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  1. Today
  2. Poetic Wanderings

    “Summer is coming, summer is coming. I know it, I know it, I know it. Light again, leaf again, life again, love again.” Yes, my wild little Poet. Sing the new year in under the blue. Last year you sang it as gladly. “New, new, new, new!” Is it then so new That you should carol so madly? “Love again, song again, nest again, young again,” Never a prophet so crazy! And hardly a daisy as yet, little friend, See, there is hardly a daisy. “Here again, here, here, here, happy year!” Oh, warble unchidden, unbidden! Summer is coming, is coming, my dear, And all the winters are hidden. Alfred, Lord Tennyson - 'The Throstle'
  3. Poetic Wanderings

    The sun is bright,--the air is clear, The darting swallows soar and sing. And from the stately elms I hear The bluebird prophesying Spring. So blue yon winding river flows, It seems an outlet from the sky, Where waiting till the west-wind blows, The freighted clouds at anchor lie. All things are new;--the buds, the leaves, That gild the elm-tree's nodding crest, And even the nest beneath the eaves;-- There are no birds in last year's nest! All things rejoice in youth and love, The fulness of their first delight! And learn from the soft heavens above The melting tenderness of night. Maiden, that read'st this simple rhyme, Enjoy thy youth, it will not stay; Enjoy the fragrance of thy prime, For oh, it is not always May! Enjoy the Spring of Love and Youth, To some good angel leave the rest; For Time will teach thee soon the truth, There are no birds in last year's nest! It Is Not Always May by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  4. MACBETH I hear it by the way; but I will send: There's not a one of them but in his house I keep a servant fee'd. I will to-morrow, And betimes I will, to the weird sisters: More shall they speak; for now I am bent to know, By the worst means, the worst. For mine own good, All causes shall give way: I am in blood Stepp'd in so far that, should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go o'er: Strange things I have in head, that will to hand; Which must be acted ere they may be scann'd. Shakespeare, Macbeth III/iv
  5. Yesterday
  6. Poetic Wanderings

    BUT chief—surpassing all—a cuckoo clock! That crowning wonder! miracle of art! How have I stood entranced uncounted minutes, With held-in breath, and eyes intently fixed On that small magic door, that when complete 5 The expiring hour—the irreversible— Flew open with a startling suddenness That, though expected, sent the rushing blood In mantling flushes o’er my upturned face; And as the bird, (that more than mortal fowl!) 10 With perfect mimicry of natural tone, Note after note exact Time’s message told, How my heart’s pulse kept time with the charmed voice! And when it ceased made simultaneous pause As the small door clapt to, and all was still. 15 'The Cuckoo Clock' from The Birthday by Caroline Bowles Southey
  7. Poetic Wanderings

    O, the month of May, the merry month of May, So frolic, so gay, and so green, so green, so green! O, and then did I unto my true love say, Sweet Peg, thou shalt be my Summer's Queen. Now the nightingale, the pretty nightingale, The sweetest singer in all the forest quire, Entreats thee, sweet Peggy, to hear thy true love's tale: Lo, yonder she sitteth, her breast against a brier. But O, I spy the cuckoo, the cuckoo, the cuckoo; See where she sitteth; come away, my joy: Come away, I prithee, I do not like the cuckoo Should sing where my Peggy and I kiss and toy. O, the month of May, the merry month of May, So frolic, so gay, and so green, so green, so green; And then did I unto my true love say, Sweet Peg, thou shalt be my Summer's Queen. Thomas Dekker - 'The Merry Month of May'
  8. The Rat Millionaire

    Hi everybody, So I've just signed up to this forum, and I'd like to take a moment to introduce myself. My name is James Attwell. I'm a frequent-reader-occasional-writer. I like books that have something something to say about society, even if they do so in a fictional setting. Some of my favourites include 'Animal farm' by George Orwell, 'The Lord of the Rings' by J R R Tolkien, and 'Brave new World' by Aldous Huxley....but that's just a few. I've actually recently co-authored a book, with the American motivational coach Mike Merzoug. We're both really pleased with the end result of our colloboration. It's called "The Rat Millionaire', and it's an inspirational fable, about Squick, a little blue eyed rat who has big dreams. He experiences all kinds of setbacks and challenges, but is determined to make it. Throughout the course of it, the reader learns 21 important lessons that they can take away and also apply into their own lives. It's available on Amazon.
  9. Hi

