Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Five reasons to be cheerful on a gloomy November day

I’ve been feeling slightly sorry for myself recently, work has been hard with no promise of let up until after Christmas (actually it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better), my patience with humanity as it exhibits itself in customer form has hit some all time lows and my back hurts (which is a distraction from my arm and ankle hurting at least). The economy is not encouraging either, neither common sense nor austerity particularly appeal to me and I feel like I’ve been exercising both for quite long enough now, if I had a budget I’d blow it on something extravagant but despite it only being mid month I’m already reduced to scrapping around for coppers and counting down until pay day.

However the sun finally shone this afternoon and I had an exciting parcel from Prospect books which added to a few other recent packages encouraged me to pull myself together and realise it’s not all that grim. It might be a while before I manage to read my way through all these beauties and meanwhile I can’t wait to share...

Pride of place goes to ‘Tripe: A Most Excellent Dish’ by Marjorie Houlihan. It only arrived this afternoon and I’ve done nothing more than glance at it but the title alone was enough to make me smile. It’s a history of tripe in Lancashire along with a collection of tripe recipes from around the world. Leicester has a tripe stall on its indoor market selling white and brown versions, both look revolting and I’ll take some convincing to actually try the stuff. Regardless Prospect’s English Kitchen series is always fascinating and I look forward to reading about it if not to eating it.

The book I’m currently enjoying is Matthew Sweet’s ‘West End Front’ about life in London’s great hotels during the war. I picked this up to have a look at it and couldn’t put it down, it’s much better than I expected (I mean I thought it would be good but had no idea it would be this good) there are plenty of books which I should have read before I got to this one and plenty of other things I should be doing when I’m reading it but it’s irresistible.

The Gentle Art Of Cookery’ also landed on my doorstep recently and is one that I meant to have a better look at before I got distracted by ‘West End Front’. This is a lovely looking thing complete with coloured page edges (we can’t think what the proper word for that is). I’ve dipped in and out of it enough to know that it’s as good as it looks – more on that soon.

Women’s Suffrage in Shetland’ by Marsali Taylor came courtesy of my father late last week. Mrs Taylor was my English teacher (and a very good one too) and again all I’ve done is open this and have a quick look, first impressions are excellent so I’m looking forward to spending more time with it – two obsessions in one handy volume – what a treat.

Last but not least is Jane Robinson’s ‘A Force to be Reckoned With’ a history of the WI. I’ve been tempted by a few of Robinson’s titles in the past but this is the first one I’ve got my hands on. It sound very promising and again I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into it. If only there were more hours in the day.


  1. A Force To Be Reckoned With is the only one of these titles that I'd heard of (it's at the top of my wish list) but the others all sound very interesting too, West End Front especially. Definitely cheering stuff!

  2. I havent read any of those but they do look like beautiful books!

  3. The Captive Reader, West End Front is looking like it'll be in my top ten books of the year - a list I have in my head, sort of, but have never yet got round to writing down. So far it's very good.

    Jessica - they are blessings to count and all that. Prospect books always delight me, it's not just that they send me books (which is a treat in itself that I'm very grateful for) but that they have impeccable timing. Who would have imagined that a history of tripe in the north country would make someone as happy as this made me!

  4. Ooh, I added 'West End Front' to my Amazon wish list yesterday! I'm thrilled to read that it's as good as it sounds.

  5. Those are good reasons - plus you have your kitchen aid! yayy!

  6. SShh Verity, it's a birthday present and that's still 3 weeks away...

  7. Darlene - have really enjoyed it, there will be a proper post soon. hope it doesn't stay on the wish list for long.