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Archive Entries for May 2014

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Saturday May 31, 2014

Books in May

  • Justice Hall by Laurie R King [read by Jenny Sterlin] BOM-JusticeHall.jpg
    I thought I was up to date in my reading of this series, but somehow after Locked Rooms I missed this one - I think I mixed it up with The Moor (which I have read). So it was delightful to find an extra mystery to enjoy. I do find some of the stories work better than others though that may be whichever ones concern subjects that interest me most. This one has a lot of well-researched detail on WWI which was very moving and is particularly pertinent with all the commemorations this year.
    I like the way the author manages to create plots which intertwine what seems a totally British Victorian institution with the Americas in an utterly convincing way (though - note to self - Conan Doyle's first Holmes novel was a plot within a plot where half the action took place in the USA so in fact quite in keeping with the original stories).

  • Gamble by Felix Francis [read by Michael Maloney] BOM-Gamble.jpg
    Finally I read one of Felix's books standing on his own merits - and he is well up to the task. I have read some criticisms with the obvious comparisons - but I think people are being selectively blind in this respect in that quite of the few Dick Francis novels were really not very good. He always followed his own formula and in the case of the personal lives of the heroes I always found him rather original and refreshing - his heroes often emotionally fettered but not with conventional home lives. However I found Dick only at his very best when racing came into the story somewhere - and here Felix seems to be following the pattern well. His heroes have very different careers but have either direct or indirect connections to the world of racing and this seems to give them an edge. I look forward to reading some more.

  • Paul Temple and the Kelby Affair
    by Francis Durbridge [read by Toby Stephens] BOM-KelbyAffair.jpg
    Another cheerfully dated Paul Temple novel. I am not sure entirely what the Kelby affair was - Kelby went missing near the beginning - but it was the usual complicated plot that saw me nicely through a long car journey.
    Beautifully read by the excellent and versatile actor Toby Stephens, (who also narrated PT and the Geneva Mystery).

  • Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains
    by Catriona McPherson BOM-ProperTreatentOfBloodstains.jpg
    I am eking out these novels as I enjoy them so much on a number of different levels. However, I was not so compelled by this one - perhaps I am taking them for granted now and setting my expectations higher. Having said that, the unravelling of the plot turned out to be really interesting - it had been getting to the point where I could not see any way the events described could be explained, and was expecting some sort of cop-out. And then, in fact, it all fitted into place with a completely believable set of circumstances and motivations.

  • BOM-Resnick.jpgResnick Cutting Edge BBC Radio Play
    John Harvey’s thriller from 1996 starring Tom Georgeson and the-then-not-so-famous John Simm** plus Sean Baker, Kate Eaton and Paul Bazeley.
    Actually I really fancy Tom Georgeson, wholly based on having first noticed him in a production of Tom Stoppard's Night and Day with Gwen Taylor at the Watford Palace in the early 1980s. This may seem odd to some as - with the passing of time - he has evolved into a comfortable character actor who appears frequently these days on TV in some of my favourite series (ie Poirot, Foyle's War - but also recently in the BBC's The Hollow Crown) - but I always see him as the jaded rough-diamond journalist Richard Wagner.
    Currently the BBC are airing two more Resnick stories this month with another of my favourite actors Philip Jackson as the eponymous hero

    **John Simm's fan club spotted that he was in this play - a fact which he initially denied - and I do believe his explanation (he did such a lot of stuff that he forgot) since it was not such an appalling early performance or drama that he would need to try and to wipe it from history.

Posted on May 31, 2014 at 11:10 PM. Category: Books of the Month.

Friday May 23, 2014



I was lucky enough to be able to accompany Jennie to the Chelsea Flower Show. There was so much to see it's hard to choose pictures to show from all that I took - and also it is hard to take good pictures of the gardens unless you are a professional photographer.
I saw a lot of the gardens on TV before we went, and was very interested in the Birmingham City Council Parks entry, which focussed on a WWI memorial garden including a highly stylised representation of a (rather floral) trench - but I loved the fountains made from giant whistles, and this old bicycle (the like of which I hope to recreate in my own garden as a rather smaller project).


The Beatrix Potter garden was delightful and deservedly got an award - unfortunately they decided to go with slightly over-sized plastic versions of Peter Rabbit among the vegetation - a hit with the kids but not with me. I loved the more restrained reference to Peter with his little blue jacket as a scarecrow among the climbing beans.


Alan Titchmarsh produced a very clever garden, but it was more representational than one that you would like to just teleport to your own back yard. I did love the garden designed by Patrick Collins as a celebration of St George's Hospital's Neonatal Unit. Not too sure about the representational aspects of the journey of life but it was a lovely garden.


There were a huge number of retail outlets - I bought George a garden thermometer. We also ran across these wonderful sculptures of giant frogs (not obvious in the picture but larger than human sized...).


Last time I went to Chelsea was in the 1970s, and I don't remember it that well except some vague idea it was very crowded. This time it did not feel so very crowded - and I wonder if that's because we are generally more used to large events being impossibly seething with people these days.
So all in all a very pleasant day.

Posted on May 23, 2014 at 4:01 PM. Category: Days Out.

Friday May 16, 2014

The New Shed


I painted the shed at the allotment. The weather was unforgivingly hot.

Posted on May 16, 2014 at 6:27 PM. Category: The Garden.