Granada Reports

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

United are at home to Granada in the Europa League, and have taken an early lead on the night, 1-0 after just six minutes thanks to Edinson Cavani, so we lead 3-0 on aggregate. As well as being a place in Spain, Granada was the name of the ITV region here in the north-west of England, and our regional news was called Granada Reports, so that explains the title! I think the Spanish town had a name for entertainment, which is why it was chosen as our regional channel’s name.

Anyway, big news, as I have finished Our Daily Bread by Predrag Matvejević, and so I have already reached 20 books so far this year and have had to increase my Goodreads Challenge target yet again. I have moved it up to 25 books.

Had a croissant this morning as part of my breakfast, which got me wondering if a croissant was a pastry or a bread, only to find it’s kinda both things! It’s flaky like certain pastries are, but it also has a leavened dough, so that’s clearly a bread thing!

I’ve also made a bit more progress with Recipe for Life, by Mary Berry, so that one is now 12% read and thus has officially become an Ongoing Concern! If they reach the 10% read mark and I feel they are going to be worth continuing, they become an OC. Even Mary gets in on the act on the bread front, mentioning her mum’s bread and butter pudding and providing the recipe for it!

However, I am not done with the ebooks about wheat-based comestibles, lol, and am 13% of the way through Bread: A Global History, by William Rubel, from the Edible series of books about food and drink, and I am 11% of the way through Loaf Story: A Love Letter to Bread, With Recipes, by Tim Hayward.

We’ve had a lot of books about weather and a lot of books about bread, lol! I include the Shipping Forecast books in the weather section, as shipping bulletins are specialist weather reports. The Wrong Kind of Snow, another weather book, is an ongoing thing throughout the year, as some may already know.

Half-time: Manchester United 1 Granada 0

I was looking at what else I had got on my Kindle, and thought I had The Epic of Gilgamesh on there, but it seemed it was just a guide to the epic rather than the book itself, so I have ended up getting the Penguin edition as an ebook which should have the actual epic after the introductory section. It’s an epic in poem form, from Mesopotamia some time around 3000 BC. It has been translated, or perhaps deciphered would be a better word, from Cuneiform writing on clay tablets.

I downloaded a novel called The Gown recently, historical fiction by Jennifer Robson. It’s set in 1947 at Norman Hartwell’s fashion house and is about two ladies who are chosen to work on the wedding gown for Princess Elizabeth.

There’s Hungry, by Grace Dent and My Last Supper, by Jay Rayner, on there, so more food-related stuff and more Jay Rayner – I have already read some of his books this year, ones in which he details his less than wonderful dining experiences as a restaurant reviewer. My Dining Hell is especially funny if you’re after a good laugh!

I have seen reading as pleasure since I was very little and first learning to read. I think that does help as it gets you through those times when you might have to read something a bit boring for school, lol! Most of the books I read at school were OK, though, not too many that weren’t my cup of tea, thankfully. Mind you, I would try them again now as an adult to see if I like them as a middle-aged woman more than I did as a teenage girl.

One that didn’t grab me when I was at school was Elidor, by Alan Garner, and another was The Gun, by C. S. Forester. Part of me kinda hopes I will find them in charity shops, and maybe I will now those are open again. It would help a good cause, and also it would mean the books are reasonably cheap, as I don’t really want to risk forking out too much for something if I’m going to end up thinking it’s still as dull as I thought it was in the mid to late 1980s when I was at high school, ha ha!

Ooh, we’ve got One for the Books, here by Joe Queenan, which is actually an Ongoing Concern, as it’s at the 10% read stage. A book about books, but I am not doing a list of all the books he mentions in it – I did that for Dear Reader, by Cathy Rentzenbrink, at the start of this year and it took time to go through the book again to list all the books she had mentioned!

Who knows where the reading adventure will take us? I think I blogged, earlier in the year, about some travel-related books, travel within the UK, which I thought I might move on to after the weather and Shipping Forecast stuff, but as things have turned out, I have ended up reading books about bread! Not that I won’t get on to the travel books, but there could be another very random change of direction after the bread books when it comes to subject matter!

If United could get another goal, that would be great. I know we are 1-0 up tonight and 3-0 up overall, but another goal for the Reds this evening would make things more comfortable.

I know I have mentioned some books where I have been partway through for some time, including My Side, by David Beckham, and The Snowman, by Jo Nesbø, but there is also Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, by Louis de Bernières, which I have had for absolutely ages, since the mid 1990s when it came out, and I have read a large chunk of it, but need to resume it! 47% read, so very nearly halfway, but as I’ve not read it since 1995, should I try to recap where I’m up to before resuming it?

The book was published in 1994, the year I turned 21 and graduated from university, but my edition is from the following year.

We have a second goal, an own goal by someone called Vallejo, in stoppage time and that is it – the final whistle has blown. Manchester United 2 Granada 0. United win 4-0 on aggregate and are through to the Europa League semi-finals where we will play AS Roma.

I think that is probably about all for now, except to say that I will have my first jab on Sunday lunchtime! Second one will be due in early July. On Tuesday they started accepting those of us aged 45 or over, so eventually managed to get booked after the website crashed a few times, lol! All us forty-somethings wanting to get jabbed! Anyway, until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Our Daily Bread – Predrag Matvejević
  • Recipe for Life – Mary Berry
  • Bread: A Global History – William Rubel
  • Loaf Story – Tim Hayward
  • The Wrong Kind of Snow – Antony Woodward & Robert Penn
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh – Unknown
  • The Gown – Jennifer Robson
  • Hungry – Grace Dent
  • My Last Supper – Jay Rayner
  • My Dining Hell – Jay Rayner
  • Elidor – Alan Garner
  • The Gun – C. S. Forester
  • One for the Books – Joe Queenan
  • Dear Reader – Cathy Rentzenbrink
  • My Side – David Beckham
  • The Snowman – Jo Nesbø
  • Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis de Bernières

Leave a comment

Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Books About Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Facebook & Other Social Media, Food & Drink, Football, Goodreads, Historical Fiction, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, School, College & Uni Reading, The TBR Pile, Travel

Two Outta Three Ain’t Bad…

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

And it is indeed a good evening, as today is 12th April, so for those of us here in England it has been Bookshops Are Open Again Day, lol! We’re now on step two of easing out of lockdown and thus a lot more places have reopened today. Indeed, I went for a little walk onto Monton Road after work this evening to have a shufty and it was great to see a lot more places open again!

I know it might have been that some shops were shut because I went after 4:30pm when my work finished for the day, so some places may have been open earlier on, but a lot were still open when I had a wee stroll. The St Ann’s Hospice shop was closed but I discovered, to my delight, that both the Children’s Society and Age UK charity shops were open, so, as Meatloaf would put it, two outta three ain’t bad, lol!

Age UK said they were ready to accept donated goods, the Children’s Society said they weren’t quite ready for that yet, but hoped to be able to take donations from next week onwards, which is good to know as I will be sorting out some books to give them. Not least the two dupicate books, which, if I remember rightly, are in my wardrobe unit! They are Mad Girl, by Bryony Gordon, and When All is Said, by Anne Griffin.

I can also give them those Observer’s books about Aircraft and Cricket. Will keep an eye out for others now that I can do so again.

Anyway, as you can probably tell from the photo at the top, now the shops have opened, normal service has been resumed and Chief Bookworm has been browsing the charity shops for reading matter and making a few purchases – the last time I had been able to browse charity shops (and indeed most other shops) had been back in December! Therefore, I was making up for lost time, ha ha!

You may well have noticed that I was able to stock up on Horrible Histories! The Children’s Society shop had them, and they weren’t ones I’ve already got, so I purchased The Savage Stone Age, The Terrible Tudors, The Blitzed Brits, and The Barmy British Empire. All of those are by Terry Deary. Given that I have two already to hand, I’ve got a nice little stash of them again for when I just fancy a good quick read!

The other book I got from the Children’s Society shop was Worth Dying For: The Power and Politics of Flags, by Tim Marshall. I have quite a flag collection from my travels, so it should be an interesting read. I did wonder if it was the same bloke who wrote that book about national anthems that I read last year, but it was Alex Marshall who wrote Republic or Death! Wonder if they’re related, though?

From the Age UK shop, I acquired Jupiter’s Travels: Four Years on One Motorbike, by Ted Simon, and the autobiography of Johnny Marr, Set the Boy Free. They both seemed like interesting reads, and I do like autobiographies, particularly from people in music or sports. Not averse to the odd chef or comedian, though!

That was from our local cops and I saw it on Facebook earlier! They have a good sense of humour! I know there were some mad people who were queuing up late last night to be the first into the shops at midnight, which is silly, really! I was eager, too, for shops to open, especially any where I can buy books, obviously, but I ain’t daft enough to do any of that nonsense! Quite happy to wait until a more conventional time of day to get back to some sort of normal and set foot in shops again!

Gyms are now open, too, and given all the eating I’ve been doing during lockdown, lol, I need to visit one of our local leisure centres, at least to see what the “Bobby Moore” is regarding going for a workout. For instance, are changing rooms open, or do I have to come ready dressed to go on the exercise bikes and treadmills? Might pop to Eccles and ask sometime soon.

That’s not a leisure centre, though… that’s a library, a Carnegie Library in fact! It’s Eccles Gateway, so it’s not just a library these days, there’s also a medical centre in there, meeting rooms, and there may even be a dental surgery, possibly. But there is still a library and a children’s library section as well as all the extras that have been added on in more recent years. I do hope it gives you an idea, though, of what our local library looks like – at least the original building. The bit over to the left, out of the picture, is the extension, but I know you’ll be interested in seeing a Carnegie Library on a blog about books!

Our Daily Bread is now at 80% so we are rapidly heading towards our 20th finish for this year, and I’ve not even had my birthday yet! Not long to go to that, though, lol! Still waiting for my first jab, too, so I’m hoping they will start on the forty-somethings soon! Mum gets her second one later this week.

