The Book Pile

The Book Pile


Ascension by Steven Galloway.

ascensionSteven Galloway also wrote the ‘Cellist of Sarajevo’ and this book, is again, worth every minute of your reading time you spend on it.

The opening chapter introduces us to Salvo Usari who is about to wire walk between the twin towers. There are several things yoy need to know if you are going to walk the high wire; 1) you need to forget how to fall, because falling means death. You cannot fall, no matter how high the wire you are not allowed to fall. 2) You need to know how to able to stand still for as long as necessary. 3) Whilst up so high you need to be aware of the wind, which can appear at any time and knock you off. 4) Very high buildings move when the wind blows slackening the wire, but it is not the slackening of the wire that is the problem, but the tightening afterwards, which can cause you to spring upwards from the wire leaving several inches between you and the wire. 5) You never let go of the pole; the pole is balance and balance is safety. 6) While walking the wire, you must forget everything else.

The beginning of the book is also the end. Does he make it? You will have to read it to find out.

The chapter begins when Salvo, a Rom is 10-years-old, living in Hungary with his parents, brother Andras and baby Etel. No one likes a Rom and most people keep clear of them as they think they are bad luck. When Salvo’s father fails to secure the church cross back to its original place, on the tower and it falls killing the Priest, they try to flee, but Salvo and Andras are not in the house the angry villagers come to their house and when they won’t come out, set fire to it. Salvo watches the house burns and then flees. Andras comes back to the house and finds Etel alive and believing Salvo to also be dead he leaves.

Salvo turns up at his Aunt’s house in Budapest. She takes him in and tends to him for several years until he does something that turns them against them and he is made to leave. He is now 15-years-old. He begins to do balancing acts and is eventually found by a man who employs him in his show, wire walking, this is in Europe. At one of the these shows is a man from one of the big circus families in American and Salvo, his brother, his sister and a friend Migrat end up performing all over America. Until one tragedy after another strikes and after several years of fame and fortune the circuses and Usari’s are no more.

And the story within this book goes on and on and you don’t want it to end. Beautifully written. Wonderful, believable characters. It will make you tingle one minute and hold your breath the next.  And before you know it you have been led through 55-years of history of the circus in Europe and America and you are back with Salvo walking the wire for the last time before he retires.

If you enjoy a good story this is definitely one to read. And if like i, you find out after you have read a few pages that you have read it before, you will still want to carry on reading yet again.



Light Shinning in the Forest by Paul Torday,

(Also wrote; Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.)


The Intuitive Dance by Atherton Drenth.


A Netgalley pre-published book, which is due out on the 8 December 2016. This is one for those mystics among us and according to this book, we all are to some degree or other. About a third of the way through, not only is it well written, I am learning a lot too. Full review to follow on completion.

My BuJo

My BuJo

imag0074What is a BuJo? Actually it is a Bullet Journal. I found the idea on Pinterest a month or so ago, thought it was a good idea and decided to set one of my own. I am not going to go into the ‘general’ setup of such journal, but what i have found to be useful and in some cases useless!

  • Your BuJo is yours and you will need to find out what works and doesn’t work for you, personally (now i am into ‘it’ a little) i would begin with any notebook that you have lying around before you buy one of the specified Journals that you can buy as they are a little more expensive and we all make mistakes when we begin.
  • Go on Pinterest, visit websites and gather knowledge about other people’s do’s and don’t – these things are useful.
  • Invest in a ruler longer than the pages of the book you are using and some good quality fine tipped coloured pens – i use Stabilo point 88, 0.4 – but can use whatever you choose.
  • Begin your journal by using people’s ideas, within a month you will know what worked and what didn’t. You may also find there are things you need that other don’t – more about that when i show you my pages.
  • Once you have played around and decided what works then invest in a proper Journal. Although many use lined notebooks the BuJo journals pages don’t have lines, but dots, which you can use to make lines, boxes or whatever you need – it will become clearer in time.
  • Keep adding, subtracting until you find what works for you, hence the cheaper notebook to begin with.

My Pages

My Goals


This is a snowflake of my yearly goals and how some i have broken some of them down into weekly or daily goals.

