Great novels I have read again

One Day by David Nicholls
It concerns two friends named Emma & Dexter who meet on the night of their graduation and before they go their separate ways, they agree to stay in touch with one another. They then meet once a year for the next twenty years to catch up with each others news and see how each others lives are turning out.

Alexander McCall Smith Novels I have read recently

The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency
Precious Remotswe is Botswana’s finest and only Female Detective, and runs The Number One Ladies Detective Agency. Her methods may not be conventional, but she’s got warmth, wit and canny intuition on her side, not to mention Mr JLB Metekoni, the charming owner of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors.

The Good Husband of Zebra Drive
All is not well on Zebra Drive, Mma Remotswe has got plenty of work, ranging from thefts to Suspicious Deaths at the Mochudi Hospital, but Mma Makutsi’s forthcoming marriage threatens to destabilise their happy working relationship. Sensing this, her husband, JLB Metekoni decides to help out a bit and prove himself worthy. So he has a go at a little detective work himself, unfortunately though this doesn’t quite go according to plan

Tea Time for the Traditionally Built
Mma Remotswe’s latest client is the big-shot owner of the Kalahari Swoopers, unfortunately she knows little about football. Matters are complicated when Violet Sephotho sets her sights on Mma Makutsi’s unsuspecting fiance, and it soon becomes clear that most men don’t recognise (or are too busy enjoying it) when a ruthless jezebel is bouncing up and down on the best bed in the Double Comfort Shop.

Martyr by Rory Clements

This is another gripping nevel which I have reread recently. It is Set in 1587 and starts off In a burnt-out house, where one of Queen Elizabeth’s aristocratic cousins is found murdered, her flesh marked with profane symbols. At the same time a plot is also discovered to assassinate England’s feared sea warrior Sir Francis Drake – a plot which, if successful, could leave the country open to Spanish invasion.
So a chap named John Shakespeare, the chief intelligencer in Sir Francis Walsingam’s spy network, is trusted with the task of protecting Sir Francis Drake from assassination.
Following a trail of illicit passions and family secrets, Shakespeare travels through a teeming underworld of enemy agents, sorcerers, whores and poets, among whom is his own younger brother, the struggling playmaker Will.
As he unravels a complex conspiracy of international intrigue, he finds himself shadowed at every turn by his deadly rival, the Queen’s brutal torturer Richard Topcliffe – John Shakespeare soon realises his own family and the beautiful woman he desires could also be in grave danger…

The Lovers by John Connelly

I’ve also recently reread his really exciting crime novel which features a character named Charlie Parker, who is haunted by the death of his father, an NYPD Cop who killed two teenagers before killing himself. Charlie is also haunted by the ghost of a murdered wife and child.
He then discovers that the spirits of two lovers have also returned and their desire for each other is as strong as their will to do evil, and what is worse they want to clobber Charlie. This leads him on a desperate search to seek out the truth behind his Father’s demise, which is unfortunately buried beneath years of secrecy and lies and Charlie tries to discover what really happened that night, but faces an uphill struggle to solve the mystery because there are those who would rather it remained a mystery…

Revelations by CJ Sansome
I really enjoyed reading this This exciting historical novel, so I just had to read it again.

It takes place during the Reign of King Henry VIII whilst he is wooing his sixth wife Catherine Parr, during the dissolution of the Monasteries, and features a Lawyer named Matthew Shardlake, who is working on the case of a teenage boy who has been placed in Bedlam Insane Asylum because of fears that his terrifying religious mania could lead him to being burned as a heretic.

Meanwhile an old friend of Shardlake’s is found dead, and he promises the widow that the killer will be brought to justice. So he, his colleague Jack Barak & a physician named Guy Malton team up to investigate and soon find a series of Horrific murders, all seemingly linked by the apocalyptic prophecies in the Book of Revelations, and learn that even Catherine Parr herself could be affected by the events….
Having enjoyed this book, there are also four more novels by C.J. Sansome, which I would also like to read. These are Dissolution, Dark Fire, Sovereign, Winter in Madrid.

The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl

After having read and enjoyed World without End by Ken Follett, People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks & Revelation by C.J. Sansome I have developed a real taste for gripping historical mystery & crime thrillers.

The novel takes place shortly after Charles Dickens death in 1870 and starts when his latest manuscript mysteriously vanishes, It is last seen addressed to his Publisher, whose very fortunes depend on it. So his publisher decides sets out to find out what happened to the manuscript and recover it.
However the only clue as to it’s whereabouts have been a series of brutal murders and the trail leads him from bustling West End Theatres, through grimy East End backstreets on to illicit opium dens, and he gradually finds himself becoming ensnared in the crime he is hoping to solve and soon finds not only his livelihood in danger, but his life may be too….

