Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Reading My Books - The Piano Teacher

This book was a fantastic read!  I know, after all of my ho hum book reviews lately you didn't think that I would start a review off with those words did you.

The Piano Teacher by Janice Y K Lee was given to me as a gift quite a few - really QUITE! - years ago now, and it sat on the shelf.  For some reason I wasn't sure about it.  Perhaps it was the tagline "This seasons Atonement" on the cover.  I never really got Atonement.

With my project to get my books read firmly on the agenda now for the last couple of years, when I reached this one on the shelf I had to read it though and I duly have.  Well, actually I have to tell you that as I am writing this I still have the last couple of pages to read, but I skimmed ahead and feel that I can give you the review now.  I loved it that much, I am that anxious to share it with you.

The story follows the lives of the newly married Claire Pendleton who has just moved to Hong Kong, and Will Truesdale and Trudy Liang.  The book is based on historical fact and events that took place during the Second World War in Hong Kong, although it is obviously a work of fiction.  I think that made me enjoy it even more because there was a sense of reality throughout the whole book.  It really carried the story along very well and added an additional layer of interest.

There are two stories running concurrently though the book. that of Claire and Will and then that of Trudy and Will.  There is some violence, but firmly rooted in historical fact and nothing gratuitous.  While I wouldn't recommend it to a very young person an older teen onwards could enjoy this book, because there is no bad language - you know how I feel about that! - there are some "intimate" moments, but again these are part of the story, not just there for the sake of it.

I learned more about life in Hong Kong during this period too which I enjoyed.  You have to sweep some things aside because it is history, we wouldn't do them now, but that was life then.

As I said, Claire has just married and moves with her husband to Hong Kong and they set up home and their very small suburban 1950's lives.  Will has been living there for a lot longer and his and Trudy's story is told mostly during 1941 when Hong Kong was invaded by Japan and then on to the end of the war.  Will and Claire meet 10 years later and it is through their growing relationship that the story is told.

I don't want to say too much otherwise I fear I will give too much of the plot away.  What I can say though is this is a really good read, it makes you want to keep going and find out what is happening and where the story is going to go.  You might think you know and then perhaps you are not so sure.  Some things I figured out, others not so.

What would I rate this book?  10 out of 10!

How is your reading going?  Have you read any good books lately.  Do feel free to share.  Also let me know what you think about fictional books set during historical fact.  Do you enjoy them?

Happy Reading!



p.s. you can find all of my other book reviews here.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Looking Up

I was typing away at some more of the endless e-mails that I have been sending over the last couple of weeks and realised that it was dark.  I touch type without looking at the screen for the most part - as a child it was my lifetimes ambition to be able to do this! - so I look at other things on my desk, notes etc.  I suddenly realised that it was too dark to see what I was reading while typing and looked up to see how dark it was.  This is what I saw.

So while "things" aren't looking up, I guess that it is good that for the first time in a long time I looked up and noticed something that I could photograph and share with you.  So something is looking up, and it isn't just me!

How are things looking around you at dusk these days?


p.s. I am so out of practice, I published this and then realised what I didn't say!  The point is that I looked up and decided to take a photo and that is a breakthrough lately for me, and then I decided that I would stop what I was doing and take a photo and actually do it and to heck with what I was "supposed" to be doing for someone else at that moment.  I also then typed in an e-mail while waiting for the pictures to load that they have to reply to me ASAP because then I am going to be busy doing something for me.  Yes, I actually said that in an e-mail!  Small things, but improving things putting my first hey.

p.p.s. these pictures are "as taken, just cropped to get the big black bit out which appeared on the left of the photo which is a wall that you now cannot see!

p.p.p.s. then I realised the scene had changed again.  Now it looks like this!

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Five On Friday - Survey Results - Lots of Thinking

Thank you to everyone who took part in my Five On Friday survey.  I really appreciate the fact that you took time to fill it out as well as the answers/information that you provided.  Thank you too to those of you who proposed or offered taking some of the load off me in various ways.  I really do appreciate your very kind offers.  Especially the offers to take over if I needed you to and those offering more support, that really was very kind.

After careful reading of your replies and comments and looking at the results I have decided that with a few changes I can make things easier for you and for me and enable me to continue to host Five On Friday.  For those interested in the statistics, I have given them at the end of this post.

I have decided that Five On Friday continues, with changes.

In future I will schedule a link up post to be published every Friday morning, about 1am UK time and the link in the post will remain "live" until about 11pm UK time on Monday.  That allows more time for joining in and linking up as some of you said you didn't like the fact that you thought you could only link up on Friday.  The link did always remain live until Saturday evening, but this extends it further.  I cannot leave the link open all week because it will be too much for me to take care of.

This post will just be the link up post, no post from me and no comments on that post.

As for my own posts, I may not join in every week, but I will try to.  On the weeks that I do join in I will do a separate post that I will link up in just the same way as you can link your posts.  This means that Five On Friday can continue even if I am otherwise occupied, on holiday, don't have anything to share and so on.  Joining in with a post every week has been a lot of pressure - self induced I admit, but still a lot - and I just cannot continue with that.  This way I am just the same as you are and can come and go as I please and I will have comments open there just like any other post.  If I don't post it doesn't mean I am not joining in, I just need to miss a week, just as I am sure that you sometimes need to.

