Saturday, 29 April 2017

Y is for Young...A-Z Challenge 2017

My theme for the 2017 challenge is waffling on about random words!

That might not seem like a theme but if you read on you’ll discover it’s not quite as random as it sounds.  The words were generated using a word generator (https://randomwordgenerator.com/) and I opted for 4 words each day.  I might focus on one or try and incorporate them all into the post.

Choosing the words this way has given me a challenge and a common thread to my posts but it has also allowed me to be myself and just waffle!  It’s what I’m good at.  (Don’t worry, I’m aiming for around 500 words per post so hopefully you won’t get stuck here for too long 😉)

And the words for today are….

Young
Yearn
Yard
Youth

Hmm not a great selection of words.  I could tell you about when I was young but it would end up being a pretty boring post.  I was a goody two shoes when I was little.  I did as I was told.  Listened at school and did my homework.  I didn't even particularly yearn for excitement.

I did have a period of rebellion during my youth.  At the end of my schooling I was very flattered to receive attention from one of the younger teachers.  Now I know that sounds really bad but I was almost 18, had finished my exams so technically had left the school and here was this attractive young man (25 I think) who wanted to take me out.  Of course it caused a big fuss at home.  What did I think I was doing?  Well I wasn't thinking.  But actually I was.  I don't know if he was just trying to show off to his friends or get another notch on his bedpost but he didn't succeed in either.  It was a very shortlived thing.  I wasn't totally stupid it seems.

Although there are other incidents I can recall not long after that I'm not particularly proud of but I escaped to proper adulthood relatively unscathed much to my parents' relief.  And then I was fortunate enough to meet my hubby.  Once I'd established that he was actually interested in me (our first few dates are a whole other story!) I never looked  back.

35 years on (33 married in June) we have a nice back yard or garden as we call it attached to our house and although I can't claim all the credit it's nice to be able to sit here as I am, looking out my kitchen window at it.  I'll soon be able to return to my other favourite spot which is one of the top bedrooms.  We got the carpet laid this week and the furniture, including my desk, is back in place.  It will be good to get back up there as it's usually quiet and peaceful and also overlooks the garden.


Do you have any youthful anecdotes?  Are you a gardener?

Friday, 28 April 2017

X is for cheating...A-Z Challenge 2017

My theme for the 2017 challenge is waffling on about random words!

That might not seem like a theme but if you read on you’ll discover it’s not quite as random as it sounds.  The words were generated using a word generator (https://randomwordgenerator.com/) and I opted for 4 words each day.  I might focus on one or try and incorporate them all into the post.

Choosing the words this way has given me a challenge and a common thread to my posts but it has also allowed me to be myself and just waffle!  It’s what I’m good at.  (Don’t worry, I’m aiming for around 500 words per post so hopefully you won’t get stuck here for too long 😉)

And the words for today are….

Not randomly generated - there seemed to be a problem with X words so I've cheated and resorted to an old dictionary (as in a Hardback version) and chosen the following:
Xerography (dry copying process - powder adheres to surface remaining electrically charged after exposure to light)
Xerophyte (a plant able to grow in very dry conditions)
X-ray &
Xenophobia (fear of foreigners) 

I have done a lot of xerography in my time.  Although we call it photocopying.  Having worked in a variety of clerical/admin positions during my working life the photocopier was a very useful machine.  Until it broke down.  Often because it was abused.  You probably know the scenario.  Someone is in a hurry.   The machine jams.  They think they've cleared it but it's still flashing up there's a jam.  Oh no worries.  Let's just turn it off and on again and it'll be fine.  Oops no.  Now it's totally jammed!  

I became pretty expert at clearing jams, installing new toner, working out the best way to copy complicated documents etc.  I was often the go to person if there was a problem.  I also got to know the repair guy pretty well in my last job.  We would share friendly banter.  There are definitely elements of my working life I miss.  But not enough to send me back into an office!

Now xerophyte is what all my indoor plants need to be.  I am pretty useless at remembering to water them.  I am improving though.  That comes from having more time at home.  Time to notice that the plants are starting to droop.  I don't actually have that many indoors, mainly because I do neglect them.  I have a spider plant that will cope with anything.  I also have an orchid that was in bloom when I received it and then I followed the instructions and cut it right back.  And then it did nothing.  For months.  I was on the point of throwing it out when I noticed new growth!  And it flowered!  Not at the top of a new elegant stem but close to the leaves.  But it flowered! 

I had two poinsettias at Christmas.  I've never managed to keep them far beyond the festive season but this year they seemed to be doing well.  There was new growth evident on the bare stems.  Until I stayed at my daughter's and forgot to issue hubby with watering instructions.  One has shrivelled and was beyond redemption, the other is hanging in there.  Time will tell if it's worth all my fussing around it.

I think my worst x-ray memory has to be when our daughter was about 15 months old and fell at my mother's house and bumped her head.  (The bump on her forehead came up like an egg.) The subsequent visit to the hospital was traumatic.  Partly because the staff seemed to give the impression we were terrible parents because we hadn't actually witnessed what she hit her head on (she was going to my Mum in the kitchen and fell somewhere in the hallway)  At one point I thought they were definitely considering contacting social services.  Then they decided Rebecca needed an x-ray.  Of course she wanted me with her but I was pregnant at the time, although it was early days so no obvious bump.  She had to settle for Dad.  Well she didn't.  She screamed the place down as I waited in the waiting area definitely subject to some disapproving looks from other people who clearly thought I was a bad mother not to be with my child.  I wanted to stand up and announce to the room why I couldn't be in the x-ray room but you know how I love being the centre of attention.  NOT!  Fortunately Rebecca was fine and I don't think she holds it against me.  Especially since I've now held her hand through childbirth.  Although the "yes you can, PUSH!" comments might not be so favourably remembered.

As for Xenophobia.  Not on my radar.  Born and bred in London it would be hard going through life that way. 

Are you an indoor gardener?  Got any funny bone stories to tell?

Review: Dear Amy

Dear Amy Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great debut novel.

Margot works as a teacher but, as Amy, she also writes an agony aunt column for the local paper.

When Katie, a student at Margot's school goes missing the search for her is quickly scaled down as Katie is believed to be a runaway. Then Amy starts getting letters from Bethan Avery. Bethan disappeared years before and although her body was never found she was believed to have been murdered.

Margot has a chequered past involving drugs and mental health issues and as she becomes involved with a criminologist to try and find out who is sending her the letters, off her meds she starts to unravel.

Gradually the mystery is solved and the twists and turns kept me reading. It was good to have only one POV in the book rather than lots of different ones which authors seem to favour at the moment. I hadn't totally worked out what had happened either so there were definitely a few surprises at the end for me.

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Review: My Name Is Lucy Barton

My Name Is Lucy Barton My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. It's quite a simple premise - during a prolonged spell in hospital Lucy is visited by her estranged Mother. The book recounts their conversations but also allows Lucy to contemplate her upbringing and come to a better understanding of certain things.

The story is told after the spell in hospital so Lucy also chronicles other elements in her life; marriage, work, becoming a mother herself.

There are no big surprises, no big dramatic events, just a story of a life seen through the first person. But really well told.

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