I find it really difficult to write a reader review of a novel. As an author I am hugely grateful to the kind people who leave reviews of my books on Amazon and other sites. I deeply feel I ought to reciprocate more. But the whole enterprise is fraught with danger.
This is a recurring problem at this time of year. Between Christmas and the end of the year I usually read a lot.
I finish books I’ve left midway during the year for some reason. And I read my Christmas present books. I read books I’ve been setting aside so I can take a good long run at them. And I experiment with books that other people have recommended during the seasonal socialising. And I go back to old favourites because, let’s face it, this is the time of year when memories get hold of you and I’ve got some lovely Bookish Memories. Continue reading →
Liz: Moving is a two-way problem. Either you’re upsizing, in which case you don’t have enough furniture, or downsizing, in which case you have too much of everything.
My Old Man said Follow the Van…
Sarah: To make things worse, I moved twice within twelve months (I know, madness, but we had A Plan… more of that later).
Liz: Aargh! I have just downsized from a five bedroom, four reception house to a two bedroom flat. I had too much of everything and what I’d have liked to have kept was mostly the wrong size. Where on earth do you start!
Sarah: I know exactly what you mean! We had a dream of moving to the west coast of Scotland but we had no property in mind when we moved out of our old house, so no idea what we would need to keep. All I knew was that we would not need muchContinue reading →
The fantastic experience of visiting the250-year-old Leeds Library started me thinking about how my life has been marked out in libraries and, specifically, my first library. It was a small, very definitely a suburban sub-branch. But its great virtue was that it was at the end of the road. Ten minutes walk from home, tops!
And it had a visiting cat.
(No, not this one. This is my own TK. My own books too, come to think of it.)
It sounds like a horror movie, doesn’t it? Sort of the reverse of the Seventh Day, when you’re supposed to rest. More 21st century urban nightmare than traditional Christmas. (Indeed, the IMdB data base does list a move called DAY 13 filmed in 2017. But that’s about all it says.)
POST PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION REVIEW
Well, Mr True Love, would you say that you succeeded in implementing your ideas?
Did you achieve your goals?
Did the project fully solve the problem it was designed to address?
Can you take things further (further?!) to deliver bigger benefits in the future? (Yikes!) Continue reading →
If you needed any more evidence that True Love has lost the plot Day 12 will do it. He’s now throwing 12 drummers drumming into the mix. Assuming they enter Stage Left and advance, drumming, that sounds pretty much like a declaration of war to me, if not the start of the battle.
Of course, the recipient may be a fan of heavy metal or other modern music making. In which case the drummers presumably just roll up on a milk float, or similar, sitting in the middle of their drum kit.
By Day 11 Mr True Love has lurched from sweetly metaphorical, or at least agriculturally productive, through the dangerous combination of entertainment and aristocracy into full-blown martial mode. He’s sending eleven pipers to do his wooing business.
Now they could be playing the bagpipes. It’s the time of year for it.
In Scotland pipers are booked up years in advance for both New Year parties and Burns’ Night celebrations on (or about — because they often slip to Saturday night with its attendant recovery period) 25th January.
But eleven bagpipes? Well maybe, if you’re advancing on the field of battle. But as a token of a chap’s respect and affection? Um. Continue reading →
By Day 10, the deranged True Love is sending along an almost football team of male aristocrats engaged in unlikely gymnastics. Were I the recipient I would go away pretty sharpish, not leaving a forwarding address.
The British 1970s Christmas stamp depicting these Lords (and yesterday’s Ladies) is chilling. At least, I think so. Continue reading →
By Day 9, Mr True Love has gone into the entertainment business. (It is a role he will continue for the rest of the holiday.) He presents our heroine with nine ladies dancing.
You may think, as I do, that this is an odd choice. Frankly, it sounds more like a stag do than a gift to the beloved. Surely it would have been more alluring if he’d invited the object of his affections to dance with him?
Hasn’t he seen Strictly Come Dancing, for Heaven’s sake? (That’s Dancing With the Stars, if you’re across the Pond.) Continue reading →
By Day 8, the True Love is getting more ambitious and, frankly, a bit cracked.
Today’s gift embraces both livestock and human trafficking. This is seriously dodgy territory now. He’s clearly into all things quaint, traditional and with just a hint of the Good Old Days. Maybe even Heritage.
I feel we’re beginning to detect some disturbing undercurrents in these so-called gifts. Are they not just another way of tying his Beloved to endless cleaning and animal husbandry? Only now she’ll have staff to placate as well. Not a good outlook. Continue reading →
At least our heroine’s True Love has shifted from domestic to wild birds with the Day 7 offering. And not just a wild bird but a truly beautiful one, with mythological and poetic pedigree to boot.
The swan is one of the creatures that mates for life, according to legend and, to some extent, ornithological observation. (Not 100%, apparently; but a significant percentage of couples stick together.)
Allegedly it also sings only once, at the point of death – hence the exquisitely mournful Orlando Gibbons motet
So at last we have here a gift with real subtext: love, loyalty and death. Not that jolly maybe. But certainly romantic. Hmm. Possibly a bit late, given the bird shit that must be surrounding his lady love’s residence by now. Continue reading →