Some other news – my niece was able to resume having music lessons in person this evening after months of only being able to have them virtually via computer! Another sign of things being on the mend.

I think that is probably it for now, but I just wanted to blog on the day the shops reopened to let you all know that Chief Bookworm has been in charity shops and bought books, so some semblance of normal service has been resumed, lol! I’ll be back again soon enough, as I’ll probably finish that ebook about bread in the next day or so, but until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Mad Girl – Bryony Gordon
  • When All is Said – Anne Griffin
  • The Observer’s Book of Aircraft – William Green
  • The Observer’s Book of Cricket – Peter Smith
  • The Savage Stone Age – Terry Deary
  • The Terrible Tudors – Terry Deary
  • The Blitzed Brits – Terry Deary
  • The Barmy British Empire – Terry Deary
  • Worth Dying For – Tim Marshall
  • Republic or Death! – Alex Marshall
  • Jupiter’s Travels – Ted Simon
  • Set the Boy Free – Johnny Marr
  • Our Daily Bread – Predrag Matvejević

Leave a comment

Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Childrens' Books, Facebook & Other Social Media, Food & Drink, Manc Stuff!, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns

From a Distance…

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

It is indeed a good evening as my lads staged one of their famous comebacks earlier to win 3-1 away to Tottenham Hotspur! I think they were fired up by having a goal ruled out by bloody VAR in the first half – that spurred them on to come from a goal down against Spurs! We are in 2nd and there are 7 league fixtures remaining for us.

Got some news coming up about both the bread bookmark and Our Daily Bread by Predrag Matvejević, with which significant progress has been made.

First, however, we come to the news that broke on Friday, that His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, had passed away at the age of 99 – especially sad as he was only a couple of months away from reaching 100. I had two sightings of Prince Philip back in my childhood days…

The first one was in the late 70s, possibly some time around 1977 when I was 4 years old. He was visiting the Royal Ordnance Factory in Patricroft at the time, which isn’t far from here, so he came through Monton and we lined up along both sides of Monton Road with our plastic flags, lol, as he was driven through our village!

For the second, I was quite a bit older, it was in the mid 80s as I recall, 1985 I think, so I would be 12 by then, and was at Tatton Park in Cheshire at a family fun day. We had gone there for a teddy bears’ picnic event, but there were a lot of equestrian events too, plenty of horses, and one of those events was horse and carriage riding, and that is what the Duke of Edinburgh was up to when we saw him on that occasion!

Before you ask if I’ve ever seen the Queen as well, yes, I have. Just the once and also from a distance, and I was an adult by then and working in town. It was February 2008, so I was in my 30s and a civil servant, and Her Majesty was opening the Manchester Civil Justice Centre, aka the Filing Cabinet, which is across the road from where I worked at the time, so quite a few of us went over to watch!

So, that is essentially a potted history of Chief Bookworm seeing members of the royal family from a distance, lol!

As I promised you earlier, update on the bread-related stuff, and the bookmark has been finished and given a tassel. I felt that those beads looked a little bit like loaves and bread rolls, so they were appropriate! As for the ebook, Our Daily Bread, that is now 67% read, so it won’t be too much longer before I have my 20th finish for the year and need to increase the Goodreads Challenge target yet again!

Shops reopen tomorrow, though, here in England. All those “non-essential” retail outlets can open their doors again as of 12th April, so that includes the places where books can be bought or borrowed – libraries can reopen too, as well as book shops and charity shops. Anyone who’s a regular follower of this blog will know I like to get bargain books from charity shops! Also, when I have the occasional clear out to make space for other books, I give books to charity shops.

I now have 136 followers, so thank you very much for following and reading my blogs!

I am up to date with The Wrong Kind of Snow, so that’s a progress report on that one! We are over a quarter of the way through that book, but it is an ongoing thing throughout the year. I worked out earlier that we will be a third of the way on 1st May.

Before I get on to my popular classics bit, just thought I’d mention that I heard Sailing By twice in the space of an hour in the early hours of this morning! I had Radio 4 on for the Shipping Forecast, so just before that, around 00:46h I heard Sailing By for the first time. After the shipping news, I reverted to Classic FM, and then, around 01:44h they played Sailing By! Well, it is a good gentle tune to play at silly o’clock in the morning, to be fair, ha ha!

In my series on Classical Music You Didn’t Know You Knew, I think we were up to classical music that has been used in rock and pop music, and there has been a fair bit of that over the years. This is particularly due to the fact that a lot of classical music is that old that it is in the public domain and thus not copyright anymore.

Music belongs to the writer or composer during their lifetime and then for another 70 years after they have died, so loads of old classical music doesn’t need a credit on the record, but the occasional musician has fallen foul of this if the music wasn’t old enough. Eric Carmen, for instance, and his hit “All By Myself” from the 70s. It wasn’t in the public domain worldwide, so he ended up having to pay the estate of Sergei Rachmaninov a share of the royalties as the song borrowed heavily from Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 2!

This next one could have come under sports, but it was a single and it did use a melody from classical music… it is “World in Union” recorded by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa for the Rugby Union World Cup in 1991. The melody, which is also used for the hymn “I Vow to Thee My Country” is taken from the middle of Jupiter, the Bringer of Jolity from The Planets by Gustav Holst. Holst passed away in 1934, but was credited on the record as far as I was aware. He would have had to have been credited up to and including 2004.

Lieutenant Kijé by Sergei Prokovief has seen two pieces of music used by different songs. The Troika features in the best-known example, as it was used by Greg Lake as part of I Believe in Father Christmas, but one of Sting’s more forgotten hits, Russians, from 1985, uses the Romance from this orchestral suite.

If you’re familiar with Never Forget, by Take That, a UK number one from 1995, you will know that there is quite a fanfare at the start of that song… that fanfare comes from the Dies Irae part of Verdi’s Requiem. So now you know!

The March from the Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky was used as the basis of Nut Rocker by B Bumble and the Stingers back in the 60s, and was also used by the Pet Shop Boys in 2009 on All Over the World from their album Yes. I think Chris Lowe had always been partial to a bit of Tchaikovsky anyway, he was from a very musical family and played the piano long before he became the synth-playing half of PSB.

But, taking a bit of tune is one thing. Some bands have just decided to take an entire piece of classical music and turn it into rock, which gives us Aaron Copland’s Fanfare For the Common Man made into a rock version by Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and also Sky giving us Toccata, which was a rock version of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.

However, we could not do a piece on classical music used in popular music without mention of Canon in D by Johan Pachelbel. So many rock and pop records have been based on Pachelbel’s Canon it’s unbelievable! If you don’t believe me, check out “Pachelbel Rant” by Rob Paravonian on YouTube! He lists quite a number of them, including Crying by Aerosmith and Basket Case by Green Day, but I have two more very obvious ones that Rob didn’t mention…

First up is Go West. Originally by the Village People, and successfully covered by the Pet Shop Boys in the early 90s, this total disco anthem is very much based on the Pachelbel Canon chord sequence, but if you think that one is obvious, I think the award for Most Blatantly Obvious Use of Pachelbel’s Canon in Rock & Pop Music has to go to All Together Now by The Farm!

I think, in some of those other songs, it is easier to disguise the Canon, you may just get a hint of it in the chords, but The Farm’s use is blatant. Essentially, it is just Pachelbel’s Canon put to an early 1990s indie dance music beat and with lyrics added to tell the story of the Christmas Truce during the First World War!

So, that’s that for now, I think. We still have classics in films and cartoons and classics I discovered in music lessons at school, but we have covered classics that have been given the rock and pop treatment.

So, back to the books now. We know about Our Daily Bread being 67% read, Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache is 42% read, and we’re up to date with The Wrong Kind of Snow, Bit of a Blur was at 32% last I recall, so that needs working on, and someone on FB earlier reminded me of My Side, by David Beckham, which I started years ago and that needs resuming. It’s 32% read, too, so I really should get back to that one!

I also have a couple of Horrible Histories in that I’ve not read yet, those being The Angry Aztecs, and The Incredible Incas, both by Terry Deary, so I should get round to those, especially as they’re fairly short, they’re fun, and with shops reopening very soon, my chances of stocking up on others I’ve not read yet will improve in the coming weeks! I tend to find Horrible Histories in charity shops.

In all the time I have been blogging, which started on 14th August 2010, I am not sure if I have previously got to this amount of books this early in the year. I’m heading for my 20th book of 2021 and we’re on 11th April.

However, as I have said in previous blogs, lockdown has been a big factor, plus the earlier months of the year and their winter weather. That is conducive to staying in and getting books read. Nicer weather and the shops being open again, and the prospect of hospitality reopening in the not too distant future, all being well, presents opportunities to get out and about.

Getting out and about means more books can be bought, of course, but will it lead to more books being read?! Anyway, Match of the Day 2 will be on shortly, so I am off to watch United’s comeback against Spurs! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Our Daily Bread – Predrag Matvejević
  • The Wrong Kind of Snow – Antony Woodward & Robert Penn
  • Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache – Martin Aston
  • Bit of a Blur – Alex James
  • My Side – David Beckham
  • The Angry Aztecs – Terry Deary
  • The Incredible Incas – Terry Deary

Leave a comment

Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, British Weather, Charity Shop Bargains, Childrens' Books, Cross-Stitch, Facebook & Other Social Media, Food & Drink, Football, Goodreads, Manc Stuff!, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Radio, Sports, Television

The Wrong Kind of Snow!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Any kind of snow in April is definitely classed as The Wrong Kind of Snow! It has snowed here three times this afternoon! Twice while I was at the dining table doing my job, and then again just as my working hours came to an end for the day! Thankfully, the snow didn’t stick despite there being some particularly big flakes (and not of the Cadbury’s variety) in the second flurry, but that’s hardly the point, is it?! This is supposed to be spring! Snow is winter weather!

Now, look here, weather… the ONLY acceptable flakes, as far as Chief Bookworm is concerned, come in bright yellow wrappers and are advertised with the slogan “Only the crumbliest, flakiest chocolate tastes like chocolate never tasted before”!

