Monday, 10 October 2016

Story Time

First thing to say - thank you everyone who questioned the wisdom of me reducing my intake of eggs or sugar or indeed anything else, on the grounds that I might waste away!
Honestly?  I agree!  I find it unbelievable that someone who wears the smallest available size of Zara trousers can be consuming too many calories.
So I have abandoned the food diary.
Instead I am trying to increase my intake of protein... from sources other than Kitkats!

It has been a while since I wrote about my reading.
I am making the most of an Audible subscription, which gives me a single audiobook of my choice for £7.99 a month, when the list price is often in the region of £15 to £20.  Typically, that is 10 to 20 hours of having someone read to me while I knit or spin or walk in the fields - an absolutely priceless treat when you live alone.  Sometimes I lack the willpower to eke my listening out across the month and succumb to a "3 for £18" top-up deal.  This is a great way to broaden my horizons and try something that wasn't on my wish list.

After "The Strays" by Emily Bitto, I listened to "The Essex Serpent" by Sarah Perry.
Once again I inadvertently chose a book about a woman whose husband died.  Sigh.
I have a homing instinct, clearly.
Cora is a strong woman and I enjoyed her preference for men's boots and descriptions of her "blazing with happiness" upon finding herself freed from the responsibilities of someone else's illness.
I can relate to that.
Less so her penchant for wallowing in bogs with the local vicar, after saying she didn't need men anymore - ha!
The plot is peppered with self-conscious exhibitions of Victoriana.  I thought I should have a copy of the "Field Guide to Victorian Literature" to hand (if such a thing existed!) to tick off the cultural references - oh look that's very Thomas Hardy!  Oh, hello -  there's a spot of Emily Bronte!  Mr Ruskin, I presume?
But perhaps that is because the author is writing for literature graduates who will feel all smug and clever when they "get it".  It worked for me.
Perhaps the narrator got a bit carried away at times, but this is the risk you take with a talking book.
On balance I would recommend it.

Right now I am listening to "Orphans of the Carnival" by Carol Birch.
The reader of this one deserves an award for her precisely defined "voices".
The subject matter is uncomfortable, but the author is unflinching in her exploration of "difference".
I just read the Guardian review and I am surprised that the reviewer found the story dragged - perhaps I have not reached that bit yet.  Or perhaps I am reaping the benefits of having a good narrator, who really knows how to build the atmosphere.

In actual words-in-front-of-my-eyes reading, I downloaded the Kindle app to my phone for the sole purpose of reading Larissa Brown's new novel So Wild a Dream.  That's commitment for you!  I am surprised to find that I enjoy reading e-books in bed, because I can make the print big enough to see without my glasses and just snuggle down to sleep when I get tired.

Note on pictures:
This weekend three tree-feller fellas came to play in my garden.
Two 30-foot-high dead trees were dropping branches rather too near to my house and car every time the wind blew.
There was also a leylandii situation down by the old caravans...
So the gamekeeper and the farmer and his son came along with a couple of chainsaws, a digger and some rope.

The rope broke three times before they gave in and borrowed something stronger from the neighbour up the hill.  Unfortunately, the tree was by this point balanced on a one-inch deep wedge of decayed wood...
Words fail me.
Nobody was injured, but a healthy tree lost a substantial branch when the dead one went down sideways.


  1. If you like listening to drama have you tried downloading from the BBC radio player? I've been working my way through the Home Front series one omnibus at a time, and also listen to plays and short stories.

  2. If you ignore the title - which is hardly pertinent for you! - this book is very interesting on why calories and quantity of them may have much less to do with weight loss or gain, excepting starvation situations, than is commonly believed.
    Gary Taubes, Why We Get Fat - and what to do about it

  3. Does your local library do downloads to borrow? We do audio and e-books, this helps me eek out my audible subscription

  4. I'm really glad you are not cutting back on eggs. When I read your last post I though no! Eggs are great and you're tiny! No way are you eating too much. But I resisted because i don't know you and didn't want to wade in. I've been reading for a while but I'm not much of a commenter. Anyway I was going to recommend Gary Taubes' book but I see someone beat me to it, so I'll just second that recommendation!

  5. Always love book updates from you! And I third everybody's comments about not cutting back on eggs. I sometimes find eating sugar masks my body's actual craving, which is for protein, and there are some great/interesting/varied plant-based protein sources out there (nothing against meat, all good in moderation). I also second seeking out audiobooks in your library if they have them!