pond" hop over there for more info and to see other participants.

This post will also be my Just Jot it January post for today.  That challenge is hosted by Linda here.

1. January 25th is National Opposites Day. 'They' say opposites you agree, and if so is that a good thing? Or do you subscribe more to a 'birds of a feather' philosophy? 

I think a bit of both is good.  Hubby and I agree on a lot of things but we also have totally different interests and he is much more outgoing than me.

2. Something you're glad to have behind you? Something you're glad is ahead of you? 

Behind me? Working.  I left work in 2015 not really by choice but due to being unable to work with a new boss.  It was a difficult time.  If circumstances had been different I might still have been working but I wouldn't have wanted to be part of a school management team with responsibility for health and safety during this pandemic.  

Ahead of me - time with the grandkids.

3. Your favourite hot food? I'm not sure I have an absolute favourite.  I like a Sunday Roast or a good steak but I'm also partial to a Chinese takeaway and lots of other things.

Cold food? Cheesecake counts as cold food right?  Or other equally yummy desserts such as Banoffee Pie or Tiramisu and a good ice cream always goes down well.

Are you a fan of breakfast for dinner?  Well that depends on your definition of breakfast.  If you're talking a full English breakfast I'd happily have that for dinner if there was no other alternative but not something we would ever plan on doing. 

4. Are you someone who always arrives to appointments/events early or do you tend to run late? Last thing you were late for?   

I always intend being early but occasionally I run late.

I can't think of anything I've been late for recently.   My hubby was late for our wedding and I've never let him forget it lol.

5. "What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?" John Steinbeck....Your thoughts? 

I think it's good to have variety.  I don't think I could live in a climate that was always the same, either hot or cold.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Well the end of January is creeping closer and so far I've managed to "Jot" something every day.  It also means the day my daughter and her wife have to give back the keys for their rented house is getting close too and there still seems to be lots to do.  Of course we are helping out as much as possible which means my blog reading/commenting is suffering at the moment.  Apologies for that, especially to the people who read my blog regularly and leave me lovely comments.  Hopefully February will be less frantic.

Tuesday 25 January 2022

#JusJoJan22 - 25th January - Journal

This is definitely going to be a jot not a journal entry as I’m posting this on my phone in bed. Composing a blog on a phone is not something I’d recommend even with predictive text. 

I thought it would be easier in landscape mode but actually it’s easier in portrait. But it’s still hard. I’m tired but determined not to miss a day having got this far. Today was another busy day helping with our daughter’s move. Of course the day is brightened by this little one

Tomorrow we have a day off from packing etc but I will have Vinny instead.

I should get some sleep. Good night.

Monday 24 January 2022

#JusJoJan22 - 24th January - Unbelievable

Today's prompt for the Just Jot it January challenge is "Unbelievable"  Visit Linda's site to find out how the challenge works and check out other participants.

Well I think if someone had told me 2 years ago that we were about to go through a pandemic I would have found it unbelievable.  Or maybe it would have been more unimaginable as I've never lived through anything like this.

Actually my lack of knowledge on pandemics is also unbelievably limited as I've just been looking up information on them and of course apart from the often quoted influenza pandemic back in 1918, which was way before my time, there have actually been a number of pandemics during my lifetime that perhaps I should have been more aware of. 

Of course the big difference with the Covid 19 pandemic is the way our liberty has been affected.  There we were just living our lives, fortunate enough to not have any major worries and then we were being told we had to stay home.  We couldn't mix with anyone, even our families.  The restrictions seemed draconian at first but then the death rate started going up, and up and temporary hospitals and morgues were also appearing.

This seemed extreme but one of those temporary morgues appeared at the end of the road where I was living.  It was no longer unbelievable that such things were needed.  It was there as plain as day.

Online shopping took on a whole new dimension.  Zoom calls became the new way of communicating.