    Hi everybody, So I've just signed up to this forum, and I'd like to take a moment to introduce myself. My name is James Attwell. I'm a frequent-reader-occasional-writer. I like books that have something something to say about society, even if they do so in a fictional setting. Some of my favourites include 'Animal farm' by George Orwell, 'The Lord of the Rings' by J R R Tolkien, and 'Brave new World' by Aldous Huxley....but that's just a few. - James Attwell
  10. Rest in Peace

    Philip Roth, 85
  11. How Much Land Does A Man Need is an old Tolstoy short story. My form teacher read it to my class when I was 13 and it has stuck with me. So when I saw that it had been adapted into graphic novel form, I jumped at the chance. This is beautifully illustrated, creating scenes of pre-Revolution peasant life in Siberia. The man and his wife live a happy but poor life, but are tempted by their upwardly mobile city relations. It takes only minor provocation from the land agent to drive the village to rise up and seize (purchase) the land for the common good. But our hero wants more and more, and is willing to make unwise bargains to attain it. Needless to say - this is Tolstoy - it doesn't end well. I don't have too much experience of graphic novels, but this one seems to be faithful to the original story, to convey both the story and the atmosphere, and to seduce the reader with awesome illustration. I don't know how long graphic novels are supposed to take to read, but from memory this was about the same length as the original story. Some pages are dense, others contain just a single scene. The title is available as both paper copy and eBook copy. I obtained a copying PDF, which gave me colour and zoom ability which I valued. It would be a shame to read this in black and white. ****0
  12. Last week
  13. Have a Rant!

    For now Meg! The geraniums were delivered this morning and they are lovely. Just waiting to hear from the young man who does the planting and he's really busy plus being a new father. Our daughter has said that if all else fails she will plant them but really is not wanting to do it, not her thing, and she works full- time so needs time to herself. I'm hoping that a border of white alyssum will contrast nicely with the two shades of geraniums. I live in hope!
  14. Currently Reading

    Bleak House, Charles Dickens
  15. First Grave on the Right, Second Grave on the Left, Third Grave Dead Ahead, Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet, Fifth Grave Past The Light, Sixth Grave on the Edge, Seventh Grave and No Body, Eighth Grave after Dark, The Dirt on Ninth Grave, The Curse of Tenth Grave, Eleventh Grave in Moonlight, The Trouble with Twelfth Grave, (The thirteenth and final book is due to be released in January 2019) As you are all probably aware, I have an inclination towards fantasy/paranormal themed books, so when I was made aware of the Charley Davidson Series of books I knew I had to have a little look! This 12 book series (the final 13th book is due to be released in early 2019) has kept me occupied now for the past few months, yes I have lost sleep... a lot of sleep! This is due to the fact I have been thinking I’ll just see what happens next, only find I’ve done an all-nighter or close to it not going to bed before about 4/5am (something I wouldn’t recommend doing, but these books seemed to take over and I just had to read a bit more). The general premise of the series revolves around Charley Davidson a young girl who works as a private investigator and helps out the local police department and in particular her uncle who is a cop in that police department with her unique talents. She is a grim reaper, a portal to the afterlife, the dead come to her to cross over, or not as the case may be because if these people have died they give her information to find their killers before they cross – hence her rather spectacular record of solving homicides. Her family know she has unusual gifts but is unaware of the full extent of them. Her stepmother is afraid of her and as such has rejected her all her life which as a result has made her relationship with her sister strained but she is incredibly close to her father something which also seems to piss off her stepmother somewhat. She is an extremely likeable quirky character who makes you smile and sometimes laugh out loud with some of the things she says and does. As the books continue though we gradually find out that she is much more than what she appears to be. We learn that she remembers her own birth, her mother was her first customer, so to speak as her mother died during childbirth and crossed through her, she also remembers a dark forbidding figure standing over her after she was born, as she grew up this figure always seemed to appear when she was in danger, when she was abducted by a paedophile as a small child he appeared and severed the spine of the paedophile but not leaving a mark on him, and at other times during her childhood he appeared when she was in danger, she nicknamed this figure ‘Big Bad’ and it was the only thing she was truly ever afraid of, but seeing the spirits of the departed will do that to you. It is a complicated story with a core of well written, interesting characters, it has many layers and the revelations keep coming as the books continue, and the story unfolds and builds. Unlike many other long series of books, this one is consistently good and there isn’t a weak book in the series, yes some of the revelations are mind-blowingly incredulous but it is fantasy and this series more than lives up to that title.
  16. Have a Rant!

