Helenliz gets crafty

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Helenliz gets crafty

Editado: Mar 29, 9:40 am

I'm Helen and I'm head of quality in a small firm that makes inhaler devices for delivery of drugs to the lung. It's a small team and I love my job. (Usually)

I'm expecting 2024 to be rather busy, so I've cut back on some of the categories. The bellringing organisation I am secretary of celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2024, and we've got events every month to celebrate. 2024 could get a bit hectic. Add that to the fact that his mother recently died and we have a very full (like extreme hoarders level full) house to deal with in the first portion of the year.

I was feeling rather uninspired for categories, so I'm just using images of things I have sewn (with one notable exception). Maybe I will find time for sewing and crafting again - it;s a good indicator of my mood. I can't sew to relax, I have to be relaxed to sew. Let;s hope I have some new finishes to share with you this year.

Editado: Mar 27, 6:37 pm

The List

1. Death on Gokumon Island, Seishi Yokomizo, ***
2. Who Fears Death, Nnedi Okorafor, **.5
3. Coraline, Neil Gaiman, ****
4. Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller, Nadia Wassef, ***
5. The Night Hawks, Elly Griffiths, ***
6. A History of Treason, The National Archives, ****
7. The Seabird's Cry, Adam Nicholson, ***
8. Supporting Cast, Kit De Waal, ****

9. Offshore, Penelope FitzGerald, ***
10. Sylvester, Georgette Heyer, ****
11. The Fairytale Hairdresser, Abie Longstaff, ***
12. Happiness, a Mystery. Sophie Hannah, **
13. The Weird Sisters, Eleanor Brown, **
14. A Three Dog Problem, SJ Bennett, ***
15. Pearls before Swine, Margery Allingham, ***
16. Farewell Fountain Street, Selçuk Altun, ***
17. Ragnarok, AS Byatt, ***
18. We are Displaced Malala Yousafzai, ***

19. Conversations with Friends, Sally Rooney, ***
20. Antarctica, Claire Keegan, ****
21. English Animals, Laura Kaye, ***
22. Plain Murder, CF Forester, ****
23. Get in Trouble Kelly Link, ***
24. Misjustice, Helena Kennedy, ****

Editado: Mar 27, 6:37 pm

Category 1: Women Authors
Wisteria Fairy, an elegant lady for my books by ladies of all descriptions.

1. Who Fears Death, Nnedi Okorafor
2. Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller, Nadia Wassef
3. The Night Hawks, Elly Griffiths
4. Offshore, Penelope FitzGerald
5. Sylvester, Georgette Heyer
6. The Fairytale Hairdresser, Abie Longstaff
7. Happiness, a Mystery. Sophie Hannah,
8. The Weird Sisters, Eleanor Brown,
9. A Three Dog Problem, SJ Bennett
10. Pearls before Swine, Margery Allingham
11. Ragnarok, AS Byatt,
12. We are Displaced Malala Yousafzai
13. Conversations with Friends, Sally Rooney
14. Antarctica, Claire Keegan
15. English Animals, Laura Kaye
16. Get in Trouble Kelly Link
17. Misjustice, Helena Kennedy

Editado: Mar 27, 6:37 pm

Challenge 2: New Authors
My oldest piece of stitching. Sarah Ann Skelton is an ancestor. So it makes sense (in a twisted way) to use this for my new authors.

1. Who Fears Death, Nnedi Okorafor
2. Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller, Nadia Wassef
3. A History of Treason, The National Archives
4. Supporting Cast, Kit De Waal
5. The Fairytale Hairdresser, Abie Longstaff
6. Happiness, a Mystery. Sophie Hannah
7. The Weird Sisters, Eleanor Brown
8. Farewell Fountain Street, Selçuk Altun,
9. English Animals, Laura Kaye
10. Plain Murder, CF Forester,
11. Get in Trouble Kelly Link
12. Misjustice, Helena Kennedy

Editado: Fev 26, 12:50 pm

Challenge 3: Translations
Pooh bear has been translated into many languages - I have a copy in Latin (that I can't read). I'll use this for my books that have been read in translation

1. Death on Gokumon Island, Seishi Yokomizo
2. Farewell Fountain Street, Selçuk Altun,

Editado: Jan 7, 11:15 am

Challenge 4: Heyer Series Read
The 12 days of Christmas might be viewed as a string of related items, so it fits my Heyer series read.

✔️ The Black Moth (g) 1921 Finished 01Jan18, ****1/2
✔️ Powder and Patch (g) 1923 Finished 05Feb18, ***
✔️ The Great Roxhythe (h) 1923 Finished 30Apr18, ***
✔️ Simon the Coldheart (h) 1925 Finished 7May18, ***
✔️ These Old Shades (g) 1926 Finished 31May18, ***
✔️ The Masqueraders (g) 1928 Finished 17Jul18, ****
✔️ Beauvallet (h) 1929 Finished 08Sep2018, ****
✔️ The Conqueror (h) 1931 Finished 25Dec2018, ****
✔️ Devil's Cub (g) 1932 Finished 31Jan2019, ****
✔️ The Convenient Marriage (g) 1934 Finished 12Mar2019, ****1/2
✔️ Regency Buck (r) 1935 Finished 08May2019, ****1/2
✔️ The Talisman Ring, Georgette Heyer Finished 10Aug2019, ***
✔️ An Infamous Army, Georgette Heyer Finished 13Oct2019, ***
✔️ Royal Escape, Georgette Heyer Finished 14Feb2020, ***
✔️ The Spanish Bride, Georgette Heyer Finished 28Mar2020, ***
✔️ The Corinthian, Georgette Heyer Finished 17Jun2020, ****
✔️ Faro's Daughter, Georgette Heyer Finished 25Aug2020, ****
✔️ Friday's Child, Georgette Heyer Finished 10Oct2020, ****
✔️ The Reluctant Widow, (r) Finished 24Jan2021, ****
✔️ The Foundling (r) 1948 Finished 21Apr2021, ****
✔️ Arabella, (r) 1949 ****1/2 Finished 19Jun2021
✔️ The Grand Sophy, (r) 1950, **** Finished 25Jul2021
✔️ The Quiet Gentleman (r) 1951, ****1/2 Finished 24Sep2021
✔️ Cotillion (r) 1953, **** Finished 15Apr2023
✔️ The Toll Gate (r) 1954, **** Finished 31May2023
✔️ Bath Tangle (r) 1955, Georgette Heyer, **** Finished 10Sep2023
✔️ Sprig Muslin (r) 1956, ****, Finished 23Sep2023
✔️ April Lady (r) 1957, *** Finished 17Nov2023

To be Read
Sylvester, or The Wicked Uncle (r) 1957
Venetia (r) 1958
The Unknown Ajax (r) 1959
Pistols for Two (short stories) 1960
A Civil Contract (r) 1961
The Nonesuch (r) 1962
False Colours (r) 1963
Frederica (r) 1965
Black Sheep (r) 1966
Cousin Kate (r) 1968
Charity Girl (r) 1970
Lady of Quality (r) 1972
My Lord John (h) 1975

Editado: Mar 27, 6:38 pm

Challenge 5: Non-Fiction
A rainbow heart, nothing fictional about rainbows. Keats complained that Newton had destroyed the magic of the rainbow by explaining it. I disagree. Knowing how something works just gives you another level of appreciation. And, unlike Keats, I'm all for learning new things. So I'll put my non-Fiction here.

1. Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller, Nadia Wassef
2. A History of Treason, The National Archives
3. The Seabird's Cry, Adam Nicholson
4. We are Displaced Malala Yousafzai
5. Misjustice, Helena Kennedy

Editado: Mar 27, 6:38 pm

Challenge 6: Audio
These five ballet dancing bears clearly have music in their ears. This is where I will put my audio books.

1. Death on Gokumon Island, Seishi Yokomizo
2. Coraline, Neil Gaiman
3. A History of Treason, The National Archives
4. Supporting Cast, Kit De Waal
5. Offshore, Penelope FitzGerald
6. The Fairytale Hairdresser, Abie Longstaff
7. Happiness, a Mystery. Sophie Hannah
8. A Three Dog Problem, SJ Bennett
9. Ragnarok, AS Byatt,
10. Conversations with Friends, Sally Rooney
11. Plain Murder, CF Forester,
12. Misjustice, Helena Kennedy

Editado: Mar 27, 6:39 pm

Challenge 7: CATs
If this year is anything to go on, me sticking to CATs is about as likely as finding a unicorn, so these merry monocerous will house the CATs I do manage to participate in.

AlphaKit - A & Y - Death on Gokumon Island, Seishi Yokomizo, The Seabird's Cry, Adam Nicholson,
RandomKit - Birds - The Night Hawks, Elly Griffiths, The Seabird's Cry, Adam Nicholson, ***
AlphaKit - E & F - Offshore, Penelope FitzGerald, The Wierd Sisters, Eleanor Brown
RandomKit - escape - We are Displaced Malala Yousafzai
AlphaKit - R & H - Conversations with Friends, Sally Rooney, Misjustice, Helena Kennedy
RandonKit - Wildlife - English Animals, Laura Kaye

Editado: Mar 26, 4:10 am

Challenge 8: BingoDogCOW
well it's an animal and its square, but that's probably all I can find to link BingoDog and my image of a cow cushion!

