Category Archives: Travel

Mystic Mince Pies, Hot Milk, and Traffic Jams…

Hot Milk and Mr Dickens

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the books are so delightful! Yep, we’ve had some snow today at Bookworm Central, lol! Some actual snow, as opposed to the usual attempt to snow in the UK. We have a kind of weather which I would describe as “Trying To Snow” which is when there’s a very minor flurry but nowt else, lol! However, at several times during the course of the day so far, it has been snowing. There has been some rain in between times so that has washed it away, but we have had snow. Not enough to build a snowman, not round here, unless you make a mini snowman on a garden wall or something.

Been a busy old week, and not over yet considering it is scheduled to be the Manchester Derby tomorrow at Old Trafford – snow permitting, of course! Anyway, I was at the match on Tuesday as United played CSKA Moscow in our final group game. Prior to the game, Dad came round for tea as we were going in his car, as has happened frequently this season. After our chilli con carne, we had some mince pies and squirty cream, and when Dad squirted cream on his pies, it looked like a 2 on one pie, and a 1 on the other, so he said that would be the score that night…

Not best pleased at half-time when we were trailing to a blatantly offside “goal” which should never have stood. Thankfully, in the second half, we turned things around in the space of three minutes midway through the half, with Romelu Lukaku equalising before Marcus Rashford put us ahead… and that reminded me of the pies and squirty cream, lol! 2-1 it remained, so when I got back in the car with Mum & Dad, the talk was of the Mystic Mince Pies, lol! Never mind your “Paul the Octopus” predicting winning sides in the World Cup, we had Mystic Mince Pies predicting the scoreline in United’s Champions League match!

So, we have won our group and we are through to the knockout stages, which start in mid-February. European football has a winter break, although we will find out on Monday who we have got in the first knockout round. As we have won our group, we will be away in the first leg, and at home in the second. It’s better that way, because if you don’t get a particularly good result in the first leg, you know you’ve got home advantage which can really help to turn things around in the second leg! Having said that, when we did the Treble in 1999, our quarter final and semi final ties against Inter Milan and Juventus saw United have the home leg first, and away leg second, and we still ended up winning the trophy!

Right, that’s the footy done, on to the books, lol!

Didn’t get any more of my book read in time for book club the next night, but I did get 70% read, so was mostly able to participate in the discussions, and I will finish it off – after all, I have just under a third left to read of The Good People. After our discussion, for which there were five of us, with Stephanie rejoining the fold as well as the four of us from last month – myself, Michelle, Nick and Diane, we discussed the next book and whether we should read something Christmassy, or deliberately un-Christmassy, and I said perhaps we should make it something reasonably short as we might not get a lot of time to get some reading in over the festive season! So, with a couple of us already owning a copy, we went for something fairly short and set in the summer, Hot Milk, by Deborah Levy. Our next meeting is on 10th January to give us a bit more time to read after Christmas and New Year!

Prior to the start of the book club, I met up with three of my colleagues from my days at Manchester DBC – June Padley, Anne Emmott, and Martin Biddles! It was great to be able to have a chat with them again and catch up a bit, also to be able to let them know I am working again at the moment. It was Martin’s birthday, so I guess that’s why they had met up. I said I’d seen one colleague fairly recently, Janice, as she volunteers at one of the charity shops here in Monton, and I am still in touch with quite a few people from my decade at Albert Bridge House on Facebook, and one or two on Instagram.

Right, anyway, I already had Hot Milk, as I said above, but I did buy myself something rather festive on the book front while I was at Waterstone’s, that being Mr Dickens and His Carol, by Samantha Silva. Something suitably seasonal, especially if our stupid weather insists on giving us the white stuff this year!

Chocs and books 2017

Thursday night, after work, Mum and I went off to the Lowry Centre on Salford Quays, as we had a voucher for Pizza Express, so we went in the shops first before we dined, and I stocked up on chocolate from the Cadbury’s shop, as you can see, lol, and a couple of cheap books from The Works, picking up The Snow Globe, by Sheila Roberts, and Hygge and Kisses, by Clara Christensen. Maybe not quite Christmassy as such, but certainly a plot which suggests cosiness, and that’s what many of us want at this time of year!

Then we come to yesterday, and the reason I ended up having to get a bus into Eccles today after my hairdo – I had to get my bus and tram pass, which was what I intended to do after work yesterday, and I got on a bus in decent enough time in Swinton, and headed on into town… except that when the bus actually got into Manchester, it was just bloody crawling along Bridge Street and taking an eternity! I knew I wasn’t going to be able to make it across town to the travel shop in Piccadilly Gardens before it closed at 6pm, so I was a bit pissed off to say the least! But, I was in town, so I thought I might as well do the other stuff, in other words get myself something to eat from the Christmas markets, and as I was on that side of town, and the shop was open for a while yet, I went in Waterstone’s.

Traffic jam compensation books December 2017

Yes, I know. But I was so damn annoyed at the traffic jam that I felt I needed some retail therapy, so off I went into my natural habitat, lol, and came out with three books – Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k, by Sarah Knight, and Warcross, by Marie Lu. I have mentioned the “not giving a f**k” book before, I think. I already like to think that I give fewer “flying ones” than I used to, but I felt this book would be good anyway! It would be a vindication of my general reduction of f**k-giving, so to speak!