I will still ask that you go and visit other participants and leave them comments.  Although some of you said this put you off taking part, others said this was what you liked most so I don't want to stop encouraging this.  No one is going to check if you have visited anyone or left any comments.  It is your choice and there has never been any "requirement" to comment anywhere.  So this is up to you.  I just think that if you are joining a party it is fun to visit with the other people there!

Also regarding comments and visiting, I will be just like you from now on, I will try and visit as many of you as I can and leave a comment, and if I don't get there, it isn't personal, it is just because I cannot get to everyone all of the time.  I understand - I suspect more than any of the other participants - the pressure of visiting and commenting, and that is why I know that you will not all visit and comment on the posts of everyone who takes part.  I have never expected that you will, and in future I am afraid that I will also not expect it of myself.

That is it for what will be happening with Five On Friday, I hope that this will be easier for all of us and you will know that no matter what the link will be there every week (apart from Good Friday and over the Christmas/New Year period when I do not feel it appropriate to have link ups).  It should be smoother moving forward.

These changes will start with the first Friday in December - next week.  I may or may not be posting for the next few weeks myself, I cannot say at the moment as I am incredibly busy and need to put my attention elsewhere for a little while.  I do hope to join in though.

I hope you will all be happy about this.  I know that it makes me feel much better and I hope the consistency and explanation about commenting and the additional time will all make you feel better about Five On Friday too.

In other life thinking, as I said, I am still very busy, dealing with Mans affairs is proving to be a very rocky road for many (personal!) reasons.  It has caused me to reflect on the way that I react to others and they way they treat and react to me.

I think that you know, or could I hope guess, that my mantra - other than 🎝let it go, let it go🎝 - is to be kind.  I will always try and do that, just as I always have.  It has been a shock to me to realise that not everyone thinks the same way and being kind isn't their first priority.  I am perhaps very naïve, but there you go.  Turns out not everyone is trying to be kind as their first thought.  It doesn't mean that they are being nasty, just that kindness isn't their first thought.

Thinking further about that, and trying to be charitable (!!!), I hope that it isn't so much that they are not kind, it is that they prioritise themselves first and sometimes that is what is needed.  I don't mean being selfish, I just mean getting your priorities right.

Running around and running myself ragged putting everyone else first, trying to make them happy, going out of my way to be kind has left me exhausted.  Physically and emotionally.  The same goes for my dear Hubby.

I suspect (really hope!) that you will not notice any difference in me, but I am changing.  Kindness is still my first thing and it is still what I am hoping for in myself and those around me.  However, I also realise that putting myself and my husband first isn't such a terrible thing to do.

To that end, that is why I have made these particular changes to Five On Friday.  I want to be kind to all of you, but I need to be kind to us and spending half of every week on one blog post isn't really being kind to me or my husband is it.  The same goes for commenting in general.

Really all you may notice is that I sometimes miss a Five On Friday post for myself, and that you might see me less in the comments.  You will see me more though than if I had quit blogging, which I was considering.

This isn't really how I want to finish this post, but it doesn't fit before I have said the above, so I will try and find something a little cheerier to end on in a moment.

Please remember that this is my blog.  It is up to me to choose when I blog, what I write about and when and where I read a post and leave - or don't leave! - a comment.  Just as that applies for me, it applies equally for you too.  I think that we can all forget that and expect too much from someone else and from ourselves.

Your blog is for you, it isn't for someone else to tell you what to do.  That cuts both ways.

Also, if someone doesn't like what you have written about, it is OK for them to just move along, either on that post or forever.  You will never please everyone all of the time and in fact I have realised often you might not please anyone!  So if you don't like something here or on another blog please do remember that and just quietly and peacefully move along.  I don't want to lose any of you, but if my changes don't suit you, please feel free to move on.  I will miss you, I thank you for your time here and I wish you all the very best in the future..

Let us all put kindness first and put ourselves very first and be kind to ourselves.

Actually that wasn't as bad as I thought it would sound!

I will leave you with the thought of love and kindness and as it was Thanksgiving in America yesterday, these words which I think are a good thing for us all to hear.

Being always grateful:

You can't go wrong with Charlie Brown can you.  Or Snoopy of course!!


p.s. these are the results as at the last time I checked them.

Q1. Would you still participate in Five On Friday if I didn't include a post of my own each week and it was just a link up?

72.34% Yes

6.38%   No

21.28% I don't join in so it wouldn't affect me

Q2. Would you still participate if I did a separate post with my Five things on the weeks that I did have something to share and then I just linked my post to the link up?

76.6% Yes

2.13% No

21.28% I don't join in so it wouldn't affect me

Q3. Would you still join in if Five On Friday was only once a month?  Say on the first Friday of the month.

72.34% Yes

8.51%   No

19.15% I don't join in so it wouldn't affect me

Q4. How often do you join in Five On Friday?