Two years down the line and although I'm fully vaccinated (including a booster) I still fear this disease.  Omicron has hit huge numbers of people but those affected seem to be coping with it better.  We do have effective vaccines.  There are medications that can be used.  The threat does seem to have lessened or at least that's what our Government would have us believe as restrictions are once again removed.  But still life doesn't feel back to normal.

We sat in "bubbles" for so long it's hard to venture out too far.  But we will.  One step at a time works for me.  Hopefully there will soon come a time when Covid will be something we live with, like flu.  The daily announcements on the TV news programmes of case numbers and death rates might become weekly, or even not at all because they are less significant.

We must never forget these times though, too many people have died.  Lessons must be learned.  The UK Government has done well in some areas of dealing with the pandemic but many mistakes were made.  If we ever have to face something like this again we need to be better prepared.

My big hope is that future generations will find it unbelievable that we all went around wearing masks for months and couldn't get closer than 6 feet to anyone because they won't have had the same experience.

Sunday 23 January 2022

#JusJoJan22 - 23rd January - Surviving

Oh my goodness.  I'm the name behind today's prompt of Surviving and I'm only just getting here to post - it's 10.30 pm here in the UK so hopefully most people will be behind me in time and not looked here yet. I had it in my head that my day was the 26th which if I'd thought about it wouldn't have been right because that's Wednesday and there is no prompt as such for the challenge on that day.  Now, if like me, you're feeling confused, you can find out all about Just Jot it January here.  As in how it works, the rules, the lovely Linda who sets it all up and even find some other bloggers who are taking part to visit.

I really am just about surviving here with the challenge.  My blogging took a serious dip towards the end of 2021.  Well lots of things took a dip really thanks to this ongoing pandemic but I've done the Just Jot it January since 2017 and I'm often flying by the seat of my pants with my posts.  This year is no exception but I was determined to kick start 2022 with some consistent blogging.  (I use the term consistent loosely, as in I'm trying to blog everyday but the quality of content is far from reliable.)

I wrote yesterday about how we've been helping my daughter and her family as they prepare to move house.  We have been with them again today helping to sort and pack and get rid of stuff, while trying to keep 2 young children happy.  Not the easiest of tasks.

The crazy thing is that I've spent time at their new home cleaning after some decorating was done and my own home is looking very unloved.  Of course I had the good excuse that my vacuum cleaner was at their house so I couldn't vacuum.  Ditto my mop.

Hopefully we'll all survive until the 31st when they have to be out of their old house and into the new.  Will I survive my Just Jot it Challenge?  I'm trying my best.

Saturday 22 January 2022

#JusJoJan22 - 22nd January - It's Saturday

It's Saturday here, late but still Saturday.  This will just be a jot as I've had another tiring day at my daughter's new house.  It wasn't actually as strenuous as some of the days but it was quite long.  Thankfully hubby, who probably had a harder day than me as he was helping out at their old house which meant amusing Nathan so that Mummies could get on with packing etc. has still come home and cooked dinner.

Nothing fancy but it was so nice for me to just come home and sit down in front of the TV.  Although Saturday TV is not the greatest.  Lots of quiz shows, some better than others, then the news and then Match of the Day.  That's a football (soccer) match for my American readers.

We didn't even manage to pick up our Saturday newspaper today so no pub quiz to do between us.  We are a very competitive family and we do love a quiz.  However our latest craze is "Wordle"  6 of us have been playing it for a little while now and we often do it first thing.  Thankfully although it's quite addictive they only release one puzzle each day so once you've done it that's it for the day.  

Well that's me for the day.  I'm off to bed with a book!

Friday 21 January 2022

Friday's Fave Five & #JusJoJan22 - 21st January

Combining two posts again here today - Friday's Fave Five is hosted by Susanne at Living to tell the Story and this is where like minded bloggers come together each Friday and share what we've been grateful for over the previous week.

Just Jot it January is a challenge to jot something down everyday during January.  Full details can be found here.  There are also prompts that can be used and today's prompt is "Mission".

