And now a beef with Pink’s lyrics ……

Way back when I first started blogging, I discussed that fact that Ironic by Alanis Morissette was in fact mostly full of annoying rather than ironic things.

Well, I have another issue with song lyrics, which my post op drug addled brain first thought was also with Ms Morissette (due to her having an album called ‘Jagged Little Pill’) – but turns out, it’s actually with Pink and her track ‘Just Like A Pill’!

Turns out morphine doesn’t make me itch – but it does give me really bad constipation.  Although I appreciate that might be harder to lyricise…..

 

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Book Review: The Bees by Laline Paull

The Bees

Whilst I have admitted defeat this month and realise I am unlikely to finish my 2017 Reading Challenge, I’m still reading some of the books the various prompts have meant I’ve downloaded (waste not, want not and all that!).  This one is in the category ‘A book from a non human perspective’. As you may guess from the title – this is from the perspective of a bee.  Here’s the blurb.

“Born into the lowest class of her society, Flora 717 is a sanitation bee, only fit to clean her orchard hive. Living to accept, obey and serve, she is prepared to sacrifice everything for her beloved holy mother, the Queen.

Yet Flora has talents that are not typical of her kin. And while mutant bees are usually instantly destroyed, Flora is reassigned to feed the newborns, before becoming a forager, collecting pollen on the wing. Then she finds her way into the Queen’s inner sanctum, where she discovers secrets both sublime and ominous.

Enemies roam everywhere, from the fearsome fertility police to the high priestesses who jealously guard the Hive Mind. But Flora cannot help but break the most sacred law of all, meaning her instinct to serve is overshadowed by a desire, as overwhelming as it is forbidden…

Laline Paull’s chilling yet ultimately triumphant novel creates a luminous world both alien and uncannily familiar. Thrilling and imaginative, ‘The Bees’ is the story of a heroine who changes her destiny and her world.”

Now, I have to confess for the first 20% of this book I struggled to imagine this as anything other than the set of The Bee Movie – which is a fairly rubbish cartoon film that my kids watched in the back of my car for months on end some years ago.  I am completely sure that Laline Paull did not make wonderful descriptions for me to imagine that – but I really struggled to see it in any different way!

In fact I really struggled to get into this book (probably because it’s not really my type of genre – I’m not good at non human / sci fi type books or films for that matter) and because I’d admitted defeat on the challenge as a whole – so was having a bit of a teenage ‘what’s the point in reading it at all if I’m not going to finish the challenge’ grumpy, shoulder hunched kind of mard!

The descriptions are great – and I am sure the research into the inner workings of a bee hive and the life cycle of different types of bees was cleverly incorporated – but I just didn’t really get the point of it.  I don’t particularly like bees, I had no affinity to Flora, and didn’t really care what happened to her or the hive – which I don’t think helped my love of the book – and the fact it took me so long to wade through it.

I think I need to remember that ‘critically acclaimed’ and ‘award winning ‘ don’t necessarily mean a book I will enjoy!!

Still – another category ticked off – and another author I won’t rush to read again – so not a total waste of time!!

 

 

 

 

There’s a moose*, loose about this hoose…..

Earlier today the 3 youngest kids and one of the boy’s friends were playing hide and seek.  The boy shrieked ‘I’ve just seen a mouse in the spare room’ – which made everyone come out of their hiding places – but he wasn’t that insistent about it, so we assumed he was just being a knob (not unheard of!!)

However, about 2 hours later, middle daughter realised the tube attached to her hamster’s cage was actually not attached any more.  She claimed she’d seen Oreo (he’s brown and white – you’d never have guessed would you?) earlier that morning – so we didn’t think he could have got far.  But the back door had been open quite often – so we feared he could have gone to play with the rabbits and guinea pigs outside (parent code for – disappeared forever….)  Much searching of the family room, where the cage was sited,  ensued – but there was no evidence of an errant hamster.

At this point we thought that maybe the ‘mouse’ sighting from earlier in the day wasn’t such baloney – but that would have involved the hamster covering 20 odd metres – plus a flight of a dozen stairs – all without being noticed.

Some investigations in the spare room found Oreo under a chest of drawers having eaten through quite a chunk of carpet!  Still not entirely sure how he made it up there – I wonder if he had assistance from those cheeky Elves?!?  But he is now safely ensconced back in his cage.

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*Actually a hamster

 

 

Snapchat fail…..