1. Food or cooking
✔️2. An ugly cover Plain Murder, CF Forester,
✔️3. Only title and author on the cover Get in Trouble Kelly Link
✔️4. Features twins Sylvester, Georgette Heyer
5. A topic about which you have specific knowledge
6. Publication year ending in -24
7. Epistolary or diary
8. Big or Little in the title
✔️9. Book from an LT Similar library The Night Hawks, Elly Griffiths
✔️10. About friendship Conversations with Friends, Sally Rooney
✔️11. 3 word title Pearls before Swine, Margery Allingham
12. Paper based item in the plot
13. Read a CAT
✔️14. Short story collection The Fairytale Hairdresser, Abie Longstaff,
✔️15. Person's name in the title Coraline, Neil Gaiman
✔️16. set in a city Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller, Nadia Wassef
✔️17. less than 100 copies on LT A History of Treason, The National Archives
✔️18. POC author Who Fears Death, Nnedi Okorafor
✔️19. Author 65 or older Ragnarok, AS Byatt,
✔️20. featuring water The Seabird's Cry, Adam Nicholson, ***
21. warriors or mercenaries
22. Re-read a favourite book
23. Written in another cultural tradition
✔️24. set in multiple countries Supporting Cast, Kit De Waal,
25. current or recent bestseller

Dez 6, 2023, 2:01 am

Good luck with your BingoCOW and happy reading in 2024!

Dez 6, 2023, 3:37 am

Happy reading in 2024 and all the best for your bell-ringing centenary! Is that Wisteria Fairy a Nora Corbett design? It looks familiar...

Dez 6, 2023, 6:21 am

Good luck and happy reading.

Dez 6, 2023, 9:44 am

Love all your needlework projects, and I hope you are relaxed enough to sew a lot in 2024! :)

Dez 6, 2023, 1:52 pm

I'm dropping my star for another year! I'm in awe of your creativity and patience with that intricate stitching!

Dez 6, 2023, 3:45 pm

Beautiful theme! BingoCOW is a charmer. Happy reading in 2024.

Dez 6, 2023, 9:09 pm

Your needlework is gorgeous! I've placed a star so I can keep track of your 2024 reading. :)

Dez 6, 2023, 11:08 pm

Love the needlework. Good luck with your 2024 reading. I look forward to popping in and getting more BBs.

Dez 6, 2023, 11:31 pm

Super needlework! You are very talented. Happy reading in 2024.

Editado: Dez 7, 2023, 4:07 am

Thanks all.
OK, I'm renaming, I'm doing BingoCOW this year!

>12 MissWatson: Yes, she's a Nora Corbett.

Dez 7, 2023, 5:28 am

>20 Helenliz: Ah, thanks. I've got one of her mermaids started which I hopeto return to next year.

Dez 7, 2023, 3:25 pm

I'll be following along again this year. I love, love, love the heart. You should come over to the NeedleArts Group and join us and post your projects.

Dez 9, 2023, 11:25 am

Like the others, I admire your craft and I can't even decide which one I like best! I hope you find some time to read and do needlework in what sounds like a busy year.

Dez 9, 2023, 2:46 pm

The rainbow heart is my favourite, although hard to choose one! Have a great reading year :)

Dez 10, 2023, 10:13 am

>21 MissWatson: I'd like to doe more of her designs, but most of them are too big to fit the charity's stitching guidelines.
>22 dudes22: I struggle with the maintainin multiple threads thing, but I will think about it.
>23 MissBrangwen: I'm hoping it will all go (relatively) smoothly.
>24 rabbitprincess: Thank you, I designed that myself, so I am particularly proud of it.

Dez 10, 2023, 10:27 am

Such fine needlework! Happy reading in the new year!

Dez 11, 2023, 9:10 am

>25 Helenliz: My compliments on creating your own design!

Dez 17, 2023, 6:06 am

Hello Helen! Your stitching is perfect for your categories and I love the BingoCow!

Dez 22, 2023, 10:22 pm

I always love to see stitching. I have a sampler my aunt did for my parents when they moved into their new house the year I was born and it's one of my favorite things! And the bell ringing anniversary will be a very memorable thing to be involved in (though tiring).

Dez 29, 2023, 7:57 am

Hi Helen, I've seen you on a few 75 Book Challenge threads (Katie, Amber ...), thought I might want to follow your reading, but didn't know where your LT "home" was. It finally occurred to me to check your profile, et voila. Your reading plans look interesting and I look forward to seeing what you get up to.

>22 dudes22: I second Betty's suggestion to come on over to the Needlearts group! Your needlework is gorgeous. I can understand not wanting to maintain another thread; lucky for you there's a general "What are you making now" thread that you can post on whenever you feel like it.

Dez 29, 2023, 8:30 am

>30 lauralkeet: hello there Laura. Welcome along and nice going on the stalker-ish skills! I didn't know about the general "what are you making" thread, that might be something I could try and remember to post to. Thank you for that information, most useful.

>29 clue: Old stitching gives me a thrill every time. We're clearing mother in law's house and we've come home with a couple of church kneelers that I'm going to dismantle and turn into a cushion (by means yet to the determined...) There's a tale in every stitch.

>28 susanj67: Thanks Susan.

>27 MissWatson: I'm not terribly creative in a visual sense, so it is very simple, but turned out remarkably effective. I'm very pleased with it. And will share at the drop of a hat if anyone asks >:-)

>26 NinieB: Almost there, I wonder about having a reading plan, but then I get so easily distracted by the next shiny thing that I'd just fall off any plan within a week. I'll go with the flow & see where it takes me.

Dez 29, 2023, 10:30 am

>31 Helenliz: That would be a great project to undertake!

Dez 30, 2023, 10:04 am

Dropping off my star, Helen, so I can follow along in the new year...

Dez 30, 2023, 12:54 pm

Have a good time with your 2024 reading.

Dez 31, 2023, 1:49 pm

Hi there, dropping off a star here. I loved seeing the needlework, and the BingoCOW is my fave! Maybe I will be inspired to get back to stitching in 2024. When I was working in the library at our retirement village, a lady walked past and started to talk about her needlework. I ended up down the hall at her apartment and she showed me her beautiful finished and framed projects. Then my neighbor invited me in after we went to breakfast, and showed me some of her projects in progress. Must be a sign . . .

Jan 1, 6:39 am

Hi Helen, I love your new theme. I think those historic samplers are fascinating - I read a paper by an academic who had tracked down several completed in a girls' school in West Africa over 150 years ago. Amazing they survived, and a little glimpse into someone's life.

Happy new year - hope the bellringing celebrations go well, and are fun.

Jan 1, 12:24 pm

Starting the year with these:
Who Fears Death on paper
Coraline on audio & Death on Gokumon Island on CD in the car.

Aims for the year.
I want to clear all my current library books. There are 12 at the moment. That's got a bit out of hand.
Try Jerusalem by Alan Moore again. Last time I stalled somewhere in book 2. Let's see if I can make it a bit further this time.
Carry on with the Campion series in alternate months with Liz
Finish the Heyer series.

>33 katiekrug: Good to see you along for the ride.
>34 hailelib: thanks!
>35 LadyoftheLodge: sounds like the fates are conspiring to me >;-)
>36 charl08: Thank you. That sounds interesting. The example pictured came to me with a history after it was created. It had been sewn onto a paper backing, then folded into quarters. I got it in one of the striped bags that you used to get in a bakers in the 70s. I had it framed, adding another layer to its history.

Jan 1, 12:30 pm

>37 Helenliz: I have stalled a couple of times on Jerusalem too! Maybe 2024 will be my year too?

Jan 1, 3:01 pm

Hi, Helen!

Just finished reading through your previous thread (honest!) before tracking you down here. I will try to be better about keeping up and communicating this year. Thanks so much for sticking with me. :)

Jan 1, 4:38 pm

>39 lyzard: Hi Liz, >:-) I'm assuming we are on Pearls before Swine next? I'll plan for February, but let me know if that doesn't work for you.

Year end meme time.
Describe yourself: April Lady,

Describe how you feel: Stone blind,

Describe where you currently live: The Judge’s House,

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Golden Hill

Your favourite form of transportation is: Waiting for the last bus,

Your favourite food is: A short history of coffee,

Your favourite time of day is: Cocktail Time,

Your best friend is: The talented Mr Ripley

You and your friends are: Great Goddesses

What’s the weather like: Here comes the sun

You fear: The Wee Free Men

What is the best advice you have to give: Run

Thought for the day: My pen is the wing of a bird

What is life for you: The Selfless act of breathing

How you would like to die: A deadly affair

Your soul’s present condition: Wombling free

What was 2023 like for you? Bog, fen & swamp

What do you want from 2024? Love and other thought experiments

Jan 1, 4:41 pm

Great meme responses!

Jan 1, 4:51 pm

Love seeing your stitching! Is it cross stitch? I started cross stitching again during covid lockdown and I've been having a lot of fun with it.

Jan 2, 11:06 am

>40 Helenliz: Haha, Cocktail Time is the best answer!

Jan 2, 1:01 pm

>37 Helenliz: I assumed the paper would be public by now, but it seems not (don't get me started) but the V&A have one of the surviving samplers and a bit of blurb about it https://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O70576/sampler-grant-lucy/

Jan 2, 3:09 pm

>43 christina_reads: Ditto that! Another name for "the hour of happiness."