There is an alternative version to that, of course, which goes… Only the crumbliest, flakiest chocolate… misses the mouth and makes a mess on the floor!

But, enough of my commercial breakdowns, lol, and on with the show…

As you can see from the photo at the top, another bookmark has been started. A lot of my stitching is themed, and as we are currently on a theme of bread in at least some of my ongoing concerns and recent reads, it was only to be expected that a bread-themed bookmark would eventually surface, and it is in the process of being stitched. I needed something vaguely resembling wheat or looking like some kind of grain, and I think the climbing pattern has a “grain” look about it.

The cute little loaf was actually a chart for either Hama or Perler beads, I think, but if something is on a squared grid, it can often be converted to a cross-stitch design.

We had the last day of the Classic FM Hall of Fame yesterday, and The Lark Ascending is still number 1. It’s OK, for me, but there are other compositions by Vaughan-Williams that I like better. The Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis is room-filling and atmospheric, and I have a personal love of the English Folk Song Suite as I used to play that regularly, back in the day, when I was in the City of Salford Youth Concert Band.

After the countdown, we also had the last of the Classic FM Chronicles and Moira Stuart giving us the potted history of classical music, so we were in the modern day, mentioning film music, video game music and music in adverts – she mentioned loaves in that and played the Largo from the New World Symphony, the Hovis advert music. All the more reason to suspect that someone from Classic FM follows my blogs on the sly, lol!

While we are still on radio-related stuff, let’s just switch stations a moment, metaphorically speaking at least, from Classic FM to BBC Radio 4, as they have been responsible for some book recommendations of late and adding yet more books to the infamous TBR list!

They have a Book of the Week, and while it is on earlier in the day, it is also on late at night, just before Sailing By and the Shipping Forecast, and that is how I came to find out about Slow Rise, by Robert Penn. Actually, the legendary Attention All Shipping, by Charlie Connelly, which I re-read earlier this year, was once a Radio 4 Book of the Week years ago!

I did mention Fall, by John Preston, which is about Robert Maxwell, but there have been a few music-related books of late, including this week’s Book of the Week, and thus they have been of interest to me… three on the trot, actually…

First of this trio was One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time, by Craig Brown, detailing how the Fab Four fitted into the 60s and how their influence rippled outwards. Next up was Lev’s Violin, by Helena Attlee, about the writer hearing a distinctive violin being played, which she is told is “Lev’s Violin” and that it is an Italian instrument named after its former Russian owner. This sets her off on an adventure to trace the ancestry and history of the violin and find that the truth of its background is somewhat different to what she had been told.

The third of this trio of non-fiction, music-related books is the recently-published hardback, The Musical Human: A History of Life on Earth, by Michael Spitzer, who argues that music is an overlooked part of our origin story, so he takes us on a journey across the ages to explore the relationship between humans and music. Needless to say, it’s a book that definitely appeals to me.

The serialising of it on Radio 4 only started yesterday, of course, so I’ve got the rest of this week to listen to the other parts of it, but one thing I did notice in the mention of early instruments was that lurs were included. I first read about lurs in The Story of Music, by Howard Goodall, a few years ago, and they are horns from the Bronze Age. Some of these lurs were discovered in Denmark and are actually what Lurpak butter is named after! Packets of Lurpak have two crossed lurs on them. The lur in the photo above is from the National Museum of Denmark.

Some news on the Observer books on Aircraft and Cricket. Unfortunately, the friend of my sister already has those books, so I will have to give them to a charity shop. I don’t have too much longer to wait in order to do that, though, as we had confirmation yesterday that we are on course with the planned easing out of lockdown.

Boris gave the thumbs up to Step Two going ahead on Monday 12th April as planned, meaning the non-essential shops can reopen. Food and drink places can serve people with food and drink to be consumed outside, although eating inside will have to wait until Step Three which is due on 17th May, which is also when hotels and suchlike can reopen.

Anyway, step two means that bookshops, charity shops and libraries can reopen – all the places where you can buy or borrow books! Just in time for Chief Bookworm’s birthday! Yippee!

Back to music now and, no, not the lurs, but Chief Bookworm’s Guide to Classical Music You Didn’t Know You Knew… I think I said we were going to look at classical music in sport, as well as some ceremonies. Can’t give you Four Weddings and a Funeral, but can give you two weddings and a funeral in terms of marches, lol! Sport first, though.

In the grand scheme of things, not that many sports are performed to music, and not all of those will opt for classical music, but one of the best bets for classical music is figure skating, and we go back in time to 1984 and the best figure skaters ever, ice dance champions, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean.

Ice dance has changed over the years, but in 1984, there would be three compulsories, an Original Set Pattern and the Free Dance, and it’s the OSP and free dance which introduced us to some classical music thanks to T&D’s gold-winning routines.

The OSP was skated to a section of Capriccio Espagnol, by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakoff, and you may recall T&D in jewelled black and white outfits, Chris as the matador and Jayne as the cape…

The free dance, of course was skated to an abridged version of Bolero by Maurice Ravel. It had to be abridged. The full version of Bolero is over 17 minutes long! Torvill and Dean needed 4 minutes of music. They got 4 minutes 28 seconds, which is why they start by kneeling down and swaying – they had to waste the first 28 seconds and it only counts when blades are on the ice – Chris looked it up in the rule book, so that’s how they sorted that one out!

Before we get on to the footy-related classics, one from the equestrian world… the theme from the Horse of the Year show, a televised showjumping competition which used to be on the box when I was a kid, was A Musical Joke, by Mozart.

Right… classical music and football (soccer)… first up, the European Cup, or Champions League as it’s been known since the early 90s… UEFA wanted some music for this, a kind of anthem for it, if you like, and if you listen to the UEFA Champions League music, I think you can clearly tell that the writer took his inspiration from the coronation anthem, Zadok the Priest, by Handel. They are VERY similar!

Music that clubs run out to varies, and I don’t know too many classical ones, but I do know that Sunderland used to run out to the Dance of the Knights from Romeo and Juliet by Prokofiev, although I understand this is no longer the case.

The World Cup has been known to bring football and classical music together, especially at the 1990 World Cup in Italy, with the concert by the Three Tenors, Pavarotti, Domingo and Carreras. It was also at this World Cup when the Dutch fans’ band started. Legend has it that stewards at various stadia were not going to let our friends from the Netherlands in with their instruments but they played a selection of opera tunes, so the stewards liked that and let them enter! Once through the turnstiles, the Dutch celebrated being allowed in by continuing with their opera tunes, most notably the Grand March from Aida by Verdi.

The BBC got in on the act on the opera front for Italia 90 as their choice of music for World Cup coverage was Pavarotti’s recording of Nessun Dorma from Turandot by Puccini. The song proved so popular that it ended up at number 2 in the UK charts that summer! I still love a good singalong to Nessun Dorma, especially the “vincero” bit at the end! Eight years later, when it was the World Cup in France, the Beeb opted for the Pavane by Fauré as their music for coverage of the tournament.

As the sports section is a tad short, I promised you classics you know from matchings and dispatchings…

The two best-known wedding marches are both from operas. The tune we commonly know as “Here Comes the Bride” is from Lohengrin by Wagner, and the other well-known bridal march is from A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Mendelssohn. When it comes to saying farewell, however, the best-known funeral march is by Chopin. That one is not from an opera, though.

As well as those frequently-used wedding marches, tying the knot is a great excuse for classical music, and some other music popular with brides includes The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, by Handel, and the Prince of Denmark’s March, also known as Trumpet Voluntary, by Jeremiah Clarke – that one became popular 40 years ago because Prince Charles and Lady Diana chose it for the Royal Wedding on 29th July 1981, and a lot of other couples have favoured it since, including my friends Sarah and Simon in Preston. Sarah said she chose it because she remembered it from the Royal Wedding!

Weddings also need some music for that time before the bride arrives at church, and often the bit where the bride and groom are in a side room in the church, signing the register, so you might hear music such as Canon in D by Pachelbel, or either Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, or Sheep May Safely Graze, both cantatas by Bach. As I said, weddings are a great excuse for putting together something of a classical playlist!

I think we’ve covered a lot of ways people are introduced to classical music. We’ve done adverts, TV shows, sports, weddings and funerals. We have even done classical music that has been played down the phone to you while you’re on hold, lol! Still need to do films and cartoons, classical music that’s been used in rock and pop music, and also some classical music I was introduced to in actual music lessons at school, so those are still to come in future blogs.

What are some of your favourite classics and how were you introduced to them? Please feel free to comment and let me know! I mean it when I say I would love to hear from you!

As I was making a start on the bread bookmark, things are as you were on the book front, the Ongoing Concerns are still at the state they were in the previous blog. I think Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache was 42% read and Our Daily Bread was 13% read, those were two I had focused on last time. So, that is probably about it for now, but it probably won’t be long before I return! Until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Wrong Kind of Snow – Antony Woodward & Robert Penn
  • Slow Rise – Robert Penn
  • Attention All Shipping – Charlie Connelly
  • Fall – John Preston
  • One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time – Craig Brown
  • Lev’s Violin – Helena Attlee
  • The Musical Human – Michael Spitzer
  • The Story of Music – Howard Goodall
  • The Observer’s Book of Aircraft – William Green
  • The Observer’s Book of Cricket – Peter Smith

Leave a comment

Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, British Weather, Charity Shop Bargains, Cross-Stitch, Food & Drink, Football, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Radio, Sports, Television, The TBR Pile, Travel, Weather

An Easter Egg-stravaganza!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Happy Easter to all of you who are celebrating! As you can probably tell, I am too, and I am stuffed right now as Mum and I have just had our roast beef dinner takeaway from Blacksticks on Monton Road! Utterly stuffed, bit like Ipswich in 1995 or Southampton in February this year. So, while I let my grub go down, it’s time for a blog, lol! That design, by the way, won my niece’s Easter Egg design competition, so I have a nice certificate from Charlotte to put on our fridge later!

