Album Anniversary, Ongoing Concerns and the Storm of 1987…

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

* sings * And they covered up the sun until the birds had flown away, and the fishes in the sea had gone to sleep…

Oops! Just a bit of Erasure there! Today is 30 years since the album Chorus was released – I remember buying that on this day in 1991 and it came in a box rather than the usual CD case. Erasure are second only to the Pet Shop Boys as far as I’m concerned, they’ve been my two favourite duos since way back in 1987 when I was 14, so I thought I’d celebrate this particular anniversary.

We need Erasure Funko Pops! I have Neil and Chris as Funkos, but I also think they should do Andy and Vince!

Anyway, never mind my requests for Funkos of synth duos, on with the rest of the blog…

Regular followers will know that I’ve got a lot of books finished of late, so quite a few of the Ongoing Concerns are no longer OCs but fully-read books. This includes some that had been partially-read for a while before I polished them off, including Bit of a Blur, by Alex James, and My Side, by David Beckham.

So, in the past day or two, I’ve been focusing on three OCs which were lower down on the percentage read front, and have started another and got that to just over the 10% read stage.

Although not featured in the above photo, I have now started Robbo, by Bryan Robson, and that is 11% read at present. I can see it moving on quite quickly, though, particularly as the next chapter I’m about to read is when he moves from West Bromwich Albion to Manchester United in October 1981. The 40th anniversary of his transfer to United was the other day. It was ten years before I started going to matches, but Robbo was still at Old Trafford for a few more seasons when I did start going in the early 90s.

Of the other Ongoing Concerns which are the current object of my focus, two are hardbacks and one is an ebook on my Kindle. Diary of a Somebody, by Brian Bilston, is first up as that one is now 34% read. Yep, just over a third of the way through it. It’s very funny, and it’s like a fictional diary but with lots of his poems in it! If you know his poetry from social media, you’ll have some idea, especially if I say that the semi-autobiographical version of Brian in the book is kinda like Adrian Mole in the later books by the late great Sue Townsend where Adrian is an adult.

Next up is Our Man in Hibernia, by Charlie Connelly, and that is now 33% read as Charlie is trying to trace his Irish ancestry and moving over there to discover the proper Ireland rather than the portrayals of Ireland and Irishness in popular culture. As ever, am really enjoying this book, so I think he will need to write some more soon, as I’ve got a suspicion that there’s only another couple left to go once I have finished this particular helping of non-fiction from Mr Connelly!

So, that’s two books at the third-read stage, and we have a book at the quarter-read stage, so not too far behind, and that one is Recipe for Life, by Mary Berry. Yes, it does have recipes in it, before anyone asks, so it’s an autobiography and cookbook, lol!

We are nearly halfway through October, and have finished seven books already this month! Yeah, I know, one of them was Funnybones, but so what?! I am a responsible auntie, so I was checking what I had bought for my little nephew. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it, ha ha!

The other six books were more grown-up reading anyway, so you can’t say I’m just getting my total up by reading kids’ books. I don’t really care how many I read. I read more than some people but fewer than others. I see no need to rush through books these days. It’s not like 30 years ago when I was 18 and a fresher at uni with three years ahead of me of having to skim-read lots of books in time for various lectures!

What did that result in by the time I wore my cap and gown in 1994? Loads of books the plot of which I can’t even bloody remember, lol! I see various books on the internet now, particularly on List Challenges, and mentioned in book groups on Facebook, and the titles and authors seem familiar, so I think “I’m sure I read that at university, but I can’t remember a single damn thing about it!”

Thus I take my time over books and give myself a chance to remember more about them.

Going to start on Is This the Real Life? by Mark Blake shortly, try to get that one to the 10% read stage at least, and obviously catch up with The Wrong Kind of Snow. I know I mentioned 1987 earlier in this blog, as that was the year the Pet Shop Boys and Erasure became established as my favourite duos, but it was also the year of the gales in the south of England, which were actually a hurricane-strength wind, and did serious damage to that part of the country in mid October.

Charlie Connelly actually mentions it in one of his books, either Bring Me Sunshine or The Channel, and says that he was 17 at the time and he slept through it during the night and woke up to find the kettle wasn’t working because power lines had been brought down and they had no electricity!

Living up north, we were more fortunate, and weren’t affected, but we had been down south the weekend before the storms for one of our Ellie’s trampoline competitions, which was being held in Windsor, and when we were travelling down in the car, the further south we went, the more shite the weather became, to use that well-known technical term, lol! So, it was already pretty grim weather even before the “hurricane”.

Technically, Michael Fish, the BBC weatherman who famously said it wasn’t a hurricane, was correct because the temperature has to be warm for it to be an actual hurricane – this is why those tend to occur in the Caribbean and also affect Mexico and the southern states of the USA, but the winds that lashed the south of England 34 years ago in October 1987 were confirmed as being of hurricane strength.

I think that is probably it for now, I don’t think there is any more news to bring you, or even any more random waffle, lol, so until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Robbo – Bryan Robson
  • Diary of a Somebody – Brian Bilston
  • The Adrian Mole books – Sue Townsend
  • Our Man in Hibernia – Charlie Connelly
  • Recipe for Life – Mary Berry
  • Funnybones – Janet & Allan Ahlberg
  • Is This the Real Life? – Mark Blake
  • The Wrong Kind of Snow – Antony Woodward & Robert Penn
  • Bring Me Sunshine – Charlie Connelly
  • The Channel – Charlie Connelly

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Childrens' Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Food & Drink, Football, Junior Bookworms, List Challenges, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, School, College & Uni Reading, Sports, Travel

Finished Books, Pointless Presenters and More…

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Pierce film lid in several places and cook on full power for 4 minutes… oops, sorry, that’s part of the instructions for the chicken rogan josh that’s in the microwave, lol!

Mum’s out for a meal, hence Chief Bookworm is attending to her “Ruby Murray” and brewing a mug of tea as well. And, while I let this meal stand for a minute, I can tell you that THREE Ongoing Concerns have been finished since I last blogged! Yep! I have now read 53 books so far this year! I will come on to the books in the photo later. They have a connection with a TV quiz show.

* Chief Bookworm has now eaten and is truly ready to blog *

Right, OK, I am here properly now, lol! I was gonna put the “interlude” picture up, the potter’s wheel, but as I’ve only started the blog it didn’t seem right so early on.

Happy 75th Anthem Anniversary to Italy! As I mentioned the other day, 12th October 1946 was the day Fratelli d’Italia was officially adopted as Italy’s national anthem. One of my favourites as far as anthem melodies go.

Anyway, I did say that some of the Ongoing Concerns are now fully-read books, didn’t I? So, let’s have a shufty at books 51, 52 and 53 on the list of reading matter that I have polished off during the course of 2021 so far…

First of the trio to be finished off was the excellent Surviving the Storms, by Nikki Girvan for the RNLI, which was a compilation of rescue stories from around the coast of the UK and Ireland demonstrating the bravery and heroism of RNLI lifeboat crew members. I have earmarked that for a future re-read.

Second of the trio to be completed was The Last Wilderness, by Neil Ansell, which was the one that was in the present from my sister earlier this year – you may recall it was a replacement for a show that she got me tickets for last year, 2020, as a birthday pressie, but the show ended up being postponed a few times due to coronavirus and then called-off altogether, so Ellie ordered me a gift from The Travelling Bookshop, and that was the book, which also came with a teabag and a bar of chocolate.

Can also recommend this book, especially if you like travel writing, nature writing or both those categories.

Third of the trio, was My Side, the autobiography of David Beckham, which was good as you would expect me to say as I’m a biased Manchester United fan and he is one of our Legends, but it does only go up to 2003 when he’s about to join Real Madrid that summer, so if there isn’t already an updated autobiography, Becks, could you please write one?! Ta! Quite a bit more has happened since then!

