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Archive Entries for December 2020

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Thursday December 31, 2020

Books in December

  • The Neon Rain by James Lee Burke [read by Will Patton]
    BOM-TheNeonRain.jpg I was fairly blown away (no pun intended) by the first Robicheaux novel I read so decided as ever to read the series. I'm guessing his first one was written with no intention of a series as it's nicely rounded off with a (fairly) happy ending - but I'm glad the author brought Robicheaux back for more.
    I am both astonished and touched by the author's descriptions of his homeland in these books. I have to say this type of descriptive prose constitutes the passages that a pleb like me will normally skip through when reading a thriller, but there is no temptation for me to do this here. If anything, I want to repeat the passages, rolling them around in my mind; they are so vivid and written with such love - it makes me want not only to visit "that" America but to be part of the landscape, being moved by the scenery as he is.

  • The Burial of Ghosts by Ann Cleeves [read by Colleen Prendergast]
    BOM-TheBurialOfGhosts.jpg This book dates from around the same time as the first Vera Stanhope novel and seems to have very mixed reviews from her fans. It made me feel that some of the dissatisfied readers may be viewing it in the light of the hugely popular Vera and Shetland series - and maybe even in the light of TV series rather than the books.
    It has a fairly thrilling plot with an unusual premise (not wholly plausible but I'm happy to suspend disbelief) and seemed overall a good read (or listen). Ann (may I call you Ann?) tends towards psychological thrillers, and has an objective way of writing about her characters; this is harder to achieve when writing in the first person so inevitably it seems like a departure from her other work. It did remind me slightly of the structure and story telling style of Chris Brookmyre (whose writing I also love) - maybe simply because it's written from a female perspective in the first person and with an unusual premise.

  • The End of the Line by Gillian Galbraith [read by Gordon Griffin and Lesley Mackie ]
    BOM-TheEndOfTheLine.jpg As usual (!) I found this author while looking at another "Galbraith" (aka J K Rowling). There were several of her (Gillian's) books on offer from the library, but I decided to start with the one that was not part of a series - in case I did not feel inclined to read any more of her work. However, no problem there; I found the book compelling both in the storyline the theme explored in the book (relating to the Infected Blood Inquiry).
    The story is told by an antiquarian book dealer who is tasked with clearing out the mansion of an elderly doctor. He comes across the old man's diary and is led to question, investigate, and understand, the real circumstances leading up to the old man's death.

  • Shifting Skin, and, Savage Moon by Chris Simms

    I've been catching up on the earlier DI Spicer novels in their written form. I may have said before that Spicer is not my favourite of Chris's characters but these made me warm to him a little more. [I would venture to suggest that the author is writing about a character more in an objective sense and one who is not like himself. I'm sure that is true of many writers since characters are made up and do not have to be autobiographical - and yet somehow I do not feel empathy or even sympathy with Spicer and I am not sure why.]

    BOM-ShiftingSkin.jpg BOM-SavageMoon.jpg

Posted on December 31, 2020 at 9:23 AM. Category: Books of the Month. | Comments (0)

Wednesday December 30, 2020

3000 Things to Do at Home


Our Christmas project - a Waddingtons 3000 piece jigsaw purchased long ago for just such a time as this.
Mike Wilks stunningly detailed picture "Sleepy Shopkeeper" featuring all things starting with the letter "S". [Including his own signature "Wike Milks" - - no? - a spoonerism].

Posted on December 30, 2020 at 10:11 AM. Category: Staying at Home. | Comments (0)

Tuesday December 29, 2020

Leftovers en Croûte


Posted on December 29, 2020 at 8:20 PM. Category: Staying at Home. | Comments (0)

Friday December 25, 2020

A rather strange Christmas Day


But we kept up the traditions nonetheless... paper hats were donned after the cracker pulling...


[I notice I have this in the category "days out" but after this year's experiences I rather think "Days In" would be more apt.]

Posted on December 25, 2020 at 3:14 PM. Category: Staying at Home. | Comments (0)

Wednesday December 2, 2020

Winter Pots


I "rescued" a tray of half dead (and half price) plants from a local DIY store. They seemed to recover quite well almost as soon as they hit the new compost.

I also bought a declining poinsettia - which continued to decline in parts barring one branch which has gone from strength to strength and to my surprise seems like it might make it through to the end of the month (* you can see its rather one sided appearance on the Christmas table 25th December). And a Christmas Cactus - which is well over but I plan to nurture it hopefully for winter colour next year (* also visible without flowers on the Christmas table 25th December).
And, finally in my bargain spree, a rather more peculiar choice ...
...a Venus Fly Trap - which is nothing like anything I have ever wanted but there were dozens of them all as dry as a bone and practically being given away - I'd have liked to take them all to be honest. Anyway, I read about what they like, and after watering (with rain water), and placing on a sunny windowsill (as much light as there is at this time of year), its little cups have turned red which apparently indicates health and happiness. Tiny fruit flies have been attracted but not - as far as I can tell - fallen victim.


My friend and gardener Jenny advised "not to poke it" - and I thought "what am I? 5?" - but it's ridiculously tempting.

Posted on December 2, 2020 at 11:08 PM. Category: The Garden. | Comments (0)