Now that Charlotte and Reuben have had their Easter presents, I can tell you which books I bought them! I know you’ve been waiting for this! I bought Charlotte Springtime Stories, by Enid Blyton, and I bought Reuben Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney. I did actually read that one when it arrived, but I couldn’t really include it with the books in March as it was for my nephew and so I couldn’t mention it on here until now, so it’s gone on the list with April’s books and is my 19th of the year (although probably the 14th or 15th in chronological order.)

United vs Brighton kicks off at half-past, so not long to go until that game starts.

I had Book Mail yesterday! I took the precaution of taking some photos on this here iPad as I was opening the box, so that I could do an unveiling on here. Clue is that one of the books is one I mentioned the other night about a wheat-based comestible. The other two books are linked to a theme we’ve already dealt with on these blogs this year. The clue is “all at sea” if that helps…

Like all good plots, we’ll keep you in suspense a while longer while I give you an update on a couple of Ongoing Concerns…

I made significant inroads with Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache yesterday, so the chunky Martin Aston book about how music came out is now 42% read! The other news is that I started the Our Daily Bread book by Predrag Matvejević on my Kindle the other day and that is already at 13%, so a good start has been made to that.

Manchester United vs Brighton and Hove Albion has now kicked off.

Box lid slit open…

In our series of Bits of Classical Music You Didn’t Know You Knew, we’ve done a lot of music used in adverts, and there’s probably loads more I could do. For example, a current advert for Simba mattresses uses “Clair de Lune” by Claude Debussy. However, I thought we would move from commercial breaks to actual programmes this time!

Before my time, but probably one of the best-known TV theme tunes of all time is the theme to The Lone Ranger, which is, of course, the William Tell Overture by Rossini.

Another which started a long time ago, but was on during my lifetime, was the current affairs programme, This Week. That show used the Intermezzo from the Karelia Suite by Sibelius.

This one is cheating a little bit as the actual music is by Andrew Lloyd Webber of musical-writing fame, but he did base the theme of The South Bank Show on Caprice No 24 by Paganini, so I reckon it still counts!

BBC shipping company drama, The Onedin Line, which ran from the early 70s to the early 80s, used the Adagio from Spartacus by Khachaturian as its theme tune.

And now for something completely different… it’s Monty Python’s Flying Circus, for which the theme music was the Liberty Bell march by Sousa.

If you recall a spy drama that was on in the early 80s, Reilly Ace of Spies, which I probably remember because Dad would have watched it – well, the theme music for that series was the Romance from the Gadfly Suite by Shostakovich. Dad loved spy thrillers, as I have probably mentioned a few times on these blogs.

If United could kindly get an equaliser, that would be much appreciated. You’re supposed to win when I blog, you numpties!

If you can recall the continental version of It’s a Knockout, Jeux Sans Frontiers, and you also watch the Eurovision Song Contest, you will know the fanfare-style tune Te Deum by Charpentier – it’s the music of the European Broadcasting Union.

One last one for now from the telly programmes, one from more recent times… the drama series Jonathan Creek, starring Alan Davies. The theme tune for this series was Danse Macabre by Saint-Saëns.

And our box is open, but the books are being hidden, cunningly, by the crumpled paper…

Probably about all for now regarding classical music you didn’t know you knew, but more next time. Some examples from the world of sport, although there’s not that many I can think of for that, so I will also give you two weddings and a funeral – well, in terms of well-known marches anyhow, lol!

Ooh! First book out of the box! Surviving the Storms, which is an RNLI publication with Nikki Girvan, and is a collection of extraordinary stories of courage and compassion at sea. I did say, earlier, that a couple of my books tied in with our sea theme which has featured in blogs this year. Next up…

In conjunction with the first book, we have Heroes of the RNLI, by Martyn R. Beardsley and you won’t be surprised to learn that Henry Blogg is in the roll of honour in this book! Blogg got a special mention on 23rd January, so you can check the January 2021 archives for the blog entry entitled “Wooden Logs and Henry Blogg” if you wish to read about him.

I think Ole needs to give the lads the hairdryer treatment at half-time! Need one of our famous second-half comebacks, please, United!

One more book to come, but we move away from lifeboats and back to food-related stuff…

Ta dah! We have Bread of Dreams by Piero Camporesi, which completes our box of books and is one which was mentioned in the blog on Good Friday, as Scott Cutler Shershow had mentioned this book in his Object Lessons book, Bread.

So, what next? A look at books hanging around here… Did a bit of a swap over with one of the see-through book boxes and put some I had read in there and got a couple out. I brought out True, by Martin Kemp, his autobiography, and Doctor, by Andrew Bomback, from the Object Lessons series, both as possibilities to be Ongoing Concerns shortly.

Second half has started. Come on you Reds! It’s grip-getting time, lads!

Not in the book boxes, but one that was hanging around here was Introducing Music, by Ottó Károlyi, which I have had for absolutely donkey’s years. It was Dad’s originally, but I was still at primary school when he let me have it. Quite possibly when I started learning the recorder, so we’re talking 40 to 41 years ago, back in 1980-81 when I was in the first year of the juniors, now known as year 3!

Along with The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music, by Michael Kennedy, which was a pressie from Mum & Dad for my 14th birthday in 1987, the book by Ottó Károlyi was a big help to me when I was doing GCSE Music from the autumn of 1987 to the summer of 1989. As I had to compose a fair amount of music for my portfolio, the Károlyi book helped with pitch ranges of different instruments.

Excuse me a mo while I draw a goal diagram. My lads clearly need a reminder of how to hit a cow on the arse with a banjo…

Right, diagram now drawn. Hope it works…

Still got the Classic FM Hall of Fame on, which is now playing the theme from Jurassic Park, by John Williams, which reminds me of our Reuben as he is Dinosaur Boy! My nephew has more dinosaurs than Jurassic Park, lol! Beautiful theme tune, actually, one of my fave film themes. And we have a goalflash to bring you…

Manchester United 1 Brighton and Hove Albion 1. Marcus Rashford MBE 62 minutes 🙂 Phew! We have an equaliser!

Jurassic Park will be the last tune on the Hall of Fame for tonight as it’s nearly 9pm, the remaining music in the countdown, which I think is 65 pieces still to go, will be played tomorrow between 9am and 9pm. It started at 9am on Good Friday with number 300, and it will get to the number one just before 9pm on Easter Monday.

It’s been going for years. Possibly since Classic FM first started, or at least quite early on in the life of the radio station. Just looked it up… Classic FM first started on 7th September 1992. Blimey! I was still a teenager back then, lol! I was 19 and about to start my second year of my degree, and I’d been going to footy for exactly a year – 7th September 1991 was my first game as a match-going Red, when I saw United beat Norwich City 3-0 with goals by Denis Irwin, Brian McClair and Ryan Giggs. Those were the days, eh?!

Obviously, can’t go at the moment, but in September it will be my 30th anniversary, so I hope we’re back at games again then.

Back to the books, though… my plans for the Ongoing Concerns… Continue with Our Daily Bread on my Kindle, and both the Martin Aston and Alex James books in terms of physical books. May read others, but I do want to get Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache and Bit of a Blur read. Oh, and I think there has been another goal…

Manchester United 2 Brighton and Hove Albion 1 Mason Greenwood 83 minutes 🙂

That’s more like it, Reds!

Classic FM playing the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy right now. That’s my place of work’s telephone hold music, lol! The Hall of Fame finished for the night at 9 so this is The Classic FM Chronicles, which is a potted history of classical music, and we’re now onto the Late Romantic Period and this is where Tchaikovsky comes into it…

I am convinced, though, that someone at Classic FM is reading my blogs on the sly, lol! They are now playing the Largo from the New World Symphony, as if to prove my point, ha ha! Hovis advert music. Reminding me of bread yet again, lol! It has been played a lot lately, as has Panis Angelicus, and there have been a couple of airings of Sailing By, the Shipping Forecast tune, so someone has clearly cottoned on to the main themes of my blogs this year, haven’t they?!

Spied on by Classic FM! Whatever next?!

Anyway, the final whistle has now been blown at Old Trafford and the full-time score is Manchester United 2 Brighton & Hove Albion 1. 🙂

Well, I now have a mug of coffee with Baileys in it and a Cadbury’s Easter cake (with a Mini Egg on it), so I shall call it a night for now and wish you all what remains of a Happy Easter! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Springtime Stories – Enid Blyton
  • Guess How Much I Love You – Sam McBratney
  • Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache – Martin Aston
  • Our Daily Bread – Predrag Matvejević
  • Surviving the Storms – RNLI and Nikki Girvan
  • Heroes of the RNLI – Martyn R. Beardsley
  • Bread of Dreams – Piero Camporesi
  • Bread – Scott Cutler Shershow
  • True – Martin Kemp
  • Doctor – Andrew Bomback
  • Introducing Music – Ottó Károlyi
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music – Michael Kennedy
  • Bit of a Blur – Alex James

Leave a comment

Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Childrens' Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Food & Drink, Football, Half-Finished Books, Junior Bookworms, List Challenges, Music, Non-Fiction, Object Lessons, Ongoing Concerns, Television

Loafing Around on Good Friday!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Here we are on Friday 2nd April 2021. In three weeks’ time, I will be 48 years old precisely. Beep, beep, beep, lol! Got some book news for you and more general waffle. More adverts with classical music, too, also some other uses for this genre of music over the years, as we were mentioning in my last blog. So, as I listen to the Classic FM Hall of Fame countdown (an annual event over the Easter weekend), here we go with yet another blog…

First up, the loaves have risen, lol! I finished Bread, by Scott Cutler Shershow, earlier, so that’s my first finish for April and my 18th finish so far this year! A most interesting and enjoyable book from the Object Lessons series. Along with Slow Rise, by Robert Penn, which I finished last month, my most recent finish shows how there is so much symbolism in bread, throughout history and in different faiths. Reminds me of a communion service years ago when I was little…

It goes back to some time way back in 1976, when I was three and my sister was a baby. One Sunday, we were at St Thomas’ Church in Pendleton, Salford (see above photo) for communion service, and it gets to that bit where we say “Though we are many, we are one body because we all share in one bread.”