Monthly Trackers

This is a bad example verses a good/more organised monthly tracker. Not drawing in the boxes in the September version was a mistake i won’t make again as it made it look untidy and difficult to fill in. In the new October version i have decided to assign each item i want a to track a colour, which i am planning on sticking with in the future.

I also have two types of Money tracker; one is a monthly overview of what is coming in and going out and when and the second one is a daily Expenses Tracker what i spend and when i can i stop so much on stuff i don’t need???

I also track, although i missed the title off, it is a Fibromyalgia Tracker and it tracks the main symptoms; Pain, Fatigue, Sleep and Other. It as been helpful for me to note that not every day is a bad day, and although i am never without some pain there are days when it is no worse than usual. I also set myself a Goal to walk. Originally i set the goal really low at 160 steps a day on top of walking round the flat as this was to the bottom of the garden and back. I now have increased the steps to 560 per day minimum. There will still be days when any steps will be almost impossible, but the less i do the more my body pays for it in a deficit and deficits are never good.


I also Ponderize a scripture every week and i write that week’s scripture in my Journal.

The usual Journals things such as;

Future Log – what you are planning over the coming year for instance,

Monthly Log – i don’t do enough in a month to do this and so after the first month i decided not to bother

Daily Log – again i don’t enough to make this worth doing for me, so i don’t. However, you can find all these things on Pinterest and other websites.

They suggest having a Legend; Task, Task completed, Task migrated, Task scheduled, Events, Notes, Priority task – again i didn’t find these useful as on average my days are more or less the same.

Some people do lots of Doodling and pretty pictures in theirs, but i have never been a doodler, i think it comes from the fact that at school it wasn’t allowed and you made to go cover your book in some ghastly wallpaper or something, but feel free to doodle at will – have fun and go wild!

Slow cooked Sweet potato and Chick pea curry

Slow cooked Sweet potato and Chick pea curry

I went out and bought a slow cooker, in the hope that my body might favour me doing actual cooking. After a few days of laughing at me, i set too and made a very simple curry. It made me three nice-sized portions, which i ate with some ready cooked long grain rice, a small naan bread on the side and a sprinkle of sliced almonds. On the first even the sweet potato was very sweet, but other than that is was good. The following two nights (no, i don’t mind eating the same food three nights in a row) but then then sweet potato became a bit mushy, but it tasted the same, so i ate it anyway.

Sweet Potato & Chick Pea Curry

1 Jar of Korma sauce

1 sweet potato, sliced and chopped (i bought 2, but i only needed 1 in the recipe)

1 onion

1 small tin of cooked chick peas, drained and washed


Peal and chop onion.

Peel and chop sweet potato.

Rinse chick peas.

Add to cold slow cooker pot.

Add curry sauce and chick peas.

Stir everything together.

Place inner crock pot into slow cooker and set of ‘Auto’

Takes about 4 hours to cook and i stirred it once half way through.

The rice was a instant packet, heat in the microwave rice, and naan bread was shop bought, but i ate some proper food, didn’t eat my way through half a bag of chocolate in the evening, nor did i wake up during the night hungry. I shall try something else soon and share whether it is a success of not. Remember food is body fuel, the better food we eat the better fuel our body’s are receiving.



Mindfully thinking & speaking

Mindfully thinking & speaking

zen-stones-and-daisiesHave you noticed how badly the younger generations speak? I am talking here about the text and instant messenger brigade. Not only do they not know how to speak, or write they don’t know how to use the words; ‘Please’ or ‘Thank you’ or indeed ‘Sorry.’ What is happening to the world? We need to bring back mindful speech and mindful thought too, so what we say we believe to be true and right and honest and kind, yes, KIND.
Let me share something with you. Several months ago I went to the dentist and as the treatment I required I felt would be better completed at the Dental Hospital I asked the Dentist to refer to such, which he promptly did, warning me there would be a couple of months to wait for an appointment. I was fine with that. However, after waiting three months I phoned the dentist to find out what was going on as I had not heard anything, they informed me that the request had been sent off as requested and gave me a phone number to contact the Dental Hospital. On phoning them I was informed that although they had received the request it had been refused on grounds on missing information and the Dentist had been informed. But, when I phoned the dentist’s office back they had not received anything from the Hospital. After some ‘ermm’ from the receptionist she finally said ‘I don’t know what to do about it?’ She then cut me off – on purpose or by accident i don’t know, but she cut me off. I phoned back and spoke to someone else and explained it all again and suggested that maybe she speaks to the Dentist and get him to sort it all out. She said she would do that and then someone would phone me back. That was Thursday and I still haven’t heard. I can see myself having to phone again!