1.  Yesterday I was on a mission to get a few things organised.  I needed to book a service for our boiler, find an electrician to look at a couple of jobs for us and also to set the ball rolling with getting some decorating done.  I managed to do all of that so I'm grateful that I didn't let my motivation disappear before everything was done.

2.  Grateful for dry weather.  It's been chilly this week but dry, in fact some days we had some lovely sunshine.  Definitely improves my mood.

3.  A phone catch up with my best friend and a video call with 3 or my cousins.  It's been hard not being able to see people in the same way during the pandemic but technology has definitely helped to bridge gaps.

4.  A lovely day with Vinny here on Wednesday.  He is such a happy little boy and very easy to entertain as long as you realise that when he goes to the high chair he needs feeding!  He does this regularly throughout the day - morning snack, lunch time, afternoon snack and, because he ended up being here later than usual this week, he was also looking for his dinner.  He had to make do with another snack as his dinner was going to be waiting for him when we got him home.

5.  Stamina.  It's been a busy week - helping out at my daughter's new house so that it will be ready for them to move in next weekend, helping out at their old house so that it's ready to hand back to the landlords, babysitting Vinny and fitting in some walks.  I definitely think the more you try and do the easier it gets and the less you do the less you want to do.  I'm grateful that I've had a week of doing more and feeling good about it all, even if I am now very tired! 

And I didn't take any decent pictures to add to this blog.  I did try to post a video of Vinny laughing but Blogger wouldn't play ball.

Hope you all have a good weekend.  We'll be helping my daughter and DIL again.  There's still lots to do but for a bonus item, I'm grateful they now have their own home to move into and no more landlords to worry about, although to be fair they have been lucky with the landlords they've had.

Thursday 20 January 2022

#JusJoJan22 - 20th January - Looking

Details of the challenge can be found here.  Today's prompt is looking.

One of the things I find so frustrating is when you're looking for something that you know has to be in the house somewhere but it remains elusive.

I lost my passport once.  It had to be in the house.  I knew I hadn't taken it out but it never did turn up.  I searched everywhere.  I eventually concluded that it was probably on the kitchen table at some point and got thrown out with old newspapers by accident.

We lost a set of car keys like that too.  Well at least we assume we did.  The keys used to be left on top of the fridge in the kitchen.  Next to the fridge on the floor was a box we used to put recycling in before taking it out to the collection bin.  The car keys vanished and we can only think they must have got knocked into the recycling box and then out into the bin.

Fortunately we had two sets of keys so we were left with one and that was mainly ok.  Until just before we moved house in 2020.  I was just looking back as I thought I had written about this but it seems not.

So we were packing up the last of our things and preparing to move the next day when I despatched hubby to the local council run tip.  This is where you can take all sorts of rubbish, especially things that the ordinary refuse collectors won't take.  Great when you're moving house and realise how much rubbish you have accumulated over the years. The tip has specific areas for specific things e.g. wood, glass, general rubbish etc.  Hubby dumped some stuff into a dumpster and then realised he had dropped the only remaining set of car keys in too!

You can imagine the panic this generated.  Fortunately the guys at the tip were very understanding and helpful in retrieving the keys.  I dread to think what would have happened if they hadn't been.

Now we have a different car and two sets of keys.  One of which reside safely in a secure place!

I'm currently on the hunt for the funnel of a duplo train.  We have a duplo train set from when our kids were little and now the grandkids are loving it too.  The set has two train engines which both had funnels.  They were both there when we got the set out after we moved but now we only seem to have one.

Am I the only one that finds this frustrating or are you the sort that keeps looking for non-essential things too?

Wednesday 19 January 2022

Wednesday Hodgepodge / #JusJoJan22 - 19th January

For details of the Hodgepodge go here.

For details of Just Jot it January go here.

I'm using the Hodgepodge (kindly set up by Joyce each week) for my Jot today so here goes.

1. It's National Popcorn Day-my favorite! Are you a fan? Sweet or salty? A good or great movie you've seen recently (at home or in a theater, either one)? 