Well, I was a logical kid, even when I was three… I had sussed out the congregation size and figured in my mind that “one bread” meant one typically-sized sliced loaf that Mum bought while out shopping, and knew that wouldn’t be enough to go around, there were a lot of people in church that day, so I said “two breads”! It has been an in-joke between me and Mum ever since!

There are some more bread books on the horizon, at least one on my Kindle, anyway. The above photo is for Our Daily Bread, by Predrag Matvejević, which is a book I thought Scott Cutler Shershow mentioned in Bread. Actually, I’m trying to find the mention of it. I know he did mention Bread of Dreams, by Piero Camporesi. I think I now know where the Our Daily Bread recommendation came from now… it was a recommendation when I logged that I had finished reading Bread, so it may have been Goodreads or Amazon who thought I might like it!

While we are still on bread-related stuff, did you know that the original famous Hovis advert from 1973, featuring the Largo from the New World Symphony, was directed by none other than Ridley Scott?! Yes, long before he became a famous film director over in Hollywood, responsible for the likes of Alien and Gladiator, he was on my side of the Atlantic, directing a commercial about a bread delivery boy lugging his bike up a cobbled hill in a rural English village to give people their loaves before getting on his bike and whizzing downhill once the basket was empty!

The advert was so successful that it became parodied, and one of the most famous mickey-takes was by Yorkshire comedian Tony Capstick, who ended up having a surprise chart hit when “Capstick Comes Home” made it to number 3 in the UK singles chart in 1981!

He did use a different brass band, though. The Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band played the Largo in the background for Tony Capstick, whereas the Ashington Colliery Brass Band played the Largo on the original Hovis adverts from the year I was born.

I have some more UK adverts with classical music for you, so if you were wondering what that music was on certain ads from back in the day, this might help. I have to add that the Nat West one had the lyrics rewritten to promote the family of piggy banks in the commercial, but it is still based on Rossini’s operatic number.

Sleepers Wake (Wachet Auf) – Bach – Lloyds Bank

Largo al Factotum from The Barber of Seville – Rossini – Nat West children’s savings accounts (including the piggy banks in the photo)

Rhapsody in Blue – Gershwin – Galaxy chocolate

In the Hall of the Mountain King from the Peer Gynt Suite – Grieg – Alton Towers theme park

Casta Diva from the opera Norma – Bellini – Jean-Paul Gaultier perfume (a more recent advert, but I thought I would still include it)

Swan Lake – Tchaikovsky – Fosters lager (the ad where Paul Hogan exclaims “Strewth! There’s a bloke down there with no strides on!”)

Hornpipe from the Water Music – Handel – water privatisation adverts from the late 80s. It was also used as the channel ident music for the Anglia region of the ITV network.

Overture to The Thieving Magpie – Rossini – Sony Bravia televisions (again, another more recent classical commercial, but one worth featuring.)

That’s enough for now, but we can look at some more classical music in future blogs – classics that you probably don’t realise you knew. Might look at classics in sport and on telly next. When I say on telly, I mean classics used for programmes as opposed to adverts.

So, back to books, then, and with Bread having risen, lol, what have we still got on the list of Ongoing Concerns? Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache, by Martin Aston, is 34% read and not far behind that at 32% read is Bit of a Blur, by the band’s bass player, Alex James. There is, of course, The Wrong Kind of Snow, by Antony Woodward and Robert Penn, which is a book which will be read throughout the year. I was catching up earlier so we are up to date and on 2nd April. Clearly we are roughly a quarter of the way tbrough this book – just done the calculations and this is correct. We are on the 92nd day of 2021. 31 + 28 + 31 + 2 = 92. Then 92/365 = 0.252, so we are indeed 25% of the way through the book too.

One for the Books by Joe Queenan is 10% read, and Recipe for Life, by Mary Berry is at 7% as is Diary of a Somebody, by Brian Bilston. These are books that can be progressed later, but I am keen to get the Martin Aston and Alex James books off my list. I have put my Freddie Mercury bookmark in my copy of Is This the Real Life? by Mark Blake, but I haven’t started that one yet. Maybe when I have finished the Blur book, I might start on that one. Replace one music book with another?

One fictional birthday to report today, by the way… Adrian Mole would be 54 today. In The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4, by the late great Sue Townsend, which is set in 1981, Adrian turns 14 on 2nd April. It does go into 1982, of course, as it comes to an end around Adrian’s 15th birthday and the start of the Falklands conflict, which is where The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole picks up.

Talking of the Falklands, there is a particularly good bit in Diary of a Somebody, by Brian Bilston, where he is at a poetry club meeting…

“Mary got proceedings off to a poignant start with a requiem to her husband, Leonard, who tragically died in the Falklands. This was not during hostilities, as it turns out, but falling off a cliff while attempting to photograph a colony of rockhopper penguins. Leonard, as we’ve learnt over the years, was her third husband of six. The sequence runs as follows: Divorced, Bewildered, Died, Divorced, Befuddled, Surprised.”

Classic FM is currently playing “Sailing By” which is the Shipping Forecast music, lol! Mind you, it would be too early for that tune over on BBC Radio 4 as it doesn’t get played until some time around 00:46h which is a couple of minutes before the forecast starts.

They played “Panis Angelicus” in the early hours, I felt it was apt as I had finished Bread by Scott Cutler Shershow, so I took it as a celebration of that fact, lol! The music, by Cesar Franck, is a song I first heard thanks to the tenor Russell Watson, it was on his début cd some time ago now – it is “The Voice” and was released in 2001, so 20 years ago now! Wow! Time has flown!

He’d become known in 1999, though, a couple of years before that début album, and as he is a local guy and a huge Red, he performed at Old Trafford before the final game of the 1998-99 season against Spurs when we won the league, and although he didn’t sing at Wembley at the FA Cup Final against Newcastle, he was there at the Nou Camp to perform before the European Cup (Champions’ League) Final against Bayern Munich, after which United would come back from a goal down to win 2-1 and complete the historic Treble.

Well, I think that probably is about all for now! I may well be back before the Easter holidays are over, but until my next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Bread – Scott Cutler Shershow
  • Slow Rise – Robert Penn
  • Our Daily Bread – Predrag Matvejević
  • Bread of Dreams – Piero Camporesi
  • Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache – Martin Aston
  • Bit of a Blur – Alex James
  • The Wrong Kind of Snow – Antony Woodward & Robert Penn
  • One for the Books – Joe Queenan
  • Recipe for Life – Mary Berry
  • Diary of a Somebody – Brian Bilston
  • Is This the Real Life? – Mark Blake
  • The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4 – Sue Townsend
  • The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole – Sue Townsend

Leave a comment

Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, British Weather, Cross-Stitch, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Food & Drink, Football, Goodreads, Humour, Manc Stuff!, Music, Non-Fiction, Object Lessons, Ongoing Concerns, Poetry, Sports, Television, Travel

March Review: Bookmarks, Bread and Classical Commercials…

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Another month over, well, very nearly, but as there’s only one more day of March left after today, and I’m not close to finishing any other books apart from those I am about to mention as finished, I figured I might as well blog today and review March 2021 in terms of reading matter, and also the cross-stitched bookmarks I’ve made, and there have been a few, lol!

Sadly, news broke on 25th March that children’s author, Beverly Cleary, had passed away at the grand old age of 104. She joins Norton Juster, who we also lost from the world of children’s literature this month. May they both rest in peace.

We shall start with the bookmarks, as there has been a lot of activity on that front. Early in the month, I sorted out tassels for the bookmarks I had made in February – the cubes, Pac Man and the Shipping Forecast.

Freddie Mercury was the next bookmark to be started, and Freddie was joined by the Christmas stained glass window bookmark and the Plague Doctor bookmark. I also then made a bookmark featuring my name in Braille. All of those were given tassels, so there’s a lot of recently-stitched bookmarks to choose from for my books!

Seven books have been finished this month, taking the total for the year so far to 17, a really good start to 2021. As I have said, though, I was getting reading done while still in lockdown, but things are starting to ease off a bit more now, so I wanted to get a significant amount of reading done while there were few other distractions.

The above is the guidelines which came into effect here in England yesterday. Doesn’t really seem much point in the weddings as you can only have 6 people, lol, but there’s more chance to meet outdoors, the five mile limit has ended, and outdoor sports can resume, so there’s a gradual opening up. Also, it’s not too long now until 12th April which is when the non-essential shops are meant to be reopening, and people can have food and drink outdoors.

Right, so… What did I finish off in March? The Channel, by Charlie Connelly, was the first book to be polished off this month, but that was not surprising given that I was nearing the end of it in February anyway, lol! It is my third Charlie Connelly book this year, and I am pretty certain there will be more!

Next up, one I borrowed from our Ellie, but I have now got my own copy as I loved it so much… The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, by Charlie Mackesy. I especially loved the Mole’s advice… if at first you don’t succeed, have some cake! Very much words to live by, if you ask me! We also cleared up the mystery music on the inside covers of this book, as it is the “Soldiers’ March” by Robert Schumann, a piece of music that I’ve known since I was a kid as it’s in one of my recorder books, lol!

The Jay Rayner books are separated by the ebook about bread, lol, so there’s a trio of food-related books coming up. First up, My Dining Hell, by Jay Rayner, which has been added to the roll of honour for books that have made me laugh my arse off! Slow Rise, by Robert Penn, about his wheat-growing and bread-making adventures, was finished off after that, and I would like to thank BBC Radio 4 for that particular book recommendation as I really enjoyed it! It was back to Jay Rayner reviewing rubbish restaurants after that, lol, as Wasted Calories and Ruined Nights was the next book to be finished.