I mean, that one only goes up to 2003. I was 30 back then, and David and Victoria only had Brooklyn and Romeo at the time, and they were only little boys. Those two are now adults! Where has the time gone?! There was one photo of Brooklyn from when he was a toddler, and he must have been on a lap of honour with his daddy at Old Trafford as he has David’s Premier League winner’s medal round his neck! Probably May 2000 at the end of the 1999-2000 season.

Following the last blog, which I did on Sunday, our Ellie commented on the post on Facebook to say that Reuben loves Funnybones, it’s right up his street. That was my 49th finish of the year as I did have a read of it before I wrapped it up and gave it to my nephew for his birthday.

Not sure what Charlotte’s current reading matter is at the moment, but if I find out, either from Charlotte or from Ellie, I will let you know. I do know she is enjoying high school, has joined the choir, and is particularly impressed with the school library.

A selection of books, including my three most recent finishes.

However, I bring you back to the two in the photo at the top, as I said I was going to mention them, and the link between these two books, which on first glance don’t seem to have anything in common, is that they are both written by presenters of the quiz show “Pointless”!

You may recall that one of my finished books from 2020 was The 100 Most Pointless Things in the World, by Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman. Well, these books are solo efforts by the quiz hosts! We have a non-fiction offering from Alexander Armstrong, Land of the Midnight Sun, about his Arctic adventures, and a crime novel from Richard Osman, The Thursday Murder Club.

My plan is to start them around the same time and see which I enjoy the most, lol! May be an idea for the new year if I don’t get around to it in what remains of 2021. Or it could be part of the December festivities as well as the re-reading of some Christmas books.

For my UK-based followers, Alexander Armstrong is currently presenting a series about Iceland on Channel 5. Having been there myself back in 2010, I recognised parts of it, particularly Reykjavik and Geysir.

I still can’t believe that their jointly-written book of the 100 most pointless things in the world missed out the Kardashians, though! A glaring omission, methinks!

Going back to the photo with lots of books in it, you will also notice Recipe for Life, by Mary Berry, currently 16% read, Diary of a Somebody, by Brian Bilston, 15% read, and, on my Kindle, Our Man in Hibernia, by Charlie Connelly, which is also 15% read. I intend to focus on those, and also start Robbo’s autobiography and the book about Queen, Is This the Real Life? during October and November and see how we get on. Got a sneaky feeling the Charlie Connelly book will pick up speed and I’ll end up finishing that soon enough, as I enjoy his books.

That’s the plan, but I suspect that will change without notice, lol!

That is probably it for now as I want to get some more reading done, make more inroads with the Ongoing Concerns, so, until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Surviving the Storms – Nikki Girvan
  • The Last Wilderness – Neil Ansell
  • My Side – David Beckham
  • Funnybones – Janet & Allan Ahlberg
  • The 100 Most Pointless Things in the World – Alexander Armstrong & Richard Osman
  • Land of the Midnight Sun – Alexander Armstrong
  • The Thursday Murder Club – Richard Osman
  • Recipe for Life – Mary Berry
  • Diary of a Somebody – Brian Bilston
  • Our Man in Hibernia – Charlie Connelly
  • Robbo – Bryan Robson
  • Is This the Real Life? – Mark Blake

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Childrens' Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Food & Drink, Football, Half-Finished Books, Junior Bookworms, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Television, Travel

What’s in the Box?

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

Chief Bookworm has an unboxing for you today on this blog! No, it’s not books, but it does contain items that go very well with a good book! So, as well as giving you some progress reports on the Ongoing Concerns, three of which are nearing completion, I will do an unboxing and unbagging – there are a few items in the bubble-wrap bag as well as the contents of the box…

As I said, there are three Ongoing Concerns which shouldn’t take me too long to finish now. The first of these is Surviving the Storms, by Nikki Girvan, which is now 83% read and is one I now intend to keep for future re-reads. I’ve got two tales of rescue still to read, but it won’t be long until it’s done. Nikki is the editor or compiler – the stories are told in their own words by RNLI crew members from around the UK, detailing some of their most tricky rescue operations.

They have my utmost admiration. I couldn’t do what they do, I do not have good sea legs, as the expression goes, and would just be horrendously seasick! I’ve had rough enough crossings on ferries, especially coming back from Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead in 1996 after visiting our family in Ireland – don’t get me started on that crossing! Rough as a badger’s arse would be an understatement!

That’s what’s in the bubble-wrap bag, by the way. A tasting set and 3 bars of chocolate with salted caramel.

Next up on the Ongoing Concerns is The Last Wilderness, by Neil Ansell, which itself came in a box with a bar of chocolate and a teabag, as you may recall! That one is now 80% read. If you like travel writing and/or nature writing, this may well be right up your street, and I have certainly been enjoying it.

I got to this point with the unboxing and realised that I needed to open the box at one of its sides, hence turning it on its side and using my trusty craft knife to open the box…

Back to the Ongoing Concerns for a minute, though, as we come to the final book of the trio heading for completion, and this is My Side, by David Beckham, which is only a tiny bit behind the second book, as I have read 79% of Becks’ autobiography now. We’ve had the 2002 World Cup, so basically just the birth of Romeo, the 2002-03 season with United and then David going to Real Madrid – that’s all that remains to be read.

Then we will need to look at the books at a less advanced stage of being read and some that need starting. I could always resume Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache, by Martin Aston, which was 42% read by the last time I did any reading of it.

View from inside the box, side view of what looks like another box at this point…

While I’ve already got books in mind to replace Surviving the Storms, as I have another book about the RNLI and a book about lighthouses, either of which would be a relevant follow-on, I will need to look for a successor to The Last Wilderness and David Beckham’s book.

I am thinking that Lakeland, by Hunter Davies, or Map Addict, by Mike Parker, might be suitable travel writing, and I have Robbo, by Bryan Robson, his autobiography, which would be a good one to follow the Beckham book, as Robbo was one of Becks’ heroes when he was growing up, and also there is a film about Robbo being released at the end of November.

The “box” inside the box is a hamper…

I do intend to start on Is This the Real Life? by Mark Blake pretty soon, as 24th November will be 30 years since we lost Freddie, but a lot of OCs will really have to wait their turn to be started. Yes, they are relevant to books I have recently finished, but it might still be a while before I get around to them.

This is particularly true as I will want to re-read some festive books in December in the run-up to Christmas, so a lot of non-Christmassy books will be paused and resumed in the new year. I will just say that one is part of a very funny fantasy fiction series, and the other is by an author who usually writes crime thrillers but did diversify to write a very funny Christmas book!

You can now see the boxes of cookies. There are 6 different bars of chocolate, 3 different boxes of cookies and some little packets of shortbread biscuits, and they’re all Fairtrade, as are the chocolates in the bubble-wrap bag.

Three packets which each have 2 shortbread biscuits. The boxes of cookies are fruit & oat, double chocolate chunk, and stem ginger, and the six bars of chocolate are mint cream dark chocolate, marzipan & orange liqueur dark chocolate, 70% cocoa dark chocolate, 37% cocoa milk chocolate, praline milk chocolate and muscovado white chocolate. So now you know!

That’s my complete order above. I already mentioned the salted caramel bars of milk chocolate, but the 12 little bars tasting set contains six different flavours, two bars of each of the following: milk chocolate with toffee & sea salt, 85% dark chocolate, dark chocolate with raspberries, 70% dark chocolate, white chocolate with strawberries, and 45% milk chocolate.

Now you know what Chief Bookworm will be scoffing while she reads, lol! Obviously, today being Sunday, we’ll be having our roast beef takeaway from Blacksticks later, but I may well start on some of this yummy stuff in the evening as I get some reading done!

Before I go, though, some items of news. First up, congratulations to Doctor Marcus Rashford MBE! Rashy has become the youngest person to be awarded an honourary doctorate from the University of Manchester – this was in recognition of all the work he has been doing to ensure children don’t go hungry and that they were getting hot meals while the schools were closed in the lockdowns we’ve had and during school holidays.

