It’s best to start off on a Monday morning with a smile so as soon as I saw this bunch of Facebook Funnies from Sally at Smorgasbordinvitation I jumped in and shared. Have a very happy Monday. I start a new job today, working in the local primary school …. wish me luck.
Welcome to this week’s selection of funnies from Facebook that I spotted in my own timeline and admittedly by poaching in other friend’s FB. I didn’t get caught thankfully but hav…
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.
What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.
What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.
If there is one thing that I really love it’s books that make me cry and books that make me reflect and Me Before You by Jojo Moyes made me do both in shed loads… On my Goodreads account I’ve marked this as a favourite read, but be prepared for lots of tears, remember that you’ll need a full box of man sized tissues at the ready …
This is a sad novel tackling a very difficult, controversial and sensitive issue so readers’ responses with differ greatly. It tackles the considerations of a severely disabled person, with extreme quadriplegic disability to end his young life. There is no hope of Will getting any better, he is prone to infections, needs constant care, and any outings anywhere need to be planned in advance and organised to the hilt. Perhaps at the crux of Will’s unhappiness is the freedom, the rigour, of his prior life before this horrendous accident. Will was a man who lived life to the ultimate max. Now he is unable to do anything for himself. In contrast Lou is happy to potter along to live life in her own sweet way without really pushing the boundaries of her small world, until she loses her steady job in a cafe and becomes Will’s carer. Then she discovers that perhaps her life isn’t quite as perfect as she thought, and her boyfriend Patrick isn’t either. Will may be confined to a wheelchair but he is so much more interesting and exciting than her sports obsessed boyfriend.
Of course it is a love story but it is much more than that, it is a sad tale of a multitude of responses to such a dreadful accident, with shifting POV’s to try to convey the feelings of family members and others touched by this dreadful tragedy: Will’s mother, father, and his nurse.. But, the main POV is Lou, as it should be. I did find the shifting POV’s didn’t quite work for me … I enjoyed the novel best when the novel remained in Lou’s thoughts but having said that I did see that the POV shift to her sister was needed towards the end of the novel.
Major Spoilers below:
I couldn’t really review this properly without doing a Spoiler so if you haven’t read Me Before You yet, you might want to divert your eyes at this point.
It is one of those novels that stay in your thoughts for a long time after you’ve finished reading it. You think about it, and think about it and your response may change over minutes, hours and days. So I’ve spent a fair bit of time digesting my feelings about this particular novel before reviewing it in full on this blog. In the end my conclusion is that Will wanted to set Lou free, he loved her so much. He knew she could live the big, exciting life that he couldn’t anymore, whereas if she continued to care for him she would stay still, locked in a very small world, inhabited by endless visits to the hospital, illness, and suffering. Perhaps otherwise his final decision to die would have seemed a selfish, cruel, hurtful, act. Lou made the ultimate sacrifice too, even though it caused her great pain, she supported Will’s choice to die being with him in his final moments because she loved him that much.
Ultimately even though the ending was a dreadful tragedy it left the reader with a sense of hope, of promise.
A thoroughly thought provoking, emotional read, I would highly recommend that you pick up a copy. By the way there is the second book to look forward to in this series: After You.
Have you read Me Before You or its sequel? If you have let me know I’d love to hear your opinion.
It’s been a while since I joined in Colleen’s Writer’s Quote Wednesday & Ronovan’s BeWow. I have a pretty good excuse as I have been editing my manuscript getting it ready for self publishing. With that in mind I’d like to do some quotes about this process. Editing is the hardest part of writing for me, the ideas flow fairly easily whilst getting the story down on paper but the editing is fraught with difficulties.
So today I’m taking a well deserved break, phew, and sharing some wonderful quotes with you about editing from some incredible authors, because I need that little spur to keep on going…. to push through the pain…
My favourite has to be this wonderful quote from Stephen King:
What do I love? The answer lies in so many directions that I am almost staggered wondering what to post. I love my family, my hubby, my friends, writing, blogging, books, crying… wait a minute I said crying. What? I mean to say that I love books that stir the emotions, make me cry, get me reflecting….
