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  1. Yesterday
  2. A to Z Game

    Queets River, Olympic National Park, Washington State, USA- to see if the rumors are true that you can lose a pint of blood a day feeding the mosquitoes
  3. what is everyone doing?

    Thanks for your kind words Meg and Luna, and Binker it's sad when a friend dies even if you only see them occasionally. I was shocked and saddened about Barbara and equally shocked when I had phoned Bill back when he had left a message on the answering machine in response to my previous attemp to get in touch. He left a long message and never mentioned Barbara. Then I called again to ask how Barbara was doing, I know she was reluctant to talk on the phone because of a bit of memory loss, and was stunned to hear that she had died in February. Others in the group had already passed away so there was no way for me to get the news other than from Bill and I guess he thought I would somehow know. Our former church youth group is low in numbers now. Meg's quote in her message is really apt. I had watched Barbara Bush's funeral yesterday afternoon and thought it was beautifully orchestrated with the music, the readings and the tributes and some of the light hearted moments. She had a good long and busy life.
  4. I finally got my hands on this book and read it straight through except for a couple of weeks when it went missing at the house and so I read Rules of Civility. Even with the break, I loved the book. It did remind me how much I had enjoyed Gideon Mack and the thinking about the issues it presented. This book, also, makes you think about "trust the story" and also about the arc of a person's life, particularly someone who lives a long time, like Don. I learned a lot I had sort of vaguely known about the history of the time and didn't mind the political discussions. The only person who made me roll my eyes was Jean, who seemed so full of herself. I didn't mind the espousing left-wing views while living in inherited money. That's the description of most of the left-wingers in the United States, so I guess I've gotten used to it. I've recommended it highly to friends. This is the first time I've thought, "Oh, I've got to give this to Mom to read" only to realize that I can't.
  5. what is everyone doing?

    My mother's maid of honor died last week, just 2 months after my mother's death. She was also a friend of mine and my last contact with my mother's childhood. My mother grew up in Golden, Colorado and this friend stayed in the area. I stayed with her one summer and every time we went to Colorado on vacation, we would stop and she her and her husband. The news has made me very sad.
  6. what is everyone doing?

    So sorry to hear about your friend, Momac. I am continually surprised that all the friends from my church youth group, even the ones in the cohort above me, are still on this earth. I am not on direct contact with many of them, but indirectly with most through one or two others, and no sad news has filtered through as yet. One close friend from then was widowed last summer so, to quote Andrew Marvell; "At my back I always hear time's winged chariot hurrying near" (From To His Coy Mistress)
  7. The City and The City (TV adaptation)

    Oh good, I'm looking forward to it
  8. what is everyone doing?

    Sorry to hear about your loss Momac. My brother has planted out all his seeds in the back garden and yesterday he mowed the lawn (my father 'helped' him), that's as much gardening as we have done. The weather here is dry and sunny but it's not that warm. I've been getting on with my crochet and reading.
  9. Last week
  10. what is everyone doing?

    You lucky people Meg and Tag - already way ahead of us in the garden although our neighbour who looks after our lawn and any outside chores was over today and dug up a bed in the back yard so that Dave will have a place to plant his tomato plants. Dave also has chrysanthemums started, he started a whole package and if those get planted there won't be a lot of room for much else. Had a sad telephone conversation today with a friend in Vancouver, about eight of us all got married in the same year and I keep in touch every couple of months with Barb and Bill and in speaking to him today I asked about Barbara as she was having trouble with her memory and didn't want to talk much on the phone. He shocked me by saying she died in February and I had no idea. He is confined to a wheelchair so is not too well himself. She had the greatest laugh - can still picture her and can't believe she's gone....
  11. what is everyone doing?

