Category Archives: Books

A little indulgence

When I was little, I was very lucky that my mum read to me. A lot. We lived abroad and there wasn’t much else entertainment. Also I was a poorly child, my adenoids were incredibly persistent and even grew back after an obviously rather unsuccessful attempt at removal. To save my mum’s voice, I was bought a copy of The Velveteen rabbit<em read by John Le Mesurier. I loved it. So today I found a beautifully illustrated copy of the book and I am so excited about reading it. I can almost anticipate the tears, but in a good way. In fairness I went to buy my goddaughter a present but indulged myself instead. It feels a bit decadent but it’s a present to myself for the new year. Perhaps I should do it more often.


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Books wot I has read

So my new job = longer commute = more time to read books. Bonus (although Victoria line today beyond a flippin’ joke). So I’ve read two fantastic historical romps that have been lingering on my book shelves for a LONG time.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and The Tenderness of Wolves (apologies for crap links, phone not great on those). Both good.
I have also been experiencing something of a musical exploration (no links, you’ll have to Google). George Michael Symphonica (fab), BBC Symphony Orchestra Disturbia (in parts great, in parts disturbing, in parts WAY too experimental), The Hurts (brilliant, Kylie appeared, felt about 20 years younger).
In addition saw The Help (good adaptation, slight liberties taken), Paranormal Activity 3 (much better than 2, saw it at the O2 with a largely young audience, they’re commentary was, at first, annoying but ultimately v amusing), and We Need To Talk About Kevin (gripping, entire cinema audience left very quickly and in silence, I needed a drink afterwards).
So altogether a bit multi media. And, on the whole, v enjoyable.
Now must get better at blogging as it happens!

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Girly Film Alert

Although 25% of the audience at the lovely Clapham Picture House were male, there was definitely a high oestrogen count in the showing of One Day last night. I admit, I was nervous as I LOVED the book. But actually the film was jolly good. Yes okay you have to ignore Anne Hathaway‘s slightly wandering accent but Jim Sturgess and Rafe Spall were really quite perfect. I think I would have put more music “from the day” in it (but that’s possibly a self-indulgent wanting a sound track to my life type of thing). And of course I cried but in a good “release of pent up and sad emotions” way (I am currently HATING being out of work and teetering on the edge of some rubbish depression mode which I’m trying to fight by excessive amounts of Wii Fit).

All in all a jolly nice way to spend an evening.


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A list to ease myself back

Well possibly…thanks to Ms Musings on her Sofa for this inspiration

The Sunday Times 50 Greatest British Writers Since 1945

1. Philip Larkin – read
2. George Orwell – read
3. William Golding – read
4. Ted Hughes – read
5. Doris Lessing -read
6. J. R. R. Tolkien  – read
7. V. S. Naipaul – read
8. Muriel Spark – read
9. Kingsley Amis – read
10. Angela Carter – read
11. C. S. Lewis – read
12. Iris Murdoch – read
13. Salman Rushdie – read but only the children’s one
14. Ian Fleming – read
15. Jan Morris – no
16. Roald Dahl – read
17. Anthony Burgess – read
18. Mervyn Peake – no
19. Martin Amis – yes
20. Anthony Powell – no
21. Alan Sillitoe – read
22. John Le Carré – no
23. Penelope Fitzgerald – no
24. Philippa Pearce – read
25. Barbara Pym – no
26. Beryl Bainbridge – read
27. J. G. Ballard – read (largely under pain and duress in educational establishments)
28. Alan Garner – read
29. Alasdair Gray – no
30. John Fowles – read
31. Derek Walcott – no
32. Kazuo Ishiguro – read
33. Anita Brookner – read
34. A. S. Byatt – read
35. Ian McEwan – read
36. Geoffrey Hill – no
37. Hanif Kureishi – read
38. Iain Banks – read
39. George Mackay Brown – no
40. A. J. P. Taylor – read but again only in a classroom kind of way
41. Isaiah Berlin – no
42. J. K. Rowling – read
43. Philip Pullman – read
44. Julian Barnes – read
45. Colin Thubron – didn’t think I had but then realised the book what he wrote
46. Bruce Chatwin – no
47. Alice Oswald – no
48. Benjamin Zephaniah – read (well a teeny bit)
49. Rosemary Sutcliff – read
50. Michael Moorcock – no


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3BT – 31st July

Possibly more than three

1. Went to see Carlos Acosta at The Coliseum. Was somewhat nervous by the reviews and, although it could have done with “more dancing”, I really enjoyed it. Although agreed with the critic (sorry can’t find the link) who said it could/should have been staged at the Tate Modern.

2. Hated what I was wearing yesterday. You know when you just put something on and it grows progressively more grim as the day goes on? Well, I felt so lucky that I could just pop to Hennes, buy a £12 top and feel instantly more human. Also bought a pair of shoes which weren’t entirely on the agenda but are lovely and I have bought a pair of lovely shoes until last October which is actually QUITE A LONG TIME  (well for me).

