Monday, June 27, 2016

Back to Reality - Books

I thought this was the moment to mention those books I have really loved so far this year. None of them were given to me by publishers. You can trust me that I found them all that extra bit special.

You've heard too much of my opinions in the last couple of days so all I have done is posted their cover photos and their details. Fin them for yourself - if you want to and make up your own minds. I have already mentioned one or two but not all. They're either historical novels or books about landscape, nature and the countryside but much more.

The Running Hare. John Lewis-Stemple:

A mix of memoir; a plea to stop kerb or ban agri-business and look, really look, around us before it's too late.
The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain:  Fiction at its best.

Let me Tell You About a Man I Knew by Susan Fletcher: A novel about Vincent Van Gogh - only it isn't...If you've not read anything  by this fabulous writer than do read this. It is stunning. To me, this is the most outstanding novel so far of 2016. If it isn't short-listed for this years Booker, then life most definitely isn't fair.

The Ashes of London is another Tour de Force by wonderful  historical crime novelist, Andrew Taylor. You can taste, smell the ashes and gaze at he devastation when a baker's shops caught fire in 1666. Immerse yourself in a slow-burning love affair between two polar opposites; a man of law and a rebellious young woman who wishes to be an architect. 

And finally: my non-fiction favourite of this years so far: The Outrun by Amy Liptrot.

Where better to fight self-destructive alcohol addiction than on Orkney?

And finally, to help heal raw wounds of recently, how about listening to this?

"Farewell to Stromness" by Peter Maxwell-Davies.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Pause for thought

I'm depressed.

Not clinically depressed, I hasten to add  - but I'm hurt; bruised and battered by all the vitriol on social media yesterday. It's time I came clean. Yes, I voted to leave. All right. All right. But hold onto your tomatoes and rotten eggs for a minute...

I voted out for several reasons - which I haven't the energy to discuss here - but not one of them is because I'm a Little Englander and am racist. That accusation wounds me so deeply I can't begin to tell you.

I have thought long and hard; almost fell out with my adult sons over it. I have been appalled by the campaign on both sides - such negativity and so many lies from both sides. However not one of my reasons was anything whatsoever to do with race. I am all for  people to travel and live anywhere in Europe. I can't see the borders will be locked. Nor do I think Europe or the rest of the world will refuse to trade with us.

I hope all the world believes that this country  (The United Kingdom) welcomes all creeds, colours and races with tolerance and kindness.

I'm feeling too upset to write any more. I live in the North of England and for years and yet we've been patronised by London for too long.  Enough. They've listened to Scotland but not us. Northern Powerhouse? Don't make me laugh. We can't even get a mobile phone signal here. So what use is the latest all-singing, all-dancing multi-app gizmo we get thrown at us? Yes, we have Broadband - but you don't invest in super-fast fibre-optics for us up here. You can fly to Edinburgh easily and get a fast train to Paris or Belgium. But try getting from here to the nearest railways station by public transport - it takes hours top get to London. Scotland is strong. Scotland is fierce. It frightens London. Wales is patronised. Northern England is patronised.

The North of England, Wales and Scotland, did much to make Britain Great. Up in the north, we had the steel, the coal and the manpower. London made all the money. We lost our coal and steel. London held onto the money. London still holds the upper hand. And Londoners are cross with us. So you all insult us.

I shall retreat and lick my wounds. I shall go up here at the very top of my garden away from everyone.

And contemplate my own 'Little England.'

Come and join me and listen to the birds and sheep living their lives regardless. All are welcome as long as you let me know first. But please don't shout.

I shall probably not blog or say anything on social media until I feel better. Nobody listens anyway. Everybody is all too busy shouting and insult-slinging.

All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well

(Julian of Norwich)

Looking back; looking forwards

So it's that time of the year when we review what we did in 2017 and plan what we will do in 2018. All I can say is...