A Holiday Book Haul

A little rundown for you of all the books I picked up recently while away in Scotland.


The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas

I already have a copy of this and I’ve read it, so this is a shameless book upgrade just because I thought this binding was a lot nicer than the one I already own, and so would make by bookcase look prettier. Anyone else do that?

39 Steps by John Buchan

It just so happened that there was a book festival going on in Edinburgh while we were there, and I picked this book pretty much at random (as I as in a rush to get back to my familiars) from the Scottish Classics section in a big marquee bookshop. I do like a bit of grab and run shopping.

I did pay though don’t worry.


Wide Sargasso Sea by  Jean Rhys

This is a sort of indignant fan-fiction of Jane Eyre, it focuses on the character of Bertha Mason (the mad wife in the attic) and gives her some background and an insight into why exactly she went mad.

I finished reading this one last night, I didn’t love it, it’s an interesting idea, and it’s final few pages really achieve what it sets out to do I think, but there are huge patches before it gets there that left me just slightly irritated, or just slightly bored.

The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens

A bit of Dickens to expand myself a bit, I liked my first foray into Dickens, which was Oliver Twist, so I thought I would Give this a go too.

Thrones, Dominations by Dorthy L Sayers and Jill Paton Walsh

This is one of those clever author dies leaving an unfinished work and another author comes along to finish it off, but do we like this author too? we don’t know, we are suspicious. I think Jill Parton Walsh gets the character stuff about right though, and that’s what matters.

Uncle Fred In The Springtime by W G Wodehouse

Well this is a Blandings book, but I’m now getting the feeling that I might have actually read it before and forgotten. I think my co blogger Elinor might have even lent it to me.

What as the last book you bought?




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Week 26 of the Doodles: Take #2 – The Great Mousecapade!

The Great Mousecapade! (Episode 3)

The Biscuit Heist

The Biscuit Heist

Our intrepid Biscuit Commandos have reached their objective and with the handy help of a paper clip are endeavouring to save their community from the dreaded biscuit crisis.

Under express orders to keep Munchies away from the biscuits (as in training he proved he could not be trusted) the rest of the commandos have placed him on look out duty in case of being rumbled.

Tune in next week to see if the Biscuit Commandos can make it back home with their loot.

Appearing in this weeks episode were: Munchies, Marmite, Sweet and Quaver

au revoir



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Gardening Fail

gardening fail

Only yesterday I was telling my sister in law in an email that I am no renowned gardener. I do grow chillies, but only with minimal effort (say ‘shit, shit, shit’ and run to water them after a week of drooping) and honestly I consider it some kind of miracle when fruits actually appear.

But just incase I WAS feeling some kind of delusion of green fingered grandiose, I did something dreadful today to nip it in the bud.

I was giving the kitchen a good clean down, I’d done the hob, the surfaces and the floor and in the interests of being really thorough  I turned my attention to the plants on the windowsill. I took up the little green bushy thing (Latin name) and did a bit of vigorous dead heading. It looked much better.THEN I decided that the beautiful, probably quite expensive purple orchid with a good five or six flowers on it and sentimental value to boot, would benefit from my sheers of helpfulness. I decided to reach across and snip off the unsightly and no doubt nutrient draining dead leaf at the base of the plant. It was a bit tougher than I thought it was going to be, but those leaves are thick I thought, and then to my horror the entire stork with its marvelous head of flowers keeled over onto my arm.

Thats right, I CUT THE WHOLE ORCHID OFF. I feel like a criminal against nature, similar to someone who steels bird eggs or kicks badgers for fun, just awful.


In the market for a new orchid,



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I am terrible about lunch, I really have no idea what I should eat, I can do dinner and high tea and breakfast (well with breakfast if I’m honest is prepared for me by supermarket chains in cereal and instant porridge). But Lunch I got nothing.

For years I ate a sandwich at school, when I got to Sixth form I had packet pasta things or salads and after roughly twelve years of sandwiches I’m not that fond of them. And its harder to make lunch because a lot of my seminars and lectures tend to centre around midday and afternoon, so I usually have soups at uni with toast (which I buy readymade because I’m lazy). It is useful for getting a certain amount vegetable matter in me apart from salad. Now we’re supposed to eat 7 pieces of fruit and veg and they also have to be of various colours to get the full complement of vitamins and etc. I struggled to get 5 a day. at best I got 5 a week. I am particularly unhealthy especially as I don’t like many fruits especially apples we always have granny smiths and they are so acidic even the smell sets my teeth on edge. Vegetables actually I lap up I have never had a problem eating veg even as a child I adored broccoli and cauliflower (provided we don’t let my great aunt cook any in the manner of times gone by when it’s mainly water) Except carrots, they have a tendency to make me retch. Sorry but its true, I have no idea why.

So why I am telling you all this? I made a cool lunch and I feel really proud of myself. I saw a picture of an avocado on an advert a couple of days and I just really wanted one. And then I did a little searching to find what goes well with avocado and what is in our freezer, we had pitta bread and home made (oven) dried tomatoes in the freezer and I found they went well together. So I made this… 



I ended up with a sort of pitta bread plate because opening them didn’t open very well, half an avocado, sliced, with dried tomato and a couple of boiled eggs and chunky cucumber. With three chopped strawberries in a little dish, which go quite well with avocado themselves intriguingly. I have actually spared thought to designing this meal so I can nibble at it throughout the afternoon. And having made my way through half of it whilst writing this I can tell you its really nice.

