Kintra Farm Isle of Islay
For our first free set of wallpapers we thought it would be good to have an image that reminds us of this summer, even if it is currently grey and bucketing with rain out side, and not like summer at all. We were fortunate enough to be staying on a converted barn at Kintra Farm on the Isle of Isaly recently, which covered the period of the Jubilee bank holiday celebrations.
The farm where we were staying is visible at the top of the image.
Islay Beach from Kintra Farm
On the Monday the weather was fantastic and we had been for a long and enjoyable walk along the beach – miles and miles of sand, sea and very few people.
The evening remained fine and the sky lit up with the most fantastic sunset. We were half watching the sunset and half watching the Jubilee concert on TV when a massive ball of fire erupted on top of the hill across the bay.
Islay Jubilee Beacon
The people lighting the beacon must have added large amounts of fire lighter as the flames initially must have been 10-20 metres high. Even though it was a good few miles away I managed to get several good shots of it, using the 500mm telephoto lens.
Islay sunset with beacon on left
The beacon continued to burn for some time, but the flames were no real competition for natures show, that just covered the whole horizon
The beacon can be seen on the left hand side of the picture, with the smoke going up into the sky.
July 2012 wallpaper
Out of the selection of pictures we had taken of the beacon and the sunset, we have chose this as the final one for the wallpaper.
We are offering two versions of this - one with a months calendar on it and one without, in varying different sizes. More details can be found on the fullersfolio freebie page and we hope you like them.
This is the first time I have ever read any of Laurie's books having been leant this one by a friend to see what I made of it. Well it was certainly an original idea of having the star working alongside Sherlock Holmes, and once I had got over the idea, different time frame, and style of writing compared to Arthur Conan Doyle it was an enjoyable read.
The book progressed through a number of years developing the relationship between Sherlock and Mary Russell – from a teenager to a student at Oxford. Over the time they solve a number of cases, which at first do not seem to be linked.
They start with trying to find the missing senators daughter, who has been kidnapped. Having found her they then have to solve the mystery as to why they are being pursued by a relentless bomber who seems to be set on killing Holmes and all those associated with him.
This book is the first one of a series about Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, and I will be certainly looking out for the next to read and see how that progresses. I maybe wrongly assume that Sherlock will take more of the back seat but we will have to wait and see.
This was book 9 week 5 fiction 9 (4 on audio) non fiction 0
Right Ho Jeeves by P G Wodehouse
I listened to this as an librivox audio book going up and down the motorway. A great way of making those miles zoom by. It is so unreal as to be just about believable. - Bertie's manservant, Jeeves, is renowned for his ability to apply his keen intellect to solve all problems domestic, and Bertie’s friends and relatives flock to him for his counsel. But he is, jealous of Jeeves’s fame.
So he decides to step in and take over as the fixer of his pal’s engagement, his aunt’s gambling debts and old school-mate’s desire to propose marriage. How far will Bertie sink them all in the soup? Will Jeeves come to the rescue? “Right Ho, Jeeves” also features of Gussie Fink-Nottle, Tuppie Glossop, Aunt Dahlia and Anatole the high-strung French chef. Somehow Bertie manages to cause trouble for them all and of course only Jeeves has the answer.
This was a very enjoyable book 8 week 4 fiction 8 (4 on audio) non fiction 0
Jackdaws by Ken Follett
Ken is very good at writing a story that progresses along, and he gives you lots of ideas as to where you know where it is going. This is a story that covers the two weeks before the D-Day invasion in 1944.
The French Resistance has to try and knock out a French chateau that contains a central telephone exchange vital to German defences of the area. It is also home to the local SS and their torture cells.
It is believed that the only way the guard to the building can be penetrated is by an all woman team of secret agents called the Jackdaws. Sadly they are up against Rommel's trialling intelligence officer – Colonel Dieter Frank, tasked with stopping any resistance activity.
Taken together these ingredients all lead to a very enjoyable book, even though you have some vague idea as to where it is going just enough goes wrong to provide the suspense required to keep you hooked and wanting to find out what happened next. So I won't say any more to spoil to story.
This was book 7 week 4 fiction 7 (3 on audio) non fiction 0
Swing Brother Swing by Ngaio Marsh
This is all about a murder that seems to be carried out in plain sight. Everyone at the theatre saw saw Lord Pastern fire the revolver, but was it that which killed our victim. What is uncovered by inspector Alleyn is a matrix of blackmail, drug addiction and jealously making the obvious not quite so likely.