I just finished one such book, boy did it make me cry, Me Before You By Jojo Moyes.
So I love all sorts of things. But one of my great loves is my old home town of Edinburgh. I just love visiting Edinburgh lapping up all that this great city has to offer.
If you’re a regular visitor to my blog you might have seen my posts about Edinburgh. So surprise surprise my photo this week is something I came across whilst in Edinburgh this half term. I found it in a place that I have many fond memories of. The photo was taken in The Botanic Gardens, right outside an art gallery. Yes, I’m kind of partial to them too…
I don’t know quite what it was about this particular statue that grabbed my attention, but whatever it was it gripped me. It might have been her tummy, I have one of those, I may be skinny but my tummy has always been a bit rounded. Or it might be the way she was twisting her arm behind her back in a yoga stretch. Perhaps that was it. Anyway the fact that I noticed her was saying something as on this trip I was busy spending time with family, oh and eating a lot. That is one of my other loves. I ate lots and lots of Asian food. My mum is a wonderful cook, so we had many tasty meals but as well as this we visited a particularly fine Malaysian restaurant in Glasgow called, Rumours Kopitiam. By the way kopitiam or kopi tiam is the word for a coffee shop in Southeast Asia. The interior of this little restaurant wasn’t exactly flashy but the food was excellent and the lunch menu’s really good value for money. Our waitress had a great sense of humour she asked my daughter if she liked chilli, she said yes, so she made sure that she was more than adequately supplied with lots of them! That’ll teach her….. The Singapore noodles were to die for. So if you are in Glasgow give Kopitiam a go.
On this week away I didn’t really do much in the way of blogging or Instagram. Or visit half of the places I had intended to. Which isn’t like me but all that eating, and chatting to family was taking up all of my time. This statue wasn’t having it she just begged me to photograph her, she pointed her belly at me accusingly and twisted my arm! What astonished me about it all was this. When I came back to Cambridge I did some research and found that she had just been moved back to this particular spot. I came back to Edinburgh Botanic Gardens and so did she…. A pair of kindred spirits. How sweet. She is Reg Butler’s cast bronze sculpture, entitled Girl. She is now to be seen outside Inverleith House, right beside the gallery of modern art.
Hope you like my photo and my tale of my many loves: eating, reading, writing, art, statues, and spending time with family in my favourite Scottish city, Edinburgh. Sorry, Glasgow, I love you too!! Especially your Kopitiam….
I watched a very interesting TV programme last night, Chinese New Year The Biggest Celebration on Earth. I hope to complete a children’s book about Chinese New Year so I was drawn to watching this. It featured the Snub Nosed Monkey, such a charming fellow. These monkeys are an endangered species. They have been hunted to near extinction. That is beyond horrible……. but the good news is there is a rescue operation in hand. A dedicated man looks after these charming fellows and collects their nuggets of poo so it can be analysed to check their health. That must be quite a job, plastic gloves are a prerequisite, but he takes it very seriously. In fact he is so skilled that he can glance at each sample of poo and tell exactly which monkey produced it! Quite an unusual skill.. He must love those monkeys..
Do find out more about the snub-nosed monkey, he seems to be a delightful monkey full of character:
More than one billion people travel from the cities to the countryside at Chinese New Year to be reunited with their families at this all important time. Can you imagine? That is a huge migration of folk, involving all manner of transport: plane, car, motorbike, and police car…. The Hairy Bikers couldn’t rev up in their usual style in China without the necessary documentation so they ended up travelling in the back of a police car! These Hairy fellows learnt how to make Congee, a warming porridge made of pork, rice, and spring onions, served at the roadside to travellers returning to see their families at Chinese New Year.
