This is my review of the book Mere Christianity by C S Lewis.
I have had this book on my shelf waiting to read for around 6 months, and I have been keeping it for a holiday time so I have plenty of time to take in what I am reading.
The historical context of how the book came about is very relevant. Originally C S Lewis was asked by the BBC to give a series of lectures/talks which were broadcast. During the second world war. The talks were to help give some meaning and understanding to the lives of adults as they coped with the war around them.
One of the biggest shocks on reading this was how people regarded life at that time. Life expectancy for a lot of people was not high especially if you were just about to fly off and fight the enemy (I think a 1 in 13 chance of survival) or to be posted abroad somewhere. So people thought about the afterlife and what is to come next.
Today for most people this is a totally alien thought. People get up and go about their work and assume that they will be around tomorrow. At the time of these talks that was not the case. This was made all the more real to me when sorting out my brother's estate, he evidently had no idea when he got up in the morning that he would never be coming home again. I think if we assume that things are permanent then we do not appreciate them so much. Maybe even taking them for granted.
Anyway moving back to the book, as the book is based on the transcripts of the talks, the chapters are short and concise. He also makes sure that each chapter is a distinct and understandable in its own right, accepting that people may not have heard the preceding talk, or may not be able to hear the next one.
To achieve this he breaks down his ideas into everyday concepts that people can understand and get their head round. He then uses these concepts to present a clear and precise argument about some aspect of belief, or everyday life.
His skill is using these ideas and words in a way that you would chat over a cup of tea (or coffee) and not as a lecture or sermon that goes over ones head and sends you to sleep.
It is certainly a book that will make you think about life and the future. It presents a number of profound challenges, and I think it is a book I will read again as it has far more in it than I could take in at one go. A good choice of book for Christmas. This was book 44 week 31 fiction 41 (12 on audio) non fiction 3
This is my review of the book Caught in the Light by Robert Goddard, which I have read recently.
To date I have always enjoyed reading Robert's books and choose to read this book for that reason. Fortunately this did not disappoint, but rather increase my appreciation for Roberts skill in writing.
The cover of the book has the quote “This is his best book yet” and I would not disagree. It seems as if every chapter revealed a set of facts only to be overturned completely in the next chapter. I am not sure how Robert manages to do it, but he does and produces an exciting credible enjoyable story at the same time.
Anyway enough of that down to some “so called” facts about the story. Our hero is one Ian Jarrett, who is a professional photographer on assignment in Vienna. Where he meets as if by chance a beautiful lady Marian Esguard and falls for her. So much so that he decides to leave his wife, who is back in England and live with Marian.
But from then on things do not go quite as planned nor are they as they seem. It is not giving away too much to say that Marian does not turn up when she should and in fact vanishes. Ian then starts to search for her and the mystery unfolds.
A great book to read, quite hard to put down. This was book 43 week 30 fiction 41 (12 on audio) non fiction 2
This is my review of the audio book Memoirs of Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle. The version I listened to was a librivox one. There are 12 short stories in the collection and the last one is where Sherlock confronts his arch enemy Professor Moriarty. After a chase across London and then the continent they end up in Switzerland where they stay at Meringen. From there they fatefully decide to take a walk which will include a visit to Reichenbach Falls, a local natural wonder. Once there, a boy appears and hands Watson a note, saying that there is a sick Englishwoman back at the hotel who wants an English doctor. Holmes realises at once it is a hoax although he does not say so. Watson goes to see about the patient, leaving Holmes alone.
When he reaches the Englischer Hof, the innkeeper has no knowledge of any sick Englishwoman. Realizing at last that he has been deceived, Watson rushes back to Reichenbach Falls but finds no one there, although he does see two sets of footprints going out onto the muddy dead end path with none returning. There is also a note from Holmes, explaining that he knew the report Watson was given to be a hoax and that he is about to fight Moriarty, who has graciously given him enough time to pen this last letter. Watson sees that towards the end of the path there are signs that a violent struggle has taken place and there are no returning footprints. It is all too clear Holmes and Moriarty have both fallen to their deaths down the gorge while locked in mortal combat. Heartbroken, Dr. Watson returns to England.
The day after I listened to this I watched Michael Portillo's Great continental railway journey, where he ended up in Switzerland, and went to see the Reichenbach Falls, which is now a major attraction having been made more famous by the Holmes story.
An enjoyable listen making the miles traveled go by quickly. This was book 42 week 30 fiction 40 (12 on audio) non fiction 2
The observant follower will have noticed that I have not made a post for around a week and a half. Well I have not been on holiday putting my feet up, but rather the opposite, sorting out two self-catering holiday opportunities and their related websites.
It was decided that there would be three websites, a general one and two specific ones. The brief for the websites was to have a style that was separate but also distinctive as being linked together. The colours were to be simple and expressing of their environment. Ie one related to the land, the second to the sea and the third some form of combination of the two.
Initially we went down the line of exploring icons and having the two specific sites as subsets of the generic one, but this was ditched for the style we came up with. Probably a lot simpler, than the original idea.
What we came up with was a colour palette that was significant reduced/restricted and the sites were based around having a base css style that was modified for the sites are required.
The Spinney Home Page
The colour palette for www.thespinneycottage.co.uk was a couple of shades of blue, a red outline to highlight a link (this followed on from feedback saying they were not obvious) and a green to say that a booking date was available. This was originally a shade of blue but was changed on feedback. The shades of blue reflect the sea, as it is a seaside property.
The Shieling @ Trostrie Cottage Home Page
The colour palette for www.trostriecottage.co.uk was a couple of shades of green, but again following on from feedback the links were changed to a golden colour. To make them stand out a little more. Off white was also used rather than plain white so as not to stand out too much. The green colours of course reflect the environment around the property.
