Tuesday, 29 August 2017

The Z Murders [books]

This is one of the books Gisela sent me, and you know what? This one's pretty good. Originally published in 1932, it's got a pace that a lot of novels of the same era lack. All the action takes place within a couple of days, though the hero Richard Temperley still manages to cover a good chunk of England in that time.

The preface likens this to the Paul Temple stories; I feel it could well have its roots in novels like The Thirty-Nine Steps or other adventure tales. Temperley gets drawn into the action after a train journey; he arrives in London on an overnight train disgruntled with a fellow passenger who'd been snoring throughout, but within a very short time of arriving, the other passenger is dead, and the lovely young lady who was the last person seen in the same room as him has fled. Cue Temperley chasing after the lady, trying to avoid the police (who, refreshingly in a novel of this era, are pretty sharp), and endeavouring to work out what the little 'z' symbols left at the scene of this death and the following ones mean.

Like adventure tales, it does get perhaps a bit silly, with a very odd villain and the strangest reason for the murders, but that's okay. The speed will sweep you along, even while you're tutting at the more ridiculous bits.


Monday, 28 August 2017

How to wash a sheepskin rug

A lot of people are put off sheepskin rugs because of a perceived difficulty in cleaning them. However, I've had mine for more than 15 years, and it gets washed at least once every year too. Before I go into how I clean my rug, it's important to keep your sheep as nice as possible the rest of the year. Give it regular shakes outdoors, and a good brushing every few months. And don't stamp around on it in your outdoor shoes! The less grubby you make it, the less cleaning it will need. Unfortunately, mine is right by the fireplace, so was looking horribly grey lately. Time it had a wash...

Friday, 25 August 2017

Three come along at once...

I have been properly ill this week. I spent pretty much all Saturday asleep with what felt like a nasty virus - feeling doubly awful as I was supposed to be going to Norwich for my brother's 40th birthday party that day - and then on Sunday it mutated into stomach trouble, about which I shall say no more. That knocked me out of action for a couple more days, but I had to be back at work on Tuesday as GamesMaster was on deadline. I am dedicated to getting my publications to press!

I managed to pass the lurgy on to poor Mr Robot. We usually meet most days for lunch, which is a bit sad I guess, but I'm happy that my husband is also my best friend. As he wasn't available, yesterday I thought I'd poke round the shops. Laura Ashley had a sale on, so I tried on a couple of dresses there, one tartan in a very 60s shape, and one shirt dress in one of their 70s prints. Neither looked right. My boobs looked awful in the former (a more 60s-style bra, like a Doreen, might've helped, but I wasn't willing to spend £60 without knowing for sure) and the other showed up my lack of waist horribly. It had a drawstring, and I had no nice curvy waist to draw it into, so it just sat forlornly on my belly. Feeling bad about my shape, I went for a whizz round the chazzas, and got a couple of nice tops that actually looked good on my blocky body for not much money at all. One was a sleeveless linen-look one, somewhere between navy and royal blue in colour, and the other was this navy print sleeveless blouse, which is modern but has a 60s vibe. Hooray for charity shops. Though I really do need to break my addiction to navy at some point.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Who ordered an early autumn?

Send it back, we haven't had summer yet!

Honestly, when we had a lovely June I thought we'd get a proper summer this year, then July was miserably wet, and August appears to have disappeared and we're having an early September. On the plus side, it's really putting me in the mood for my trip to Spain later this year. We usually go to Spain in the autumn, and this year we're having a couple of days in Madrid, as I really want to visit El Escorial, the palace, and then we're heading up to Zaragoza for a few days. I don't have any firm plans there, and I'm trying not to make any - I want it all to be a surprise, and to be able to do things as the mood takes us. There will be art, there will be beautiful buildings, and there will be tapas, but exactly what and when will remain a mystery.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

The steam fair's in town

Carter's Steam Fair is back at Victoria Park in Bath, so Mr Robot and I popped along after work this evening. I missed it last year because I was poorly, so it was lovely to go along again. The weather has been awful since the fair opened on Saturday, but tonight it was sunny. I was really excited to be revisiting the fair, so wore my very silly space cats dress, which someone at work described approvingly as 'f***ing bonkers'.

Here I am riding on the Gallopers. According to Carter's, there's a difference between British Gallopers and American Carousels. Gallopers turn clockwise, not anticlockwise, and carousel horses are prancing. To be honest, I'd never known there was a difference, but anyone can see Carter's Gallopers are a work of art, from the portraits of kings and queens above the horses, or music hall artistes round the centre of the ride, or the wonderfully decorated organ. I always go on this ride because it's so beautiful. You can see the steam engine that powers it glowing away in the centre.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

New shoes and ramblings

Once again life proves my theory that if I don't get what I want, it's because something better is waiting for me. The top I wanted had sold out on the sales, and the red loafers were too narrow and had to be sent back... but the green loafers I'd spotted earlier in the year and hadn't been in the sales suddenly did come into the sales, and thanks to the red loafers being too narrow I had a better idea what size to order.

Weirdly, though both pairs were from Van-Dal the red ones had been in British sizes and the green ones were in European sizes, so no half sizes. (If the appalling mess that is Brexit brings any benefit at all I'd quite like half-sizes for shoes back.) I ordered a six, and a wider fitting, because the problem with the red ones had been that they were too narrow, and the green ones are a little too long, with a gap of about a centimetre and a half at the end of the toes, but they're snug enough to be wearable.

Result: I now have green loafers. I've got loads of '60s clothes these will go perfectly with. I would have done a photo of me in them, but it looks like raining today, so I left my loafers at home. No point soaking them on their first day out.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Go on a 1930s adventure

It's not often that my day job overlaps with this blog, but this is one of those rare occasions. Strange Brigade is a game that's been announced for PC, PlayStation 4 and XBox One, release date still to be announced, and it's a 1930s-set adventure game. Remember the short-lived ITV series Jekyll and Hyde? The vibe I'm getting from the game is similar. The four main characters - Frank Fairburne, a British soldier and dead shot with a rifle, northern lass Gracie Braithwaite, shotgun-packing Masai mama Natangu Rushia, and Oxford academic Archimedes de Quincy - are taking on Seteki The Witch Queen, who's unleashing all manner of ancient Egyptian nastiness.

I wouldn't have mentioned it as the game's a shooter, and I'm pretty sure most people who read this blog couldn't give a wet slap for shooting games (I'm not a fan myself), but there is also a series of books coming out based in the gameworld.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Dooooo want

A cup of tea and a slice of cake
Grab a cuppa, I'm rambling...
I'm not on deadline, which is usually the time when I go shopping-loopy, but I am hankering for THINGS anyway. (Now I do two magazines, there's a gap of about a week to a week and a half between them going to press.) And for some reason, the things I want are really pricy this time around. My charity shop purchases last weekend have done nothing to contain my covetousness.