Not a fan of popcorn.  I can tolerate it if it's sweet but only to be polite.

I'm not sure I've seen a movie recently.  We've been watching a lot of TV dramas but not films.

2. What's something you didn't realize was going to take so much of your time as an adult? 

Laundry!  Even with the convenience of a washing machine and tumble dryer, the sorting and the folding and the putting away just seem to be a never ending task.

3. Your favourite yellow something? 

Today that would be this little guy:

Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the back of the leggings which have a wasp on them.  I did try and find an image online but it was taking too much time.

4. Why do you write? 

I've always loved writing and I enjoy the interaction from blogging.  It's also a way of keeping a record of my life.

5. Share a favourite memory associated with snow.

Well we don't get a lot of snow where I live so I don't have that many memories but we did go skiing one year in France with lots of our extended family.  We hired a coach and virtually took over a small hotel.  That was fun but I was very rusty as it had been years since I'd skied and I'd also had our 3 kids by then.

One memory I do have of snow here was a few years back just before Christmas.  I'd gone to a big shopping mall quite a way from home and was occupied with shopping.  My son telephoned to see where I was and what time I'd be home and asked if I'd seen the weather.  Well of course I hadn't - I was inside a mall.  I hadn't even taken a lot of notice of the weather forecast.  I should have done.  While I'd been shopping it had started snowing - hard.  There were several inches of snow which probably doesn't sound a lot to those of you who have snow right through the winter months but here in the UK a few inches of snow brings everything to a standstill.  We are just not prepared for it.  I did manage to get home but it took a long time and it was not a pleasant journey.  

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Today was a long day with Vinny.  I picked him up before 9 and for various reasons didn't drop him off again until almost 6.  But he was happy all day long.  He played with that car track toy for ages.  He took a nap for over an hour and we managed to get out for a walk so it wasn't a difficult day at all but I'm tired now.

I'm going to post this now but I'll probably visit other participants tomorrow.  Goodnight!

Tuesday 18 January 2022

#JusJoJan22 - 18th January - Cycle

For details of the Just Jot it January Challenge go here.

Today's prompt is Cycle.

This is such an apt prompt for me today.  Why?  Because today I became the custodian of one of these:

Yes it's a Pelaton bike.  It belongs to my daughter but they don't really have space for it at their new house at present.  They definitely want to do a loft conversion and long term they might do an extension downstairs.  But initially with 2 young children and needing a working from home space the pelaton would just be one thing too many.

In the meantime it's here.  Hopefully my daughter will come and use it here but of course I've been told I can use it too.  It looks a bit scary to me and she'll definitely need to come and give me an introduction.  Thankfully her special Pelaton shoes fit me so I won't need to get a pair of those.

I probably need to work on getting my walking more regular first.  It's been a bit hit and miss since the start of the year.  I didn't get to walk yesterday as I was helping out at their new house and today I was helping out at the old house but I did get a lot of steps done.

Tomorrow's another day. A Vinny day.

Monday 17 January 2022

Book Review - This Little Family - Ines Bayard

This Little FamilyThis Little Family by Inès Bayard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Three bodies around a dining table.  Marie, her husband Laurent and their little toddler, Thomas, in his high chair.  All three of them have been poisoned by Marie.  But why?

I really struggle sometimes with how to rate a book on the star system here. This definitely wasn't a five star book for me and the rating of 3 states suggests I liked it. It feels wrong to say that when the subject matter is so dark. The blurb on the back of the edition I have outlines the opening chapter detailing the deathly scene of a family who have been poisoned by the Mother.

The rest of the book details what led to this awful tragedy.

The blurb also suggested to me that this is a crime thriller/mystery but it's not. It's the chronicle of the Mother's (Marie) breakdown after a shocking event of sexual violence. Strangely though it's told from the POV of the third person rather than first. I think it would have been better in the first person.

