Friends, this is my add hoc record of how we are developing the garden @ Trostrie Cottage. The observant will have notice that I have not provided an update for a few weeks due to time pressure. This lack of time has also contributed to the subject of this entryBlackcurrant Bush
We have around half a dozen blackcurrant bushes and a few weeks ago they were covered in slowly ripening currant. Every few days I would go out and look at them, tasting the odd one to see if they were ripe.
The last time I tasted one, I thought well it will be a couple more days and they will then be ready for eating as they were ripening nicely in the sun. But evidently the birds, mice and other small mammals think that they are ripe slight earlier than me.
No blackcurrants left
When I next went out with a large bowl to pick them, early in the morning before breakfast. My mouth was watering as I thought about them crossing the lawn to get to the bushes. Imagine my horror to find that there was not a currant left on the bushes.
So the wildlife had got there first and stole all of the currants. I have learnt my lesson. Next time I will find the time to put up some netting to keep them away.
A few days later, still feeling a little sore that they had all been stolen. I was pleasantly surprised that our neighbour Janet rang to say that she had a glut of blackcurrants which she could not deal with before she went away on holiday, and would we like some. Yes I said...
So we did get some blackcurrants after all, but ours will have to wait till next year.
You can see the garden for yourself if you book a self catering dog friendly holiday @The Shieling which is attached to Trostrie Cottage http://www.trostriecottage.co.uk
The Snowman by Jo Nesbo
Friends this is my review of the book The Snowman by Jo Nesbo, which I read recently. This book continues the saga of the maverick detective Harry Hole. Harry investigates a number of recent murders of women around Oslo, and finds links that leads him to realise that he has uncovered a serial killer.
Each of the victims are married mothers, and of course there is a snowman near the murder scene.
Harry gets a new partner Katrine, and they get drawn together, both physically and as detectives. Things then get very complicated for Harry, especially as he starts to suspect someone known to him as the murderer. But all is not what it seems.
At the same time Harry's superiors want a scapegoat to cover up the scandal for allowing a serial killer to be on the large and of course Harry is the person they choose.
Can Harry solve the crime and clear his name.. Well yes but the true perpetrator is not who is expected.
A good story but fairly gruesome and graphic in parts. As the saying goes sometimes less is in fact more. Still I will read the next book in the series.
This was book 39 week 30 fiction 36 (10 on audio) non fiction 3
Friends this is my review of the book “The Hanging Valley by Peter Robinson, which I read recently. When sorting out things for moving I have found that I have come across several books that I had purchased at some time in the past (often from a market stall or charity bookshop), but have never got round to reading, and this was one such book.
The hero of the book is Chief Inspector Banks, and he is given the task of solving who has murdered a faceless corpse, which has been found in a tranquil valley near Swainhead. The trouble is that no one wants to talk about it. Finally through a set of dentures the body is identified, and it seems as if this case is linked with an unsolved one from a few years ago.
Then it is a case of working through the suspects and looking at the history, which includes an excursion to Canada, to meet a lady in a British pub. The real question is can the Chief Inspector solve the crime before the next murder happens.. It is a race against time with lots of drinking along the way.
This was book 38 week 29 fiction 35 (10 on audio) non fiction 3
Friends this is my review of the Five Red Herrings by Dorothy L Sayers, which I listened to as an audio book the other day when travelling. (Fortunately I should only have a few more commutes between Northumberland and Galloway, so my listening to books will become much less)
I had read this book a number of years ago, and thought it would be good to renew my acquaintance with it again, as we are now living just down the road from where it was set in Galloway back in the 1930's. (We have had a meal at the pub where Dorothy stayed when she was writing this.)
There are 7 talented artists living in the area, but one Sandy Campbell is a notoriously quarrelsome drunkard. He is found dead in a stream, with a half-finished painting on the bank above, it is assumed at first that he fell in accidentally, fracturing his skull. Lord Peter Wimsey, who is in the region on a fishing holiday, points out the inconsistency which makes it impossible for Campbell himself to have worked on the painting. So we have a murder.
Six other artists in the region are talented enough to have achieved this, and had also had public brawls with Campbell in the recent past. Now Lord Peter has to figure out "who done it" and who the five red herrings are. The task is made difficult because almost all the suspects are behaving in a suspicious manner; some have left the district unexpectedly and without explanation, others have given statements which are obviously inaccurate, or are clearly concealing facts. Also the policemen investigating other aspects of the case come up against inexplicable dead ends.
The six suspects are all eventually traced and give statements in which they deny killing Campbell. Some have convincing alibis, but others have none which can be verified.
Finally only Lord Peter manages to work it out, and as the reader have we found all the clues before the final reveal. Lord Peter reconstructs the crime to prove his point and the killer then confesses.
All good fun. That was book 37 week 29 fiction 34 (10 on audio) non fiction 3
The Partner by John Grisham
Friends this is my review of the book The Partner by John Grisham, which I read recently. - What an addictive book, seemingly we know exactly what has happened within the first 50 pages. Then through a legal investigative process what we thought was true gradually becomes unravelled. The story is all about how this process is carried out.
So not spoiling the plot too much Patrick a partner in a lawyer firm disappears, and it is assumed that he has died in a car crash. Large amounts of money then go missing. Four years later he turns up in a small town in Brazil, where he is kidnapped and tortured. His kidnappers are trying to find what has happened to the money.
The FBI, and the press become involved, and the local legal system is played off against the state one. Everybody starts legal actions against everyone else, and it looks like Patrick will be charged with murder..