Galloway Getaways Home Page
The final colour palette was for www.gallowaygetaways.co.uk . Here the neutral grey finally became the main colour set on a blue for the sky. The background image reflects the two ideas of the sea and the land.
Having sorted out the style and the colour palette, the next thing is the images of the properties and their surroundings. A mixture of scrolling images and static ones are used on all three sites. As the saying a picture does say a thousand words is so true. Trostrie also has the added bonus of a changing background image, hopefully portraying the idea of some of the fantastic views available from the site.
The end result is hopefully three nice clear crisp sites that give an impression of a lovely holiday in South West Scotland. If you would like your website updated, or like one like this then do drop me a line firstname.lastname@example.org
This is my review of the book The Chamber by John Grisham, which I have read recently.
I have had this book sitting on the side for nearly a year, waiting for the courage to read it just in case the ending did not turn out the way I would like. I can't disclose if this was a necessary precaution or not as that would give the game away.
So like all good thrillers this has a finite time line, in this case the death sentence – death by gas, and the book makes great emphasis on letting us know how many days are left before the fatal time of one minute past midnight, every couple of chapters or so.
Our hero is Adam Hall a recent graduate and now in his first year at a top Chicago law school, and his prospective client is on death row for the murder of two Jewish Children in a horrific bombing 20 years before.
All is revealed as to why does Adam wants this case and his relationship with the accused. The plot line cleverly weaves between the past and the present whilst at the same time gives interaction between all the various family members.
I liked the way John also explores the relationship between the accused and his warders, especially as he has been waiting on death row for a number of years and they have become his pseudo family, making up for the problems and issues with the real ones.
The description of how they test out the gas chamber before the big event is fairly gruesome, and really makes one feel for the characters being described. It is a very compelling book as one wants to get to the end to see what happens – does he get off or not?
It was a good book and I certainly related to the characters described within it. This was book 41 week 30 (I did finish it last week but we are recording when I actually get round to writing the blog article) fiction 39 (11 on audio) non fiction 2
I had a friend who used to answer when asked what shall we have for tea, “Jump at the fridge door”. They meant that they would look in it and see what jumped out at them. Well the recipe was so inspired.
Normally when I record a recipe on the blog I have tried it a few times, and even sometimes remember to have a camera at hand so can take some shots, but this time this is not the case. Though it was invented, we thought it tasted so good that it should be recorded before forgotten, and as such it may as well be put on the blog.
The idea of the recipe was one that could be made very quickly, and cooks as being prepared. The ingredients given below make a quick meal enough for two. It took the length of time to cook the noodles – I also prepared and lit the fire whilst doing this at the same time so it is very easy!
PS This will give a slightly crunchy texture to the broccoli (The more it is cooked the less good it does you as cooking breaks down the good bits of it). If you add it before the green pepper it will cook a bit more.
This is my review of the book The Island of Sheep by John Buchan.
The Island of Sheep is the fifth book in the Richard Hannay series, and continues the theme that Hannay and his friend Sandy are the prototype super hero of all espionage fiction.
The action takes place across various locations in Britain, and then moves to the fictious location The Island of Sheep, which is situated in the fictional area called Norlands, which is based on the Faeroes.
A large amount of the story is based around chasing from one place to another. I particularly enjoyed the description of his route going North to Scotland, mentioning the local villages around where I live. They do make it to the more easily defendable bolt-hole of Laverlaw, Clanroyden's seat in the Scottish borders. But then have to move from there back to the Island of Sheep to defend it and keep if for Haraldsen.
But I must not spoil the plot, all I will say is that the story revolves around a long-forgotten promise made by Hannay in his days as a mining engineer in South Africa. He had sworn to defend the interests of Marius Haraldsen, a wealthy Danish gold-prospector and expert in Norse lore, against a group of unscrupulous former business associates and assorted desperadoes. Hannay, Pienaar and fellow Englishman Lombard join Haraldsen at his camp on a Rhodesian plateau, and in a scene worthy of Rider Haggard, they beat off an attack on their hill-top redoubt with timely help from local tribesmen. However, that is not the end of the matter. Some thirty years later, with Haraldsen now dead, Albinus, the surviving member of the original gang and Troth, the son of one of the others, decide to take the vendetta to the next generation.
It was an enjoyable read as book 40 week 28 fiction 38 (11 on audio) non fiction 2
Summary – This is a reflection on part of John's Gospel chapter 7
A lot of us in Britain will be thinking that over the last few weeks we have had too much water. Far too much, in fact water has become a costly nuisance. Yet only back in April of this year the Telegraph
was reporting that we faced our worst drought since 1976, with 35 million people living in drought-affected areas. How things change in a few months.
It seems that often we can either have too, much or too little water, but it is something we we do need for life. This is a fact that has been recognised through time, and often in areas of warmer climate and more often water shortage than not, water symbolises life.
2000 years ago Jesus recognised this when he was talking to the crowd at the Feast of the Booths or Tabernacles (This was the annual celebration of the time when Israel wandered in the wilderness. One of the things that they commemorated and celebrated was the water that God gave from the rock in the wilderness. And each day the priests would pour out water before the altar to remember that gift of water) -
37-39 On the final and climactic day of the Feast, Jesus took his stand. He cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says.” (He said this in regard to the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were about to receive. The Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified.) (The Message John Chapter 7)
Just as we need to drink water to live, so we also need the Holy Spirit of God. It is an essential for ones spiritual life. Just like our physical bodies thirst so do our hearts (and souls) thirst, but in this case it is for God's Holy Spirit – the Water of Life
You can read more on this amazing chapter of John in our home group notes on the chapter 7 of Johns Gospel
Dyslexic doodles on photography, food (growing, cooking & of course eating), faith and other fascinating things. This is a personal blog expressing my views.