Most of the stuff on telly these days is hardly worth giving a f**k about, especially reality TV shows! Unless they’re about food. I like Masterchef, although I probably shouldn’t watch stuff like that. Cookery programmes make me hungry, lol! I remember watching Ken Hom’s Chinese Cookery late at night on BBC2 when I was a teenager in the late 80s, and that used to make me ridiculously hungry! I absolutely LOVE Chinese food! Always have done since I was very little!

I have half a mind to read Warcross and Ready Player One back-to-back as I feel the premise of both books is pretty similar, and Furiously Happy is a book I have seen on a lot of lists on List Challenges, and people have said, in reviews, that it’s very funny.

I was going to add that, if you want “very funny”, you should definitely read This is Going to Hurt, by Adam Kay, but I’ve been saying that already for a few blogs now, lol! Been saying it since about September or October! Another book I would recommend if you want a good laugh is Cheer Up Love: Adventures in Depression with the Crab of Hate, by Susan Calman. I came upon that one by chance – I just happened to notice it a year or so ago when it was out in hardback and was being promoted in the Arndale Centre branch of Waterstone’s…

One of those times when you start reading a book in a bookshop, and you just know you’re going to have to take it to the counter and buy it because it’s too good not to buy! I didn’t even know who the author was at the time, turns out she’s a Scottish comedienne, but the fact that it was at least a bit about depression interested me – I’ve had a few bouts of that over the years, so I have experience of how shite it is when you’re going through it, and the “Crab of Hate” part of the title amused me, so I picked a copy off the shelf and started reading… and started laughing! It is on my list of books which have made me laugh my arse off, so if you want a good giggle, give it a try!

(Shite is a technical term, by the way!)

I think that’s about it, although I did pick up a couple of cheap books at the Rotary Club shop in Eccles this afternoon as I was waiting for the travel shop to re-open after their lunch break, lol! I picked up Unholy Night, by Seth Grahame-Smith, and The Spy Who Came For Christmas, by David Morrell. Both sounded suitably seasonal. Seth Grahame-Smith is the same guy who did the Austen-reworking, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, lol! Anyway, until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • Hot Milk – Deborah Levy
  • Mr Dickens and His Carol – Samantha Silva
  • The Snow Globe – Sheila Roberts
  • Hygge and Kisses – Clara Christensen
  • Furiously Happy – Jenny Lawson
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k – Sarah Knight
  • Warcross – Marie Lu
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • Cheer Up Love: Adventures in Depression With the Crab of Hate – Susan Calman
  • Unholy Night – Seth Grahame-Smith
  • The Spy Who Came For Christmas – David Morrell
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Filed under Books, British Weather, Facebook & Other Social Media, Food & Drink, Football, Humour, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Mental Health, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Television, The TBR Pile, Travel, Weather

September Review, Four – Nil Again!

Books bought 1st October 2017

OK, just bought these today 1st October, but I will review last month as well, lol!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Time for the monthly review, and September has been very busy as I started my new job on the 4th, and I’ve been adjusting not just to being back in work, but also to the fact that it’s full-time. A lot of learning, a lot of information to take in, so this could well be why my OC List has gone completely to shit! Well, that might have something to do with it, anyway, as well as the fact that books on the list just weren’t being read. It’s one thing to have a selection of books on that list, and quite a good variety too, but I never seemed to be in the mood for any of them, so the OC thing has effectively stopped for now, certainly in the form that it had taken.

I have realised there is NO point fussing about having a balance if it’s totally fake and you’re just not in the mood for certain kinds of books! I came to realise that if I simply wanted to read all non-fiction, or all fiction, or all young adult, then I should just do that and sod balancing things out. I don’t owe it to anyone to maintain balance! It’s about what I feel like reading. I’m not doing it for anyone else, this blog of mine is personal, it’s not a situation like Nick Hornby‘s where he was blogging for a book reviewing publication, the results of which you can read in The Complete Polysyllabic Spree, and I would recommend it!

Anyway, before we bring you up to date with the first of October’s book-related activity, let’s get September sorted on the review front. Two books were finished this month, those being The Angry Chef, by Anthony Warner, which had been a book club book, and If I Stay, by Gayle Forman, which I read for an online book club of sorts on Facebook. The sequel, Where She Went, is still to hand, and perhaps I should read it while the first book is still relatively fresh in my mind.

Book club is this coming Thursday, 5th October. Thankfully, the politicians will have buggered off back to London after their conference, so it shouldn’t be a problem. I don’t even want ANY party coming to Manchester, even if it had been a left-wing one, because it’s a bloody nuisance and inconvenience to us, but I really didn’t want who we’ve got! ALL parties should have their conferences in London, as I’ve probably said in blogs before now, because it’s the only damn place most politicians give a shit about! They’re about as welcome around here as a fart in a wetsuit, as Sir Billy Connolly would put it!

The book club book is Blitzed, by Norman Ohler, and I am at 60% read on that one. This is Going to Hurt, by Adam Kay, his diaries from his days as a doctor, is at 40% read, and On Writing, by Stephen King, at 23% so clearly I am in a non-fiction mood of late. It’s not unusual, to quote the Sir Tom Jones song! My current e-book read on my Kindle, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, by Balli Kaur Jaswal, is now at 20% having read some more of it yesterday evening while in the car park at Old Trafford, and in traffic in Trafford Park, following our 4-0 win over Crystal Palace. Yes, yet another 4-0! If last season was the 1-1 draw season, which it certainly seemed to be in the league at home, then we’ve started this campaign with quite a few nice 4-0 wins!

