Friday 19 July 2024

A Debut Novel.

Celeste Ng's impressive debut novel is an absorbing and emotionally  resonant study of the fragility of family life, the burden of expectation and the suffocating pressures when a child is forced to inherit their parents dreams.

The story is as much one of the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of a favourite child age 16, Lydia, as it is about the meeting and marriage of Marilyn Walker, a studious white Virginian with ambitions of becoming a Doctor and James Lee, a first generation Chinese American graduate hoping to secure a teaching position at his alma marter, Harvard.

It goes back and fro in time and as we learn more about each member of the family, the unhappiness of the family members become apparent. With the death of Lydia, more of the story unravels, James is consumed with guilt and sets out on a path that will destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful sets out to make someone accountable, no matter what the cost. Nath, Lydia's  brother is convinced that local bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it's Hannah, the youngest of the family who observes far more than the rest of the family realises and may know more of what really happened.

This was our July book group read and although I did enjoy it I was glad to get it finished!


Thursday 18 July 2024

Will they be an asset?

It seems that there have been 1428 people crossing the 21 mile channel since the Labour Government took power. What is so appealing to people to come here? If you think its the benefits they'll get, you're wrong. They get very little, around about £300 a month and often housed in old army huts or blocks of flats. They may also get child benefits and free school dinners, but not a fortune, not luxury by any means.. to the argument they are fearing the regime of their 'home' country, if that's the case why not choose one of the other countries in Europe? No, they want to come here to UK, why?

When I was teaching, one year, we had an all counties conference about Travelers, who were flooding the area of Essex where I taught. One school was having very big problems keeping regular staff, because of the problems caused by traveler children, 80% of the children were travelers. I've taught traveler children age 7,  they were well below the levels in English and Maths.

And yet later on in my teaching, I worked in a school where there was a large number of Fair Ground owner's children. They weren't easy, nor were their parents!

But going back to immigrants, I'd teach those any day over, traveler or fair ground children. Immigrant children want to learn, they want to succeed and so do their parents want that, for them. 

Having spent a lot of time in hospital (4 different ones )with my broken arm, the ward staff were mostly immigrants, the assistant nurses were mostly Eastern European, ok not illegal, but they wanted to come here to work. They were amazing, working hard and nothing was too much trouble. Although, the young lady serving the breakfasts just didn't understand de-caff tea and I had coffee, but Dh saved the day, bringing me one from the Costa stall! But they worked hard and were happy in their work.

So what to do? The present Government has scrapped the Rwanda plan and say they will divert the £75 million from this, to enhance the Border Security Command to put in place the immigration plan. What is it? I haven't read anything they want to do .... yet! 

 It's a problem, are they over burdening our all ready struggling NHS, housing, schools, etc?  But its so sad that people are willing to pay thousands and face an unsafe crossing to come here.. should we be worried about these people, are they taking benefits or jobs from UK residents, or are they an asset? 


Wednesday 17 July 2024


 I itched off and on for part of yesterday, although I did have some respite for a couple of hours. Dh streamed cold water down my back, which is the worst area with 5 bites! Why didn't I feel getting bitten?

Anyway cooling my back worked and then with anti-histamine cream I had total relief all afternoon.

I was then able to clean the bathroom, and tidy the bedroom. I don't have a 'chair-robe' any more. All clothes sorted either, hung up, in the washing basket and some... drum roll a bag for a charity shop! 

Later in the garden we cut out the wild rose sent to me instead of  the climbing rose Starlight Symphony I sent for.... its a year since I ordered it and its taken several months to convince them the rose wasn't right, even with photographs. Then we dead headed the roses, I cut back the spent lupins, the aquilegia and took out the tomato side shoots. And that was that, one of the benefits of having gardener, we just did the easy jobs. I did hoe the top of the fence garden, where some small weeds were showing growth, I do love hoeing weeds to death!

I slept quite well in spite of the bites, so I hope I will to tonight. Dh is going to cool my back down again and then the put on the cream, so I hope for a good sleep tonight too, I really do! Who'd believe itching could be so awful.

Dh has been on line buying dishes for the hedgehog food! Because we only had a plastic tub and as you can see he tips it up!


Isn't he a cutie?

Tuesday 16 July 2024

Was it good or bad??

 Yes this is our Fuzzypeg, at about 8:15 pm in the rain rooting around in the split bird seed, not where he usually mooches!  We hadn't put out the food, because he doesn't usually arrive till 9.. so such a surprise to see him. And he then disappeared under the fence, a hole left for a hedgehog pathway, long before we knew we had a visiting hedgehog. So Dh nipped out and put out his food, then when we looked 15mins later, the food had gone!

But my post isn't about him but this little b*****r who went down inside my loose cotton dress yesterday and decided my plump body was tasty!

I have bites on my back, belly, bum and top of my left leg! I didn't feel the  bites when they happened,  but ouch are they itching! We were awake at 5 and Dh was putting the cream on my back!
We had the gardener coming again at 9, so although we went back to bed, I slept fitfully.
Then I sat all day with bags of ice in various places on my body keeping the bites cool so I'm not tempted to scratch.. but I want to!
Gosh the bites do itch something awful.
So a bad day, but the gardener made a very good job of the weeding and the garden is looking good. And Fuzzypeg is lovely, he looked right up at us, you could see his little black nose and eyes!


Monday 15 July 2024

A family tradition.