Jan 2, 3:45 pm

I find it interesting how some of the meme answers fall right into place (Cocktail time was one of those) and others are more of a toss up.

>42 japaul22:. Yes, I mostly do cross stitch. Have done other embroidery, but not for some time.
>44 charl08: I will have a look, thanks.

Jan 4, 1:32 pm

Book: 1
Title: Death on Gokumon Island
Author: Seishi Yokomizo
Published: 1948
Rating: ***
Why: second in a series I started last year.
Challenge: Audio, translation
TIOLI Challenge #6. Read a book by an author whose name is next to one of the big names in your author cloud

I didn't enjoy this as much as the first in the series. Set some years, later, the story is set on Gokumon Island, as soldiers return home after WW2. Kosuke Kindaichi comes to the island after one of his comrades dies on the return home, asking Kosuke to go to the island and protect his 3 sisters as they will be murdered. And, in turn, they are. Kosuke follows a range of clues and trails to find the solution but only after the 3 girls have died. There's lots of too-ing and fro-ing across the island, a map would have been a useful addition had I read this in print. I think I enjoyed this less as this was narrated by an omnipresent narrator, whereas the first book was narrated by one of the people involved, that felt more immediate, this felt more remote. The ending turns out to be somewhat depressing, in that it never need to have happened at all.
In audio the vocal tics of Kosuke get somewhat annoying. Having said that, I'll keep going to book 3.

Jan 6, 10:53 am

>47 Helenliz: I read the first book in the series and it reminded me of a locked room murder. Not being a mystery reader per say, I'm not sure if that was the intent or not. I'll keep watching for your review on book 3 before I decide if I want to continue!

Editado: Jan 6, 3:32 pm

Book: 2
Title: Who Fears Death
Author: Nnedi Okorafor
Published: 2010
Rating: **.5
Why: at this point, no idea!
Challenge: New author, woman author, Bingo
TIOLI Challenge #12. Read a book with a pronoun or Who/Whom/Whose in the title

This started out as a good book, with a clearly defined world and key characters. Unfortunately, it let itself down in the final portion, where in place of solid plot there was a mishmash of additional tricks employed. Some aspects of this were inventive, the Red people and their magic protective sandstorm being the most inventive. But the way that everyone involved turns out to be a sorcerer and that Mwita will be alive in the green lands with no explanation, as the last time we saw him he was most certainly dead, left me less impressed with the ending that I was at the beginning.

Jan 6, 11:16 am

>48 Tess_W: I will report back at some point in the future on book 3. Knowing how bad I am at continuing a series, you might have a bit of a wait!

Jan 7, 8:12 am

Book: 3
Title: Coraline
Author: Neil Gaiman
Published: 2002
Rating: ****
Why: He reads really well.
Challenge: Audio
TIOLI Challenge #3. Read a book with a title word that begins with A, B, C, Do, Re or Mi

This taps into the inquisitiveness that comes upon us whenever we find a locked or blocked up doorway - what;s behind that, where does that go. In Coraline's case, it goes into a parallel universe that looks a lot liker her own home, but is very different in nature. When she explores through the door for the first time she comes home to find her parents missing. They are in the mirror in the hallway, but where are the really? Coraline ventured back through the doorway and into the parallel world to find them. Along the way she finds other trapped individuals and a talking cat that helps her along the way.
It's an inventive journey through to a parallel world.

Jan 7, 8:56 am

>51 Helenliz: - I really enjoyed that one, too. I also listened to the Gaiman-narrated audio version.

Jan 7, 11:23 am

>52 katiekrug: I love his voice, he reads so delightfully.

Next up for the ears is Supporting Cast.
Still reading Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller, which I'm not sure I'd grasped was non-fiction.

Jan 7, 5:09 pm

>40 Helenliz:

That would be the one. Let's see if I can catch my earlier reviews up by then. :)

Jan 9, 3:19 am

Slight change of plan. The phone decided to play A History of Treason first, so that's up next for the ears.
Still reading Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller.

Jan 9, 10:51 am

>55 Helenliz: This looks interesting. People that write books about their bookstores can always count on me!

Jan 9, 3:22 pm

>56 clue: It is this month's Shelterbox book club pick. They're usually fiction, so it took me a couple of pages to realise it is non-fiction. Organised into chapters which are thematically based on different areas of the bookshop.

Jan 10, 12:24 am

>55 Helenliz: Both books sound fascinating!

Jan 10, 1:22 pm

>58 VivienneR: It's not usually I have 2 non-fiction on the go, but these are both interesting, if in entirely different styles.

ION: I've finished my jigsaw puzzle.

Jan 10, 1:32 pm

>59 Helenliz: Ooh, congrats!

Jan 10, 1:57 pm

>59 Helenliz: - Nicely done!

Jan 10, 3:58 pm

>60 christina_reads:, >61 katiekrug: thanks both. It was quite good to do, you could do blocks at a time.
I have 50 more arriving on Friday, ready for sale at our first anniversary event on Sunday!

Jan 10, 8:27 pm

>62 Helenliz: I hope the fundraiser goes great!

Editado: Jan 11, 5:13 pm

>63 clue: if wishing makes it so...

Went to the pub for the monthly quiz. First one since the landlord changed, so some things have changed - they've moved some of the furniture about and removed some of the odder "ornaments". Quiz was still set by the same person thought. We won, and I now need to divide up a bag of Lebkuchen without eating more than my fair share - which will probably be the hardest part about this!

ION I've done something to my back & have trapped a nerve. Sitting is fine, standing up it feels like someone's sawing half my leg off. So that's fun. I'm just being grumpy about it, as I'd just started back on the getting fit thing (again). Ho hum. Off to bed with an ibruprofen. I'd have a hot water bottle, only that's sprung a leak. See, I told you I was being grumpy!

Jan 11, 5:49 pm

>64 Helenliz: - Yay for the quiz! Boo for the back!

Jan 11, 6:02 pm

Ouch sorry to hear about your back. I hope it’s a bit better in the morning.

Jan 11, 6:05 pm

>63 clue: Soaking in a tub with Epsom Salts before bed does wonders for sore muscles.

Jan 12, 2:48 pm

Sorry to read about your back - that sounds really painful!

Jan 13, 4:48 am

Thanks all. It's not excruciating, it just catches and then it really hurts. Worst thing is that you try to move your leg to make it feel better, but you know it;s not your leg that actually hurt, it's a phantom pain, in a sense. Took a sensible pill & didn't drive to work on Thursday, went to the nurse, should take 7 to 10 days to sort itself out. Right now that feels like a very long time! Went ringing last night, on the grounds that gentle exercise was good - verdict still out on if that was a good idea or not!

Jan 13, 6:17 am

Helen, sorry to hear about your back. Ouch!

Congrats on the jigsaw! Very pretty :-)

Jan 13, 7:16 am

Sorry to hear about your back, I hope it takes less time to sort itself than the prognosis says!

Jan 13, 9:04 am

Yeah, with pain like, 7-10 days can seem an eternity! Take care.

Jan 13, 12:46 pm

Book: 4
Title: Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller
Author: Nadia Wassef
Published: 2021
Rating: ***
Why: Shelterbox book club book
Challenge: New author, woman author, non-fiction
TIOLI Challenge #3. Read a book with a title word that begins with A, B, C, Do, Re or Mi

This tells of a Cairo book store that aimed to break the mould. Set up by 3 women, this was always going to be a different environment. The books is structured in sections of the store, with something about the books and philosophy behind the section then is uses that as a launch pad into discussions on running a book store, staff issues, corruption, the problems encountered, language, culture, family and anecdote.
It is full of interest and I discovered a lot that I'd not considered. My only caveat is that there is little joy in this book. The venture started out as one of those "if you could do anything, what would you do" conversations. So if running a book store is your dream, surely that should bring you some joy. It feels a lot like the pressure of the business elements and the associated staff and monetary issues sucked the joy from the experience. This might be a warning for those who follow their dreams

Jan 13, 1:06 pm

ION chocolate crispy cakes made for tomorrow's tea & cake after the ringing & service.

And a vegan apple cake.

Just got some sorting out to do and we'll be ready (she says hopefully).

Jan 13, 1:15 pm

>74 Helenliz: They look delicious!

Jan 13, 1:30 pm

>74 Helenliz: Wow. I haven't had one of those in ages. Fingers crossed for your back. I have a tens machine which sometimes helps.

Jan 13, 2:11 pm

>74 Helenliz: my favourites! I am the world's worst cake maker but even I can do these, and they never don't taste brilliant!!

Jan 13, 4:28 pm

Thanks all.
Back has been feeling better today, after being worse first thing. Maybe it takes a bit to get going. Went ringing again today, and it;s been better this afternoon. So hopefully movement in the right direction. Someone suggested a shakti mat, but I'm not sure about lying on what looks like a bed of spikes, even if they are small spikes.

I'll take the chocolate crispy cake love. They are stupidly simple and remarkably effective. They;re all vegan, the ones at the back are also gluten free.

Jan 14, 12:57 am

Sorry to hear about your back. You have my sympathy - double sympathy because I've just had a week of intense pain caused by sciatica.

Love the chocolate crispy cakes.

Jan 14, 2:39 am

>79 VivienneR: ouch right back at ya! Mine's the next nerve down, all down the outside of my leg. I feel your pain (almost literally) and send you sympathy in return.