On this occasion, a quick opening goal from Juan Mata, two goals from Marouane Fellaini, and one from Romelu Lukaku near the end gave us the win. Poor Palace can’t defend and they still can’t score! They are yet to score a goal in the Premier League this season! You won’t be terribly surprised to learn that they have lost all 7 of their fixtures thus far and are at the bottom of the league, completely pointless.

On Friday, after work, I headed into town to enjoy the Manchester Food and Drink Festival. I had a drink and a read of This is Going to Hurt while I was in a coffee shop, as I recharged my phone! Then I went over to sample the grub, having some pasta with pesto sauce, some churros and chocolate, and then a rhubarb gin and ginger ale, all of which I can recommend! I will visit again, at least on Thursday, as I can eat at the festival after book club! Epic Win!

Maybe some more people will join us on Thursday? There were three of us last time.

Also coming up shortly, next Sunday in fact, is my nephew’s 1st birthday! Reuben, the Chunky Monkey, will be a year old! Doesn’t time fly?! Charlotte is 7 and now in the juniors at primary school, and Reuben is almost one! I shall report back on the birthday after the event, but that’s coming up on 8th October.

Charlotte is definitely taking after her auntie, and on the music front as well as the books! She started learning the violin in the previous school year, and now she’s in the juniors, she’s joined the school choir!

Right, onto the books I acquired earlier… The footy one is one which is published every year, and is full of stats for the previous season. I haven’t always bought it every year, but given that my lads did win both the EFL Cup and the Europa League last season, I definitely thought it was worth getting on this occasion! It’s probably not going on List Challenges, but the other two are, as they’re fiction, and they caught my eye, even if it does seem a bit daft having a title which seems like a spoiler, lol! John Dies at the End, by David Wong, is the book in question, although I’ve also heard of a book, published a few years ago now, called Skippy Dies, by Paul Murray, and you’d think the author wouldn’t really want to give the game away like that, wouldn’t you?! The thing which always gets me with that one is that the Skippy in question is a human – even though the TV show was a little before my time, I am so used to thinking that Skippy was a kangaroo, lol!

I have to admit that if an author goes and calls his novel Doughnut and puts a photo of said item of bakery on the front cover, that is VERY likely to attract my attention! You know by now what a foodie I am, and that I’ve always had a sweet tooth, and I am VERY fond of doughnuts, so it was rather inevitable that this book by Tom Holt caught my eye. It is NOT the only book I own with doughnuts on the cover, either, as I also have This Book Will Save Your Life, by A. M. Homes on my notorious TBR pile! I picked that one up some time ago from a charity shop, probably in Salford, and it’s a wonder I hadn’t already mentioned it in a blog, but seemingly I haven’t as it wasn’t previously on my List Challenges list – if it had been, I’d have got a message saying “item already exists” but I didn’t get that error message!

So, a couple of doughnut books! Just right for reading if you’re enjoying the said items at Krispy Kreme, lol. Perhaps, also, at Timmie’s, if the Manchester branch or branches of Tim Horton’s have opened up yet? I enjoyed coffee, doughnuts and Timbits when I was in Canada in 2009, so I was delighted at the news earlier this year that they were opening up in the UK. I shall have to look up as to where Timmie’s is in town.

Mmmmmm…. Doughnuts!

Anyway, never mind my Homer Simpson moment, lol, back to the matter in hand. The badge you can see in the photo was from Waterstone’s and says “I believe in tea & books”, thus just right for me! Sometimes tea, books and music as well, although it depends what I’m reading. If I feel the need to concentrate on the book, I am better off without the music and have to pause it, but on other occasions I can happily have some tunes on while I read, or have a music channel on, such as Vintage TV.

Anyway, I think that’s we’re we’ve got to for now. The book situation is up to date, and into October we go! I may yet return to stuff which used to be on the Ongoing Concerns of old, but for now I’m reading what I’m reading and it’s mostly factual! Some of it is pretty funny, especially the Adam Kay book! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

And, yes, before you ask, I probably will feel the need for a doughnut in the next day or so! I blame Tom Holt and A. M. Homes, lol!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Complete Polysyllabic Spree – Nick Hornby
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman
  • Where She Went – Gayle Forman
  • Blitzed – Norman Ohler
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • On Writing – Stephen King
  • Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows – Balli Kaur Jaswal
  • John Dies at the End – David Wong
  • Skippy Dies – Paul Murray
  • Doughnut – Tom Holt
  • This Book Will Save Your Life – A. M. Homes

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Filed under Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Food & Drink, Football, Humour, Junior Bookworms, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Month in Review, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, Travel

The Farce Is Strong With This Bus!

Stationery at work

My stationery “welcome pack”

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a number 2 bus! Well, it must have been in a galaxy far far away, as it sure as hell wasn’t turning up anywhere near my place of work when I needed to get home this evening! I ended up getting a lift home after my first day in my new job, and I hope the bus problem was a one-off and that I will be able to get a bus home in decent time on most occasions, especially when United have evening home matches, as they will do next week and the week after…

As Yoda might put it with regards to this bus…

Come it did not.

Off I am pissed.

Yes, mmmm….

Despite the bus problems, I had a good first day as an admin officer in my new job, and I was given that stationery pack as part of the welcome! I had actually brought a notebook, best to be prepared and all that, but I didn’t need it, as they provided me with two, one A4 and one A5, plus a pen and a pack of highlighters! Epic Win! The Force was strong with the stationery, if not the public transport, lol!