Yesterday I tried to be all ‘down with the kids’ and send my son a Snapchat of where I was waiting for him at the station after school. Unfortunately I sent it to the incorrect Luke Price. #parentfail

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I was recounting this story to my daughter this evening and told her ‘but the other Luke Price was really understanding about it all when I apologised’

She was mortified, head in hands, ‘Mum, you should have just blocked him not gone back and said sorry’ – and she took my phone and blocked him for me (admittedly I wouldn’t have had a clue what to do!) so that I don’t make the same mistake again.

And there was me thinking I was being polite.  It would appear manners are not required for Snapchat.

Or perhaps middle aged women should just steer clear of it………

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: The Nothing Girl by Jodi Taylor

The Nothing Girl

I put a ‘shout out’ (that sounds so 90s, but I’ll stick with it) to the ladies in my reading challenge for recommendations for my missing categories – and one friend recommended ‘The Nothing Girl by Jodi Taylor for the mystical creature category.  (And the aforementioned friend used to be a librarian – so that could have been another category covered too!)

Here is the Amazon blurb:

“Getting a life isn’t always easy. And hanging on to it is even harder…
Known as “The Nothing Girl” because of her severe stutter and chronically low self-confidence, Jenny Dove is only just prevented from ending it all by the sudden appearance of Thomas, a mystical golden horse only she can see. Under his guidance, Jenny unexpectedly acquires a husband – the charming and chaotic Russell Checkland – and for her, nothing will ever be the same again.

With over-protective relatives on one hand and the world’s most erratic spouse on the other, Jenny needs to become Someone. And fast!”

I have to say I really enjoyed this book.  In some ways it reminded me of Eleanor Oliphant – in that Jenny, the main character, isn’t a ‘normal’ heroine of a book and you’re rooting for her throughout.  It cleverly brings in the ‘imaginary friend’ – Thomas the golden horse – which I thought I might find weird, but I soon got used to that idea.

Some bits had me laughing out loud, and other bits made me cry, but it kept my interest with a twisting and turning plot – and you’re never quite sure who’s got Jenny’s back and who hasn’t – until right near the end.

The characters are all very different – and it felt like you got to know them well – but your heart is always with Jenny.

The ending was lovely – and left me wanting more (and I can see there is a 2nd book in the series – I just might have to wait until 2018 when I’m allowed off piste with my reading and have ticked off all of the challenge categories!!)

Book Review: A Catered Fourth of July by Isis Crawford

A Catered Fourth of July

One of the categories in my 2017 Reading Challenge was ‘A book set around a holiday other than Christmas’ – so good old Google came to my assistance and I found this on Amazon. It looked like it would be a relatively easy read – and one of the characters was called Libby!  So this was a deliberate choice, rather than my last book where it came as a shock that I shared a name with a main character!!

Anyway – here’s the Amazon blurb:

“High noon on July Fourth in the quiet town of Longley, New York, and it’s got to be one hundred degrees. Thankfully, sisters Bernie and Libby are setting up their yummy catering out of the sun in the gazebo for the reenactment of The Battle of Meadow Creek—and not baking in those Revolutionary War uniforms with their fellow townspeople …
After a few cheery exchanges of “Moveth” and “Thou speakest treason,” the muskets are fired and the fake battle is over. But the blood on notorious town playboy Jack Devlin looks very real. Is it possible that Jack has had his last tryst? 
When town councilman and resident loudmouth Rick Evans fingers Libby’s beau, Marvin, as the killer, Bernie and Libby know they’ve got to get cooking on the case. But the former Casanova has burned half the town—including the hot-headed politician and his occasionally faithful wife. And what about re-enactor Elise Montague, who is training to be an EMT yet almost fainted at the sight of blood on the deceased? 
Bernie and Libby have their plates overloaded with suspects, and will need to work very fast to clear Marvin’s name. The simmering killer is still out there, armed and taking shots, and unless the sisters quickly get to the bottom of this patriotic pre-meditation…their goose may be cooked!”

It would appear that this is a series of books – but I don’t think that mattered, at no point did I feel I was missing out on key facts – so I think they could all be read standalone.

Early on I was annoyed at the slap dash editing – with the omission of an ‘of’ (I know, I probably need to get out more!) but as the book progressed I realised that this was probably an Americanism in the writing as it happened a lot.