The other information is probably more of interest to music nerds, particularly anthem nerds. On Tuesday 12th October, it will be 75 years since Fratelli d’Italia (also known as Inno di Mameli) was officially adopted as Italy’s national anthem! It had been written by Goffredo Mameli (the lyrics) and Michele Novaro (the boppy tune) way back in 1847, but it wasn’t officially the national anthem until 12th October 1946 which is when the Italian Republic was proclaimed.

Obviously, this info came courtesy of my Nationalhymnen book of sheet music for 50 of the world’s national anthems, edited by Jakob Seibert. After all the music, there are some explanations at the back about the history of the various anthems, and that’s when I realised that there was a significant anniversary coming up for Italy’s anthem!

That does bring us to the end of this blog, as I don’t think I have anything else to report. So, until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Surviving the Storms – Nikki Girvan
  • The Last Wilderness – Neil Ansell
  • My Side – David Beckham
  • Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache – Martin Aston
  • Lakeland – Hunter Davies
  • Map Addict – Mike Parker
  • Robbo: My Autobiography – Bryan Robson
  • Is This the Real Life? – Mark Blake
  • Nationalhymnen – Jakob Seibert

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Food & Drink, Football, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, Travel

Tech Troubles and Fifty Finished Books

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Pretty relieved that today and this working week are over given my technical difficulties today. I may have thought that Monday’s Farcebook meltdown was a pain in the arse, but for me FB is only for leisure, so while it was inconvenient, it didn’t affect my job.

Today’s technological tosspottery DID affect my ability to do my job, though! For some inexplicable reason, which even my organisation’s resident IT bods were at a loss to figure out, my quick links to my documents had decided to stop working and to start giving me stupid error messages! It was part-way into this afternoon before it was resolved, and took two IT bods, Teams Viewer, a couple of restarts of my laptop and some sort of update thing that the second person did in order to get this back for me!

This also involved quite a bit of time on hold on two occasions while I waited to be put through to an available member of IT staff, and obviously extra mugs of coffee needed to be brewed in order to handle the stress this was causing!

The last hour and a half, once matters had been resolved, seemed to whizz by and I was trying to fit everything in that was important and which I hadn’t been able to attend to earlier in the day, while also taking calls. So, as you can imagine, Chief Bookworm was pretty chuffed when 4:30pm rolled around and she could shut down the laptop, finish for the weekend, and go and see the Junior Bookworms in order to give Reuben his birthday pressies!

There will now be an interlude while Chief Bookworm heads to the chippy for tea as it is, of course, Fishy Friday! You may wish to catch up on your reading, or perhaps put some music on. You might even get something to eat, which is what I’m about to do! Back later!

Welcome back to the blog, and Chief Bookworm is stuffed because she has a nice full tum, lol! Also, now I have got my tales of technological woe off my chest from earlier today when I was at work, we can get on to nicer stuff than what I wanted to yell at my laptop when I couldn’t access my documents! Let’s just say that, if this were on telly, the language would not be suitable for broadcast until after the 9pm watershed, ha ha! A lot of four-letter words…

Book is also a four-letter word, of course, but a nice one, and what this blog is mainly about so we can now get on to the reading matter, and the news that I have now hit the half century in terms of books finished so far in 2021! So, put your feet up while I waffle on about the books I have polished off lately!

In my last blog entry, I did say that I had finished my 49th book of the year, but that I couldn’t tell you at the time what it was. This is because it was a birthday pressie for my nephew, Reuben. However, now that the birthday boy has opened his pressies, and his mummy has read the book to him, I can now reveal that the book I bought him was Funnybones, by Janet & Allan Ahlberg.

So, that classic book for younger readers, took me up to 49 books for the year. I don’t read the books I buy for Charlotte these days. She’s 11 and has been reading longer books, with chapters, for some years now, but Reuben is still of an age where short books are right for him, so Auntie Jo will have a little read of what she buys for him…

You will have noticed, at the top of the blog, a photo with two piles of books on it. The pile on the left is a pile of Ongoing Concerns, the pile on the right being books to be started or resumed. However, one of the Ongoing Concerns from that photo is no longer an OC! It is a finished book! Yes, fellow Bookworms, I can announce that Bit of a Blur, by Alex James, has now been read!

That means I have read fifty books so far this year! We’re in October so that’s an average of five books per month, and I have had to increase the Goodreads Challenge once again! That is now set at 55 books. Mind you, with a few other Ongoing Concerns at advanced stages of being read, I hope it won’t be too long before I need to increase the target again!

The Wrong Kind of Snow is a special case, that will not be finished until the end of the year, but these are some of the Ongoing Concerns that are at least halfway read… The Last Wilderness, by Neil Ansell, is 73% read so almost at the three-quarter mark, and not too far behind is My Side, by David Beckham, which is 70% read. At the two-thirds stage, on 66% read, is Surviving the Storms, by Nikki Girvan, the RNLI book.

Talking of the RNLI, there was an incident mentioned in The Wrong Kind of Snow for 6th October which led to the forming of what would become the RNLI. On 6th October 1822, now 199 years ago, Sir William Henry sends people out to help rescue people from a ship in a gale. 97 people were rescued and Henry felt that this rescue service was something which should be put in place around the coast of the UK.

He persisted with his aim, and in 1824 the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck came into being. This would later become the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, and is more commonly known these days as the Lifeboats or the RNLI. My Nana and Grandad, Dad’s parents, were big supporters of the RNLI in their lifetimes, and Nana would often buy their packs of notecards.

Mind you, where they lived in Ireland was by the sea, as it was the town of Malahide, and other members of the family live not far away in Dun Laoghaire, which is a ferry port, so lots of closeness to the sea there!

Before I have a look at some more books, ones to replace the recent finishes, I will just add that I was notified the other day that I now have 149 followers, so thank you very much, everyone, for following this blog! I even had a comment on my last blog, so it was nice to see a follower getting in touch!

I had recently read And Did Those Feet, by Charlie Connelly, and am actually 10% into Our Man in Hibernia, by the same guy, on my Kindle, but I did say that I would be starting Long Road from Jarrow, by Stuart Maconie as it ties in with recreating famous UK journeys in history.

Having finished Splash! on Monday while Farcebook was still not back up and running, the natural successor to that book on the Ongoing Concerns list is Waterlog, by Roger Deakin, so that has also joined the list now. We need some more replacements, however! Devorgilla Days and Bit of a Blur need other books to come off the subs’ bench and onto the pitch, so to speak.

As Devorgilla Days was purchased in Wigtown, where it is set, I thought that the Scottish theme would be best maintained by starting Curious Scotland, by George Rosie, which was one of the books I purchased in Shaun Bythell’s shop, and it was one I saw, while I was in there, which amused me due to its cover, and made me realise that I had to buy it or I would only end up regretting it if I didn’t bring it home with me. I would have been wondering “what if” for years to come.

This leaves us needing a replacement for Bit of a Blur, and, to be fair, there are plenty of music-related books which could easily join the OC list. Towards the end of November, it will be 30 years since we lost the Legend that was Freddie Mercury, so I think Is This the Real Life? by Mark Blake, which is the untold story of Queen, would be an appropriate choice.

Also, however, I noticed another intriguing book the other day in one of my many piles of reading matter, and that one was The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth, by Thomas Morris, which, as its title suggests, features exploding dentistry, and other curiosities from the history of medicine! All the stuff they never told us about when our class was learning about the history of medicine at high school for our GCSE History exams, lol!

As I have said many a time, I like to find the more unusual books to bring you in this blog alongside some better-known ones. I’d like to think that I introduce you to some books you might otherwise miss! Other bloggers write about crime fiction, romance, chick lit, young adult novels, self help books, current affairs, diets, and so on… I bring you Economics for Babies, The Epic of Gilgamesh, and books about bread and the Shipping Forecast!

