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Thursday, 23 March 2017

I Love London

I dont have many words today.  The attack in London yesterday, is too awful to think about just now.

Here are some of the pictures from my latest trip to London and some from previous times.
















Lastly I give you Eros and beam you all love.

Sol xxx

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Thoughts on The Handmaid's Tale


***Get yourself a drink, this is a long one***

Having read this in the late 90's at school, I was a little worried that it wouldnt be how I remembered it.  A lot of the parents said that they did not think that this was a book that teenagers should read.  This made it all the more compelling to read at the time.  I had completely forgotten the ending and have a false memory of it all.  That being that they escaped together, Offred, Nick and the baby.  This book could be where my love of dystopian writing comes from.

It was meaty wasnt it.  I find {Margaret Atwood} extremely easy to read, with good pace and very visual writing.  

Although this book is, I feel mostly about oppression, there is constant hope,  hope for her daughter, hope for Luke, hope that freedom will come. 

As the ending indicates, Gilead, is the product of men, garnered from many cultures.  A grasp at holding on and increasing the population.  I find it very interesting where it says that the Commanders are probably sterile from a biological weapon that was destined to be dusted on India and put into caviar destined for Russia.  Gene splicing with the mumps virus.

What I also wonder about, is why they didnt just keep all of the Handmaids in one place and send them out when the ceremony was to take place.  To keep them 'pure'.  Maybe this happened in the next generation, where as it said, they would not know the difference and would be less resistance due to them not having been in the -before world-.  

Having read a few reviews on many other blogs, many said they found it distasteful and horrific.  Maybe I have read so many dystopian books that I no longer have this knee jerk reaction.  Maybe I am younger, or read a lot more Young Adult fiction and have a (slight) prepper mentality.  Much of their horror could be from the reality that some of these things that they are being forced into, in what  in the book was the USA, are actually happening in the world.  And the thought of it, being in a first world country, is such an awful thing that we are being repelled by it.  

In the book it makes comparrisons to the red dresses being in a concentration camp in WW2.  Clothes being an outward show of rank and place.  It is dominance, it is power, it is superiority.  Which within the last 100 years, this show of, for want of a better word is class, has all but been wiped out.  No longer do many wear suits to the office, although I prefer to wear skirts or dresses, I have friends who only own jeans and trousers and maybe one skirt they have for interviews.  The thought of being told what to wear, let alone it being a dress, with a shroud around the face to stop not only people seeing you, but you being able to see the outside world completely, is oppressive, agressive.  

"Our biggest mistate was teaching them to read.  We wont be doing that again".

Not being allowed to read.  Heck, I would start an uprising myself over that one.  To be able to read, well, if you can read, you can teach yourself most things.  This repression is to me the worst.  That thought is sickening, that women werent allowed to read.  In how many countries does this still happen?  Where females are still thought of as LESS than a male?  Not worth educating.  Its how they keep them in check, controlled, helpless and reliant on men.

Women could not accept this now.  It would be horrendous.  The brain washing that happens in the red centre, is the only way that they could quiet, dominate and repress the womens spirit.  At the end, it states that the red centre, where the women are taught to be handmaids, it is called the Rachel and Leah Re-education centre.  The name being derived from the bible, a quick refresher for anyone not familiar with it, being that Jacobs chosen wife, Rachel, was barren, and his other wife Leah was not.  The handmaids being some quasi 2nd wife, polygamy for the 3 years they are in that household.  

Control even extends to the name of the handmaid being changed to the name of their assigned Commander.  Offred.  The Commanders name is Fred.  Could this be, where in some cultures, when a woman becomes a mother, she is refered to as the babies mother.  For instance, the baby is called Ali.  The lady is then called Umm Ali.  Your identity is gone.  To some this might be a trophy to show motherhood, to others it could be the obliteration of self, uniqueness.