It's definitely shocking and very graphic in places. I liked that it challenged me as it's far removed from most of the books I read. (It's translated from French too.) It's quite short which was good because it was compelling. I didn't want to put it down although some aspects of it didn't feel credible to me, certainly not if the events had taken place in the UK.

Would I recommend it? Only with a big dollop of caution to any sensitive readers.

And for anyone wondering why I wanted to read this book, it was gifted to me.

View all my reviews 

Book Review - Finding Home - Kate Field

Finding HomeFinding Home by Kate Field
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

She might not have much in this world, but it cost nothing to be kind…

Meet Miranda Brown: you can call her Mim. She’s jobless, homeless and living in her car… but with a history like hers she knows she has a huge amount to be grateful for.

Meet Beatrice and William Howard: Bill and Bea to you. The heads of the Howard family and owners of Venhallow Hall, a sprawling seaside Devonshire estate… stranded in a layby five hours from home the night before their niece’s wedding.

When fate brings the trio together, Mim doesn’t think twice before offering to drive the affable older couple home. It’s not like she has anywhere else to be. But as the car pulls into the picturesque village of Littlemead, Mim has no idea how her life is about to change…

This was a lovely, cosy, easy read. Just the thing for a weekend when the weather isn't great and you just want to hunker down and read. Such a feel good story.

View all my reviews 

#JusJoJan22 - 17th January - Joy

Go here for all the details of the Just Jot it January challenge.

Today's prompt is Joy.

Hmm not sure about having the prompt of Joy on what apparently is "Blue Monday".  If you've not heard of Blue Monday - it's supposed to be the day when we're feeling low.  The celebration period is over, we're still stuck in Winter so I guess it's easy to feel a bit blue.

However I also think that naming a day like this almost gives us licence to be miserable on the day and demotivated.  Not what I want to be doing but I can't claim to be particularly joyful.

I've had one of those days where I haven't been very productive - I allowed myself a long lie in with a new book.  Once I was up and about I had to get myself over to my daughter's new house.  The plan was to do some cleaning - they've had some decorating done prior to moving in and the house is soooo dusty at the moment.  Well by the time I was ready and stopped off at the supermarket to pick up some lunch, it was time to eat that lunch.  Before I'd got very far with cleaning the plumber arrived to advise on some pipework issues that fortunately turned out not to be an issue but that took a while. With me so far?

Before I could blink it was time for my daughter to pick up Grandson Nathan from school and head home to her current home and she didn't want me staying on to clean on my own so I headed home too.

I should really then have taken the opportunity to go for a walk.  It was chilly today but sunny.  I actually took time to finish reading the book that I'd started this morning.  Yes it was a fairly short book and it was quite apt for Blue Monday.  It was a very dark book.  (This Little Family by Ines Bayard.)  I'll post a separate review of the book but it is not a book that brings joy.  I might have to go and find some cute kitten videos on YouTube to improve my mood.  Or maybe I'll just go and get some sleep and dream about kittens instead.

I hope your day has had some joy in it.

Actually mine did have a couple of joyful moments:

A screenshot of a video of Grandson Noah pushing his brother Miles around the kitchen.  

Plus lovely news that another of our nieces has just got engaged.

Sunday 16 January 2022

#JusJoJan22 - 16th January - Ridiculous

Details of this challenge can be found here.

Today's prompt is ridiculous and I think if anyone videoed me during the times when I'm babysitting the Grandkids I would be looking ridiculous - a lot!  Talking in silly voices, pulling silly faces, acting out stories and so on.  But getting so much enjoyment out of it all.

Thankfully there were no cameras recording today while we had Rory and Vinny here.

Book Review - American Dirt - Jeanine Cummins

American DirtAmerican Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

También de este lado hay sueños.
On this side, too, there are dreams.

Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favourite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favourites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

I gave this book 5 stars because it really gripped me. I found myself turning the pages and wanting to know the outcome. It was quite intense and not always easy to read because of the subject matter but I liked the fact that it was challenging to me after reading a lot of chick lit and crime thrillers last year. It was also very descriptive and felt researched.