This programme continued to fascinate me with its commentary on the Ice City, a massive winter wonderland carved out of massive slabs of ice in Harbin, the largest city of Heilongjiang province, in China. It is so cold in this province of China that the elderly locals are acclimitised to the extreme cold. These hardy pensioners dive into a swimming pool to engage in a spot of …… ice swimming! The thought just sends me into an extreme shiver ……
It’s 1969 and Mary Schormann is living quietly in Wales with her ex-POW husband, Peter, and her teenage twins, Richard and Victoria. Her niece, Linda Booth, is a nurse – following in Mary’s footsteps – and works in the maternity ward of her local hospital in Lancashire. At the end of a long night shift, a bullying new father visits the maternity ward and brings back Linda’s darkest nightmares, her terror of being locked in. Who is this man, and why does he scare her so? There are secrets dating back to the war that still haunt the family, and finding out what lies at their root might be the only way Linda can escape their murderous consequences.
I’d recommend reading Living in the Shadows by Judith Barrow. This particular novel is the third in the series, published by Honno Press: ‘Honno is an independent co-operative press run by women and committed to bringing you the best in Welsh women’s writing.’
The first two books are: Pattern of Shadows and Changing Patterns. I read Living in The Shadows as a standalone. Whilst it can be read as a standalone I’d recommend that you read it as part of the complete series.
Without a doubt Living in The Shadows is a lovely family saga set in the 1960’s following the lives of three families, the Howarths, the Booths, and the Schorrmans. I really enjoyed this saga which reminded me of a TV soap (of the highest quality,) in so many respects.
To begin with I have to admit that I found it a bit daunting as there are a whole host of characters to get to grips with, and I made this worse for myself by not getting acquainted with them in the first two books! As well as this the novel is written in an unusual style with short chapters, telling the story from the viewpoint of individual characters. But, by the end of the book I felt as if knew all of the characters personally, and shared in their sad moments, worries and dreams. Judith has a talent for bringing the reader into the moment, employing the full use of all the sensory organs, creating a visual, and auditory delight. The dialogue flows well and all in all this is a very confidently written book. My favourite part of the story focusses on Victoria, a wilful young woman who runs away from her home in Wales to join a hippie commune. Sadly this decision ends up being far from a good one. The promises of freedom and happiness that she hopes for, turn out to be empty promises made by Seth, also known in the Commune as The Master.
As well as this there is a particularly villainous bad guy and the final few chapters are both sad, and riveting.
I was the lucky winner of a giveaway of Living in The Shadows via Brook Cottage Books Here’s the link to their post, and their review:
DISCLAIMER: “As of 13 September 2017 we are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.”
My opinions are my own and any reviews on this site have not been swayed or altered in any way by monetary compensation, or by the offer of a free book in exchange for a review.
My one-liner for Linda G. Hill’s #1linerWeds this week is : This is how the poor chicken or should I say the cockerel got a bad name!
Just look at him, he looks a downright rascal doesn’t he! He deserves the title: You piece of Chicken!!
This is silly. I realise that but that’s okay. The odd silliness is allowed. This expression, you piece of chicken, is a bit of a family joke. My youngest daughter coined the phrase. We use this secret coded message when someone annoys us. Being a household of three women and only one man we tend to be a bit naughty and sometimes use it when we are ganging up on the only male in the house! Wicked witches. My poor hubby!! When he does something annoying we whisper: ‘ he’s a piece of chicken,’ and giggle….
It’s all in fun of course! No one was hurt using this expression….
Families are funny that way, we all have these strange idiosyncrasies.
With this one-liner in mind, I thought I’d do a piece about the things that tend to irritate me.
I came across a post a while ago from the lovely Jenny at Neverland about the things that irritate her:
I have intended to do one myself so here goes. These bug bears are in no particular order, just take them as they come. Do feel free to make paper darts out of them. No. 23 on the list is bound to crawl, so make sure you stamp on it before it takes over your household. If that doesn’t work get a full strength insect killer to eradicate it just to be on the safe side. Do hang in there until the bitter end. No. 24 will be worth the effort, I promise. No napping, you might just recognise someone you know.
People who take pleasure in being rude. Why? Come on you Rotten Tomatoes! This behaviour is unacceptable. Being nice doesn’t cost you anything! Don’t walk into people. You might just hurt someone, especially if you are particularly huge beefy tomato and they are a petite cherry tomato. It would be like a tank coming into contact with a mini. Think. Behave you Rotten Tomatoes!