I then had the internet issues with iffy Wifi, which caused me to take some annual leave last week, and when I went to Asda, I purchased Kika & Me, by Dr Amit Patel, which was my next finish, and also the reason why I stitched a bookmark with Braille on it. Regular readers of my blogs will know that I do like to read books by people with medical conditions or disabilities, and also neurological differences, and feature them on here. I have yet to read one by someone with a lazy-arsed thyroid gland, like mine, but you never know! There might be someone out there with the same medical issue as me who sees fit to write a book on how they manage their life with a thyroid gland that can’t give a rat’s ass about doing its job!

I have read books about under-active thyroids, but those are more from a medical point of view, not by someone with a dodgy gland writing some sort of memoir or autobiography of life with the condition.

So, before we discuss the Ongoing Concerns and other matters, one final finish to report for now, and that is Sandettie Light Vessel Automatic, by Simon Armitage, which was finished off earlier today and is my 17th finish for the year, my 7th during the course of March.

I have also been mentioning how Classic FM seemed to have jumped on the bread bandwagon to compliment my recent reads, by playing “Panis Angelicus”, and then the Largo from the “New World” Symphony, which for many of us in the UK is music associated with Hovis adverts! It made me wonder about composers and what if they knew about what their music was used for in more recent years?! Some would be happier than others about it.

While it’s true that Dvořak would have preferred us to think of the New World, in other words the USA, it’s hardly the end of the world to have one of your compositions being used to make people think about bread! A few pieces of well-known classical music here, and what they have been used to advertise on UK television. Overseas followers might know some of these for different products and services, but these are British commercials…

Largo from the New World Symphony – Dvořak – Hovis bread

O Fortuna from Carmina Burana – Orff – Old Spice aftershave

Flower Duet from Lakmé – Délibes – British Airways

Barcarolle from the Tales of Hoffmann – Offenbach – Baileys Irish Cream

Air on the G String – Bach – Hamlet cigars

Night on Bare Mountain – Mussorgsky – Maxell audio cassettes

Dance of the Reed Flutes from The Nutcracker – Tchaikovsky – Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut (Everyone’s a Fruit & Nut case, lol!)

Symphony no 7, 2nd movement – Mahler – Castrol GTX engine oil.

Obviously, other classical stuff has been used for TV themes, used in films (especially Fantasia) or even used by sportspeople, the most famous example of which is probably Torvill & Dean skating to an abridged version of Ravel’s Bolero at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, when they won gold, but I am going to come on to a certain use for classical music which I doubt very much composers would be too chuffed about…

Imagine you’re Vivaldi… you’ve just composed the Four Seasons, and you’re pretty happy, you think that listeners will hear Spring, in particular, and be reminded of nature coming back to life, flowers blooming, lambs frolicking in meadows, that sort of stuff…

Except that, in this day and age, rather too many people hear Spring from the Four Seasons when they’re on the phone, and they’re on hold and being held in a queue, periodically being told the old lie “Your call is important to us”! Poor Vivaldi, eh?!

Mind you, he’s not the only composer to have had his music used as telephone hold music. Für Elise, by Beethoven, has been used frequently for this same nefarious purpose, and if you were to ring up my place of work and have the misfortune to be put on hold, you would be treated to the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from the Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky!

Anyway, moving on to the Ongoing Concerns now, and we’ve clearly got a fair few off the list of late, so it’s a chance to have a look at what’s still on there and what can be added…

Of the ones that are left, there are three around the third of a way through stage, and those are the ones I really want to progress next. This trio comprises of Bread, by Scott Cutler Shershow at 36%, Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache, by Martin Aston, at 34% and Bit of a Blur, by Alex James, at 32% – so I aim to focus on those to get them completed or near enough as we go into April.

After that, we’ve got stuff we really haven’t progressed much. We have One for the Books, by Joe Queenan, which is at 10%, Recipe for Life, by Mary Berry at only 7% and I haven’t done a percentage check of this yet, but I have added Diary of a Somebody, by Brian Bilston to the list. I’ve had that one a while and I love his poems, so I might as well read that one, as 50 Ways to Score a Goal isn’t out until late May, and I have read his other poetry books! This book I have started is like a diary style but with lots of poems in it, so I would say you could class it as an anthology.

I also plan to add The Phantom Tollbooth to the list, as it’s the 60th anniversary of that one being published this year, and I was having a look on the landing earlier and found one called The Wild Robot, by Peter Brown, that I got in a sale for £3 at Waterstone’s some time ago, so that might be one to consider.

There’s also a number of books that were started previously, particularly some that were started last year, and need to be resumed, so those need looking at. For instance, I could always resume Mr Loverman, by Bernardine Evaristo. There’s also True, by Martin Kemp, as I was going to read that one, then It’s a Love Story, by Shirlie and Martin Kemp, and then read Wham! George & Me, by Andrew Ridgeley, as Shirley had been one of Wham’s backing singers back in the day!

So, I think that wraps things up for March, and I shall get this published and then the March list on List Challenges will also be published and you can see how many books you’ve read from those I’ve mentioned this month. I will prepare a list for April, too. Until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Channel – Charlie Connelly
  • The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse – Charlie Mackesy
  • My Dining Hell – Jay Rayner
  • Slow Rise – Robert Penn
  • Wasted Calories and Ruined Nights – Jay Rayner
  • Kika & Me – Dr Amit Patel
  • Sandettie Light Vessel Automatic – Simon Armitage
  • Bread – Scott Cutler Shershow
  • Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache – Martin Aston
  • Bit of a Blur – Alex James
  • One for the Books – Joe Queenan
  • Recipe for Life – Mary Berry
  • Diary of a Somebody – Brian Bilston
  • 50 Ways to Score a Goal – Brian Bilston
  • The Phantom Tollbooth – Norton Juster
  • The Wild Robot – Peter Brown
  • Mr Loverman – Bernardine Evaristo
  • True – Martin Kemp
  • It’s a Love Story – Shirlie & Martin Kemp
  • Wham! George & Me – Andrew Ridgeley

Leave a comment

Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Books About Books, Childrens' Books, Cross-Stitch, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Food & Drink, Half-Finished Books, List Challenges, Month in Review, Music, Non-Fiction, Object Lessons, Ongoing Concerns, Poetry, Sports, Television, The TBR Pile, Travel

Return of the Bookworm!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome back to the wonderful world of random waffle with a lot of books being mentioned! It’s been an odd few days, but that’s because we were having a bad case of Iffy Wifi, and ended up needing an engineer, who was here this morning. Must have been a local issue with other people in the area suffering from Broadband Behaving Badly as he had to go out to a telecommunications cabinet on Half Edge Lane to sort things out at one point. Also, when I rang up, I don’t think they seemed surprised at my postcode, so they may have had other calls from round this way.

Anyhow, it is working again and up to speed, which it hadn’t been, so I was back in work this afternoon – well, working from the dining table, but I had taken some leave while the internet was under-performing. It was causing me problems with doing my job, especially on Tuesday morning, so that was the last straw, and why I rang up to report it.

While I was off, you’ll be pleased to learn that significant progress was made with a few of the Ongoing Concerns, with the bookmarks, and with a new book I bought at Asda yesterday. The photo at the top was taken so you can see the stitched dots at that angle. They are stitched with a cream-coloured floss, so they’re not easy to see. It is deliberate, as they are Braille letters – my name in Braille. When I get on to the new book from Asda it may make more sense why a sighted person has stitched a Braille bookmark.

All the bookmarks have been finished off now – I put tassels on them yesterday, so the end results are in the photo above, and it’s now time to turn our attention to the actual reading matter!

Wasted Calories and Ruined Nights, by Jay Rayner, was finished off the other night, my 15th finish of the year, my fifth during March. It was only a short book and I was pretty much halfway through it when I blogged on Monday, so it didn’t take long to polish off, especially as it was funny. I still think My Dining Hell was slightly better, but the sequel was still a good laugh.

Need to catch up on yesterday and today with The Wrong Kind of Snow, but then again, I could save it until the weekend and read a few days’ worth of weather entries. We will soon be in April. Hasn’t time flown?!

That means it’ll soon be Easter, with two lovely bank holidays, and then after that it will soon be Chief Bookworm’s birthday! And if Farcebook start on that birthday charity crap again, they can shove it right up their technological arse. Sideways! The whole point of giving to good causes is that you do it quietly and privately! Look how we only found out, after he had died, just how generous George Michael had been! That’s how it’s supposed to be done, you’re not supposed to brag about it!

Besides which, when they’re open, as they will be again soon, charity shops do well from me and other bookworms! That’s how many a reader helps good causes! They get money for their causes, and we get bargain books. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Progress has been made on a few other Ongoing Concerns. Sandettie Light Vessel Automatic is now 67% read, so two-thirds of the way through Simon Armitage’s poetry anthology now.

Bit of a Blur by Alex James is now at 32% read, so almost a third now, and Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache is now 34% read, so just over a third for that one, and we’re on for musicians coming out in the 70s now in that book. They are still close in the race to be read, but both have been read lately, so moved on a little bit.

Bread, by Scott Cutler Shershow, is now 21% read. That is the Object Lessons book and thus fairly short, so I may resume that soon, but I thought I would use some of my time off to have a read of some of the Ongoing Concerns that had been a bit neglected of late.

That’s all the existing OCs that I had made progress with, but I did get a couple of books at Asda in Swinton yesterday. One was my own copy of The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, by Charlie Mackesy, and the other was Kika & Me, by Dr Amit Patel, which is already 52% read, so I am well on my way with that one.

Dr Patel was a medical doctor, but went blind due to burst blood vessels in his eyes, and this is his story of his eye trouble, the blindness and how he learned to manage without sight, most pertinently how he was paired up with a quite bonkers guide dog called Kika! This may explain why I have stitched a Braille bookmark. I did actually screenshot the Braille alphabet recently, even before getting this book, but buying and reading Kika & Me has caused me to do something with the alphabet – to stitch a bookmark with my name in Braille. It is currently being used in the book by Dr Patel.