After reaching my conclusion and rating it, I discovered that the book has become quite controversial. I can understand some of the reasons behind that but this book does not claim to be a true story of a migrant's journey from Mexico to the USA. It is a work of fiction. It may well not be accurate in some of its content. The language translations may not be perfect. It is written by someone who hasn't experienced the journey.

Clearly it was never going to be a perfect representation of the struggles migrants go through to reach the USA but it does raise awareness of the issue. It does give an idea of what people will put themselves through to achieve their dream of a better life and to escape the nightmare of living in areas where the drug cartels rule.

View all my reviews 

Saturday 15 January 2022

#SoCS & #JusJoJan22 - 15th January

As it's Saturday the prompt for the Just Jot it January is also the SoCS prompt and it is:  "A rainy day"

Well this is hardly a stream of consciousness post as I've sat down to write it several times today and got distracted every time.

The first time was this morning when, although it wasn't a rainy day, the paths in the garden were wet from the frost we had overnight.  I got as far as getting the pictures in place and then went off to do something else.

The next time I sat down it was bright and sunny out so I decided that maybe I should get myself showered and dressed and go for a walk.  Of course by the time I was ready the sun had disappeared behind an overcast sky although it did look dry.

Eventually when I did get out, to make a trip to the library, it was actually very miserable and there was definitely a dampness in the air - but still no rain.

If it had been a rainy day I probably would have just stayed in bed with my new library books. 

To see the rules of both these challenges and what others make of a rainy day go here.

Friday 14 January 2022

Fridays Fave Five & #JusJoJan22 - 14th January

It's Friday again so time for a round up of the 5 things I'm grateful for this week for Friday's Fave Five while also including reference to today's prompt for the Just Jot it January challenge which is Freckled.

Friday's Fave Five is hosted by Susanne here  and for the Just Jot it January posts go here.

1.  Well I've gone for a snowy picture for the FFF but we haven't had snow this week.  It has however been cold.  Cold enough for frost some mornings but I'm grateful because we've also had clear skies and sunshine.

2.  I've managed to drink the content of my water bottle on most days this week.  I didn't quite finish it every day but just drinking some is progress for me.  Hopefully as my body adjusts it will stop sending me to the toilet quite so often!

3.  I'm currently reading American Dirt which I'm finding a challenge.  But it's a good challenge as during the last year, although I read a lot of books many of them were Chick Lit, Romances or Crime Thrillers, many by favourite authors of mine.  I wasn't really challenging myself at all.  It's good to be reading something out of my comfort zone again.

4.  Good TV.  There have been lots of good dramas on the TV recently, some of which Hubby and I have enjoyed watching together.  We are quite different in our tastes so it's nice to find things we can sit down together and watch - even if sometimes we end up binge watching something and going to bed much to late.  (Last night we finished the latest series of The Bay and I'm paying for the late night today.)

5.  Being able to see so much of our grandchildren.  Ella was here today and we also had Nathan here after school for a bit.  Ella is getting very chatty and she's always happy to see Grandpa.  She's usually happy to see me but I know she associates me with Mummy going out so I'm not her favourite grandparent.  I snapped these photos at lunchtime:

So lots to be grateful for but not a freckle in sight.

Have a good weekend all.

Thursday 13 January 2022

#JusJoJan22 - 13th January - Protocol

Hmm the prompt for today is Protocol and was given to us by John Holton. 
John has a great blog with lots of musical stuff but he's also pretty good when it comes to computing so I bet his post might centre around that.  

One definition of protocol is:

the official procedure or system of rules governing affairs of state or diplomatic occasions.
"protocol forbids the prince from making any public statement in his defence"

Well two prominent people here in the UK - the Duke of York and the Prime Minister Boris Johnson could do with being reminded of that!

