Friday, January 30, 2009

More Books Finished

Another oldie; an older children's story set in the remote Scottish islands and depicting the hardships of crofting life and the emigration that followed. A truly wonderful book.

This was good, but not as good as I thought it would be - the life stories of British actors Sheila Hancock and her husband John Thaw, who died a few years ago.

Another oldie from the thrift shop ! This GP practice was the subject of a BBC documentary series in the 1990s, and I enjoyed the programmes so I thought the book would be good too. It did not disappoint me :-)

I have two more books currently being read, but I don't think I will finish them before the end of the month :-)
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Books Finished

This was a gripping read - the true story of an SAS mission which went wrong in the first Iraqui war, and how one man survived a truly horrific ordeal.

This was a delight, a complete opposite to the first book ! It is an old book, dealing with two almost retirement age sisters who buy a tiny island, one mile offshore the coast of Cornwall, in 1965, and how they survived the trials and tribulations of a very isolated life with no amenities.

This was a very serendipitous find at a charity shop ! An Ellis Peters book that I had never read, published under her real name of Edith Pargeter. A rather lovely description of a young girl and her obsessive, Svengali-like great-aunt's fall from riches to reduced straits and how they both come to terms - or fail to- with the situation.

This last one, I think I enjoyed most of all. The author upped sticks, left his job, his wife and their two very young children to fulfill what can only charitably described as a mid-life crisis living in the wilds of Alaska for a winter.

The man was barking mad and had a saint for a wife, that's all I can say - but it was a truly amazing adventure nevertheless, and exceptionally well-written. Needless to say, he survived, but on several occasions it was a very close-run thing......

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Oh Yes .....

... I forgot to mention that I have more books which I have read to photograph, but that will have to wait till tomorrow :-)
Sorry !
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D'oh !

I have finally worked out that what I fondly thought was my addiction to chocolate is, in fact, an addiction to sugar.

How did I come to this earth-shattering revelation ?

The cheapskate oops, company which manufacture the large tins of Heroes mixed chocolates have recently changed the brands included to provide a preponderance of less expensive brands. Gone are the delectable Dream bars, Time-outs and others, to be replaced by Bournville. Don't get me wrong, I like Bournville dark chocolate in small doses :-)

But when the remnants of the Christmas choccies meant that only Bournvilles were left in the huge tin, rattling around somewhat sadly, I decided that it was my duty to eat them, not least because we can't afford to buy any more sweet stuff for a while.
So I have been diligently munching Bournville, and my normal monthly cravings overwhelming urge for chocolate has not been satisfied, despite copious amounts of Bournville. Normally I would opt for milk chocolate, which of course contains milk and sugar in positively industrial quantities.
Aha !

So the six million dollar question is, do I continue going cold turkey and ruthlessly eliminate milk chocolate, driving my family to despair in the process, or do I pander to my whims and the sugar cravings ?

All comments welcome.......
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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Safely Home

I am pleased to report that the procedure was completed safely and my brother is safely home at my mother's house, tucked up in bed and recuperating from the ordeal.

We are so relieved, but now begins the battle to build up both his physical strength and emotional well-being after all his family upsets over the last few months......
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Brother Update

Things are a bit hectic here, so apologies for my lack of posts.

My brother was admitted to hospital yesterday as an emergency. He is undergoing painful,unpleasant but necessary treatment. When I visited last night, he was understandably very anxious.

If you have chance, please remember Mark in your prayers. We are all so worried about him.

He will be discharged home this evening because they are so desperate for beds in the ward he is currently in, though by rights he should be in for at least two to three days after the procedure.

We are just glad he has at least had the necessary treatment..........Please God his health will start to improve again now.
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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Thank You !

Thank you all for your kind comments and prayers for the repose of my beloved father.

He was indeed a special person - larger than life, ebullient, friendly, happy, honest and blunt, always willing to help anyone or anything, at no thought of the cost to himself.
He adored children and they all adored him.
He treated everyone the same, with kindness and concern, no matter what their station in life.

I have been told by so many people that no-one ever had a bad word to say about him, and that says a lot.

I have a lot to live up to.
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Stoopid !

That's what I am.

I did something so mind-numbingly stupid that I am ashamed to 'fess up. But I will, even if only to make you all laugh......and to act as a cautionary tale !

When I had my shiny new web book, I set up my user name and account and tweaked a few settings. I also set up an admin account and password, picking something I would easily remember as a password. In my excitement, I neglected to write the password down.

Bad, bad move.

I have used the password on numerous occasions, even as late as the beginning of last week, but when I went to type it in on Friday, my mind went blank. Utterly, completely blank. No problem, I thought, I will sleep on it and try again Saturday.

Could I remember it on Saturday ? Not on your life. I have tried 75 passwords and none of them worked. In the end I had to 'fess up to DH, who rolled his eyes at my foolishness but graciously spent several hours sorting the mess out. If I had just got Ubuntu on the machine there would not have been a big problem, but because the machine came from a company which had put their own proprietary "Ubuntu for Dummies" user interface on there as well, the standard protocols did not apply and special, nay, almost heroic measures were taken by DH.

I am pleased to report that he was successful, that a new password has been duly set up and written down in a place of safety. To be even safer, DH has set up a seperate admin account and password which is also written down in a place of safety, so we both know both of them.

Hopefully he won't have to do this again .

I think I have learnt my lesson, but it was a steep learning curve, LOL.

Always keep a record of crucial passwords in a safe place !!
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The Dog Who Thinks He Is Human

The girls had been snuggled up on the sofa, with a pillow and a blankie, watching TV. They then went upstairs to do something and I walked in and found Basil had made himself very comfortable. The girls and I were in fits of laughter,and I managed to snatch this photo before he reluctantly got up !!!
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Keeping Warm

Our lovely, cosy wood stove :-)
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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Not The Best Day Ever

Today is the 20th anniversary of my father's death.

