Monday 27 November 2023

What I read in November 2023

I've read these 3 books this month bringing my total for 2023 to 56.

I'm posting this 3 days before the end of the month so I may have time to fit another book in. I am however way over my target of a book a week and I've also just returned from visiting my cousin on the south coast with yet another large pile of books to read which are going first to my mums as I've still got a book shelf full from the last visit to plough my way through.

I won't be visiting the library or buying any books in 2024, I've just got too many at the moment. They range from classics to a mixture of romance, murder mystery to thrillers.
These shelves are stacked 2-3 rows deep.

I attended a lecture last week from Peter Vardy and picked up 3 of his books to read as well as this pile of books bought this year, I still haven't scheduled for reading.

So far this year I've read the following:


Lord of the Flies - William Golding. Re read from O level days

To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee. One of those books everyone should read

A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens. Re read from O level days

Off Mice and Men - John Steinbeck. Re read from O level days

Macbeth - Shakespeare. Re read from O level days

The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood. Never watched the TV series, but the book was brillant

A Streetcar Named Desire - Tennessee Williams. One we all think we know till we read it.

Frankenstein - Mary Shelly. The hardest book I've read to date, takes ages to get going through a series of letters.


Three Men in a Boat - Jerome K Jerome. Loved this book so much, a travel guide to the Thames.

Good Eggs - Rebecca Hardiman. Light and easy read.


Pippi Longstockings - Astrid Lindgren. A childhood favourite.

Five on a Treasure Island - Enid Blyton. A childhood favourite.

The Tempest - Shakespeare. Read the summary first to get an understanding of the plot, characters came to life.

Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson. A bit boring, had to persevere.


Agatha Raisin Terrible Tourist - M. C. Beaton. Quick read in a day.

Anything Could Happen - Lucy Diamond. A life that could've gone either way, all the 'what ifs?'

Home Truths - Susan Lewis. Dealing with your husbands murder and blaming your son who then becomes a missing person.

The Wild Roses - D.B. Carter Three friends in the mid 80's making different choices and following the paths they lead.

Oranges are not the only fruit - Jeanette Winterson. Absolutely loved the BBC drama with Charlotte Coleman back in 1991. A young woman growing up with the church and not conforming with mothers expectations of her.

The Enemy - Lee Child. Exploring Reachers military days.


Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe. My fathers book given to him by his Granny in 1947.

Restoring Grace - Katie Fforde. Easy read about lost love and new beginnings.

Follow Me Home - Cathy Woodman. A light hearted story about finding new love.

Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell. Hard to get going, but once engaged the pages just raced past.

When Breath Becomes Air - Paul Kaplanithi. Pauls' story as a Neurologist discovering he has brain cancer, how he deals with the treatment, life and ultimately his death.

Five Go Adventuring Again - Enid Blyton. I've been reading this book alongside a mentee in school and we've been comparing childhood with the now and the then.


Postmortem - Patricia Cornwell - Making sure my windows are locked during the hot weather

Blue Moon - Lee Child - Quite a lot of graphic violence but good plot line

The Hobbit - J R R Tolkien Very different to my childhood memory of reading this book, probably because all I can see now as I read are the characters as they were portrayed on TV

Malory Towers - Enid Blyton 'Your people are here' Parents arrive to collect their daughter from boarding school


The American Dream 1965 - Norman Mailer A very violent read, stuck with it as it is relevant to the A Level curriculum

F. Scott Fitzgerald - Andre Le Vot More of a book to reference and understand


Again, Rachel - Marion Keyes I've read these books completely out of order.

Blow Fly - Patricia Cornwall Read out of order, her niece, Lucy is now an adult and playing an active role in the case.

The missing years - Lexie Elliot A proper page turner, read in a day.

No Plan B - Lee Child Typical Reacher

Past tense - Lee Child The story seemed so disjointed but typical Reacher.

The invisible man - HG Wells Hard reading

It started with Paris - Cathy Kelly  Following several families as they suffer loss, find love and intertwine

Head over heels - Jill Mansell Pop star discovers he'd fathered a child on moving to a new town and meeting and falling in love with his ex.

Perfect timing - Jill Mansell Jilted her husband to be at the night before the wedding then goes off to find her true love.

Stone Town  - Margaret Hickey Australian murder set in an old Gold Rush town outside Adelaide

A random act of kindness - Sophie Jenkins Searching for love running a vintage market stall

Her last holiday - C L Taylor Fran is searching for answers to her sisters disappearance at a retreat in Greece.

Nine Perfect Strangers - Liane Moriarty Set in a retreat in Australia, 9 strangers locked in a plot with twists and turns

The Unhoneymooners - Christina Lauren An odd couple thrown together on a romantic honeymoon pretending to be their siblings.