So that is my working lunch as I power on through a translation a Three and Fifty Instruments of Chirurgery with truly diabolical techniques, instruments and recipes. I was reading part of it on the train going to Scotland and the lady sitting next me sort moved very subtly away when I turned over a page and there were all these old medical instruments drawn which look very much like torture instruments that I was happily annotating.

To round off I’m going to have a banana get some yellow vitamins in there. Though that might be after dinner now I think on it hmmm…

au revoir


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Having the Builders in…Again!

Yes the builders are back, not inside the house but outside the house. Next time a member of my family has a ‘good idea’ I will set a set a small rodent on them.

This has now become ridiculous as far as summers go, if its not builders chopping down walls, its us doing light construction work or heavy decorating and then everyone complains to me about every other member of our family and you can’t do anything else because then you’re not helping.

Currently I can’t work in my room for the next week because the builders are going to be outside the front of the house underneath and to the left of my bedroom window. Now the scaffolder’s are coming so the rotten wood can be replaced. Guess whose window the builder has to climb through so he can see what needs doing along the ledge. Yep, mine. Yay! So I have just had to move my bed, bedside table, and bookshelf and everything in them round so that he has room to get through my window as that’s what my bed was against. That certainly doesn’t count as my jolliest of breakfast times. At the moment I do have a bed to sleep in, that is all intact, for the moment but I have a sneaky suspicion that this current state of affairs won’t last long. It always gets worse from here on in, I have a little over 20 years experience of this.

And where are my parents in all of this you ask? On holiday, in Dorset. Great! Cheers for that, because guess which muggins pulled the short straw of being the only together-person left in the house to therefore deal with the builders? Meeeeeeee. Not my brother who can’t be asked to get out of bed before one o’clock, me with the dissertation to write. Mum handily suggested I go back to Lincoln if I didn’t like it, but I can’t. I have no house there, I’m between contracts at the moment so there is nowhere for me to stay. Admittedly they do deserve a holiday but why’d they pick this week? 

The only shred of good news I can glean to is that I don’t have to sit in the kitchen on uncomfortable chairs all day long because they’re not working in the hall, I can at least sit on comfortable chairs in the dining room. I am clinging to that shred of happiness to stop me from having a completely embarrassing screaming fit at the builders because they had to agree to it in the summer holidays.

Also, the builder was waiting for the scaffloder’s to come at 9:00 and yesterday he told me they’d be here at about 9:00 so of course I got up at 8:30 to be ready in time. Scaffolder’s still hadn’t turned up at about 9:30 so the builder must have rung them and then told me they’d got here at 7:30 in the morning but none of us was awake. Of course I wasn’t awake at 7:30 I’M ON HOLIDAY! I didn’t say that, but I really wanted to. I do remember my brother waking me up at roughly 7:30 and saying something about noise and then going away again. But I don’t know what that was about I was half asleep and then went straight back to sleep because I didn’t have to be up for another hour.

So that’s what the rest of my week looks like, what’s yours like?

au revoir

Elinor (the ranter)

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Week 25 of the Doodles: Take #2 – The Great Mousecapade!

The Great Mousecapade! (Episode 2)

Accidents of Having a Tail

Accidents of Having a Tail

We re-join our epic ‘Biscuit Commandos’ as they make their intrepid mission across the house…

Unfortunately stealth is not they’re strong point and they have had a kafuffle in the most exposed part of the house.

As Smudge waits anxiously back at base and the whole mouse communities fate rest in the paws of these mice who may have just blown their cover.

Tune in next week to see if the Biscuit Commandos make it to their missions end…

Appearing in this weeks episode were: Munchies, Marmite, Quaver and Sweet.

au revoir


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Summer Fruits Wedding Cake



P1140025 P1140037 P1140028 P1140034 P1140036I am in fact on holiday in Edinburgh  at the moment, but this is a cake I delivered on the day before I left. I was working from a picture and it features four tiers  of un-iced (or nude ooh la la) Victoria sponge, layered with vanilla buttercream and adorned with an array of summer fruits. The redcurrants are from my sister in law’s auntie’s garden, would you believe, because they could not be found at the market, not even for ready money.

The flowers were an escapade of their own. to begin with I didn’t know what variety was required. I was informed that they were peonies , so I trotted off to the florists and ordered said flowers, or if they were out of season then a variety of ‘fluffy’ rose that looked like peonies. Low and behold the florist gives me these, exquisitely un -peonies-like roses. Hey hum, I think, these aren’t what I asked for but they are beautiful and I was given enough autonomy ( thank the lord) with the order that the client wouldn’t mind. I wanted to put the whole decorated cake in the fridge, so I asked mildly if I might refrigerate the flowers. I was told NO not on any account THAT WILL CERTAINLY KILL THEM. I nodded my head and wandered out, but hang on, I thought aren’t florist vans just huge fridges on wheels? I did a bit of the old googling and as it turns out, yes, you can in fact put roses in the fridge, it PRESERVES them. So I did and the flowers, you will be glad to learn did not meet an untimely death, so I don’t really know what the florist was going on about. Are there roses that die in the fridge?

Love love, Kiss kiss and all that,



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