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Archive Entries for May 2011

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Tuesday May 31, 2011

Books in May

  • Nemesis and Alexandria Linsey Davis [read by Christian Rodska]
    BOM-Nemesis.jpg BOM-Alexandria.jpg Lots of fun, and delightfully read by my hands-down favourite narrator.
    In Alexandria, the Falco family go on a jaunt to Egypt to provide Davis with a chance to poke fun at libraries and academia. It's an enjoyable book, but - although the author often uses this technique to provide new interest in the way of a foreign backdrop for her novels, I always feel that Falco is never truly on top form except on home territory in Rome.
    Nemesis sees him back in Rome although there is an extensive swampy excursion. Here the novelty is provided perhaps by the crime story rather than the surroundings, where the concept of an ancient Roman serial killer is explored.

  • Kissing Christmas Goodbye M C Beaton
    BOM-KissingChristmasGoodbye.jpg Surprisingly little to do with Christmas (it puts in an appearance towards the end). Agatha spends her time planning for the great event, but meanwhile gest involved with a rather unpleasant family business - o - and there's a murder. Or perhaps not.
    Agatha dreams of that perfect Christmas - yet another concept I can equate to - and yet despite the preparations and the lifestyle books, it can never quite be perfect. The reason? that (however perfect one is oneself..) those around you are not the perfect stuff of daydreams. And despite her obsessive imaginings, by the time her great love James turns up to kiss her under the mistletoe, Agatha discovers that he does not stir her emotions to complete that picture of perfection.
    And you know what? She discovers that she's having a great time anyway.

If there is a link between these novels, it is that they both have major/peripheral characters where I find it hard to put the flesh on the bones. In the Falco series it's Anacrites. He is presented as Falco's sworn enemy, though somehow that enmity lacks conviction for me. On occasion we have almost been given an insight into a deeper character and then it's whipped away and replaced by Falco's continued assertions about Anacrites low character.
With Agatha, it's James Lacey, and maybe this one is somehow more understandable as we most often see James through Agatha's obsessed eyes. Mrs Bloxham provides an apparently objective view, though of course she is very biased against him in her concern for Agatha's welfare.
Perhaps as these are both enjoyable light-hearted mystery series and I am simply trying to read too much into them!

Posted on May 31, 2011 at 10:58 AM. Category: Books of the Month.

Thursday May 19, 2011

My big brother


Today I had to say goodbye to my big brother. I thought he would always be there, but ... how foolish is that. He always loved foreign places and travelling, and seems to have spent his life doing just that. I hope and trust that after this last journey he will find himself somewhere just as wonderful and full of excitement.

Posted on May 19, 2011 at 3:50 PM. Category: Days Out.

Monday May 16, 2011

Isabella and the pot of basil


The story of Isabella, has been told by Boccaccio, Keats, and Hunt, in tale, poem and picture respectively. The narrative poem by John Keats was adapted from the story in Boccaccio's Decameron. It tells of a young woman whose family intend to marry her to "some high noble and his olive trees", but who falls for Lorenzo, one of her brothers' employees. When the brothers learn of this they murder Lorenzo and bury his body, fobbing Isabella off with some implausible yarn about his going away suddenly. However, his ghost informs her of the truth in a dream. She exhumes the body and buries the head in a pot of basil which she tends obsessively, while pining away.

The story was popular with Pre-Raphaelite painters, who illustrated several episodes from it - and also with Croydon College, who produced a short film of the story as part of their Digital Film Production degree course. It was shown at the BFI this afternoon and I took a short break from my office to go along and watch.

Posted on May 16, 2011 at 8:49 PM. Category: Art and Culture.

Saturday May 14, 2011

Bicycles made for two.

We got bikes! (one each that is).


I'm afraid they are a matching pair, and despite the fact that the girlie versions of all the matching bikes are in girlie colours, I am still very pleased with mine. I was ably assisted by our local bike shop, (B&L Stevens), who helped explain to me that all my life I have been under a complete misapprehension as to how you should size a bicycle, and then, having convinced me with a test drive, they adjusted the saddle to optimum height. (I blame the National Cycling Proficiency Test circa 1965).
Anyway - moving on - George is purchasing a swish new bike rack for the car - so - have bikes, will travel.

Posted on May 14, 2011 at 3:48 PM. Category: Days Out.