Very Sad News

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“inner sanctum post”

I am terribly sad. I just got a letter from Judith, my ex James’ mum, to say that her husband Andy has died. He was ill but with a progressive disease, so this was sudden, but a relief for both of them in a way. I was very close to them for the years J and I were together (7 years), staying with them regularly, going on holiday with them etc, and we kept in touch after the breakup.

Especially coming after the family news, I am in pieces. I have counselling tonight and I’m going to go, Matt suggested it would be good to (and it’s in half an hour) as I can talk about it there then he will be home when I get back.

Please, a hug, if you have time. I must put together a letter of condolence and a message to James. Oddly enough, I know exactly what to do and write here.

DAVID MILES – The Tribes of Britain

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Bought 17 Nov 2006 – Bookends

Covering some of the same ground as Bloody Foreigners, this is an exhaustive socio-economic survey of British history. Starting with prehistoric peoples, and using archaeological surveys and techniquest, it looks at population and settlement patterns, reasons for demographic change, and the way in which incoming populations have settled into Britain. Occasional personal touches – sites he has dug on, family experiences, give an edge of humanity, and overall it’s an excellent and well written tome.

PETER MAYLE – Bon Appetit

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Acquired via BookCrossing 20 Nov 2006 – box of unregistered books from Caffcaff

Entertaining tales from travels around food and drink festivals, with a detox (French-style) at the end. Jolly, although not mealtime reading, unless you like reading about snails and frogs at mealtimes!

Now available, but the cover has so many different things on it that I’m saving it for the Never Judge… challenge!


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Acquired via BookCrossing 25 Nov 2006 – at the meetup

A wonderful book – one to savour. Richly satirical, the author lays bare the pretensions of the protagonists without being cruel, and moves them around the plot with deft ease. As someone has said, she is like a modern Jane Austen in this respect. I’m not sure if anyone actually comes out of this looking good, but it’s charming and a page-turner. Thanks for the recommendation Ali!

JUDITH M. BERRISFORD – Jackie on Pony Island

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Acquired via BookCrossing 04 May 2006 – from weebly

A lovely gentle read – Jackie and Babs end up helping some new friends try to make money to save their ponies. The only enemies are some oiks on motorbikes; a relic of a more innocent world.

Your collective wisdom sought at a difficult time

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(and I’m so sorry this comes so soon after Aly and Paul’s loss)

This goes to a small subsection of my friends list. I understand if anyone either can or can’t feel they can post or email and appreciate you taking the time to read this.

I’ve just had an email from my Mother to let me know that her sister, my Aunty Barbara, is terminally ill in hospital with kidney and liver failure. She is mentioning having to tell Grandma and the shock it’s been.

I need to respond. But I can’t work out the words to use. It’s a complicated situation, not only because of my relationship with my family, but because Mother and Aunty Barbara can’t stand each other and neither can Aunty Barbara and Grandma. They haven’t seen each other for years. Actually Mother isn’t that fond of Grandma either.

What I need to do is get across that I do have a response, that I am sorry that they have this situation and sorry for Aunty Barbara being so ill, but also of course a firmness that it is not appropriate for me to be involved, without actually saying so, and a genuine wish that the passing and aftermath is… well, smooth, unproblematic. I am a bit stuck. Flowers etc are not appropriate – I think it needs to be an email message. I have no wish to see Aunty Barbara, as I didn’t really have a relationship with her past Christmas cards and haven’t seen her/cousins since I was about 13.

Can you suggest any form of words? I need your collective wisdom here…

Thank you



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Bought 13 May 2006 – Booth’s, Hay-on-Wye

Pulled off the pony pile for a poorly read. Oops – alliteration frenzy. This is the third in a series about David and his pony Tornado. He steps out into the wider world of work, with misunderstandings abounding but the support of his family and his friend Pat, and his own work ethic and care for his horse get him through in the end.

ANNE LAMOTT – Operating Instructions: A Journal of my Son’s First Year

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Acquired via BookCrossing 20 Jan 2007 – BookRing

This was an unusual and brutally honest book. As someone without children (yet, hopefully) I found the honesty reassuring, telling it how it was. Her love for her son shone through all the conflicted emotions, and I was very moved by the way her family and friends all gathered around for her in a tight support network. I found the bits about her one friend harrowing – but it’s part of life and she doesn’t try to spare her own or the reader’s feelings, which is brave. I’m glad I read this book.

JAN JONES – Stage By Stage (Transita)

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Bought 09 Dec 2006 at Transita Day

Now, this I liked. The perfect book for that poorly-on-your-birthday situation, this is a lighthearted romance, full of fun and laughs. The characters are nicely observed, especially the teenagers, and the sometimes complex situations well handled. I loved the theatrical details (shades of the Blue Door Theatre Company – hooray!) and the range of characters. Having heard Jan read from the book and met her a couple of times – always lovely and welcoming, always bubbly – I heard most of it in her voice, which is a lovely bonus pleasure gained from knowing the people whose books I am reading.

I was going to get LindyB to release this at the Cambridge Theatre, but I’m afraid I’m now going to demand it back after it’s been on a bookring!

Thank you Jan, for making a manky birthday a bit brighter!

DYLAN JONES – iPod, Therefore I Am: A Personal Journey Through Music

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Bought 11 Nov 2006 – the “bad” bookshop in town (Bookends)

Hm. This was the story of iPod, the story of Apple, the story of his life vaguely told through music, and the story of his love affair with his iPod. He does namecheck Nick Hornby (among the millions of other names dropped, but he is editor of GQ and former editor of I-Q, so…) and it’s a Hornbyesque work, full of lists and best-ofs. I felt some of it was a little patronising, but then will people have picked it up because of the writer rather than the music theme? This could have also done with some major proofreading and editing. It was never clear how many songs he had on the thing, and there were some real bloopers, the worst of which was on p. 60:

“And then they launched it, on 10 November, a month after 9/11”

Now I ain’t so good at the maths, but even I understand that September plus one month = October. Hm. OK, this was in a remainder shop, and maybe a better copy got out there afterwards, but I am not happy to accept major, spottable errors like that!

So – a bit disappointing and I’m not sure at the moment if I’m going to keep it or BookCross it. Hurrah for The Bad Shop and its low, low prices!

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