    Pleased to know that peace is again reigning in the mac household.
  17. Have a Rant!

    He's happy right now, has been over to the local nursery, just five minutes away, asked me for a list of flowers that would be nice in hanging baskets, came back with none of them but other flowers, some impatiens and others, said there were no signs on anything and he won't ask, so just picked up the colours he liked, so don't know really what's there, but he's happy and my geraniums will be delivered tomorrow morning, delivery charge was decreased as the owner is making more than one delivery in our area so that's great. World is looking a bit brighter.
  18. Poetic Wanderings

    My good blade carves the casques of men, My tough lance thrusteth sure, My strength is as the strength of ten, Because my heart is pure. The shattering trumpet shrilleth high, The hard brands shiver on the steel, The splinter'd spear-shafts crack and fly, The horse and rider reel: They reel, they roll in clanging lists, And when the tide of combat stands, Perfume and flowers fall in showers, That lightly rain from ladies' hands. How sweet are looks that ladies bend On whom their favours fall! For them I battle till the end, To save from shame and thrall: But all my heart is drawn above, My knees are bow'd in crypt and shrine: I never felt the kiss of love, Nor maiden's hand in mine. More bounteous aspects on me beam, Me mightier transports move and thrill; So keep I fair thro' faith and prayer A virgin heart in work and will. first two stanzas of Sir Galahad by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  19. Have a Rant!

    So sorry that you and Mr mac have fallen out. You may be right that it is age-related, he is probably as frustrated as you that it is getting more difficult to get out and about, and do the things that were once so easy. You having the plants delivered may seem like an acknowledgement that you are both getting a bit more frail, and that acknowledgement may be what is making him angry, not you - you are just on the receiving end of his anger! Or I could just be talking rubbish! Hope you are both feeling friendlier towards each other soon.
  20. Poetic Wanderings

    Now the bright morning star, Day’s harbinger, Comes dancing from the East, and leads with her The flowery May, who from her green lap throws The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose. Hail, bounteous May, that dost inspire Mirth, and youth, and warm desire! Woods and groves are of thy dressing; Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing. Thus we salute thee with our early song, And welcome thee, and wish thee long. John Milton - Ode Composed on a May Morning
  21. Just finished reading this and enjoyed it until the last part where Roth tries to explain the reasons why Lindberg behaved the way he did. This just didn't work for me it was as if he was trying to say a 'great' American could only do the things he did in the book if he were influenced by other parties (I'm trying to say this without giving away any salient information - and probably failing!). Of course we are all influenced by others but this was a specific kind of influence which just made a complete mockery of the rest of the book. The narration was very believable and I very quickly became immersed in the story. Unfortunately the ending was dreadful, as Roth just got bored with the book and thought "Oh I can't be bothered with this anymore I'll just stop here".
  22. what is everyone doing?

    Cello music is soothing when played well, talented young man.
  23. Have a Rant!

