Tuesday, 24 February 2009

(Not the) BBC Book Meme

This was sent to my by Leah (sewtobed) on Facebook but I thought it was worthy of posting in Blogdom too. There are so many of these types of memes doing the rounds but there are for American books or films. The fact that one has appeared using English literature made me actually want to do it.

So apparently, the BBC believes most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up?

Instructions (if you want to play): Look at the list and put an 'X' after those you have read once. Enter a number for the number of times you read something. Make sure you delete my X's! When you've finished, tag 10 people to do it too, and put your total at the bottom.

OK, fellow bookworms, let's fight dirty!

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen - X
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien - X
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling - X (lost count)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee - X
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte X
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell X
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens X
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy - X
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier - X
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien - X
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger - X
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger - X
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams - X2
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh - X4 at least
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll - X
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame - X6
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis - X
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis - X4
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hossein - X (The best book I've read in years - Go on. Do it!)
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne - X
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell - X
42 The Da Vinci Code - X
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy - X
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan - X
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons - X
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zifon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon - X
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck - X
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold - X 1/2 (started it twice but couldn't finish - too glum)
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac - X
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding - X2
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens - X
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett - X
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens - X2
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker - X
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert - X
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White - X3
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom - X
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton - X3
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams - X2
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factoy - Roald Dahl - X6 at least
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

My total: 40 Not too shabby. A damn sight better than 6 anyhoo! and I'm working on improving that total.

I am trying to read my way through many of the "modern classics" and current novels. Good old Richard and Judy. By my bed at the moment is 'Coastliners' by Joanna Harris and after that, when I've done a bit more training I have "The Gormenghast Trilogy" by Mervin Peake. Eek! Having watched The Golden Compass on DVD yesterday I now want to read all the Philip Pullman books too.

So there you have it. Give it a go and tell me how many you've read. :O)


Edited 25 Feb.

Apparently (thanks Bryanb) this is not actually from the BBC but from The Guardian. It's a list of 'Books You Can't Live Without'. The BBC did a list of the Nation's Favourite Books in 2003. For links to both check out Bryanb's comment and click on the links.
Pah! Facebook! They get everything wrong!

Monday, 23 February 2009

Didn't we have a luvverly time...

**WARNING!! This post is seriously photo-heavy.**
Please adjust your varifocals ready for so much glorious technicolour!

...the day we went to LONDON!!
A beautiful day...

da-dah da-dah da-dah.

So it was half term. Usually at half term we don't do much. We don't go anywhere very interesting or exciting. But this time around because OH was at home I thought maybe we should do 'something'. The kiddie said she would like to go to a museum and see some mummies. A plan was hatched. A trip was discussed. It was delayed from Tuesday to Thursday and then the day dawned...


I woke at about 8.30 but the other two both slept late 'til about 9.15. Kiddie woke up and was immediately upset that she had overslept and now it was 'too late to go to London and it was all her fault'. A pow-wow on the bed ensued and we decided, "To Hell with it (whatever 'it' is)! We'll go anyway!"

So at about 10.25am we left Lichfield, the Midlands, England, The World, The Universe and headed for the M1 and the BIIIIIG CITY.

'The Plan' was to head down the motorway 'til we reached the outer regions of the Tube. Then park the car and catch a trainy thing into the City. Pah! We drove into Stanmore. We drove around Stanmore. We saw an underground station. We did NOT see a car park. No multi-storeys. No Pay and Displays. No parking meters. We drove on.

We drove to Edgware. We saw an underground station. We saw a car park. We saw a sign which said 'Car Park - Full'. We saw two CPOs. We did the proper thing that our mummies and daddies had taught us - ask a policeman. Neither of them lived in the area so couldn't tell us where the next nearest station with a car park was. Instead they just yacked onto us for ages while several other cars drove past us into the 'full' car park and found spaces!! We drove round the 'full' car park. It was full! We drove on.

We drove to Harrow and Wealdstone. We saw an underground station. We saw signs for a car park. We drove round in circles for bit and eventually we worked out the one-way system and drove into the car park. We parked the car and got out. Yay!!

It was 1.30.

