Catch up Sunday…

Sundays have always been a bit of a catchup day for me, but lately, I have not got round to catching up with anything, especially blogs and emails.  I have over 2000 emails to go through and I am sure thousands of posts that you lot have been writing over the last few months.

So, today, I am getting out my virtual time machine and going back and reading what has been produced in the past and trying in earnest to read it all, well, the blogs at least, most of the emails I see I tend to hit the delete key and move on to something important, or something that is relevant to me, rather than all the sale (except yarn) emails, and other crap, especially from Amazon, who think that I need products relating to things I have looked at, but tell me, how is a ladies training shoe any connection of a hive light bulb, or a paddling pool to knitting needles?

So, here I am, in the garden, listening to the birds and I think a neighbour eating breakfast in the background, coffee in hand, MacBook on the table, let the reading begin, and distractions abate, after a bacon sandwich that is, oh, and another coffee, then I will begin, honest…

The End is Nigh…

Christmas was nice, but, as we all know, there was something missing, that being our beloved dog Lilu.  Christmas morning was always full of fun and excitement with her and Harper opening their presents.  Indeed Mazikeen did join in, but it was not the same, and I know over time Maz will replace the fun on Christmas day.  M and I had bought each other far too many presents, about 40 each.  Now don’t get me wrong, we went for volume rather than cost, so most things were cheap trinkets, for example, I had got M 4 different packs of Top Trump cards, tapestry needles and other little things, and he did the same for me.  We decided not to bother with a “big” present as neither of us needed or wanted anything, although I will confide in you my dear reader, I did break the rules and bought M a GoPro action camera with all the bits and bobs that go with it.  It was on offer, so I thought why not.  As it was my birthday a few days before Christmas I know that he had spent a lot of money on me, so I decided, what the hell, rules are to be broken.  We had three sessions of sitting down opening presents as to do it in one go would have been vulgar (I say this with tongue in cheek).

Most Christmas’s we start the day with a glass of champagne and orange juice, but this year we decided that we wanted to have clear heads.  Needless to say, we ate far too much but did not really drink, we had a bottle of wine with dinner, then sat in the lounge far too stuffed to even think about consuming more, but towards the end of the day, we did manage to have the obligatory turkey sandwich.

Boxing day we took the dogs out for walks and pottered about, watched a film and read books.  Wednesday we decided since the weather was dreadful we would have a movie day.  It was torrential rain outside and the temperature was 1c, so why it was coming down as rain was beyond me as a lot of the country was getting snow again.  I know I go on about the lack of snow, but it really does annoy me, it’s down to the microclimate we live in and that we live on the coast.

I decided to make my yearly glazed ham.  This year I boiled the 2kg join in water for 10 minutes, poured the water off and filled the pan with orange juice an onion cut in half with a clove in each, four bay leaves and a touch of pepper and simmered it for three hours.  When the time was up I then removed the skin/rind and made diamond patterns in the fats, put a clove on each diamond and then drizzled it with my glaze that consisted of honey, wholegrain mustard, juice of an orange and the zest, pepper and orange marmalade, then baked it for 40 minutes.  It was delicious, and I served it with pickled red cabbage and apple sauce.

Today I have made another trifle and am currently roasting a huge joint of beef, the smell is divine and I cannot wait to eat with some roast potatoes and veg.

I finally managed to finish one of the many books I am reading, Captain Scott by Ranulph Fiennes, it was quite an interesting history of Scott’s last expedition to the South Pole, and I found it quite sad to read the extent of suffering and the conditions of his and his colleague’s deaths.  Although I knew of the story, and who doesn’t, but Ranulph Fiennes wrote in detail of all the backstabbing and character assassinations other authors had done in the past, one particular author Roland Huntford, had made lots of rubbish up and was taken to court by Scott’s son, needless to say Scott’s son won, but the damage it had done to Scotts reputation was quite alarming, and this so called text by Huntford was taken as gospel, only in later years has it been acknowleged that the man knew nothing and his life, like his book, was lies, even his name was not his real name.  It says a lot about a person who assassinates someone’s reputation in order to give themselves a so-called good name.

Christmas is now over and the New Year heading towards us at speed, tomorrow, the last day of 2017.  We have taken down all the Christmas decorations, apart from the tree that is, which may go tomorrow.  I will be glad to get the house back to normal if I am being totally honest.  I love all the decor we have during the period, but once boxing day is over, I am ready to box it all up again until the next December.

I have decided to make a few New Years Resolutions, and one of them is not to buy any more books.  Our house is like a library and we have quite literally thousands of books, and hundreds that I have not got round to reading, so it seems silly buying more when there are so many queued up waiting for me.  I have made a few other decisions along with a diet as I need to lose weight, I have just weighed myself and am 14 Stone 8 Pounds, so have quite a bit of weight to get rid of.  I am going to publish it on my site, and hopefully, this will spur me on to shed it.  I am not built for speed, so will never be skinny, but I do not intend to be that way.  I have Scandinavian ancestry, basically, I am from Viking stock, which explains why I am not tall, being 171cm which is the typical height of a Viking man, I have the same build as the average Viking too, not built for speed, but for hard work, I have blond hair and red in my beard, oh yes, I have a beard and have had since I was 21, I am 48 now, which is a typical trait of a Viking.  Also in common with Vikings, I have Osteoarthritis, am a bit of a fighter, very argumentative and have a temper that goes from zero to explosion in an instant.  Yes, I do sound like a delight!  Anyway, weight loss is on the cards for the new year.

