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Archive Entries for September 2014

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Tuesday September 30, 2014

Books in September

  • The Gods of Guilt by Michael ConnellyBOM-TheGodsOfGuilt.jpg
    I didn't enjoy this Mickey Haller novel as much as the previous one - not sure why. I think maybe the story didn't interest me so much; not a straight forward evil person kills someone, but more of a government agency conspiracy theory idea.
    Also - maybe mostly - there was a lot about his private life - and it's not going that well. The last book ended on a high with a prospective high profile career move in the offing - this book opens with all that shattered and his family blaming him. The same device was used between Lincoln Lawyer and Brass Verdict. But maybe more importantly, all the pontifiating about his family is basically not very profound or interesting. The Bosch books seemed to go through this roller coaster cycle of ending one book on a positive note with respect to a new relationship and then that all having fallen through in the next book which would be in the loner detective vein - and ending on a glum gritty note - only to start the cycle again in the next story with a new female interest. [Actually I quite liked the "romantic" storyline as a background to The Drop where a new lady that seems promising reveals her feet of clay - all in the realm of normal hangups - during the progress of the book. It seemed to me to be more representative of relationships in later life - and also it was definitely the backdrop to the story not the main event - and the woman herself had a peripheral role in the action.]

  • The Dead Can Wait by Robert Ryan BOM-TheDeadCanWait.jpg
    So impressed with Dead Man's Land I bounded straight on to the second novel which proved as excellent as the first. The plot was good and the action made historically feasible.
    It also went some way to improving the depiction of Holmes (over the previous book), who appeared more in this story - though definitely as Watson's friend rather than the other way around.
    I find it interesting that Doyle struggled with the character as he was such a dominant force in his writing. Yet the two modern novelists I know of using Holmes in this way, as an addition to the cast rather than it's main force, seem to have tamed him rather well, managing to keep the focus with their chosen heroes without being diverted. Nor is Holmes used as a "rabbit out of the hat" mechanism in resolving the mysteries - just reassuringly present.

  • Rules, Regs and Rotten Eggs by H R F Keating [read by Sheila Mitchell] BOM-RulesRegs&RottenEggs.jpg
    Another fairly dull or perhaps dated sort of story with a heroine I cannot empathise with. She seems to be a moderately high ranking detective and yet is portrayed as finding the Guardian Crossword too difficult. I don't want to be elitist but I would have thought cryptic crosswords would not be so hard for someone whose profession is.. well.. detection - even if she chooses not to bother with them. Still - Morse she is not - though come to think of it, she likes the odd glass of wine.
    I am so apparently critical of these novels by Keating that you have to ask why I continue with them. The answer is they are not too challenging to concentrate on while doing other activities - driving or other physical activities. I don't say this to be insulting - they are good old fashioned detective novels, with all that implies, and maybe a bit slow so it matters less if you miss the odd sentence here and there.....

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 2:58 PM. Category: Books of the Month.

Sunday September 28, 2014

The Big O

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An old friend from school was over from Canada (where he now lives) and celebrated his big O birthday in Worthing. Hard to take a good photo of him as he was opening his gifts since he seemed permanently overcome with emotion...!

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It was a delightful day out with the usual suspects and some extra faces - who I have not seen for an unbelievable 42 years...

Posted on September 28, 2014 at 9:19 AM. Category: Days Out.

Thursday September 25, 2014

Yan Tan Tethera - Spin Cycle

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All summer (apparently) there has been an exhibition and season of events inspired by textiles and folk, centred around Cecil Sharp House in Camden. We caught the last of these "Spin Cycle", which was a multimedia show including a selection of textile and sampling machines, beatboxers, textile artists, Gaelic and English traditional songs: "weaving a unique sonic world to celebrate all things textile".

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Around the venue were various related projects including a set of murals (adorning the bar) by Stewart Easton depicting the story of the Tailor and the Crow. There are a lot of versions of this story and they seem to be rather glum and convoluted - there were some versions of the old verse framed in the stairwell. Here is a more cheerful version available as an eBook from Project Gutenberg.

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The stairwell was also dressed with a cobweb of lace - it was actually really a performing arts installation I think - more interesting to view in the construction than the result. Unfortnately I can find only an audio track (sung during the weaving) available on the web.

Posted on September 25, 2014 at 2:19 PM. Category: Art and Culture.

Wednesday September 17, 2014

Hay Fever

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Felicity Kendal, Noel Coward..... what can one say?

Coward remembered in 1964 that the notices (in 1925) "were amiable and well-disposed although far from effusive. It was noted, as indeed it has been today, that the play had no plot and that there were few if any 'witty' lines."

Posted on September 17, 2014 at 9:20 AM. Category: Art and Culture.

Wednesday September 3, 2014

Hornets

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We have a nest of them in the chimney in France, and not much of a plan as to what to do about it - other than hope they die off in the winter. From time to time one of them falls down the inside of the chimney and much to his surprise (as well as ours) pops out in the living room through a crack in the register plate. This has led to puzzling phemonema for much of the later summer - apparent materialisations in the living room from nowhere, disturbing the calm of the evenings TV entertainment - but now all is explained, even if not to a very satisfactory conclusion

Other entertainments of our little weekend: now he is essentially back on form healthwise, George dashed off to hire the brush cutter from "lawn-mower-man" in the village, only to find it has been sold and is thus no longer to be hired... This was followed by a trek out to hire one elsewhere, and his coming back with a very ordinary looking mower on a trailer, which to our surprise was more than man enough for the 3 foot high grass. Now he has dreams and longings of owning one of his very own.

Plums abound but greengages have not been so good this year and we are running out of jam - I rather rely on their fruiting well every 2 years. I managed to put together enough fruit and set up the cooker in the living room (to date we have not bothered since the kitchen was closed) to make a few pots of jam.

Finally I decided it was time to "deal" with the pigs heads that have been languishing in the freezer - part of our pig-purchase from Lloyd. Mother used to make brawn, and though not a pleasant task, I have made one lot myself many years ago. Usually, you have half a head to deal with, but to my dismay, when defrosted, it turned out to be a whole head in 2 halves. Luckily these were piglets, so I was able to fit both halves in one cauldron, (and that is what it's like - a three-hour witches brew).
I would like to say it was all worth it with a delicious result, but that would not be entirely true. Still - next up - a set of trotters...

Posted on September 3, 2014 at 2:18 PM. Category: France.