Weblog (home)


Pattern of
the Month

On the Needles
(...and Off the Needles)



About the
Idle Hands

Archive Entries for January 2012

« December 2011 | Main | February 2012 »

Tuesday January 31, 2012

Books in January

  • Who Guards a Prince? Reginald Hill [read by Ian Redford] BOM-WhoGuardsaPrince.jpg
    I am a great admirer of Reginald Hill but only more recently started to read books outside the Dalziel and Pascoe series. I think he is a marvelously inventive writer as well as being able to tell a thrilling tale, (this one perhaps less plausible than some but I am more than willing if there is a need for any suspension of disbelief).
    So you can imagine my dismay when, on my own birthday, George stated with casual bluntness "he died recently didn't he?". I'm afraid I did not register the fact before and I am very sad - for him and for us. My only consolation is - I still have many of his books still to read.

  • The Speaker of Mandarin by Ruth Rendell [Read by Michael Bryant] BOM-SpeakerofMandarin.jpg
    In the 1980s and 90s I read all "the latest" Wexford mysteries as they came out. While I don't pretend Ms Rendell's popularity has ever faded, her books became less essentially fashionable than they seemed to be in the 1980s, and I realise that since then I have not read any - until Rob gave me The Monster in the Box, which made me realise she was still writing new "Wexfords", despite declining to be involved with any more TV adaptations. This book is from 1983 and I really enjoyed it - the murder mystery was not so mysterious, but the storyline was great and very interesting. Makes me look forward to more, and, encouraged by the Guardian's list of "Crime Novels everyone must Read", I plan to read some of the "other" novels as well as those written as "Barbara Vine".

  • The Geneva Mystery by Francis Durbridge [Read by Toby Stephens] BOM-GenevaMystery.jpg
    A Paul Temple Mystery. Interesting to listen to as a "retro experience" and well-read. Paul made his first appearance in 1938 - but he and his wife "Steve" seem still in their prime in this story written in 1971, apparently set in the 1960s. Best known as a radio series from 1938-1968, with a few remakes in the 2000s, many of the early episodes now being lost. I fondly remember the TV series starring Francis Matthews from 1969-1971.

  • House of Shadows by the Medieval Murderers [Read by Paul Matthews] BOM-HouseofShadows.jpg
    When I started listening to this book (on a long car journey) I thought it was deathly dull, and I did not understand the authorship. It got a little better - and I think the concept of the book - which is a collection of short stories by different authors around a common theme - is pretty interesting. The Medieval Murderers seem to be authors and performers - anyway you can read about them yourself here. I was interested to see C J Sansom is one of their number, though he did not contribute to this book.

Posted on January 31, 2012 at 9:16 PM. Category: Books of the Month.

Sunday January 29, 2012

Eat Me


Karen has taken up cake decoration and made this wonderful gem for me - not only looks fantastic but tastes good too....!


Can't see myself eating him somehow.


Posted on January 29, 2012 at 2:13 PM. Category: Red Letter Days.

Saturday January 28, 2012

Why the big paws?

A bear walks into a bar and the bartender says: "What will you have?"
And the bear says nothing for a while - and then finally , "....I'd like a beer"
So the bartender fetches the beer and says briskly: "Anything else I can get for you?"
The bear considers a while and then says: "............ and some of those peanuts."
The bartender says: "Sure, ...but why the big pause?"


[photo by steven kazlowski]

Posted on January 28, 2012 at 12:29 PM. Category: Oddments and stray thoughts.

Thursday January 19, 2012



I always believed that the only positive thing about the A303 is that you get a wonderful and somehow unexpected view of Stonehenge - clear and always amazing; other than that it's a tedious drive. What I failed to appreciate is that if you are not in a hurry, it can be a lovely peaceful drive through delightful countryside. This is probably because they have improved the road over the years (- but still - don't choose an August Bank Holiday).

Driving to Exeter, it occurred to me that I have never in my life been to visit Stonehenge, so I determined to stop off on the way back - and so I did. The whole experience was great - there was a bitterly cold wind, which somehow seemed "right", (so much so, I could barely take photos, and could not stand still and absorb the atmosphere as much as the audio-guide suggested!). However, there were relatively few other visitors which, along with some strange lighting, added to the bleak mystic atmosphere.


Posted on January 19, 2012 at 6:11 PM. Category: Days Out.

Tuesday January 17, 2012



Radio 4's weatherman promised me a spectacular sunrise, and this was the best I could do from my wood-enclosed garden as I scurried to work in the semi-darkness.


Posted on January 17, 2012 at 8:48 AM. Category: The Garden.