This evening I am going to attempt to finish this bloody sweater.  It feels like it has taken me forever to make, but there has been a lot of changes at home as posted, but I really really want and need to finish it, after all, there are so many projects I have my eyes on.

In the new year, I aim to read 24 books.  One year I managed to read over 50, but lately, I seem to purchase huge tomes that have thousands of pages, so watch this space.  This year I have only managed to read 19 books which is poor.  When I was in my late teen’s early twenties I could read a novel in a day.  I would get my book, lie on the end of my bed, with the book on the floor and me hanging over the edge, and I would not move until I finished it.  These days life is too busy to get the chance to do such things, but I am not complaining.

My final decision is to spend less, save more!  I know a lot of people have this as a resolution, but I have everything, and I really mean everything I want and need, so there is no excuse for spend spend spend!  Unlike the usually broken resolution of joining the gym and then giving up within a month, these are things I really want to do.  I have them on my iPhone, so no escaping it.

In case you were wondering the photo is one I took a few years ago whilst visiting the Brontë Parsonage in Haworth.  I have visited it many times, and spend many many hours on the moors.  A beautiful part of the world.

All that is left to do is say farewell to 2017.

I’m Back…

Busy, yes, I think that sums up the past 3 weeks.  In fact, I could go one further and say bedlam, mmm, yes, I will stick with bedlam.

Obviously, the pup has been keeping us on our toes, but we have had so many appointments to fit in including puppy days at the vets, Mazikeen getting her final injections, then back for worming then again for kennel cough vaccination, then Harper with all hers.  Add to this cardiology for me, helping out a friend with her business, and life zooming along at a million miles an hour that is it in a nutshell.

Once Mazikeen could go our a week after her final vaccination we took her to the forest, which she loves.  Picking up sticks to carry with her, meeting other dogs and people that just want to fuss over the both of them, and who can blame them, they are both very cute.  We have not taken her to the beach just yet as the weather has not been very good to us.  The near freezing temperature is fine, we all have winter coats and the dogs have lovely matching ones, it’s just the constant rain and high winds that make it near impossible to be on the coastline.  Mazikeen’s training is coming on very well and the breeder was very surprised that she does so much on command at such a young age, as she is only 3 months old today.

I have managed to finally finish The Dynamite Room by Jason Hewitt, and given that this is his first novel, I thought it was well written, and kept me interested throughout, although the end was a little anticlimactic.  So with the end of one physical book, I have started another one, this time “Breakfast with the Borgias” by D.B.C. Pierre.  The title and cover intrigued me, also last November I was in the Borgia Apartments in the Vatican, so it felt like I had to read it.  I mentioned it being a physical book because I have so much I am reading on my Kindle including among others Captian Scott by Ranulph Fiennes and Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang, this is the second time I have read this.

I have not managed to do any more of my sweater, and I really need to finish it, I’m getting cold.

Christmas is close at hand and with that comes more running about and buying presents for M and the dogs.  I have done my cards and bought some presents for M, but more are on the way, and I have managed to get something for my niece but still looking for my nephew and my parents.  This year I have found it really hard to get things for M.  I have not been inspired by anything and being honest, I thought that the hateful black Friday may give me some ideas and bargains, but nothing at all, everything that seemed to be on sale were things that we already have.  There was one thing that I saw but was too late as they had run out of stock.  I am sure you can tell that I am not a fan of BF.  I think it is just a way for the shops to get us to buy crap that we do not need, but the fact remains that over 60% of goods on offer on that day can be bought cheaper either before or after the so-called deal day.

I had a little accident this week and managed to fracture my nose.  I have broken it many times and I am a tough cookie if I am honest, and I just get on with it.  I have smashed many parts of my body in through the years and ended up in the hospital far too many times.  This time I was cleaning the inside of the back window of the car, I have an X-Trail and it’s quite a big car, and with that quite a big hatch.  I stepped back and to the side after cleaning and pulled it down with a lot of force, but had not stood back enough and brought the corner of the door/hatch down on the bridge of my nose.  Pain and seeing stars was then followed by lots of blood pouring down my face, needless to say, I looked a bit of a mess.  I have a little bruising today, but nothing worth talking about.

That about sums it up.

Book challenge….

I set myself a challenge to read 4 books by the end of the month, 2 down and 2 to go, and a little behind, but life is like that.

The latest completed book was Paul O’Grady “Open the Cage, Murphy”. This is the 4th of his biographies and is set in the rise of Lily Savage, his drag act, from Liverpool to London. I found it a really entertaining book full of reference to places I know and have been to. I am looking forward to the next book and the next chapters of his life if he brings another volume out.

If you have never heard of Lily Savage, then I suggest having a look on YouTube for some videos, I am sure you would enjoy his acid tongue.

Books galore..

I have quite literally thousands of books, and this is no exaggeration.  I have been collecting books all my adult life.  I have bought books that I have never read, and may never get to read, but I am determined to try.

Inspired by another blogger Chronical Of Ellen, I have decided to list some books that I have to read in the next month, and no crafting (well, I may do a bit).

The photo you see showing my Churchill Diaries will not be a collection that I will be challenging myself to as yet, as they are quite intense reads.  I have set a date of the end of July, so that gives me about 5 weeks to complete the following in this order:

 

My List

  1. After Auschwitz; Eva Schloss
  2. Open the Cage, Murphy; Paul O’Grady
  3. The Dynamite Room; Jason Hewitt
  4. The Road Ahead; Christabel Bielenberg

So, here goes, let’s see how I do.  I have only managed to read 10 books this year, which is a far cry from my wanting to read 52 by the end of the year.

I will, of course, keep you all posted.