I am feeling rather sad. I miss him so much still :-(
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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Newly Finished Reading

Codex was a fab read. Absolutely gripping and I read it obsessively in one sitting :-)

The Fencing book I found fascinating, especially dealing with conditions as an athlete in Russia before and after Perestroika.....athletes could be kidnapped and forced to enlist in the Army , as high performing athletes in the Army ranks won their regiments greater budgets and resources......

Frederica - one of my favourite Georgette Heyer books :-)
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Monday, January 12, 2009

Catching Up !

This is the first chance I have had to sit down since 08.00am and it is now 2.39pm !! So I have just had a cup of coffee and a PB sandwich and am catching my breath.

The icy weather has finally moved on, and we have instead grey skies and heavy rain. The daytime temperatures have gone up to 10 degrees C instead of hovering around -1 to 0 degrees, but at least we had sunshine then ! The lake is still partly frozen but is thawing fast. I am sure the wildfowl are much happier now they can swim, rather than having to skitter around on the ice........

I do have more photos to first take and then upload, of books I have recently finished reading, but the weekemd was busy, with DoomHamster staying with us Friday night so she could accompany us to Liturgy and Great Blessing of the Waters on Saturday morning. That was wonderful, and we were duly soaked with Holy Water and have a large bottle to take home with us :-)

Sunday, DD2 came home to see us and I am now the proud possessor of some seriously luscious chocolates and a Season 4 of House MD as birthday presents from my eldest two and their boyfriends.
Doing the happy dance, LOL.
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Friday, January 09, 2009

Lapwings !

photo found on Google, BTW.

I haven't seen any Lapwings for at least two years. These shy, rare (and sadly rapidly becoming rarer) birds tend to congregate on farmland in the Winter.

Imagine my delight yesterday when whilst walking the dog, I saw some in a field ! I didn't have my camera with me, sadly. And today, whilst driving past a field with sheep in, I saw **20** of these stunning birds.

Made my day, that's all I can say :-)
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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Half-way To 90

Today is my 45th Birthday.

I am half-way to 90.

Or 22 1/2 for the second time round :-)
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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

More Photos

The sun was just above the rooftops as we walked to school at 08.30am.

This tree always has branches dangling in the water; today the branches were frozen into the ice.....

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Walking To School

I did feel so sorry for these poor Coots sitting on the ice of their little lake !

People have been throwing rocks onto the ice to see if it is weight-bearing yet.....

The thaw yesterday has refrozen over night and left the interesting striated layers......

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It's Cold Outside !

As we were walking down the drive to go to school this morning, DD3 called me back to look at the car . I simply had to photograph this; I have never ever seen Ice **inside** the windscreen of the car.

I was on the outside photographing ice on the inside :-)

Local news records our temperatures as -5 degrees C first thing this morning.....
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Another Book

Just finished another book, detailing a year in the life of a newly qualified junior doctor working within the NHS. It makes you frightened to go into a hospital, frankly.
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Sunday, January 04, 2009

What We Did

This afternoon, we made shortbread cookies with one of Abby's presents :-)
I did love her Xmas themed cookie cutters, including an Angel and a bell.
We made extra dough so we can roll out and bake a fresh batch tomorrow afternoon after school.
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Just Finished Reading....

.......this book.

Absolutely fascinating, especially reading about the Orthodox Jewish view of Tradition where on first sight it appears to contradict Biblical Text. I have to say, that so very much of what the Rabbi discusses fits so neatly with what we Orthodox Christians believe, and that Orthodoxy in both its Jewish and Christian forms is at great variance with Evangelical Protestantism.

I would love to read the same dialogue done with a Hasidic Rabbi and an Orthodox Christian priest/Bishop :-)))))))))
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Saturday, January 03, 2009



The company who actually produced the programme have very kindly sent me a dvd of the series !!! Full marks to this company !
The DVD is all Welsh language, with no subtitles, but I have a few Welsh speaking friends whom I will ask to help with the bits I don't understand. But Orthodoxy is Orthodoxy in all parts of the world, and when they go to the USA I will be able to understand that well enough :-)


Margi, thank you for the info ! I have emailed the production company and will post what reply I get back from them :-)


Imagine a tv series about an Orthodox priest in a small UK parish who goes on a journey to all sorts of interesting Orthodox places around the world.

Imagine my delight when an inane moment of random Googling turned up a reference to this upcoming series in an American Newspaper web site.

Imagine my excitement as I head for the relevant TV Channel web site to find out more.

Imagine my annoyance as I find that the wretched TV channel has broadcast the entire series already with no publicity (- unless you are a fluent Welsh speaker who watches S4C, the Welsh language TV channel very regularly, which I do not,to my shame).

Imagine my further annoyance as I find that the Channel web site even has the majority of its programmes available to watch or download .........except the Programme I want !!!

And that is an understatement.

Information about the programme, about an Orthodox priest from North Wales, whom I have met, can be found here. It looks wonderful. But I can't watch it.

And apparently it has been repeated earlier this week too, so goodness knows when it will be shown again.

As I said earlier, Grrrrrrr !!!
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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Resolved !

That this year, I will post a photo of each book I read. Unless it is one I am re-reading for the umptieth time, of course.

To start off, one I have been meaning to buy so I can read it in its entirety, and which arrived yesterday:

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Ian Has Reduced Me To Tears Of Laughter !

I do hope you realise that you have reduced me to helpless, hysterical laughter at the thought of calling loudly "Circumcision ! Here, boy !"

Yes, Basil is a much better name for the dog of doom ! Even if Fr Seraphim Rose would not have approved of using a saint's name for an animal..........
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