He also gives the history of assistance animals and guide dogs around the world, and interestingly enough, this year marks the 90th anniversary of the UK charity, Guide Dogs for the Blind, as it was started in 1931. Dr Patel said that they became particularly well-known and supported since the 60s when the BBC children’s programme, Blue Peter, launched their first appeal in 1964 to raise money to train guide dogs. Quite a few guide dogs have been trained thanks to Blue Peter appeals over the years since then, and I certainly recall such appeals when I was a kid in the 70s and 80s.

When I was older in the late 80s and 90s, into my adult life, and had a number of penpals, I used to save stamps for the guide dogs to give to a blind guy called James at St Thomas’ Church in Pendleton, Salford, where my grandparents went, and since October 2020, I have been sponsoring a guide dog puppy, a golden retriever called Ginger, and I got my first Pupdate in February to let me know how she was getting on.

That’s Ginger in the photo above, going for a walk earlier this month, as part of her training. When you sponsor a puppy, you do so for 2 years, and get regular “Pupdates” and then when they’re an adult dog, you’ll get to hear about them being matched with a blind or visually-impaired person, and then I understand you are offered the chance to sponsor a new puppy. I’m quite early on in sponsoring Ginger, though, so that bit won’t happen until the autumn of 2022.

Kika & Me may well be my next book to be finished, which will be my 16th for the year. I have had to change my total on the Goodreads Challenge once again. It started at 10, was increased to 15, but now we have increased it to 20. I am increasing by 5 books at a time. While a lot of things are still shut here, there’s fewer distractions from reading, but as things reopen, I’m bearing in mind the possibility of the reading tailing off, or being at risk of this, so I might as well get a fair bit of reading done while most things are still closed.

Been listening to Classic FM again quite a bit lately, especially the last few days, and I wonder if they know about the bread books I’ve been reading lately? I say this because music they have played in the past day or so has had links to wheat-based comestibles! On Tuesday night, they played “Panis Angelicus” and panis is Latin for bread – panis angelicus would be bread of the angels, and last night they played the Largo from the “New World Symphony” by Dvořak, and many of us in the UK, of a certain age, will know that tune from commercials for Hovis bread!

They were also jumping on the shipping bandwagon last night and confusing me in the process… at around 22:15, they were playing “Sailing By”, the Ronald Binge composition which is used by BBC Radio 4 for the Shipping Forecast at 00:48h! So, I was almost wondering “Why the hell is Sailing By on at this time? It’s too early!” before remembering that I had Classic FM on, not Radio 4!

I’m middle-aged, lol, nearly 48! Confusing me is not a good idea!

Other things I have done, particularly in the past day or so – I got my clarinet out on Tuesday afternoon! I have had that instrument almost 32 years now – got it just before my 16th birthday in 1989, so that I had one of my own and could give the clarinet I was using back to the music centre as it was a Salford Schools’ Music Service instrument. I think I gave them the original tutorial book back as well. I have plenty of music though, particularly for the clarinet.

I had got the music service instrument and tutorial book at the end of 1986 – as I recall it was just before we finished school for the Christmas holidays, and I started having lessons in January 1987, so I was in the 3rd year at high school, year 9 as it is now, when I started learning the clarinet, aged 13 going on 14 years old. As I was about to sit my GCSEs in 1989 and leave high school, Mum & Dad bought me my clarinet just before my 16th birthday.

I had previously attempted the oboe, as I may have mentioned in past blogs over the years, so that was traded in at a shop called Woodwind, which I doubt is there anymore. It was in Cadishead and shared its car park with a Chinese restaurant called the Chef Peking, which I also suspect no longer exists. Back in the day, though, we went to both places on a number of occasions! Would have been back in the late 80s and early to mid 90s when I was in my late teens and early 20s.

While we’re on the subject of music, it’s time to wish Sir Elton John a very Happy Birthday! He’s 74 today. I read his autobiography, Me, a couple of years ago and loved it. Would definitely recommend. He’s also getting mentions in Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache now that I’m on for the 1970s in Martin Aston’s book about how music came out.

Slight update now – Kika & Me is 54% read. I suspect that will be finished pretty soon, quite likely before the month is out, and also Bread by Scott Cutler Shershow. I also feel Sandettie Light Vessel Automatic may be finished either this month or next. Early April might be a good reading time… Easter weekend so therefore bank holidays on Good Friday and Easter Monday.

If I can get a few off the current Ongoing Concerns list, I could cultivate a new set of Ongoing Concerns, lol! There are one or two that are bubbling under… some barely started and some books that could do with resuming and finishing off, such as Being Mortal by Atul Gawande and Face It, by Debbie Harry, for instance. Then there’s the likes of Sapiens and Gould’s Book of Fish… That one was one I did start last year after having had it for donkey’s years, but it kinda stalled.

July 2020, for some reason, was a good time for getting books resumed and finished off – quite a lot of books got read that month, anyway, and several of them were ones I’d started previously and I resumed them and finished them that month. The Eighties, by Dylan Jones, and All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque, were two of the books I finished off that month.

Anyway, I think that’s probably about all for now. Even if I don’t blog before then, I will be due to do the monthly review next week as March comes to an end, so until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Wasted Calories and Ruined Nights – Jay Rayner
  • My Dining Hell – Jay Rayner
  • The Wrong Kind of Snow – Antony Woodward & Robert Penn
  • Sandettie Light Vessel Automatic – Simon Armitage
  • Bit of a Blur – Alex James
  • Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache – Martin Aston
  • Bread – Scott Cutler Shershow
  • The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse – Charlie Mackesy
  • Kika & Me – Dr Amit Patel
  • Me – Sir Elton John
  • Being Mortal – Atul Gawande
  • Face It – Debbie Harry
  • Sapiens – Yuval Noah Harari
  • Gould’s Book of Fish – Richard Flanagan
  • The Eighties – Dylan Jones
  • All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque

Leave a comment

Filed under A Round Tuit!, Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Cross-Stitch, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Food & Drink, Goodreads, Humour, Music, Non-Fiction, Object Lessons, Ongoing Concerns, Poetry, Television

Chief Bookworm’s Easter Masks!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Thought I would bring you the latest co-ordinated combo. You’ve seen me in some previous blogs with matching mask and top combos, but now we have matching mask and bag combo – Cadbury’s Creme Eggs! The mask arrived earlier, along with one with mini eggs on it, so I’ll put a photo on here later.

I have had the bag for a while now, it was from a Cadbury’s outlet shop – think it was the one at the Lowry Outlet Mall on Salford Quays. There is also a Cadbury’s shop at Cheshire Oaks, but I’m sure I got the bag closer to home. Now I have a matching mask, though, I will have to rock this combo down the road when I pop to Tesco, lol!

So, onto the book news, and Slow Rise by Robert Penn was finished off on Saturday, taking me to 14 books finished so far this year, and I will definitely have to increase my Goodreads Challenge target again soon, as there’s more Jay Rayner being read at the mo…

For those of you who may have taken me up on my recommendation of My Dining Hell, like my friend Liz, you may be interested to know that there is a “sequel” – if non-fiction books have such a thing! Well, it’s a follow-up anyway, with more of Rayner’s reviewed and rubbished restaurants, and it’s called Wasted Calories and Ruined Nights: A Journey Deeper into Dining Hell. I’m already almost halfway through it, and yes, it’s also very funny!

It’s also very likely to be my 15th finish of the year and I will have to increase the Goodreads Challenge target to 20. Just going 5 books at a time at the mo when I come to increase the target.

Made a bit more progress on Sandettie Light Vessel Automatic at the weekend as it was apparently World Poetry Day, so that is now at 59% and the next target for that will be 67%, the two-thirds mark.

Back to Slow Rise for a bit, especially as I particularly enjoyed this book and would like to thank Radio 4 for bringing it to my attention! Robert Penn also mentions Bread, by Scott Cutler Shershow, the Object Lessons book and lists it in his recommendations for further reading on the bread front. He also uses a quote, towards the end of Slow Rise, from Jeffrey Steingarten, whose book, The Man Who Ate Everything, I have owned for quite some time without having read it!

As promised, I thought I would show you my Easter masks, both my Creme Eggs one and the Mini Eggs one. Pretty chuffed, especially as I wasn’t actually expecting them to arrive until next week, so they’ve come early, in plenty of time for Easter. Cheers, Redbubble!

Books again, now, and you’ve already had an update on Sandettie Light Vessel Automatic, which is at 59% at the moment, but here are a few of the others I have on the go… Wasted Calories and Ruined Nights by Jay Rayner is currently 47% read, but I expect that situation to change quite quickly as it’s a short book and it’s making me laugh my arse off! Bread, by Scott Cutler Shershow, is 13% read, and Recipe for Life, by Mary Berry is at 7% at the moment – technically, needs to get to 10% to be an Ongoing Concern, but I have started it.

Some people have a policy of reading a certain number of pages to see if they are going to progress with a book. To an extent, that works, but it’s not really an even way of judging, as reading 50 pages of a short book might be a third of the way through it, whereas reading 50 pages of an epic novel, especially something like War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy, would be neither here nor there as there are over a thousand pages in that chunky monkey!

Thus I came up with my 10% policy. Get to 10% of a book’s total length before seeing if it grabs you and makes you want to continue.

Need to catch up on a few days of The Wrong Kind of Snow, and also make some more progress with Bit of a Blur, and Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache as those latter two Ongoing Concerns have been a bit forgotten of late. I have read over 25% of both of those books, but things seem to have stalled somewhat, so they need resuming. I forgot to include The Wrong Kind of Snow on my book list at the end of my previous blog, but I am still reading it.

Today is the 90th birthday of William Shatner – Captain Kirk from Star Trek is certainly living long and prospering!

* Sings * Star Trekkin’ across the universe! On the Starship Enterprise under Captain Kirk. Star Trekkin’ across the universe! Boldly going forward ‘cause we can’t find reverse!

