From Puffins to Peacocks

Which might be a slightly ambiguous post title, but can be explained…

I wrote earlier about my childhood reading, and my membership of the Puffin Club, a club affiliated to Puffin books, an imprint of Penguin Books publishing house, targeted at children. Peacock books were the fairly shortlived “young adult” series, a step on from Puffin books; but they made up a fair amount of my transition reading.

Titles such as Fifteen, by Beverley Cleary, a story about first love, and all the pain and joy associated with it…

This list shows the first Peacock books – just reading it through has made me go “Oh, Yes! I remember that!!” for so many books. I wonder if there’s any there that you have read and enjoyed?

After graduating to the adult library section, I started reading a lot of Mary Stewart’s romance/mysteries. I really enjoyed these – usually there was a smart, sassy female protagonist, who fell in love, often with someone a bit unsuitable, who she suspected to be the wrong doer. She could usually look after herself, but there would be a life-or-death situation at the end where she would be rescued by (or sometimes rescue) the Love of her Life. They would be set in exotic locations, and I really loved them; I read one quite recently, and although it was a bit dated, I still enjoyed it.

I didn’t really like Agatha Christie mysteries, but enjoyed other crime novels – a genre which I still enjoy today. I can’t remember any particular authors that I gravitated towards, although I do remember my aunt taking Ngaio Marsh mysteries on holiday with her: she brought them from the library (shock! horror! we were never allowed to take library books on holiday in case we lost them!) and they all had standard library issue covers in a particularly unpleasant yellow! I tried reading one, but didn’t enjoy it.

I fell in love with two books about time slip/ghostly, doomed love – A Portrait of Jennie, by Robert Nathan, and Jenny Villiers, by JB Priestly. Both of these fed my adolescent need for love… I read A Portrait of Jennie again recently – while I enjoyed it, I wasn’t quite gripped in the same way…

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One book that had a profound effect on me was “In this House of Brede” by Rumer Godden. I had already come across Rumer Godden’s book “The Kitchen Madonna” in the children’s section of the library – a lovely story, in which Gregory, a nine-year-old boy, has a deep love and respect for his family’s Ukrainian maid, Marta. When he discovers that Marta is sad because she does not have an icon in the kitchen, he commits to doing something about it. He makes his own picture, using various things such as jewel-bright sweet wrappers to frame it. I moved onto reading Godden’s “The Greengage Summer” (another Peacock book) which is another book about the joy and pain of first love, but this one set in 1920s France

After this, I wanted to read other books by the same author, and found “In this House of Brede“. As Wikipedia describes it: a portrait of religious life in England that centers on Philippa Talbot, a highly successful professional woman who leaves her comfortable life among the London elite to join a cloistered Benedictine community of contemplative nuns. It begins in 1954, as Philippa enters the monastery, Brede Abbey; continues through her solemn vows in the changing, post-Second Vatican Council environment; and ends as Philippa reluctantly accepts the call to lead a new Benedictine foundation in Japan, where she spent part of her childhood.

I think reading this book helped me to see that it was okay to have questions about God, to struggle with being a Christian. I said “Yes” to God at school, aged 17, and went along to a House church, which was in many ways a great start for my Christian life, but in other ways not so good. It was very Bible based, with every answer to every question considered to be in the Bible, God’s direct word to us, and never to be questioned…. This was not my experience, and it was not how I had been educated: I had been taught to ask questions, and my church upbringing had been more open and liberal. Being torn between two stances, this book helped me to start to form my own opinions and become stronger in my faith.

As I write this, I remember more and more books from my adolescence, that I really enjoyed…I could be writing this blog post for ever as I recall more and more!

The L-Shaped Room, by Lynne Reid Banks

Last Year’s Broken Toys

The Silver Sword by Ian Serrailer ( Maybe that was a childhood book, rather than adolescent – but an excellent read!)

Fifth Chinese Daighter by Jade Snow Wong

The Owl Service by Alan Garner…

and so the list goes on. What do you remember reading in your teenage years?

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Enthusiasm

Well, the World Cup is over, football’s not coming home, and France has won.

I’m not a football watcher – although I did sit through a few matches this year, mostly while inspecting FB, or snoozing! – but Mr FD is. Amusingly, having told me that “there are only a few matches I’m interested in” he proceeded to watch practically all of them. Of course, the England matches were accompanied by cries of both joy and anguish, and not a few rude words.

