What an insult to an incredible woman.

Fiona Oakes is a vegan, and an elite marathon runner. She is at the top of her game and currently training for the toughest marathon in the world – the Marathon des Sables. 154 miles across the Sahara in 6 days with one race stage of 50 miles, carrying all your food & supplies in temperatures up to 50 degrees C (approx 130 F). Up & down sand dunes up to 600 feet high. She undertakes these challenges to raise money for causes she supports and believes in, including her own sanctuary where she cares for 400 animals as well as charities in Russia and Africa.

The magazine Runners World have just listed her incredible marathon achievements as being in the top 10 &  top 20 in her AGE GROUP. This is completely inaccurate and an insult to her. She is No. 10 and 20 OVERALL. This is so demeaning for the incredible effort she has put in. It’s  like comparing winning £10 on the lottery with winning the Jackpot.

Shame on a publication that does not get its facts right before it goes to print.

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Why the rage?

The purpose of books is to inform, educate or entertain. They can also be used to prop up the leg of a wonky table, or as paperweights, or to squash insects. Over the millenia books have been written on any material capable of being inscribed, including clay, wood, metal, wax, papyrus and stone. They were produced in the form of scrolls, tablets, and concertinas. They were laboriously hand-written and illustrated.

Once the printing press arrived, did readers welcome it, or did they regard it as a horrible modern invention and the ruination of the book? Did they prefer to unwind 50 feet of parchment to read the story?

I read a thread recently where somebody was saying how delighted they were with their Kindle. The thread deteriorated rapidly, with “proper” book readers expressing scorn and indignation. One of them went so far as to say that “these fads will soon be nothing more than piles of junk cluttering up the waste-fills, because nobody will want them.”  The conversation became quite aggressive.

Music has evolved from live performance through vinyl discs, via tape cassettes to CDs and is now in digital format. It’s all music however you listen to it. Many people find digital music quality preferable to vinyl. Some purists still enjoy those scratchy old discs. Whether people prefer listening to the vinyl, digital music is still “proper” music.

Digital photographs are “proper” photographs even though they have not been taken with a box with a pinhole in it. I have one friend who resolutely refuses to use a digital camera. That’s fine, it’s his choice. But he doesn’t rail against anybody who does.

I understand that everybody has their preferences, but do people really have to get so worked up if others choose to use a different media?

A book filled with blank pages can still be described as a book, even though there’s nothing to read in it. And an e-book/digital book is as much a book as one printed on paper. Provided it has words in it. 🙂

I find it strange when people say “Oh, I’d never read on an e-reader – I hate reading on a computer. I only read proper books.”  An e-reader is no more like a computer than a fish is like a bird. They are two entirely different things.  An e-reader offers many benefits a paper book doesn’t: in-built dictionary, ability to re-size font, instant delivery. You don’t need to use a biscuit wrapper to remember your page – an e-reader does that for you. If you’re travelling you can carry 500 books or more in your pocket. There are thousands, yes thousands of free books available for e-readers, including all the classics. You can carry every word written by Shakespeare, Dickens, Homer, Austen et al. around with you. The pages don’t fall out when the book gets old. The spine doesn’t wrinkle. If you get Marmite on it you can wipe it off without leaving a stain. An e-reader is lighter than a book, and you only need one hand to hold it and turn the pages. Those are some of the reasons I love my Kindle. On the downside they’re not much use for propping up that wonky table leg or batting wasps.

But hey! Why should it bother me if other people prefer paper books? It doesn’t. And why on earth do some paper book readers get so wound up when they hear e-readers mentioned? Read and let read, I say.

Best Foot Forward and The Valley of Heaven and Hell are both available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle, and from Smashwords in all other digital formats. An updated version of A Perfect Circle will be available in paperback and Kindle soon, followed by two more titles this year.

And so to bed, with clingfilm

I am so, so tired.  It’s been a busy week, with a couple of days of drama, rather a lot of stress, and hours and hours of editing to get A Perfect Circle tidied up before re-publishing in the near future.

So it’s an early night for me, with a little bit of luxury.

I can’t stand having my feet touched. They’re terribly tickly. But they need a little bit of TLC at the moment, and I read an article somewhere about giving them a treat.

You smother them in Vaseline, wrap them in clingfilm, put some socks on, and leave it on all night. Apparently if you do it for 3-4 nights your feet will be softer than a baby’s bottom.

I did a trial run last night, from which I learned that if you wrap the clingfilm too tightly it nearly cuts your toes off. But apart from that, it felt absolutely heavenly. So I’m off for the second go now.


The heart attack plant

It was a dark night. No moon shone through the Velux. The left side of the bed was empty. TOH was away.

Suddenly there was a crackling noise in the corner, followed by a thump. I woke, startled. Only something quite large could make such a noise.

I had already evacuated the huge spider through the window.

As I lay there wondering what had caused the noise, it happened again.

Crackle. Thump. I jumped.

Something was in the bedroom. But how had it got in? The door was closed. So were the windows.

My heart beat accelerated. I wondered whether I should put on the light, or lie quietly and hope that whatever it was would go by whatever mysterious means it had come.

Crackle. Thump.

I had to know what it was. Perhaps I could kill it with my Kindle.

I switched on the light.

There, in the corner of the room, were a pile of giant leaves from my Ficus Lyrata.  I think the cold has got to it. Do their leaves grow back again?

And still on the subject of the supermarket …..

….. thanks to Jacqui for reminding me that in between the supermarket being Stoc and Carrefour Market, it was Champion! I’d forgotten that.

I wonder what it will be next? Not Waitrose, that’s a certainty.

Here’s a pictorial illustration of the evolution of our supermarket:

Subsidiary of Auchan – Image: TheMoscowTimes.com

Part of  Carrefour Group – Image: marquesdisparues.voila.net

Champion – owned by Carrefour – Image: en.wikipedia.org

Part of Carrefour Group – Image: infomagazine.com

Owned by: Système U retailers’ co-operative – Image: Panoramio.com