Sorry, not sorry! Would you believe that was actually a UK number 1 single?! “Star Trekkin’” by The Firm was top of our singles charts for two weeks in the summer of 1987, just before “It’s a Sin” by the Pet Shop Boys, actually. Silly record, the one by The Firm not PSB, obviously, but I do have a soft spot for some 80s novelty records, including “Star Trekkin’”!

Other guilty pleasures include “The Chicken Song” by Spitting Image, and “Living Doll” by Cliff Richard and the Young Ones – that version, which was recorded for Comic Relief, and was a number one in 1986, is still hilarious! Spitting Image were also number one in 1986, and it was one of my favourite TV shows back then, so I am a bit biased, lol!

Probably could fit in a couple more… anyone else recall “Snooker Loopy” by the Matchroom Mob with Chas & Dave from 1986? How about “John Kettley is a Weatherman” by A Tribe of Toffs from 1988? OK, that is definitely enough daft records from the late 80s to be getting on with, lol! I think I mentioned that last one earlier this year when I was doing all that weather and Shipping Forecast stuff.

Tomorrow will be one year since I started working from home! All being well, we may be able to return to the office in late June, but I would favour working from home some days and going into the office on others, maybe three days at home, two in the office, once we can go back. I think there are some things that are best done in person, like when people need training, but a lot of things can be done well from home. Plus, I don’t need to commute, and I can have music on when I’m not in meetings, so I watch Now 80s!

I think that’s about it for now. No further updates on the cross-stitch, the bookmarks still need tassels, so I’ll let you know when that’s been done. No doubt there’ll be more blogs before March is out, but until the next one, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Slow Rise – Robert Penn
  • My Dining Hell – Jay Rayner
  • Wasted Calories and Ruined Nights – Jay Rayner
  • Sandettie Light Vessel Automatic – Simon Armitage
  • Bread – Scott Cutler Shershow
  • The Man Who Ate Everything – Jeffrey Steingarten
  • Recipe for Life – Mary Berry
  • War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
  • The Wrong Kind of Snow – Antony Woodward & Robert Penn
  • Bit of a Blur – Alex James
  • Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache – Martin Aston

Leave a comment

Filed under A Round Tuit!, Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Cross-Stitch, E-Books & Audiobooks, Food & Drink, Goodreads, Humour, Music, Non-Fiction, Object Lessons, Ongoing Concerns, Poetry, Sports, Television, Travel

Flirting With Adequacy!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome to yet another blog, and news of my 13th finish of the year. A book that has also been added to the list of books that have ever made me laugh my arse off while reading them, and probably the funniest thing I have read since Parsnips, Buttered, by Joe Lycett last year. I can recommend that one, the bit about Cluttons is particularly hilarious!

Joe is a comedian, though, so one might expect at least some mirth reading a book by a known funnyman. Jay Rayner isn’t a comedian, however. He is a food critic with a way with words, and if he dines at your place and either the gaff or the grub (or both) is not up to scratch, he has a way of telling readers about it! Hence My Dining Hell, which is a compilation of his restaurant reviews in newspapers for 20 dining establishments, most of them in London, where he has experienced culinary catastrophes and warned the general public about them via the press!

Tonight’s title comes courtesy of one of Jay’s reviews of a particularly expensive and terrible meal in our capital city. Jay was dining at Brian Turner Mayfair at the time, and had a ridiculously overpriced and underwhelming culinary experience of which he wrote “It is a lot of money for an experience that only flirted with adequacy.”

The sum of £110 had been wasted on this particular occasion, but if you think that is a rip-off, there were some meals in London where even more money went down the drain, wasted on terrible food, one of which cost a preposterous £175, which is taking the piss, quite frankly! I know my country’s capital city is notoriously expensive, but even by London rip-off standards, that is outright extortion!

I am bloody glad I live up here near Manchester! I think Jay should come and dine round here. Firstly, there’s some top nosh round these parts, it’s a great region for dining out, and even if he did have the occasional bad experience, I think it would be a lot cheaper and he wouldn’t have wasted so much dosh on bad food!

I have previously read one of Jay’s other short books, The Ten (Food) Commandments, my final finish of 2016. That is also well worth a read.

While we are still on the subject of food, let’s have an update on my bread-related ongoing concern, Slow Rise, by Robert Penn. We are now at the 72% stage, so almost three-quarters of this book has been read and I have now learned about barm.

Barm is a yeasty foam, it forms on the top of fermenting beer and has been used throughout history to leaven bread – from the ancient Egyptians to the present day. Round here, in the north-west of England, a barm cake, or barm, is a term for a soft floury bread roll. Not sure if it’s still there, but there certainly used to be a sandwich shop in Swinton which was called Barmpots! Possibly the best shop name going, although I recall a hair salon in Little Hulton called Curl Up and Dye, which is also a witty one!

None of the other Ongoing Concerns have been read lately so nothing to update you on with those, the percentages remain the same, so we shall stick with bread books, and may soon revisit the Object Lessons series, which regular followers of my blog will know about as I started mentioning those in 2019. They are a series of small non-fiction books by Bloomsbury, each by a different writer, and about a different object, and one of the OL books I own is Bread, by Scott Cutler Shershow, so I think I might read that when I have finished Slow Rise.

It has occurred to me, over the past day or so, that I could do a special themed blog on books about food and drink, so I might do one of my specials sometime soon. Not only about non-fiction books on food and drink, but also the themes of eating and drinking in fiction.

Other recent food books downloaded on my Kindle include Hungry, the autobiography of Grace Dent, who, like Jay Rayner, is a food critic. I actually read one of her previous books, How to Leave Twitter, way back in 2011 when I was still working in Chorlton as a civil servant and I found the book at Barbakhan Deli when I was on my lunch one day. That is also how I came to end up with my first Kindle later that year! If you look in my archives at the blogs from 2011, you will be able to read all about that!

I did eventually leave Twitter myself, lol, but not until around 2015. It was still fairly good in 2011, it hadn’t yet gone toxic.

Cross-stitch update now, and my bookmarks still need tassels, but I have added to them by stitching the plague doctor one! Got ideas from Pinterest, although I worked out the plague doctor and the lamp myself. The triangular house from Madeira still hasn’t been added to on the stitchable book so nothing new to report there.

United are away to AC Milan. We either need to win or get a high scoring draw, like 2-2 or higher, in order to progress. No goals yet, though. It’s 0-0 at half time.

Sad news recently – Norton Juster, author of The Phantom Tollbooth, passed away on 8th March. This year is 60 years since that book was first published. It is something I intend to read this year. When I was reading Bookworm, by Lucy Mangan, last year, she mentioned it as one of her childhood favourites.

I was wrong about the Grand Prix in my blog the other day – there wasn’t one on Sunday, the first one of the new Formula 1 season is on Sunday 28th March. I hope there will be a tribute to Murray Walker, though, when it takes place. Am sure there will be, he was widely loved and revered throughout the world of motorsport.

Currently listening to “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac, the end bit of which is used as the Formula 1 theme on TV over here and has the best bass riff ever! Essentially, the reason I have a bass – so I could learn to play that riff on it! Got it in 2015 for £30 from Cash Converters in Eccles. Great place for reasonably-priced second-hand musical instruments, actually.

How to remember the notes in the bass clef! Those are the ones on the lines. The notes in the spaces are ACEG, which I remember as All Cows Eat Grass. In the treble clef, the lines are EGBDF – Every Good Boy Deserves Favours (or Football), and the notes in the spaces spell out FACE. You don’t just get book mentions from me, you get music theory too, lol!

Ooh! There’s been a goal! An away goal for United! Yay!

AC Milan 0 Manchester United 1. Paul Pogba 48 minutes. 🙂

Yessss! Get in! Nice one, Pog! Must have come off the bench, as he was listed as one of our subs. Indeed, he came on as a sub for Marcus Rashford MBE at the start of the second half. We are leading 2-1 on aggregate, the first leg at Old Trafford last week was a 1-1 draw.

Barometer is currently at 1,026 hPa, but has been as high as 1,033 within the last 24 hours. Weather has been nice. A bit cold, but dry and fair. I tend to do a few days at a time with The Wrong Kind of Snow. I don’t put a percentage on that, it’s just a matter of reading the entries for each date.

Some literary news just in, well, sort of… just discovered, via a book group on Facebook, that there is a Funko Pop of Jane Austen! Wonder if there are any other famous authors as Funkos? Regular readers of my blog will know that, long before Colin Firth starred as Mr Darcy, I studied Pride and Prejudice back at high school for my GCSEs. As for high school, also thanks to FB, I am in touch with a former teacher from those days. Phil Hollins. He was our RE (Religious Education) teacher and also involved with the school music department.

When I was working at Marks & Spencer’s in 2016, I was actually a colleague of one of my school’s former teachers, Neil Pritchett, although he never actually taught me as I had a different teacher, Miss Brough, for history. He did come on the history field trip to Hadrian’s Wall, though. At M&S, he was working on the tills in the food hall. He might still work at M&S, especially as the food halls will still be open, even at the moment, as food is classed as essential items.

The final whistle has just been blown in the San Siro and United are through. AC Milan 0 Manchester United 1 is a final score so we win 2-1 on aggregate and are in the draw for the next round. Excellent! 🙂

We actually have a good record when I blog, lol! I think we have had one draw and one defeat, but there’s a pretty good chance that United will win if I am blogging during a match!

I think that’s about it, anyway. Can’t think of anything else to report, so I will be back again soon enough with another blog, but until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Parsnips, Buttered – Joe Lycett
  • My Dining Hell – Jay Rayner
  • The Ten (Food) Commandments – Jay Rayner
  • Slow Rise – Robert Penn
  • Bread – Scott Cutler Shershow
  • Hungry – Grace Dent
  • How to Leave Twitter – Grace Dent
  • The Phantom Tollbooth – Norton Juster
  • Bookworm – Lucy Mangan
  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

Leave a comment

Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Childrens' Books, Cross-Stitch, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Food & Drink, Football, Free Books, Humour, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Music, Non-Fiction, Object Lessons, Ongoing Concerns, School, College & Uni Reading, Sports, Travel, Weather