The actual method of murder, seems quite bizarre to us know, though probably at the time of writing (1949) would be quite common. What the book does is challenge the obvious at every level, and questions the process of taking things for granted. I will admit that I did not guess how the murder was carried out or by whom. This was a good story which we listened to as an audio book. Working through the plot took a fair degree of concentration so much so that the story had to be turned off when we got to any built up areas as needed the concentration for the road. Still that being said it help pass away a couple hundred miles in the car.
This was book 6 week 3 fiction 6 (3 on audio) non fiction 0
At 17 Bloxham Drive,Kidlington,Oxfordshire, a pretty 29-year old physiotherapist named Rachel James is shot almost point blank through the closed shade of her kitchen window early in the morning The shooting took place between 7:00 and 7:30 as the pony-tailed young woman was getting breakfast prior to heading to work, her head and upper body silhouetted in the window, as her assailant stood in her backyard.
Unfortunately, none of the other residents of Bloxham Drive can recall seeing anything suspicious that morning, including her immediate neighbour Geoffrey Owens at number 15, a newspaper reporter desperate for the scoop on this breaking news story that happened so close to his home.
Chief Inspector Morse, aided by Detective Sergent (DS) Lewis, soon discovers a cryptic 'seventeenth-century love poem by John Wilmo and a photograph of Rachel with a mysterious grey-haired man, clues which lead them to the prestigious Lonsdale College, where the rivalry between Julian Storrs and Dr. Dennis Cornford for the position of Master, to replace Sir Clixby Bream, is about to turn deadly. Why Rachel was killed remains a mystery – could it be a case of mistaken identity, or something mysterious with Bloxham Drive.
An enjoyable read in-between rain showers as book 5 week 3 - fiction 5 (2 on audio) non fiction 0
Elijah and the Vineyard
How often have you looked over at your neighbours garden and thought that it looked good and you would like something like that. Or even more so felt that your garden is too small and only if you could buy a bit of extra land, it would make the garden just so much better.
Well they say that nothing is new and the same thing happened thousands of years ago with King Ahab. He was looking out of his palace window, and thought that he needed to expand his palace grounds. There was a vineyard next door and this was just what he needed but it belonged to his neighbour Naboth.
The King approached Naboth and asked him if he would sell the land, but Naboth said no, because it was his ancestors land. Well the king felt he just needed this vineyard and went into a megga sulk. His wife Jezebel wanted to know what was wrong, when she found out she was not going to let a little thing like this thwart her. If Naboth would not sell then she would remove him from the picture in another way.
Jezebel arranged for a day of religious fasting and then got a couple of her cronies to start accusing Naboth of being false, and then to ensure that the punishment was stoning to death. The crowd were soon whipped up into a frenzy and sadly poor Naboth was killed by the crowds.
King Ahab now grabs Naboths land and adds the vineyard to the palace grounds. He is oh so happy, until Elijah comes along and confronts him...You can read the full version of what happens in 1 Kings 21 along with the rest of the story and you can read our notes from our Bible Study on this passage here.
First Family by David Baldacci
This was a fairly straight forward mystery thriller, that started with the kidnap of the first lady's niece Willa and progressed from there. The characters were largely present and the real mystery was why was she kidnapped, and following on from that where was she being held so she could be rescued.
Of course our “famous” private detectives Sean King and Michelle Maxwell, were called in and they somehow manage to solve the mystery, when the normal secret services could not. Though part of the mystery is of course the dark secrets that the President is hiding, and which will spoil his re-election. The story ends with a spectacular couple of twists, which adds to the pleasure of the read. Can't say much more really otherwise would spoil the plot.
All good fun and an enjoyable easy read as book 4 week 2 - fiction 4 (2 on audio) non fiction 0
Judge Lobbett has found the answer to the identity of the criminal mastermind behind the sinister gang. The gang has tried to kill him four times so far and now he needs help to stay alive and catch the mastermind. He enlists the amateur sleuth Albert Campion to do this.
There then follows a series of totally mad adventures to try and protect the judge, which includes an art expert who turns up to value an heirloom.
Though this was first published in the 1930's that does not matter as what was current then is historical fiction to us now. We listened to this as an audio book and it passed away several happy hours of travel, leading to a heated discussion towards the end as to who was actually “Mr Sinister”. Due to the similarities of the endings I expect Margery was influenced by one of Sherlock Holmes famous stories, but will not disclose which one as it would give the ending away.
So this was book 3 – week 2 – fiction 3 (2 on audio) non fiction 0
Dyslexic doodles on photography, food (growing, cooking & of course eating), faith and other fascinating things. This is a personal blog expressing my views.