I am now off to sort out the Ongoing Concerns and decide whether to make more inroads into the new ones, or get more read of those books at an advanced stage. It’d be good to get more on the books read list! I will be back again fairly soon, no doubt, but until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Funnybones – Janet & Allan Ahlberg
  • Bit of a Blur – Alex James
  • The Wrong Kind of Snow – Antony Woodward & Robert Penn
  • The Last Wilderness – Neil Ansell
  • My Side – David Beckham
  • Surviving the Storms – Nikki Girvan
  • And Did Those Feet – Charlie Connelly
  • Our Man in Hibernia – Charlie Connelly
  • Long Road from Jarrow – Stuart Maconie
  • Splash! – Howard Means
  • Waterlog – Roger Deakin
  • Devorgilla Days – Kathleen Hart
  • Curious Scotland – George Rosie
  • Is This the Real Life? – Mark Blake
  • The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth – Thomas Morris
  • Economics for Babies – Jonathan Litton
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh – Unknown

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Four Books and a Bookmark

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Got a blog for you, as I have some more news on the book front. I have finished a couple more books! When Facebook went down for six hours on Monday, as well as emailing my friend, due to not being able to use Messenger, I saw it as the opportunity to get some reading done and I finished Splash! by Howard Means. Then, although Farcebook did start to return by this time, I also polished off Devorgilla Days, by Kathleen Hart! Yep, two more books polished off so we are up to number 48 for the year!

Well, actually, we are up to 49 books for the year, but I can’t currently give details on that one at the moment. However, I should be able to do so by some point this coming weekend.

Did anyone else get some good reading done on Monday when Farcebook, Messenger, Instagram and Whatsapp weren’t cooperating?

Anyway, on from Monday’s meltdown to yesterday, and I had a half-day work wise and finished at lunch. I had some appointments in the afternoon, one of which was with Gemma at the hair salon to have my mop trimmed! I will be going in December for a perm in the run-up to Christmas, but my hair needed sorting out a bit more urgently than that. It was starting to resemble the look it had during periods of lockdown in the past year and a half, lol, especially the original lockdown last year! Therefore, the mop needed sorting out!

After Gemma had trimmed my mop, the result of which you can see above, it was off to the Trafford Centre for an evening’s retail therapy, lol! Well, to be fair, I did need some stuff. Birthday card and gift bag for my nephew’s big day later this week, and some catarrh pastilles, as per usual, but it won’t surprise you in the slightest to learn that I also ended up in W H Smith’s and Waterstone’s and thus ended up with four books and a bookmark! That sounds like a film, doesn’t it? Four Books and a Bookmark. Like Four Weddings and a Funeral, but on a literary theme. I even came up with a reworking of Love is All Around for it…

Books Are All Around

I feel it in my fingers

I feel it in my toes…

Books are all around me

And so my TBR grows!

There’s writing on the pages

They’re everywhere I go, oh yes they are…

So if you really love reading

Come on and let it show!

You know I love reading, I always will

My mind’s made up by the way that I feel

There’s no beginning, there’ll be no end

‘Cause on good books you can depend!

I see your blurb before me

As I lay on my bed

I kinda get to thinking

Of all the books I’ve read, oh yes I do…

You gave your premise to me, and I gave my review.

I need some books beside me in everything I do!

Oh yes I do!

You know I love reading, I always will

My mind’s made up by the way that I feel

There’s no beginning, there’ll be no end

‘Cause on good books you can depend!

I gotta keep on reading…

Ooh, it’s written on the pages

Oh, everywhere I go, yeah, ooh yeah

So if you really love books, love books, love books…

Come on and let it show

Come on and let it show

Come on and let it

Come on and let it

Come on and let it show

Come on and let it show

Come on and let it

Come on and let it

Come on and let it show

Come on and let it show, baby

Come on and let it show

Original lyrics by Reg Presley

Rewrite by Joanne Dixon-Jackson 2021

Hope you liked that! Well, if they can re-write it as Christmas is All Around for Bill Nighy in Love Actually, then we can do a book-themed rewrite here on this blog!

I’d better tell you about some of these books I bought, hadn’t I, eh?! We will start with the two from W H Smiths. Both hardbacks, both half price, and both autobiographies. First up, The Storyteller, by Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters fame. Coincidentally, he is reading a bedtime story on CBeebies on Friday! It’s a story based on “Octopus’ Garden” by the Beatles.

For my Transatlantic followers, CBeebies is a children’s TV channel from the BBC. That’s the one for the very young children, the babies, pre-schoolers and young primary school kids. For older kids, there’s CBBC. My niece and nephew watch these channels.

Anyway, the other autobiography is a sports one, and I need to read this person’s previous autobiography first, really, as I realised last night that I had Schmeichel: The Autobiography, by Peter Schmeichel, in my wardrobe unit, and now he has brought out a follow-up, One. Well, maybe once I have finished My Side, by David Beckham, we can get on to one of his other United team mates… The Dave Grohl book might be one to read when I’m done with Bit of a Blur, by Alex James.

I don’t always do like for like replacements when I finish an Ongoing Concern, but I do have quite a lot of autobiographies and they’re mostly for musicians and sports stars, especially footballers (soccer players for those of you in the US), so it makes sense to read another book of the same kind.

From Waterstone’s, the two books were paperbacks and were one non-fiction and one fiction. The non-fiction book is Map Addict, by Mike Parker, and the novel is They Both Die at the End, by Adam Silvera. As titles go, that one’s a bit of a spoiler, isn’t it?!

Actually, I discovered last night that 5th October was the anniversary of one of my meetings with King Eric back in the 90s! 26 years ago, on 5th October 1995, I was 3rd in the queue to meet Eric Cantona when he opened the Nike Shop in the Arndale Centre in town! One of the items he signed for me was my copy of Un Rêve Modeste et Fou, the original French version of his autobiography. He had already signed the English version, My Story, way back at the start of 1995 at The Cliff, when I went to watch the lads train and get photos and autographs afterwards.

I had got the French version that summer when I was in Nice with the City of Salford Youth Concert Band, so when King Eric had just come back from his ban that October and opened the Nike Shop, I took that along to be signed. Sadly, that shop was in a part of the Arndale that was worst affected by the IRA bomb in June 1996, so it wasn’t there all that long. Used to go and look at the display of King Eric’s boots and signed shirt while it was there, and my friend Sarah, who loves rugby league and supports Wigan, used to love seeing the other display as that was the boots and signed shirt of Martin “Chariots” Offiah!

While we’re on footy books, the Schmeichel books may have to wait. After I have finished David Beckham’s book, I might actually read Guillem Balague’s biography of Cristiano Ronaldo. Seems reasonable to follow Mr Beckham with a book about the guy who replaced him in the number 7 shirt at Old Trafford when Becks went to Real Madrid in 2003!

I think that’s about all for now. I was going to do an update of the Ongoing Concerns, but I think I will save that until the weekend. Gives me a chance to make further progress and possibly get some books finished off and new OCs added in their place. We have got a couple off the list and I can let you know how I plan to replace Splash! and Devorgilla Days. Until that time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Splash! – Howard Means
  • Devorgilla Days – Kathleen Hart
  • The Storyteller – Dave Grohl
  • Schmeichel: The Autobiography – Peter Schmeichel
  • One – Peter Schmeichel
  • My Side – David Beckham
  • Bit of a Blur – Alex James
  • Map Addict – Mike Parker
  • They Both Die at the End – Adam Silvera
  • Un Rêve Modeste et Fou – Eric Cantona
  • My Story – Eric Cantona
  • Cristiano Ronaldo – Guillem Balague

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Junior Bookworms, Manc Stuff!, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Sports, Television, The TBR Pile, Travel

It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome to the first blog of October 2021, and as it was the London Marathon today, that gave me the idea for my blog title, lol! Mind you, that phrase can apply to some books, especially chunky ones, or books like The Wrong Kind of Snow where there is an entry for each day of the year and I’m reading that one throughout the course of 2021. I reached the 75% stage with that book on Friday, so we are in the home straight with that one.

Indeed, we are also heading for the last couple of laps of Splash! by Howard Means, the book about 10,000 years of swimming, as that is now 81% read, so that should be amongst my first finishes for October! I am really enjoying this book, and thinking of sports books for another future themed book blog, as well as the food and drink one. I have not forgotten about that. I just want to have read a few more books on that topic first.