    I am not wasting this fine weather, having had another weeding session today. The time spent on my knees over the last few days has had the expected effect on my joints and muscles, and I am walking like an ancient cowboy who has lost his horse. Feeling very satisfied with the results of my labour, though, and am tempted to say that one more day should clear the weeds - except that I know that as soon as I finish the next area wanting my attention I will see another that had looked OK yesterday ... and as soon as it rains another crop of weeds will pop up where I thought I'd finished. Hey ho, that's the joy and curse of gardening! I have also almost finished filling the large containers (redundent re-cycling boxes) with potting compost and water-retaining granules, ready for the climbing beans, cucumbers and tomatoes. I have never been this far ahead in my preparation in previous years - that's the benefit of having a much smaller garden. Most of my plantlets are outside hardening-off, and two more trays of seeds are beginning to germinate on the windowsill, so I everything should be ready for planting out by May. Fingers crossed, and horticultural fleece at the ready, against the return of the cold!!
  12. A to Z Game

    Peru - to see Machu Picchu
  13. what is everyone doing?

    Busy day and a bit of gardening for me. Yesterday evening I strimmed my overgrown plot (grass and weeds) prior to burning it back and planting a wild flower mix. Then planted my pots up with Dahlias. Then (once everyone had got their washing in, I burnt some stuff. I had a good couple of hours burning some old timber and some hedging that was too big for recycling. I see the attraction of pyromania. Then today we planted up two borders and some pots. Now I think a relaxing bath is in order. Shame I haven't got any Radox, my back is killing me.
  14. The City and The City (TV adaptation)

    I ended up watching all four episodes one evening last week. Very good, I thought.
  15. Poetic Wanderings

    Kind o’er the kinderbank leans my Myfanwy, White o’er the playpen the sheen of her dress, Fresh from the bathroom and soft in the nursery Soap scented fingers I long to caress. Were you a prefect and head of your dormit'ry? Were you a hockey girl, tennis or gym? Who was your favourite? Who had a crush on you? Which were the baths where they taught you to swim? Smooth down the Avenue glitters the bicycle, Black-stockinged legs under navy blue serge, Home and Colonial, Star, International, Balancing bicycle leant on the verge. Trace me your wheel-tracks, you fortunate bicycle, Out of the shopping and into the dark, Back down the avenue, back to the pottingshed, Back to the house on the fringe of the park. Golden the light on the locks of Myfanwy, Golden the light on the book on her knee, Finger marked pages of Rackham's Hans Anderson, Time for the children to come down to tea. Oh! Fullers angel-cake, Robertson’s marmalade, Liberty lampshade, come shine on us all, My! what a spread for the friends of Myfanwy, Some in the alcove and some in the hall. Then what sardines in half-lighted passages! Locking of fingers in long hide-and-seek. You will protect me, my silken Myfanwy, Ring leader, tom-boy, and chum to the weak. John Betjeman - 'Myfanwy'
  16. Book Chain

    THE Woman in the Woods - John Connolly
  17. Review of the Gurugu Pledge by Juan Tomas Avila Laurel, translated by Jethro Soutar This novel is set on the migrant camp on Mount Gurugu in northern Morocco overlooking the Spanish enclave Melilla. There are various characters in it and the novel revolves about their life before they came to the camp and also life in the camp. Stories told include the superstitious one about a young girl who transforms in the blink of an eye to an elderly lady or the story of the former strongman of idi amin who turns up in a person's home town with his plundered millions or those of a couple of troublemaker. Between these, the camp members also have football tournament (though the football isn't particularly good. It is more something to pass time) between teams representing their respective nations. A lot of the dialogue is very good and humourous particularly between representatives of two teams. Though there is also sombreness to the novel (particularly the final section) and Avila laurel does a great job (as does soutar) in the telling of the novel, I thought this was a very good novel and I liked it alot. * * * * 1/2
  18. The City and The City (TV adaptation)

    I have all four episodes recorded so I think I'll wait until I've finished my re-read to watch it.
  19. Small Country