Having finished my paper book, I'm now reading The Seabird's Cry by Adam Nicholson, which fits for random CAT & Alpha KIT.
Still listening to A History of Treason on audio. We've just cleared Henry VIII, on to Elizabeth next.

Jan 17, 4:38 am

Book: 5
Title: The Night Hawks
Author: Elly Griffiths
Published: 2021
Rating: ***
Why: next in the series & I needed a slightly smaller book for reading on the train.
Challenge: woman author, Bingo, Cats
TIOLI Challenge #1. Read a book with a word or phrase related to time in its title

Maybe it's because it's been a while since I read the previous one, this felt to be more enjoyable and less going through the motions. Mind you, I roll my eyes every time that Ruth ends up in some villain's clutches by being ditsy and just turning up somewhere. Honestly, woman, you're holding down a responsible job, try engaging your brain a smidge.

Jan 17, 6:24 am

>81 Helenliz: your comments made me chuckle, Helen. So true!

Jan 17, 8:24 am

>81 Helenliz: - That was my only major annoyance with the series - it always seemed like to get to the climax and resolution, Ruth had to act out of character. It felt lazy on the author's part.

Jan 17, 1:31 pm

Now that it's been a few days, how is your back doing?

Jan 17, 3:14 pm

>82 lauralkeet: My job here is done.
>83 katiekrug: I know what you mean. It's getting a bit tired.

>84 RidgewayGirl: maybe a bit better. I'm not sure that spending Sunday afternoon in heals and on my feet, was necessarily a good idea. It's been having a bit of a whinge since then. Worse first thing and last thing. I'm still grumpy about it though.

Jan 17, 6:15 pm

I'll be following along this year...a little late getting going. I love seeing your needlework. I have been on hiatus for a few years, but hope to get back to my cross-stitching after my move.
Best wishes for a speedy recovery for your back.
>81 Helenliz: :-) a good chuckle.
Find my thread here https://www.librarything.com/topic/357398#8369531

Jan 18, 3:00 pm

My younger sister found some cross-stitched needlework projects that I created and gave to our family members as gifts. They were in her cedar chest. They were signed and dated 1989. The frames on several were handmade by my departed husband. I am glad to know these items are still loved and appreciated. There were a couple of quilt block designs, and some angels and Santas.

Jan 19, 12:08 pm

>87 LadyoftheLodge: That is a nice treasure.

Jan 20, 6:38 am

Beautiful sewing Helen, thank you for sharing.

I hope your back recovers soon. I know several people who are having similar problems at the moment. Not pleasant.

Yum to the cakes.

Jan 20, 9:19 am

Hello, Helen! Oof to the back troubles - not fun. Hoping it mends quickly.

I loved your review of the Ruth Galloway book - made me laugh. I lovingly refer to them as "Those horrible Ruth Galloway books" - an addiction to me as no matter how improbable the plot or that Ruth always ends up in the thick of things, I could not stop reading them. I adore them and have read them more than once and will return to them again. I was sad to see the series end, but I thought she did a good job of it.

Hoping your weekend is full of fabulous!

Editado: Jan 22, 3:39 pm

>86 beebeereads: Nice to see you >:-)

>87 LadyoftheLodge: How lovely. I now do most of my stitching for a charity that makes cross stitch panels into quilts for ill children. I get to stitch, and don;t have to work out what to do with the result. Win-win really.

>89 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks for that. Back not noticeably better, and I'm still grumpy.

>90 Crazymamie: I'm heading towards the end of the series, so I will see it through. Still trying to work out where she's put a university in King's Lynn.

I'm making progress on my books, but nothing yet to report. It's been busy round here. Last weekend we had the first event in out 100th anniversary, a sung evensong in the Cathedral, with an address by the bishop, then tea & cake afterwards. Turned into a really good day, but I'm not sure a dress & heels was necessarily a sensible choice - the right one but not a sensible one.

Just one picture to be going on with.

I watched Schindler's List tonight. I saw it when it came out and haven't seen it since. It has lost none of its power. I remain intrigued by it.

Editado: Jan 23, 12:34 pm

>91 Helenliz: Lovely photo! Thanks for sharing with us.
I have the Schindler's List soundtrack on CD, and it still has the hauntingly sorrowful quality.
I would be interested in knowing more about the charity you mentioned. I used to stitch quite a lot, and had the same problem of deciding what to do with the projects when finished.

Jan 23, 2:27 pm

>92 LadyoftheLodge: It's not a bad one of me, I grant you.

The charity I stitch for is Love Quilts. https://www.lovequiltsuk.com/index.php They have an American sister organisation as well. There are requirements as to what can be stitched, pattern size and fabric size, so it's not like you get compete freedom in what to stitch, but there's more than enough scope to keep me quiet. The UK site you either sign up for a certain child's theme or can stitch for stock, which get used for short notice quilts. Do check it out. I enjoy it.

Editado: Jan 23, 3:18 pm

Book: 6
Title: A History of Treason
Author: The National Archives
Published: 2022
Rating: ****
Why: Grabbed by the title!
Challenge: new author, Audio, non-fiction, Bingo
TIOLI Challenge #3. Read a book with a title word that begins with A, B, C, Do, Re or Mi

This was fascinating. Starting in the middle ages, it traces the history of England through the evolution of treason. From being a crime against the King, it evolved over the ages, depending on the power of the monarch and parliament and the social situation at the time. It finishes with a couple of in-depth studies of the use and mis-use of treason trials, before moving forward to the end of WW2 and the last trial for treason. Interesting fact, the 1352 treason act remains a statute part of English law. Also, treason is the only felony mentioned in the US constitution, borrowing the wording of that 1352 statute almost verbatim.
I listened to this and I wonder if the print edition had images of the documents referenced. It was fascinating, nonetheless.

Next up for the ears if Supporting Cast by Kit de Waal.
Still reading The Seabird's Cry on paper.

Jan 25, 4:01 pm

Book: 7
Title: The Seabird's Cry
Author: Adam Nicholson
Published: 2017
Rating: ***
Why: Cat catching
Challenge: new author, non-fiction, Bingo
TIOLI Challenge #3. Read a book with a title word that begins with A, B, C, Do, Re or Mi

A set of chapters about different sea birds that nest on the coasts and spend most of their lives at sea. Some of them I'd not be able to distinguish, some pictures were quite useful, a ready reckoner would have been valuable. It covers them life cycle, the latest science but also how they appear and are portrayed in literature and popular culture. So the Albatross has only been considered bad luck to kill one since Coleridge's poem, before that, they were regularly killed for food. Can get a little repetitive, and the final chapter is profoundly depressing for the future of these specialised birds.

Book: 8
Title: Supporting Cast
Author: Kit De Waal
Published: 2020
Rating: ****
Why: Grabbed by the title!
Challenge: new author, Audio, Bingo
TIOLI Challenge #3. Read a book with a title word that begins with A, B, C, Do, Re or Mi

This is an excellent set of short stories, all told in a very intimate format Some of them are connected, and once you've seen that, you start wondering how many others are related. Jimmy who deserts his bride at the alter, is he also the man that has moved to a snooker hall in Bristol? None of the people telling their stories are overt, they are all quite contained. There's no Divas in here, they might all be considered supporting cast members in the play of life.

Now listening to Offshore and reading Sylvester on paper.

Jan 26, 2:09 pm

>93 Helenliz: Thank you! I found the USA website. Now I need to take a look at my pattern books to see what might work.

Jan 27, 4:54 am

>96 LadyoftheLodge: Excellent >:-)

Jan 27, 9:18 am

Nice review of Supporting Cast, Helen. I love interconnected short stories, and this sounds right up my alley - adding it to The List.

Jan 27, 4:55 pm

>98 Crazymamie: I listened to it, some connections might be easier to check in print. Each short story has a date and location at the beginning, which might allow some cross checking to happen.
I was sorely tempted to listen to it again straight away.

Jan 31, 4:52 am

I'm not going to finish either of my current books before the end of the day, so that's January done.

Read: 8 (8)
F/M: 3/4 (3/4)

Audio: 4 (4)
Paper: 4 (4)

Owned: 2 (2)
Library: 6 (6)

New authors: 3 (3)
New books: 8 (8)
Re-reads: 0 (0)

January's reads
1. Death on Gokumon Island, Seishi Yokomizo, ***
2. Who Fears Death, Nnedi Okorafor, **.5
3. Coraline, Neil Gaiman, ****
4. Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller, Nadia Wassef, ***
5. The Night Hawks, Elly Griffiths, ***
6. A History of Treason, The National Archives, ****
7. The Seabird's Cry, Adam Nicholson, ***
8. Supporting Cast, Kit De Waal, ****

Pretty good month, with 3 books earning 4 stars
January's raspberry goes to Who Fears death which started strongly, but deteriorated.

Jan 31, 6:15 am

Nice work finishing 8 books in January, Helen. I like awarding a raspberry, too.

Jan 31, 6:19 am

>100 Helenliz: - A raspberry - what a great idea.

Jan 31, 8:22 am

I am also a fan of your raspberry award. Not sure I had one this month (raspberry jam?)

Jan 31, 9:11 am

Hello, Helen! I'm impressed you've done your stats already. Nice. I also like the raspberry - fun!