    Thought I'd write this as I'm mad as you know what and there isn't another outlet for the anger, so please just ignore it as I vent. Dave and I have big problems with mobility and I have a lot of pain in my lower back which precludes chores like planting etc. We have two 4 x 8 little gardens alongside the driveway and I have a young man who does my planting and I'm expecting him to call soon. So, thinking that it would save us trying to get up to the nursery which is up country I phoned them to see if they delivered and they do. I ordered two shades of geraniums, lavender and peach and thought I had solved the problem. Now hubby is angry because he says he likes to walk through the greenhouses and see what they have - I was surprised because he has trouble just walking around the house outside to get the watering hose. The two little gardens have always been my planting territory and Dave does whatever he wants with the big back garden. He's annoyed because I didn't consult him - said I should have known he wanted to look through the greenhouses. It's the first time he has said that. He can go and look through them anyway as he drives the car. So another day of not knowing what to expect from my husband who has different little quirks each day now. I think it may be age related but it's hard to deal with.
  24. Ghost Wall

    Sulevia, named after the ancient Celtic goddess, is spending the summer on an archaeological project in the wilds of Northumberland to recreate Bronze Age life. Her father is an amateur history nut and her mother seems willing to go along with the project. So Sylvie (as she calls herself) finds herself finds herself in a field, sleeping in a tent, foraging for food and wearing scratchy tunics. She’s not happy, but she’s also not rebelling. Her family seem to be the only genuine volunteers on the project; the others – the professor and his undergraduate students – are there because the university requires it. While Sylvie’s father demands absolute adherence to authenticity, the others are rather more open to persuasion. After all, the Bronze Age people made up for their lack of modern technology through proficiency in what they did have; and who could swear that the Bronze Age communities did not have mod cons? The story that unfolds is one of the relationship between Sylvie and her domineering father, determined to impose a value system from a bygone age on his family. Sylvie’s father demands fidelity even when the Professor is advocating a more flexible approach. And where the community does not comply with his vision, there is a price to be paid. The story is written as an English nationalist hearkening back to a bygone age when Britons were free and pure. But there are obvious parallels with extreme adherents to world religions, demanding that the rest of the world fit in with their anachronistic belief systems. The family’s reluctance to challenge the force of the father – their willingness to embrace the privations in order to give themselves the illusion of free choice – is surely more about the modern world than it was ever about Celtic Britain. The temptations of the Seven Eleven – ice creams and hot pies – are the temptations of the West trying to seduce the faithful away from the path of virtue. Ghost Wall is a short, very readable novel that grows in intensity with every page. Yes, the metaphors are there front and centre, but they do not take away from the very human dynamic between Sylvie, her mother and her father – three complex characters who do not neatly fit into predictable stereotypes. ****0
  25. what is everyone doing?

    Sheku Kanneh-Mason. He is brilliant! Aged 17, he won The BBC Young Musician of the year in 2016 and was quite remarkable. He has performed at a number of prestigeous events in the last two years, and his album "Inspirations" has been a great success (I have yet to buy myself a copy, but may drop hints to my sons at birthday time). His six siblings are also talented musicians; his elder sister accompanied him on the piano in his 'Young Musician' entry, and one of his younger sisters, Jeneba, was a finalist inthe keyboard section of this year's Young Musician of the Year. I am in awe of all of them!
  26. what is everyone doing?

    What a nice visit you had to the Arboretum Meg, sounds like there was lots to see and enjoy and hear the birds serenading you (and Mr. Meg making sure you weren't bored! 😊). I enjoyed watching the Royal Wedding, a bit different from some of the more solemn ceremonies some of the gentry might be used to but interesting, a bit of mixing of cultures. The young cellist played beautifully. Am hoping that the young man who plants my flowers gets in touch soon, the Spring bulbs have all faded and need to be pulled if saving for next year.
  27. Rebecca

    I was shocked to find that this year is the eightieth anniversary of Rebecca. I knew that it was a classic and 'old' but I had no idea it was that old!
  28. My Cousin Rachel

    I have now finished My Cousin Rachel and loved it. I did guess the ending but it's an old book and the ending was suitable satisfying anyway. I guessed that it was set in Cornwall and I kept expecting a Poldark to be mentioned. I thought that it was an atmospheric book and loved the fact that the plot twisted and turned - I did not guess that Rachel would return the jewels to Philip's lawyer and am not sure of her motives, for example - and loved the fact that the reader gets to decide for themselves if Rachel is guilty, if Rainaldi is a bad influence, whether Philip would come to his senses or not. It's a classic book as it should be and will be worth reading again. I still have a few other Du Maurier books to look forward to.
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