Archive for May, 2009

Books I’ve read this year #20

May 26, 2009

“Eleven hours” by Paullina Simons.

This was gripping – I stayed up until 3 am last night to finish it.

Thanks sis!


In the garden

May 25, 2009

You might be forgiven for thinking that all I have done in the past few weeks is read, given that that’s all I’ve blogged about recently.

Well, it’s not true; I’ve also done this:

Finished off building the raised veggie patch my husband started building a few months ago…


Ordered five tonnes of topsoil and compost…


Spent two days moving said five tonnes of soil from the front of the house…


To the raised bed.


And planted lots of seedlings.


From front to back: leeks, onions, celery, cauliflower (“The only flowers worth having in your garden are cauliflowers,” said my grandad. I don’t agree, but it made me smile thinking of him as I planted them), and spring onions. I foresee a lot of soup and cauliflower cheese in our future…

Moving that soil was very hard work. Very hard work. I’m not quite sure why I decided to move it all myself, rather than wait until the weekend when my husband would be back, but I think it was partly the desire to just get this garden finished at last, partly because I knew I’d be dead chuffed if I managed to get it done myself, and partly because I didn’t think it would hurt future, ummmm, negotiations with my husband if I could say, “I moved five tonnes of soil all by myself, and you can’t even be bothered to pick up your bloody socks?” Especially as my, “I moved halfway round the world for you, and you can’t even be bothered to ….” line is wearing a bit thin after 18 months.  (I haven’t had to use the soil line, yet. In fact, my husband cleaned the kitchen on Sunday while I was still in bed, and then I came back from the DIY shop on Sunday to find him hoovering the sitting room. I almost fainted with shock.  This is not usual behaviour.)

I’ve also been doing some other DIY, but I’ll blog about that another day.

Books I’ve read this year #19

May 24, 2009

“Archangel” by Robert Harris.

I just finished this this morning, so I’m finally up to date with my reading posts! This was another birthday book, from my dad this time. I enjoyed it: I do like a good thriller, and Robert Harris is an excellent story-teller.

Oooh, what shall I read next?

Books I’ve read this year #18

May 24, 2009

“Northern Lights” by Philip Pullman.

I got a load of books for my birthday, most of them ordered from The Book Depository in the UK. It’s a great website as worldwide delivery is free, so the books work out cheaper than Amazon, and definitely cheaper than buying them in New Zealand. When I opened all the packages on my birthday (they send every book separately, so no chance of having to pay duty, plus you get lots of padded envelopes to reuse – two presents in one!) I felt a thrill of excitement seeing the pile of books by my bed waiting to be read. I hardly ever buy books in NZ, and I certainly never buy them in bulk, unlike in the UK where I used to pop into a bookshop every so often and buy three or six books at once whenever there was a three for the price of two offer on, which seemed to be pretty much every week.

So, I have a lovely big pile of books, and every day for the last couple of weeks I have been lighting the woodburner when it gets dark, then climbing into a lovely, hot bath and having a long read. Bliss!

This book was a gift from my sister, the first book of the His Dark Materials trilogy. She loved this book; I enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t say I loved it. I don’t seem to be loving any books these days. I’m looking forward to reading the other two books in the trilogy, though.

Books I’ve read this year #17

May 24, 2009

“The 10 pm question” by Kate de Goldi.

My friend gave me this for my birthday a couple of weeks ago. “I loved it, ” she said. “It’s the first book I’ve read in ages that I’ve loved.”

I liked it, but didn’t love it. I think my sister would like it, too. Maybe she’d love it, even.

Books I’ve read this year #16

May 21, 2009

“The Risk of Darkness” by Susan Hill.

This is the third Simon Serrailler novel. I really enjoyed the first two, but this one? Not so much. I can’t put my finger on why – I think it’s partly because there were so many sub-plots that weren’t resolved satisfactorily, and even the main plot wasn’t really resolved that satisfactorily, so I felt quite… dissatisfied. I don’t like having lots of loose ends at the end of crime novels. He should have got Miss Marple in to help him solve everything.

Books I’ve read this year #13 – 15

May 21, 2009

“Airs and Graces” by Erica James
“Time for a Change” by Erica James
“The Wedding” by Nicholas Sparkes

A few weeks ago I drove down to see my friend in Cambridge, and on the way stopped for a wander around Te Aroha. While there I popped into a wool shop, and was surprised to see they also sold cheap books. Really cheap books, in fact: $8 for a brand new paperback. So in my excitement I bought three.

Well, it’s a good job they were so cheap as they were all crap.

Erica James’s books are a bit like Joanna Trollope’s, but with less likeable characters, boring storylines and poorly developed plots. One of them was about a woman who got divorced and ended up losing her lovely big house and could only afford to buy a little old cottage with its own barn attached, on a big plot of land, next to a stream within walking distance of a little market town. She sets up her own business that quickly becomes very successful. The reader is supposed to feel sorry for her. She decides to marry the solicitor who handled her divorce even though she doesn’t love him, but he’s got an even bigger house than the one she used to live in. Then along comes another man who is perfect for her, but – surprise, surprise! – she doesn’t realise. Even when she was having sex with him on the sitting room floor. Her solicitor turns out to be a rotter (he’s actually lovely all the way through then suddenly is revealed to be a rotter, with no clues as to his true personality beforehand whatsoever), so she dumps him and runs off with Mr Perfect.

I can’t even remember what the other book was about as it was so boring.

And the Nicholas Sparkes book? I found it plodding and dull, which is a shame as I really liked “The Notebook”.

Quick and easy baby present

May 5, 2009


Made using bodysuits from John Lewis, and HP iron-on transfer paper for a little girl who is due in a couple of weeks’ time. Those are her mum’s favourite albums.