31.91% Every week

10.64% Three times a month

6.38%   Twice a month

14.89% Once a month

8.51%   Every two to three months

2.13%   Every three to six months

0.00%   Once a year

25.53% Never

Q9. Assume Five On Friday is ending.  Do you agree with the statement "I am sad to see the end of Five On Friday.

61.7%   Agree strongly

21.28% Agree somewhat

8.51%   Agree

6.38%   Disagree

0.00%   Disagree somewhat

2.13%   Disagree strongly

I haven't included the written replies for obvious reasons and apart from anything else because this is an anonymous survey.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Five On Friday - survey about what you think of it

While tidying my desk I found the notes I made to prepare a survey way back in August to find out what you think about Five On Friday.  As I hadn't shared it before and as I am currently on a blogging break I thought it would be a good time to pose the questions to you so that you have a little while to consider them and to answer them.

So I fiddled around with the final edit of the questions, and I hope that you will feel able to give me some constructive and helpful feedback!

To join in just click the word survey at the bottom of the page and it will take you straight to the survey.  There is nothing to join and all answers are totally anonymous.

Thank you for your help.  I look forward to reading what you have to say.


p.s. please feel free to join in the survey even if you don't normally join Five on Friday as it is still relevant, thank you!


Friday, 11 November 2016

Christmas Card Swap 2016

Hi All

I am sorry that I had to close the swap sign up early.  However, it was great that so many of you wanted to take part.  Thank you very much for that.

The swappers have been randomly matched up by me and are listed below.  If you aren't sure of the "rules" check the previous post - here.

If you cannot get in touch with your partner please email me (no spaces) love made my home at gmail dot com and will sort something out between us.

Please post your card no later than Friday 2nd December.

Whatever else happens I will put up a post on 19th December with a link so that you can share your cards and swaps - I have already scheduled it so that I know that even if I am not around it will happen.

Any queries AT ALL e-mail me, don't hesitate!

If you have to pull out for any reason that is totally alright, trust me, I understand!  Please let your partner and me know ASAP and I will connect with your partner and swap with them instead as I am not taking part because there was an even number of you who signed up.

Sorry for the brevity of this, please forgive me.

Happy Swapping and Happy Christmas one and all!

Love Amy xx

Hike 2 Forty and Beyond      and      Dicky Birds Nest

Love Those Cupcakes      and      Cranberry Morning

Annie O B Textiles      and      Macque

Fast SOS       and      Fan My Flame

My Little Piece of England      and      A Hidden Jem

Fabric Paper Thread      and      Irish Eyes Knitters

Nana go Go      and      Quiet Mornings

A Rich Tapestry      and      Sweetbriar Dreams

September Violets      and      Alcea Rosea 31

Mamas Mercantile      and      My New Uneventful Life

Jan's Ramblings      and       Through The Keyhole

Pea Bea       and      Our Little House In The Big Woods

A Haven For Vee      and      House at Forest Manor

Angel Jem's City Cottage      and      Creative Chaos

Northwoods Scrapbook      and      Teas and T's

Jumble and Jelly      and      Mad About Bags

Sunny Corner Farm      and      Fil's Place

Five On Friday

I have other things to say, but before I start I wanted to thank you for your comments on my post yesterday.  I wasn't trying to show favour for one side or another in either the Brexit Vote or the American Presidential Election, or the non vote in Australia about Marriage Equality.  I truly mean it, I really wasn't.  It was just a reminder to myself and to anyone else who happened to read the post that all things will go round and come round and we have to accept things and keep going.  Whichever way we want things to go sometimes they will and sometimes we have to wait until we get our own way.  In the meantime, as several of you said, we be nice and care about others, don't judge and move on.  So please don't think that I am either with or against you.  That isn't what I meant, I was trying to say play fair and bide your time, for your time will come someday and then it will be someone else who feels put out.  I don't want to go on further with this, but please don't be offended in any way!  Apart from anything else what I am about to say is probably going to offend and/or upset you far more than what I said yesterday!!

On with the other things I have to say.

I am afraid that I have no post to share with you today and there is no link up either.  I have also closed the Christmas Card Swap (yesterday afternoon) and later today the post will go up to say who is swapping with who.

Things with Man have taken another turn for the worse and is back in hospital again.  Each time he has an "episode" for want of a better word his health seems to decline exponentially and he had another "episode" a week ago today and is of course left much worse than he was before.  We don't know what will happen, he has gone back up again in the past after days when we feared the worst, but right now we don't know what will happen and he is very sick and overall he keeps getting worse and worse.

N.B. I use the word "episode" because we don't know if he had a stroke or something else was at play, there are many possibilities, so this is just an easy word to cover something that we don't have a name for.

Although Man is now living - and therefore now in hospital - very far away from us, we still need to see him, and the distance just makes that harder.  There were good reasons for him moving, but I wish that he hadn't.  Who knows if it would have made any difference anyway.  That is all beside the point.

The thing is that Man is very sick again and I just cannot concentrate on two things at once and I am sure that you know that Man and my husband have to take precedence over things like blogging - and I have to come before blogging too, I am realising that!

