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Archive Entries for August 2015

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Monday August 31, 2015

Books in August

  • Critical Mass by Sara ParetskyBOM-CriticalMass.jpg
    Once again - a very long time since I read this author - I was under the illusion that she had not written anything for a long time (like the gap in Amy Tan's work) but it's just my not keeping up. Based on the dates, it seems I have 4 to read since "Fire Sale" which I must have read in 2005.
    So - back to this novel - I really liked the story. My memory of her previous novels is that they revolved around types of business fraud or insurance - possibly realistically what PIs get involved in - and then there's the twist which make a book into an adventure thriller. However this story had two themes of much more interest to me: one was historical (WWII) and the other was was Physics- its a novel about Science* ("...and then there's the twist which make it into an adventure thriller..." etc). I loved it.
    I'm now all set for to read backwards through the ones I missed.
    * I read that although the author is qualified in her own discipline of political science, her husband of 40 odd years is an academic professor of Physics.

  • Heartstone and Lamentation by C J Sansom
    I found I had two books to read in the Shardlake series - and they were both great.
    Heartstone was very interesting - and all about the Mary Rose, which of course I went to visit for my birthday this year - and Sansom seems to have been as much blown away by the experience as I was. As a historian it must be amazing to have such a spyglass into the life of folk from that period across all social strata. Plus - only a fraction of the artefacts have been fully examined currently, let alone put on display.
    Lamentation, however, was my favourite of the two. I did guess the fundamental plot device in Heartstone, although not actually the "why". In Lamentation, I felt the plot was stronger. So now Henry's reign has ended but Shardlake carries on - given the fortunes of the main characters in this book, maybe Sansom is shaping up for a future generation of detective in a new era - who knows?
    BOM-Heartstone.jpg BOM-Lamentation.jpg

Posted on August 31, 2015 at 8:59 AM. Category: Books of the Month. | Comments (0)

Sunday August 30, 2015

As high as an elephant's eye...

GardenMorning.jpg

Perhaps not quite that high but we have been unable to do much to the grass on this trip as the weather has been uncooperative. Overall not too bad but continual showers ensuring everything is too wet to cut. Notice that the tree outside the bakehouse has keeled over - poor thing - we plan to try and prop it up again - just too heavy with the fruit and soggy soil.
On the plus side, I made a lot of headway in the house itself, hanging the mirror, and getting the bathroom lights installed - and the usual painting jobs - the scope of which seems to be endless.

Bathroom.jpg

Posted on August 30, 2015 at 7:55 AM. Category: France. | Comments (0)

Monday August 24, 2015

Cleaning and Creativity

Mirror.jpg

Apparently not much happened this month - mostly because I was doing rather than writing about it.

I finally finished off an "artisan" mirror to match the tiling in our new French bathroom. This project turned out to be an incredible palava - reminding me yet again of my Father's quote "you do like to enjoy yourself don't you?". I bought a reduced price beaten up mirror from B&Q - and then proceeded to beat it up even more. It already had the basic structure I wanted, being inset, and framed with a plain white surround. I removed the latter to replace with mosaic tiles - I then had to route out the surround further to accommodate the depth of the tiles, repair the wood to make up for my very poor routing (!), cut the mosaics to make them fit the shape, stick the tiles down with two types of glue, paint the frame a dark brown to match the bathroom, and finally grout the tiles.... I then had to repaint the surround as the grouting process pulled off the paint.... the whole project has been plagued with so many similar small difficulties that I should not have been surprised by any of this.
I have now created a mirror which is so heavy that I am not even sure how to fix it to the wall as the frame is not robust enough to support the increased weight. I feel with the cost of the mosaic panel and the epoxy glue, I would have done better to start from scratch...

In addition, a lot of August was taken up with preparing for the rebuild (or new build) of our utility area on the side of the house. George has managed a lot of the reorganisation on his own, and as of the day we left for France, we had no hot water or central heating , and our washing machine is resident outside the front door of the house, (a very attractive feature), in the hope that during the 10 week build we can use it in that position.

Spurred on by all this activity (and an apparent moth infestation) I cleared out a lot of old clothes and cleaned and sprayed the bedroom. I took the opportunity to install new blinds and curtains - with 5 double windows in the room that took a lot of time and effort, even though it was a budget solution from IKEA.

After all this there is a plus side - by October we will at last have a proper weather-proof room to the side of the house instead of the shack of the last 15 years. The kitchen and bathroom in France are to all intents and purposes up and running - even with lots of finishing detail still to be done inside - and the outside rendering needs to get going while there is still a chance if some good weather (as I sit here the rain is beating against the window...). However we have tried out both dishwasher and washing machine, the cooker is back in position, and we have moved our "stuff" back in - leaving loads of scope for yet more cleaning in the living room (groan...).

Posted on August 24, 2015 at 9:21 AM. Category: Crafts. | Comments (0)

Tuesday August 18, 2015

Summer Flowers

Begonias.jpg

I just took a couple of pictures of my later flowering pots as everything looks so pretty at the moment. The recent rain has freshened everything though the grass has not fared so well this year. I wanted a quick result for the pots and the local nurseries were all selling off the summer plants (they were looking a bit bedraggled) - but the pack of begonias have perked up very well and I have planted an extra pot of them to sit temporarily in one of the beds by the gate.

There is also a mystery dahlia that Jennie bought me - she purchased a pack of 3 tubers as Karma Chocolate - one died, hers has come out as advertised "chocolate", but mine is orange! From the description it looks more like David Howard - and it is lovely.

Dahlia.jpg

Posted on August 18, 2015 at 9:03 AM. Category: The Garden. | Comments (0)