26 Sep 2016


Mr T's new job and our Pearl Anniversary aside (yes we celebrated thirty years of marriage Tuesday gone), this month has been truly horrendous so I thought some light relief was in order, hence the Sex After 40.

Sex After 40?  

Please I'm not that kind of blogger.

Now where was I?

Oh yes, Sex After 40 courtesy of this post over at Joey's Pad.

  1. Are you named after someone? Nope. I was going to be called Carol but apparently my parents took one look and decided I looked like a Tracy (not something I've ever forgiven them for).
  2. When was the last time you cried? Pick a day these last few weeks when I haven't.
  3. Do you like your hand writing? For so many reasons, not least of which is my being out of practice, no.
  4. What is your favourite lunch meat? Following a bad bout of chicken induced food poisoning many years ago I don't do meat any more.
  5. Do you have kids? No.
  6. If you were another person, would you be friends? Friends with me? Hmm ....
  7. Do you use sarcasm? I'm English, the same as queuing and talking incessantly about the weather, it's in our blood.
  8. Do you still have your tonsils? Last time I checked, along with my appendix, yes.
  9. Would you bungee jump? Yeah! The bigger the drop the better (Ooh what was that question about sarcasm?) 
  10. What is your favourite cereal? Hmm, I don't really have a favourite. Muesli, Shreddies, Crunchy-nut cornflakes, whatever takes my fancy at the time.
  11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? My clog-type shoes (the only type I can now wear because of CRPS) don't have laces.
  12. Do you think your strong? Psychologically I'd like to think I'm, err, robust. Physically, not so much.
  13. What is your favourite ice-cream flavour? Ooh! I am partial to a scoop or two of ice-cream. The flavour that stands out to me, but one I haven't had for a while, being a gorgeous rose flavoured one.
  14. What is the first thing you notice about people? If they have a book, I'd note what they are reading. If not? Emm, whether or not they are polite.
  15. Red or pink? Well, it definitely isn't pink.
  16. What is the least favourite thing you like about yourself? My dislike of confrontation. I'm not saying I'd like to be a seriously confrontational person but there are certain people .... Physically, I would once have said my nose but now I'd have to say my fingernails which get to a certain (not very long) length and curl.
  17. What colour pants and shoes are you wearing right now? Pants as in what we call trousers or pants as in what we know as underwear? None if your referring to the first (I don't wear trousers) and, err (just checking), black if your referring to the latter. As for shoes, pale-blue crocs - I know! What can I say?
  18. What was the last thing you ate? You really want to know? I'm almost too ashamed but the truth will out. A mayo, beetroot and ready salted crisp sandwich.
  19. What are you listening to right now? Nothing other than the click of my finger on the keyboard.
  20. If you were a crayon, what colour would you be? My favourite colour, a nice, bright yellow.
  21. Favourite smell? Freshly washed laundry drying in the sun.
  22. Who was the last person you spoke to? The ma-in-law.
  23. Favourite sport to watch? I'm not into sports but if I had to pick the one you'd most likely find me watching it would have to be rugby.
  24. Hair colour that's real? Blonde(ish) with natural silver hi-light streaks to the sides.
  25. Do you wear contact lenses? Glasses for reading and distance. No lenses, I have a phobia about anything near/in my eyes.
  26. Favourite food? It varies but Mr T's nut roast with mushrooms, his vegetable and bean lasagne.
  27. Scary movie or happy ending? Funny but happy ending.
  28. Last movie you watched? A Royal Night Out.
  29. What colour shirt are you wearing? None. What did I tell you? I'm not one of those bloggers. Almost 4 pm and I'm still in my night clothes.
  30. Summer or winter? Neither. Give me Autumn or Spring.
  31. Hugs or kisses? Hmm, hugs or, as we'd say here, cuddles.
  32. Favourite sweet food? Ooh! I had the most yummy Eton Mess on Tuesday but, generally speaking, chocolate.
  33. What book are you currently reading? Alistair Grim's Odd Aquaticum by Gregory Funaro.
  34. What is on your mouse pad? Hmm, used to using the laptop, its been a while since I last saw the mouse mat but I think its .... 
  35. What did you last watch on TV? That would be the chat/discussion programme, The Wright Stuff.
  36. Favourite sound? Sorry if I'm coming over too gooey but ... Mr T's key in the door.
  37. Rolling Stones or Beatles? Neither.
  38. What is the farthest you have travelled? Poland, I think. 
  39. Do you have a special talent? It depends who you ask. I'd say no BUT Mr T reckons if they gave out degrees in talking about nothing I'd have a masters.
  40. Where were you born? The Princess Mary Maternity Hospital, Newcastle.

23 Sep 2016



INNER FRONT COVER BLURB: It's the new university term among the dreaming spires. The start of a whole new life.

Meet Isabel, beautiful, clever, shy - and leaving home for the first time.

Meet Olly, recently graduated, idealistic and a little hopeless, a man whose heart leads his brain and for whom opportunity just hasn't come knocking - yet.

Meet Amber, the It girl who is soon partying with the fast set - and no-one is faster than Jasper de Borchy, glamorous leader of the notorious Bullinger club.

Meet the grown-ups: Diana, recently divorced mother-of-one, newly arrived in town to take up a post as college gardener - and Richard, the new college head, a widower, a scientist, and as lonely as some of the specimens he captures in his science lab.

The rich, the poor, the shy, the extrovert, the givers, the takers. Meet the Gifted and Talented.