Perhaps when things are clearer I will be able to share more with you, but right now I can't, and I have to be as straight with you as I can because I don't know how to be any different.  So as I can't bear to share, and cannot be cryptic or ignore it I have decided to take a break from blogging.  I think that is fairer to us all, and especially Hubby and I.  I don't know when I will return, I will do, but it might not be this side of Christmas, or I may be back on Monday if things suddenly improve.  I don't know.

I have said before I will be away and then back and then off I go again and try to return and so on.  Frankly it is making me a little loopy and I don't suppose it is fun for you either dear readers.  So it seems easier to just take a break for a while and then return when I know that I can actually remain returned and sharing with you as I would like to.  Whatever the situation I have no intention of returning before the end of the month.

So sorry about the lack of Five On Friday, I am sure you will find some other great link ups to join in with and have fun visiting.  Sorry too that I will not be making a big thing of the card swap.  Having opened it up to you I wanted to match you up in pairs and to see you all swapping, but I am afraid that right now I cannot do anything else.  I will post later today with the swap partners in a separate post.

I sound very down, and of course I would be crazy to deny that I am, but I am not as bad as I sound, I always do sound worse in writing than in real life!  So don't worry about me, instead if you have any, please send a few prayers up for Man every now and then for whatever happens to be peaceful.

If/as and when anything "dramatic" happens I will let you know.

Please accept my apologies and until we see each other again perhaps you can do a few things for me.

Love yourself.  Love each other.  Love your family, your friends and neighbours and those around you in the world.  You know I am all about the love.

Be kind to everyone you meet.  You don't know their story any more than they know yours, so just be kind.

Have a great Christmas, Hanukah or anything else that you are celebrating, and if you don't celebrate anything just have some good old fashioned fun.

Stay safe and warm and enjoy each day as it comes.

Take care, love to you all and in case I don't get chance to say it, because I really do mean it, Happy Christmas and blessings to you all.

Amy xx

p.s. comments are closed.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Preparing your car for winter

Preparing your car for winter isn't an exciting or glamorous thing to do, but it is a very important one.  Although it is still autumn here, winter is approaching and we have already had snow and more forecast in the UK so it is time to get organised.

I carry certain things in my car all year round.  A road map, a torch and so on.  I will list more of these in a moment.  In the autumn I always add some more things to make sure that I am really prepared for any eventuality.

The first thing to check is your car.  If you look in the owners manual or handbook, it will tell you if you need to add antifreeze to your coolant, what your tyre pressures should be and so on.  Check all of this and make sure that everything is at the right level.  Also check your oil level - your handbook will tell you how to do this - and that your lights all work.  Make sure that your windscreen wash is full and has washing liquid in it as well as water, otherwise it will freeze.

Check or get your tyres checked to make sure that they are safe, and have plenty of wear left.  If not get them changed.  Also check to see if you need snow tyres or chains.  We don't need those where I live.

If you are unsure about any of this, or don't know what to do, or how to do it, go to your local garage or car centre and they will either do it for you or help you with it.

Once your car is roadworthy, you can move on to adding the extra things just in case something untoward happens, like a flat tyre, or the weather suddenly turning nasty on you.  Also make sure that your spare tyre is safe and inflated.

My car has recently been MOT'd (inspected) and had the oil changed, so I knew that all was well with it mechanically.

However, when I went to add the winter things into the boot (trunk) I had to do some sorting out because the bag that I normally used had been used to carry things to Man's new home.  So I decided it was a good time for a clear out and reorganise.

First of all I bought some collapsible fabric - and lightweight! - boxes to put everything in.

After a few more seasonal purchases and some organising this is what is now in my car.

For winter I add a bag of cat litter.  This is great if you get stuck on an icy patch as no amount of shovelling will get rid of it.  The cat litter will give you some great traction though.  It really works!  I also have two rubber mats in my car and they are good for this as well, but only if you have someone with you.  If you use the cat litter once your car is safely moving again you can just drive off and leave the cat litter behind.  You can't leave your mats in the road!

I have a very small snow shovel for shovelling snow and a brush to make sure that I can brush off all of the snow on my car.  I don't want to use a scraper as it will damage the paint, this is safe to use.  You should ensure that you remove ALL of the snow from your car.  Otherwise other cars cannot see your lights and if you stop suddenly snow from your roof could shoot forwards down your windscreen and stop you from seeing, or fly backwards and cause someone else a problem.  I have seen this happen and it isn't nice.  So clean the snow off!

The black and yellow thing is a plastic backed picnic blanket, useful for many things, including picnics.

I have a can of de icer in the car.  I prefer to scrape the windscreen with the scraper you see, but this is a useful addition.  I also have an old cloth for wiping things, a spare lightbulb, a road map, and reflective and high visibility vest so you can see me if I stop the car.  The black box is a tyre inflator that plugs into the lighter socket in the car.

A plastic groundsheet so that you have something to kneel on in the wet if you are changing a wheel.  Some tape, a couple of screwdrivers and some wire snips to cut the cable ties off that hold on my hubcaps.  I also have a spare tyre, jack and wheelbrace, but they are stowed in the car all the time.  The groundsheet and tape are useful for a multitude of things!

