Posts

Showing posts from February, 2011

Beware the bored bookdealer

Image
Inspired by this video, I am training my stock.  I can see a musical effort at Olympia beckoning.   Alas the KP Perfect Pony collection will not co-operate because of my refusal to allow each book to wear a hand-built Swarovski bookmark, but the rest are coming along very nicely, very nicely indeed.

Pigs

Image

Review: Michael Morpurgo - Not Bad for a Bad Lad

Image
Michael Morpurgo:  Not Bad for a Bad Lad
Templar, £9.99

Michael Morpurgo's website.

There a couple of authors about whom I lose all sensible distance when I pick up their books, and Michael Morpurgo is one of them.  Add to this the fact that I am really quite silly about the Suffolk Punch, which my mother can remember being used on the family farm, and you have a recipe for me to start blethering on in a totally uncritical manner.



Not Bad for a Bad Lad follows the model Morpurgo used in Farmer's Boy, where a grandfather tells his grandson about his history.  Both books are stories of problems overcome, and recounted from a position of reasonably serene old age.  The hero of Bad Lad starts off loud and boisterous, is labelled trouble at school, and continues in trouble until his burgling career goes wrong and he is put in Borstal (Borstal being a precursor of the Young Offender Institution, with the emphasis being on redemption through work).  The Suffolk Borstal the hero is sent…

Book Sale

I'm clearing old stock, so have a look here if you'd like to pick up some cheap pony fiction.  Hardbacks are £1.50, and paperbacks are 50p each, or 3 for £1.00; all plus postage.

You still think and feel, even when you're old

It is not often that I write a blog out of pure passion, or that I feel I have to write a piece before I do anything else, but I have just spent the last 30 minutes or so listening to discussions on Radio 4's Today on the Ann Abraham's report on the treatment of the elderly in the NHS.  None of it makes remotely comfortable listening.  Various of the great and the good have been trotted on to give their opinion; less bureaucracy, more humanity appears to be the general consensus.  Professor Raymond Tallis asked:

"What enables a nurse to walk past somebody dying of dehydration?"
Well, I think I can answer that from what I have seen in my own village over the past week or so.  It is a complete and utter inability to recognise that the elderly exist as human beings; that they are the same as you are. That they think, breathe, and feel.

I have an elderly friend who was the first person to arrive on my doorstep when we arrived in the village.  I love her dearly, and she h…

Prevarication - Antonia Forest

I think the number of times I post is often directly related to how much I am putting off what I know I should be doing.  So, with that in mind, if there are any other fellow Antonia Forest fans out there, here is a link to some fanfic.  I am now going to be good and get back to what I should be doing.  If anyone has read any and has a favourite, please do say in the comments and I can then cut out at least one layer of prevarication (if prevarication has layers, which I think for the sake of argument I shall say it does) by going straight to your recommendations.  There.  That's been another 5 minutes.  Back to the grindstone.

Interesting stuff I've read recently

Horses powered steamboats - who knew?  Can't imagine it was a lot of fun for the horse.

World Book Night is coming up on March 5th.  Good idea or not?

Cloud of the month at the Cloud Appreciation Society is a stunner.  I spend more time than I ought staring at clouds out of the window, but I've never seen anything like this.

How covers come to be:  DIY iceberg.

The Swiss roll

Image
Now that the hens are laying again, I am starting to focus on recipes that use up a decent amount of eggs.  Swiss roll only uses 3, but it's a start.  Daughter and I made an excursion into baking (or at least she did - I directed operations).

Here is a rather squint photograph of daughter doing the prescribed 10 minutes whisking.



When I did domestic science at school (which is what cookery was then called), Swiss roll was one of the things we had to do.  Of course, we had to do it all by hand, and I have bitter memories of my failure to beat the mixture enough, meaning my Swiss roll was a flat and rubbery failure.  I wrote that one down to experience, thinking I'd never have to do it again.

