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Journey Decided

Another bright morning and it bodes well for the rest of the day. I have decided that my route back will ne via Hastings, then up to Hawkhurst , stop off at Cranbrook to visit that charity shop which had the wall of books and CD's , and then from thee go back via Maidstone..

Meanwhile, another morning song from the 4 CD box set purchased yesterday of Dan Fogelberg, ,just him at the piano on a track called To The Morning. Enjoy.


Plant Pics

Yesterday morning whilst it was still sunny i took some pics of the plants in Georgina's garden. I like the way the light fall on the leaves and the vibrant colours that come from them.



Apr. 23rd, 2014

That Summer, by Lauren Willig. St. Martin’s Press, 2014

‘That Summer’ takes place in two times: 2009 and 1849 (with some brief interludes in earlier years). In 2009, Julia in New York has just inherited an old family house from her great aunt Regina- a woman she doesn’t even remember. Jobless, she decides to go see the house in England and put it in shape for a quick sale. She has family there; some cousins who believe the house should have gone to them and are very eager to help Julia sort through the piles of old things in the house, even bringing in an antiques dealer, Nicholas to value things.

Back in 1849, Imogene is living in a loveless marriage. In her teens she married Arthur Grantham, an older man, who she thought loved her but seems to have only collected her like he’s collected so many other things. His late wife’s sister runs the house; she has no friends. The only light in her life is her step-daughter, Evie. The only light, that is, until three of the pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood come by to look at Grantham’s collection of medieval things, searching for inspiration for their art. Imogene meets Gavin Thorne, the quietest of the trio, and finds he actually talks to her, rather than just seeing her as decoration. At this same time, 16 year old Evie meets Augustus Fotheringay-Vaughn, who seems very taken with her. The third artist is Dante Gabriel Rossetti, one of the PRB founders. These meetings set the rest of the story into motion; the story will have dire effects.

The story jumps back and forth between eras as Imogene’s tale unfolds and Julie strives to solve the mysteries that the house presents- and that the people who come to the house present. It’s a combination historical mystery and romance, and it’s quite well done and has an edge to it. Most romances make me cringe, but this one was handled realistically and with a minimum of “I don’t like yous” going on between the prospective lovers. Some events are foreshadowed but there are surprises, too. An interesting book that would make a good read during a fall evening.


So i go to the library for this World Book Night event , except it wasn't a night like it was back in 2011 when this annual event started. It was on for only an hour with one author reading from her latest crime novel. No free book hand outs. The library was closed at 6 pm.  I was very disgruntled. There was supposed to be twenty different titles to be given out for free by volunteers , but i ended up with zilch. Perhaps they did that during the day or could not get volunteers to do an evening shift , but either way, it was a damp squid, and by that time , it had started raining,  I went to have an all you can eat pizza blowout and took the train back to Seaford.

The only light at the end of the tunnel from all this is finding that Dan Fogelberg CD box set for a quid and seeing it on sale at Discogs for forty quid.

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North Laines area of Brighton.

In other news, whilst talking to the guys in Resident  Records, they told me that Borderline (another of my favourte record shops) had closed down as the guy who owned it wanted to retire. Another sad loss.

Anyway, back to Kent tomorrow but undecided which route i shall take.

The mission of the Poetry Super Highway is to expose as many people to as many other people’s poetry as possible. Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah) is this Monday, April 28th. We’re looking for submissions of poetry written in response to the Holocaust for next week’s annual Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) issue. Please read and […]

Hearthstone is my new timesuck

I picked it up at the weekend. Well, originally I picked up Diablo III's free demo to see what it was like now they'd peeled the awful "real money trading house" and "ridiculous grind so that you have to use the real money trading house" off of it.

And it was great fun. I finished the first secion (which is what you get in the demo) and it did a great job of giving me a nice effectiveness curve, so that I constantly felt challenged, but with intermittent sections where I felt like Legolas carving my way through a legion of orcs in a stylish manner. If I can persuade Julie to join me at some point then I'll definitely be picking up a couple of copies for us to play together.

I noticed that Hearthstone was also available. It being a free-to-play CCG based on the Warcraft background. It's very slick, the tutorial introduces things nicely, and the game itself is very smooth. I've played through a fair chunk of the training levels, slowly unlocking new cards as I defeated the various available classes (there are 10 different classes, each of which has its own unique cards, which means that each one has a very distinct flavour). This evening I met up with John and we played three games - I won two, and he slaughtered me in the third. I now have the urge to spend a chunk of the weekend building a more optimised deck. If anyone else is playing then feel free to add me (and leave a comment here so I know who you are...) - I'm AndrewDucker#2439. I won't be on a huge amount, but as games only take 5-20 minutes to play, I don't need to be on for long to get a match in...

Original post on Dreamwidth - there are comment count unavailable comments there.

... made glorious summer ...

Book Review: Time and Chance, by James Callaghan
I picked this up second-hand as a counter to Edward Heath's autobiography, which I read some time ago. Both proclaim modest upbringings, but once Heath arrived at Oxford he writes as if he was destined; Callaghan on the other hand was brought up mostly by a single parent following the death of his father, and entered the civil service directly upon leaving school. Nevertheless he rose rapidly in the party following the general election of 1945, becoming a Parliamentary Secretary within a couple of years and entering the Shadow Cabinet in 1951. To date he is the only person to have held the four "great offices of state" - a position unlikely to be assailed in the foreseeable future (only John Major and Gordon Brown come close and I don't see any prospect of either of them returning to complete the set).

His autobiography therefore naturally divides itself into sections up to 1964, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary, and Prime Minister (there is little material to speak of on Labour's period in opposition, 1970-74). The material on sterling crises and devaluation in the 1960s is particularly interesting, and the experience was certainly useful to Callaghan in later times. Shortly following devaluation he was moved to be Home Secretary in a reshuffle; the issues he chooses to write about here are clearly strongly felt, particularly on care of children and prison reform. As Foreign Secretary he dealt with the referendum on the UK's EEC membership, plus events in Cyprus, Portugal, Rhodesia, and a watchful eye on the Falklands. The final chapters, on his Premiership, provide a coherent an honourable case for the government's policies and actions in the mid-to-late 1970s. Callaghan does not deny there were disappointments and failures; I don't think it justifies being described as "bitter", but he doesn't shy away from pointing out the catastrophic consequences for the Left in 1979, in no small way self-inflicted by militant unions and activists. It has made me look differently on the Winter of Discontent.

Interestingly, one common theme between both this and Heath's book is the way they both imply acceptance of the political as well as economic aims of European union. Callaghan felt constrained by the divisions in the Labour party of the time from pursuing a stronger line.

Cost of 'The Planets' records in the 1950s

Setting: UK or Switzerland, 1950s

I planned to have one of the characters in the story I'm writing, a boarding school headmistress, buy her co-head (and girlfriend of at least 10 years) a copy of 'The Planets' - ideally the 1926 recording with Holst conducting.

1) Would she even be able to find a copy? She's from England originally but the school is in Switzerland, so she could get it in either country.
2) Roughly what would it cost? Somewhat on the expensive side for a gift is fine, but she shouldn't bankrupt herself over it!
3) Is this a good recording? I know essentially nothing about classical music, but I love this piece - and it has to be a pre-1929 recording for story reasons.
4) If it's a terrible choice for cost/availability, what else would you suggest? Something with a strong cello part would be great, as the recipient's deceased father and sister were both cellists.

Searched: "The Planets Holst recordings" (which got me lists of recordings, plus numerous different opinions about the best performances! And lots about re-issued CD versions), "cost of records 1950s", and variations on those.

Thank you for any help you can provide!


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