Anyway, book club looming on the horizon, two days to go – actually, at this time on Wednesday, I’ll have been to book club and got the next book, whatever it is we end up deciding upon for our October meeting, and I’ll probably be in town having something to eat, but for now, we’re still on The Angry Chef, although I am nearing the end, and managed to get a bit of reading done at lunchtime, taking the percentage up to 81%. I feel I can get this finished in time for the meeting. I just hope that more than two of us turn up this time! I want a decent discussion about this one, which is what I didn’t get about The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old.

Please let there be more than two of us this time! Even if it means we end up with something which isn’t my cup of tea on the reading front! I just don’t want it to be two of us again, especially not like last time! I really don’t want someone latching on to me, especially when I find it hard to hear what that person’s saying due to quiet volume and an accent.

Anyway, other book matters now… After this Saturday, when my lads are away to Stoke, we will have 3 home games on the trot, two of them midweek games, one in Europe and one in the League Cup. Due to the traffic situation in Trafford Park, which I have mentioned in previous blogs as being an arseache, I took a book with me to the home matches against West Ham United and Leicester City last month. Thing is, two games will be at night, and even though the Everton game is in the afternoon, we are now into the autumn and it will be getting darker earlier, so I think I might have to take my Kindle and read e-books as my match day reading, particularly when we’re stuck in traffic for ages coming home from Old Trafford after the match!

With that in mind, looks like I might get into regular use of my Kindle throughout the autumn and winter. I’ve certainly got plenty of reading matter to choose from. There are some books which are just samples, but there are plenty of full books which I have downloaded over the years since I got my Kindle towards the tail end of 2011. If you wish to read about THAT saga, check out my archives from 2011, particularly from the summer onwards until the Kindle finally arrived, which was in the November as I recall! People who’ve followed my blogs for some years might already recall that ongoing saga, but newer followers may be unfamiliar with the story which started that summer when I was working in Chorlton and found a free book when I was having lunch at Barbakan Deli…

The book was How To Leave Twitter, by Grace Dent. Anyway, you can check out my old blog entries and read it for yourselves, so I won’t give any more spoilers!

So, anyway, if I am going to be doing some more e-reading, perhaps I should incorporate that into the Ongoing Concerns? I can keep track of e-books just as I can keep track of physical books, although maybe just the percentage read for an e-book rather than also giving the page numbers which I sometimes do for my paperbacks or hardbacks. At the moment, there are 7 books, 6 books and a book club wild card, so to speak. I should look to narrowing things down a bit more, really. Maybe one fiction, one non-fiction, one YA, one e-book (any category), the latest book club book, and perhaps one more?

By the way, your Chief Bookworm is now enjoying a G&T. Relieving bus-related stress from earlier today, so to speak!

So, back to the e-books now, and what the hell have I actually GOT on my Kindle?! A damn good question! Perhaps Dorothy Must Die, by Danielle Paige – I got that as a freebie some time ago, I think, possibly a Kindle daily deal or something. There’s plenty of other things on there, some recent, some which I’ve had on for ages and not read, lol! An electronic TBR List to go along with my physical TBR List Just like my physical books, it’s a very random collection of reading material, a mixture of fiction and non-fiction alike, and stuff for children, adults and young adults.

* England 2 Slovakia 1. Marcus Rashford puts England ahead. Not that I’m biased, lol, but a United player gives the national team the lead… Stick that on your needles and knit it, ABU knobheads! *

Anyway, sorry, where were we before young Mr Rashford’s goal?! Discussing the total randomness of books on my Kindle, which shouldn’t really be a surprise as it mirrors the total randomness of physical books in my possession anyway! Unread, partially-read and fully-read, fiction and non-fiction, books for young and old… whichever format they’re in, that’s what I’ve got! A couple of my recent downloads include The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers, and Caraval, by Stephanie Garber.

Wonder if there’s any free books around? Classics are often free as e-books because they’re so damn old now that they’re out of copyright. Yep, there’s a few classics floating around as free e-books! So I am going to see what I can get, and I shall leave things there for now. England have won 2-1, the full time whistle has just gone, so until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old – Hendrik Groen
  • How To Leave Twitter – Grace Dent
  • Dorothy Must Die – Danielle Paige
  • The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet – Becky Chambers
  • Caraval – Stephanie Garber

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Filed under Books, Chunky Monkeys, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Food & Drink, Football, Junior Bookworms, Manc Stuff!, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books

Matchday Reading and Belgian Chocolate Seashells

Lukaku brace United 4 West Ham 0 August 2017

A great start to the new season – 4-0 win and some reading done!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Well, that was pretty emphatic yesterday! The 2017-18 Premier League season got off to an excellent start for my lads with a resounding 4-0 home victory over West Ham United, hammering the Hammers with two goals from Romelu Lukaku, one from Anthony Martial, and one from Paul Pogba. Man of the Match was our new Serbian, Nemanja Matić, thus giving me another name and number for consideration when I get around to getting my new shirt! I’m still going with a theme of midfielders beginning with M, though, lol! Mkhitaryan 22, Mata 8 or Matić 31. Decisions, decisions!

matic 31 magnets

Serbian footballers called Nemanja are pretty damn good… 😀

One thing was pretty evident before the match, that the traffic in Trafford Park was going to be an arseache. There’s going to be at least three years of roadworks, much of it near the Hallowed Ground, as they prepare new tram lines for the Metrolink service. A new tram route, or at least a new branch of it, will eventually bring trams near Old Trafford, the Imperial War Museum North and the Trafford Centre, and they’re hoping that will be completed by 2020, but in the meantime that means a lot of arseache of the roadworks variety! Road cones everywhere, you get the picture!