We bought All Zones tickets and got on a train. To while away the journey kiddie took some photos. This one is entitled "Daddy and Wembley Stadium". Hmm...

Eventually, an hour later we arrived in the centre of London and headed straight for The British Museum. By this time we were a mite peckish so we popped into 'Munchkins' - an establishment specialising in food and beverages. There's lucky!

This is the beautiful kiddie awaiting her turkey baguette.

And this is the delightful OH enduring a whole day with the family. (Would you give this man a job? If so please email me :O)

So, suitably refreshed, at 3.15pm, we finally headed for The British Museum. This is Bloomsbury Crescent(?) opposite said museum, oh and a few tourists.

Here is the famous pediment and sculptures above the grand entrance.

Ta dah!
The family gathered in front of the Millennium bit of the museum (oh I'm so good with the tour guide bit - I can remeber all the names and details). Actually OH is programming his phone's satnav to try and find our next port of call (good old Blogger - still managed to get the photos all jumbled up!).

This is a close-up of one of the modern pillars/columns at the North end of the museum (we are doing the visit in reverse now).

Ah-ha! Proper exhibits at last! This is a fabulous beaded cloth/shroud which was laid across the torso of the bound mummy.

I don't know why but the actual layout of Egyptian tombs and burial chambers gives me the creeps. It's the idea of the hidden chambers - makes me feel very weird.

More beautiful beads. And that turquoise... So much of Ancient Egyptian design almost feels cliched now. The turquoise and terracotta colours, the hieroglyphs, the pyramids, the tombs, the masks and caskets... They have all been used so much they seem almost naff now. Do you know what I mean? City and Guilds have a lot to answer for :O)
In the flesh, however, you realise just how beautiful these artefacts are.

This is almost like a little sampler of knots and bindings used to tie the mummies up tight!

And this is the only mummified body I photographed - a child's foot. The toes and toenails are actually pieces of cloth made to look like the real thing.

These were some of my favourites exhibits in the Egyptian section. Little female figures carved from bone (I think). They are about 3" high. I just love them. So old yet could have been made yesterday.

And I spotted this little group of clay and cloth dolls when I had to take kiddie to find the loo.

So, after seeing a few mummies kiddie had had enough and wanted to see dinosaurs! Bless her! So OH tried to progamme his satnav and find it while I asked a nice man outside the museum and he gave us directions to the nearest Tube.
Here is a sneaky pic of the kiddie trying to look cool and worldly-wise, and pretending she's not with us :O)

Next stop - South Kensington. The Natural History Museum. Time of arrival - 5.05pm. Last entrance into museum - 5.50pm.
After a quick lookie at the big guy in the foyer, and a peek at the wasps nests on the left, we joined the queue for the dinos.
We shuffled into the gloom.
When we rounded the corner kiddie decided to 'ham it up'. This is 'Oh my goodness! It's a HUGE dinosaur!' Where does she get that exhibitionist streak from?...
I love this museum. The building itself would be fascinating even if it was empty. There are so many little details everywhere. This octopus is one of many different creatures carved into the stonework.
As I've finally posted off my swap parcel I felt it only right to include an owl (for Apryl - lol).

And then we reached the dinos. I love the way they have lit the skeletons so that spooky shadows are thrown onto the ceiling and walls.

This one got kiddie really excited. It's a Camarasaurus. Huh? It's the big daddy of Pleo. Is the little green chap going to grow that big?! Eek!

And then, just when we reached the far end by the full-sized, automated T Rex the announcement came over the PA system, " The museum is now closed. Please can you make your way to the exits."
So, at 6pm we shuffled back out of the gloom again, made our way down into 'that' tunnel and were shepherded along en mass 'til we eventually reached South Ken tube. There was more faffing about due to faulty signals and such, but we managed to get back to Harrow and Wealdstone Station in one piece. As we had plenty of time before the car park was locked we visited the Shrine of the Golden Arches to celebrate. I had (what turned out to be)the yuckiest thing on the menu (the bacon and cheese melt thing that's a Winter Warmer special at the moment - barf!). That'll teach me for succumbing to the lure of fast food.
We went and found the car and were pleasantly surprised - it only cost £3.50 to have parked for nearly 7 hours! It would probably have cost that for 2 hours in Birmingham. In fact, we did the whole trip pretty cheaply. £15 for the tube tickets, £3.50 car park, about £50 on all the food and drinks, and if we'd made packed lunches like we'd planned we have done it for much less.
We finally got back home at about 10.00pm. Kiddie was fast asleep (not surprisingly).

