Day 238 & tales from Fraggle Towers

Phew it’s a hotty today! The weather forecast says we’re at 24 degC today (75.2F) but the thermometer in the garden is showing 34C (93.2F) at 1pm, so of course that’s the perfect temp and time for mad dogs and Englishmen to go out in the midday sun. Or in this case just a mad Englishman (the one I’m married to at this time).

thwarting the Monster Jasmine
Day 238 ~ wrangling the lawn

He was jolly fast though, all done in 20 mins flat! It’s been good to have some much needed sunshine even though I have on occasion moaned about the heat 🙄. The McFatface is just about better so I can go to work tomorrow and not scare my clients. On Thursday night we got a glimpse of our visiting hedgehog, and finally saw his face, very cute. He/she’s been visiting most nights and we know this as we bought some hedgehog biscuits that we leave in a dish for it. And now ta da….

apeman trail camera

we bought a trail camera from Amazon. It’s what you’ve probably seen in wildlife programmes when they’re trying to catch sight of rare tigers and the like, though I am thinking we’re more likely to see the neighbourhood cats. Hopefully though we’ll get some footage of the ‘hog. It can take videos of varying lengths and quality settings, sound, stills and is quite easy to set up. We put it out all night last night and I was excited to see all the biscuits were gone this morning, so checked the camera and found I hadn’t actually switched it to the ‘on’ position. Doh! 🙄 Hopefully tonight will have a better result!

For my 60th birthday present Phil and I are off on a trip, a week in Tuscany, Italy, staying at a converted Medici palace and I’m really looking forward to it, but not for a couple of weeks yet, we like to wait til the kids are back to school and everyone else has gone back to work 🙂

I have found my 70th though, I found a link to this amazing train journey around the world in 56 days, this is a dream trip for a person with a camera! See it HERE.

I can’t remember which of my bloggypals put me on to the author Gregg Dunnet and a book called The Things You Find in Rock Pools, which was a great story about a young lad who is more or less a child prodigy, and ends up turning detective when a young girl he likes goes missing. It’s a fab read and easy but quite dark sometimes. I’ve somehow got onto his email list and got offered a free copy of his latest The Glass Tower which I’ve also read but didn’t really like overmuch. The main character is not likeable, nor are any of the supporting cast, and the story itself is too bonkers to believe in even a little bit.

Another author I’m on the email list of is Manda Scott, who couldn’t write a bad book if she tried. One of her latest emails recommended an author called N.K.Jenson and her trilogy called The Broken Earth. I can’t recommend this one highly enough. It’s set very far in the future and the world has been in turmoil for a very long time. The world-building is quite astounding, and the characters are rounded and beautifully rendered. It isn’t an easy read as there’s a lot to take in and think about, so if you are a read–a-book-a-day type of person who doesn’t need to think too much, it’s not for you, but if you like books with depth and resonance, this would move and stir you.

It’s been quite a Marvel-ous week (see what I did there? 😂 ) film wise as it’s been my birthday week and I got to choose. I have decided to do the whole of the MCU movies in order so this week have seen Iron Man (1) and The Incredible Hulk played by Edward Norton before Mark Ruffalo took on the role in the rest of the movies. I didn’t think Norton did a bad job at all, and the pathos of his character was well defined and acted, but I still prefer Ruffalo. Luckily Iron Man and The Hulk are Phil’s favourite characters (he’s not a superhero fanboy at all really) though I’m going to pay for all this with grim Russian war movies. 😂

Day 66

World Book Day is a charity event held annually in the United Kingdom and Ireland on the first Thursday in March. It is the local manifestation of World Book and Copyright Day (also known as International Day of the Book or World Book Days) organized by UNESCO to promote reading, publishing and copyright. On World Book Day, every child in full-time education in the UK is given a voucher to be spent on books. The Day was first celebrated in 1995 in the United Kingdom. The original, global World Book Day event is generally observed on 23 April – it was changed in the UK to avoid clashes with Easter school holidays and with St George’s Day. Conversely, a separate event World Book Night organized by independent charity The Reading Agency is held on 23 April.
Day 66

Tales from Fraggle Towers

It’s being a quiet weekend here at Fraggle Towers. The Hub is on nightshift Friday, Saturday and Sunday so he is asleep all day. This is one of those pro’s and con’s situations. A con is that I miss talking to my best buddy, a pro is I can’t do much housework as it’s too noisy. A con is we don’t get to do movie night, a pro is I’m in charge of the remote control. A con is we don’t do stuff together, a pro is I get to read a book in the day, a lot!  

One of the nice things that happened that I didn’t realise would when I started blogging, is ‘meeting’ people who review books, and music, and movies.

I’ve seen movies I’d never have seen if it wasn’t for Jay & Sean and Vinnie and Pete , read books I would never have known about if it wasn’t for Nicole (thank you for Christopher Moore) Kim (thank you for Carlos Ruiz Zafon) and Dani  . 

I am also privileged to have proper writers in my little universe, Pete is a master of short stories and serials, Theo writes detective novellas incorporating time travel and alternative universes, April who writes medieval historical fiction and posts her fascinating research, as does M.B Henry, with her adventures tracking US Military history.  It’s a joy to read their blog posts. 

