Gladiator by Simon Scarrow
Here we find our heroes Macro and Cato, at sea off the isle of Crete when a huge tidal wave damages their ship. They have to put into shore for repairs and find that large parts of the Island have been devastated by a Tsunami and earth quake. Most of the ruling Romans have been killed and it is up to Marco and Cato to help run things.
Very quickly they find that the salves on the island now start revolting against their masters, and then one ruthless gladiator takes control. He quickly forms a large army of rebels, killing off any resistance from the Romans. Till all that is left between him and victory are our friends..
I will leave it there otherwise it will spoil the story. The book is good fun and very readable. It is the ninth book in the Eagle series. This is book 41, week 31 read novels 28, poetry 1, study, audio 10.
The Best Flapjack Ive Ever Tasted
Yesterday we went exploring south of the Tyne, eventually making our way down to Temple Sowerby, but on the way we stopped off for a morning coffee at the Whitefield Village Pantry. This is run by my friend Dave, and having heard all about it from his partner Ed, I wanted to see what it was like for real.
As I may be accused of being biased in my comments I will let those of Pauline my wife who has never met Dave before be recorded. Along with her coffee, she had a lovely looking flapjack, which I was hoping to have a small bite of (as still on diet), but while Dave was explaining his plans for their garden, the flapjack all vanished with the comment “That was the Best Flapjack I've ever tasted”. She then went on and asked Dave the secret of the recipe, but I will not reveal that here – If you want to find that out you will just have to go to Whitfield yourself and try one. Who knows Dave may tell you, though I know he is very keen on winning the local cake competitions, so he may not be that forthcoming.
It was a shame really that we were not there a bit later as the lunch offerings looked really tasty as well, (not the usual boring fayre) especially as a new lovely looking cake was just coming out the oven as we were leaving. We wish them all the best for the future, and will label them as a “Good Choice Foods” establishment – more on this to come.
Fault Line by Robert Goddard
A couple of weeks ago we had been kindly sent a preview copy of this book by Patsy Irwin, and I was reading another book at the time, so my wife grabbed it to read for herself. Fortunately she could not put it down, so I have finally got to read it myself over the last few days.
This is a typical Robert Goddard, with a mystery going back in time, that is slowly unravelled during the course of the book. The story is about a family china clay business. The majority of the action takes place spread between the South West of England, and Naples and Capri in Italy.
Gradually with each twist in the book either due to location or time frame, the number of key characters is gradually reduced due to their demise, having been killed off – often murdered!! Each time the number of characters is reduced, the speculation as to the who and the why needs to be updated.
There is a major red herring running through the book, that hooked me – hook line and sinker (To do with the early time frame) I don't want to spoil the story by giving a detailed analysis of the plot, because part of the enjoyment in reading a book like this is not knowing how the twists and intrigue work out.
Can you work out the answer before reading it - Thats the question? This is a book that is hard to put down – A very enjoyable read – one that I would thoroughly recommend. This was book 40 week 31 – read novels 27, poetry 1, study 2, audio 10
Business (Ad)venture countdown T-6
This is part 3 of my blog recording the count down to setting up my own business. Part 1 can be found here and part 2 can be found here
Today's post is all about celebration as I have passed the pne “Start your own business course” and got my certificate of achievement to stick on the wall. 8 weeks of blood sweat and tears!!!!
In fact it was a very interesting and useful course taken by some knowledge lecturers, especially Melissa Middleton the course leader.
Now the real work starts and I have to finish off my financial (guesses) forecasts – cash flow, sales, profit and loss etc. for the business plan allowing me to finish off the plan. So that is my next goal get the plan finished. Then I will be able to sort out a bank account. Along with all the 101 things that are coming along. Oh what fun..
But I do need to make sure I have time to enjoy the fantastic weather as well.
Mr Standfast by John Buchan
I currently have a backlog of three reviews for books – I am actually getting through them faster than writing about them, which is fairly amazing. This is the third story in the Richard Hannay Series. I listened to the two previous books The Thirty Nine Steps and Greenmantle as audio books before I had started recording my reviews. The librevox recording of these books are very listen-able especially if sitting in the car for long journeys.
Anyway moving back to this story. This picks up the story of Richard Hannay who has unwittingly become a secret agent for the British, in the final part of the first world war 1917 to 1918. Without giving the plot away too much Richard follows the trail of an arch spy for Germany, across England, Scotland and then Europe. There is a fantastic description of him hiding in the heather and peat bogs of Skye being eaten alive by the midges. This section and the final part where he is fighting in the trenches are so real, The death and destruction described bring home the horror of warfare, with a real sad final twist as one of the key characters dies on the last page.
I am looking forward to reading the next two books in the series to see how Richard progresses as a hero of espionage. This was book 39 week 31 – read novels 26, poetry 1, study 2 audio 10
I had some potatoes and beetroot that needed eating up and rather than just make a plain vegetable soup I thought I would experiment with a Thai version that is full of good things. The fact that my three monthly medical check-up may have had something to do with this. With a quick search on the internet - Some of the key ones are listed below.