3. British athletes being fab, especially the beautiful Jessica Ennis and the passionate Mo Farrar.

4. Eating delicious food hand delivered from my parents garden (even though it’s nearly 100 miles away). And transforming courgettes (which are normally watery and a bit bleurgh) thanks to a recipe from the lovely Ruth and Rose – page 155 of The River Cafe Blue Book.

5. Sondheim at the Proms. There are few words apart from Judi Dench rocks.

6. The power of Twitter and this week’s story about Clare Balding.

7. Newly clean curtains and windows (although they need to drop about an inch – the curtains not the windows).

8. A spurt of ridiculously early morning energy counterbalanced by an afternoon nap.

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Toy Story and Sunday stuff

Toy Story 3 – go and see it. Take tissues. Go and see it.

Finished Poisonwood Bible. Latest book club read and I can’t wait to go and discuss it. I haven’t been to book club for months. Mainly work commitment issues but also they hit a rich seam of “books from films”, the nadir being something from the Twilight series. OMG, what a load of old tosh. I know there are women of my age who think RPatz is the best thing since…oh I don’t know the last 12 year old grown women  lusted after, but really. Badly written and ridiculous. All too much.

Today had good chats with the boy. Have had some fear, it’s not good. Still don’t know if I’m the stupidest person known to mankind. We were both so badly parented. We both love our parents very much but they made (and , to some extent, continue to make) such enormous mistakes with both of us. Maybe that’s the glue that binds us together. The never being good enough. It’s probably quite toxic glue. But in a way we bring peace to each other. Our siblings were – and continue to be – loved more. It’s not over-dramatic. It’s not toddler petulance. It’s just the truth and we both live with it and have made our peace with it. It’s difficult. I know what it does to me. I’m not entirely sure what it does to him. It’s probably a very good thing that we don’t have children of our own.

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I know…I have neglected featherduster…I also have neglected my need for introspection and general self-indulgence.

I have been busy but honestly not too busy to blog. I’ve just lost the connection with being able to express myself which is sad because I’ve had so much interesting stuff going on.

I’ve been on holiday:

– Hong Kong/Vietnam – wow! Amazing holiday discovering amazing things and having a completely wonderful time.

– Marrakech – dry long weekend, beer at the airport as our flight home was delayed almost wiped me out (worrying effect of four days without booze, am I really such a lush?). Good fun exploring.

– Portugal – first trip back to hubby’s motherland since we were in the middle of marriage meltdown. Parts of it felt odd. But much sun and seafood saw off most problems!

I’ve seen films – loads of films. Mostly all good.

Read tons of books – I love my e-reader. Really enjoyed the Stieg Larsson trilogy. Much more than I thought I would. Tried to read something Twilight-ish. I just don’t get it which left me feeling rather old.

Watched Lost including getting up at 4.30 to catch the last episode. I was – on the whole – satisfied.

Had a dismal World Cup – England’s performance rather mirrored the success of my supporting record. However lots of Spanish people are happy and they’re generally a nation given to over-exuberance which is joyful when you come across them as I did last night. Waiting outside Tate Modern for my date and a group of Spanish students just sang for about half an hour. It really was fun (luckily they left before date turned up as he of the other Iberian persuasion and no love is lost).

Was mugged. At gun point. About 50 feet from my house. Not entirely pleasant. However, the police have been fantastic and I’ve met a whole new lot of neighbours which has been brilliant.

I have been tweeting and Facebooking but this is the thing: Twitter is for work, Facebook is for friends, Featherduster is for…well me largely, and – generally – I don’t like to mix my online presences.

Every single paragraph has started with “I” or a verb where I’ve just decided to omit the “I” because if I was proofreading this copy, I’d be attacking it with a red pen for starting all the paragraphs in the same way. Hmmm…am I just on the biggest ego trip known to the blogosphere? My busy-ness has been partly borne out of the usual problem of not being able to say “no” and partly self-induced. Friday nights are usually my home alone time (I am obviously officially old) but have veered towards an Ocado order and cooking enough for a small village (or enough food for a fortnight and then some in my case) whilst polishing off rather too much wine (see Marrakech…Houston we may have a problem). Why have I been avoiding myself or my blog? In blog terms, probably because I thought I ought to come back with something really interesting or important but didn’t feel I could muster anything sufficiently worthy. In terms of myself – just neglect.

Part of the reason I’ve been feeling proper feelings and stuck with my own thoughts recently is that I’ve had laryngitis for nearly six weeks. 40 days of virtually no voice. No speaking on the phone, ridiculous amounts of time off work, no meetings, no presentations, attempted conversations only to have to give up after a couple of minutes in pain and exasperation. Increasing frustration of everyone around me (but, I’m fairly convinced, nothing compared to my own frustration). Hospital next week – who knows?

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