Coupled with this, we have now been moved to a different car park at Old Trafford after years of N2. We’re now in W2, which basically means we park behind the Stretford End! However, this means going to the match, and going home, a completely different way to the way we’ve been doing our match-going routine for years now! So, I decided I’d take a book with me! No, not in case there was a penalty in the last minute, lol, although those of you who share my appreciation for the comedy legend that is Sir Billy Connolly will no doubt get that reference!

But, I wasn’t bringing Wuthering Heights with me, lol! Nor was I taking my book into the ground, I was simply going to read it on the way there, leave it in the car, and read some more on the way back. I took The Angry Chef, my book club book, and got a decent amount of that read while we slowly made our way to the match! Got there just about in time for kick-off! Anyway, great results all round, as United won 4-0 and I am now 20% of the way through my book club book!

Therefore, I think a matchday reading plan has been hatched! If the traffic is going to be this shite for the forseeable future, bringing a book with me to read and making further inroads with my Ongoing Concerns list is a good idea and I can get some good reading done in traffic jams, lol! Periodic Tales, if I haven’t finished it soon, might be a Trafford Park Traffic Tome in coming weeks, lol!

The Belgian seashells were acquired yesterday evening from Tesco on Monton Road! When we had RvP, I used to have stroopwafels when he scored goals, but I needed something Belgian rather than Dutch, now our main striker is Romelu Lukaku, so chocolate seashells it is! Actually, this Thursday, 17th August, it will be five years since Robin van Persie joined us from Arsenal! I miss Robin. Still, I did get to enjoy rather a lot of stroops while he was sticking the ball in the net for us, especially the night before my 40th birthday when he scored that hat-trick at home to Aston Villa which meant we’d won our 20th league title!

Still awaiting my start date for my new job. Was at one of the places at which I volunteer this morning, and Nicola informed me she’d provided a reference and emailed it back. I just hope the other referee has done likewise, so that I can have some news as soon as possible. Start date, and also, preferably, salary too. I will also need to see how I can fit my reading in around work. How long will I get for lunch? If an hour, I might possibly get to read at lunchtime. If not, it’ll probably be a case of reading on the buses, or simply in the evenings or at weekends.

It’s not really going to be a long bus journey to work, though. Swinton is not that far away. A little bit further than going into Eccles, but not the longest of journeys. That’s good in terms of the working day, it doesn’t add too much on to that, but the one thing which could be said for my civil service days, particularly when I worked in Chorlton for three years, is that I could get some good reading done on those journeys!

Back to the footy a moment, though, for those of you who didn’t get the Billy Connolly reference. It’s from one of his stand-up shows which we’ve had on video and DVD for years, and about football matches, how people learn terrace songs, how they know when to start one off (“when your assassin goes after their smartarse”), and when people say the stupidest things at matches… the scenario is that a penalty is awarded late in a match, but the daft numpty taking it has missed… Cue Billy talking about the eejit next to him at the match…

Eejit: Did ye see that?

Billy: No, I was reading Wuthering Heights! I just couldnae put it down! I always bring a good book with me in case there’s a penalty in the last minute!

And then he comes out with the molten-bronze droplet of soccer wisdom…

Eejit: If that’d gone in the net, it would’ve been a goal!

Billy: [sarcastically] You don’t say! I can see you’ve studied the game of football in some depth!

So, that bit is what I was on about earlier, hence the references to Wuthering Heights and last-minute penalties, lol! There weren’t any penalties in our 4-0 thumping of West Ham, though. There was a free kick, so Lukaku’s second goal came after we were awarded a set piece, but the other three goals were from open play. Pogba’s goal was in the last minute of normal time, but wasn’t a penalty.

Before I finish, a brief update on the OC front. The Angry Chef moves up to 4th as it is now on 20% after yesterday’s pre-match reading session! It overtakes A Quiet Kind of Thunder and Dead Ends. Dark Fire still needs to reach the 10% stage. Work to be done there, methinks, plus trying to finish off Periodic Tales.

I shall get this finished off and published, then you can all have a read of my match day reading arrangements, lol! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
  • Dead Ends – Erin Lange
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom

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July Review

Hendrik Groen finished July 2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Well, I forgot the tick on my wipeboard, but The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old has now been read, and I would love a sequel! Think of Adrian Mole, but imagine him as an elderly Dutch guy in an old folks’ home in Amsterdam with all his aches and pains, and various grumbles, plus a sense of adventure!

So, I have finished three entire books within the course of this past month, with Hendrik Groen’s completion following on from One Italian Summer and Dissolution which were both finished last week. During the course of 2017 so far, I have read, or at least finished off, 34 books, meaning I am 4 books over my Goodreads Challenge target of 30, which I met in May, and I feel July has been very productive on the book front!

I have read at least 50 pages of each of the six books I have read during the course of July, with Me and Earl and the Dying Girl needing more reading done on it. Only read 50 pages of that one, but with reading Dissolution, the first of the Shardlake series, that was 443 pages, so that was the most for any book I read this month. As I am listing these books here, they will not be listed at the end of the blog, although other books will be mentioned.

One Italian SummerKeris Stainton. 241 pages. (Read whole book)

DissolutionC. J. Sansom. 443 pages. (Read whole book)

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years OldHendrik Groen. 376 pages. (Read whole book)

Periodic TalesHugh Aldersey-Williams. 88 pages read in July.

Me and Earl and the Dying GirlJesse Andrews. 50 pages read in July.