At the end of each academic year, we did exams in each and every subject, including DS.  We had to cook something we'd done that year.  Miss Reed, the DS teacher, would write down the names of everything we'd done, put them in a hat, and we would draw one out.  You can guess which…

The Stallion's Tail

Image
I am posting this picture because I am intrigued about it, and haven't yet been able to find out whether the practice was common or not.  The picture below was sent in to Riding Magazine in the 1930s by Rupert Isaac of Ipswich, and shows a stallion's tail attached to a cottage in the village of Kersey.

Isaac wrote: "....its meaning to the villagers is plainer than any signboard; for when your horse goes lame or your cow has colic, you seek the stallion's tail -- the device of the veterinary surgeon.  When the first tail was hung out is a matter for conjecture, but the "horse doctor" was one of the earliest craftsmen, and Kersey is old indeed..."

There is a photograph from 1956 in the National Archives which shows, it says, the farrier's trademark of a horse's tail on a house in Kersey.  Don Lemon was the local horse doctor in Kersey during the 1940s - he had no veterinary qualifications, but his house was marked by a horse's tail, according …

Review: Sweet Running Filly - Pat Johnson & Barbara van Tuyl

Image
Pat Johnson & Barbara van Tuyl - Sweet Running Filly
Poppet Press, 2010.  £7.00

Information on the authors

The much loved Bonnie series has now been reprinted by the Poppet Press, an offshoot of Somerset Sport Art. A proportion of the proceeds are being donated to Thoroughbred charities, although the one mentioned on their website, Standing in the Gap, has now closed.   I asked Poppet Press who they were currently supporting, and this is their reply:
Currently, we are planning special events that will benefit individual charities in that area and are searching for charities to support. In the past we have done events with The Florida TB Fillies and Horses N Heroes of Marion County will be selling the books to benefit their charity this year.  Sweet Running Filly is another book I've had hanging around for a while, but I finally got round to reading it at the end of last week.  I feel like I'm now going to criticise someone's beloved child, as I know how loved this series…

What I listen to in my time off

Image
Aaahh, ahhhh, bah bah bah bah bah. I love it. Thanks to Karen Dent for reminding me it existed.

The wedding horse

Image
This I think lends a whole new dimension to plaiting.  Were I ever to get married again (though I've done it twice and any more I think would start to look careless) I'd angle to have a horse with those plaits. They're brilliant.  They're by local florist Foxtail Lilly.

Thanks very much to Tracey Mathieson for permission to use the picture.

A round up

A few blog posts I've enjoyed recently:


How to be the effective mother of a pony-mad child, over at If Wishes Were Ponies.It's still winter over at Pony Book Chronicles.Juxtabook has an epic to-be-read pile.and lastly, gorgeous February pictures over at Tales From the Village.

Library Day of Action - Read Ins

Image
The British Library is under threat as never before.  Our local village library is under threat of closure, along with seven others in the county.  The council's aim seems to be to concentrate resources in the towns, and assume that most village inhabitants will be able to get to towns if they want to visit libraries.  When this is allied with the prospective complete cut in the council's subsidy for rural buses, one wonders.  

Tomorrow, February 5th is Library Read-in Day.  Voices for the Library has details of events in many libraries.


Irchester Library is holding its own read in from 11.00am until 1.00pm.  If you're in any way local, it would be great to see you there.  Other local libraries supporting the Read-in are Roade and St James.


Reviews: Linda Chapman - Dreams and Amy Brown - Jade and the Stray

Image
Amy Brown:  Jade and the Stray HarperCollins, New Zealand, 2010
book two (Jade at the Champs) is available on Kindle.  Jade and the Stray doesn't appear to be buyable in the UK.
Information about the author on HarperCollins

Linda Chapman:  Dreams
Puffin, 2011, £5.99
Linda Chapman's website


I am ashamed of how long it has taken me to review these books, particularly Amy's which sank without trace in my office,  - to be accurate, not completely without trace, as it resurfaced when I had an reorganisation and major tidy up recently.

It wasn't intentional, but I found the books I planned to read for this review both give their main character the same basic background:  relocation after the death of parents.  Ellie's parents are dead, and she has had to leave her home in Australia and come to England to live at her uncle's showing stable.  Jade's mother and grandmother were killed in a car crash caused by her father's speeding, and she has come to live with her…