The twists and turns were very clever, and I did not imagine any of them before reading the solutions.
A very enjoyable book as book 36 week 29 fiction 33 (9 on audio) non fiction 3
The Defiant Agents by Andre Norton
This is my review of the book The Defiant Agents by Andre Norton which I listened to recently as a Librivox recording.
This book continues the story of the Time Traders and is book 3 in the series. The star travelling secrets brought back by time travellers have been unravelled, and both the Americans and the Russians are intent upon colonizing new worlds.
In a desperate move, the U.S. government decides to use a group of Apache volunteers in an experimental attempt to colonize a primitive planet. Travis Fox and a band of fellow Apache American Indians have their racial memories and survival abilities enhanced by the Redax machine and are sent to the planet Topaz, one of the few worlds of the ancient star empire that the US has voyage tapes to.
Sadly the Reds have “snooped” the tapes and get there first, and have a nasty surprise waiting for any ship that does not have the proper identification. This causes their ship to crash. Travis and some of his fellow Apaches survive the ensuing crash landing…but can they defeat the Reds and win Topaz for themselves?
Full of intrigue and adventure, this classic novel is a must, and listening to it meant the long journey went by very quickly. I was so intrigued with the story that I listened to it to the end even though the journey had finished.
A very enjoyable book as book 35 week 28 fiction 32 (9 on audio) non fiction 3
This is my review of the book Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd, which I have read recently. Yes – There are not many books which result in a debate between Pauline (who had also read the book recently) as to the ending of the book but this one did.
It is a book that has been written in different parts, and certainly in my view the parts are of varying quality and interest. Some of the text seemed very boring and if the book is abridged, I am sure would just be cut out. Other parts of the text are really frustrating, or maybe just very clever as there are gaps which you as the reader have to fill in with your imagination. Depending on how you do that, effects the story line. Then finally there are other parts of brilliant descriptive story telling enjoyment.
Anyway that being said what is the book about. It starts off in Vienna during 1913, and the star of the story is Lysander Rief a young gifted English actor. Then through a set of seemingly random circumstances he meets and falls for Hettie Bull. They start an affair, that has terrible consequences.
Time moves on and the war has started Lysander finds himself in debt to the British Government, and to clear the debt he has to become a spy. There is an agent for Germany causing great damage with the information that is being leaked. Lysander is given the special task of finding who this is, and becomes entangled in the dangerous web of wartime intelligence.
Of course the big question is does he find who the spy is or not??
Over the years I have read several of William's books and this one did not disappoint. This was book 34 week 28 fiction 31 (8 on audio) non fiction 3
The Time Traders by Andre Norton
Friends this is my review of the book The Time Traders by Andre Norton, which I listened to recently as an audio book. I don't think I have read any of Andre Norton books for many years and it is always nice to rediscover an author.
I listened to this as the Librivox version whilst travelling recently. One of the advantages of listening to a book rather than reading I find is that it is that it allows the imagination to run riot and this is great for a science fiction or an historical novel.
This was written in the late 1950's and it is always amusing to see how the writer has predicted the near future, which is now our past. The cold war is running very wild and America is having trouble in keeping up with “the reds”. Intelligence agents have uncovered something beyond belief, but the evidence is incontrovertible: the USA’s greatest adversary is sending its own agents back through time! And someone (or something) is presenting them with technologies and weapons far beyond our most advanced science. We have only one option: create time-transfer technology ourselves, find the opposition's ancient source...and take it down!
That was why young Ross Murdock, above average in intelligence but a belligerently independent criminal found himself on a “hush-hush” government project at a secret base in the Arctic. He was given the choice of spending a long time in prison or help the scientists. The very qualities that made him a menace in civilized society were valuable traits in a man who must successfully act the part of a merchant trader of the Beaker people during the Bronze Age.
Once they were transferred by time machine to the remote Baltic region where the Russian post was located, Ross and his partner Ashe had to deal with the Russians, the local very superstitious prehistoric people in the area and …Well that would be saying and then spoil the rest of the story.
Though it is interesting to note that this series of books must have been an inspiration to at least a couple of TV series and films I can recall watching. If you read or listen to this I wonder if you agree with me.
This was a very enjoyable listen and made the time sitting in traffic pass by very quickly. This was book 33 week 27 fiction 30 (8 on audio) non fiction 3
The Light House by P D James
Friends, this is my review of the book The Light House by P D James, which I read a few weeks ago. The observant will have noticed a slight gap between posts, but do not worry I still have been reading or listening to books just been too busy to write up and post my reviews.
This was a classic P D James, Commander Adam Dalgliesh mystery. Someone dies is it suicide or a murder?? Well of course it is murder and in the vane of all good murder mysteries, the murder occurs on an island. The island, Combe Island, has very limited access, so one of the residents present at the time of the murder must have done it. This is a very exclusive island getaway, with a small permanent staff and the guests who want to can get away from all the pressures of everyday life. Of course the Island has a lighthouse and this plays a central theme to the latter part of the story
The staff that includes a doctor and priest (both having left the mainland in semi-disgrace). Dalgliesh and his two assistants DI Kate Miskin, and Sergeant Francis Benton-Smith, quickly finds that most of the people on the island have a motive for murder.
The plot becomes more complicated as one of the guests infects Adam with SARS forcing him to his sick bed. Kate then takes over but Adam still manages to solve the crime.
This was a very enjoyable read as book 32 week 27 fiction 29 (7 on audio) non fiction 3
Dyslexic doodles on photography, food (growing, cooking & of course eating), faith and other fascinating things. This is a personal blog expressing my views.