Jan 31, 9:35 am

Heh. Raspberry. I might steal that.

Jan 31, 4:40 pm

>:-) Thank you all for the raspberry love.

>103 charl08: I'm not sure I'll have one every month, this was just duff enough to earn that title.

My stats for January are only done because I know I'm going to finish neither of the books I currently have on the go. So I may as well do the stats now as wait for January to actually finish. January seems to have been a very looooong month.

Fev 1, 12:46 am

I summarized my January reading today too. It didn't just seem like a long month, it was extremely long.

Editado: Fev 1, 2:20 pm

>107 VivienneR: I'm hoping February will feel shorter as well as be shorter, although it is a long February anyway.

ION, I finished Offshore on audio and started The Fairytale Hairdresser the complete audio collection.

6 down so far, 8 more to go. Counting it as 1, not 14, although that would bump the numbers up somewhat! It's different, I'll give it that much!

Still reading Sylvester on paper. Got to the point I cannot work out how this is going to end up how I thought it would.

Fev 1, 3:06 pm

Book: 9
Title: Offshore
Author: Penelope FitzGerald
Published: 1979
Rating: ***
Why: Alphakit.
Challenge: woman author, CATs, audio
TIOLI Challenge #5. Rolling Challenge – Match first letter of book title to the phrase “Hearts and Flowers”

Set in the early 60s this focuses on the community that lives on houseboats on a stretch of the Thames. They are a varied bunch, not quite at home in life, they live at the margins of land and water, and seemingly of society as a whole. The mixture of characters is appealing and they're all quite well defined. There's a lot goes on but the brevity of this leaves a lot of questions unanswered and what happens next.

Fev 1, 3:45 pm

>109 Helenliz: I liked this more than you did, perhaps partly because I'm so relieved when a book is short.

Fev 1, 4:45 pm

>109 Helenliz: and >110 pamelad: I enjoyed it more too. Eccentric characters always appeal to me.

Fev 2, 6:09 am

>109 Helenliz: I had trouble with this one, too. I liked the eccentric characters but thought there were a lot of loose ends. I expected more from a Booker winner.

Fev 2, 2:06 pm

Book: 10
Title: Sylvester
Author: Georgette Heyer
Published: 1957
Rating: ****
Why: Heyer read
Challenge: woman author, Heyer read, Bingo
TIOLI Challenge #3. Read a love story

Well this is complicated, I admit to being half way and having no idea how our couple were going to end up together. At ~ 2/3rds distance it all got even more far fetched and ended in a whirlwind. It's fun, but slightly oddly paced.
Sylvester decides he wants a wife and goes shopping for one in the same way he'd buy a china service. His mother tells him that she'd considered pairing him , as a child, with her best friend's child, Phoebe. So he adds her to his list and goes shopping. He goes on to visit his god mother, who happens to be Phoebe's grandmother. She is in favour of the match and so sends Sylvester to the country to meet Phoebe's father. Marlow invites Sylvester to his country seat and his second wife tells' Phoebe exactly what is planned. This sends Phoebe into panic, as she had met Sylvester just the once and he was not kind, she then used him as the villain in her novel. She flees his offer before he can make it and we spend the rest of the book working these two back into the same place and into the same frame of mind, It the gets even more complicated (as if it could) when Sylvester's sister in law takes inspiration from Phoebe's book and heads abroad carrying something she shouldn't. Getting that back further complicates the issue.
It feels like this could have been somewhat shorter had both parties not been standing on ceremony half the time. They both seem to be equally full of pride, just from different causes. . Having said that, it was a diverting read that kept me wondering quite what was to happen next.

Fev 2, 2:14 pm

>113 Helenliz: So glad you enjoyed this one -- it's one of my favorite Heyers! I see your point about the pacing being odd, though.

Fev 2, 7:44 pm

>113 Helenliz: I've only read 3-4 Heyers, and that one was my least favorite. For some reason I noted it was too long, nothing else! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Fev 3, 3:08 am

>115 Tess_W: I can understand that. It was quite along and with the odd pacing, the first half seemed to take a long time.
>114 christina_reads: It's fun, but I'd not list it as a favourite.

Fev 3, 9:35 am

I have a bunch of Heyers on my Kindle (I think there was a sale at some point...) but have only read a few. I should make an effort to get to more of them.

Fev 3, 9:49 am

>117 katiekrug: What she said.

Happy Saturday, Helen!

Fev 3, 3:21 pm

>117 katiekrug:, >118 Crazymamie: you both need to get to some of them. >:-)

Fev 3, 3:36 pm

Book: 11
Title: The Fairytale hairdresser
Author: Abie Longstaff
Published: 2021
Rating: ***
Why: I'm on for a TIOLI sweeplette...
Challenge: new author, woman author, Audio, Bingo
TIOLI Challenge #3.

I suspect these would be better in picture book format than audio, although this was well done, with the fun sound effects. Kittie Lacey is fairyland's hairdresser and she is always very busy. Not only does she do hair, but she gets involved in any number of fairytales and intervenes to straighten things out. She has a go-getter attitude that contrasts slightly with the fairytale ending with each princess ending up with a prince. There are some fun twists on the standard fairy tale, with the village being populated by lots of fairy tale characters, although not entirely in their usual role.
It served a purpose, I suspect I'm not the target audience.

Fev 4, 6:33 am

Having finished Sylvester on paper earlier on the week, I'm now reading The Weird Sisters.
For the ears, I'm reading Happiness: a mystery

Fev 4, 10:33 am

>121 Helenliz: - Ooh, I have The Weird Sisters in my stacks. Look forward to hearing what you think!

Fev 8, 3:21 am

Book: 12
Title: Happiness: a Mystery
Author: Sophie Hannah
Published: 2020
Rating: **
Why: I'm on for a TIOLI sweeplette...
Challenge: new author, woman author, Audio
TIOLI Challenge #1. Read a book whose title begins with the same letter as your screen name

I feel like I've been mis-sold goods here. Presented as a mystery, this introduces the author and assigns the reader the role of sidekick in the investigation of a mystery - the mystery of happiness. So far so intriguing. However from here it falls down hill rapidly and, with one exception, stays unexceptional. The author chooses to give chapter after chapter containing conversations with life coaches & therapists - and I genuinely have no idea who was saying what, as it was all read in the same voice. So the conversation is received as a monologue which makes no sense as I can't tell who is voicing which opinion. The one interesting element was the idea of the 65 days, where you assign an item to do on each of 65 days in a year, that would bear expansion. The surmise of the mystery novel wrapping resurfaces at the end with a denouement and a twist, but it is too little too late to make this work as an investigation.
It could have done with a more thorough exploration of the philosophies of thought and happiness and less fan girl enthusiasm for an American life coach. If you're fan of self help, well it might appeal, if not, save yourself the time.

Fev 8, 4:52 pm

>123 Helenliz: Do you think it would read better in text form rather than an audio, Helen? I quite like the premise.

Editado: Fev 8, 4:57 pm

>124 charl08: yes, I do. I think a lot of my frustration was not being able to distinguish if the speaker was the author or the second party in the conversation. I'm not sure I'd have loved it, even so, not my thing.

Fev 8, 5:25 pm

>123 Helenliz: - That sounds very odd.

Fev 9, 3:11 am

>126 katiekrug: It was, hence I feel like I've been mis-sold the concept. What the introduction presented, the rest of the book really didn't carry through and deliver on.

Fev 11, 10:52 pm

Hello Helen, and happy 2024. I wish you a lot of luck cleaning out your mother-in-law's home. Is it just you and your husband, or are you connected in with a professional organizing or estate service? Hoarding can be a lot to deal with.

And so impressed by the Nora Corbett and your connection to the sampler, not to mention your self-designed heart and your wide variety of stitching. Not to mention all of the great books you are reading and enjoying. And 100 years of bell-ringing - what a great group to be a part of!

Editado: Fev 12, 7:13 am

>128 threadnsong: we're getting someone in. no way we could manage that ourselves. I did the majority of work clearing my parents house, so we both knew what we were facing and knew we couldn't do it ourselves. So that made the conversation easier. Going up on Wednesday and they'll to a "top layer" clear, so that we can get the the things behind it all. He has a sister, so there's her & her husband as well.

Thanks, the sewing thing has been going on a while, they're not all recent, by any means! We had our second ringing anniversary event at the weekend, a barn dance. I really enjoy a good barn dance. I think we had ~ 80 people, and a good number of them came to dance, so the floor was pretty full most of the time. It's one way of racking up the steps! I got to cut birthday cake again. I promise everyone cake at every event, and so far have got myself involved in cutting it each time! Picture of a knife wielding Helen maybe misinterpreted!!

Having finished listening to happiness, a mystery for the ears I'm now on A Three dog problem.
Still reading The Weird Sisters

Fev 13, 1:27 am

Just to report in that Tuesday 11th Feb is Shrove Tuesday, tomorrow's Ash Wednesday & the start of lent.
Because of this, Tuesday is also Pancake day, when you would have used up your eggs before heading into the fasting period of Lent. Nowadays most of us don't do the fasting, but do the pancakes anyway. (US friends, what you call a crepe).