2. Bad Tempered Customers. When I was working in retail there were a few annoying customers who made a fuss about all manner of things but one of the most common complaint was paying for 5p bags. This is Government law now so bring your own bag and stop complaining. If you forget then dig deep and find a 5p. Your purse will probably be glad that you got rid of some of that spare change.
3. When folks are always late. This one stems from my coming from a family who are obsessed with time keeping! We are always on time, often we’re early, so these habitual latecomers are bound to irritate me! They swan in as if it’s their goddam right. Sometimes they make matters worse by not apologising but ….. and now here’s the interesting thing ……. they get livid if you keep them waiting in return. Some are even more wicked and play sophisticated tricks on you, knowing that you hate to be late. They offer to take you to the station to catch your train, start fiddling around at the last minute, and you end up rushing to catch your train. Or worse still you miss it. I could write a whole post about this one…
4. Over sensitivity. We all get moments when we feel sensitive. I get that. I’ve been there. But what I don’t understand is when the over sensitive person in question shows an inability to be sensitive to your needs in turn. It has to work both ways.
5. Spitting. The only kind of spitting that’s okay is sausages, and burgers, spitting on a BBQ, any other kind is disgusting. Yuk, as is picking your nose and toe nails in public, etc, etc. Keep those disgusting habits for the bathroom, away from others’ eyes!
6. Bad listeners. This can get a bit annoying…. It tends to often be the domain of people who like to talk about their lives rather than take the time to listen to others.
7. Swearing in excess. We’ve all come across this one, you’re in a pub and a group of people are swearing. It’s not just a few words it’s every other word. I can’t stand this. Okay the occasional swear word is understandable if you’re angry, or upset. Perhaps you have just crashed your car, stubbed your toe, or broken your ankle, but just peppering your speech with expletives for the sake of it is pointless, and ugly. There are no prizes for this pastime!
8. Insincerity. Another pet hate. I can’t bear it when people say something they don’t mean. Just be honest, don’t say I’m going to miss you so much and then never get in touch. Or I’d love to read your blog and then never do so. That one really hurts! Yes I’m a bit sensitive about that one! Or act all nostalgic and pretend you like something when you don’t just to impress someone. Say what you mean, and do what you say. So whatever you do, don’t be insincere unless your livelihood depends upon it……. If you’re a salesman!!
9. Control Freaks. Sometimes you’re in a desperate hurry and you have to leave but the person you are with tries to tell you their life story just as you are about to disappear. What’s with that? Is it a kind of control thing?
10. No humour. Lads and lasses with no sense of humour. We all need humour to survive in this world that we live in, so fire it up, keep it burning, don’t douse it out.
11. No sense of adventure. When you ask someone about their holiday abroad in some exotic destination and they reply in one boring sentence that tells you nothing: ‘It was nice.’ As if they’d just been to the end of their road and back. I tell you it is like pulling teeth. Perhaps they prefer to talk about their visit to the dentist? Why are they so reluctant to fill you in on all their holiday details? Perhaps they went to a nudist camp and don’t want to say! I’d love to hear all about their travels abroad, nude bits and all, so this really, really, disappoints me!
12. Liars. Yes, these exist, some swear that they don’t ever lie but believe me they do. They’d swear on their mother’s grave that they’re telling the truth, but it’s all lies. So unless you’re Pinocchio keep those lies to a minimum.
13. Over inflated Egos. People with an over inflated ego, who think they are God’s gift. Just get off of your cloud and come down to reality. Nobody’s perfect, believe me. We’re all flawed humans. All of my best friends are imperfect human beings and so am I, that’s what makes us so interesting. Perfection is boring. Imperfection is alluring.
14. Obsessional guys and girls. Chill. What’s with all that cleaning, dusting and tidying? Unless you suffer from OCD then of course I forgive you. Life is too short. Take a break, put your feet up, the boring housework can wait! But reading can’t!
Take a tip from this fellow he knows how to relax! Isn’t he cute?