I didn’t watch the final, as I was cooking dinner (Hairy Dieters’ Thai Prawn Curry, with loads of veggies), but, although I live in France, I had a sneaking wish for Croatia to win, as I always support the underdog. And while Croatia are a good team, I think they were seen as being inferior to France.

Well, it was easy to tell that France had won, from the noise coming from the Capricorne bar opposite. Cheers, horns, shouting, singing….Fairly obviously quite a lot of liquid refreshment had been taken! Then the yoofs on their tiny 10CC(or whatever) motorbikes started buzzing up and down the road, making sounds like frustrated hornets and tooting their horns. This went on for quite a while.

It was a pleasure watching Macron, the President of France, and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, president of Croatia, greet the players – big hugs of commisseration for the second place Croatians, with tears being shed by all. Encouraging words were spoken, and sincere handshakes given, as the rain poured down.

But most of all, I love the enthusiasm shown by Macron as the final whistle was blown – not standing up, not standing on his seat, but leaping onto the desk in front of him!

I think he was a bit pleased!

Book Review: The Last Daughter ***

I am proud to be a Ten Reviews or More reviewer on Net Galley

I was sent this e-book, free-of-charge (yay!) by NetGalley, in return for an honest review. So, here it is…

THE LAST DAUGHTER

by ANN TURNER

This was another book with an intriguing description, which, sadly, didn’t quite live up to its promise:

Looking back through the photo archives

CHRISTMAS DAY, 2014

Me, Mr FD and Marvin-the-dog, in the hills above Cherier. The plain behind us is the valley of the Loire (not to be confused with the Loire Valley) with the Lyonnaise mountains in the distance. I think it was clear enough to see Mont Blanc that day. MiL had come to stay with us for Christmas, so it was she who took the photo. Marvin is our friends’ dog, but they’d gone back to the UK for Christmas, so we were charged with feeding him, taking him out and so on.

And here is MiL, Mr FD & Marvin-the-dog striding out.

This is a scheduled post. Today, I’m having my last chemo session – HUZZAH!

Trying to be a bit technical…

I’m not techno-minded, but I have noticed on a few blogs that I read, & have bookmarked, various mentions of the new General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), that came into effect May 25, 2018.

I don’t know how many of you follow me and receive notification of blogposts by email. (Oh, yes I do. Apparently there are 164 of you. Thank you!!) I know quite a lot of people have followed me presumably just as a way of hoping I’d “follow” back – their blogs are either so different to this one, that I can’t believe they are really interested in this little corner of Blogland, or their blogs are not of interest to me, so I don’t bother reciprocating.

However, I’m sure there are some of my followers who are genuinely interested in blog posts from me. To help comply with GDPR consent requirements, I need to confirm that you would like to receive future blogposts via email from The View from the Teapot.

Please rest assured that your contact information is safe with me, and I would not share it with anyone ever. However, there are other people who receive the information – hello, WordPress – and I can make no guarantee on their part. A “warning” has been added at the bottom of the blog post/ comment section regarding Cookies & so forth. There is also a link to the Akismet site that explains how any data collected when you comment is used.

You can “unfollow” my blog at any time – although I’m not sure how you can do this, I am totally convinced that you techy-minded people who manage to follow me, can also manage to unfollow me should you so desire it! If you click on the link on the right hand side of the page you can subscribe/follow me (if you are not already) .

By subscribing or remaining subscribed you are agreeing to receive blogposts in the future from The View from the Teapot by email.

I hope this covers my back. We shall see.

And now here’s a Lolcat, just because…

This…or that?

Shamelessly stolen from the blog “Wheelescapades“, which I discovered via Chomeuse…

 

Dog or Cat?

I’d rather have both – I fancy a medium sized dog – but if I had to choose, I’d go for cats every time.

Netflix or YouTube?

As we don’t have Netflix, I have to say You Tube, although I don’t use it very often.

Phone Call or Text?

Text. I have never really enjoyed using the phone – and now, in France, I hate speaking French onthe phone!

Toast or Eggs?

Eggs with toast. I love me a boiled egg with buttery toast soldiers…or scrambled egg on toast! At the moment though, I’m only allowed hard boiled eggs.

Cardio or Weights?

I don’t understand this question! 😉

Facebook or Twitter?

Facebook. I tried Twitter but didn’t get on with it. I belong to a couple of Groups on FB that have been very helpful.

Ice Cream Cone or Snow Cone?

I didn’t know what a snow cone is – Wikipedia tells me it is “a paper cup of crushed ice flavoured with fruit syrup.” – sounds like a Slush Puppy

So definitely, ice cream cone – but not very often.