The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald A man seeking to be someone he'll never really be.

POSH - Laura Wade Based on the Bullingdon Club, an all male dining club at Oxford University.

The Dark Room - Sam Blake Set in Ireland, solving an old crime.

King Lear - Shakespeare A tragedy as King Lear prepares for his death.


Tess of the d'Ubervilles - Thomas Hardy Hard going and went on too long in my opinion. 

Emma -  Jane Austin's Another novel that just went on too long.

Grown Ups - Marion Keyes Is it time to grow up?


The Hard Way - Lee Child I'm starting to find these books too predictable.

Endless Beach - Jenny Colgan Can two friends find their happy ever afters?

Scandalous - Tilly Bagshawe Two women reunite years later to bring down the man who almost destroyed them both.

Week 47 One Daily Positive and Project 365 A new adventure

A short week in work with a trip on Monday and an inset day on Friday. We also bought a camper van on Wednesday we've called Bobster. A new adventure for us to embark on. We'd already booked a hotel for this weekend and we're supposed to be dropping mum off with her sister on Friday and collecting her next week, but her sister had a fall and broke her hip so it was just the weekend, so we booked mum into a hotel near us and spent almost 72 in the van driving down to Sussex and running around between Eastbourne where we were staying, Seaford where tow of her brothers live and Hastings to the hospital. 

With all the driving which we shared, I managed to finish writing my Christmas cards and read more of my book.

On arrival at our hotel we had to step over a drunk woman in reception, she was paralytic, it was 9pm her male and female companions, hadn't beeb drinking and were really struggling with her, she was almost out cold. On Saturday night we took a walk on the pier, it was 6pm, a woman was so drunk she had wet herself, her two friends were drunk also and the 3 off them were dragging themselves along. It was such a sad sight to see.

324 Sunday 2 years after getting our furniture back in the UK, we finally got round to hanging all our mirrors and putting up the last curtain pole and sorting pictures to hang. Whilst Peter did that, I emptied the car and sorted out what we will need to go in the camper van. Evening spent in the bath and watching TV.

325 Monday Train into Worcester for the day to the Cathedral for a Philosophy lecture with Peter Vardy, it was a really good day. Peter met me at The Range so I could exchange the curtains, home, transferred the money for the camper van, sorted the insurance, watched TV, blogged, had dinner, bath and bed. Peter did the ironing while watching the football. 

326 Tuesday Took the car to work. Home to finish blog comments and write Christmas cards, watched TV, read, bath and bed.

327 Wednesday Vitamin B12 jab before work. After work we collected our new camper van, home, got changed and off to Paint a pot with colleagues from work for the evening. Had a fab evening. I chose a jug for the van. Home for a bath and straight to bed.

328 Thursday Peter collected mum during the day and after work took mum for to her optician appointment before picking me up. We had coffee and then home to pack the camper van ready for our first trip this weekend. I finally sat down at 10.30pm after a bath, then it was time for bed.

I was showing mum pictures of her latest great Granddaughter and she wanted to send a picture back.

329 Friday Up and off for our first road trip in the camper van. We had already booked a hotel for the weekend so a good first trip for us, stopped at the services to use the loo and brewed up in the van. Took mum to visit one of her brothers. We checked into our hotels 9 mins walk apart and off to hospital in Hastings to visit her sister for the evening. Peter and I found a local pub to have dinner, then collected mum and back to Eastbourne. 

330 Saturday Up for breakfast then dropped mum at her other brothers and we explored the coast around Seaford, walking along the cliffs at Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters. Collected mum, stopped to get some food for lunch and dinner and dropped her back at the hospital. We made our way back to Eastbourne, walked along the pier and around the town to see the lights. My cousin and his wife dropped mum back at her hotel and I walked down to meet them to say hello.

On the blog this week:

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Friday 24 November 2023

Post Comment Love 24th - 26th November 2023

Welcome back to #PoCoLo with Stephanie from Bosworth.Life  and I.

Post Comment Love #PoCoLo is a friendly weekly linky where you can link up any blog post you've written this week and all we ask is that you leave a comment on either mine or Stephanie's post which you linked up through and at least one other post. We'd also love it if you could RT us on Twitter when we tag you to help us reach a wider audience.

So we finally took the plunge this week and bought a camper van. We've been after one for over 15 years, but when we moved abroad we put it on hold then after coming back to the UK just over two years ago we just kept putting it off and after Bob (the dog) died in September we decided it was time to embark on a new adventure which I'm sure I'll be posting lots about on my blog over the next few years. No longer sharing family life, days out with the dog or our expat adventures, it's time for a change with the blog. I'll be keeping the name Chickenruby as it's who I am now, but I'll be sprucing the title page up and changing the tabs to reflect who I am these days.