OK, you can never really read all the books there are on any given subject, but I still feel that if I have read more food and drink related books, it will make for a better blog than if I did it now.

The sports one would include a fair few footy books, but there’d be other stuff as well… the swimming books I’ve read recently, athletics, books about the Olympics, books about certain famous events, such as The Dirtiest Race in History, by Richard Moore, which is about the men’s 100m final at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, a book I read a few years ago now and can definitely recommend it.

I suppose we could even include fictional sports, and mention Quidditch, as in the Harry Potter series and Quidditch Through the Ages, which was brought out for Comic Relief some years back. Also, in terms of fiction, a nod to one of my favourite books when I was a kid, The 27th Annual African Hippopotamus Race, by Morris Lurie, which was about a river-swimming race for hippos!

So, like my planned food and drink blog, which would also mention eating and drinking in novels as well as factual writing about the subject, we would mix it up a bit.

As it was the London Marathon today, I have found for you one of the best costumes I can remember – these are the runners who do it for various charities, and back in 2007, one guy decided to run 26 miles dressed as a Cherry Bakewell! To paraphrase from their adverts, Mr Kipling makes exceedingly good marathon runners, lol!

I admire anyone who can run marathons, our former dentist, Norman Hoy, used to run them, he might still do so, and one of my teachers, Mr Leese, my physics teacher at the time, did it back in the late 80s when I was at high school, but I don’t think they wore silly costumes, probably just sensible running gear. As I recall, it was probably 1988 when Mr Leese ran the London Marathon, and I remember he was doing it in aid of the Special Care Baby Unit at Hope Hospital.

The London Marathon is usually in April, but was moved to October as we were only just coming out of lockdown here when we would normally have had it, but they needed another time of year when it wouldn’t be too hot or too cold, so it was shifted to the autumn and held earlier today.

Anyway, as well as the book progress I mentioned earlier, there are some more updates for the Ongoing Concerns, so here goes with the latest stats…

Before I get on to the others, I will just go back to Splash! for a moment, as it mentioned Piscine Molitor in Paris, which brings me on to a literary link as Pi Patel’s full name, in Life of Pi by Yann Martel, is Piscine Molitor Patel! He shortens his name to Pi because his classmates mispronounce piscine as pissing and he gets rather fed up of this, understandably! Howard Means also mentions Waterlog, by Roger Deakin, which I bought last weekend, and will probably start when I have finished Splash!

So, we have dealt with books that are 81% and 75% read, now we are moving down to the two-thirds read mark, or around that milestone. Bit of a Blur, by Alex James is currently 66% read, but only a tiny bit behind that is Devorgilla Days, by Kathleen Hart at 65% read.

Coincidentally, when I was reading Devorgilla Days yesterday, I got to a part where Kathleen was mentioning the Feast of the Holy Angels, which she mentions as being celebrated on 2nd October. Yesterday’s date? None other than 2nd October, lol, so it seemed apt that I had reached at least that part of the book yesterday! I have, of course read past that bit now, but it just seemed a bit uncanny!

My Side, by David Beckham, is also making good progress and that one is currently 61% read. The Last Wilderness, by Neil Ansell is 56% read, so we are now over halfway through that one, and Surviving the Storms, the Nikki Girvan book about RNLI rescues, is 38% read so we’re over a third of the way through that now.

I think, once I’ve got a few more books read, Recipe for Life and Diary of a Somebody can be resumed. I have said, though, that Long Road from Jarrow, by Stuart Maconie, needs to be resumed as it ties in with And Did Those Feet, by Charlie Connelly, which I read last month, in that it recreates a famous journey in our country’s history. Also, Waterlog, by Roger Deakin, will keep the swimming theme going.

I do have another Charlie Connelly book on the go, Our Man in Hibernia, and that is currently 10% read. That one is on my Kindle and is about him going to Ireland and trying to trace his family’s Irish roots.

I’ll also be looking around for other partially-read books to be resumed, and books to be started. Given the way this year has gone, book-wise, I tend to go for other books that are similar to ones I have already read. For instance, when I finish Surviving the Storms, I am thinking about reading either Heroes of the RNLI, by Martyn R. Beardsley, or Seashaken Houses, by Tom Nancollas as the next book.

As the year heads to its conclusion, however, it will be time for some festive reads and re-reads, so I will continue the Ongoing Concerns through October and November, but then they may well be paused for a while as I get a few Christmas books read! There are at least two I read for the first time last December in the run-up to Christmas which are serious contenders to be read again in Advent this time round!

So, that’s pretty much the plan for the remainder of the year. Next weekend may be busy as it’s my nephew’s birthday soon, but I shall probably blog after that and I hope that during this coming week, in the run-up to Reuben’s festivities, I can get Splash! finished and possibly another book or two near to completion so I have more finished books to tell you about. In the meantime, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Wrong Kind of Snow – Antony Woodward & Robert Penn
  • Splash! – Howard Means
  • The Dirtiest Race in History – Richard Moore
  • The Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling
  • Quidditch Through the Ages – J. K. Rowling
  • The 27th Annual African Hippopotamus Race – Morris Lurie
  • Life of Pi – Yann Martel
  • Waterlog – Roger Deakin
  • Bit of a Blur – Alex James
  • Devorgilla Days – Kathleen Hart
  • My Side – David Beckham
  • The Last Wilderness – Neil Ansell
  • Surviving the Storms – Nikki Girvan
  • Recipe for Life – Mary Berry
  • Diary of a Somebody – Brian Bilston
  • Long Road from Jarrow – Stuart Maconie
  • And Did Those Feet – Charlie Connelly
  • Our Man in Hibernia – Charlie Connelly
  • Heroes of the RNLI – Martyn R. Beardsley
  • Seashaken Houses – Tom Nancollas

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September Review: Books, Badger’s Arse, Randomness and Ronaldo…

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Another month over, another opportunity to wonder where most of 2021 has gone, lol, and another blog full of utter waffle but with some book-related stuff as well, particularly as I have finished six books this month, and have quite a few Ongoing Concerns which are being progressed nicely…

We shall start with the books I’ve finished off in September, then look at some other events, my recent bout of Badger’s Arse, some footy stuff including last night’s win, some literary issues and a progress report on the OCs as we head into October…

The books read in September started with the book in the above photo, The Day the World Came to Town, by Jim DeFede, about 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland, although I had the Kindle edition so I was reading the ebook. It was a really good and fascinating insight into what happened to the passengers and crews on the planes which couldn’t land anywhere in the USA – many of them were diverted to Canada.

Another ebook was the next to be finished, and just in time before I came down with a particularly bad bout of Badger’s Arse, in other words a particularly heavy and unpleasant cold bordering on flu symptoms – I felt quite achy, which is often a flu thing, and I needed two days off work. However, just before the Badger’s Arse struck, I did finish off the brilliant Man About Tarn, by Pete May, and it is yet another recommendation, particularly if you are a fan of the Lake District.

Black Coffee Blues, by Henry Rollins, was nearing the end before the Badger’s Arse and I managed to get it read between bouts of watery eyes, and then managed to follow the orchestral score for the Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, by Ludwig van Beethoven when Classic FM played it in its entirity one night.

That just leaves two more finished books, the first of which was Swimming, by Roger Deakin, one of the books I bought in London at Euston Station while waiting for the train back to Manchester. That one was my 45th book of the year, and was closely followed by the ebook in the above photo, and that was the brilliant And Did Those Feet, by Charlie Connelly. There will be more about him later when I get on to the Ongoing Concerns…

So, that’s the books read, and you know I’m on a lot of book groups and pages on Farcebook, I even run one, lol, but I have had to sack one off and leave The Book Hangout Spot as it was frequently pecking my head. I know all groups and pages get spam, but that one seemed to get more than its fair share, certainly the sort that needed to be reported to the admins all the time.

There were also too many people on it who were either not all that bright or deliberately ignorant and annoying by posting that they were offering “readings” but these were things like psychic readings and stuff, NOT reading that had anything to do with books!