15. Lack of respect. This one appeared on Jenny’s list too. Respect other people and their choices. Whether it’s the books they read, the films they enjoy or perhaps their sporting pastimes. If you would never consider playing golf in your lifetime that doesn’t mean that you should criticise your friend’s interest. Same with writing, or any other activity, if the person loves doing it be a good friend and encourage them to continue, and be happy for them when they share their successes. Okay, my dad has so many golf cups and medals that I’ve kind of lost touch but I think it’s lovely that he is still enjoying playing golf at the ripe old age of 87. Go dad…. You’re my hero.
16. Unforgiving. Sometimes you have to forgive and forget to move on from past hurts. Life is too short to be unforgiving. This one’s a difficult one. I suppose in extreme circumstances forgiveness is hard to accept into your heart, but in principle it is better to forgive, and move on. Otherwise you can harbour hate, and be held back from recovering yourself. I’ve dug up a whole philosophical debate with this one… Perhaps it’s time to move on to….
17. Lack of Positivity. Some folks just can’t seem to be positive. They’re all doom and gloom. Morose and Miserable. What’s with that? Try to be positive. I know life’s hard and competitive, but try.
18. I can’t see it. There is a tendency for people to be unsympathetic if they can’t see an illness but that doesn’t lesson its impact to the sufferer. I suffered with terrible problems with my balance following a severe inner ear infection many years ago and believe me it was horrendous. My ears are still shot, and the problem recurs if I am stressed. The ‘I can’t see it’ scenario is also true of mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. It’s not a physical illness but it is debilitating. According to Mind, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem each year. So be kind, and supportive if you know someone who is suffering.
19. Bullies. I can’t stand bullies, and any form of aggression. We all come across bullies at some point in our lives. In my case I have done so at school and in the work force too. If only we could weed out bullies, pluck them out by the roots. But sadly this isn’t possible. There is only one way and that is stand up to Bullies.
20. People who rabbit on. Some folks rabbit on about the most mundane things. Their bowel movements may be of supreme importance to them but they really aren’t gripping my interest. Sorry. Moving on…
21. People who snore. I know it’s not their fault but really? Don’t you know that you’re damaging my health. I need my sleep. Often snorers are also prone to doing other wonderful things like sleep walking, grinding their teeth and lashing out in their sleep. Just wonderful. I need protective armour on, a CCTV camera to check what the sleep walker has been doing plus an ability to switch of my hearing overnight.
22. People who scratch. Hey, what’s this? It follows on from no. 22. Some people scratch their skin in their sleep. This is beyond irritating. I should know, my daughter sometimes does it and sharing a room with her is…. an itchy, noisy, business. Poor wee soul, eczema isn’t nice. So unless you are a monkey, or have eczema, please don’t scratch!
23. Nits, aka head lice. Shame we can’t groom ourselves like they do in the monkey kingdom… This particular problem is now thankfully in the past but I still have nightmares about it. Gross. How can you send your child to school with a head teaming with nits, especially if the child in question is doing Hairdressing GCSE? Ugh.
I never realised that so many things annoyed me, that’s quite a lengthy list… But no. 23 is an odd number somehow that doesn’t seem quite right, wait.
24. I reached 24. But I can’t think of anymore…… So I’ll make one up. Writers. Boy you’re an annoying, solitary, crazy, obsessive bunch, all you think and talk about is writing. Oops, what am I saying? That’s me!
That’s about all folks….
I must be a bit of a miserable so and so, Jenny only had 20, I have 24 moans. Well, perhaps I will be forgiven as I’m a lot older than Jenny. Given that, four more ain’t too bad! But no more bug bears, for now. Next time I should do a list about things that make me happy. I’d have to have at least 24 smiley lines of glowing positivity or else I’ll be in trouble.
Brian’s wonderful post has a multitude of one liners which I have highlighted below in bold. These ones particularly made me laugh:
You wake up in the morning and you aren’t really sure who you are.
