__ This is a book that I have dipped into over the last few months. We purchased this after hearing Martin talk at the wigtwon book festival on 24/11/2011. The poems he has written are very sharp and witty. A very topical example is the one listed on the back cover -
I have no prejudice or rancour,
Against the profiteering banker;
But if he reckons that the onus,
Should fall on us to pay his bonus,
Then I'm the Maharajah of Sri Lanka.
I hope Martin does not mind me quoting it here but it is so apt with the all that is going on with city bonuses at the present. This was a very enjoyable book and one I will keep dipping into again and again. Hopefully there will be a follow up with more new poems later on this year. So for week 24 this is written book 21 audio book 8 – total 29.
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
__ What a strange book – It almost defies description - I can see why it won the Man Booker Prize in 2002. Without ruining the plot too much a large part of the book is about a sixteen year old boy being stranded in a life boat with a hyena, a zebra, a female orang-utan and a 450 pound Royal Bengal tiger called Richard Parker. Sadly not all can survivie in the boat and the description of the pulling the leg off the zebra and then eating it, is horrific. Especially if read just after a meal. The poor zebra is still alive and survives for a further 24 hours as fresh food, gradually being eaten...
Sadly the same sort of thing happenes to quite a few of the animals in the boat as the days progress. Like all good books it has a fantastic twist at the end, which brought a smile to my face and some light relief as large parts of the book are not easy to read. I notice the comment from the Dailiy Telegraph as “A Hilarious novel..” All I can say is the reviewer must have a different sense of humour to mine.
Still a good read as book 28 – written book 20, audio book 8, in week 23 and I will look for other Yann Martel books to read in the future.
_ This is the third part of my blog on how to loose over 50lbs of weight. This will cover the foods consumed themselves.
Part one covered incentive, portion size, and meal frequency. Part two covered exercise, hydration, and setting realistic targets.
I am not a medical doctor or dietician, but due to health reasons was told last year that I needed to loose a significant amount of weight. I have had advice from a number of medical professionals as how to do this, and from their advice I came up with this plan and so far I have now lost over 60 lbs, that is more than 27 kilos, so it does seem to be successful. I have just a few more pounds to go to get to my target weight. - (The lower end of the green band in the doctors BMI chart.). Having successfully lost all this weight, a medical friend said I should share how I did it with others, hence these series of three blogs.
_ So we come to food that is being eaten. The first thing I did was sort out what I could eat/drink and what I could not. Out went
_ In addition I was allowed
_ The base line was bran, oats, fruit and veg normally two times a day with a third meal of something else. I have shared some of the low fat recipes elsewhere in the blog. The main challenge with low fat cooking is that the fat adds flavour to the food. How often have you seen a TV chief drizzle olive oil on a dish just at the point of serving or cook in butter just to give that extra flavour?
To avoid the food tasting bland one needs to add lots of spices to the food, probably anything up to twice the amount normally used. Also curried/hot food tends to taste better when it is low fat than other foods. Another good tip is a teaspoonful of Marmite, takes away the blandness of the food.
As I check on my weight progress every day I can see how I am doing and if doing well and hit my target for the week, then I allowed myself a treat of a bit of a high coca chocolate. If I was not doing so well then the bran/oats & fruit option became my third meal of the day, until I had got back on target again.
In my case hopefully I will hit my target weight in the next couple of months and then I can start to enjoy other foods once again. Whatever I hope this has been helpful and I will keep posting low fat recipes as I experiment.
Simleys people by John le Carré
___ This is the third book in the “Karla Trilogy” following on from Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and the Honourable Schoolboy.
Smiley works through a series of old contacts (sometimes just after they have been murdered) towards his goal. The descriptions of the gypsy camp outside Hamburg where one of his links is on a boat are fantatstic, just bringing it all to life as if one is looking over ones sholder at the action carrying on before ones eyes.
Eventually Smiliey identifies Karala's achillies heel , which ultimately leads to Karla's defeat and a defection at the Berlin Wall. I listened to this as an audio book and it made communitng a very enjoyable experience, not even minding crawling along at 30 mph behind long queues of cars. The big choice is what next to listen to? So week 23 – audio book 8 written book 19 total 27
_ We are starting a new series of studies on the Letters of Peter in the New Testament at our Kielder Bible Study Group. One of the first things we considered was the who, what when and where questions about these letters.