The name female road, the smuggling of the people, has a historical base from slaves escaping the USA and being smuggled from safe house to safe house, across the border to Canada to be free.  The underground rail road saved many in this manner, the safe houses being religious households such as Quakers, helped people to Canada and to Mexico.  The Resistance, to the oppression, and infliction on both men and women.  Men not being allowed to marry unless they have rank.  Even the name Econowives, the name makes me think less, that those wives are worth less than others.  Makes your top lip curl back doesnt it.  

Where the Commanders have taken from different cultures for their society, they have done this for what they think is for 'the greater good'.  Closed the borders, retreated into their new world.  Where it would appear that the rest of the world is carrying on as they were before.  Other than the gene splicing, what else happened?  They talk of cleaning up toxic waste.  Was there a nuclear attack?  Chemical spills?  The use of insectides, herbicides and other chemicals entering the food chain, rendering the masses of the population sterile.  This is not referenced clearly as to if there was one catastrophic incident that brought it all about.  You are left to speculate.  Was it like Chernobyl?  Or like the reactors in Japan being breached by an earthquake?  As I have said above, what makes this a compelling read and a touch scary it is because what causes them to begin this regime could be anything.  A Islamic terriorist attack, chemical weapons, war.  They are all hinted at.  This book was published in 1985, and although isolated to different parts of the world many of these things have happened.

Yes, all in all a very complelling read.  If you liked the films {The Village}, {The Hunger Games}, {1984}, you will like this book.  

No alien invasion, dystopian writing here.  No. This is a keep you awake at night. what if read....

8/10 I have read it twice this month.  

The next read along book is Middlemarch by George Eliot (Anne Evans).

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

This Months Book


Hello, how are you?

Six days till the end of this months book.  I am looking forward to other peoples views on this book.  Its a meaty one isnt it.

As the next book is number 6, how do you feel about nominating 2 books you would like to add to the end of this years list.  Not that I am getting ahead of myself, I just know that books are quite expensive and this will give people the chance to look out for them in shops or download them.  I would prefer the suggestions to be classics, with a few more contemporary books that you think we shouldnt miss out on.  What are your thoughts?  

Have a think about it and come back to it over the next month.  I will prompt us all later on.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Dream

How was your weekend?  The sun is shining today. the dogs are running in and out of the garden or just sunbathing on the step.

I am inside, looking at our budget.  Sounds sad right?  Well not really.  By being on top of it all, I know what is possible and I feel this will stop any disappointment when we start to look at houses.

We are on track to have the house on the market next month.  That in itself is a little scary.  We originally thought we would move to Cornwall to retire.  After a few really hard life lessons last year we are now of the opinion, do it.  DO IT NOW!  We are stepping off the wheel and going our own way.  Very much Cornwall or bust.




If you have been reading my blog for awhile you are probably fed up with reading about it.  Come back later in the week, it will probably be about books! lol  Ha Life is funny right?  I have just started to unpack the boxes of books, only for them to be packed back up, hopefully soon when we sell.  I am also going through them again to see what I can get rid of.  I have a weird attachment to some of my books and cant seem to donate them.  I will try.

The budget has been bolstered lately.  The decorator that was to do the dangerous painting, ie the stairs, landing and the floor in the hall down stairs, cried off.  Saying he could fit us in again in a few months time.  I want to be moved really soon.  Posh Boy laid the oak flooring himself after watching youtube.  I have been painting like crazy.  This was a huge saving, even with buying a ladder that is for stairways, and a choppy electric saw thingy.  Cant think of the name of that...  

I then decided enough was enough.  Marched into the garage, took pictures of my bicycle that had a bent front fork and the bicycle I was given by an amazing neighbour at our old house.  Follwing the car crash, I can no longer ride a bike.  Its upsetting as I love  loved riding my bike, but the body cant do it.  On to Gumtree.  

I put the advert on there I think Wednesday, on Thursday, a lovely older couple who have just retired to the area arrived.  Not only bought one bike, but both of them.  AND bought some of the hydrangea plants I have been nurturing from cuttings.  Apparently in the local garden centre they are £8 a pot.  

