Previously when writing these reviews I have thought that in some way I should record the length of the book that I am reading, as there is often a vast variance in the number of pages and for that matter even the number of words on a page. This book was a large one over 750 pages long, with a fairly large number of words per page as well. More like three books instead of one
I have read Robert Ludlum before and have always enjoyed his books, but this was a book that was a very slow starter. Anyone who has looked at my book lists will have realised that I like mystery thrillers and this sort of was the ultimate mystery thriller. It was not until around page 520 that one knew exactly where the story was going.
I did find this a big challenge, to me if the pages had been condensed by a factor of 10 then it would have helped. I suppose on the other hand the length of the first part added to the sense of utter confusion and mystery the star had as he did not know what was going on, though neither did the reader. I imagine a lot of people give up.
Still that being said the final 250 pages were really good and it was a very clever plot line with, so many twists and turns, fake deaths and finally leading up to the crescendo of preventing global nuclear war..A good alternative to watching the Olympics on TV.
This was book 17 week 10 fiction 17 (7 on audio) non fiction 0
We listened to the majority of this book travelling down the motorway going to the Tatton Garden Flower show, and the detailed description of life on the ocean wave over 100 years ago was fantastic. Mt Trunnell is the second mate on a clipper ship in the south Atlantic, and the story is told through his eyes.
One of the hardest thing to believe with the story was the absolute power the captain had over everyone on the ship and even when it turns out that the captain is not all that he pretends to be, no-one is really going to challenge him because if they do then it is piracy and they would have to face all the consequences of that.
A very enjoyable story of murder, gold thefts, storms, disaster and ..well you will have to listen to the story yourself to find out what happens. It can be downloaded from librivox
This was book 16 week 9 fiction 16 (7 on audio) non fiction 0
I have always enjoyed Len's books and this one did not disappoint, though the black humour used at times was not always that funny.
The book is all about American fighter and bomber pilots during world war two, that were based in the East of England. The fighter pilots were given missions to protect the bombers and shoot down any enemy fighter pilots that were taking pot shots at the bombers. The second area that the book is about is the pilots relationship with the local British girls. They had better uniforms than the British, more food – a days rations was more than a weeks for the locals in some cases. In many cases the girls mission was to bag the man and get married and go back to America.
Then of course we have the British soldiers who have gone off to war, left their lass behind, and when they come back on leave after several years are not that happy with the situation.
The detail Len gives in the book on flying the Mustang fighters is amazing, and gives the impression that one is in the cockpit with the pilot, sweeping one off to another world back in the 1940's
This was book 15 week 9 fiction 15 (6 on audio) non fiction 0
Well this was about as different from “The spy who came in from the cold” as chalk is to cheese. Though I have listened to adaptations of Alexander’s books on the radio and watched the TV versions of the Detective Agency, I have never actually read one of his books. They have sat on the side waiting to be read and other ones have jumped the queue.
Well maybe it was because of the grey wet weather outside, but I just felt like a change and so picked up this book. Now I am thinking why did I wait so long. I loved Bertie, a small boy, who set light to his father Guardian newspaper, and then needs to be psychoanalysed. He asks his mum all the “wrong” questions and does inappropriate things.
The rest of the characters in the house are so easy to relate to, and I am sure anyone who has lived in a flat/house share for a while will relate to the antics going on. Alexander must have spent many happy hour people watching to make up his rich tapestry of characters that make up the story. It is so nice to read a book where the humour is gentle and funny but does not have to resort to crudity.
I am now faced with a dilemma as to when to read the next book, as we have most in our house. They make a good contrast to murder mystery books so I think I will wait for a few weeks. So this was book 14 week 8 fiction 14 (6 on audio) non fiction 0
Blood test results
So finally after 18 months of pain and diet, having lost around 70 lbs in weight. (This equates to a good few inches round the waist and over a shirt collar size) I have finally got back a set of blood results that are normal. My liver has finally settled down and is working normally again.
My doc has said that I am now allowed the occasional treat, and this seemed a good excuse to show a picture of a distillery from Islay.
Pile of Sticks
But I still have to be careful and watch my diet. The docs software (always blame the system if one is giving bad news) says that I still need to loose a few more pounds and have an average weight that hovers around this lower level. I feel as if I will end up as a bag of bones – a bit like this pile of sticks. The good thing about all this is that I have learnt to appreciate and understand a lot more about what I am eating and the affect food has on our bodies. Lets hope that the next test in a few months time is just as positive.
Sun and shade
Recently we were walking in Galloway, on one of the few days when it has not been raining, and the sky cleared up and the sun came out.
It seemed so very bright, maybe because we have not been used to the sunshine due to all the rain and grey skies, or maybe due to the extensive tree cover over our path.
This meant that initially we could not make out what was beyond the table. It seemed to be forming a junction between the dark and the light. Our eyes just like the camera having problems coping with the contrast, as you can see in the image
Rigg Bay in the sunshine
As we got nearer the beautiful sandy bay was revealed, glistening in the sunshine. This enabled us to sit at the table, take in the view and enjoy the rays, as the table was at the junction between the shade and the sun.
(The fact that the people on the beach were wearing thick warm clothes does really say it all for mid July, when the image was taken).
August 2012 Free Wallpapers
Sitting in the sun enjoying the view really cheered us and we thought that this would make a good image as our August wallpaper at fullersfolio.
