Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Reading My Books - Once in a Lifetime

I know, another Danielle book!  I promise though that the more of them I read the more I reduce the pile and eventually I will turn to reading other things.  The next group that I have selected includes another of hers I think, along with two by Maeve Binchy and another Agatha Christy and something rather left field, a book about Siegfried Sassoon.  So it will be a eclectic mix going forward.  I have already started my next book which is a book about Hygge.

You know that I much prefer the older Danielle Steel books, this one, Once in a Lifetime, was published originally in 1982 and it definitely shows that this is one of her early works.  In a good way.

The story is long, has a very short beginning and a very short ending, but the bit in the middle is good and tells a good story.  Of course as these books always are it is about loves hard fought for, lost and then won again.  This time the story of a writer Daphne Fields, her marriage and then other lost loves before finding her true love.  There is a good dose of tragedy - several in fact which wasn't so good when I was reading this as I was in the midst of my own tragedy - but things come good in the end.  In fact, thinking about it, this is basically one tragedy leading to another, unrelated, one!  The book also bears no resemblance to anything in the story.  I don't know what that is all about.

The book is set in New York with visits to Boston and then Los Angeles.  While I have never been to New York I could certainly picture it in my mind from the descriptions and could also easily imagine the small New England town that is described.  Very much, in my mind of course, like one we visited a few years ago when we went on holiday to Boston and New Hampshire.

In a way it is another silly formulaic story, but in another it is a nice gentle and kind read.  No bad language, nothing graphic and nothing awful and right now these sorts of books suit me down to the ground.  I have said before that I don't want my books to challenge me just for the sake of challenging me.  I have enough real life challenges to face.  This wasn't a challenge, it was comfort and that is OK with me.

Would you enjoy this book?  Yes, I think you would.  If you haven't given any of the older books by Steel a chance you should.  They really are different from the more current ones and are, I think, much better written with better stories.

What is happening to my copy.  Well this one is being passed to someone who asked to read it when they saw me reading it.  From there I know they will send it to the charity shop, and if I wasn't passing it to them that is what I would do with it.  Not because it is a bad book, but my usual space issue.  I enjoyed it once, but don't need to read it again.

At this rate I will be reading far more than I did last year, which I just went and checked on and I wrote 17 reviews for books I had read or listened to in 2016 and in 2015 there were 15 so things are increasing.  Perhaps I will get to 19 or even a magic 20 this year!  Overall I am doing more than the one a month that I have been hoping for.

I am two books down so far this year.  What about you?  How is your reading coming along?  Do share and tell us what is on your bedside table, in your bag or travelling along with you.


Sunday, 15 January 2017

Snowfall 2017

Thankfully - oh so thankfully!!! - snowfall is pretty rare in our part of the country.  I am thankful for this because we are just not set up for it and it causes chaos when it comes.  We are not set up for it because it comes so rarely.  A vicious, but understandable cycle.  When I have lived in places set up for snow it hasn't been a problem.

When we do get snow though, it does mean that I have to run out into the garden and photograph it likety split because it will, I hope!, be gone again very soon.  So on Thursday night when we had snow I hoped that it would stay until the morning so I could photograph it.  It did stay!  There wasn't much of it, but I noticed that the children of one of the neighbours found enough to make a surprisingly large snowman in their garden.

The snow only stayed until Saturday and although it had another go at snowing it didn't come to anything.  Since then it has been raining - a lot! - so it is now all washed away.  I thought you might like to see it though.

Now, those of you who get real snow should prepare yourselves.  To you, this will be nothing!!

I love how the snow settles on the garden ornaments.  Although the dragonfly isn't actually snowy, it just needs painting!  He looks snowy in this weather though doesn't he.

As the snow settles on things and then it warms up and melts this is what is starts to look like.

You can see from the grass that there wasn't really very much snow.


It does highlight the fact that time got away from me at the end of last year though and there is lots of tidying up to do in the garden.  Oh well, we will get there.  It isn't going to go anywhere is it!  Too wet to do it now though.

Thankfully yucca's are very hardy plants.  Although I notice this one has some grass growing with it.  Another job!

Too cold and wet to sit and enjoy the snow though.

I have been hoping, since I rescued this conical shaped pot from Man's house that some snow would land on it because I knew it would make a great photo.  Well I think it is great!  I was glad to see just a dusting.  Of course I will be more glad in the summer when it is full of plants and looking pretty!

So just a little snow, but better than no snow.  I am glad it came and glad it has gone again.  This is just enough for me!

Linking with Maggie at Normandy Life for Mosaic Monday.  Thank you for hosting us Maggie!


Saturday, 14 January 2017

Reading My Books - Nigel, My family and other dogs

I do love a good biography and somehow stories about dogs always get to my heart, so this combination of dog story and dog biography really captured my heart.

Nigel is a golden retriever owned by the gardener Monty Don, who if you live in the UK you will know as the face of Gardeners World and other television programmes over the years.  I watch Gardeners World fairly regularly for the gardening of course, but I have to confess that I mainly watch it to see Nigel!

In the book Monty fully admits that Nigel is the star of the show and talks about what a great performer to camera he is.  Aided mostly by a yellow tennis ball apparently.

This book tells the stories of many - in fact all I think - of the dogs owned by Monty since he was a child right up to his newest dog Nellie.  Nellie is also a golden retriever and much naughtier than Nigel is.  If you watch the two dogs on television I would swear that you can see Nigel giving Nellie disapproving looks, as though he is saying "that is not what we do in this garden".  The obviously love each other though, and the relationship between the two dogs on screen is a lovely one.

While dogs are clearly the star of this book, there are also little anecdotes and stories about Monty's own garden and how his dogs have used the garden, different things they have liked about it, and, in some of the saddest parts, where they now lie at rest in the garden.

If you love a good dog story, and easy read, and are prepared to wield a large box of tissues then you will definitely enjoy this book.  You will also enjoy it even if you are not a dog person!

Would I recommend Nigel's story?  Yes!  Of course.  It was a great read and I loved it.  This book stays firmly on my shelf and I will definitely read some or all of it again in the future.

What is your favourite dog story?  Marley and Me is, of course another favourite of mine!