This past week I’ve been reading books by a lovely blogger, Teagan , who’s blog I’ve been following a while now.  Teagans imagination is bonkers, and she writes steampunk, she writes magic, she writes about the roaring twenties.  Her stories are compelling and her characters memorable. I was so enamored of her blog serials that I decided to try her Atonement in Tennessee novel, and really loved it. I don’t do book reviews so no spoilers here, all I’ll say is Teagan takes a chunk of ancient Welsh mythology, and weaves it into the modern day, with a few diverse nods to Jewish mysticism, Shakespeare, and Batman!  The cherry on the icing is that a fair bit of the story is seen through the eyes of a calico cat called Lilith, and I’m a sucker for clever cats. The story doesn’t end at the end of the book, so on I went to the second novel in the series, Atonement in Bloom, which, in spite of not having my favourite character in it, does have magic pigs. Magic pigs are not anything I ever considered myself reading about, but the whimsy here is quite addictive. I can only hope there’ll be a third installment as I’m very hooked. In the meantime I saw that there’s an accompanying short story collection set in Atonement, so I got that too, and it is a must-have if you are contemplating entering the completely batshit world of Atonement, Tennessee. I would love to photograph that place! 

As well as being as quiet as a mouse reading Teagan’s books, I’ve also been doing some macro photography, for the Monday Macro group I’m in. The theme is ‘soft’ so I decided to use my feathery stuff, but I can’t decide which one to use,

Whaddya think? 

I want to mention a film I saw in the week, it’s called, They Shall Not Grow Old, it’s the reality of WW1, and was made by Peter Jackson, he of Lord of the Rings fame. I hope Pete reviews it at some point, as I know I cannot do it justice, but there’s an explanation here  that’s worth reading.

Finally (yay) we had a gorgeous sunset one night this week, I forget which one in particular, and that’s a nice way to end this post.

Monday Miscellany

I’m having a change for Monday, and as I’m not sure what I’ll post, it’s going to be of a miscellaneous nature.

I spotted a wonderfully coloured sky one evening last week and hung out of the bedroom window to capture it as best I could.

also had a shot at the moon, though it’s not one of my best (had a couple of wine’s prior and that’s never good for focussing!).

night moon

and this from a few weeks ago

day moon

No doubt I’ll have another go at some point.

Am just starting a long series of books by Sven Hassel, set in WW2. Sven is a Danish chap who ends up in a German penal battalion after first being incarcerated in a prison camp. It’s about a German platoon (Porta, Tiny, Old Man, the Legionnaire, Heide, Barcelona-Blom, Sven,etc.) on different fronts during WWII and narrates the atrocity and absurdity of war, not to mention the brutality and stupidity of the nazi regime.  The characters are just brilliant and whilst the theme of course is dark, there’s so much humour in the books.  I read a few many years ago, but now want to do them all, I may be some time! After those I’ll be re-doing Donald Jack’s The Bandy Papers, about a WW1 aircraft pilot, funny as anything but also full of pathos.  6 volumes but my are they expensive on eBay! Have managed to find the first 2 at a reasonable price, but some of them are going for £20-£60!!  I read them as a teenager, they were my Dad’s books (he was in the airforce) but don’t know what happened to them, sadly.  And expensively!  

I’ve seen 2 films lately, the first was the classic and epic 1977 movie, A Bridge Too Far.  As we’ll be visiting Arnhem next week Phil thought it would be a good idea for me to see it. What a brilliant film it was too. I loved the overblown way the Americans were portrayed, full of smarts and derring-do, and loved even more our overblown stiff British upper lip portrayal.  The part on Arnhem Bridge where a German soldier comes to ask for the brits surrender is just hilarious, and that the British officer has his black umbrella with him at all times was class.  Absolutely sterling stuff! Everyone and his dog was in it, Dirk Bogarde, Anthony Hopkins, Ryan O’Neil, Sean Connery, James Can, Elliot Gould, Robert Redford, the list goes on and on.  I can’t believe anyone reading this hasn’t seen it, but just incase, it’s about the WW2 Market Garden Operation, where basically we made a total balls up of the objectives which were to capture and hold some bridges crossing the Rhine. Especially Arnhem. I’ll be taking photo’s of it next week as it’s still there.

The 2nd film I saw was Trainspotting 2.  Phil really wanted to watch the 1st again before we saw it, but we don’t have a copy of it, and though it’s in sky store, we resent having to cough up even more when we already pay for Sky movies. (Sheisters.)  Anyway the movie was OK, and showed what had become of the lads after 20 years, but you couldn’t watch it really without having seen the first movie. I liked it well enough, but it didn’t have the same impact as the first which I suppose is true of the majority of sequels, and gritty realism isn’t my thing overmuch anyway. It had a few laughs along the way which was it’s saving grace, and the original cast Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller and Robert Carlyle, all did a cracking job with the acting, but the plot to me was a bit meh.

SO that’s the first Monday Miscellany over and done with,

laters gaters 🙂