Yet, if I put all that to one side the thing I never heard in all the kafuffle was the word ‘Sorry.’ It did not matter that it was the young woman’s fault or not, or that the phone got disconnect by mistake or not, the word ‘Sorry’ should have been used somewhere in the conversations I had had, but it never was.
On the same day I had to phone the Doctor’s for some log in information. Apparently I was supposed to wait for it when I requested it, but the young woman at the desk asked me if she could post it to me and as she was busy I said ‘yes.’ A month later I had not received it, so I phoned to find out where it gone to – it had been filed. Yet again there was no ‘sorry’ or even any apology in their speech.
We need to speak mindfully. We need to teach the rising generations, some of which will be answering the phones to you the patient that it is a good thing to say ‘Please,’ or ‘Thank you,’ and that it is not a sign of weakness to say ‘Sorry’ it is being polite.
We need to think mindfully and that in turn will lead to us speaking mindfully too. The more we do it the more it will become second nature and we will automatically come across as being more kind, more open and more honest. And when we say the words, we need to mean them from the mind in such a way that they change both yours and the recipients hearts, because it is only through a change heart that we become changed.

Off to school

Off to school

My granddaughter’s have been at half-day nursery school for the last few weeks, but as they live in different areas of the country their uniforms (or not) are very different and so are expectations. Personally three-years-old should be able to go to school in whatever they like as long as they are clothed appropriately, whether that is a Princess (Ava) or a Penguin (Amelia). However they went back to school looking like this –

this is how Amelia went to school on her first day back…
well, it is certainly Amelia
but she has a little uniform she can wear if she or mummy wants her too
Ava’s school is very different and she went to school on her very first day looking so grown-up…
but she’s only a baby really.
but her true side appears as soon as she gets home
Book Pile

Book Pile

Only it is trying not to be a Book Pile anymore – or indeed a pile of books. There will always be books to read, but i have come to the conclusion that i can only read 2-3 books in a month and one of them is the library reading group book, so that only leaves me 2. I have decided not to buy any more books until i have read all the ones that are waiting on my shelf, that was after i sent 25 books to the local charity shop, some read, some not, some i have had years and not read and some i have had no time at all, but still they haven’t been read. This year is all about ‘change’ and with change comes ‘acceptance’ and ‘taking control.’ I hope you enjoy the little selection i have for you this week.

the-tenderness-of-wolvesTenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney

This was one of the library’s summer reads and whereas i would normally gather up as many of them as i could this time i chose just this one, and i must say i chose very well.

The Tenderness of Wolves is a murder-mystery set in the 1860’s in Canada, when Canada is more wilderness than community and it is set in winter and in Canada in the winter it snows. This was Stef Penney’s first novel and was published originally in 2006, this being its 10th anniversary and i cannot believe that it has taken me this long to read it.  She may talk a lot about snow, they may be lots of snow around, but it is so beautifully written i couldn’t put it down. In fact, i told my daughter to read it because i wanted to write like Stef Penney!

A French Trapper, Laurent Jammett is found brutally murdered in his cabin at the edge of the town of Caulfield. A young man by the name of Francis Ross goes missing shortly after the body is found by his mother and is suspected of the crime, Company men set out to find him, arrest him and bring him back for trial.  However, while they are away another trapper, Parker is arrested as he is seen coming out of the Jammett’s cabin.  There is no jail and so he is locked in a barn, from where he escapes, and he come to Mrs Ross for help and together they set out into what is little more than wilderness to find Francis. Then another group of men set out to look for Parker and Mrs Ross, but by this time, which as been several weeks in bad weather they believe they will be bringing back bodies.