And just don’t get me started on the number of contentious and controversial posts! It just seemed that whenever there was some post to do with religion, politics or some other contentious issue in the world of literature, it was always in that bloody book group! The last straw was some post whingeing on and trying to force their views down our throats that we shouldn’t read a certain author’s books because of his views, even though I have already read a fair few of this person’s books and I have never seen any sign of his beliefs coming through in those!

I will NOT stop reading Roald Dahl books, and, as I said, if he did have any controversial views, I didn’t notice them in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Twits, Esio Trot, or any of the others I’ve read of his! I have never read any of his adult books, the ones which were adapted for “Tales of the Unexpected” on ITV on Sunday nights when I was a kid, so there is a chance his views may have come over in those, but certainly not those he wrote for younger readers.

It is a different matter if an author’s books are an obvious vehicle for their beliefs and philosophies, and thus I can understand it when people won’t read a certain author because there is no logical point – they would just disagree and feel quite annoyed by what they’re reading! There is one author who seems to think that greed and selfishness are good things, so I am avoiding her books for those reasons. I want reading to be a relaxing and enjoyable experience, and I know I wouldn’t feel that way if I was continually wishing to slap the author for their disagreeable point of view!

(It reminds me of Stephanie from the now-defunct Waterstone’s Deansgate book club – whenever she didn’t like a book, she would always quote Dorothy Parker. “This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force!”)

Also, if that author has done something decidely dodgy, it would be fair enough to say “I’m not reading their books ‘cause they’re a sex offender” or whatever. I can understand people not wanting that person to get any money from book sales, but if you are able to separate an author’s views from their writing, then carry on reading. There is a similar issue in classical music with some composers, particularly Richard Wagner. Don’t think much of his politics, but he composed some good tunes!

So, yeah, I left that group. I might go back some time, see if it has improved, but it just seemed that it was always that same group any time there was some spam or a controversial topic, and there are plenty of other book groups on FB, so I don’t need to be in one where the actual group acted as though it was attention-seeking.

However, while we’re still on social media, how about some recommendations of mine for things to look up on YouTube? First up, although you would need to be OK with industrial language for this one, we have Ozzy Man Reviews, in which this Australian bloke reviews just about any mad stuff on the internet! People doing stupid stuff that may well result in serious injury, animals fighting each other, and all sorts of random nonsense that has ever been captured on a video recording!

Secondly, and this is much safer for work and for younger viewers, we have Device Orchestra, which is music made by electrical gadgets with googly eyes! Toothbrushes, irons, credit card machines, toasters, typewriters, etc… Check out, in particular, a toaster playing the Imperial March from Star Wars, four toothbrushes performing the Finnish national anthem in a sauna, and a range of gadgets performing Sweet Dreams Are Made of This by the Eurythmics!

OK, so that happened last night. To be specific, it happened at the Stretford End in the fifth minute of Fergie Time, and it was such a typically United thing to happen, lol! Somehow, I managed not to lose my voice despite the repeated singing of the “Viva Ronaldo” song for what remained of the match and then as we made our way out of Old Trafford and through the tunnels… I did have a Strepsil as a precaution this morning, though, as I do have to take phone calls as part of my job so I need to be in reasonable voice, lol!

This week is apparently Banned Books Week, which is about books that have ever been banned or at least challenged at any time in history and in any country. Sometimes books are banned for opposing reasons by different countries, sometimes the reasons are a bit odd! Take Animal Farm, by George Orwell, for example, a book I actually studied for my GCSEs at high school, but which has fallen foul of authorities elsewhere in the world…

The former Soviet Union thought that Animal Farm was a criticism of Communism, which, to be fair, it is, and banned it for that reason. However, the USA, for some reason, thought the book was pro-Communist, and thus banned it, for some time, for that reason. While the USSR and USA were arguing about whether or not the book favoured an extreme left-wing ideology, the Chinese were not happy about it because it featured animals that talk and act like humans!

As we head into October tomorrow, though, we have National Poetry Day here, so we go from prose to verse and it’s fair to say that I have read a fair few poems this year. There are a few anthologies and an epic poem on my list of books read in 2021. Quite a varied selection, too, with poems about love, football and appreciation of the radio amongst the stuff I have read!

We do need to get on to the Ongoing Concerns, though! This should give a good idea of books that may well get finished off sooner rather than later and may be amongst my finishes for October. After that, a few books I bought on Sunday at the Trafford Centre…

First up has to be The Wrong Kind of Snow, by Antony Woodward & Robert Penn. Tomorrow, on 1st October, it will be at the 75% read stage, so it shows how far through the year we are! It will be finished in late December when the time comes for me to do the review of the year!

Splash! by Howard Means, the book about swimming, is at the next most advanced stage, being 58% read. Really enjoying that one. Following closely behind are Bit of a Blur, by Alex James on 57% and My Side by David Beckham on 54% read – thus meaning that Beckham is just over the halfway line, lol!

We do have one book which is currently 50% read so exactly halfway there, and that one is Devorgilla Days, by Kathleen Hart, one of the books I bought in Wigtown when I was up in Scotland at the end of August. Indeed, the book is about Kathleen moving to live in Wigtown as she recovers from serious illness and numerous operations.

We have a couple of books in their 30s, well in the percentage read scheme of things, that is. The Last Wilderness, by Neil Ansell, which is the book that came in the book box with the cuppa and chocolate, is 39% read, and Surviving the Storms, the RNLI book by Nikki Girvan, is 30% read.

After that, we have some that are not quite as far read. Recipe for Life, by Mary Berry is 16% read, Diary of a Somebody, by Brian Bilston, is 12% read, and I have another Charlie Connelly book on my Kindle, Our Man in Hibernia, which I started the other night and got a little bit of it read on the way home from Old Trafford after our 2-1 victory over Villarreal in the Champions League last night, so that is currently at the 10% stage, but knowing how partial I am to his books, that one is very likely to escalate quickly in terms of reading percentage!

So, that pretty much brings you up to date on the Ongoing Concerns front, but I did mention that I bought a few books at Waterstone’s on Sunday when I went to the Trafford Centre, plus one from W H Smith’s as it was on offer. So, that one I just mentioned was And Away, by Bob Mortimer, and it is his autobiography. It was half price so I thought “why not?” and bought it!

The other three books are as follows… First up, Waterlog, by Roger Deakin, which I had already mentioned in previous blogs as it’s the full book from which excerpts were taken for Swimming from the Vintage Minis series. Lakeland, by Hunter Davies, is about the Lake District, so that was fairly relevant, and last, but not least, is Seashaken Houses, by Tom Nancollas.

That just about wraps everything up for September, really! The monthly book list will be published in a bit on List Challenges once I have added any books that I am mentioning for the first time this month in this blog. Probably only those last few ones. I will be back again soon enough with more book waffle in October, but until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Day the World Came to Town – Jim DeFede
  • Man About Tarn – Pete May
  • Black Coffee Blues – Henry Rollins
  • Symphony No 9. in D Minor – Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Swimming – Roger Deakin
  • And Did Those Feet – Charlie Connelly
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
  • The Twits – Roald Dahl
  • Esio Trot – Roald Dahl
  • Animal Farm – George Orwell
  • The Wrong Kind of Snow – Antony Woodward & Robert Penn
  • Splash! – Howard Means
  • Bit of a Blur – Alex James
  • My Side – David Beckham
  • Devorgilla Days – Kathleen Hart
  • The Last Wilderness – Neil Ansell
  • Surviving the Storms – Nikki Girvan
  • Recipe for Life – Mary Berry
  • Diary of a Somebody – Brian Bilston
  • Our Man in Hibernia – Charlie Connelly
  • And Away – Bob Mortimer
  • Waterlog – Roger Deakin
  • Lakeland – Hunter Davies
  • Seashaken Houses – Tom Nancollas

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Finished Books and Old Blogs Revisited…

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

It’s Saturday night and I am stuffed, having had takeaway from La Turka as usual. I have also got some big news on the book front as I’ve been making considerable inroads with the Ongoing Concerns in the past few days, and have got two of them finished off, so I’ve got two completed books to tell you about, and that means we are on 46 books read so far in 2021! Yay!

