Saturday, 30 May 2020

The Borrowers - Mary Norton

Well - at the end of April I suggested you read a children's classic, and I told you I was going to read The Borrowers.  And I did!  And what a joy it was to read a children's book from way back when.  

I was delighted to re-read this story of little people who live, hidden away from human beans, and “borrow” everything they need.  This particular family are The Clocks, and live beneath the kitchen, which is really handy for foodstuffs.  The edition I read was the original Puffin edition (children's books published by Penguin from way back in the 1950s), with wonderful pen and ink illustrations.  I loved the original cover.....and I note that the new paperback edition uses the original back cover picture as the new front cover. so someone liked it enough to use it, instead of photographs from TV series and films.  Every little expedition away from home is a frightening yet exciting adventure for Arriety and I loved every page.  Hope you will find it and read it too.

Saturday, 23 May 2020

A pot of loveliness!

Doing a bit of garden nipping and snipping last night, I needed to clear some airspace for a rather small plant just coming into bud.  Largely overcrowded by catmint - the blue spikes you can see several of above, I certainly didn't want to just put them in the garden waste.  As there were about 10 stems, I wondered what would "go with", and before I knew it I had enough for a bunch on the mantelpiece!

In there are:

Nepetia (catmint - the dark blue spikes)
Sisyrinchium (the yellow flowers on long stems - good for seeding anywhere.... they just pop up!)
Ephorbia (commonly called spurge - the lime green ones, and those are not flowers but bracts - flowers so small you can't see them)
Nigella (love-in-the-mist commonly, which is such a lovely name.  Again, these seed anywhere and everywhere..... just pull out the ones you don't want!)

So I got a lovely pot full at no charge, and all my own work -  together with nature, of course.  Such a joy to have a garden during lock-down.  I can empty my mind and just do a bit of pottering!!

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

The Travelling Cat Chronicles - Hiro Arikawa

 A friend lent me this - and what a lovely lend it was. If you are an animal lover, you will soon recognise the close bond that is sometimes formed betweeen an animal and it's human. 

Here, Nana the stray tomcat is found and adopted by Satoru, and they lead a very pleasant life together. And then one day they set out on a journey all over Japan meeting friends of Satoru in the hope that (due to his changed circumstances) they will adopt Nana. No such luck, so he presses on to his Aunt's home - the Aunt who looked after him when his parents died. Now she has to make friends with Nana...... and she doesn't like cats. I won't insert a spoiler, this book is best read without knowledge of the changed circumstances of Satoru....... but I have to say I did have a lump in my throat near the end.    A Lovely little book, simplistic but not boring.


Saturday, 9 May 2020

Goldfinch in the garden today

Look!  saw this in the garden this afternoon

See the source image
Came to have a drink of water.... can't say I have ever seen one in the garden before, but in these strange times, it is our habit to sit in the garden, have lunch, read a book, or perhaps do a spot of weeding.  Today I was clipping dead  twigs from my Acers, and suddenly, with a flurry of wings he flew straight past me and arrived!

What joy we are having this Spring, seeing things we never gave the time to before.  I may not have ever seen one, but surely they have always been there!  What about you?  What are you spotting in these quiet times?

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Shamelessly stealing....... post 10

Short and sweet today, and cannot even tell you where this came from, as I stole it from a friend and she didn't say where she found it....but anyway, what a lovely  thought this is -

We are not all in the same boat,
but our boats are all in the same storm and we will come out the other side. 

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

My Absolute Darling - Gabriel Tallent

It isn't often that I use the word Warning when reviewing a book, and if you read me regularly, you'll know that I don't mention books I have not enjoyed.  So why the warning?


This book is one of those that describes the crimes involved sparsely, but uses much longer and rambling sections to get the reader inside Turtle's head so that we know how she feels to the nth degree.  Turtle is 14, hates school, can clean a gun quickly and well, and lives in absolute poverty with her father.  If I said that  Martin, her father, was a psychopath and a child abuser, some of you would stop reading right now and never give this book a second chance.  But maybe you should read on.  You see Turtle loves her father - although not in the way we want her to.  She swears constantly, in her head.  She calls herself dreadful things, the kind of names that misogynists call women.  And why would she do that?  Because those are the terms her father uses.

Turtle is a loner, for many reasons, but she makes the acquaintance of a couple of boys her age and their families, and this is the start of a voyage of self-discovery which may or may not end well.  It is only when she meets a ten year old child who has run away from home and her mother's boyfriend that she starts to think about her own life in a different way.

I don't want to put anyone off, but this is a harrowing read, and Martin is the only character in any book I have ever read that I despised with my whole heart and found myself wanting him dead as soon as possible.  This is not part of who I am - so the author found a way to make me really "sit up and feel" whilst reading this book - and what a debut he's pulled off.  

If the subject matter is not something you can cope with (and I understand that), perhaps this one is best left alone - but once started, I had to read on, and in doing so found a little more about why people stay with abusers.  "Walk a mile in my shoes" is the kind of statement that we often dismiss.  But in this case, I walked many miles in Turtle's shoes and wanted so much for her to get some kind of happy ending - because she deserved that.

Saturday, 2 May 2020

Holly Blue butterfly spot in Dorset garden (May 2020)

Holly Blue Male

Now here's a puzzle!  a very small blue butterfly flitting about this afternoon.... and there are 3/4 different kinds.  Was it this?  yes it was!  Because the underside is very plain and a sort of white colour, so when he settled for a while, I spotted it!

It was only this morning I was walking past the Holly tree and spotted the flowers.... I have never seen holly flowers in my life (seen plenty of berries of course!) but during lock down life has a slower, nicer, quieter pace in the garden and somehow, there is more time to inspect the borders!

That's the third "first time spot" for me this year, and I saw an orange tip again this same afternoon.

Early One Morning - Virginia Baily

I was attracted to this novel purely by the cover (as I suppose this is meant to happen!) and it has very little about the contents on the b...