Some jump leads.  Only use these if you know how to.  Even if you don't know, they are useful to have as someone else will know how to use them or be able to talk you through what to do.

My warning triangle folds up, and is a bit of a family heirloom.  I have had this in every car that I have owned for many decades now!  It was passed on to me.  I have never had to use it, and if it continues to keep me safe then that is a good thing!  You can get newer lighter ones, but I prefer my old heavy, clunky metal one.

Winter additions include these things.  My walking boots in case I don't have suitable shoes on.  A blanket in case you get stuck in the car.  An old fleece coat that can stay in the car all the time along with warm gloves, scarf, hat and thick socks again just in case I am not wearing these.

I keep mine in those plastic bags that you can squeeze or suck the air out of so that they take up less space in the car.

A packet of biscuits and a bar of chocolate.  I also add a new bottle of water to ensure that it will be clean and safe to drink.  You could add any medicines you need to this bag as well.  I replace these items at the start of each winter.  You might also like to include any other personal hygiene items you or perhaps a baby would need if you were stuck in the car too.

A torch (flashlight) with spare batteries, a roll of kitchen paper, some disposable gloves, a packet of tissues, and I always need a spare lip balm!

A small travel first aid kit.  Some plasters, wipes, medical tape and so on.

I am sure that I have a few other things in the glove box, but these are the things that I always make sure that I have.

I am not encouraging you to make use of any of these things.  The safest thing to do is to call for help I am sure.  However, sometimes you can help yourself more quickly if you get some advice over the phone and have the right things to hand.  Warm clothes, food and medication are always good to have in case you have to wait a while for help to come.

You can buy kits in car centres that have a lot of these things in, but you will still need to add clothes and medication and so on.  Check in case the country where you live requires you to carry anything extra in your car.  I know for example that in France you must have a breathalyser and in America you must have your car insurance details.  Add in anything you are required to have.

Oh, and one other thing.  My Hubby and I mostly drive alone in our own cars, but if we travel together in winter we grab the box from our car that has the extra winter things in it and put it in the others car so that we each have a coat, shoes, snacks and so on.

In summary, here is what I keep in my car - in case you want to print it off for reference.

To keep in your car all year round

Mobile (cell) phone and charger - and make sure you have some credit if your phone is pay as you go
Your breakdown cover details
Torch and spare batteries
Warning Triangle
A notebook and pen
Snips to remove cable ties holding your hubcaps on
Jack and wheelbrace and spare tyre
Tyre inflator
High visibility and reflective vest
Disposable gloves, paper towel, tissues
Jump leads - only use them if you know how to do so
Groundsheet or plastic sheet of some kind
An old cloth to wipe things
Road map
Medication and personal hygiene items
Spare bulbs
First aid kit

Things to add in the winter

If you know the weather is bad and you have to go out take a flask with a hot drink, tell someone where you are going, and when you expect to arrive.
Snacks and a bottle of water
Warm blanket
Spare coat, gloves, hat, scarf and thick socks
A stout pair of boots for walking in - probably a good thing to have all year round actually.
Cat litter
Snow shovel - or other folding shovel
Brush to remove snow
Ice scraper and deicer spray

These lists are not exhaustive and may not work for all parts of the world.  So over to you, what would you add to your car to keep you safe?

I hope that these lists and any suggestions below will be of use to you and help to keep you safe this winter.  The most important things are to drive carefully, watch the weather, only travel if necessary and in the first instance to call for help.


Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Reading my books - Summers End

Autumn has definitely arrived in these parts!  The weather is much colder now, the leaves have not only changed colour, but are falling from the trees rapidly and now that the clocks have gone back the nights are well and truly drawing in.

This morning the weather is very frosty and cold indeed, I have to go out in my car soon and I will need to scrap the ice off - and before I go I will look out my warm boots to wear as although I had coat and scarf and gloves on yesterday my feet got very cold in just shoes!

All of that to say that summer has ended.  The title of this book rather fits with that.  I finished it a couple of weeks ago in fact, before the weather really got very cold.

This is of course another of the Danielle Steel books in my pile.  This was another light and fluffy read as they always are, but when you are in my current state of mind that is no bad thing.  Nothing to think too hard about!

I liked this book as it was one of the "old" Danielle Steel books.  By that I mean that it was literally published a long time ago - 1979 from what I could gather - and that it is written in the way that her books used to be written.  Descriptively, with an interesting story and many references to the places where the book is set, meaning that you can really imagine the setting of the story and know that the author knows the place really well.

In this case the book was set in and around San Francisco - as many of her books are.  Steel actually lives in San Francisco in a house that takes up a whole block.  That means it is a very big house!  We have been lucky enough to visit San Francisco several times - I have family who used to live there - and I can recognise many of the places that are talked about and really envisage them in my minds eye.

The other thing that I mean about this being one of her "old" books is that it is a proper story.  It has a beginning, middle and end and doesn't just roll off in the formulaic way that many of her current books do.  Of course I have no real knowledge of Steel or her writing process, but I don't think that the current books are as good as the older ones.  It is almost as though they are written by two different people.  Her style has changed considerably as the years have passed.