 We are Sunday dinner people, regardless of the summer weather , we have to have our Sunday dinner.

Yesterday we had Welsh shoulder of lamb with cabbage, sprouting broccoli, carrots, new potatoes and mint sauce and all that veg was from our own little veg patch. (Sorry no pics of the dinner) It was absolutely delicious, we ate silently savouring every bite.

One of the first photos of Dh digging that patch in March 2022, it's grown a bit bigger since then.

At the moment we have the runner beans starting to grow on the new bamboo canes, especially bought this year, extra long so there was a problem getting them delivered, as the vans weren't long enough for the sticks! Along side the beans, we have cabbage, sprouting broccoli, carrots, lettuce, radish and shallots, the garlic did well this year too. The potatoes are grown in bags and I grow tomatoes in pots. All are looking very healthy at the moment, watered and fed regularly. We have an abundance of herbs all grown in a large pot and large clumps of parsley dotted around the garden.

We have tried not having a dinner in very hot weather, but missed it so badly we had one on the Monday, but it wasn't the same. Before I met Dh, my Sunday routine never altered, as soon as I arrived home from church, the oven went on and I cooked myself a dinner. 

My daughter and family often came, it was traditional. My granddaughter as small child would often come in through the front door, saying, 'Oooo Sunday dinner smells' she loved gravy!

Once when I drove to them for Sunday dinner, when she was a lot older and was the cook that day, she greeted me with, 'Good you're here, can you make the gravy please Grandma?'

It was always a family tradition, while other houses around us were BBQ-ing, we had our Sunday dinner, meat and vegetables and thick gravy!

What about you, do you have a Sunday dinner?


Sunday 14 July 2024


      There are stars you haven't seen, 

Loves you haven't loved,

There's light you haven't felt,

And sunrises yet to down,

There are dreams you haven't dreamt,

And days you haven't lived, 

And nights you won't forget, 

And flowers yet to grow,

And there's more to you that you have yet to know!



Saturday 13 July 2024

We love our garden

 We have had an afternoon in the garden, bulking up the flower beds. I hoed a few weeds to death and Dh over turned the soil, which is growing bird seed underneath the bird feeders.

We have very sandy soil which dries out very quickly, so we've added some home grown compost and some bought top soil. This is my favourite flower bed, which is west facing and is in front of the side wall of our bungalow, so gets very hot. The antirrhinums are lovely and grown from seed. 

The honeysuckle we can smell in the evening when we're watcing out for our visitor, who cheekily has taken to walking over the top flower bed, rather than walk round it!

The climbing roses are coming into their own now and the scent is heavenly.

And I planted a clematis with this one,( Eat your heart out Monty, we too are gardeners!)

And although this Johnson Blue geranium looks glorious, it was to have the vivid splash of orange crocosmia, but some little creepy crawly had eaten the buds before they fully opened!

But it has flourished and is spilling nicely over the patio, perhaps next year!
We did sit for a while and admire our handy work.  Not bad for two oldies, a garden from scratch in three years.


Friday 12 July 2024


 End of Summer is a Swedish drama (BBC 4) and if you can cope with subtitles is an excellent watch, to be honest you don't really notice them after a while.

Its a griping story of a young woman, Vera who is a therapist in a group of people who are trying to cope with the loss of someone.

20 years previously her 5 year old brother, Billy disappears.  A  hauntingly familiar young man joins her group, which forces her to unravel the truth about her brothers disappearance.

It is such a good story and I defy anyone to guess the ending.

Well worth the watch.


Thursday 11 July 2024

10K Race

 This was the scene on Sunday, the annual 10k race, this was the end when people are milling around talking about their efforts.

No need to peer to see where I am, because I'm not there! Racing or even walking at speed is not my thing!

It might do me good, but I know someone who enters a lot of races and she doesn't lose any more weight than I do.. Last night I dreamt I was pulling on a pair of knickers, that I know I threw out years ago. White cotton with little red flowers and a waist band that was always a bit tight to pull up. Probably that's why I threw them out. But in my dream they slipped on easily, perhaps it was in the days when I was under 10 stone! So I dream I'm slim! Ha ha.

Fuzzypeg can run, we saw him last night, he'd followed the trail of food (Thank you for the suggestions) on to the patio, where there was a dish of food, then mooched a bit, then he legged up to the top of the garden, really running, went across a flowerbed under the hedge and was gone! It's so entertaining to watch him.


Wednesday 10 July 2024


 July 8th, there were missile strikes on Kiev which hit a children's hospital, why?

The news reporting it, was awful, a woman looking for her daughter who was having dialyses, running through the wreckage shouted 'I don't know whose hand that is'  How are people living through this..what is it all about?
I can't imagine how it must feel to have a child in a hospital that's bombed, what anguish. It made me think of when my son was in hospital, I was there every afternoon as soon as school had finished, making sure he was comfortable, straightening his sheets, making sure his drip hadn't run out, getting anything he needed. 

And these poor children are in rubble, dust, bedlam! 41 killed, 120 injured.

Karl Marx said 'the root of everything is money' ...

 his own words......

“Money is the universal, self-constituted value of all things. Hence it has robbed the whole world... of its proper value. Money is the alienated essence of man's labour and life, and this alien essence dominates him as he worships it.”

Ukraine is a country rich in many things, so a target for Russia.

But the people are the ones who are suffering. 

We, Great Britain give aid,  so those who moan about money going out of our country to help foreign ones, thank the Lord its not us being bombed.