Friday, 22 September 2017

For the Love of Books | Currently Reading September 2017

September's seen in a drop in how much reading I've managed.
Just one finished, with one on the go and two waiting.

The novel I finished (on Kindle) was The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh.
Imagine a place populated by criminals - people plucked from their lives, with their memories altered, who've been granted new identities and a second chance. Welcome to The Blinds, a dusty town in rural Texas populated by misfits ...
The plot was unsettling, as all the characters are not what they initially seem,
including the 'good guys', but it was still engaging and I wanted to find out what happened to them.
The Blinds doesn't appear to be available in print in the UK until 2018,
 which is why I read it on an e-reader.

(the BBC's North America Editor).  I heard Jon Sopel on the radio discussing this book and I knew it
would be one I would want to read.  Many of us (millions of us?) are currently fascinated by what's happened in American politics over the last few years.  In this insightful portrait of American life and politics, the author sets out to answer our questions about a country that once stood for the grandest of dreams but which is now mired in a storm of political extremism, racial division and increasingly perverse beliefs.

Conclave by Robert Harris is set in Rome after the death of the Pope, with 118 Cardinals gathering
to elect a successor to lead the Roman Catholic Church.  This is one of the two I have waiting to be read and I'm hoping it will be as good as previous novels I've read by Harris (Fatherland 
and The Ghost to name two).   

Diary of a Wartime Affair by Doreen Bates is the second of the two books I have waiting to be read, and is the story of a long and, at times, complicated 
love affair with an older, married man.  Who also happened to be a work colleague. 
 The diary came to publication through the endeavours of Bates's children and sister,
 and I'm curious to know how things worked out for her.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Hard is Hard

Right now, we have a lot going on.  Just like any other family.
  Just like you.  But it does feel like there's more than usual.
  Probably because there is.
Many years ago, a counsellor told me that comparing my/our difficulties to those of others was pointless.  Who's to say that my/our struggles are in anyway less, or more, than someone else's?
How do we even measure struggle?
Struggles are hard; they're meant to be.
That's why they're called struggles.
Well-meaning family/friends/acquaintances tell me, "Chin up!  It could be worse!"
Well, yes, of course it could be.  I know that. 
How come when you're happy, no-one ever says, "Chin up!  So-and-so is happier than you are!"?
Sometimes I find myself woe-is-me-ing - I can't do this any more.  I don't want to do this any more -  
but I should be thinking, "why not me/us?" instead of "why me/us?"

Hard is hard.  Struggles are struggles.
Experiences are different for everyone.
Comparison is pointless.   
Perhaps we should all compare and judge less.

Wouldn't that be nice. 

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

A Scrapbook as a Gift

We wanted to give the friends who'd invited us a Marrakech
a personalised thank-you gift.
Which meant a scrapbook.
I chose a 6x8 album and filled it assorted sizes of page protectors,
some of which I trimmed down to get the exact size I was looking for.
 I kept the journaling to a minimum, letting the photos speak for themselves,
and I added opaque envelopes filled with smaller prints, just to mix things up a little. 
We handed the gift over at the weekend,
 and I forgot to take a single photo of the occasion. 
But I can tell you is that it was received very happily.
Which is always good. 

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

LSNED | Days 11-15

11 September: 
The arrival of Season 3 of Outlander on Amazon Prime makes me happy.

12 September: 
Sometimes, all you need to be is a good listener.

13 September: 
Sometimes, showing up is what's important.
The Boy Child turned out for the Year 6 football (soccer) team trial,
knowing in his heart of hearts that it was highly unlikely
that he would be selected.

14 September:
It's not too early for planning and issuing invitations to a Christmas party.

15 September:
How you gift wrap a present can make a difference.
The humblest of gifts look a million dollars when paired with tissue paper
and cellophane.  (Basket optional, but I counted it as part of the gift).

See Days 6-10 here.
See Days 1-5 here.

Monday, 18 September 2017

This Weekend I ...

Saturday began early with a visit to Dawnosaurs at the 
Natural History Museum in South Kensington.  
If only all early mornings began with views like this.
 We took our first glimpse at Hope, the newly installed blue whale
in the museum's Hintze Hall.  While impressive, we didn't feel
as though she had the same impact as Dippy used to.
 The boy Child blended in with the background.
And he's found a way to let us know when he's reached his full level.

How was your weekend?

Friday, 15 September 2017

Time Flies

When The Boy Child returned to school,
it came with the knowledge that he was beginning his 
final year of primary education.
 Ahead of us lies countless meetings with countless professionals,
each with their own opinion and agenda, over the decision
 of where The Boy Child goes in September 2018.
But for now, I'm revisiting Shimelle's 4x6 Photo Love series from 2011,
 placing seven photos from seven Septembers onto one 12x12 page.
 and wondering where the years have gone.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Camp Nou

Earlier this week,  I mentioned that we had visited Camp Nou recently.
For those of you who may not know what it is, it's the home of Barcelona Football Club.
As it's the largest football stadium in Europe, it's a tourist destination in its own right.
 There's plenty to keep the non-footie fan interested, and although parts of the tour
were incredibly busy, I'd say it's worth an hour of two of your time.
 The Boy Child loved it and rated it 5*.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

LSNED | Days 6-10

6 September:
Going to the hairdresser can be like a therapy session in reverse.
All I have to do is listen.
I'm used to him talking for 45 minutes of more, barely pausing for breath
or allowing me to get a word in edge-ways.
Strangely, I find it quite relaxing.

7 September:
Five years can go by in a flash.
How can I be applying for The Boy Child's 3rd passport in ten years?

8 September: 
Accepting the offer to test drive a new car for the weekend can be fun.
There's no cost involved us and it doesn't commit us to anything.  

9 September:
Spontaneity can be over-rated!
Checking that someone is home when you find yourself near their house
is probably the best way to proceed.

10 September: 
Attempting to match up a pair of wardrobes
 twenty years apart was never going to work.

See Days 1-5 here.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Weekend Retreat | What Did I Make?

Aside from all but finishing the Traveler's Notebook about our exploits in Sapin,
I managed to make a whopping 11 scrapbook pages over the course of two days! 
Four were 12x12 pocket pages, three were 8.5x11 (a size I'd challenged myself to produce) 
and the remainder were 12x12
(three were double-page spreads and one was a single-page spread).
 That's what I call a productive weekend. 
Jemma, the brilliant organiser of the weekend, issued challenges throughout Friday evening 
and Saturday.  They were great icebreakers and allowed us all to admire each other's work. 
I'd turned up with approximately twenty sets of photos that I naively expected to adhere
to cardstock during the weekend.  It really had been a long time since my last weekend retreat,
as I'd forgotten to factor in the time spent chatting, drinking tea and eating cake.  Doh.
But that amount gave me plenty of scope to match photos with each challenge. 
  I knew that The Boy Child would love a double-page spread about our visit to Camp Nou,
and I was right.  He said it was best thing I did all weekend! 
And in case you were wondering, the title is in Catalan and translates as More Than a Club

Monday, 11 September 2017

This Weekend I ...

... spent a lot of the time in a car.
Not our car, I might add, but one that we were offered the use of ...
for the whole weekend.
We took advantage and headed out of town
to the beauty that is the Chilterns.
If only the weather had played ball.