Tick. Sometimes I wake up and have this uncanny feeling that I am my mother…. apparently we looked the split image of each other when I was born. The older I get the more I seem to look like her….. Other times I get dead limbs…. you wake up and your body just isn’t living… your left arm or right arm, or whatever part of your anatomy has died a death. A sort of living nightmare of what it will be like scenario, scary, so in terror you slap that unresponsive limb until it submits. One slap just doesn’t do it so you really hammer at it until it gives in. Sigh…
Things hurt that shouldn’t
My knees creek. If I could oil them I would but sadly that isn’t an option. Oh and cramp, it strikes whenever it fancies. One evening I’d been grocery shopping. I backed my car into the drive and a vicious cramp struck with no warning. Thank goodness I wasn’t driving anywhere far. I jumped out of my car and did a little cramp jig, hopping about, hoping my neighbours wouldn’t spot me!
Your bladder has been secretively removed and replaced with a defective piece of crap made in China.
Yep, so true. I pee all the time, this is annoying especially when I am right in the middle of watching my favourite TV programme. I have to get up and pee. When I’m shopping I need to take a break at regular intervals to pee, etc. Then my daughter says: “You have to go again? You’ve just been mum.” Ah, the joys of youth, she just doesn’t have a clue what it is like to need the loo. Really need it. Sadly one day she will know….
Coffee = A Will to Live.
No. 4 on Brian’s list ain’t me! I’m still a youngster!!!
Okay that’s a bit of a joke but I can function without coffee in the morning… Nevertheless Brian’s words sum it up for so many: “For someone my age? The coffee stops me from taking your life when you ask an otherwise innocent question about how my day is going. Not kidding.”
Brian’s brilliant one-liner about coffee brought me back to a particular experience many years ago. My brother had travelled down from the rugged shores of Scotland, from the capital city Edinburgh, no less, to visit me in Cambridge. Everything went so well to begin with but ……the very next morning disaster struck. He greeted me looking a bit dishevelled and started riffling in my cupboards. His horrified expression suggested that he was getting more and more distressed. In a terrified howl he uttered the words he hoped he would never have to say: “Where is the ****ing coffee?” I can’t remember his exact words so I might be doing him a disservice here but an expletive or two might be in order to convey his sense of total utter outrage.
There was no coffee. Not a grain. Nada.
My heart sunk. I knew in that moment that the last grains had been mercilessly boiled, and drank the previous evening. What a terrible sister! As an avid morning tea drinker I had forgotten all about the coffee that my brother craved to kick start his day. His messy hair seemed to stand up in spikes of rising accusation. His face turned grey . He looked as if he wanted to take the word coffee and slice the ending off (coff…. ee,) to replace it with coffin. Mine. He began pacing to and fro, and then in one swift movement, he grabbed a cigarette, and made for the door. He tried to open this exit way barring his escape but it was locked. Oops. His turned back to me, eyes wild with fury. I rushed to get the key. I opened it. He slammed the door behind him. But if looks could kill I’d be dead. Past tense. Finito.
Shortly after he returned, caressing his precious coffee jar. He put the kettle on to boil. He poured that first exquisite cup, that elixir, he drank it, replenishing his soul.
I had been spared!
But my stress levels had hit the roof! I needed a calming herbal tea to recover.
Hope you liked my one-liner Wednesday!
I’m sure Brian and many of you morning coffee drinkers will identify with the sheer horror of such a disastrous moment!
If you’d like to join in with this regular Wednesday blog event here’s the link to Linda’s blog:
This might seem like a strange #BeWow post but my point is this: if you can take an unfortunate experience and turn it into a lesson then I do believe it can be a wonderful thing to do. I have never forgotten this experience. It is now indelibly stored in my memory in large exclamation marks…. !!!!
We all learn from our mistakes! We all make them, nobody’s perfect. We’re all on the same path, some young, some a little older than others but we are all walking our way towards the twilight of our lives. So let’s support each other. Laugh at the ups and downs and whatever you do next time you have a family member visiting make sure you don’t neglect them like I did. Little things can make their visit wonderful. Whatever you do don’t forget to have a full jar of coffee, a glass of their favourite wine or whatever creature comforts they crave. These little treasures really can be a lifeline to make them feel at home.
Here are three wonderful quotes about the undisputed joys of coffee: