Monthly Archives: July 2013

Historical books a plenty August 2013

This is an update on my reading pile which has changed dramatically since I last wrote up the previous update. 

I have before, added books I haven’t even opened the pages of yet.  But this time around I am only going to add the books which I’ve read at least one page of, then at the end of that list I will write up what I hope to start reading before September 1st 2013.

I have read a wonderful biography of a ladies maid life in service to Lady Nancy Astor, I recommend this as a good read to anyone interested in non-celebrities lives; the book I read was “The Ladies Maid” by Rosina Harrison and I marked it as a five star on Goodreads.com

“The Laws of Manifestation” by David Spangler, I am very interested in the law of attraction and cosmic ordering, but although I’ve read 94 pages of this book so far the idea that they rely on God so much puts me off and makes for an uncomfortable read for me – though the book has opened my mind about relying on relationships to assist my needs.  For example, this along with a recommendation by Host Fiona on Jackpotjoy.com I have joined a site called freegle.com where people pass on unwanted things for free, I’ve come across a woman whose giving away 20 saved jam and pickle jars which is useful for our chutney making and we’ve also found several other items we’re interested in there, so, technically, that’s cosmic ordering working for us through the habit of socializing with strangers.

“Sociology; themes and perspectives” by Michael Haralambos, I haven’t moved on from reading this since I last updated it, but at least I’ve read some pages of this book. 

I still owe it to my friend Richard Gentle to read the rest of his book “Whatever you think” as well as that, he is doing a talk on the law of attraction and cosmic ordering tonight on an internet radio show, though I need to ask him further details about that.

“Parallel worlds” by Michio Kaku hasn’t been picked up again since either.

“Full Dark, No Stars” hasn’t progressed either, the book is by Stephen King and lately I feel a little too sensitive for horrors outside of the vampire genre (love vampires, always wanted one as a pet to set on my enemies).

“Dragon Chronicles” by Margaret Weis, I would love to further the read but my wrist got sprained and it’s a huge book to hold – a friend suggested a kindle download, but I don’t enjoy reading that way.

“The Goddess Experience” by Gisele Scanlon is a lovely read but I am loathe to reading more of it because of financial troubles and every time I read a page in that book I want to travel to the place of suggestion and buy something, like Paris for macarons and some little shop in South London for bespoke handbags.

“The art of happiness” by the Dalai Lama hasn’t been picked up lately because I am finding it hard to put myself into a relaxing frame of mind to read it lately.

“Lucky” by Alice Sebold is a difficult read, emotionally, so I will try and read it when I can.

“Below Stairs, the kitchen maid’s memoir” by Margaret Powell was an interesting read, but I will re-read the first three pages again soon and make a start on the entire book, but this may be around four weeks’ time as I over loaned too many books at the library again, despite me promising myself I was only going to get out three this time.

Now for the list of (not even opened books) that I plan to read over the summer holidays. 

“The dragon sitter” by Josh Lacey, I got this out on Henry’s library card (my 3yr old son).

“Speed reading for dummies” by Richard Sutz, this will be a very worthwhile read because of the amount of books I am backlogged with and it gets worse weekly.

“Hubble Bubble” by Jane Lovering, I think, from what I’ve read at the back that it’s a dystopian comedy about witches, but could be wrong?

“Merry England” by William Harrison Ainsworth, I love books like these so it shouldn’t be long before I pick that up to read.

“Sister Queens; Katherine of Aragon and Juana Queen of Castile” By Julia Fox, again I love historical books like these so I am looking forward to reading this, especially as I am watching a lot of Tudor based programs, documentaries and historical dramas lately.

“The Forbidden” by Frank Tallis, unsure what this is supposed to be about, but the back of the book lured me, especially as it seems someone sold their soul in a way that sounds like they didn’t even know they did it, but again, could be wrong.

“Gothic Art” by Andrew Martindale, again I love books based around Gothic art and architecture, though I dislike the religious connotations in most of it.

“Catch-22” by Joseph Heller, I wrote this book down in my “to research” notebook a few weeks ago, but I couldn’t remember why – so I went online and found out why, it was a comedy war book apparently, I think I may have got the recommendation from “Cult Fiction” I read a couple of months ago, but whether or not this is my type of book I don’t know yet.

“The adventure of English” by Melvyn Bragg, still hasn’t been picked up but I have wanted to read this for almost fifteen years now, maybe I should actually start it within the next six weeks?

“The Castle of Otranto” by Horace Walpole, is another book I am interested in but unsure when I will get around to it, I downloaded it on kindle and I must say it’s a reluctant read because of the format and I can’t find it cheap to buy anywhere and my district libraries don’t have it in storage either.

“Dissolution” by C.J Sansom, the first book in the Shardlake series again it’s historical and I think they’re based around Tudor times again so they’ll certainly put me into my element once I start reading them; I bought the whole series for only £8.70 on eBay second-hand, the cheapest out there, I think the cheapest second-hand was available on Amazon for £27 so that’s a bargain indeed!

“Nutmeg” by Maria Goodin, again I read the first few pages of this story and I was hooked, but I had to put it down because it was only meant to be a taster – I can’t wait to finish this book in particular, I could do with nonsensical comedy.

I really hope the speed-reading book will help me read all these books whilst still maintaining the imagination I have when I read (like a TV screen in my head) but I don’t think it’s designed to do that, rather than to just get the words in your head and your brain slowly processes it all after you’ve read things so you can see it like a TV program later, or have I got the idea of speed-reading all wrong?

Well anyway, at this time I think the laws of manifestation will be completed by Tomorrow night, if not then I will be starting on the dragon-sitter and both books will be likely to be finished by Thursday the latest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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An update on my health

Well I am taking steroidal antibiotics for my ear problem for the next week and my ENT appointment has been moved forward to two weeks’ time; I am very worried that it may be another mastoiditis and may need further mastoid surgery, especially as the last one turned out I had less than half a millimeter protecting me in some parts of the skull close to the brain – hope that’s not infected again, but to me it seems likely.  This mastoid and ear problem has been with me since I was about 10yrs old, I’ve had two big operations and four investigative ones over the years on my ears alone, in total my whole life I’ve had about seven operations, one removing tonsils and the other was intensive dental work that could only be done under a general.

What worries me the most is this is affecting my neck and jaw of the same side as well and the other ear is also starting to lose its hearing, I’m already completely deaf in my right ear and they tried to fix my hearing problem with an ossiculoplasty but it failed because two of the small inner ear bones were completely destroyed by the mastoid infection years before.

It’s scary because this can bring on meningitis so I was told, brain damage, Bell’s palsy or even death, I think it is the old problem I used to have as my ear and throat is constantly burning me and my ear is leaking watery smelly liquid again, which hasn’t happened since I was 17.

So that’s an update on my life.

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Legend of the gargoyle

There was once an ancient legend in our land, that deemed that no heart should be broken by man, for if he did a spell be cast, that this wretched human to stone be cast, to exist as a gargoyle upon the walls of Snell, our beloved fortress we love so well.

It is said in the dead of night a fair young maiden received this plight, a young stranger came to our land and made a promise to this maiden’s hand, a ring he bestowed upon her finger but the little louse he did not linger.

But before the gates had time to open the spell was cast and his image broken, with a contorted grin and piercing eyes, claw like nails he’ll be despised.  A memory of a loveless night, revenge is sweet and it served him right.

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Surgery is a maybe

It seems as though my mastoid problem in the ear has come back and I may need more surgery on it, with this in mind, my blogs may have to be put on hold for a while, with that said I will try and post what I can when I can.

Thank you

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Fried brains anyone?

Ah so this hot weather we’re having here in the UK has determined whether or not I am fit for Californian life or not, I am not; this heat makes my brain go fuzzy and I’ve not done anything remotely creative all week, two weeks of work lag and all I can think about is place names in my story – nothing more and nothing less.

Thankfully I live in the West Midlands where the weather is balanced in comparison to other places in England, in my opinion.  This weather is unlikely to last another week, but in case it does I may have to try and buck my ideas up and start writing whether I can think or not, whether I am turning out crap or not; because, in a word, not writing is killing me, OK that was more than one word but as I said my brain is fried.

My reading pile has increased since this hot weather set in, but instead of reading the masses of books that’s piling up around me, I am sitting and staring at them and trying to give myself leverage for two or three hours before finally picking up a book, reading three pages and then falling asleep.

I get heat stroke so easily and with my other health problems it’s not very nice to me.  Though this sunshine makes life less painful, it also makes me shockingly tired, why is my body so awkward?

On a good note I don’t eat much during this weather and I have lost 9llbs in a fortnight.

 

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Family tree research

So I unwittingly took the week off from writing, this wasn’t planned; I tend to go into fazes of genealogical research.  I have a family tree which I take great care of; especially for my father’s side of the family, nan told me as much as she could before she died and it helped me very much but she focused on her side of the family and didn’t tell me anything at all of granddad’s family.  I’ve neither idea what granddad’s mother’s name was, nor how many siblings he had other than great auntie Florence.

I’ve discovered many things about my paternal grandmother’s ancestors though, such as we can date one part of the family down to 1450 and another side is supposedly an old Roman family, who have been aristocrats for nearly two thousand years in Europe; I say supposedly because there was an Italian migrant in my family in 1480 to the UK who had the surname Senex and was an aristocrat who married a barons daughter and he had to anglicize the name to Maude when he bought some land; Senex is supposed to be an off shoot of a Roman family name Caesilius who are directly linked to Scipii and Secundus (that means there’s a possibility I am related to Pliny), though I can’t be sure and I doubt there’s going to be much information on it, though there might be records in Rome about Roman families, unsure.

This is all pure speculation because I found a website that can follow Pliny’s line to the present day, but I am skeptical because a lot of people just add any old connection to their surname without being sure if they’re true blood or not.

My paternal grandmother’s side of the family are both Italian and Dutch migrants who were aristocratic right up until 1840 when a lot of them started to migrate to Australia, America or marry beneath themselves, there was also an incident where a member of the family was heavily fined because they owned cottages and his people were found to have poached on a neighboring lords lands and was a little too sentimental about evicting them – also he gave a lot of money to the society of friends as he was apparently, very pious and found money a detriment to society, which is quite odd.

There’s information I’ve researched about my mother’s family, though some of mum’s cousins demand that my lead is wrong, because there’s a lot of tales of grandeur on that side; but I’ve bought records directly linking mum’s lineage from Kew itself when I’ve had some spare money and they’re wrong, I have proper recorded proof.  Such as my grandmother was raised in Enfield in farm cottages and her grandmother originates from Crawley as a dairy maid to a manor house, in fact all her family does and they even have the surname Crawley as they didn’t move from the area for hundreds of years.  My granddad’s family are half Jewish who converted to Catholicism for love which in those days was apparently sinful to marry outside of your religion; they owned a dressmaking boarding school and a tailor business in Soho, they were the original Jewish tailor business migrants of Victorian England, these days they have a chain of restaurants and don’t communicate with this side much and some have kept to their Jewish roots.

Mum’s cousins are very upset with my findings that great granddad was a foundling child – that’s similar but not as horrible as being a workhouse child; they insist he wasn’t a foundling, though they admit they never knew of his past as he never told anyone anything and was always evasive about it. 

Foundling children are different to work house children because they don’t remain working in the foundling hospital all the time, like workhouse children – when the children are 14 the boys are expecting to join the navy or army and live their lives as soldiers that are their fate, nothing else.  Girls tend to be trained in all domestic work so that they can be literally, sold into servitude for manor houses and wealthier people from the age of 14, though they can choose to leave as soon as they were an adult though life for them would usually be hard and terrible if they left their positions.  But all in all it was much better being a foundling child than a workhouse child.

Anyway, now you know what’s been keeping me from you, I am still involved with doing my tree, almost 2000 people in there now, but it does tend to gobble my time up as I get so involved with it all.  I want to get things right for my kids to sit back and look at where they’re from and how we’re likely to progress or digress as a family in the future, how the wheels of fortune constantly turn.

 

 

 

 

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Read before Aug 15

My current reading list or books which are to be read before August 15th are;

The lady’s maid (my life in service) by Rosina Harrison – I’ve read 66 pages so far

Sociology; themes and perspectives (second edition) by M Haralambos – I’ve read 34 pages so far

The adventure of English (the biography of a language) by Melvyn Bragg – I haven’t even started this book yet and that’s very bad of me as I always wanted this book and it was given to me as a 16th Christmas present by my cousin Shane that was 14yrs ago.  To think I wanted that book so badly and I’ve never even read the introduction, naughty, naughty!

The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole – I’ve been reading a lot of historical books lately that focuses on either horror, cult fiction, gothic history and literature and this book crops up several times as a re-commendatory read; so maybe I should pick it up?  I downloaded it as it’s completely free on kindle.

Dragon-lance chronicles (books 1 – 3) by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman (though personally I think it will take me 3 months to read this particular book). – I’ve read 24 pages so far, but it is going to be cast aside a few weeks whilst I read other books; because I am getting into non-fiction history lately as research material for my stories; hence the servant biographies that are appearing.

Nutmeg by Maria Goodin – I did read about 10 pages but then I put it down as it was hilarious but I was already very nearly finished reading some other compelling book – this book made such a good impression on me I sent it back to the library and purchased it on amazon; I did this because I want to take my time reading it and soaking up its fantastical imagery and comedy.  I am looking forward to re-reading those 10 pages and reading more at a later date, hopefully before August.

Lucky by Alice Sebold – I’ve read 38 pages so far and I have to admit the author has made me paranoid about making and keeping my hair short these days, though they do say that it’s rare to be raped more than once in a life time!

Parallel worlds by Michio Kaku – I’ve read 293 pages so far, though I’ve been reading this since last year and I am unsure if I will start reading the rest of this for at least another month or two, there’s something about me where I become more scientific in the autumn.  Don’t ask why, I don’t know ha-ha.

Whatever you think by Richard Gentle – I personally know the author of this book, I was supposed to of read it about 2 months ago but I got involved in other books, I really owe it to him to read it and give my opinion.  I am not a very persistent reader at the best of times and its shockingly rude behavior not to have given a special effort to this book.  So far I have read 18% of this kindle book and it was very interesting so there was no reason for me to of put it aside all this time.

The art of happiness by the Dalai Lama – I’ve read 51 pages of this so far and I am looking forward to reading more as it’s really eye opening. 

The goddess experience by Gisele Scanlon – I started this book last summer, I’ve read 137 pages so far, a lot of information in it is out of date as some of the recommended stores and websites have closed down which is such a shame. 

Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King – I started this book just after Christmas 2012, I’ve read the first story of this anthology and I’ve read to read more; that’s 156 pages so far.  I think the reason why I didn’t continue the anthology was because the first story sent me into a state of shock about how horrific it was.

 

 

 

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Gothic literature & history

Just finished reading “The Gothic” by David Punter and Glennis Byron today; it was mostly about Gothic literature as opposed to Gothic history, architecture and fashion like it did portray at the back of the book which I found both disappointing and misleading.

I do like Gothic literature and the Gothic subculture a lot, but I was eager to learn more about Gothic history and architecture and unfortunately this was written in all but twenty pages of the book, so it seemed.

I am on the lookout for more books that concentrates largely on Gothic history and architecture, and doesn’t revert too much on literature; if anybody knows of any good books, please let me know.

My latest books added to the “to read” pile are “Cuckoo” by Julia Crouch, “The Castle of Otranto” by Horace Walpole; and “The Lady’s Maid” by Rosina Harrison. 

 

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storms are lovely but…

I love thunderstorms, even ones given to me via magick from certain people; though it’s not wise to play with the storms, especially as a witch can harness powers from them and blow it back Miss Scarlet, said; the Golden Witch one day.

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The adventures of a moth shepherdess

The adventure of a moth shepherdess is a true story, this happened to me personally last night. 

Enjoy!

Finally, my three year old son tucked into bed after a long night trying to get him to sleep and all would be quiet from that point on.  Slumped in bed, light just right for reading; I managed a sigh of relief as the aches in my feet gradually waned away, every muscle in my body was relaxing, what joy!

My book of choice “The Gothic” I was reading about the Cthulu Mthos of H.P Lovecraft when I suddenly got the fright of my light.  From nowhere a moth, the size of a walnut dive bombed me repeatedly and banged into the lamp, my only concern was whether or not it would ruin my perfectly milky sweet tea on the side, so I fetched a piece of paper and covered the top. 

I went back to reading but I couldn’t concentrate with the scrape, scraping of the moths wings against my ceiling tiles and the occasional pelting; so I watched the moth carefully, studying it for ten minutes, covering my mouth just in case it was one of these weird creatures that goes in for a kamikazes down my throat.  I watched as it crawled along my son’s calpol medicine bottle, licking up the sweet sticky residue that had slid down the sides of the bottle, it was there for a while as I was watching it, the bottle was by the door – it was then I decided to take the risk and lunge at the door, quickly turning on the hall light, attracting it instantly out of the bedroom I leapt forth and closed the bedroom door, turned the hall light off and the spare room light on, attracting the moth in there and out of the large window. 

TADA!  Now I can get back to reading my book, I thought.

Earlier next morning I told my husband of my 1:30am adventures and he looked at me with pitying eyes, then I said “I wonder if I should add moth shepherding to my CV” which got a good hearty laugh from him.

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