Sunday, November 28, 2010

Children’s Books

I was looking at this list of top 10 best illustrated children’s books with a bit of doubt this morning. I don’t see any Judith Kerr (The Tiger Who Came To Tea, Mog etc.) or Eric Carle (The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Busy Spider etc.) or The Gruffalo or a Lucy Cousins (Maisy mouse). There are undoubtedly many more missing, it is difficult to only list 10 but I think you have to include some of the most popular books of all time in there. I love looking at children’s illustrated books – some of the best books can be so deceptively simple yet they talk with a universal language to children everywhere: that’s a rare thing indeed!

December Rising

It’s funny how fast December rolls around. It doesn’t seem that long ago since September was here. It really does feel like winter now, this week has just got so cold and horrid. My wife and daughter are off to a big competition today, while I stay at home with my son. He has homework to start and I have some errands and chores. I know the time will go quickly and then it will be Monday again before the weekend has really gotten started. At least that’s how it feels. I really do wish I had more holiday time away from work. Work can be so stressful at times that I just think it is too damaging to be there. I’d much rather just potter around, doing what I would like to do. Things like take up painting, drawing, writing poetry and music, listening to great music, writing, watching TV and films – some people do this stuff for a living, can you imagine getting paid and being famous for that kind of stuff? I wonder if the people who do achieve success in these realms actually think the same as I do about my job now, or do they enjoy it just as much as if they were only doing it for themselves?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Something to look forward to …

I saw yesterday that a new Tom Clancy novel is about to be published. I didn’t really know who Tom Clancy was until a few years ago. The first Tom Clancy experience I can remember is the time I played a computer game called Rainbow Six. I can’t remember how I came to have it, I don’t remember buying it – perhaps it came with a software bundle? I don’t know. In the game you have to plan a sequence of moves in various locations to attempt rescues of hostages who are being held by terrorists. In the second stage of the game you get to play as the SAS and storm the building to clear rooms. The second experience was probably reading the book Red Storm Rising, which I actually really enjoyed. I have read many more of his books since then and have enjoyed them. So a new Tom Clancy book is something to look forward to.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Feel that chill…

The weather yesterday turned into a brittle chill. It has gone so cold. Some places of the UK are experiencing snow, I hope we don’t get any. My wife and daughter have to travel on Sunday and I don’t particularly like the thought of them driving if the roads are dangerous, especially as they have to leave before dawn. My daughter is competing in an international sport event, so it will be difficult enough having to leave home so early. The thought of them getting stuck in a snow drift isn’t something I want to entertain.

My daughter’s 11 plus exam results are out today also. I hated finding out about exam results when I was younger, mainly because they were usually disappointing. I think in general I have an exaggerated sense of hope in my abilities. For my daughter, I just hope she ends up happy with what she gets and which school it ultimately leads her to.

Have a nice weekend, at least we can work today with the knowledge that it will be over by this evening for a few days.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Gig night

Friday’s gig was excellent. Joanne Shaw Taylor is a really great guitarist and singer. It has been a long time since I have been out to a gig on my own. I’m really glad I made the effort to go out, it was so worth it. I bought her new CD and got it signed because she hung out in reception to see the fans and do some signings.

The last two weekends have flown by. We have been busy taking the children to different things. After I finished work on Friday this week, I walked into town with my children to meet my wife and go out to a restaurant for dinner. It was a nice end to the working week and a nice way to begin the weekend. I hope you all had a great weekend too.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Joanne Shaw Taylor

I’m going to see this lady play on Friday night, I can’t wait to hear her blues guitar.

Christmas is looming larger

We’re almost midway through November and the shopping is getting harder. People are getting more manic as Christmas looms. The shops are openly stocking Christmas gifts. It won’t be long before Christmas muzak is piped through the sound systems wherever I go. I don’t know if I like this part of Christmas, I do like the German markets and aspects of traditional Christmas events. It is probably too early to talk about Christmas but I know that some people have already bought all their gifts already. Not me. This year, we’re supposed to be making our own Christmas gifts: I have no idea what to make for any of my family.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bonfire night

We had a great weekend last week, went round a friends house and then walked across fields in the dark to a fireworks display. We then went back for food and drink. All very civilised, a pleasure.

My son competed in a Judo competition on Sunday, he lost both his fights but I don’t think his mind was on the job. He was also a lot lighter than his opponents. There was a girl from our club there who won a gold medal because she won all five of her fights. It was one of those times in life you don’t forget. I don’t expect she will forget it. I know her circumstances and I can’t say she has an easy life, so for her to win like that it brought tears to my eyes, it was fantastic. The thing is, she would have had a smile on her face even if she had lost, she’s got that kind of spirit.

My back is well on the mend, yesterday I tried a rucksack for my work laptop and I think it has been much better for me than the shoulder bag, which pulls me to one side.

The weather has been rather unpleasant recently, cold and wet (and it’s been dark when I’ve left the house and dark when I get home). Quite miserable really.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

November cometh

We're into November now. The weather will get colder, mornings and evenings darker. Soon it will be time to fetch the heavy bed cover from the top of the wardrobe and place it on the bed. It feels like it has been a long autumn, it has been fairly mild here this year and doesn't seem to have rained as much. I don't like the cold. The only advantage the cold offers is that bed feels more snuggly and warm in the morning, trouble is you have to leave the bed to get up and go to work. Our children are also busy most weekends in November, so I don't see many opportunities for relaxing long lie ins.
I think my back felt almost like I could forget about it for parts of the day today, which is a good sign I feel. I hope I get a better night sleep than I did yesterday. It was hard to get comfortable last night and I overslept this morning. It was a bit of a rush, I don't want to rush around tomorrow. I'm travelling for work and won't be back until Thursday. I hate having to work away but a job's a job.
I've been sitting down with my son for him to read to me regularly. Tonight I was impressed that he continued until the end of his current book. Normally he only wants to read one chapter. I hope the regular sessions are helping him, he seems more willing to have a go at saying some words whereas I feel my daughter would rather just skip a difficult word. Some of the kids books are pretty dull and some are really good.