The Guernsey literary & Potato Pie Society

Here’s another book I read whilst in hospital It is Set in 1946, and takes the form of letters, mainly to and from the central character, Juliet Ashton, a successful writer who becomes involved with a group of people on Guernsey who lived through the wartime German Occupation.
From hearing their experiences Juliet learns about friendship, suffering, forgiveness, goodness, wickedness and the resilience of humanity in desperate circumstances.

White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

I have also recently re-read this this sharp witty Man Booker prize winning novel by Aravind Adiga, which takes the form of correspondence between the Chinese Premier Wen Jaiboa and a diminutive & overweight Indian Businessman named Balram Halwai A.K.A The White Tiger, who lives in India, and is desperate to escape the crushing poverty he lives in, by any means necessary, and make a success of his life,
This desire to escape & become a success causes him to make all sorts of really dodgy deals and do all sorts of unscrupulous criminal things. Until eventually he goes a bit too far and is forced to go on the run….
A Most Wanted Man  by John Le Carre
I just had to read this really exciting & tense novel  from one of the masters of Spy thrillers John Le Carre. It is basically about a chap named Tommy Bruce, who has inherited a doomed British Bank, who One day gets a call from a young female lawyer named Annabel Richter, whose client is a mysterious illegal immigrant who just happens to hold the keys to one of the moat exclusive vaults in the bank.

The trouble is that this chap is also wanted by three of the most powerful intelligence agencies in the world, and Tommy soon finds himself drawn into a dangerous web of lies & intrigue

Novel turkey recipe I tried on Christmas

I recently tried this interesting Turkey recipe for Christmas Lunch as I thought it sounded really tasty! It includes the use of popcorn as a stuffing — imagine that. When I found this recipe, I thought it was perfect for people like me, who just are not sure how to tell when poultry is thoroughly cooked, but not dried out. Give this a try.

Here is the recipe

8 – 15 lb. turkey
1 cup melted butter
1 cup stuffing (Pepperidge Farm is Good.)
1 cup uncooked popcorn (ORVILLE REDENBACHER’S LOW FAT)
Salt/pepper to taste

First Preheat the  oven to 350 degrees, then Brush the turkey well with melted butter salt, and pepper. Then Fill the cavity with stuffing and popcorn. Place in baking pan with the neck end toward the back of the oven and listen for the popping sounds. When the turkey’s ass blows the oven door open and the bird flies across the room, it’s done.

Steaming Around Britain – Triple DVD Collection

I have also recently watched this enjoyable collection of DVD’s again, featuring archive footage from around Britain. There are more in the series & this has really whet my appetite for more, so I may get the rest, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen so far. DVD’s featured in this Boxed Set are:

The South West
This is a fascinating insight into the history of British steam in the South West of England. The DVD features the Axminster to Exeter route during the 1960’s. Weston-super-Mare to Fowey during the 1960’s, West Somerset Railway – which features the awesome SDJR 2-8-0 No 88. The Paignton & Dartmouth Railway – which feature many GWR 4-6-0 Manors, South Devon Railway, Bodmin & Wenford Railway, Steam in and around Dawlish & looks into the China Clay traffic which is an important industry down there.

The North West
This Fascinating DVD focuses on British Steam in the North West of England and features the West Coast Mainline during the  1960’s where many of the really big & most famous locomotives could be found, like the A4 Pacifics, BR Britannia’s and Coronation Scots. It also looks at the Settle and Carlisle railway during the 60’s which is still really popular today with steam enthusiasts aswell as the East Lancashire Railway, which is also still very popular.. The DVD also looks at The Lakeside & Haverthwaite, Ravenglass & Eskdale Railways. Isle of Man & Freight by rail.

The Final Years of BR Steam.
This is a poignant look at the end of British steam during the 1960’s. Featuring British Rail’s Steam operations during those last years, when some of these magnificent engines were starting to look a bit tired & neglected, which culminated in the Fifteen Guineas Special on 11th August 1968 , where magnificent engines  such as 70013 Oliver  Cromwell & Stanier Black Five no 45110 did a tour of Britain, pulling packed carriages round by steam for the last time, well actually Oliver Cromwell is still going strong & 45110 did sterling work on the Severn Valley Railway until last year when it’s boiler ticket ran out, it is now waiting to be overhauled.