Neither Here Nor ThereBill Bryson. 92 pages read in July.

Total number of pages read in July: 1,290

Nemanja Matic joins MUFC 31st July 2017

My current distraction from reading, but July has been a good month for books!

Wow! That’s a lot of pages! After June, which wasn’t all that productive, I feel July has been a great month on the book front! Probably because I felt I had to do something while waiting for United to sign players in the transfer window, lol! Therefore I got a lot of reading done between breaking news on Sky Sports News! We have signed Romelu Lukaku, of course, and now Nemanja Matic, but the fannying about from our chief exec, Ed Woodward (aka The Gnome), was getting a bit much at times, and doing my head in, so I had to escape into a few good books while I waited for him to get his arse in gear and get signings done and dusted!

(We did also sign Victor Lindelof, but that was in June, so I’m dealing more with July’s events in this blog!)

I think this is something like my 166th book blog, but I know some things for sure. I now have 61 followers, 60 on WordPress, plus 1 via email, so thanks very much to all of you who brave my waffle on a regular basis in the hope that I mention something to do with books! The vast majority of my blogs on here are about books, but there have been one or two occasions when only one or two books have been mentioned because something has happened for me to bring up a particular news event. I am pretty sure that’s not a common thing, though. I remember having a rant at the chavs responsible for the arson and looting in 2011, and I also posted my Manchester La La La blog entry in May this year after the bomb at the Arena. I still did get a couple of book references in each of those blogs, though, but I hope you understand these things had to be said and that you knew I would get back to matters of a literary nature!

(The blog covering the arson and looting rant was in September 2011, I think, and was called If They Steal Any Books, They Might Even Learn Something! It’s either August or September’s archive from 2011, anyway, should you wish to look up that blog and have a read of it.)

Cathedral book bench 4

This month also saw the Book Benches appear around town, and they are on display up to 10th September. For those wishing to see them, they are indoors at their various locations, such as Central Library, the Arndale Centre, Manchester Cathedral and the National Football Museum. There are also many others to find! Not just in the city centre, but also dotted around various suburbs of Manchester!

Charlotte bookmark 2017

My niece, the Junior Bookworm, celebrated her 7th birthday this month, so I stitched her a cross-stitched bookmark. It is currently keeping her place in one of her books.

So, let’s get on to the Ongoing Concerns as July comes to an end. Early this month, as you may recall, I decided it was time for the OC Overhaul, and booted a few books off the list. It was actually a matter of being fair to those books as they hadn’t been read for ages, and were being overlooked and overtaken. I had about 9 or 10 books on the list, but only 3 or 4 of those were being picked up and read, so I had a cull and decided I would have six books, two fiction, two non-fiction and two young adult.

The revised list of six books was Dissolution, One Italian Summer, Hendrik Groen, Periodic Tales, Me and Earl, and Neither Here Nor There. As you know now, the first three of those books have been read, so that leaves  us with three to be continued as we head into August…

Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews

Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson

OC list end of July 2017

The new OC List as we head into August…

Two of those are non-fiction, with Me and Earl being Young Adult, so we need two general fiction books and one young adult one to get the OC list back to the half dozen. One of the general fiction books I am adding is The Beach Hut, by Veronica Henry. As that one is already 34% read, it can go straight on the OC List. It is over 10% read. The other two books are Dark Fire, by C J Sansom, the second Shardlake novel, of which I will need to read 58 pages to get to 10%, and A Quiet Kind of Thunder, by Sara Barnard, 31 pages of which should see me reach 10% and I will thus be able to add it to my OC List. With those two, of course, it all depends on that first ten percent, and whether it grabs me enough to continue!

If, for any reason, I am not enjoying them, I will have to reconsider matters, but I feel confident that I will enjoy these books.

Lake District purchases July 2017

Before I finish, a couple of mentions for some books acquired recently. As I went to the Lake District last week, I picked up The Shepherd’s Life, by James Rebanks, which had been a bit of a word-of-mouth surprise best-seller a year or so ago if I recall rightly. It’s from a shepherd in the Lake District, so it’s local to that area. Yes, there were also magnets purchased, lol, and some necessary Kendal Mint Cake! Had to be done! Today, I was just out and about locally to me, though, and picked up a 20p bargain from one of the charity shops on Salford Precinct, the book in question being The Food of Love Cookery School, by Nicky Pellegrino. It’s set in Sicily, it’s about food, and it was a mere 20p, so I decided to risk it for a biscuit!

Well, that’s about it for this month on the book front, I think that’s all my news for July, so as we head into August, I shall finish this off and get it published, so until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry (other than the original 6 OCs)

  • The Beach Hut – Veronica Henry
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom (Shardlake #2)
  • A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
  • The Shepherd’s Life – James Rebanks
  • The Food of Love Cookery School – Nicky Pellegrino

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Filed under Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Month in Review, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books

Sit Down With a Good Book!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

One week of July left, folks! Latest updates on the OC front coming later, but I have been promising you some photos of the book benches in Manchester, haven’t I?! I think I posted the above ones before, and those are amongst the benches in the Arndale Centre. This event is running for two months, from 10th July to 10th September, so if you’re in Manchester at any time, get yourself a map and try to find as many book benches as you can! They all seem to be indoors, and there’s plenty yet for me to check out, as I’ve not been to Central Library yet. I have, however, been in Manchester Cathedral and the National Football Museum, and there are benches in both those locations.

These are the ones in the Cathedral ( see above). Yes, you can sit on them, but you should also explore the other side, as they are illustrated on the back as well as on the bench bits!

