Friday, 30 May 2014

Frivolous Friday: Just When I thought I'd Died And Gone To Heaven . . .

The churchyard at St Firmin's church in Thurlby
About two weeks ago we had summer. It was fantastic. The days were balmy – a magnificent 20 degrees C – without a cloud in the sky. Not a breath of wind. Idyllic. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

And then there were the nights . . .  

As I wrestled with my sheets, I was reminded of my grandmother's mantra: Ladies do not sweat, they glow. Men apparently perspire. It's left to horses and other beasts of burden to actually drip salty water. Or something like that. 

Anyway – despite my brother's evil prognostications that it couldn't last – the weather was so blissful, I actually packed away my winter pyjamas – the ones with the colourful sheep on that I love so much. 

I even pulled out all my summer gear – shorts and t-shirts – and went so far as to wash them. Clothes tend to get musty, crumpled for nine months in storage boxes. 

(Is it really so long ago that the sun generated enough heat to be discernable on this soggy patch of planet Earth? Ah, well, let us not dwell on such gloomy thoughts . . .)

During that glorious interlude of sunshine and warmth, I actually managed to glow onto two pairs of shorts and two t-shirts. 

And then?




Incessant bloody rain. 

Piddling down like there's no tomorrow. 

All it needs is a howling gale and this could be Cape Town in mid-winter. 


They – the eternally optimistic English (did I mention how irritating all that positiveness can be?) – tell me all is not lost and we may still get another couple of warm days before Autumn set in . . . in September. 

I'm not holding my breath. All Hail The English Summer!

So, wherever you are, enjoy what the elements are flinging at you. It cannot be worse than the deluge we're having.


PS. Don't be shy to comment. Despite my acerbic humour, I don't bite. Much.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Deathmaker by Lindsay Buroker

Ah,  Lindsay Buroker . . .  
A lady who can spin a mean yarn!!!! 

This one is full of pirates, flying machines, and a sharp-shootin' gal who who can skin your nose with a rock from a hundred yards away. 

Set in a steampunk world complete with magic, war, adventure, plenty of escapes, and a good dollop of a fancy gooey concoction with remarkable metal-melting properties, it's brilliant stuff. I just loved it. 

In fact, my traitorous heart even thinks it prefers this little number to Lindsay's Emperor's Edge series!! 

How is that possible when I do love Amaranthe and Sicarius so much? (If you haven't read those books you are doing yourself a serious disservice, and I would suggest you rectify that oversight without further ado.)

But as much as I love A&S from Emperor's Edge, Cal and Tolemek from Deathmaker have absolutely stolen my heart. 

Cal is the ultimate impetuous shoot-first-ask-questions-later heroine. 

Tolemek - despite his dastardly nickname Deathmaker - is a smart, Captain Jack Sparrowish (Pirates of the Caribbean) hero with a penchant for making gooey substances (from snake and spider venom) with both deadly and benign properties. 

The chemistry between these two sworn enemies is fun to read, although, unlike Balanced on a Blade's Edge (the first in this series) this is more of an adventure than a romance. For those who loved Balanced on a Blade's Edge, Ridge, Sardelle and Jaxi also appear in this one. That said, Cal and Tolemek are definitely the show-stealers.

As we can expect from Lindsay, the action is fast-paced and riddled with her usual witty dialogue. There is even an unexpected twist at the end to keep it from becoming predictable. 

And . . . tara tara . . . no deluge scene! No water at all! To understand this reference see my Blade's Edge review

So, after this rave review, what didn't I like? 

Okay, I admit, this sounds shallow, but the cover . . . 

I know, I know, I did choose this one when Lindsay posted her options on Facebook for comment, but it was the best of a boring lot . . . 

Maybe it's just me, but I find the blue very dull. Tolemek deserves better . . .

So, if you haven't read this yet, I suggest you rush out and buy it. And in case you are wondering how much Lindsay paid me for this review . . . nada - other than a free copy for comment. 

But, let it be said, hand on heart, this is my honest opinion of a fantastic story. I can't wait to read more about these guys. 


Friday, 23 May 2014

Frivolous Friday: One Does Not Simply Drive Into Heathrow

No kidding! Especially if you are stupid enough to have booked yourself onto a 10am plane. But, innocent that I am, in the quest to be a good wife I have now fallen twice into the get-to-Heathrow-on-time-through-the-traffic trap. I must be either insane or I love Andrew very much. I haven't quite figured out which is which.

My first foray into the madness of the M25 highway happened a week or so ago when I had to get him to Terminal One for a 10 o'clock flight to the US.

I thought we had set off in a timely manner. Five thirty in the morning is flippin' early, if you ask me, especially for a trip that should only take 1 hour and 42 minutes according to Google maps.

They lied.

Try three and a half hours and you might just make it in time to witness them slamming closed the gate to your flight.

The problem? Forget about bumper-to-bumper traffic, you couldn't have slipped a playing card between the almost stationary cars stretched for about 30 miles ahead of us . . .

And the worst? I was desperate for the loo.

Ever heard that crude expression 'my back teeth were floating'? Yeah, well, they were. Just about.

But as the clock hands clicked relentlessly towards gate closure time, there was no hope of mentioning a pit stop to Andrew. He was grinding his teeth to the gums in frustration . . . We had stopped counting trucks carrying pipes and trucks carrying big cranes some hours back. . .  We do that to pass the time on long trips. (He won, by the way . . .)

I finally turfed him out the car at Heathrow a few minutes before nine, waited to see if he'd made the flight - he did. Just. And then I sped off to find the closest service station - only to discover it's about thirty miles from Heathrow . . . by that time I was driving with my legs crossed. Trust me, that's an interesting manoeuvre, but I think the subject for a post on another day.

So, walking into Mordor? Those black gates guarded by Orcs are nothing compared to the perils of the getting to Heathrow via the M25.

And as for the air? The poison fumes come from nothing more than ten thousand car exhausts. I added a blinding headache, even with the window closed, to my woes by the time I reached the terminal building. That airport sure guards its departure lounges well.

And to think I used to complain about a 40 minute drive in bad traffic to Cape Town International airport. We honestly don't know when we're spoilt!

Have a great weekend

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