I cannot turn a pancake for love nor money, so I make the batter & he cooks the pancakes. We did this Monday night as he's out tonight. Lemon & brown sugar for me, orange juice & white sugar for him (because he's odd). >:-)

Fev 13, 4:31 am

>130 Helenliz: - Well - I'm not making crepes, but we're expecting a big snowstorm today and I promised my husband I'd make "U.S." pancakes for breakfast today. Co-incidence.

Fev 13, 4:59 am

Not sure if I’ll be making pancakes or not. When Jacob was at home there was no choice (he loves pancakes) but I’m officially on a diet …

Fev 13, 5:10 am

>132 SandDune: The Husband loves pancakes, so it's a fixture in our house, although not always on the right day. I sometimes wonder why we don't do them more often for pudding - then I remember that we rarely have pudding!

I am aware of the concept of a diet; the less said there, the better...

>131 dudes22: stay safe in the snow storm, Betty, & enjoy the pancakes!

Fev 13, 6:39 am

>130 Helenliz: Ahem. Wouldn't that be Tuesday 13th? And I'll be happy to see come Ash Wednesday come in because then all that wall-to-wall coverage of carnival in Germany will be over.

Fev 13, 7:18 am

>134 MissWatson:. Yup >:-) Blame the time of the post, I was barely half way down my first coffee.
Is there a lot of carnival activity in germany then? I'm always amazed at how different traditions are.

Fev 13, 8:10 am

I know this is heresy but I am not a fan of British pancakes, so usually make the US version. Although with GF flour this can also be a bit hit and miss for me. Fortunately nutella seems to make most kitchen disasters edible.

I like the idea of having professionals do the sorting.
I have all but given up on the attempts to get my dad to help me with decluttering, and am kind of resigned to thinking I'll just have to do the job when I'm on my own. My last attempt (3 rolls of 'sale sticker' wallpaper) was rejected 'for some time later'.

Fev 13, 8:17 am

>136 charl08: It takes all sorts, I suppose.
This will be of no comfort whatsoever, but we spent the last 10 years trying to get her to start getting rid of stuff. It didn't work at all, in fact, it got worse. When she was in hospital and we were visiting the house more, I made it my mission to throw away at least something on every visit. I made not a dent in it, but it made me feel better.
Sorry, I realise that's of no comfort, but it may be best to be realistic. Sometimes it is worth kicking the can down the road for the sake of an easy life and better relationship now.

Having cleared my parents house, we knew what we were due to be tackling and quickly came to the conclusion that we couldn't do it. Took Jane quite a bit longer to get to that stage, but she's nearer it now. Making the decision is sometimes half the battle.

Editado: Fev 13, 9:11 am

I love crepes and "real" pancakes. If I weren't socked in by snow, your post would have had me planning lunch at one of our local diners and ordering a short stack :)

I hadn't realized that pancakes were traditional to use up eggs before Lent. I also didn't realize eggs were verboten over Lent (at least in ye olde-y times?). I'm only aware of the no meat on Friday rule from my lapsed Catholic mother.

ETA: I think both your and his flavor combinations sound delicious!

Fev 13, 9:59 am

>138 katiekrug: Yup in ye olden dayes, Lent fast meant a basically vegetarian diet for 7 weeks. No meat on friday was a year round rule.
There's also a practical consideration.
As chickens start to lay as the days lengthen, they'll start increasing egg production around now. As they take ~ 3 weeks to incubate & 4 or so before they'll lay again, a chicken who lays her eggs now and raises a brood will next lay in 7 or so weeks time - just in time for Easter. So it makes a virtue of a farming necessity.

I think his sounds too sweet, I like the sharpness of the lemon. But we agree to differ on that one.

Fev 13, 10:02 am

>139 Helenliz: - Interesting! I had no idea (unsurprising given my complete lack of religious background).

Fev 13, 10:06 am

>140 katiekrug: I went to a CofE school, but this is as much from the Brother Cadfael books or history classes as any religious education. I remain one of the ungodly >;-)
The farming knowledge is one of those bone deep things, 2 of my 4 grandparents were born on farms.

Fev 13, 10:30 am

>139 Helenliz: - Ny brother has a farm so I was aware that chicken's egg production decreases because of the amount of light in winter and so now begin to lay more. I didn't realize about the 7 weeks and had never heard about using all your eggs at the beginning of Lent.

RE: clearing parent's house - my mother adamantly refused to downsize from the house I grew up in nor would she go through things. Luckily, I have 3 sisters and a brother so with 5 of us it went pretty quickly when she passed. I had one sister still living with her, so she got to pick whatever she wanted as she was moving to somewhere smaller. Then we spent a night deciding what we each wanted from the stuff that was left, then a yard sale and then seeing what any charities might want and then a dumpster.

Fev 13, 1:58 pm

>142 dudes22: it's not a current thing, we're talking the middle ages, as far as I know.

Fev 14, 9:15 am

>135 Helenliz: It's a huge thing in the Rhinelands and parts of Bavaria, and I've always found it offputting, with all the drinking and brawling and all that organised "fun". When we had only two TV channels (in the olden days) they inflicted this on the rest of the nation, but these days you can usually find other fare.

>139 Helenliz: I think a lot of these religious traditions have their origin in agriculture, don't they?

Fev 14, 2:38 pm

We had a fun time at the Mardi Gras luncheon here at our retirement community. Cajun food, lots of masks and beads, and TV news tuned to New Orleans and the parades. Mimosas were also on offer, which made the time extra special.

Now today we are entering Lent with Ash Wednesday (on Valentine's Day no less)!

Fev 14, 5:16 pm

>145 LadyoftheLodge: See, Mardi Gras sounds a load more fun than Pancake Day does, even though it serves the same purpose.

We spent Valentine's day at his mother's house, with house clearance doing a first pass clear. We have come home with a car full of stuff. Long, difficult day. We'll be up to see the house once it is fully cleared. I get the mixed feelings, he's come away with his mother's teaching certificate. Has no idea what he'll do with it, but just couldn't bring himself to let it be thrown away. I've collected some photos of him as a child. Awwww, bless! Cream crackered.

Fev 15, 4:50 pm

I love pancakes but am a bit wary of indulging this now, as I'm trying to be a bit more careful of what I eat and particularly of eating a bit less sugar.

Fev 16, 3:18 am

>147 elkiedee: that's fair, they need something with them and it is usually sugar based.

Finished The Weird Sisters (meh) and started Pearls before Swine.
Still listening to A Three Dog Problem.

Fev 16, 4:47 am

Book: 13
Title: The Weird Sisters
Author: Eleanor Brown
Published: 2011
Rating: **
Why: Had it out the library for too long!
Challenge: new author, woman author,
TIOLI Challenge #6. Read a book where changing one letter makes a new title

This is Ok as far as it goes, the story of 3 sisters who all end up back at their parents house having made a series of mistakes and needing to regroup. They're the daughters of a Shakespeare professor and their names as well as their conversation is peppered with quotes from the bard. Its not terribly adventurous, with the various conundrums being played out and tied up in a big bow at the end. The thing that really go on my nerves was the style of the telling. It is written in the third person plural, as if being told by the sisters as a collective. but you'll have a paragraph about one sister and then suddenly a sentence or part sentence in the third person and it just read very oddly. The story wasn't strong enough to get over the grammatical quirk and I found it hard to get engaged with the sisters on that basis.

I do sometimes get my head stuck on one element of a book, your tolerance for odd grammar may vary and you may enjoy this more than I did.

Fev 16, 7:51 am

>149 Helenliz: - That third-person plural narration sounds a bit odd, but I have had the book on my shelf for ages, so I should probably give it a go at some point...

Happy Friday!

Fev 16, 12:39 pm

>150 katiekrug: I'm afraid I found it very odd and the story itself couldn't distract me from the oddity of the telling.

Fev 16, 2:26 pm

>151Years ago it was a book club selection and a DNF for me.

Fev 16, 11:46 pm

Don't not envy you the clean out. My mother is 91 and she has material, thread, patterns, and 5 sewing machines that have not been used since the 1950's. But she is adamant that she might use them someday! Ditto with the 50+ tablecloths, 200+ pairs of shoes, and clothing that has not fit her in 20 years. (filled closets in every room and 2 chiffons in the garage) I try to gently push her to begin downsizing, but she is just not interested. And I won't even go into the knick-knacks! (I would like to paddy-whack them for sure!) Why does one woman, who eats out every single day, need 40 dish towels?

Fev 17, 2:43 am

>153 Tess_W: Why does one woman, who eats out every single day, need 40 dish towels? I hear you sister! We've found what feels like hundreds of tea towels. All look in unused condition, folded in drawers in the bedroom. Genuinely, I have no idea what she was thinking. Many pairs of new shoes, still with stickers on the soles. Wool. Bags and bags of wool. I don't knit.

We had house clearance on Wednesday to skim off the top, so we could get to some of the furniture & shelves, they're in next week to finish emptying. After which it needs a clean (like a really good clean) and the Estate agents will put it on the market. Feels like we're nearly there.

Fev 17, 6:59 am

>154 Helenliz: Feels like we're nearly there
Congratulations, Helen. I'm sure you feel a bit of the weight lifting off your shoulders now.

Fev 17, 10:04 am

>154 Helenliz: That must be a relief to have the end in sight, Helen.

Fev 17, 10:30 am

>155 lauralkeet:, >156 charl08: it is.
House clearers should be done mid week. Met the estate agent today again & have arranged to use the firm they use for their lets to do a good clean by next weekend. Photos to be taken after it's cleaned and house on the market a few days after that. It'll be a project for someone with vision to take it on. I keep thinking what I'd do to it, then feel quite relieved I don't have to do it.

