Tuesday, 2 January 2018

2017 reading........

eBook. Free download to Kindle reader.
Started 4/5/16 - didn't get far as really not reading books just now!
Picked up again on flights to and from Florida Feb 2017
Finished 9/4/17
Can't believe this took me so long for a shortish book. Probably because there was nothing gripping about the story of teenage relationships.

THE WOMAN IN WHITE by Wilkie Collins
eBook. Free download to Kindle reader. Another that Daughter had recommended.
Started 26/11/16 - unfinished
Got really bored with this very wordy classic so gave up!

THE TEST by Mark Haysom
eBook. Free download to Kindle reader on the Playbook.
Started 7/2/17 - finished 7/2/17
Very predictable short story but well written.

A SISTER'S PROMISE  by Karen Lenfesty
eBook. Free download to Kindle reader.
Started 10/4/17  - finished 13/7/17
The story was a good idea but unfortunately it was dragged out a bit to make it book size. A holiday read but it didn't draw me in enough as you can see by the time it took me to read it.

THE TUMOR by John Grisham
eBook. Free download to Kindle reader.
Started and finished 14/7/17
This isn't a novel although at the moment it's sort of fiction. Outlining the difference between today's treatments for cancer and what's possibly available in the future. Very interesting and we all need hope!

eBook. Free download to Kindle reader.
Started 15/7/17 - finished 30/7/17
This was very silly but very funny in places. Loved the little hints on how to spy and murder told in a women's magazine way. Very descriptive erotica preceeding some imminent slaughter was hilarious. 

eBook. Free download to Kindle reader.
Started and finished 24/9/17 Short story read on a flight.
Wasn't meant to be a comedy but everything was too wonderful to be believed. Utter nonsense hahaha. 

eBook. Free download to Kindle reader.
Started and finished 29/9/17 Short story read on flight.
An ok story idea about a dying actress needing to dictate her biography...... but so badly written it's obviously a poor translation.

THE GREY AND GUILTY SEA by Scott William Carter
eBook. Free download to Kindle reader.
Started 6/10/17 - finished
Retired Private Investigator gets drawn back in to investigate a murder then we find out about his past and watch how his future changes.
This has been quite a good read, although as you can see is still unfinished.

Think it's just me no longer into sitting still with a book for long. Although I've now three new books, 2 paperbacks and 1 hardback waiting, so maybe I'll give real paper another go over Kindle in 2018. However I don't think it's worth noting them just for the sake of it, so watch this space for just in case I read something truly worth sharing.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Can positive be negative?..........

Normal life throws all sorts at each of us, hopefully a fair mix of good and bad stuff. For so many of these things we don't have control as to what happens but we often have choices for how we deal with them.

This seems especially true for medical issues and I've always tried to be educated and informed about whatever effects me personally but definitely choose not to worry about what may or may not happen as I feel it is wasting my "enjoyment of life now time" because I'm worrying about something that may happen in the future.

Not sure if I've explained that clearly enough. As some of you may know I was diagnosed with cancer for the second time in August with surgery not happening till mid-November with no other treatment in between. Everyone kept saying how brave I was being for carrying on as normal, I didn't feel brave. I didn't mind talking about it but certainly didn't want it to be the main conversation or people making a fuss when there was nothing happening to make a fuss about. I did hate the thought of surgery and the painful recovery but there was nothing I could do about it, I needed the tumour removed so "grin and bear it" as they say.

Surgery went well, with all medical staff repeatedly telling me that it was a really major procedure and I would be in a lot of pain for a long recovery. I chose to focus on the fact that now retired it didn't matter how long it took, and how very lucky I am to have the best hubby/carer/domestic goddess by my side.

I've really appreciated all the support from family and friends. Being swamped with flowers, cards and gifts, constant messages and feeling so loved. It's very humbling. I'm a very lucky lady indeed.

Six weeks on now and I had the post-op followup at the hospital. The registrar's first words were "you are looking so well" and he was really pleased with the scar and my recovery. Histology report was that it was definitely a cancerous tumour and they confirmed that it was removed in full yaay! I'll be referred back to Ipswich Hospital for ongoing monitoring, so nobody wants to see me till my next CT Scan in six months time.

Obviously I've spread the news to family and friends and the replies back were all on the lines of......amazing news.......you can now really have a happy new year.......what a relief.......that's excellent news.......I expect you are both over the moon.......I'm so relieved you must be too......I'm so pleased, you must all feel so relieved......it's been such a worrying time for you.........now you must think ahead without that hanging over you!

In fact one friend wrote "you have borne this so bravely, a real strong woman, I'm very proud of you"! Certainly don't feel brave as there was no other way for me to deal with this. Thankfully Hubby and our children act the same, or at least they do around me.