These ones are in the National Football Museum, so people can sit on a book bench rather than the subs’ bench, I guess, lol! There are four benches in the museum, two on the ground floor and two on the second floor.

I guess I thought, at first, it would be like when we had Cowparade, which was in 2004 if I remember rightly. Although one or two bovines were indoors, and could be found in hotel receptions and Piccadilly Station, most of the cows were outdoors, so I was a bit taken aback not to see any book benches around town, but it seems they’re all indoors. Certainly the ones I have tracked down so far! There are supposed to be some on Salford Quays, so I will have to investigate those – at the Lowry I believe, some at the theatre and some at the outlet mall. Also, if I were to take a trip back to Chorlton, where I worked for three years, I understand there’s a book bench at Chorlton Library.

Chorlton was very good for books, as anyone scrolling through my archives of this blog will discover! Not been for a while, but certainly when I was working in that part of town from 2009 to 2012, there was the Chorlton Bookshop, the Oxfam Bookshop, and several other charity shops with a decent selection of bargain books! I bought that Roald Dahl box set, which I gave Charlotte for Christmas last year, when I was working in Chorlton, and, although I’ve yet to read it, I acquired A Game of Thrones, by George R R Martin for just 79p at the PDSA shop! Despite the TV series being called Game of Thrones, the actual book series is called A Song of Ice and Fire, with A Game of Thrones simply being the first book in what is an ongoing series, with another couple of books expected in the coming years.

I think I shall have to watch the excellent Thug Notes video again before I do attempt the book – I don’t know if you’ve ever watched any of the Thug Notes videos on YouTube, and they’re definitely Not Safe For Work because of the language, lol, but they are a brilliant guide to literature! You know when you’re at school or college and you’re studying some work of literature for your English exams, and you have study guides for that particular book, like Letts’ revision guides or York Notes?! Well, Thug Notes is like a video-based guide to literature in a very colloquial way!

As you know, I’m all in favour of stuff which encourages people to read who possibly wouldn’t. I’m against book-snobbishness, and I am all for things like Thug Notes. Also, it doesn’t matter which format you read in! Hardback, paperback, e-books, audiobooks, large print, Braille… the main thing is to read for pleasure. Yes, audiobooks count, especially if they are the unabridged versions. After all, along with large print and Braille books, audiobooks are good for those with visual impairments, and are more readily available as a format than large print editions or Braille books. E-readers do enable you to enlarge the font size, so those can help, too.

Charlotte bookmark 2017

Now that my niece has had her birthday, turning 7 on Saturday, I am able to show you the bookmark I made for her. I couldn’t really post this any sooner! I need to get on and mention a few more actual books, though, don’t I? I’ve been on about book benches and a bookmark, but let’s get down to mentioning some actual reading matter!

I had One Italian Summer and Neither Here Nor There in my handbag today, and managed to get a bit of each read at lunchtime. I think Keris Stainton must be a fellow Potterhead, as there is a mention of Voldemort in her novel! With the Bill Bryson book, I was reading about his visit to Amsterdam, a city I have visited twice, although I really must go again, as I’ve yet to visit any of the museums! I am now on for a chapter about Hamburg, which I have not really visited, but I did pass through the city in 1991 when I was going to Denmark with the City of Salford Youth Concert Band. We sailed from Harwich to Hamburg on the ferry, and then our coaches drove up through Germany and into Denmark. Coming home, though, we sailed from Esbjerg in Denmark back to Harwich.

I do believe, though, that there are parts of Hamburg where the walls have been coated with hydrophobic paint. Once a surface has been treated with this stuff, it repels liquids, and it has been done to stop drunken revellers peeing against the walls! If they attempt to answer the call of nature and have a wee against the wall, the wee rebounds back on them, wetting their shoes! Ruthless German Efficiency, if you ask me! If you’re a bloke, you’re in Hamburg, and you’ve been caught short, please DO find a proper public loo! You will need Toiletten, and Herren if you have a choice of Damen und Herren. Hope that helps!

On the footy front, STILL waiting for the stupid bloody Gnome to get his arse in gear and sign a couple more players as per Jose’s shopping list! Hence the books I am getting through while waiting for pigs to fly, lol! We had another pre-season friendly last night, and it finished 1-1, thus it went to penalties and one of the most farcical shoot-outs I’ve seen in a long time! If it were a film, you could promote it thus…

Starring Manchester United and Real Madrid in…

HOW NOT TO TAKE PENALTIES!

We won the shoot-out 2-1, so Real were even more useless from the spot than we were, although some of that was due to Dave’s Saves! DDG saved a couple of theirs, and they missed the other two they failed with! Our two successful penalties were converted by Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Daley Blind, so our Dutch defender essentially won it for us. I should have a stroopwafel, then, shouldn’t I?! Dutchman scoring a goal! Thing is, I have less need for stroops now, as the Dutch players we still have at United are both defenders – Daley Blind and Tim Fosu-Mensah. I needed more stroops when RvP was still with us, but as Mr van Persie went to Fenerbahce in 2015, my stroop requirements have decreased in the past two years. I may well need Belgian chocolates, though, as we have signed Romelu Lukaku from Everton this summer, and he is a striker.