So to the story itself.  This is the tale of Deanna, she is married to Marc Edouard and really all should be happy with their lives together and with their daughter Pilar.  In fact Deanna is fairly happy in her life.  Then she meets Ben and over the course of the summer they become friends and then things take their natural course and you can imagine the rest.  There is though great sadness and deceit by Marc and his Mother is no better either.

You can tell I am sure that I liked this book, and this is one that if you come across, I would recommend picking up for a read.  As I always tell you if my copy of a book will stay or go, I can say that this one will go to the charity shop, for reasons of space though, not because I didn't like it.

I know that many of you are not keen on reading Danielle Steels books, but if you ever wanted to give one a try, look for one written before the mid 1980's, I am sure you would enjoy it!

Happy Reading everyone.


Monday, 7 November 2016


Hi Everyone!

I hope that you are all well and had a good weekend.  Thank you to everyone who took part in Five On Friday, and especially for your good Anniversary wishes to Hubby and I.  Yes thank you, we had a good time!

Things in our lives went a bit crazy with Man over the last few days.  We had to dash off to see him as he is in hospital again, we don't know what is the matter with him, other than he is sicker than we have seen him before and the rest of the family needed some moral support so off we headed. 

We don't know if the problem is infection, dementia, medication side effects or something else that we haven't come upon before.  To say that it is sad to see someone who doesn't know how or why they got to where they are, what is happening and to have been seeing things that are not there, is a major understatement.  I don't know how else to voice it.

Man is still in hospital, I hope to find out later today what the news is after the doctor has seen him, so I may be rather absent again in the coming days if I or my thoughts and efforts are needed elsewhere.

Just as you think things are calming down, off they go again.  You might have heard the saying, we plan, god laughs.  Well, we had the whole weekend planned, and while I cannot imagine that God was laughing at the situation, it just shows that you can plan to your hearts content, but things can still be thrown up in the air.

I don't know what the outcome of this will be, other than to confirm that the pattern of our lives will continue to be a roundabout even if Man doesn't live near us.  We continue to spin in circles!

I want to apologise to those of you who took part in Five On Friday, I am afraid I haven't been round to see your posts, but I will get there in the next day or to - all being well!!  I might give up planning!!  Thank you for taking part, for your comments and visits though.  I know from what we have discussed before that you all understand, but I don't like messing you around or not keeping up my end of the bargain, despite your kindness and understanding!  Thank you for your kindness though.

As for the dentist, well, I have great news there.  I did have an infection after the extraction, but I went today and had the rest of the treatment that I needed and I am not due back at the dentist now until next year.  Yay!!  I have had a lot of treatment in the last couple of months, so to be free from the dentist for a few months is a great feeling.  I have also overcome great difficulties that I had at the dentist.  Two months ago I couldn't even let them have a look round with the mirror, today I had a root canal with no trouble at all.  Whilst a root canal isn't something to be proud of, I am so pleased that I managed to cope with it and get it done and now I feel as though I am on the path to better future dental health and that is a great feeling.  In fact it is a feeling that I have never had before so it is a good thing!

Well that is it.  I need to go and carry on making and working through my to do list because despite what I said above about planning, there is another planning saying.  Fail to plan and you plan to fail.  As I have no intention at failing I will keep going and doing what I can.  I guess that I need some sort of saying about flexibility.  Any suggestions?

Oh, and I wanted to say something that I may have said before, but I feel as though I haven't and in any case I hope it bears repeating.

The reason that I am sharing all of this stuff about Man and my teeth isn't for sympathy for myself, or for Man, or anyone else.  It is to share with you all so that you know that these things happen and that it is OK to talk about them.  Perhaps you will find yourself in a difficult situation in the future, or have a friend who is going through something like these things. 

I don't know anyone else who has had a horrendous fear of the dentist and needed to get through it, but having been that person with the fear I can tell you that you can do it, and it will be OK, you have done nothing wrong and it will be alright. 

I can also tell you that if you have a family member or friend who is ill then it is probably something that has been seen many times before, and if you tell your family and friends chances are they will have experienced similar things and can offer great support.  So never feel that you are alone.  You are doing really well.  Keep going and make sure that you ask for help and support as and when you need it.  There is nothing wrong with needed support, or asking for it and definitely not in receiving it.

That is it really.  Share and listen and that will really help to make things better!

I better go now.  Thank you all for listening and for the good dental thoughts - your good thoughts moved mountains today!!


Friday, 4 November 2016

Five on Friday

Thank you so much for your kind comments on last weeks Five On Friday and for appreciating the sunniness of my post!  You bought me a lot of sunshine too.

I have managed to get together another five things to share with you this week - yay! - and I will get to those in a moment, but first of all I wanted to catch you up on a few things.

First all of all the sign up is now open for the Christmas Card Swap.  I would love it if you could join in as last year I think we had over 50 people taking part and it would be great if we could share as much love again this year.  Do go and read the sign up post - here - and if you can please consider taking part.  All you have to do is send one Christmas Card, nothing else.