There is a huge row going on about how parties were held during our first Covid lockdown and, yesterday at Prime Minister's question time in parliament, Johnson apologised for attending what he "believed to be a work event" in his garden.  An event that allegedly 100 staff members were invited to and asked to bring their own drinks.  Protocol was definitely not followed.  But it's ok because Johnson has appointed a senior civil servant to investigate various "parties" that would seem to have broken lock down rules.  There were many calls for Johnson's resignation yesterday but he kept insisting we must wait for the outcome of the enquiry.  That may be following protocol but it's becoming painfully clear that rules were broken by those who were making the rules in the first place.

As for the Duke of York well he lost his fight to throw out a civil action against him claiming sexual assault.  He denies any wrong doing but today he had handed back all his military titles and royal patronages to the Queen and will no longer be referred to as His Royal Highness.  Hardly the actions of an innocent man but maybe it was a protocol thing.

Go here for the details of the Just Jot it January challenge.

Wednesday 12 January 2022

Wednesday Hodgepodge & #JusJoJan22 - 12th January 2022

Using the Hodgepodge to double as my jot again today.

Details of how the Hodgepodge works can be found here.

Details of the Just Jot it January challenge can be found here.

1. What do you wish you'd done more of last year? Less of? 
More of would of course be normal things like going out for a meal, meeting up with friends and family.  Taking a vacation.  Less of would be washing my hands!  And worrying about Covid.

2. What's the tallest building you've ever been in? Do you have a fear of heights?
I don't have a fear of heights and I think the tallest building I've been to the top of is the Chrysler building in New York. 

3. Do you have a word for the year? Elaborate if you'd like to elaborate. 

I do not and I haven't continued my list of things to do in the year either.  The pandemic has made this very difficult so I decided against giving myself too many challenges this year.

4. January 11 is National Milk Day...are you a milk drinker? What kind? Your favorite recipe that calls for milk (cereal doesn't count)? 

I am not really a milk drinker.  I can remember being given cartons of milk at school and they always tasted horrid to me.  I do occasionally have warm milk at bedtime or hot chocolate and I have no problem with milk on cereal but a glass of milk?  No thanks.  I think homemade custard comes high up on the list for favourite recipe as that would usually be an accompaniment to a yummy dessert but I also like a good homemade lasagne which needs milk for the bechamel sauce.

5. What excites you most about the future? What do you miss about the past? 

It's hard to get too excited about the future during a pandemic but I am enjoying watching my grandchildren grow and hope I can do that for many years yet.  As for the past I miss the people we've lost.  I'd want to ask them more about their lives.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

I'm trying to get this finished without falling asleep.  Wednesday is the day I look after Grandson Vinny and, although he is a delight, it is tiring having him all day plus transporting him from my son's home to here and back as my son is, like so many others, currently working from home and in their small flat it's impossible to do that with a 16 month old toddler running around.  And he is almost running.   He keeps me on my toes!  This evening we had a zoom call with quite a few of hubby's siblings (6 out of the 8) for well over an hour which was lovely but required quite a lot of concentration and then we watched the first episode of the new series of "The Bay" - a police drama set in Morecambe Bay which is in the north east of England.  We enjoyed the previous series and it's nice to find a series we both like.

So all in all a good Wednesday here.

Oh and the prompt for the jot challenge today was Clutter.  Thankfully, having moved house just over a year ago I don't have much of that but there is still room for improvement.  Isn't there always? 

Tuesday 11 January 2022

#JusJoJan22 - 11th January - Cosmopolitan

I am so not feeling the vibe for this prompt.  Probably because I'm tired - spent the day at my daughter's helping out with Ella and preparing for them to move.  Then the drive home took much longer than usual as there had been an accident on my route and we currently have a road closure near us for gas works that means taking a bit of a detour.  A 35 minute journey took well over an hour.

Obviously I live in a very cosmopolitan city (London) and I've also read the Cosmopolitan magazine a few times.  I also made the mistake of googling the meaning of cosmopolitan and got way more than I bargained for.  Although thankfully when I looked again the offending post had disappeared.

I'm off to bed.

Go here for details of the Just Jot it January challenge.