It was a basic read – and not at all challenging – and also not that brilliant.

The ‘mystery’ twists and turns a bit – but I didn’t care enough about any of the characters to be that bothered who was guilty and why.

There were recipes at the end – which might be nice if you were in to that sort of thing – which clearly the author is, as the food throughout the book is described really well.

I definitely won’t be searching out any other books by this author – but at least that’s another one off the list…………

 

 

 

 

The top ten – telephone numbers I know….

I was thinking the other day that there aren’t many phone numbers I actually remember – most are programmed in to my mobile (I’m showing my age just by calling it that – my kids would call it phone without thinking of any other sort of phone!) and so I don’t need to know them.

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So – if I lost my mobile – who would I be able to call (aside from the emergency services, the speaking clock and directory enquiries):

  1. My husband’s mobile.  One of the very few numbers I actually remember – probably from calling it quite so much.  Let’s face it – he probably wouldn’t answer it as he’d be busy on another call – the kids even know the voicemail spiel off by heart from hearing it so much.
  2. Our landline. Admittedly that would freak everyone out!  The only people who phone the home phone are my Nan or cold callers. Or other household members and the call usually starts with ‘why haven’t you picked up your mobile?’
  3. My parents.  They’ve lived in the same house since before I was 2 – and had the same number I’m guessing from when they moved in.  They answer the phone with the last 4 digits of the number – which used to be ‘a thing’ – but I’m not so sure is now?  Back in the day the neighbours all had very similar numbers.  I clearly remember once mis-dialling the last digit when trying to call my folks and then realising I was talking to Auntie Val from down the road!! Once, when my best friend from school had actually lost her mobile (not hypothetically for a blog post) she managed to get in touch with me as she also remembered my parents number from our youth!
  4. My best friend from school.  The aforementioned friend has lived in the French Alps for the last 15 years – and when she first moved there I had this fancy calling account that meant it was cheaper than just using the landline.  However, this meant I had to dial a number first before putting in her number, so it couldn’t be programmed in to the phone. Consequently I remember all 13 digits of her phone number off by heart – similar to knowing my credit card number off by heart too.  Although, in both instances, I can only do the number in one go – if I pause in the middle it completely throws me!
  5. My middle sister.  In a similar vein to 4, my sister has lived in Munich for many years – and so I’ve memorised her number too.  There’s been the odd time I’ve had fat fingers and miskeyed the number and ended up talking to a random German – but generally I get it right!
  6. The office number.  Now this comes with a disclaimer.  I can remember the number that we give out publicly and is on all of our headed paper etc. but when we moved offices 5 years ago we changed exchanges within Birmingham and so couldn’t move our number across.  But – we didn’t want to change the number all of our customers and staff knew – so it gets forwarded every time someone calls it to a new local Kings Norton number.  I have that number saved into my phone for when I call the office (as it’s cheaper!) but don’t know the direct number at all!
  7. My Nan.  Nan has had the same number as long as I can remember – I suspect as long as she’s had a phone in her home, and it’s moved with her over the years (she’s clearly lived in the same Birmingham exchange all that time).  Although it if was an emergency and I’d lost my phone I’m not sure my almost 89 year old Nan would be my immediate source of assistance!  And we won’t even mention Nan’s own mobile…….
  8. The doctors’ surgery. Our doctors are great – but getting through to them at 8am for a same day appointment is impossible.  I tend to use the landline on ringback – but at the same time keep pressing redial on my mobile, sometimes in excess of 100 times.  I might not have to physically key in the digits each time – but the number is burned on to my retinas from looking at it so much.
  9. My best friend from work in the 90s.  She – like me – has had the same mobile number since we started working together in the mid 90s – it has therefore been used MANY MANY times in the last 20+ years.  Our teenage daughters are friends now – but clearly they’d iMessage or use social media to contact each other, nothing so retro as actually CALLING each other!
  10. Number 9’s husband’s mobile.  Now admittedly this is not quite as weird as it sounds – as he and I worked together lots in the 90s too – surviving some audits on pretty much caffeine and Haribo.  For some reason his mobile number would also be one I’d remember in a crisis.  And he has been known to be my knight in shining armour in the past – and this story probably needs to be recorded on my blog as it’s been told many time!!  I’d been out for dinner with them both and came home to find my front door unlocked.  At the time I lived on my own and it was pitch black. So lovely friend’s lovely husband picked up his weapon of choice (a squash racket from the boot of his car) and came into the house with me to check for intruders. We searched the house and there was no sign of anything remiss – until I went in to the kitchen and found an ENORMOUS bouquet of flowers.  My now husband had not long had a key to my house, and whilst I’d been out with friends he’d let himself in to deliver me some flowers.  He’d just not realised my front door needed to be manually locked when you left. Needless to say the phonecall to ‘thank’ him for the flowers also included some expletives….