    The small country in question is Burundi, the lesser known twin to Rwanda. Like Rwanda, Burundi has ethnic tension between the Hutu and Tutsi population; unlike Rwanda the tensions have been kept on a slow boil rather than spilling over into mass genocide. The novel is narrated by Gaby (Gabriel), a Burundian man now living in Europe, looking back on his childhood in Burundi. He is terribly homesick. He remembers a happy childhood, living in a middle class neighbourhood of Bujumbura, the Capital, with his French father and Rwandan mother. His friends are also mostly mixed race and middle class, identifying as African but not always accepted by the majority Burundians. Gaby's family had servants - some Hutu and some Tutsi - and travelled to see family in Rwanda. He scrumped mangoes from his neighbour's trees and sold them back to her. In school, Gaby was successful, intelligent to the point of precociousness, politically astute. This is thrown into relief in the letters between himself and Laure, a French pen-friend allocated to him by his school. Laure has little interest in the world and seems to imagine Gaby sits on the ground with flies on his face, waiting for the next aid package to fall from the sky. In return for brief letters listing her possessions, Gaby send considered thoughts on the emergent democratic process in Burundi. Which makes it quite jarring that this supposedly intelligent (and now adult) man narrates the story in simple language and staccato sentences. The voice is far cruder than the language of the transcribed letters he was writing at the age of ten. And while we are on the subject, his narration has a viewpoint problem; even as an adult narrating the story, he tells it as though he still had a child's awareness of the people around him and their actions; a child's unawareness of hidden agenda. For the first half of the book, it was an interesting exercise in telling us that Africa is a good place and that our pre-conceptions of life in grinding poverty are wide of the mark. But in the second half, the action shifts to Rwanda and the genocide. This is still written in simple language but the imagery is clear, the emotions raw. It doesn't come as a surprise to anyone who has followed current affairs; indeed, it is played in a way that the reader feels a growing sense of horror as Gaby and his family misread the signs and underestimate the enormity of what is coming. The novel puts faces on the atrocity. This second half of the novel redeems a really ordinary first half, but the overall point of view difficulties still remain problematic. The shift at the end back to adult Gaby feels awkward and weakens the overall impact. I know it is supposed to make us think about the plight of the refugee and consider that refugees often wish they could have stayed at home; they do not feel like lottery winners who have landed up in rich countries. But this is not the strong note on which to leave a novel that has been in the abyss of genocidal Kigali. Worth reading - and it is a short novel - but a better editor might have turned this into something special. ***00
  20. something not to do is turn it over to it with 6 minutes left to go in an episode
  21. what is everyone doing?

    Nice that you are getting out in the garden Meg. Don't overdo it or you will have to rest up to recover. We have bright sunshine today but still a wee bit chilly. At least all the snow has melted off the flower beds and the bulb shoots have come through unscathed. Will be interesting to see them in bloom as we had them planted for us and I let the gardener plant them at will, just told him what flowers I liked. I fear the squirrels may have had a go at the tulip bulbs they could reach through the netting but time will tell.
  22. Poetic Wanderings

    Stars that seem so close and bright, Watched by lovers through the night, Swim in emptiness, men say, Many a mile and year away. And yonder star that burns so white, May have died to dust and night Ten, or maybe, fifteen year, Before it shines upon my dear. Oh! often among men below, Heart cries out to heart, I know, And one is dust a many years, Child, before the other hears. Heart from heart is all as far, Fafaia, as star from star Fafaia - Rupert Brook
  23. what is everyone doing?

    Not quite so hot today. Good weather for doing things in the garden. Two long sessions on my knees, weeding, in the last 48hrs has left me with aching muscles and joints that normally don't get that much use. It's a satisfying ache - I just hope i can get out of bed in the mrning!
  24. what is everyone doing?

    The weather has been good here, we haven't seen the same heat that Britain has seen (I can't cope with that heat). Best we have seen is 16 or 17 so not near what has been in England but quite nice.
  25. Free to read Websites - good or bad?

    I've used Project Gutenberg a lot. It's a great resource for out of copyright material. I've also used https://www.dailylit.com to get an email each day with a couple of pages of a book (I think you can choose the size).
  26. Poetic Wanderings

    There's a lovely quote from 'The Way of All Flesh' about 'Casabianca': "The moral of the poem was that young people cannot begin too soon to exercise discretion in the obedience they pay to their papa and mamma." Stars, I have seen them fall, But when they drop and die No star is lost at all From all the star-sown sky. The toil of all that be Helps not the primal fault; It rains into the sea, And still the sea is salt. A.E. Housman - 'Stars, I have seen them fall'
  27. what is everyone doing?

    Most people here won't be finding it too hot, but it is a bit warmer here on the S coast and there is no shade of any significance in my garden. Nor any where between us and the coast - too windy, for one thing. I just have a low tolerance for direct sunlight and am trying to do the spring gardening jobs in full sun.
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