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.
We have been enjoying this over the last couple of weeks on our travels as an audio book. This is a book where the reviewer is faced with a dilemma – how much plot does one give away, as the book is full of twists and turns that keep it interesting all the way through till the end.
It is written at a time when Germany was split in two and Britain sent spies over to East Germany and beyond to get secrets. The trouble is that there are double agents and potential double agents. Do they need rooting out or do they need exposing – can't tell you without spoiling the story. What we did do is try and guess what would happen next with each twist and turn and were not very good at it.
All I will say is that it is a gripping story about the life of one or more spies, and the lengths they go to to try and uncover / hide the truth. An enjoyable story as book 13 week 7 fiction 13 (6 on audio) non fiction 0
So we come to the next part in the Song of Ice and Fire Saga, and we meet up with our favourite characters again. Ones that we have grown to love and feel for over the hundreds of pages that we have read previously. To this end this book overlaps the previous book in time frame. - A Feast of Crows
One of the quotes on the cover of the book says “Colossal, staggering... Martin captures all the intoxicating complexity of the Wars of the Roses or Imperial Rome” and this does really say it all. It is so much better than the last book.
Evidently one of Martin's favourite themes is causing chaos at a wedding, as this is a plot line that he has used frequently. It is a good time to get rid of awkward family members.
Living reasonably close to Hadrians Wall, and with a bit of imagination it is quite easy to put one in the place of Jon Snow commander of the Night Watch trying to defend the wall, even though everyone seems to be trying to plot against him.
I now notice that the helpful character guide at the back of the book has reached 60 pages, and was one of the must thumbed bits of the book trying to work out who, was who.
I am looking forward to reading part 2 of a Dance with Dragons, though it will be in a few weeks time so as to allow time to enjoy it.
This was book 12, week 7 fiction 12 (5 on audio) non fiction 0
Long Straight Northumberland Road
Northumberland is blessed with roads that run along the lines of old Roman roads, and Drover tracks that tend to cut straight across the landscape. They seem to go on and on into the distance as can be seen here.
Normally it is quite hard to get an image of a road like this without another car in it, during normal hours but the recent bad weather has put a stop to the majority of non essential traffic.
The straight roads then tend to end in some form of bend complex and the all too often warning for motorcyclists.
These images were taken recently on a day when it was not too wet but still the grey skies dominate the images.
Wind farm Construction
My main reason for going down the road was to get some pictures of the wind farm construction that is going on near Sweethope Loughs
Fortunately I was able to get a few shots with the zoom lens.
The two yellow dots just infront of the smaller crane (above the 'm' of Tim) are people – which shows the size of these things.
Constructed Wind Turbine
When constructed they seem to lurk above the trees like some giant bird of prey.
I am sure we will get used to them in a few months time, but they certainly make a major statement on the landscape.
Fig and Walnut Bread
This is something that I have been experimenting with over the last few months as eating bread is something that I enjoy, but have to be careful about as so often it is either full of fat or calories. So I have been trying to perfect a healthy loaf full of goodness that tastes lovely. Hopefully you will agree with me
Dough - being knocked out.
Dough rolled in flour
A brief scan on the internet lists numerous health benefits from the ingredients. I have listed just a few below-
Oats - Oatmeal and oat bran are significant sources of dietary fibre. This fiber contains a mixture of about half soluble and half insoluble fibers. One component of the soluble fibre found in oats is beta-glucans, a soluble fibre which has proven effective in lowering blood cholesterol.
Olive Oil - Using olive oil, a monounsaturated fat, rather than a saturated fats or polyunsaturated fats can:
Walnuts - More than a decade of scientific evidence shows that incorporating walnuts in a healthy diet reduces the risk of heart disease by improving blood vessel elasticity and plaque accumulation. Walnuts have also been shown to aid in the lowering LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol)
Dried figs are excellent source of minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants.
Pumkin Seeds - They promote overall prostate health and alleviate the difficult urination associated with an enlarged prostate.Improved Bladder Function. They contain L-tryptophan, a compound naturally effective against depression. Prevention of Osteoporosis Because they are high in zinc, pumpkin seeds are a natural protector against osteoporosis. Low intake of zinc is linked to higher rates of osteoporosis. Pumpkin seeds effectively reduce inflammation without the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.They prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation, according to studies. They also Lower Cholesterol as they contain phytosterols, compounds that that have been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol. The same phytosterols that lower cholesterol also protect against many cancers.
Make a hole in the centre of the dough
I use a bread machine to make the dough putting the yeast in first and the liquid ingredients in last. Use a fruit setting and add the chopped nuts and figs when the machine beeps or when the first kneading has finished.
Cut with a knife
When the dough cycle has finished place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knock back slightly
Lightly oil a baking sheet
Shape the bread into a ball
Make a hole in the centre with ones finger
Cut with a sharp knife
Brush with Milk
Sprinkle with pumbin seeds
Allow to rise for 30-45 minutes
Brush with milk
Cut the crust and enjoy
Put into a preheated oven at 200 degrees centigrade
Bake for around 35 minutes (30-40 mins) – It burns very quickly so need to watch and check – ready when hollow sounding when tapped.
Place on rack to cool – and then enjoy - with a nice healthy salad
Dyslexic doodles on photography, food (growing, cooking & of course eating), faith and other fascinating things. This is a personal blog expressing my views.