Deceptive appearances.

So today we wanted to get to somewhere that is quite a way off the beaten track. We took the train to the nearest station, and decided that rather than waiting for the every-45-minute bus, we would walk.

Off we set at a brisk pace in the general direction, and after three minutes we met a man and asked him if we were going the right way. He looked us up and down, then said: “Well, if you go down to the roundabout and turn left, you’ll be OK. Ask somebody there for directions. But ..” he hesitated, “it’s a hell of a long walk.”

“How long?” I asked.

“At least a mile, maybe a mile and a half.” He clearly had serious doubts we could toddle that far.

We smiled, thanked him, and continued on our way.

Half an hour later, we met a postman.

“Is this the way to Lucky Lane?” we asked.

“It is indeed,” said he, “but it’s a long way to walk.” He looked sympathetic.

“About how far?”

“More than a mile.”

Ha ha, they had no idea they were talking to a woman who had walked 500 miles across France. 😀

Alluring book titles

The 2012 Oddest Book Title first prize goes to:

Image: The Bookseller

Other contenders for the coveted title were:

Mr Andoh’s Pennine Diary: Memoirs of a Japanese Chicken Sexer in 1935 Hebden Bridge

The Great Singapore Penis Panic and the Future of American Mass Hysteria

Estonian Sock Patterns All Around the World.

Source: The Guardian Newspaper, 30 March 2012

I couldn’t stop crying and TOH was irritated

It’s all the fault of somebody called Mark Sinclair who has written a book about opening a delicatessen in a miserable Middle English town, with his only qualification being an ability to bake a quiche without looking at the recipe.

No matter how tired I am – and I was very tired last night after walking 15 miles – I have to read before I go to sleep, and Sinclair’s tales of his beastly, vile customers and their extraordinary demands made me laugh until my pillow was soaked and the bed was rocking as if in an earthquake. I’d intended to read for 10 minutes, and three hours later was still howling and provoking much thrashing of duvet and exasperated sighs from TOH.

Haven’t quite finished this book yet, and I have a growing list of reviews to catch up on, but I couldn’t resist mentioning this one, because if you want/need a good laugh, it’s really worth the money (actually I got it free, thanks to my IFTTT alert.) As an added bonus, he’s an accomplished writer.  I know of nobody else who can write so movingly about a lady with a lump of Stilton wedged between her thighs, decorated with a little piglet curl. 😉

I’d Sooner Starve is available in paperback and Kindle, and you can read or download a free sample.

Excuse me while I try to find a way of unmatting the clumps of waterproof mascara from my eyes. I look like a drunken panda.

Do you IFTTT? If not, perhaps you should.

While I’m sadly lacking in techieness and find it all, in the main, just beyond my grasp, one thingy that I am getting to grips with is IFTTT – standing for If This Then That. For those of you who haven’t found it yet, here’s a link that explains how it works: http://ifttt.com/wtf (Notice the (“wtf”) suffix that made me smile. It carries out automated tasks to save you time and faffing about. And it’s free.

As far as I can see the applications for IFTTT are almost limitless, but I haven’t yet had the time or mental ability to work out all the things it could do for me. However, if you take a look at this page, you’ll see ready-made  “Recipes” – simple programs that will automate all kinds of functions for you. These are tasks that other users have written. But you can also create your own if you’re not as stupid as me.

If you’re a Kindle owner/reader and want to be alerted when a new free book gets into the top 100, there’s an excellent “Recipe” that will send you an email as soon as a new title makes the list. Some of the free books are only available for a short time, so unless you are on the ball you could miss out. Thanks to IFTTT I recently picked up an ebook for free which normally sells at £8.99 – a price I’d never pay for a digital book. I download about 5 free ebooks every week from the top 100 – some of them are real gems, but I wouldn’t spend time every day scanning for them. The “recipe” does that for me.

Here’s a screenshot

Depending on which part of the world you get your Kindle books from, make sure you select either “Amazon.com” or “Amazon.co.uk”, as both lists differ. You’ll see what I mean when you try it out.

If, like me, you spend too many hours each day trying to juggle all the social media balls and live a life, IFTTT really can make your life easier. Check it out. 🙂

 

Notes from a foreign country

Well, the last two days have been interesting and enjoyable.

Much of yesterday was spent in a London teaching hospital. We read and hear a great deal about the horrors of the National Health Service, but our experience yesterday was faultless. The hospital was shiny clean; the staff polite and helpful. Appointments were on time, and the specialist was friendly and sat chatting for half an hour explaining the diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. Immediately a MacMillan nurse arrived to lend reassurance. There were clean cafes serving healthy food and extremely good coffee. I really could not fault this hospital.

Later we watched a black bride and groom on their way to their wedding. Both looked stunning, classy and elegant travelling in a white coach pulled by two matching greys with plumes, the drivers wearing top hats.

Today we walked four miles each way to and from the cinema, through London parks bright with sunshine, daffodils and young mothers with toddlers. I love the colour and sounds of all the different ethnicities, the displays of exotics foods, the varied costumes, the seductive smells of their foods.

And really enjoyed The Hunger Games, which is fairly true to the book.

Just around the corner is a fabulous Asian store, and we’ve been enjoying parathas and samosas with mouth-watering sauces. Just wish I knew so much more about Asian cooking so that I could take advantage of the incredible variety of fruits and vegetables and mysterious ingredients.

While the sublime weather lasts, we’re going to take advantage of London’s lovely parks and picnic, as well as catching up with friends we don’t get the chance to see very often.

What’s not to like? 🙂