Having not listened to much in the way of audio books for a while I end up listening to two books overlapping. I have been listening to the Day of the Triffids on the BBC iplayer (as Radio 4 extra has been replaying a full reading of the text that was done some time ago) while I have been working on my Business Plan.
I originally read this book as a young teenager, and was totally gripped by the text, the descriptions of death, destruction, cruelty, kindness and love seemed so real at time that it brought the story to life. I can say that hearing the story again nearly 40 years later it still had the same gripping hold on me.
I know over the years that there have been numerous adaptations of the story both for the large and small screens, but in most because they need to take the story along at a pace, they cover a short time period. This totally contrasts the original. The story covers a number of years, probably more than 10 for the start to the end, and this to me makes it so much more real. I had also forgotten the subtle suggestion in the original that it was the superpowers with out of control space weapons that caused the mass blinding of human kind, not a meteor cloud or sunspots as suggested in later versions.
The other contrast especially as was listening to both this book and The Man in the Iron Mask at the same time was how writing styles have changed over the 100 or so years in dealing with tragedy. Now we probably have more detail but it happens and the book moves on, whereas the opposite seems to be true for the Victorian writer.
On the second listening my only gripe with the story line is over the seemingly infinite supply of fuel, and the lack of things breaking down. If the balloon went up and we had to deal with something like this now I am sure, both of these would be a real issue for those left. I am still in two minds if I should read the sequel by Simon Clark – The Night of the Triffids, as it has mixed reviews - have to wait and see.
So this was book 38 week 31 – read novels 25, poetry 1, study 2, audio 10
Finding the way to God
It has often been said to me that one of the ways to God is by looking for the god in you and developing that relationship through self discovery.
Well sadly I believe that such thoughts are wrong. I believe that there is only one way to God, and that is through Jesus.
The idea of finding God through knowledge and self discovery is not a new one, but one that has been around for centuries. The Apostle Peter spoke about it in his second letter. Here Peter is putting the various qualities of life in sequential order >. Faith >> Goodness >> Knowledge etc.
Being a Christian is all about knowing God personally, it is not about having an academic knowledge of God. You can read more from the notes of our recent study on 2 Peter 1 here, where we found some of the key lessons from the chapter were: -
This has been listened to over the past few weeks when going up and down the motorway to the Midlands. A very good way of spending the time watching the queues of cars not moving much on the M6. We listened to the librivox version. This is part three of the story of the three musketeers. Reviews for the Part 1 of the story Three Musketeers and Part 2 Twenty years after can be found as earlier blog entries
Alexandre Dumas lived in the first half of the 18th Century and this book really emphasises how popular fiction has changed in it's style since then. Now days a book tends to end on a reasonably lighter note. Even if it is tragic then some glimmer of hope is inserted into the story, even more so if it is hoped that the book is to be made into a film or TV series. This book maybe the last third has hours of sadness, and could in fact be called a tragedy rather than an adventure story.
There is a very detailed synopsis given here but in essence the book continues the exploits of our four friends around the kings court with the added complication that the king has a twin brother who is locked away in the Bastille, and that some of the Musketeers support one side and some the other.
There are then lots of exploits with various mistresses, lovers, battles, chases involving a large number of cast members that we have met before. Dumas then proceeds to slowly kill off these characters that we have grown to care for, in great tragic detail, even having D'Artagnan who has now been raised to a Count killed off by a cannonball in the last few pages. This leaves only one Musketeer that we have grown to know so well, left alive at the end. (I will not spoil it by giving his name)
The series have been a really good story and have made nearly 75 hours of travelling pass by very quickly. Just perfect for transporting one into a different world. So this is book 37 week 30 novels 25, poetry 1, study, 2 audio 9.
Business (Ad)venture countdown T-7
This is part 2 of my blog recording the count down to setting up my own business. Part 1 can be found here.
The subject for this weeks business start-up course was business accounts, or maths as the lecturer Melissa Middleton kept informing us. I happen to like maths and am generally quite good at it, and was rather upset that I got the final National Insurance calculation wrong. I suppose I did have the excuse that it was late in the evening and I was tired and hungry. This is a good warning that doing such things as cash flow forecasts and profit and loss calculations should not be done when too tired as it is so easy to make mistakes
Earlier on in the day I had had a review of our Business Plan – where currently at and what needs more thinking, especially the figures. The joke is that it is like looking in a crystal ball that is totally opaque, rather than a cloud in a reflection.
Still life moves on even if it is only at snails pace – role on next week more figures. Hopefully by then I will have this new version of the Business Plan almost finished – all ready for my visit to the bank. No doubt there will be more on that in further posts.
Dyslexic doodles on photography, food (growing, cooking & of course eating), faith and other fascinating things. This is a personal blog expressing my views.