As you might imagine, the Goodreads Challenge, which had been increased to 45 books has now been increased to 50 books.

I finished Swimming, by Roger Deakin, yesterday evening, so that was the fifth finish for September, the 45th overall for the year, and that’s what necessitated the increase in the Goodreads Challenge, lol, but then today I have polished off And Did Those Feet, by Charlie Connelly, which is the seventh book I have read by this writer, and it was as fascinating and as enjoyable as ever! There are still a few of his I have not read yet, but he may need to work on a new book or two, or I will find myself running out of them…

Swimming is from the Vintage Minis series, it was one of the books I bought at Euston Station when we were waiting for the train back to Manchester Piccadilly after our London, Watford and Harry Potter trip in August. It is actually excerpts from Waterlog, so I now need to read that, lol!

The above picture is from July 2017, when Stuart Maconie came to Waterstone’s on Deansgate to talk about and sign copies of Long Road from Jarrow. I was looking through my old blogs to see when it was. Knew it was 2017, but wasn’t sure which month, and as I was saying I would read this book when I had finished Charlie Connelly’s, because it made sense to read another book about recreating famous journeys in UK history, I wanted to know when I had originally taken ownership of the Maconie book.

It was 20th July 2017 that I bought it and I did make a start on it at the time, I read the prologue anyway. The prologue. That kinda reminds me of the late great Frankie Howerd as Lurcio in the sitcom “Up Pompeii”! There’s a blast from the past, eh?!

Funnily enough, in my review of the month for July 2017, I had also been to the Lake District that month, and alongside the magnets and Kendal Mint Cake, I bought my copy of The Shepherd’s Life, by James Rebanks, so another book I have mentioned recently that I might start, but which I actually purchased four years ago!

So, yes, the Maconie to be resumed beyond the prologue, and the Rebanks to be started, possibly, although if I get a copy of Waterlog, by Roger Deakin, that may get read first as it is the full version of the Swimming book.

Talking of books featuring swimming, that moves us on to the other Ongoing Concerns and some more progress reports. Splash! by Howard Means, the book about the history of swimming, is now 42% read, so really good progress being made with that one and I hope to reach the halfway stage soon.

Devorgilla Days, by Kathleen Hart, in which she frequently goes swimming in the sea near Wigtown, is now 36% read, and The Last Wilderness, by Neil Ansell, is 30% read, so that one is heading for the one-third milestone. That was the one I received in the book box from my sister, if you recall, along with some chocolate and a teabag.

So, with less than a week left to go in September, we are in a good position on the book front with a chance to make further progress with the Ongoing Concerns before I need to do my monthly review on Thursday!

I might even resume one or two paused books. Just looking at Bit of a Blur, by Alex James. That one was 32% read by the time I last read any of it, and there is always Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache, by Martin Aston, which was 42% read last time I did any reading from that book. My Side, by David Beckham, is also a possibilty for resuming.

Well, that’s about it for now, I think, but I should be back on Thursday for the review of the month, so until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Swimming – Roger Deakin
  • And Did Those Feet – Charlie Connelly
  • Waterlog – Roger Deakin
  • Long Road from Jarrow – Stuart Maconie
  • The Shepherd’s Life – James Rebanks
  • Splash! – Howard Means
  • Devorgilla Days – Kathleen Hart
  • The Last Wilderness – Neil Ansell
  • Bit of a Blur – Alex James
  • Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache – Martin Aston
  • My Side – David Beckham

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You’ll Have Someone’s Eye Out With That!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome to another blog, and you’ll be pleased to learn that the notorious Badger’s Arse has buggered off and thus I am well again. I have been back at work as of yesterday. Got some book updates to come on a couple of the Ongoing Concerns, but first a bit of news in terms of followers and likes…

I received a notification from Word Press around a week ago that I had received my 1000th like on this blog! Also, I now have 146 followers, so thank you very much for choosing to follow this mad waffle!

So, onto And Did Those Feet, by Charlie Connelly, which is currently 42% read already! I have read about him following the route of Boudica’s revolt against the Romans, and am currently reading about Charlie recreating the route of King Harold as he made his way from York down to Hastings in 1066. Thinking about the Normans and Harold’s demise makes me think of something Sir Billy Connolly said about parents with eye-gouging fixations when warning their kids… “You’ll have someone’s eye out with that!” – perhaps that dates back to the Battle of Hastings? Who knows?!

My own family’s experience of Hastings came 922 years later than Harold’s, in the summer of 1988. There were no arrows or visual impairments, but our stay was not uneventful, as our car conked out on us on the motorway on the way down there, and we arrived at our Haven holiday park in a breakdown recovery vehicle! I am now getting a mental image of our holiday in the seaside town being commemorated in a Bayeux-style tapestry, but with a car, a breakdown vehicle and a holiday park in the embroidery rather than a load of soldiers and wayward arrows, lol!

Anyway, the other Ongoing Concern with which progress has been made is Swimming, by Roger Deakin, and that is 37% read, so another book well on the way to being read. My intent for what remains of September, this last week and a bit of it, is to get those two finished off so they will be my 45th and 46th books read this year, shift the Goodreads Challenge target up to 50, and also sort out stuff for my nephew’s birthday as he will be five years old pretty soon! Doesn’t time fly?

Charlotte is enjoying high school and is impressed with the school library. Book-wise, I believe she is currently re-reading the Harry Potter series. If I hear of any other book news regarding Charlotte and Reuben, I will let you know. I will be off to Old Trafford at the weekend so I will be able to ask our Ellie about which books the Junior Bookworms are currently enjoying. She did say that Reuben loves the one I got him for Easter, which was Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney.

Although I wasn’t able to go to the cathedral in person on Saturday due to my Badger’s Arse, I was able to see the service thanks to Manchester Cathedral streaming it on their Facebook page, so I could see Charlotte perform.

The Wrong Kind of Snow is still being kept up to date. I did the calculations the other day – when we get to 1st October, which will be the Friday of next week, I will have read 75% of the book! Shows how quickly the year is whizzing by, doesn’t it?! Hardly seems that long ago that I was just starting it!

Coincidentally, a recent entry, for 18th September, mentions the weather on that day in 1066, storms which were keeping William in Normandy. Eventually, though, he and his men would make their way over and it would lead to the Battle of Hastings, thus tying in with where I am up to with Charlie Connelly’s book!

Funnily enough, the phone number for the insurance company Hastings Direct is 0800 00 1066 – pretty sure they asked BT for that on purpose so that the last four digits could be the year of the battle!

Obviously, there are other Ongoing Concerns to get on with, but I have more books on the horizon which I am considering starting, and given that I’ve had some book reshuffles lately, I have brought certain items of reading matter to more accessible positions so that I can get them when I have polished off another book or two!

Boris had a cabinet reshuffle the other day – just bloody jumping on the bandwagon because I had a book reshuffle if you ask me…

I’m looking at Spirals in Time, by Helen Scales, which is about seashells, and The Shepherd’s Life, by James Rebanks, as it’s about his farming life in the Lake District and would tie in with the recently-read Man About Tarn, by Pete May. Pretty sure I bought the seashells book in Wales on a previous visit to Conwy and Llandudno, and the book by James Rebanks was bought a few years ago on a previous trip to the Lakes. Possibly even when Dad was still with us.

Just before I wrap this up, just thought I would mention that on Sunday, as I was feeling better by then, I got my shirt exchanged at the Megastore at Old Trafford.

You will recall that I had got my home shirt with CAVANI 7 before the news broke about United re-signing Cristiano Ronaldo, and then obviously, there was a change of squad numbers. Ronny got the number 7 and Edi opted for 21, which was now available as Daniel James went to Leeds on transfer deadline day, and it is the number Cavani wears for Uruguay anyway so he was happy to wear 21 for United as well.