Mobile Games or Console Games?

Never console games; rarely mobile games. Cribbage from time to time, but that’s all.

While walking: Music or Podcasts?

Neither – I prefer to listen to nature, or the sounds around me. It’s safer too.

iOS or Android?

Android – but only because Mr FD has handed down his old phone to me! Otherwise I wouldn’t know!

Cake or Pie?

Cake… I’m looking forward to being able to taste it again!

Swimming or Sunbathing?

Swimming for about 5 minutes; sunbathing for 10…I’m bored!

Big Party or Small Gathering?

DEFINITELY small gathering. I’m no good with lots of people, especially if I don’t know them.

New Clothes or New Phone?

Clothes please. I have no interest in getting a new phone, as I just wait for Mr FD’s hand-me-down. But, if I’m honest, I have no need of new clothes either.

Rich Friend or Loyal Friend?

A loyal friend – it shouldn’t matter if they’re rich or not.

Football or Basketball?

Couldn’t give a monkey’s…

Nice Car or Nice Home Interior?

Probably the house, but I’m not really very houseproud. If someone came and did it all for me, that would be good.

What’s worse: Laundry or Dishes?

They’re both fine. I’m not keen on ironing, but Mr FD is doing that for me at the moment. I’m not looking forward to when I can’t really ask him to do it for me!

Jogging or Hiking?

Neither. Walking gently is my limit!

Bath or Shower?

Shower. I get trapped in baths as I’m overweight and have no upper body strength. I had a terrible time getting out of a slippery, deep bath a couple of years ago. Really quite unnerving!

Sneakers, or sandals?

Trainers – I have to wear orthopaedic inner soles, which preclude pretty sandals.

Glasses or Contacts?

Glasses. Since I was 17.

Hamburger or Taco?

If we’re talking home made, then probably some kind of bean burger (though I’m not vegetarian). Eating out – neither. We can do much better than that!

Couch or Recliner?

We have sofas. Though I like the idea of a recliner…

Online Shopping or Shopping in a Store?

Usually in shops. Though Amazon One-Click is a wonderfully terrible thing!

Receive: Email or Letter?

I like receiving both, but letters are great. I need to write more too.

Passenger or Driver?

If Mr FD isn’t in the car, I love driving. Don’tlike driving with him as a passenger though: I always feel judged.

Tablet or Computer?

I have both, and I use both. Slight preference towards the PC though.

Most important in a partner: Intelligent or Funny?

DEfinitely both..

Car or Truck?

Car

Blue or Red?

Depends what we’re talking about. But I don’t have a favourite colour out of these two.

Money or Free Time?

At the moment I have plenty of free time. More money would be nice, but that makes me sound a bit grasping!

Amusement Park or Day at the Beach?

Wouldn’t choose either – a walk in the country, or a day sight seeing is preferable.

At a movie: Candy or Popcorn?

SHOCK! HORROR! PROBE!!! Do you not know The Code of Conduct?!

Pen or Pencil?

What am I doing with it?

Toilet paper: Over or Under?

Over. Definitely.

Cups in the cupboard: Right Side Up or Up Side Down?

Upside down. Unless there’s a kitten in it!

Pancake or Waffle?

Crepes – with either lemon & sugar, or Nutella.

Coke or Pepsi?

Wouldn’t choose either.

Coffee Cup or Thermos?

I don’t walk around with drinks. But I would always have a coffee at home (until now, when I tend to go for fruit tisanes. I’ve lost enjoyment of coffee)

Blinds or Curtain?

Shutters

Train or Plane?

Train. I rerally don’t enjoy flying at all.

Phone or Tablet?

Phone.

Iced Coffee or Hot Coffee?

I’ve never had iced coffee. Cold coffee seems like a weird thing to drink through choice.

Meat or Vegetables?

I like both. But I could (reasonably happily) live a vegetarian lifestyle. Except for the odd full English breakfast, or bacon/ sausage sandwich!

International Vacation or a New TV?

Holiday. Couldn’t be bothered about the TV, though Mr FD might beg to differ.

Save or Spend?

Spend. If I have it, I usually spend it.

Honesty or Other’s Feelings?

If I can manage it, both. Otherwise, it’s a bit of a fudge…

Coffee or Tea?

In a normal situation, coffee – but it’s got a nasty bitter taste at the moment.So fruit juice or infusions for me.

TV or Book?

I enjoy both. It depends on the time of day, the book, or the TV show.

Movie at Home or Movie at the Theater?

I like going to the CINEMA, but we don’t go that often.