So there you have it. There and back again in 12 hours. Next time we want to do the London Eye as well! Maybe we'll have to leave at 9.00am to squeeze that in. :O)

Sunday, 15 February 2009

The end of the rainbow...

So this is what I've been obsessed with for the past week (when I haven't been feeling yucky due to man flu).

Many of you may have seen this amazing creation by Crafty Intentions. It was shown all over the interweb - Craftster, Flickr and many, many blogs. It is beautiful. I have covetted it for belly dancing for a long time now. Finally, I decided that I just had to have one of my own so, after a quick email to Megan asking if she minded, I got to work.

First there was the cutting of the squares. I got a stiff neck, arm and shoulder from overuse of the rotary cutter. I thought I'd damaged myself dancing or I'd slept funny but no, it was the demon cutting wheel that had done the damage.

Once all those squares were stacked up I had to sew them all together.

First into long strips like this.

Then, with a huge stitch length on the machine, I tacked along the edge so I could start gathering.

Ta-da!!!! All the frilly, ruffled layers were now ready to be pinned and stitched together.

Tune in later today (when I've had chance to take more photos) to see the finished skirt. :O)
Other News
It's half term (in case anyone hadn't noticed). Tomorrow we are hopefully going to the Big Smoke for a day of museums. Kiddie wants to see 'mummies' so it looks like we'll be hitting the British Museum, and maybe the Natural History Museum and possible the V&A, if I'm lucky. We're trying to do it 'on the cheap' so lunches will be packed, flasks will be filled and bargain train tickets frantically searched for :O).
I did the stick-bashing thing yesterday for all of... umm... 5 minutes. Then I felt this rather alarming 'TWAAANG' in my calf muscle and even walking was not an option for a while. I had warmed up properly, but the boots I was wearing had stopped my ankle from moving freely and caused me to do something strange when I stepped. I had to sit and watch for the rest of the practice. Boo hiss! I spent the rest of the day hobbling around even with generous application of ibuprofen gel and tubigrip bandages. Luckily it feels much better after a night's sleep. And now I have to go and buy some new trainers/shoes. Aw shucks!
Right. Better go and take some photos of my twirly skirt while the sun is shining. I can't believe how mild it is today. I have actually got washing outside on the line. What a domestic goddess I am! lol

Sunday, 8 February 2009

...with bells on.

Yes that's right. It is sunny in these photos. And yes they were taken yesterday. It was cold. Very cold but the sun was actual warm when the wind wasn't blowing. Anyhoo it was a great day for dancing. I just wish I had my kit ready so I could have joined in.

These are all members of The Rynild Rabble, as mentioned yesterday. And once or twice before that :O)

Look at the lovely raggy coats.

Look at the lovely embellished (oooh that word) top hats.

I can't wait to get mine sorted so I can join in too.

You may have spotted a new addition to my right hand panel. A widget to do with a film about Morris dancing... It looks fantastic. Like a Morris version of The Full Monty and with an amazing cast. If you click on the widget and visit the website you'll discover that sadly it is not scheduled to go on general release. It will be shown in selected small venues in Dorset and that's it.
A member of the Rabble has contacted them to see if we could hold a screening locally but they will not come to Staffordshire. So our only hope is that it goes on National Release, for which we are petitioning.
Go on. You know you want to. Click and sign the petition. Keep us simple fools, who like to dress up and leap about, happy.
Thank you for listening.

Have you noticed I haven't posted any snowy photos. Aren't I kind? I thought I'd inflicted enough family frolics on you by now. There are more Morris pictures on Flickr and I may add some snowy ones. But to be honest our snowmen were lame. Our snowballs fights were great but not photographed. The most interesting thing was the variety of methods of transporting groceries as my car was snowed in.

My trolley came out to play for the second time and we also used the sledge - not much room when there's kiddie on it too!!