We're in Eastbourne this weekend taking Mum to visit her sister for a week. I'll be popping back down next weekend to collect her.

There are quite a few work outings lined up which I'm looking forward to. The first one was Paint a Pot on Wednesday this week, next week we're having a wreath making session at our house and the following week it's cocktails in the pub. Not everyone comes to each event, but there's a nice mix and it's a great group of people to be working and socialising with.

I'll be catching up with reading your posts, sharing and commenting over the next few days. 

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Tuesday 21 November 2023

Christmas Lights in London and the Big Syn International Film Festival

I was down in London earlier this month for The Big Syn International Film Festival on behalf of my friend in South Africa, who was unable to travel. It was a Black Tie event, although I did feel a little over dressed, but comfortable, compared to others, but who cares. the award ceremony was at the Curzon Cinema in Mayfair and I stayed in Covent Garden, just 2 stops away on the tube. After the awards I set off on foot for Oxford Street to see the Christmas Lights, walking down Regent Street, through Leicester Square and back to Covent Gardens.

Deborah Meadow was one of the judges.

I left the event in heels, but soon changed into my flats.

I carried my heels around London.

Covent Garden.

Oxford Street.



Leicester Square.

Regent Street.


Carnaby Street.


Even Paddington Station felt Christmassy with the lighting.

I wish I'd had more time in London or we lived closer as I'd love to go back to visit the markets and the ice skating rinks. We've got a couple of Christmas events in Malvern and Worcester we're planning to attend.

Monday 20 November 2023

Week 46 One Daily Positive and Project 365

A much quieter week apart from Monday and Tuesday evening, mainly spent at home, in pjs, pottering around. My head pain and random shooting pains and eye discomfort is ongoing, it's really getting me down. It's easy for people to say 'just rest' but I can't. I'd have done nothing for 3 weeks, but stay in bed and that in itself isn't healthy.

I've heard news this week that troubles me but I can't do anything about, I just have to trust the involved authorities are monitoring the situation as they should.

New meds have wiped me out. Other side effects which are common are that fizzy drinks taste flat, no real harm there.

317 Sunday We walked to the retail park for breakfast and coffee and some shopping, home to a roast dinner and afternoon spent in front of the TV. Grandchild asked for a bath before going home and they left at 7pm. I had a bath and was in bed and asleep by 9pm. My whole body aches from all the walking on the weekend.

318 Monday Peter dropped me at work and collected me and we went to Kidderminster to test drive a camper van. Home for dinner, bath and bed.

319 Tuesday Awake at 5.30am sat and did some blogging. Lift to work and walked into town afterwards for coffee and onto youth club where I volunteer once a fortnight. Peter picked me up at 7pm, I had tea, bath, watched TV and bed by 9pm.

320 Wednesday I slept till the alarm. Picked a colleague up for work and drove home via the retail park to collect Peter who had walked to do some shopping, we had a coffee and read our books. More reading back home while Peter cooked dinner, I did some blogging whilst watching my soaps, bath and bed by 9.30pm.

I love being able to sit outside, all year round and our new extension with canopy allows me to do that.

321 Thursday I had the car again for walk and called in at the retail park on the way home to pick up grandchild and DILs Christmas gifts and my new migraine medication, book finished, TV watched, bath and bed.

322 Friday Lift to work and home. Peter went to visit his mum in Keynsham, by the time he got home, I'd rearranged the dining room.

323 Saturday Went to Gloucester to visit Child 1 and buy new curtains for the extension. Disappointed with the quality so they'll be going back on Monday. Dining room rearranged and cat pole moved to make space for the Bougainvillea that's spending winter indoors.

On the blog this week:

Our Autumn Garden

St Paul's cathedral and The Lord Mayors Show

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Friday 17 November 2023

Post Comment Love 17th - 19th November 2023 London

Welcome back to #PoCoLo with Stephanie from Bosworth.Life  and I.

Post Comment Love #PoCoLo is a friendly weekly linky where you can link up any blog post you've written this week and all we ask is that you leave a comment on either mine or Stephanie's post which you linked up through and at least one other post. We'd also love it if you could RT us on Twitter when we tag you to help us reach a wider audience.

I've been to London last weekend to a film award ceremony and to see the Christmas lights, staying in a hotel in Covent Garden and just enjoying the 'me' time. There was some shopping, plenty of food, some drink and lots and lots of walking.

Curzon Mayfair

Christmas in Covent Garden

St Paul's Cathedral

The Lord Mayors Show

It's been while since I've had a little adventure of my own.

I'll be catching up with reading your posts, sharing and commenting over the next few days. 

Want to find out more about Post Comment Love #PoCoLo? 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

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