Wednesday 27 February 2013

BOOK REVIEW: The Casual Vacancy (J K Rowling)

So, it turns out you really shouldn't judge a book by its cover.

I had JK Rowling down as a humourless individual who took children's stories about wizards way too seriously.

The Casual Vacancy, then, was a revelation. Funny and a good yarn, it is full of fantastically vivid characters and brilliant observations of human nature.

When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.
The effect Barry's life and death have on the vast cast of characters is gradually revealed to us by means of a well crafted story, symbolised most visibly in the battle to inherit his seat on the parish council - the casual vacancy of the title.

Thursday 21 February 2013

Found: My motherly sense of moral outrage

I stumbled across something quite surprising the other day - my sense of moral outrage and disapproval.

The four-year-old has developed an interest in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I know not how, since he's never seen the programme (because we don't have Sky, not as the result of vigilant censorship).

The other day we were in the toy shop choosing something with £10 he'd been given for Christmas from an aunt. He chose an action figure of Raphael, the red turtle.

When we got it home I asked if he'd like me to read the character description on the back. But as I read ahead, my voice dried up.

Friday 15 February 2013

A bit of Twitter magic

Isn’t Twitter great?

I didn’t always think so. I got that niggly ‘newfangled’ feeling about it. Then of course, I got addicted.

Before I did, though, I remember a news editor telling me about a pretty magical Twitter moment by means of encouragement.

A real ale devotee, he got on a train to his native Scotland, opened a bottle of speciality brewed beer to try, and tweeted about it. Moments later, the brewer, based in Canada, tweeted him to inquire how he was finding it.

Tuesday 12 February 2013

BOOK CLUB REVIEW: After You'd Gone by Maggie O'Farrell

Distressed and depressed – we know not why - Alice Raikes finds herself boarding a train from London back to her native Scotland to be with her family.

But when she gets to Waverley station in Edinburgh, she spends only moments with her sisters before witnessing something so shocking that she flees, boarding the next return train to their surprise and bewilderment. Once home, Alice is involved in a car accident which leaves her in a coma.

This dramatic opening sequence plunges Alice, and us readers, into a transient state whereby the narrative is told in disjointed and disordered scenes – various memories of her life.

It is through these memories that we are able to slowly piece together the story of how she came to that fateful day, and long-buried secrets are finally revealed.

Friday 8 February 2013

Great balls of ice! That's crying out for a #SatCap

Saturday is caption day in the blog world, and I couldn't resist posting this. It's a classic example of a man's OCD put to good use for the entertainment of his child....

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Anyone for tennis?

Fancy a cuppa and a flick through Families Leeds magazine?

I always feel like a character in a favourite Victoria Wood sketch of mine, trying to sell an old stair lift. "They really are fun, even if you're not a wheelchair user". BUT, even if you don't live in Leeds, or have little people snapping at your heels, I must say it's a good read.

Among the many interesting articles, I'm loving The Boo Diaries by Bev Moore (page 26). You'll find yours truly, imperfect mum on page 6, recounting a family trip to Tennis Tots, plus an article by me on preparing a child for the arrival of a sibling on page 25 - interesting to look back on now that our second child is now nine weeks old!

Monday 4 February 2013