Fev 17, 1:14 pm

So wise of you to hire someone. I had the opposite problem with my father -- he was so concerned about someone else having to clear out the house that he threw away most of the contents before I helped him move into his retirement apartment. It was less work, but the family photos are all gone.

And one thing dealing with a previous generation's accumulations does is give us plenty of impetus to keep things uncluttered.

Fev 17, 1:28 pm

My parents are being fairly sensible, and have largely decluttered the big things that would be a nightmare to deal with (dad's old motorbikes, for example). They are being slower about facing the power of attorney issue, which to be honest I'm much more worried about (as I work in a hospital where I see families frequently facing a relative suddenly incapacitated and no idea what their wishes are or any way to access their finances for future care).

Fev 19, 2:56 pm

>159 Jackie_K: It's a tricky one.

>158 RidgewayGirl: that's equally as difficult. We were talking to the clearance people and he said about some of the houses they'd dealt with, so I asked if he lived in a minimalist palace and he sheepishly said no. I felt better!

Busy few days. My uncle's funeral this morning, so we stayed at his sister's last night, having had lunch with his god mother on the way. Tea and a wee stop with a friend of mine on the way to the funeral, then home after. It was a non-traditional church, so felt a bit out of my comfort zone there. Lovely to see the family, shame we only do it on occasions such as this.

Fev 20, 2:08 pm

Book: 14
Title: A Three Dog Problem
Author: SJ Bennett
Published: 2021
Rating: ***
Why: Someone reminded me of this series.
Challenge: woman author, audio
TIOLI Challenge #5: Rolling Challenge – Match first letter of book title to the phrase “Hearts and Flowers”

I like the surmise of these, that the Queen was a bright cookie and sets her APS tasks to investigate goings on in the palace. In this we have a missing painting a poison pen campaign and a body in the swimming pool. Which of these are related and what's irrelevant? Gradually the strands entwine and there is a pattern that emerges. The fun in these is the interaction between the Queen and her APS (in on the secret) and the heads of the household offices (in the dark). There's an air of nostalgia in here, with Her Maj no longer here. I like to think that she might have been this bright and that she might have enjoyed them.

Fev 20, 8:40 pm

>161 Helenliz: I've wondered what would happen now that the Queen and Phillip are gone. His age was given as 96 in the third book. I now see that the fourth is coming out next month and it takes place in 1957. It will be fun to see show this goes, but I'll miss her current assistant for sure.

Editado: Fev 22, 3:16 am

>162 clue: the library has 3 as an audio, so I'll get to that later. Number 4's available as an e-book (but I don't do those) so I'll wait until it's available in audio.

Started Ragnarok by AS Byatt on audio. Still reading Pearls before Swine in small print on paper.

Fev 24, 4:11 pm

Book: 15
Title: Pearls before Swine
Author: Margery Allingham
Published: 1945
Rating: ***
Why: It's that month
Challenge: woman author
TIOLI Challenge ???

This next entry in the Campion series was somewhat darker than its predecessors. Campion has been overseas on undercover work and returns to London towards the end of the war. Instead of the warm welcome, he finds a Lugg and a lady smuggling a corpse into his bedroom. The corpse was, in life, a hanger on in the circle of Johnny Carados, and all the clues point to him having murdered her, in his bed, a few days before he;s due to be married to someone else. The body count racks up and there are complications in the shape of stolen goods. Campion comes into this almost in the middle and finds it hard to adjust to the conditions in post blitz London as well accept the facts of the case. Oates, having been on it since the beginning. There's a lot going on in here. Campion seems to be less the gad fly man about town, the events of the past few years seem to have sobered him. That's not a bad thing.

Fev 26, 12:49 pm

Book: 16
Title: Farewell Fountain Street
Author: Selçuk Altun
Published: 2022
Rating: ***
Why: Shelterbox discussion this week...
Challenge: new author, translation
TIOLI Challenge #5. Rolling Challenge – Match first letter of book title to the phrase “Hearts and Flowers”

The surmise here is that the younger man takes on employment with an older man who has cancer and only a limited time to live. We hear from each of them, as they tell their life story to each other.
The twist at the end felt rather twee and unsatisfactory.

It was OK, but I'm not going to remember much of it beyond a fortnight

Editado: Fev 27, 4:06 pm

Book: 17
Title: Ragnarok
Author: AS Byatt
Published: 2011
Rating: ***
Why: wanted something different for the ears.
Challenge: woman author, Bingo
TIOLI Challenge #5: Rolling Challenge – Match first letter of book title to the phrase “Hearts and Flowers

From the author's afterword, this seems to be part of a publisher series of retold myths. The author decided to stick to the mythical element and used a framing device of a young child discovering the myths through reading them. It's noticeable how very violent this is, and how it doesn't end well for anyone. The afterword was very interesting in itself.

Next up for the ears is Conversations with Friends.

Mar 1, 10:14 am

Book: 18
Title: We are Displaced
Author: Malala Yousafzai
Published: 2021
Rating: ***
Why: On for a TIOLI Sweeplette!
Challenge: woman author, non-fiction, CAT
TIOLI Challenge #2. Read a book whose average rating on LT is 4.0 or above

I think this book has a laudable purpose, it just feels rather that it is aimed at a younger readership, as there's a lack of nuance in here.
I'm reminded of the quote, the death of 1 man is a tragedy, that of millions a statistic. We often hear of refugees in terms of the numbers trying to cross or the number seeking asylum. It isn't often that those faceless numbers become human. This books aims, in part, to do that, to tell individual stories of some of those many people.
It selects just women, mostly young, and tells their story. That means that for the most part they aren't the ones faced with the decision to leave, they are caught up in that decision. The mixed emotions between the leaving behind something that was familiar,even if now dangerous, and moving to something entirely new and scary is there, but glossed over. Their stories all ended up sounding very similar, there was little in the way of individual voices here and the stories had a cookie cutter feel about them. It is a book with laudable aim, but it didn't land.

Not sure what's next up for the eyes. Maybe Antarctica by Claire Keegan.

Editado: Mar 4, 4:47 am

February's round up.

Read: 10 (18)
F/M: 9/1 (12/5)

Audio: 5 (9)
Paper: 5 (9)

Owned: 4 (6)
Library: 6 (12)

New authors: 4 (3)
New books: 10 (18)
Re-reads: 0 (0)

February's reads
9. Offshore, Penelope FitzGerald, ***
10. Sylvester, Georgette Heyer, ****
11. The Fairytale Hairdresser, Abie Longstaff, ***
12. Happiness, a Mystery. Sophie Hannah, **
13. The Weird Sisters, Eleanor Brown, **
14. A Three Dog Problem, SJ Bennett, ***
15. Pearls before Swine, Margery Allingham, ***
16. Farewell Fountain Street, Selçuk Altun, ***
17. Ragnarok, AS Byatt, ***
18. We are displaced, Malala Yousafzai, ***

Feels like a mediocre month. Best was Sylvester, followed by Ragnarok.
You swerve The Weird Sisters and Happiness, a Mystery.

Mar 1, 4:08 pm

>154 Helenliz: About the excessive number of tea towels - many of mine were given as gifts. I pass them on to my son and daughter-in-law, and still I have about 4 times what I will ever need.

I've added S.J. Bennett's books to my wishlist but if you like Her Maj as detective, you will enjoy C.C. Benison's Her Majesty Investigates series, that are fun.

Mar 3, 4:38 pm

>169 VivienneR: I'm not sure of this is luckily or unluckily, the library doesn't have any of those.

The house is cleared, the plans and photos have been taken, should be getting the brochure to approve this week and it goes on the market. I want to see it empty, just to see how different it looks.

Mar 3, 11:25 pm

What a lot of stories of clearing up/cleaning up of our parents' homes. My dad was a minimalist (and I was 19 when he died), my mom not so much. She inherited her mother's gene of hoarding, and instead of >154 Helenliz: tea towels there were over 40 purses on a shelf. Mom died in 2006; there was a receipt in one of them from 1991! So very, very glad to hear you have a service coming in and are so far along with the process.

Mar 4, 6:01 am

Congratulations on your progress with the house, Helen. That is no mean feat.

Mar 7, 4:10 pm

Book: 19
Title: Conversations with Friends
Author: Sally Rooney
Published: 2017
Rating: ***
Why: It was on Julia's list
Challenge: woman author, audio, CAT, Bingo
TIOLI Challenge #5. Read a book where there is at least one embedded word of 3 letters or more in the author’s name

I struggled to relate to this. Our main character is Frances, a 21 year old student cum intern who lives rent free in a flat owned by her family and receives an allowance from her drunken father. She has a best friend, Bobbi, and we follow this pair through about 6 months. They meet Melissa, a photographer and her actor husband Nick. These two quickly become embroiled in Frances & Bobbi's lives.
The title implies that there are conversations between friends. As the book progressed I became increasingly convinced that what Frances really needed were some friends, rather than the echo chamber she lives in.

Next up on audio is Plain Murder by CS Forster.

In other news, the house is on the market & application for probate going in. Plotting what to do with it is the next discussion.

Mar 7, 7:13 pm

Congratulations on getting the house sorted so quickly and efficiently.