So now I'm actually feeling a little cheated. To feel great relief implies I've felt great worry, which I haven't. I didn't allow it to be hanging over me when we holidayed in Spain in September and Crete in October. It was good going into hospital relaxed and tanned, just a shame the surgeons got to see the white bits hahaha.

Actually I'm not even sure why I've felt the need to write this down at all. Yes I'm really pleased the uninvited guest is gone and we can all get back to normal (whatever normal is) and maybe it's just the end of another year that's made me publicly acknowledge how lucky I am.

Wishing good health and happiness to you all for the year ahead.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Theatre: The Elves and the Shoemaker......

The Red Rose Chain Theatre Company
Our Christmas Show!
adapted by Joanna Carrick
This Christmas get ready to slip on your fanciest footwear, tighten your laces and hop on over to see The Elves!
It’s the 1st of December. The countdown to Christmas is on in Elvedon, everyone’s scrambling to find the perfect gift, and all the shops are heaving…well almost all of them. Lovelace’s Boots & Shoes hasn’t seen much action lately…but Elvira is hopeful…there’s still a few weeks left, right? Everyone needs shoes…and they’re the only shoe shop in town.
Elvira has bucket-loads of talent, her shoe designs are legendary, just ask her best buddy Frank. It’s just a shame her boyfriend Englebert doesn’t appreciate her, er, we mean her shoes…But he’s a catch, everyone says so! And then there’s Elvira’s father – Norbert – who has owned the shop all his life, and knows exactly what people want…better than the customers know themselves! Who wants fancy green Wheezies when you could have sensible grey boots?
Elvira is determined to change their fate, and dreams of the perfect Christmas…and making an honest man out of Englebert, but it’s going to take some serious help from two very special visitors to turn things around! Together, can Elvira, Frank and the Elves work their magic to save the shop, overcome the odds and make all of Elvira’s wedding dreams come true…All before Christmas Day?
You’ve heard the story of The Elves & The Shoemaker, now prepare to be wowed as we sprinkle lots of Red Rose Chain magic all over this timeless Brothers Grimm tale. Expect a feel-good love story full of shoes, shenanigans and something for everyone!


Clever and funny and fast paced with lots of audience interaction that kept everyone entertained, especially the front rows of children that loved getting chosen to help.

Hard to believe there were only three actors. Elvira was the lead character all the way through, however the two men covered eleven characters between them sometimes achieving leaving the stage one way and appearing somewhere else within seconds including a costume change!

I went with Daughter and O, meeting other friends there. O loved it. Meanwhile R was working front of house some of the time and backstage during the performance, in fact she is so permanently part of the theatre volunteer staff that it was the first time I'd seen her in more than a month. Theatre is very much part of who she is now.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Scarred for life.......

Thankfully I'm here to write "scarred for life", it could so easily have been different!

Although I've never really been content with my shape (perhaps one day I'll grow to 7ft 10in and be the ideal weight) I do try to see the permanent marks as signs of my history....my body blog I guess.

You'll be relieved to know there's no photos hahaha.

I'm not sure if I was pre-school age or infants but remember being quite small when out with my sisters I ran straight into a lamppost, they all laughed as apparently I just sat back stunned like a clown while blood poured down my face. It was nothing serious but I do still have a small scar on my forehead. I must have chipped the bone because in later years I grew a bit of a lump which I was told was bone that had been over enthusiastic when repairing itself. It's high and on the side so always covered by my fringe. Now had it been in the middle I'd have shown it off, unicorns are magical right?

There's a scar across my right knee, barely visible now really.  When I was still in junior school we were playing the game where one person turns round and round while we all run to catch their hand and the next runner latched onto number two, next to three etc, well I was never a fast runner so often joined the line when it was already long so having to run very fast or be dragged round. This day I slipped and was dragged and ended up with lots of gravel in my knee and remember the sight of a doctor with long forceps poking around to get the bits out. Ouch!

No outside scar from having my tonsils and adenoids removed when I was 10, but just before that hospital stay and in that same year my appendix burst and an urgent removal caused a scar but saved me from being poisoned to death.

Our two beautiful babies were both born by Caesarean Section when I was 26 and 28. One scar over the other that will actually twinge even now if my children are hurting in any way!

On the back of my left hand I've a couple of hot glue gun scars when going back to work part time at a factory to fit in with school hours. I was early 30s.

I seem to easily develop lumps after nasty insect bites have gone, they are scar tissue. There are three on my legs that I can mostly ignore, however there was a large lump on the back of my left upper arm which always looked red and angry so it was removed by my GP in the surgery and (as warned) it has left a reasonable size scar but it's also stopped me worrying about it. Very rarely I don't seem to have kept my own record of this so can't tell you how old I was.

