Fiction Friday

Yoga on Wednesday.

“Do you want to try some back bending?” Asked my teacher in much the same way as you would ask if someone fancied a custard cream with their cup of tea.

“Oh go on then” I said. In the same spirit.

Which is how I found myself lying face up on the floor, grasping my teachers ankles, grimacing furiously (I expect he wore the same facial expression but I was looking between his legs at this point) whilst the poor guy tried to heave me up into something approaching a graceful curve rather than a wooden plank.

I suspect he may not ask again for a while.

This Week I Have mostly Been Reading

IMG_0397.JPGNight after Night by Phil Rickman

Two nights.

That’s how long it took me to read this book.

Staying up well past my bedtime

Hairs on the back of my neck standing up more with each (virtual) turn of the page.

The premise? A haunted house. A reality TV show. Teams of sceptics and believers locked in the property together for a week.

The suspense and creepiness is built up gradually and inexorably. Rickman is an absolute master at building up suspense and a sense of lurking doom and horror without actually delivering the punch.

Until you least expect it.

A return of some characters readers of previous Rickman books will recognise fondly including Grayle Underhill and Cindy the cross-dressing shaman.

Fab fab fab.

I really must do a return visit to Sudeley Castle and Belas Knapp.

In the daylight. 🙂

Next Week I Will Mostly Be Reading


Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch.

Not sure what’s been going on with the publication of this book.

It was due last summer, then this November, then the publication date was put back to next summer, then it suddenly appeared as a Kindle book (at which point I quickly bought it in case they changed their minds again). And now I see the hardback is now available for purchase.

Get it while you can.

Vol 5 in the brilliant Rivers of London series.

A series which saw me unable to travel on the London Tube without being seriously creeped out.

And which justified my long and unrelenting dislike and mistrust of Punch and Judy.

Really looking forward to this.


Fiction Friday

A postscript on the trip Oop North.

Sunday saw us shivering around Housesteads Roman fort.

Well, you can’t really visit Northumberland and not go to The Wall.

A masterpiece of ancient architecture

An unsophisticated attempt at apartheid


And very very cold.

I have never been to The Wall and not been cold.

It certainly makes you appreciate what those displaced centurions would have felt like, with the bitter winds whipping up their togas 🙂



And the thing the kids will remember from this trip?


Roman loos.

And after an hour wandering around in the freezing cold, they actually started to look quite inviting.

Especially with the sound of moo-ing in the background.

It was just like being back in Hestons Little Chef.

Plus ca change…

This Week I Have Mostly Been Reading

Well unfortunately Gideon Mack has been put on hold whilst I have been racing through the first five volumes of The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

Racing because oldest child has been voraciously devouring these books and as they are, again, young adult books I wanted to give them a quick scan before handing them over.

And I have to say, these are so good.

Gripping, excellent story line, nice dose of biblical references which went completely over Oldest Childs head (” Who was Cain mum?”), lots of teenage angst over identity and friendships but not in a navel gazing Twilight way.

So so good.

And currently on special offer in The Works!

Even better 🙂

Next Week I Shall Mostly Be Reading

Bwa ha HA!


The New Phil Rickman.

Bought today and delivered instantly to my Kindle.

Reasons to be grateful #564 🙂

Oop north again

Another weekend away.

This time visiting Averil ( of the Calendar Customs web site fame) and John. (Hi Averil and John 🙂 )

The journey up north, on a Friday, is always horrendous.

This time was no exception – nose to tail traffic, roadworks, fog. Lovely.

But we do have something en route to look forward to.

It’s a tradition.

We stop at the Heston Blumenthaled Little Chef on the A1 and visit the moo-ing loos.


The loo ceiling is painted to look like a sunny day. And the toilets gently moo and baa at you as you relax to the sound of a stream gurgling in the background.

It really should be a tourist destination in its own right.

Saturday the boys stayed home for a mammoth board gaming session whilst Averil, Youngest Child and I caught the bus into Newcastle to try and wrestle up a bit of festive spirit.

Fenwicks Christmas window.






You cannot see this and not feel like Christmas is just around the corner.

Youngest Child then attempted to eat her way around the world with Sushi for lunch followed by a Freshly cooked crepe from the French creperie in the Grainger market, followed by macarons from the French artisan baker, followed by bubble tea in Newcastles China town


By the time we’d also gone down to see the revamped Quayside (not a dodgy nightclub in sight)



St Nicholas cathedral


And the disturbing vampire rabbit


We were just about able to stagger back to the bus station to catch the bus back to Corbridge.

And I even heard a “bobby dazzler” and an “oh la la” during our wanderings

Perfect 🙂


It’s funny how the things right on your doorstep are the things you cease to notice.

Youngest child had a homework assignment to find out about Warwick, our County town and right next door to Leamington.

I can’t remember the last time I actually visited Warwick as opposed to driving through it to get somewhere else.

It was a beautiful day yesterday.

The sky was blue

The sun was shining

The air was crisp and cool.


We arrived just in time to watch the Remembrance Sunday service at the War Memorial near St Mary’s Church


Beautiful and moving.

The gun shots scared a flock of birds that had been roosting in the church tower, and they swirled overhead throughout the service


I tried to explain freemasonry to youngest child as we passed the Warwick Lodge


But the more I explained the less it actually made sense 🙂

The veterans from The Lord Leycester Hospital were at the Remembrance Day service in their finery, so we went to admire the Hospital



And then warm up in their tea room


Damn fine coffee 🙂

Our tour finished with a trip to St Mary’s to admire the Beauchamp chapel with it’s superb monuments, possibly amongst my favourite group of dead people in the country





And a final view over the river to Warwick Castle


History, pageantry, memory and memorials.

A perfect winter Sunday.


Happy Dia de Los Muertos, happy Halloween. Samhain greetings.

There were a few surprised faces when I answered the door yesterday.

And that was before I applied the make up (ba boom)

Five hyped up 8/9 year old girls.

And three trying to be cool but also actually quite hyped up nearly teenage boys.

I was ready for bed by 9.30.

But they were still going at 1am.


A bowl of eyeballs


Apple bobbing


Red velvet blood cakes ready for decorating


Death by chocolate cake.

The streets were packed with trick or treaters.

But I think the noise levels from our small group of girls outdid the rest of them put together.

Ears were bleeding 🙂

May your Winter to come be a snug and cosy one.