Mar 8, 8:09 am

Book: 20
Title: Antarctica
Author: Claire Keegan
Published: 2013
Rating: ****
Why: On a mission to read *all* her work.
Challenge: woman author,
TIOLI Challenge #4. The One Word; Many Syllables Challenge: Read a book whose title has only one word, but the word is polysyllabic

I have previously read Small Things like these and Foster, both of which were in my best books of the year. This is an earlier work and I think it shows a writer exploring her range rather than one who has found her forte.
In any collection there are some stories that will be better than others, and so it is here.
There is more action in some of these than in her longer format work, in some of them the presentation of not a lot happening beautifully well described is there, though and these were the ones I found the most arresting. Some of them tetter on melodramatic, and it doesn't work as well. Having said that, as a collection, there is a lot to enchant.

Mar 8, 9:19 am

>174 pamelad: It has felt like a long process. I'm glad we've got this far and we can all relax a bit. At least from here its in the hands of solicitors and the like, we need to make decisions, but there is little we need to do physically.

Mar 8, 9:28 am

>176 Helenliz: It must be a real load off your back.

Mar 16, 4:47 am

Book: 21
Title: English Animals
Author: Laura Kaye
Published: 2017
Rating: ***
Why: Not sure now!
Challenge: woman author, new author, CAT
TIOLI Challenge #3. The “It’s My Birthday Challenge”: Read a book that has either the numbers 03, 14, or 62 (each in the respective order) in its ISBN number.

Mirka, a Slovenian, arrives at a country house owned by Sophie & Richard. They are very much of their type and class and how Mirka interacts with them evolves as she comes more into their circle. Richard has a number of schemes to make money, shooting & taxidermy being but two. Mirka starts to help with the taxidermy and proves to be surprisingly good at it. It is when emotions get involved that Mirka ends up on more rocky ground.
I couldn't ever quite decide where this was going. Mirka made some odd decisions at times and I'm not sure she felt real, more a collection of set pieces that lead up to the final set piece. It wasn't awful, but I can't get enthused about it either.

Mar 16, 6:06 pm

Book: 22
Title: Plain Murder
Author: CS FOrester
Published: 1930
Rating: ****
Why: Someone read another of his non-Hornblower fiction and the library had this one.
Challenge: new author, audio, Bingo
TIOLI Challenge #2. Read a book whose author has three names (or initials)

This isn't so much a whodunit as a whydoneit - and will he get away with it. Published in 1930, this feels older and is of its time. No forensics, no electronic tracking. Charlie Morris is a man with a chip on his shoulder, he feels that he is owed more than he has in life. At the start we find Morris and two of his colleagues having been discovered in a bribery scam at their advertising agency. It is Guy Fawkes night and this pops an idea in Morris' head - to murder their supervisor who is about to tell the agency boss and get them all fired. He involves both of his colleagues in the act, such that they are both implicated as accessories. From here is continues as a psychological study of how actions build upon each other.
In a sense it us a bit like Patricia Highsmith's Ripley, you know he's a villain, you are waiting to see what he does next and if he gets away with it. This is told by an omnipresent narrator and we see events and actions that impact on 2 main protagonists. Morris is also a lot less charming than Ripley, you don;t want him to get away with it in quite the same way. I listened to it and I'd certainly read or listen to more by Forester in this vein.

Mar 16, 7:06 pm

Plain Murder sounds interesting.

Mar 17, 8:15 am

>180 katiekrug: It was good. I've got another of his non-Hornblower books on reserve at the library.

Having finished reading English Animals on paper, I started Get in Trouble on paper.
And having finished listening to Plain Murder next up for the ears is Misjustice

Mar 18, 4:42 pm

I've been commissioned to stitch a baby blanket. Baby due this month, aim to have this for Christmas. So I've made a start on the higher number squares. I love these, 12 paddy paws.

Mar 19, 10:35 am

>182 Helenliz: Adorable!

Mar 19, 10:45 am

>182 Helenliz: So talented!

Mar 21, 4:24 pm

On World poetry day, a poem inspired by bells from John Betjeman.

Your peal of ten bells ring over then this town,
Ring on my men nor ever ring them down.
This winter chill, let sunset spill cold fire
On villa'd hill and on Sir Gilbert's Spire,
So new, so high, so pure, so broach'd, so tall.
Long run the thunder of the bells through all.

Oh still white headstones on these fields of sound
Hear you the wedding joybells wheeling round?
Oh brick-build breeding boxes of new souls,
Hear how the pealing through the louvres rolls!
Now borth and death-reminding bells ring clear,
Loud under 'planes and over changing gear.

On Hearing the Full Peal of Ten Bells from Christ Church, Swindon, Wilts by John Betjeman.

Thanks both. Assuming I can get the picture the right way up, I've done another square as well.

Mar 21, 5:01 pm

>182 Helenliz: Beautiful!

Mar 21, 5:09 pm

There we go, 10 hearts.

Mar 21, 6:18 pm


Mar 23, 5:38 am

and 11 butterflies. I do like these, the variegated thread makes them all different with no effort.

Mar 23, 6:07 am

>189 Helenliz: These are all lovely.
In a much less impressive vein, I am reminded I still have an unfinished bookmark from a cross stitch kit lurking about somewhere! I can't quite bring myself to admit I'm not going to finish it...

Mar 23, 6:57 am

I love your stitching, Helen! I've used variegated yarn in knitting with similar effect, but didn't realize it was a "thing" in cross stitch. Very nice.

Mar 24, 7:57 am

Book: 23
Title: Get in Trouble
Author: Kelly Link
Published: 2015
Rating: ***
Why: Someone had read something by the author, and this is the one the library had
Challenge: new author, woman author, Bingo
TIOLI Challenge #5: Read a book where there is at least one embedded word of 3 letters or more in the author’s name

This is a short story collection by an author with a startling imagination - trouble is my tastes & her imagination run on different tracks. I'm not a fan of magic, and so these were never going to be right up my street. Of the collection, the ones I enjoyed the most were The Summer People and The Two Houses. The former has a house populated by some "other" people taken care of by a school girl while the two houses is set on a spaceship heading to another planet when the crew are woken up for a party and tell ghost stories. What happened to the other ship and which of the two houses was the original mean that you're always left of balance. That's the sensation a lot of these stories give, a sense that the characters are not really in control. There are any number of parallel universes and odd creatures in here, but, to do the author credit, her mini worlds do seem self consistent, she plays fair with the characters and the stories they tell. If your tolerance for magic is higher than mine, you may well find this right up your street.

Mar 24, 8:02 am

Having finished Get in Trouble next up on paper is After the Mourning
Still listening to Misjustice by Helena Kennedy.

>191 lauralkeet: Yes, variegated thread is certainly a thing in cross stitching. You'll see more of it as I complete this blanket. It makes for some great effects that it would be almost impossible to achieve any other way. Those butterflies would need lots of thread changes to give an effect like that, while this does it effortlessly. I really enjoy using them.

>190 charl08: if you're not in a hurry, I'll finish it for you.

Thanks for the kind words all. I'm on 9 teddies next.

Mar 24, 9:47 am

>189 Helenliz: I love variegated threads and yarn! Gorgeous butterflies.

Mar 25, 9:53 pm

I love your stitched pieces! By the way, is the Wisteria Fairy piece in >3 Helenliz: a Mirabilia design? I've stitched a few of those designs in the past. They are so lovely.

Mar 26, 4:13 am

>195 mathgirl40: Yes, she's a Nora Corbett deign.

>194 rabbitprincess: I agree, the variegated thread is such fun.

Mar 26, 2:57 pm

Those are lovely butterflies.

Mar 27, 6:35 pm

Book: 24
Title: Misjustice
Author: Helena Kennedy
Published: 2019
Rating: ****
Why: Needed an author beginning with H
Challenge: new author, woman author, audio, non-fiction
TIOLI Challenge #10: Read a book where the author shares your first name or mine

This is a follow up from an earlier book, written at the turn of the century, on the state of women in the justice system called "How Eve was framed". I've not read that, maybe I should.
Helena Kennedy is a KC and has chaired and been involved in many legal commissions and describes herself as a feminist. She is also from a working class Glasgow family and went into law so as not to end up being a teacher. To hear her read her book gets over some of the passion, anger and frustration she feels. Frivolously, to hear her say "murder" in that classic Glasgow accent is worth the admission alone!
At one sense it is a depressing listen, the lists of cases of women having been raped, murdered, victimised etc etc etc in each chapter is not at all uplifting. More like anger making. She is fair minded in how she describes progress that has been made, but also points out how the law needs to improve, and that is all elements of the law, the police, the legal profession, judges and law makers are all letting the population down. She makes some very good points about equality and that gender neutral language can disguise behaviour that is heavily gendered, giving a misleading representation of that behaviour.
She brings her own experiences into the book, talking of times she has defended a man against an accusation of rape, for instance, and the mixed emotions that position engenders. I'm not sure I necessarily agree with her on every point, but she is considered, interesting, knowledgeable, informative and fair in her assessments.

Mar 28, 5:12 am

Time for a new thread, I think. Come and join me in thread 2. https://www.librarything.com/topic/359625

Abr 3, 2:58 pm

Lively start to the baby blanket Helen.
Este tópico foi continuado por Helenliz gets crafty again.