Thursday, March 26, 2015

Book 23: To Be Sung Underwater by Tom McNeal

Well now, this. A new author to me, from a friend's recommendation list, and golly am I glad. Just the sort of thing I like to read. Perhaps not entirely perfect; I read a review which argued that the main character's mid-life unravelling (for it was not entirely a crisis) was not entirely supported, and that's a fair point, but in many ways, it's a minor quibble from a book so beautifully written and on the whole compelling. My only reservation - and frankly, it's minor - is that I liked the glimpses of the younger self of the protagonist so much more than the present day one (who seemed a little underdrawn) that I kept wondering how she went from A to B. Which is guess, is similar to the review's point made above.  I have ordered (I know, I know) another title (Goodnight, Nebraska) from this author - the library system didn't have it, so I've bought a used copy from AbeBooks. It's supposed to be even better  so I'm looking forward to it... And as my dad lived in Nebraska for a number of years, I have a little fondness for books set there - so long as I don't have to live there myself. All that winter; no thanks!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dinner, 24/3/15: What's in the Fridge Fritatta

This was originally going to involve new potatoes (and peas & courgettes & onions), but then I discovered that we hadn't bought them on Saturday.  So I threw in some sun blush tomatoes and a couple of pieces of bacon, which were lurking in the fridge. And served it with lots of toast.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Dinner, 22/3/15: Chicken with olives and chickpeas

The chicken and olives were cooked together in the oven, while the chickpeas were done in a pan on the cooker (the oven potatoes I just added) - all were nice, though. And easy. And as I had a £3 voucher for chicken from Waitrose, the whole meal cost practically nothing, which is even nicer...

Present from Lausanne

...courtesy of Geoff, who has been away for a few days on business. Can't go to Switzerland without buying some chocolates, right?

Marsden March

The kids and I did the Marsden March today - 14 miles from the Royal Marsden in Chelsea to the Royal Marsden in Sutton. It was a long walk, but good fun. If you want to see loads and loads of pictures, I've put them all on Facebook (most of you probably saw them there already anyway...)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

My exciting Saturday

Actually, my Saturdays aren't usually that exciting, what with being filled with swimming lessons (Alex), music theory classes (Olivia), maths tutoring (Sarah - she's the tutor, not the tutee), grocery shopping (me) and various other things. However, this week was even more so than some, as we had loads of errands to run in our local high street, including an appointment at the optometrist for Sarah (verdict: yep, she's begun the slippery slope of myopia and will need glasses (very small prescription) for seeing things at a distance) and loads of other stuff. Geoff is away, so we decided to grab a bite to eat at Nando's (new one opened in New Malden back in December) when we were done - about 2.30 in the afternoon - and then forego dinner. Here's my chicken wings with garlic bread and fries (the two sides were shared around), some little knit hats in the coffee shop from the Innocent Big Knit, and yes, a couple of books from the charity shop - though one was bought with Geoff in mind. Which isn't to say I won't read it, but I bought it mainly for him as it's an author he likes (Andrew Taylor) and a ghost story...  The Patrick Gale is mine, but as he's an author I always like, I felt justified. Someday I should take a picture of all the books I look at and don't buy!


We none of us had room for dessert after our meal out last night, but as we were in Picadilly Circus, we decided to pick up a treat for the morning. Mmmm...

Friday, March 20, 2015

An evening in London

We met up with some old (or perhaps it's better to say "long-time") friends in London, for an evening stroll around the National Gallery (which is open until 8 or 9 on Friday nights) and then some dinner.  I always love London, at night or during the day, so it was fun.  My friend Michael had never been to London before, although his wife lived here briefly many years ago... Geoff is away at the moment, so he wasn't able to join us, but the kids and I had a lovely time and a great dinner, thanks to Spaghetti House (which does much better food than one might surmise from the name, which seems kind of downmarket). 

Book 22: Middlesex, Jeffery Eugenides

This was a long but very readable family epic type story, with all kinds of fun features like Greek immigrants, recessive genetics, speakeasies, love between cousins (and siblings) and of course, a hermaphroditic narrator. I enjoyed it, though - great writing (as long as you can deal with that sort of sardonic narration style - personally, I am usually a fan of that sort of thing - reminds me of John Irving, who I usually like very much) and a good, compelling story - we know from the outset that the hermaphroditic narrator's condition is the result of a genetic bomb so as we follow the family's story from generation to generation, we are waiting to see what happens and how the whole thing develops, and...  I haven't read his first book (the highly praised Virgin Suicides) but I think I might now have to go back and check it out; if it's anywhere near as good a story as this, it would definitely be worth it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Dinner, 18/3/15: Chicken Soup

Leftovers from the pot roast on the weekend, with a bit of added barley, a little more veg and some leeks I had hanging out in the fridge.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Dinner, 17/3/15: Courgette and Lemon Spaghetti

Yeah, I know, the recipe says linguine. I'm a rebel... Another easy midweek dinner - quick, healthy, cheap - my favourite. Served with some granary bread (not pictured)...

Monday, March 16, 2015

Dinner, 15/3/15: Cottage Pie, Cabbage

Yum! ...and I didn't cook it - Geoff did - it's my day off...

Book 21: The Death Cure, James Dashner

I've actually been reading another book in the interim, but took time out to finish this trilogy once it was done with by other house readers. It was a satisfying conclusion, for the most part; I found the whole series very enjoyable, though as I said before, very action based. Would definitely recommend this series to teen boys who are a little reluctant to get stuck into a good book.

Dinner, 16/3/15: Yellow Lentil and Cauliflower Curry with Coconut

Curry. With lentils. And cauliflower. And coconut. What more is there to say? (ok, and some cashews thrown on, as well...)