I was so interested to read your comments on my post on Sunday about giving up on reading a book.  It seems as though we were all in total agreement with each other.  Like many of you I can cope with the odd bit of bad language in context, but otherwise I think we were all in unison in saying it wasn't something we liked to find in a book!  The books in question are now in the charity shop box waiting to see if someone else will like them!

Thank you for the good wishes for my dentist visit on Monday.  It went as well as these things ever can go.  I am still recovering and was just sore, but now I am in some pain so back to the dentist again today to see what is what.  In theory I have some more dentisting next week and then I should be all done for a while, but I guess it will depend what they say today about the pain.  My teeth have taken a battering from lack of care by me - of which I may write some more in the future - and from me grinding them and clenching them together and literally wearing them into pieces.  You don't want to know about that though, but I wanted to say thank you for the good wishes and prayers, I think they worked, I just need to get through today and the next bit now!

Finally, I am back to replying to your comments, so if you get a chance do go back and see what I had to say.  I really want to get back to the interaction and conversation side of blogging which was what I enjoyed in the first place and have been missing.  This is the start of me doing that with you one again.

Otherwise it has been a quite quiet week, well in comparison to recent times anyway.  It is all still very odd, but we will get there.  Once I stop crying that is!  And when Hubby stops too.  It has hit us now.  We have another skip for the weekend though - we are ninja skip fillers! - and will get some more house clearance done and that will help us move on too.

So, no more to say, other than here are my five things and I hope that you are all well and happy, and planning to have a great weekend!


It was our wedding anniversary recently.  We didn't do a lot, but we did exchange cards and gifts.  Hubby went all out and treated me to these.  Isn't he a darling!

These are really tiny, just a couple of inches tall, but very cute and a perfect gift of love.

I received this card a few years ago from hubby.  It was so lovely I framed it and have it in my office.  I am pretty sure that I am not the perfect wife, but I do have the perfect husband and I am so very grateful for him.  Happy Anniversary Hubby, I love you!


More progress on the flowering of the "seasonal" cactus.  Isn't it looking spectacular!  So pleased with it.


Supposedly it is going to be a bad winter weatherwise this year.  So I am getting prepared.  In fact I always get prepared.  This is the start of winter prep for our cars.  I will do a fuller post on this in a few days as I think it will be useful for other people.  In the meantime start to have a think about what would be good to keep in your car for winter safety and then you can share that on the post and we can all benefit from each others knowledge.


Crochet has been missing from my life as far as my blog and so on goes, but I have done a few things.  I need to get writing up and then I can share with you.

Earlier in the week I wound this yarn using my swift and ball winder.  I shared a video about it yesterday.  You might like to go and have a look - here - and then you can see what a swift is and how it works.  There are some other links there which you might find interesting/useful too.


We have been very selective about the things we have rescued from Man's house.  For several reasons.  We already have a houseful of stuff and I know from the experience of a dear friend of the perils of filling your house with your families possessions.  So we made some thoughtful choices.  I will not share them all with you, but here are a couple of things that I wanted to show you.

This is the drunken Welsh dragon.  He actually looks more sober in this photo than he does in real life!  He is a cutie though and has great sentimental memories for my Hubby.

The black walking stick is special.  It goes back many generations and is to be kept and cherished.  Far too short for either Hubby or I to ever use - unless we shrink a LOT - if and when the time arises, but we will still treasure it.

This tiny tea set has no sentimental attachment for either of us, but I thought I could turn it into something else that someone might enjoy.  So stay tuned and more will follow!

Then I have a sneaky autumnal sixth.  Some leaves and flowers and sunshine!

Thank you as always for joining in, going and visiting other participants and sharing your posts and commenting here and on others posts.  We all really appreciate it a great deal.

Love your family and friends and tell them!  Have a great weekend.



Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML


Thursday, 3 November 2016

Swift winding - or - How to use a Swift and Ball Winder to make a centre - or center - pull ball of yarn

Do you remember that way back in September I shared a bag/cover that I had made for something called a Swift?  No.  The post is here if you want to go and have a look.

Some of you - I am guessing non yarn folk - were mystified as to what a swift was or how you used it and I said that I would explain more in due course.  I thought that the best way was to actually show you so I have filmed a short video to explain what it is, how it works, how you use it and why.  Hopefully this will demystify the whole thing for you.

I am a great fan of these things.  In the "olden days" you would coerce someone - often a husband or small child - to sit and hold the skein of yarn on their hands while you wound up your ball.  With the use of a swift you can wind your yarn really quickly and on your own - with no complaining from anyone else!

So the reason for one of these things is speed and no complaining!!  Hee hee!!

The other really good reason for buying and then winding yarn like this is that it gives you something called a centre - or center! - pull ball.  That means that you can put your ball or cake of yarn down in a bowl, in a bag, on the floor or table and as you work the yarn will simply feed from the middle of the ball.  It doesn't roll around or run off and escape under the chair.  You don't have to tug on it as you want more yarn, it just flows naturally and easily.  Also you don't end up with a collapsed ball of yarn that ties itself in knots, it just becomes smaller and smaller and never gets into a mess.

