Pretty safe on the flat, going in a straight line, and without the need to turn corners, I asked himself if the speed I was travelling at was average walking speed. Shaking his head sadly, he explained no, a tortoise would comfortably pass me without breaking into a sweat. Oh dear, a lot of practise is obviously needed - I have been promised a set of L plates and there is a horn built into the chair so hopefully I won't maim too many people in the meantime.
That done, a spot of retail therapy was called for as I still had vouchers for various different shops from Christmas/my birthday.
Also, himself had some Waterstones vouchers which he very kindly handed over - Does this mean I have once again broken my self imposed ban on book buying? I'd argue not.
Renee is the concierge of a grand Parisian apartment building, home to members of the great and the good. Over the years she has maintained her carefully constructed persona as someone reliable but totally uncultivated, in keeping, she feels, with society s expectations of what a concierge should be. But beneath this façade lies the real Renée: passionate about culture and the arts, and more knowledgeable in many ways than her employers with their outwardly successful but emotionally void lives. Down in her lodge, apart from weekly visits by her one friend Manuela, Renée lives resigned to her lonely lot with only her cat for company. Meanwhile, several floors up, twelve-year-old Paloma Josse is determined to avoid the pampered and vacuous future laid out for her, and decides to end her life on her thirteenth birthday. But unknown to them both, the sudden death of one of their privileged neighbours will dramatically alter their lives forever.
KNIGHTS OF THE BLACK & WHITE by Jack Whyte
The exciting first book in a brand new fictional trilogy about the most important events in the history of the Order of the Knights Templar. The Templars represent a widely popular period of history, but the roots of their fellowship have been shrouded in contemporary conspiracy theory and media glamour!.this trilogy tells the true tales of the Knights Templar; beginning with why they formed after the First Crusade and why they continued to grow in power and influence. Immediately after the deliverance of Jerusalem, the Crusaders, considering their vow fulfilled, drifted back to their homes. But some considered that the defence of this precarious conquest, surrounded as it was by Mohammedan neighbours, still remained. In 1118, during the reign of Baldwin II, Hugues de Payens, a knight of Champagne, and eight of his companions bound themselves by a perpetual vow, taken in the presence of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, to defend the Christian kingdom and all god fearing pilgrims who wished to visit the Holy Land. Baldwin accepted their services and assigned them a portion of his palace, adjoining the temple of the city; hence their title "pauvres chevaliers du temple" (Poor Knights of the Temple).
Jakob Beer is seven years old when he is rescued from the muddy ruins of a buried village in Nazi-occupied Poland. Of his family, he is the only one who has survived. Under the guidance of the Greek geologist Athos, Jakob must steel himself to excavate the horrors of his own history. A novel of astounding beauty and wisdom, Fugitive Pieces is a profound meditation on the resilience of the human spirit and love's ability to resurrect even the most damaged of hearts.
And for himself - well they were his vouchers and the poor soul needed some cheering up after trying to wade his way through Barbara Kingsolver's THE LACUNA.
TICKLING THE ENGLISH by Dara O Briain
Nostalgia, identity, eccentricity, gin drinking and occasional violence... these are just some of the themes that stand-up comedian Dara O Briain explores in Tickling the English. O Briain moved to England many years ago, but when he takes his show on tour around the country – from deserted seaside towns and remote off-shore islands, to sprawling industrial cities and sleepy suburbs – it’s clear to him that his adopted home is still a bit of an enigma. Why do the English pretend to be unhappy all the time? Why can’t they accept they rank about 5th, in everything? And what’s with all the fudge? But this Irishman loves a challenge; he's certainly got the gregarious personality and the sure-fire wit to bring down the barriers of that famous English reserve, and have a good old rummage inside. Swapping anecdotes with his audiences and spending time wandering in their hometowns, this nosy neighbour holds England up to the light while exploring some of the attitudes he brought over here with him too. As Dara goes door-to-door in search of England in this part tour diary, part travelogue, the result is an affectionate, hilarious and often eye-opening journey through the Sceptred Isle.
Please note all book descriptions on this post come courtesy of Amazon.