Also on Gumtree I advertised my beginners archery bow.  Selling it with all the limbs.  I have moved this probably 8 times?  WHY?  The neighbours here, were very intrigued when they first saw our nets down the drive and thought Posh Boy was a keen cricketer!  Lol  Not the  archery range that it is!  The lady who bought it sent me some flowers, as she was so pleased with her new bow.  That really makes me smile.  More money for the kitty.

Posh Boy has sold a few items as well.

We have made more than enough money for the storage/lodgings of the caravan, which I am so happy about.  We have saved enough by being under budget on the main renovation of taking the roof off and putting it all back on higher with enough space for 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.  My old boss cant believe we came in under budget.  And then under budget again for the downstairs.  The spreadsheet is screaming I have had such a tight grip on it.  It does mean we will have a larger renovation budget for the next house.  Which will really help us.

Mortgage free is the goal.  If we dont quite make it, we will be pretty damn close.  Mortgage free means freedom.  Its got to be worth aiming for.  Am I right?

You have to have a dream.



I pose you this one question for this week and the future, what is your real dream? You dont have to tell me about it.



Sunday, 12 March 2017

Stunning pictures


The above picture is a home, it could be a smallholding or a small sheep farm.  Not a bothy, but absolutely stunning.  Scotland is magnificent.  Even when shrouded in mist and rain.

{Look at these real bothies}.  Absolutely stunning.

"Oh Scotland, you slay me!"

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Even though...


Even though we are hoping to move, I saw some really cheap raspberry canes called {Heritage}, which fruit in August/September.  AND some blueberry plants (I wont call them bushes they are little more than a stick right now), these are called {Patriot}.  I bought 3 of each, they were 20p each.  Twenty whole pennies each!!!  I made sure each plant had some leaves on it, as I have fallen for this before where I plant a stick and nothing happens, nothing grows and I say to myself, maybe it was damaged in the shop and I need to give it another year.  Then I am faithfully watering a stick for 2 years.  lol 

I also bought a wiegela called {Bristol Ruby}, I like this plant and already have 2 other wiegelas.  The 2 I already own, seem to attrach a lot of bees, which I will want to promote in our next garden.  You guessed it, this was also 20p.

My last plant I didnt know what it was, but it looked nice on the box, It is called {Lonicera Tatarica}, this will hopefully flower in May/June.  I have now found out that it is a honeysuckle.  I hope it has a good scent that will also bring pollinators into the garden,  This plant really does look like 2 sticks right now, it was worth the chance of spending the 20p.  Honeysuckle is poisonous to dogs, I have placed it in the greenhouse and this will be in an area where the dogs wont be allowed at the new house.  Marta has taken to digging to China, they will therefore be 2 areas both dogs arent allowed.  The veg garden and the BBQ area.  I hope to use the honeysuckle as am arbour cover in the BBQ area.  This is all pie in the sky as I have no idea how big our garden will be!  lol  this is a lot of ifs and whens.

Looking forward to pints of raspberries like I did in the above picture!  yum.

I am pleased to have found the {Victoria (Australian) Agriculture} web pages.  It seems to be easy to use and is really detailed.  I havent found such a good website for vegetables and fruit before.  It could become my go to, for my veggies, as I find some other websites hard to navigate.

Have a good day!

Friday, 3 March 2017

Again! The Handmaid's Tale.


Phew, I have read it.  I am going to read it again straight away!





That is going to be me!

I was recently given a paperback copy of Bleak House, as I said to one of the ladies at work that I loved reading Dickens in December.  Looking forward to it!

Happy weekend!


Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Music for Wednesday


Hello good morning!  Hope you are well.  After spending most of yesterday, after getting home from work dancing in the kitchen with the dogs, or looking at some youtubes.  I thought some more music was in order...

More 90's.  Enjoy!

p.s. pinch, punch, first of the month, pass it on, no return.