All very good reasons for using your yarn in this way.

This will explain more.

If you want more information I have added some links in the downbar of the video - or on you tube, my channel is here - to tell you where I got my swift and ball winder from and the yarn that I was winding in the video.  You can also get this information in the Love Made My Home Ravelry Group - here.

I hope the whole process is much clearer for you now and that you found the video interesting!  I am not planning a return to Podcasting at the moment, but I might do a few more short videos as they are easier for me to film and produce and it also means that I get to share techniques and tips and other information with you.  So I hope you like them.

Thank you for watching, it would be lovely if you are a You Tube user if you could subscribe and then you will find the videos there and more information, or if you could give me a thumbs up on the video so that I know you like it!


p.s. I purchased the yarn, swift and ball winder myself.  No compensation or sponsorship was received for this post.  I made the cover myself.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Autumn flowers

As far as I am concerned the perfect autumn flower is a chrysanthemum in a yellow, orange or red colour.  Or even all three of those together!

They just say autumn to me, they always have and I even go so far as to try and avoid chrysanths in these colours during the rest of the year.  I like to save them for autumn.  If there is a bunch of flowers for sale at another time of year with orange ones in I will always avoid them!  I know, I am an odd sort aren't I!

As it is autumn it is of course the perfect time for some chrysanthemums!  So I have some to share with you today.

In a jug on the windowsill.

Just a few little ones in a vase.

Looking beautiful in the sunshine.

On the way to flowering soon!

Hope you enjoyed seeing them as much as I am enjoying looking at them!

I am joining with Riitta at Floral Passions for Flower Wednesday.  Do go and see some other beautiful flowers!


Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Third Annual Love Made My Home Christmas Card Swap

Sign up for this swap is now closed.  Thank you to all who have taken part.  You can see who is swapping with who on my most recent blog post dated 11th November 2016.

After the great fun and success of the 2015 Christmas Card Swap, and after much deliberation, I have decided to host the Third Annual Love Made My Home Christmas Card Swap 2016 card swap extravaganza fun card swapping happy thing!

And as the intro to last years launch post was so successful, I can do no more than repeat it to you all!

There is to be no screaming.

There is to be no fainting.

There is to be no running off in the opposite direction.

There is to be no screaming and running.

There are to be no histrionics of any kind.  At all.

Most importantly, there is to be no tearing out of hair.

Or sobbing, or crying or wailing!!!!!!!!!!!

It is with absolutely NO regret at all that I must inform you that it is now less than 9 weeks until Christmas.  Yes, that is the truth!!!!  I am as terrified as the rest of you!!!

That means that we need to get started on a little project!

Yes, it is once again time for the Christmas Card Swap!

Last year it was great fun and there were cards going around the world to different places and arriving and lots of good wishes were exchanged.

So, because it was such fun, I have decided that perhaps we could all have another go at it again this year.

Today I am launching the Love Made My Home Christmas Card Swap 2016!  These are the "rules" - possibly slightly different from before so do read them!

One - If you would like to swap ONE Christmas card with ONE person then sign up on THIS post by leaving a comment.

Two - IF YOU LEAVE A COMMENT, I WILL ASSUME YOU ARE TAKING PART, so if you just want to say "have fun" or something please tell me you don't wish to join in this time round.

Three - You must have a blog to take part and readers must be able to leave you a comment - that is so you and your swapper can get in touch!  Please don't post your address in the comments though, that would just make me terrified!

Four - Swaps could be anywhere in the world.  You are only sending a card - no gifts! - so the postage shouldn't be too too bad.  If you really only want or need to swap in your own country - which I understand totally - please e-mail me and I will discreetly see if I can sort something out for you.

Five - Last date for sign ups is Monday 14th November 2016.  Partners will be assigned later that week - I will try and post them by the 17th.

Six - I am afraid I cannot include any late sign ups, so please sign up as soon as you can.

Seven - Cards to be sent no later than Friday 2nd December 2016.  I know that is very early in some ways, but is also likely to be the last posting date for sending overseas for most of us.  If your last posting date is before that, please just send the card before that date!

Eight - Finally, this is JUST a card swap.  No matter how lovely you are, or how lovely your recipient is, this is just a way to send a simple, old fashioned, handwritten Christmas greeting to someone!  So don't send anything else please!!!  If you both become friends and agree privately to exchange a gift that is up to you, but I don't want to place any additional burdens or expectations onto anyone.  Also this isn't about sending me cards.  I love to hear from you and if you do send a card, that is very very kind, and I really do appreciate it, but this isn't the purpose of this swap.  I do hope you understand.

That is it!  Despite all those "rules" it really is easy!  Sign up, get in touch with your partner and post each other a card!  Simples!

Oh, and while I am at it, I shall risk it and be the first to say "Happy Christmas" because you are probably already throwing virtual bricks at me for bringing up the subject!!!  Hee hee!!!

Sign up below and I will post the swappers soon and we can all have some fun!


p.s. you can copy and paste the above picture into your blog/sidebar if you wish to spread the word!