So there you go – my ‘squad’ if I needed to make my one phone call from jail or such like!!

Apologies to my littlest sister and any friend I’ve made since 1996 – but at least you’re off the hook for bailing me out!!

 

 

 

 

Book Review: The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

 

The Wonder

I have been doing the Popsugar 2017 Reading Challenge for, well, 2017 to date!  Sometimes I’ve shoe horned some of my TBR pile into a category – and sometimes I’ve followed up on recommendations from friends.  However, I was struggling for some categories – but a little Google revealed that Popsugar had some recommendations for all of the categories – so I thought that would be a good place to start!

So – for the category ‘A book about food’ I went for The Wonder by Emma Donoghue.

Here is the blurb:

“An eleven-year-old girl stops eating, but remains miraculously alive and well. A nurse, sent to investigate whether she is a fraud, meets a journalist hungry for a story.

Set in the Irish Midlands in the 1850s, Emma Donoghue’s The Wonder – inspired by numerous European and North American cases of ‘fasting girls’ between the sixteenth century and the twentieth – is a psychological thriller about a child’s murder threatening to happen in slow motion before our eyes. Pitting all the seductions of fundamentalism against sense and love, it is a searing examination of what nourishes us, body and soul.”

First things first I was a bit shocked that the main character, and the person whose view the book is written from – the English nurse sent to investigate – is called Lib – like me. That had to be a good sign?!?

I found this a bit of a slow burner (which looking back I also did with the other book I’ve read by Emma Donoghue – the critically acclaimed ‘Room’).  I kept expecting for it to get going – but it definitely took over half of the book to do that.  There was a lot of descriptions of the Irish Midlands, and the house where the young girl and her family lived.  It all felt a bit repetitive and dull.  Lib wasn’t that nice – and definitely looked down her nose at the family she was ‘observing’ and the other ‘locals’ – particularly their religious faith.  However, most of them did need a good shake – so I can see where Lib was coming from.

I’m not a massive fan of historical fiction (or TV programmes or films) so I guess it’s not a massive surprise I found quite a lot of it a bit dreary (like the Irish Midlands by the sounds of it!)

However, about 70% through (got to love a Kindle!) the book finally picked up – and was a real roller coaster through to the end with numerous twists and turns.  This meant that overall it was an ok book – but definitely just ok rather than brilliant!

I’m not sure how much of it was based on fact – and how much was artistic licence – but terribly sad if this did happen a lot.

In conclusion, I’m not sure I’ll be rushing to read any more Emma Donoghue – but that’s another category ticked off the list.  Just 13 more categories to complete in the next 2.5 months #nopressurethen

 

 

 

Training shoes

This morning I was off to a breakfast seminar to be technically updated about current changes in Financial Reporting legislation.  These seminars are great because I can tick the continued professional development box on my ICAEW renewal, catch up with old colleagues, have a lovely bacon bap* – and miss the morning chaos at home – winning all round!

Anyway – as I was getting ready the youngest said, ‘Mummy, where are you going?’

I decided the above was a bit verbose for a 5 year old, so went with ‘A training course’ – she looked at my feet and replied ‘I don’t think you’re going to be able to run in those shoes Mummy?’

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At the seminar I bumped into one of the retired partners who I hadn’t seen in over 15 years – I had a momentary panic as I couldn’t remember which surname he knew me by.  Then I realised it didn’t actually matter, as he had once signed me in to a client as Libby Purves as he couldn’t remember my surname!

 

* In shocking news there were no bacon or sausage baps today!  The chef was trying out some fancy pants breakfast canapes!!  Whilst they looked and tasted great – you just didn’t have the volume of a bap – and some of the pretty tiny bowls required a spoon, and when you’ve got an essential mug of coffee in one hand (I’ve learnt you need a double caffeine hit before these things, having once fallen asleep and had the notes on my lap clatter to the floor!) you can’t faff with a spoon and tiny canape as well!!