Ocean or Mountains?

No preference – they are both amazing.

Horror Movie or Comedy Movie?

I have never seen a horror movie, and don’t intend starting now.

City or Countryside?

Well, we live in a small country village now, which I love, but I do miss things about the city – especially the city of Milton Keynes where we lived before moving out here.

Winter or Summer?

Spring!!!

Mac or PC?

PC. If I really cared.

Console Gaming or PC Gaming?

Neither.

Soup or Sandwich?

Both – soup-and-a-sandwich is a favourite lunch.

Card Game or Board Game?

I don’t really enjoy either, except an occasional game of crib.

Camping or Binge Watching Shows at Home?

Both sound horrendous!

Working Alone or Working in a Team?

I’ve done both. They’re both fine, in different ways, and tricky, in different ways.

Dine In or Delivery?

I love eating out, especially as it can be done so reasonably here. I’m SO looking forward to having my tastebuds back!!

Sweater or Hoodie?

I love pullovers. Definitely a pullover.

Motorcycle or Bicycle?

I’m erring towards an e-bike. I’ve never been on a motorbike, and nor do I wish to.

Book or eBook?

I can’t say it better than Gemma-“Wheelescapades” herself: EBook for ease, nothing better than the feel and smell of the real thing though.

When sleeping: Fan or No Fan?

No fan. And very often a HWB

TV Shows or Movies?

I prefer watching TV shows on the TV, but am not averse to watching a film on TV.

The worst is over…

These are the words that one of the nurses said to me (if I understood her correctly) as she hooked me up to the new doses of poison on Thursday.

“Huzzah”, I thought, as the first FEC100 treatments had been perfectly bearable.

“Liar! Liar! Pants on fire!” I thought as on Saturday my legs started to feel like someone was simultaneously pressing hard on bruises, pushing red hot skewers into my knees and ankles, joyously pricking me with pins & needles, and occasionally tapping my bones with a toffee hammer. This spread to my wrists, hands and forearms too, while my shoulders, ribs and neck were feeling as stiff and painful as a very stiff and painful thing. (Sorry, I’ve run out of metaphors)

I was writhing in pain on my sick bed, whimpering like a puppy. Searching on the internet suggested taking Claritin, and moving. Which I didn’t feel like doing, but I did – and it helped. I also had Tramadol to take for the muscle pain in my shoulders – which is most likely caused by the injection to boost the white blood cells.

On Sunday, during the day, things went fine, but overnight I was woken every couple of hours by the pain; the same on Monday, and then on Tuesday night it became every 15 minutes or so. I was SO tired. It seemed that lying down, and not moving very much made the pains worse. I was really dopey, through tiredness, and burst into tears a few times, just from the sheer relentlessness of it. The pain had decreased by now, but was still there with a shooting pain, or a quick toffee-hammer thud, or a dull ache, just to remind me.

Yesterday Mr FD made an appointment with the doctor, but she basically said there wasn’t much to be done, except increase the pain killers. So I did…and last night I had a reasonable night’s sleep. I still woke up with pain, but about 3.00 am I took more medication, which enabled me to sleep through until 8.00. Millie gave me a lovely snuggle in the hour it took for the painkillers to kick in.

Today, the pain is still there, but it’s in the background. Thank goodness.

The other side effect is that I’ve almost completely lost my sense of taste. There’s still the periphery of sweet or spicy, but it’s hardly there. So you can imagine food doesn’t hold much allure – and my mouth hurts when I eat. AND it feels like it’s full of cotton wool – a bizarre dry feeling.

Yesterday I managed a cheese and pickle sandwich and half a bowl of porridge. The day before, was another sandwich and a piece of fish-and-rice (with a strong sauce) Mr FD is a tad worried, and so is going to “force” me to eat more – I had bread-and-honey for breakfast, and I could taste the honeyness of that. We’ll see about lunch. I haven’t lost a sense of smell though – his omelette last night smelled good, and I can definitely smell when Pomme has been in her litter tray!!

Finally, my nails are being affected too – I have a very greasy ointment to put on twice a day, and I wore ice-mittens while having the chemo, but they are starting to feel weakened, and a little hurty too. Sigh.

I’m not telling you this for sympathy (though that’s always nice) but partly as a record for myself, and partly for others who might come across this while searching for info. It does pass (though I’ve read of people still getting this neuropathy a year after chemo has ended. Please, God, no…) and painkillers are a wonderful thing.

Hey, ho. I hope to continue with a more cheerful post tomorrow.