FIRST SENTENCE {Chapter 1}: Isabel stared out of the train window.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 94}: In the confined space of the narrow hall he looked larger than ever, his belly straining under a black T-shirt bearing the legend 'Are you looking at my cock?' under an image of a chicken.

Diana swallowed.

SOURCE: Ex-library stock.

MY THOUGHTS: Set on a university campus - what at times felt like a 1950's campus - and telling the connected stories of several different individuals, students and staff alike. Overall an easy read, dare I say a novel perhaps best suited to a long flight or the pool side? As it was I had several issues with Gifted & Talented ..

  1. A readable enough yarn, just not nearly as witty as it seemed to think it was but then what it humorous to one person isn't necessarily so to the next.
  2. Some more interesting than others, by the time I'd waded through the chapters featuring characters I failed to engage with (which amounted to most of them) and got back to the chapters relating to characters such as Diana, her nine year old daughter, and her relatively amusing 'salt of the earth' neighbours, I'd sometimes lost the thread of their story.
  3. Ah yes, those 'salt of the earth, social housing dwelling neighbours ... to say nothing of the obnoxious, spoilt, little rich girl. Urgh! Full of stereotypes and cliches, all of them horribly patronising. 
Hmm! Originally a book I rated as 'it was OK', I'm beginning to think I was probably a little generous.

22 Sep 2016


Normally tilted at an angel of about 23.4 degrees in relation to the ecliptic (the apparent path of the sun on the celestial sphere), on just about every day of the year either the Southern or Northern hemisphere tilts a little towards the sun. 

Just about every day that is except the Summer and Autumn Equinox when the tilt of the earth's axis is perpendicular to the sun's rays.

Marking the start of Autumn here in the Northern hemisphere .... astronomically speaking (meteorologists would date the beginning of Autumn three weeks before this) ... the September Equinox (Equinox being from the Latin 'aequus' meaning equal and 'nox' meaning night hence 'equal night') sees a night and day that are (not quite) the exact same length.

Thanks to the 'Gregorian Calendar' usually falling on or around September 22nd (as it does this year UCT) - the last 21st of September Equinox fell on 1000 CE and is not due to fall again until 2092 whilst the last September 24th Equinox occurred in 1931 and will not do so again until 2303 - each September Equinox (sometimes known as Mabon) occurs approximately six hours later than the previous year's September Equinox.

Generally speaking, one of the lesser celebrated Pagan festivals. Mabon (a festival named after the God of Welsh mythology, the Child of Light and the son of the Earth Mother Goddess, Modron).

Traditionally a time when the farmers bought in the harvest) was typically 'replaced' by the Christian festival of Michaelmas celebrating the feast day of Saint Michael the Archangel.

A time to celebrate home and hearth. A time to reap what you have sown. A time to let go that which is no longer wanted or needed. As in the Christian tradition thanks is given for the abundance of fruit and vegetables. Fruits including the apple, a symbol of the divine, of life and fertility, a protection against evil, the tree of which represents wisdom ...

Cut an apple width ways and it reveals a pentagram containing seeds. The five points represent the elements of Earth, Air, Fire, Water with Spirit at the top, and thus also the directions of East, South, West, North and Within.

Folklore has it that ...
  • Peel the apple, keeping the peel in one long piece let it drop to the floor. The letter it forms is the first initial of your true love's name.
  • If you have more than one potential lover, peel an apple and pull out the seeds placing one on your cheek for each potential boyfriend. The last one left stuck to the skin represents the suitor who is your true love.
  • Wait until midnight, cut an apple into nine pieces and take the pieces into a dark room with a mirror. Eat eight of the pieces, piece by piece whilst looking in the mirror, throwing the ninth over your shoulder whereupon the face of your true love should appear.

21 Sep 2016



BACK COVER BLURB: 1854. As the Cardiff-bound train puffs out of Paddington Station, young Hugh Kellow wraps a protective arm around his large valise. He has been entrusted with a priceless silver coffee pot, designed in the shape of a locomotive, by his elderly silversmith employer. But two of Hugh's fellow passengers are taking an enormous interest in the young man and his priceless cargo.

When a dead body is discovered in a room at the Cardiff Railway Hotel, beside an empty valise, the great Railway Detective Robert Colbeck and his trusty sergeant Victor Leeming are called in to investigate; and face a whole host of unexpected problems.

FIRST SENTENCE {Chapter One}: 1855

Nigel Buckmaster knew how to make an entrance.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 17}: 'It's that silver pot', she confessed, a palm to her breast. 'It's stolen my heart, Nigel - I'd kill to own it.'

SOURCE: Given to me by a friend.

MY THOUGHTS: An OK read. A self contained story in so much as each of the books deals with a separate case though as with all series that you haven't followed from the beginning/have read out of sequence you run the risk of missing out on the history between the characters. 

Though the sixth book in the series, the first I have read. How much impact this had on my enjoyment is debatable as I felt the author back-tracked just enough in that if nothing else I could at least hazard a guess as to previous events and the relationships between the characters.

An easily identified felon, characters with wonderful names, a hint of romance - in other words arguably a standard cosy mystery.

Better by far than the predictable plot, the characters who I found wooden or indeed the dialogue which I thought somewhat stilted, whilst oddly sanitised at times and with the tendency to over-describe, leaving little to the reader's imagination, it was the never-the-less overall good attention to period detail that made this book for me.