Snow or no snow there is enough intrigue to carry you the reader forward through the snow storms. The trudging through snow does cause the story the story to sag a little in the middle, but it soon picks up again. If you haven’t read this yet, this could be your winter read, whilst you are all snuggled up indoors under a blanket.

5 stars

lost-childThe Lost Child by Caryl Phillips – Library reading group read

As i read the first chapter of this book i was hook. It was beautifully written historical fictitious account of the arrival of Heathcliff and his mother to England via ship from the New World.

The second chapter was set in modern times and left me confused as to what the book was about. In the end i read the blurb on the back on the book and was left wondering how that actually connected to the book at all. The second chapter was very different, but well written and so i decided to carry on reading to see where it would lead. It was a big mistake. I should have cut my losses and run – fast!!

In the middle of the book there is another chapter written in the same likeness as the first about the Bronte sisters, but yet i have no idea how it connected to the book in general. From there on until i gave up reading it (about 3/4) way through it was all down hill. I can’t waste my time on saying any more…

2 stars

Read Next

Ascension by Steven Galloway



Fuel food

Fuel food

granola-dust-sized-635x357Or indeed food as fuel. Far too often these days i find myself eating junk and the main reasons are that junk (mainly) is nice, it easy on the taste buds, it is easy to pick up and eat and we wrongly believe it is cheap. However, i have found that although it may taste good to begin with, it is not long before it will begin to bite back with heart burn, upset stomach and even more problems as it makes it way, often quickly, through my system.

I would be the first person to agree that cooking when your hands are on fire is almost impossible. Add the hand pain, to muscle fatigue beyond words in your arms and back and it is isn’t long before you are heading for the quick-fix-food. Recently i have been wondering if there is a better way? The answer to that is simple, of course there is, however my Fibromyalgia body also as other problems when it comes to food.

I can eat fish and a little chicken (not too often), but read meat causes the above problems. I can eat cooked vegetables, but not raw ones, such as salad, except for spring onions and radishes and tomatoes are okay – cooked. I can eat some fruit, but calm fruits are better for my system; bananas, melon, pears, strawberries, small portions of seedless grapes are also okay and small oranges, but not too often, pineapple is good and found fresh pineapple this summer and it is so good. Dairy as not shown itself to be a problem, so yoghurt, milk, butter and cheese are fine. The same with wheat, seeded breads often cause problems further down in my system and so i tend to avoid them, but wholewheat bread causes no problems at all. Cereal is my go-to food when i am unwell-put in bowl, add milk and eat – done!!

The other thing i have found is that if i don’t eat enough during the day then i often eat more junk in the evenings and my hunger will often wake me from sleep and won’t let me go to sleep before i satiate it (feed-it or is that feed-me?), unfortunately that is often done with high sugar junk from my bedside drawer.

The other problem that most people have is that they eat the wrong way round. We tend to eat like a pauper at breakfast, Lord at lunch and a King at dinner, whereas we should be eating like a King at breakfast, Lord at lunch and Pauper at dinner.  I haven’t solved this problem yet – the problem being that the pain and fatigue tends to be greatest in the mornings, eases off during the day, only to return in the evenings. I have tried eating my dinner at lunchtime, but then found i was snacking too much in the evenings and was woken in the night because my body was hungry. For breakfast i am a cereal eater, there is no getting away from that fact. I have made my own muesli in the past, which was good, but very expensive – Jamie Oliver makes Granola Dust – see below – not tried it yet, but i intend too (but no coffee, it’s against my religion, honest!).

So many thoughts going round in my head right now. Just so you know, it takes me half a day to feel like a human, then i get about two hours until i begin to rubbish again. Could better food be the answer? I know one thing for sure and that is if you intend to change your diet do so slowly one thing at a time as quick changes causes stress on the body and may cause the Fibromyalgia to flare, more pain, more fatigue let me tell you now that you will give up before you have even started. Also before removing something from your diet work out what you are going to replace it with first. It needs to be swapsies so you don’t feel deprived or/and hungry.

As I have the ingredients in to make muesli I am going to have a go at Jamie’s Granola Dust, will let you know, with no coffee – why would you give coffee to children???