And now it's all melted. :O(

But wait...

What's that?


Nope. It's more snow!!!

Here we go again...

Still. At least kiddie has got some new wellies now and won't have to borrow mine. Dry feet for me! Yay!!

Next time...

Crafting. Yes really. I WILL take some photos of what I've been working on. Honest!


Friday, 6 February 2009

Holiday Snaps *yawn*

It was a tough job but someone had to do it. Here are just a few random pictures from The Holiday to bore you all to tears. Once I get these off my chest normal service will be resumed. :O)

Above are a few fishes spotted on the last day of the holiday. In about 3 feet of water just off the hotel's beach.

OH and kiddie went snorkelling. Look! Here she is.

This is hubbie ready to descend on another wreck. Does that look like fun to you? All that kit? All those hoses and things? That stupid (though wise) dayglo hood? I ask you...

This is part of Ras Mohammed - a national underwater park near Sharm. It is all highly protected to preserve that coral and other inhabitants of the reef. Every year parts of it are closed to give it a chance to recover. Think crop rotation.
Beneath the surface here is Jackfish Alley.

This is a view of the Straits of Tiran - a much disputed stretch of water. On the left is Egypt. On the right is Tiran Island (owned by Saudi and leased to Egypt with a US base on it!!). The thing in the middle is ship wreck on Jackosn reef. The lighter blue water in front of it is the top of the reef. The snorkellers in front mark the edge of the drop-off where it plunges down forever!!

Here is the intrepid kiddie. Ready to go snorkelling off the back of the dive boat near to Jackson reef. Would you look at that water - flat as a flat thing!

This is taken the same day just after we had cruised alongside 5 dolphins including 2 mums each with a baby. Aaaahhh...

And here are the kidlet and OH doing that same back of boat snorkel. (Sorry the order is random by good old Blogger mixed the pix up.)

And that wreck that I showed earlier... this is it close up. For a kiss on the cheek from kiddie the skipper of the boat took us up close enough for her to touch it.

We only spent a couple of days on the boat with the divers. The rest the time we spent by the pool. Kiddie has developed gills and was in the pool for hours at a time. We discovered that multi shot setting on the camera so here she is in action.

Had enough yet? lol
I know other people's holiday photos can be really tedious so I won't inflict any more on you. If you do want to look at others there are some on my Flickr (click on the right) and my hubbie's Flickr (find Blu_DL in my Flickr friends).
So now it's back to reality. Or not. All the snow we've had isn't 'normal' February for us is it? But it has been fantastic!
Today I'm off to support the Rabble at The Big Green Fair in Whittington. Luckily it will be Green and not White, so dancing will be able to take place. Will post pictures tomorrow.
Off for brekkie now. Thick, gooey, rib-sticking porridge methinks...

Monday, 2 February 2009


Last Monday morning. About 9am GMT. Location: Marriott Mountain Hotel, Sharm el Sheikh, Sinai Peninsula, Egypt

This Monday morning. About 9am GMT. Location: Lichfield, Staffordshire.

YAY!!!! We're back! Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the flight crew and especially the pilot of our flight back to East Midlands airport last night, and to everyone at EMA who kept the runways open. There was a slight skid to left and right as we landed (which was fun!) but we arrived safely. I'm so grateful that there were no detours to other airports miles away. And we were tucked up in bed with tea and toast (and three duvets!!) at 1am.
The excitement of coming back to snow and the propspect of seeing all her mates meant kiddie actually woke up at a reasonable time this morning as well :o).
So now it's time to adjust back to real life again. We've had a fantastic week with scorchio sunshine, fab food, calm seas, amazing diving/snorkelling and no upset tums. Kiddie was really torn - sad to be leaving 6 hours a day in a pool, everybody you meet loving kids and spoiling her rotten, her own double bed and going out for meals every night - but she was glad to be coming home to see her nannies, her grandpa, her cats and her friends, and also to be able to put loo paper down the toilet again - lol!! The snow was just an added bonus.
And me? Well I'm glad for Yorkshire versus Liptons and the loo roll thing too, but the laundry mountain does not appeal in the slightest. Still, better go and tackle it.