As there had been a change of numbers, United let it be known that if you had bought your CAVANI 7 shirt from the club’s shop, and had the receipt, they would let you exchange it for either a RONALDO 7 or CAVANI 21 shirt, so that is what I was doing and have got CAVANI 21 now, figuring that this is due to be Edi’s last season with us whereas Ronny may well be around for longer.

That said, Edi is hinting at staying, if tales are to be believed, and he did put a selfie on Instagram the other week of him wearing a Busby Babes “final line-up” pin badge (see above photo), so he’s making the effort to learn the club’s history, which impresses me about him even more.

Right, now I’ve brought you that news, I thinkt that is about all for now and I shall get some more reading done! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • And Did Those Feet – Charlie Connelly
  • Swimming – Roger Deakin
  • The Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling
  • Guess How Much I Love You – Sam McBratney
  • The Wrong Kind of Snow – Antony Woodward & Robert Penn
  • Spirals in Time – Helen Scales
  • The Shepherd’s Life – James Rebanks
  • Man About Tarn – Pete May

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, British Weather, Childrens' Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Half-Finished Books, Junior Bookworms, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, Travel

Badger’s Arse, Book Sorting and Beethoven…

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

You join Chief Bookworm in her PJs and dressing-gown and listening to Classic FM as she types this blog out on her iPad, feeling a little bit better than the last two days, although that wouldn’t be too difficult, as on Thursday and Friday I felt like shite, to use that well-known technical term!

I should have been in town at the moment with my mum and sister to hear my niece perform at Manchester Cathedral, but having had a truly shitty cold the last couple of days, the unwelcome return of the Badger’s Arse, I was not quite up to going today. Colds ruin everything! Grrrr!

Despite feeling like crap, though, I have managed to get a bit of reading done when my eyes have not been watering too much and I did get some books finished. The first of them was on Wednesday, so that was before the Badger’s Arse struck.

So, I have got three book finishes to tell you about. An ebook, a physical book and some sheet music – an orchestral score, in fact. The first of the books to be finished off, which happened before this stupid cold came on, was the brilliant Man About Tarn, by Pete May. That was on my Kindle, and about his love of the Lake District, a place I also love to visit on a frequent basis, and I was there in August, of course, in Bowness on Windermere, also with a visit to Keswick on this occasion to see the pencil museum (see photo below for the giant pencil) and have a really nice day in the town as well.

So, I was feeling a bit iffy on Wednesday night, but took some capsules and thought I’d be alright… but no… I woke up on Thursday feeling like shite (technical term), because the notorious Badger’s Arse had come in the night, and thus I needed to phone in and let my manager know I was full of a cold and not well enough to work. I also had to do this again yesterday as the brock’s posterior had not gone away.

I did, somehow, manage to finish off Black Coffee Blues, by Henry Rollins. My 43rd finish of the year, and got the reading in when my eyes weren’t too watery and I wasn’t having a sneezing fit either.

The third of the books to be finished off came about rather by chance as it was due to Classic FM and one of their Hall of Fame Concerts. The final item on the programme was Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, by Ludwig van Beethoven, in its entirity, and I have the orchestral score for that, so I was following the music as I listened! Was tricky following the first movement, but the other three seemed easier to keep track of, especially the final movement, as it also has singing in it, hence it is often known as the Choral Symphony.

Of course, my title does mention book sorting as well as the Badger’s Arse and Beethoven, and I decided to sort out the books that were lurking under my towers of Funko Pops the other day. The Funkos have been rearranged and I am looking at the books to see if I want to read any or if some can go to charity shops. There were ten books, so I have been able to do another list on List Challenges.

I have started on The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame. As I said in a recent blog, there is no shame in adults reading children’s books. Books are for all ages unless they’re erotica – those are only for anyone 18 and over because of their content, but I reckon anything goes when it comes to most other reading matter.

Very likely to read You Can’t Win Anything With Kids, by Wayne Barton, as it’s about the 1995-96 season, one of my other favourite seasons beside the one in which we did the Treble. Obviously 1998-99 was The Best Season Ever in the Entire History of Football, but if you were to ask me about other favourite seasons apart from that one, then 1995-96 would be high up on my list. King Eric returned from suspension, the “kids” proved Alan Hansen wrong, and Kevin Keegan lost his bottle live on Sky Sports with his “I’d love it if we beat them” rant! Oh, and my lads won the Premier League and FA Cup Double for the second time, largely thanks to Monsieur Cantona!

One of the other books I might consider is one which I picked up some time ago from a sale table at Waterstone’s, and that one is Sherbet & Spice, by Mary Işın – a book about the history of Turkish sweets and desserts. I have a very sweet tooth, as many know, lol, and it mentions both Turkish delight and baklava. Mmmm… baklava… making me think of desserts down the road at La Turka! Not that I often have room for dessert when I’m there as their starters and main courses are very generous in their portion sizes!

Bohemian Rhapsody, by Lesley-Ann Jones can stay. Actually, that’s the same book that I gave my friend for her birthday back in July from the books I bought in Llandudno on the North Wales book-buying spree, lol! I was going to give her Total Recall, the autobiography of Arnold Schwarzenegger, but she already had that when I checked, so I gave her the book about Freddie Mercury and Queen instead. Probably just as well, or I would have had a duplicate book situation!

I actually did have a duplicate book when I was having a reshuffle the other day, as I found I already had a copy of Around the World in 80 Trains, by Monisha Rajesh, so I kept the recent purchase from Euston Station and put the other copy in one of the bags on the landing which will eventually go to charity shops or the church Christmas fair.

Anyway, with a few books now safely on the books read list, what of the remaining Ongoing Concerns? I am currently at least 20% into Swimming, by Roger Deakin, from the Vintage Minis series – it was one of the three books I bought at Euston Station while we were waiting for the train back to Manchester after our London, Watford and Harry Potter trip, and it is only a short book, so I figured it shouldn’t take too long to read and it would get my September book tally up to five and my 2021 total so far up to 45. That would mean editing the Goodreads Challenge target again, lol!

The Wrong Kind of Snow just needs yesterday and today reading and it will be up to date. Still managing to keep up with it, and we are over two thirds of the way through that now as we are in mid September. Actually, once I have caught up with it this weekend, it will be 72% read, so almost at the three quarter stage!

I still have Splash! by Howard Means, Devorgilla Days, by Kathleen Hart, and The Last Wilderness, by Neil Ansell, on the go, but you won’t be too surprised to learn that I have started on another ebook on my Kindle, especially as it’s another by Charlie Connelly! This one is And Did Those Feet, which is Charlie walking tbrough 2,000 years of British and Irish history! Basically, this book is about him recreating some famous walks and other journeys in the history of these shores!

Funnily enough, as I’m quite into links between books and seeing how one book can lead to another because of a similar theme, I still have Long Road from Jarrow, by Stuart Maconie, which I haven’t read yet, but which I got when I met him at Waterstone’s on Deansgate back in 2017, and that book sees Stuart recreate the march for jobs from Jarrow, near Newcastle upon Tyne, down to London. As that is a famous journey in our country’s history, that might be one to read after this next dose of Charlie Connelly!

Well, I think that’s probably about it for now, as I have brought you pretty much up to date on the book front, so until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Man About Tarn – Pete May
  • Black Coffee Blues – Henry Rollins
  • Symphony No. 9 in D Minor – Ludwig van Beethoven (orchestral score)
  • The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
  • You Can’t Win Anything With Kids – Wayne Barton
  • Sherbet & Spice – Mary Işın
  • Bohemian Rhapsody – Lesley-Ann Jones
  • Total Recall – Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Around the World in 80 Trains – Monisha Rajesh
  • Swimming – Roger Deakin
  • The Wrong Kind of Snow – Antony Woodward & Robert Penn
  • Splash! – Howard Means
  • Devorgilla Days – Kathleen Hart
  • The Last Wilderness – Neil Ansell
  • And Did Those Feet – Charlie Connelly
  • Long Road from Jarrow – Stuart Maconie

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Childrens' Books, Duplicate Books List, E-Books & Audiobooks, Food & Drink, Football, Goodreads, List Challenges, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Radio, The TBR Pile, Travel