A couple of charity shop bargains were acquired earlier, from the Age UK shop in Salford, where I picked up Around the World in 80 Days, by Jules Verne, and Iris & Ruby, by Rosie Thomas, which looked interesting. Anyway, I shall get this published and then you can admire the book benches! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin
  • One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • Around the World in 80 Days – Jules Verne
  • Iris & Ruby – Rosie Thomas

 

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Filed under Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Cross-Stitch, E-Books & Audiobooks, Football, Foreign Languages, Goodreads, Handbag Books, Junior Bookworms, Manc Stuff!, My Bookworm History, Ongoing Concerns, Television, Travel, YA Books

Long Blog From Joanne!

Stuart Maconie at Waterstone's July 2017

Stuart Maconie at Waterstone’s, Deansgate

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

We’re now in the early hours of Friday morning, but I’m hoping to get on with this blog and report on a great evening at Waterstone’s yesterday, when I met one of my favourite writers, Stuart Maconie, who was promoting his brand new book, Long Road from Jarrow, in which he retraces the route from Jarrow to London taken by 200 men from the north-east town in October 1936 to try to petition Parliament to create some jobs in their local area.

Eighty years to the day, Maconie set off from Jarrow in October 2016, taking in what had changed and what was still similar all these years later. As he said himself, during the talk, things have changed so quickly even since last autumn that even some of the events of last year seem very out of date already, but you can’t just go round putting in amendments in all the books – you just have to accept that that’s how things were when you finished writing! An occupational hazard of non-fiction writing, especially when it comes to history!

The lady with Stuart was from BBC Radio 6 if I recall rightly, and was leading the interview-style event prior to Stuart taking questions from the audience. This was in one of the event rooms at the book shop, although Stuart did the book-signing session in the cafe on the 2nd floor, so that was out in the main part of the store again.

If any of you have read and enjoyed his books, he is as witty in real life as when he writes. There were a lot of similarities between 1936 and 2016, despite the eighty year gap. The media was just getting going back then, but the marchers used what forms of communication they had at the time to plan their route, find some accommodation and get some mentions in local papers along the journey! A lot of people felt politicians had turned their backs on them and abandoned them, which is pretty much the feeling a lot of people have even now.

Me with Stuart Maconie July 2017

Me with Stuart Maconie

I didn’t put any questions to him during the Q&A session, but did have a bit of a chat while he was signing my books – he signed my copy of Long Road from Jarrow, and also The Pie at Night, which I had brought with me. I mentioned that I’d got a lot of that read on the way to Wembley in February – it seemed an apt book to take to the EFL Cup Final as football is one of the major things we northerners enjoy as entertainment. He’s a Wigan Athletic fan, so 2013 was a special year for them, as well as my lads. Although they were sadly relegated from the Premier League that season, they did win the FA Cup so it was still a happy memory!

Long Road from Jarrow may have to wait, but hopefully not too long – it depends on the progress of the current non-fiction books on the OC List, but as Periodic Tales is now at 64% and Neither Here Nor There is now at 33%, it shouldn’t be too long before Dave Haslam and Stuart Maconie are on the OC List! Manchester England is being queued up as the next non-fiction to join the OCs, so Long Road from Jarrow can be next after that! They’re both books about (mostly) 20th century British history, popular history of northern England to be exact, but not completely the same. One is specific to my local area, concerning the city’s entertainment history, and the other is the re-tracing of a famous march route down to London by 200 job-seeking Geordie fellas.

My signed book, plus promotional postcard and badge

As I said earlier, he also signed my copy of The Pie at Night, but the photos are of the new book, and the promotional stuff – nice when you get matching freebies, isn’t it?! Plus, it gives me extra things to #Bookstagram about! And there’s plenty to #Bookstagram about when you’re a mad bookworm on Instagram, let me assure you, lol! Particularly when authors of YA novels are liking your posts! I got a like from Keris Stainton when I featured One Italian Summer in one of my Bookstagram posts! Woo-hoo!

I’ve also made friends on Instagram with one of the Waterstone’s ladies – she works in the children’s and young adult’s section, and she’s the one who recommended One Italian Summer to me. She has also recommended When Dimple Met Rishi, by Sandhya Menon, which I certainly like the sound of, but I have yet to acquire a copy.

Super scrumptious story bench

The above photo is a taster of a blog to come, as I plan to do a more thorough mention of the Book Bench Trail shortly. I have found the benches in Manchester Cathedral, and in the National Football Museum, so I will be featuring more photos very soon from around town. It’s just that I wanted to concentrate on the Waterstone’s event with Stuart Maconie in this blog. I don’t mean to over-Manc you all, I know that my followers are pretty spread out – the last time I checked, I had 58 of you following my book blog, so thank you for being brave enough to do that, lol! – and I also know it can be irritating to read about book events you can’t get to as they’re nowhere near where you live! I’d love to go to some of those book fairs I see mentioned on Book Riot’s Facebook page, but they’re all in the USA and I’m on the other side of the pond!

I mean, I’d quite like to go to Hay-On-Wye, which is a famous book town in Wales, well known for having a lot of book shops, and that visit is not beyond the realms of possibility as it is in the UK, so I feel that is an achievable thing for a British bookworm and that I might eventually be able to tick it off from my “to do” list! Not saying I won’t ever get to a book fair or convention in the States, but it’s a more remote possibility than visiting a book town based on the same island I inhabit!

Thus, if there’s book-related stuff happening right on my own doorstep, here in Manchester, I’m going to be having a shufty and reporting on it in this blog! However, for the time being, I’m going to have to call it a night for now and get this thing published, so, until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Long Road from Jarrow – Stuart Maconie
  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • Manchester, England – Dave Haslam
  • One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton
  • When Dimple Met Rishi – Sandhya Menon

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