Around my 60th birthday a very large tumour was discovered having taken up residence in my right kidney. Thankfully it was completely contained and removal of the tumour wrapped in my kidney was enough to cure me of cancer. A major op done by keyhole surgery so I'm left with three puncture and one small incision scars.

Now at 64 I've just removed the dressing a week after yet another major surgical procedure, this time to remove a small tumour from my lonely left kidney. The surgeon couldn't do this keyhole as open surgery meant they could be quicker and more accurately remove the whole tumour while leaving me with as much live kidney as possible. So another five inch scar. Hopefully I'll feel fully recovered soon.

So yes I'm proud to be able to write about them all, because the alternative could have given you very little to read about.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Theatre: Wait Until Dark.....

The Original Theatre Company in association with Eastbourne Theatres present

     From the hand of Frederick Knott, author of Dial M Murder, and the producers behind Night Must Fall and Birdsong, comes a major revival of the classic, edge of your seat, thriller Wait Until Dark.
     Set amidst the social turbulence of 60’s London the play follows the story of Suzy, a blind woman who left alone in her apartment becomes embroiled with a group of conmen hatching an elaborate scam. As the tension notches up, Suzy is left to fend for herself but with the phone line cut dead and the house plunged into darkness, can Suzy outwit the murderous visitors?
     Wait Until Dark, made into a film starring Audrey Hepburn in 1967, is often ranked as one of the top 100 scariest films of all time and this exciting new production reclaims it for the stage.


Not sure how I should review this. 

It wasn't awful like my theatre companions vehemently complained but it wasn't good either. It's a classic thriller but done badly. Even in the theatre advert above it says "phone line cut dead" which it wasn't so misleading. It also says the film was "often ranked as one of the top 100 scariest" however what should have been the scariest bits were done so badly they were almost laugh-out-loud worthy.

The set had a long strip of neon light around the living room ceiling which kept coming on for no apparent reason. I can only assume it was meant to be so bright that it would temporarily dazzle the audience so the lights-out sequences would seem even darker.....but that didn't really work either! 

But just to balance this out I have to say...
Karina Jones played the blind Suzy and is actually the first blind actress to play a blind lead character, and she was very good.
Shannon Rewcroft also played her stroppy young girl Gloria really well. 

So not one I'd necessarily recommend.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Theatre: Oxy and the Morons.....

A Brand New Punk Musical
By Paul Sirett, Mike Peters & Steve Allan Jones 

When a routine check-up leads to a startling diagnosis, Andy decides it’s time to put the band back together, to crank up the amps, and party like its 1978! Why not re-form the legendary Oxy & the Morons, who burned fiercely before exploding in a riot of rivalry, jealousy and bitter betrayal? Andy’s mission involves twisting arms, healing wounds and putting his family and friendships back together. But can that punk spirit of DIY defiance be rekindled over thirty years later? Can you still pogo when your knees go? Will they play their trademark punk take of It’s Not Unusual as an encore?

This brand new musical is fast, furious and very funny. Written by Paul Sirett (Reasons to be Cheerful, Mods and Rox), Mike Peters (The Alarm) and Steve Allan Jones, with a machine gun playlist of original songs, this affectionate look back at the days of teen spirit suggest we could all do with some of that garage band power right now.


I didn't mind a little bit of punk back-in-the-day but was very unsure how I would manage a whole punk musical. Wow it was amazing! The first half told the current story by the band members 30+ years on and how they had moved on in good and bad ways, punctuated by flashbacks to the young band belting out the lyrics. In the second half the oldies perform their comeback gig punctuated by flashbacks to the young band members and what happened with their relationships with each other good and bad. 
Thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Friday, 20 October 2017

Have they been there all along?.......

We've lived in this house 34 years and over time we have changed the garden around a bit in some places and a lot in other places and even had a gardener for some of those years. Even though I don't actually do a lot of the gardening I do mostly know what's in the garden and where.

At one far end of the garden where my view of it is restricted by a shed there are bushes against the fence. One of the very spiky bushes had had some sparse little fruit that looked knarled and spotty and I'd assumed they were inedible and mostly forgot they were even there.

This year I happened to be near them with Daughter and we both took a closer look and a good sniff, they smelt lovely, and cutting one in half for Internet identification we were convinced they were quince.

I forgot to take a photo of the few I picked (carefully) off the spiky bush and didn't bother with those that had already fallen under the bush. Below is an Internet photo and mine were all like the little yellow ones and not as many.

First I just placed them in a bowl on the table and they made the dining room smell really nice.

Of course I then Googled for recipes and had a go at quince jelly.

It was really easy to make, didn't take too long, and is delicious even though I tweeked the recipe so I'd get a reasonable quantity from so few fruit and reduced the sugar a lot because I don't like really sweet jam.

Maybe the bush hadn't been there all along, maybe a bird dropped seeds and it grew or maybe I'm just daft enough to have not noticed them in 34 years!