_ Who wrote this - The author is Peter – the Apostle and former fisherman but letter was actually penned by Silas (1 Peter Ch 5 v12) his secretary
What – These were letters to encourage the readers to grow in faith trust and obedience of God. In them Peter also recognises that life is not easy as a Christian
When - It is assumed that Peter died under Nero's rule and therefore must have beenwritten before AD 68 when he ceased being Roman Emperor. Paul was in Rome AD 60 – AD 62 and does not mention Peter in his letters so it must have been after that. Late AD 62 seems to be the favourite date for 1 Peter and AD 63 for 2 Peter
Where - 1 Peter Ch 5 v 13 mentions Babylon. He probably does not mean Babylon in Mesopotamia, as it was a small obscure place and not mentioned in other literature but else where in the New Testament Babylon is taken to mean RomeTertullian writes in Ad 203 about Peter being in Rome
In these letters we will see that Peter has become a boldly confident and humbly self-effacing servant of Jesus. Also that he is a witness to what he himself describes as “a brand-new life, with everything to live for”.
As such the answer to the question mooted at the start must be yes. The detail of the study on the 1 Peter 1 can be found here
__ “Hidden by a Scottish river bank in the winter of 1767, Lizzie Hallim watches a naked figure emerging from the icy water. Mack McAsh is a slave and Lizzie is helping him escape. Mack challenges the mighty Jamisson family, which enslaves whole families to work their mine. Mack soon finds himself wrongly sentenced to death. Rescued from hanging, he is transported to America, where he continues to struggle for freedom...” About life in the 1760s in Scotland, London and Virginia. The book fairly races along and you want to find out more, yet there are enough blind alleys to keep it interesting and Ken manages to incorporate his usual twist at the end.
The story beside, it does highlight the terrible living conditions of the Scottish coal miners and the mine owners. The miners were slaves in all but name during the 18th Century in Scotland. This was a good read as written book 19 taking the total up to 26 for week 22 as at audio book 7
_ This recipe is just for Colin who was complaining that I had not posted any recently.. Though we had this last night for tea, I forgot to take any snapshots of it so you will have to imagine the beautiful pasta covered in the rich fishy sauce..It only takes about 15 minutes to cook, and a couple of minutes preparation. This makes enough for 2 people
Enigma by Robert Harris
_ This was a book that we got as a special offer when buying the Fear Index, and having enjoyed that so much could not resist reading this book as it was just sitting their waiting to be read. Some time ago I had seen the film that was based on the book so I had a rough idea of the plot, but it was still a refreshingly good read.
It is all about life at Bletchley Park and the code breakers trying to crack the latest variant of the Enigma code, which is being used to control the German U-boat threat to the allied convoys crossing the Atlantic.
Add to this the suspicion that there is a spy in the midst of the code breakers together with the fact that our hero Tom Jericho's girlfriend Claire Romilly has disappeared and there are all the ingredients for a fantastic thriller. Week 22 written book 18 audio book 7 – Total 25
_ It was pointed out to me by a friend with a mac that it may be wise to put some form of watermark on my digital images. I thought this would be a good thing to share as a blog for all those who do not know how to do this and would like to learn. The program I use to do this is Irfanview(If do not have Irfanview Get it here IrfanView and its plug-ins. Now install IrfanView. Then install the plug-ins. Very simple process.) Once Installed -
Go to file > Batch Conversion/Rename
See screenshot 1
This opens the Batch Conversion Window
_ Check output directory (suggest different directory to source) or have a backup copy of the images – just in case the output is not quite what is desired.
See screenshot 2
Check the advanced box – top left hand side and press the advanced button
_ Tick add overlay text – near the bottom of the centre column
Press the settings box
This opens up a new box
See Screenshot 3
_ Set the x and y (horizontal and vertical) coordinates for the starting port
The position of the starting point (as you will see I have chosen the bottom right hand corner)
Add the text you wish to have inserted on the image
Then choose the font and font size
Finally text alignment
See screenshot 4
_ The final task is to add the files that will be modified
Check that you have the right folder name
Press add or add all
Then start batch (and in my case I was really pleased that I had sent the output files to a separate directory as somehow in taking the screen shots etc I had ended up choosing the wrong set of files to convert so no damage was done!)
The final result can be seen in the thumbnails here
Titmuss Regained by John Mortimer
_ This was a book that I started over a month ago but stopped reading it when we had the family tradgey of my brother's death. So it was good to pick it up again and finish it. I must admit when I origanlly picked up the book for 50p on the second hand book stall in the market I thought it was about Rumpole, (there was no dust cover), but this is not the case.
It is typical British politicial satire and black humur involving planning regulations, nature reserves and new towns. It contrasts fantastically with the The Road to Omaha by Robert Ludlum which is an American version of the same thing though in that case it is all about the military and not housing developers.
The main star of the novel is British politician Leslie Titmuss who finds himself at an impasse between personal interest and political beliefs when his home turf, Rapstone Valley, is proposed as the site of a huge new town development.
It is a funny book and I am pleased I bothered to finsih it. So week 21 written book 17 audio book 7 – Total 24
Dyslexic doodles on photography, food (growing, cooking & of course eating), faith and other fascinating things. This is a personal blog expressing my views.