Sunday, 28 February 2010

It's Official - I'm a Quitter

At the end of January our (mini) Book Club chose The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt as our next offering. I went out and bought it along with two other books as Waterstone's were having one of their perennial 3-for-2 offers, and also as a small treat to myself for losing a stone in weight (yay me!)
So, I started the book and enjoyed the first ten pages or so, then something really minor annoyed me and it all went downhill from there. 150 pages later (just about a quarter of the way through), I had to admit defeat. This is only the third book that I can ever remember actually giving up on, the other two being Emma by Jane Austen and Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder, both of which I still have on my bookshelf and sincerely hope to return to one day. But I dislike The Children's Book so much that I've already sold it on eBay. I had a sudden epiphany while reading it that life is too short to slog your way through something that you actually have a choice over, and here I had the choice to give up or keep going with a book that I really wasn't enjoying and was almost coming to resent giving my time to, and so I chose to stop. To Quit.
My name is Justine and I'm a Book Quitter.
That's not my only confession. I'm also a Book Buyer and a Book Hoarder. I blame the Oxfam Book Shop - since one opened in Reading and another in Henley (several years back, now) I just can't help but pop in and see what catches my eye. It's not like I need any more books, but it's like an addiction. There are 126 unread books on my bookshelf. Let's say it takes a month to read each one, I have 10.5 years worth of books to get through. No wonder hubby refused to buy me any more for Christmas.
Anyway, I've now moved on to The Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall Smith, number whoknowswhat in the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series, which I love. I won't be quitting this one.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Why, Mr Estate Agent, You Are Really Spoiling Us!

Just like buses, nothing for a while, and then two come along at once. In this case, offers on the Henley house. Yes, that's right, two offers in one day. And that's in addition to the asking price offer we received quite soon after the house went on the market and which is still on the table, except that the people who made that offer have yet to sell their own house. Unfortunately, neither of these two new offers were at the asking price: one was 25K below, the other 20K below. The lady who made the offer at 20K below can't go any higher, but the lady at 25K is going back for another look, so hopefully she'll increase her offer if she really wants the house. So, things are moving (!) in the right direction - people are interested in our house. The estate agent also said he had just been to value a house that he thinks will be perfect for us; perfect, except for the price that is. Which means we really do need to get the asking price, or as close to it as possible, for our house. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

A Very Pleasant Afternoon

DC has, of late, taken to only napping in the mornings, instead of once in the morning and once in the afternoon as was always his way. I tend to use this morning nap time to get on with my work as he usually sleeps for anything from 1-2 hours. Today he only slept for 40mins which was just about enough time for me to have a shower, put the washing in the tumble dryer and sit down at my computer poised and ready to work, but not quite able.

DC and I tend to take a little walk over the Thames to Caversham of an afternoon, where we potter around the Library, make a trip to the Post Office (usually with an eBay parcel), frequent the aisles of Waitrose and Boots, and finish up with a stop in Costa. In the "olden days" when DC had an afternoon nap, I could almost be certain that the effects of the pram on paving stones/shop floor/Library parquet would have taken hold by the time we reached Costa, so that I could enjoy a good hour in peace with a latte and my book/magazine. But since DC has given up on his afternoon naps, I thought this little bit of "me-time" had been consigned to the past.

But not today! Presumably as a result of his short morning nap, this afternoon DC decided to fall asleep just as we reached Costa, and I had over and hour-and-a-half of lovely, lovely me-time with a vanilla latte, a raspberry and almond bake and this month's Country Homes magazine. Bliss! Not only that, DC kept right on sleeping and I even got to do a little extra work when we got back home. All in all, a very pleasant (and productive) afternoon. Well done DC; can you do it again tomorrow, please?

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Carbuncle news

I had an email from the Planning Enforcement Officer. He has visited our neighbours and assessed their handy work. He tells me that it is, indeed, in breach of planning and he has advised them to apply for retrospective planning permission. So, that's one better than what I thought might happen (which was that he would visit them and do nothing), but not quite as good as what could have happened (visit them and tell them to tear the whole thing down.) Still, I guess it's possible that retrospective planning permission could be refused. Does anyone know if we will get a letter about it, in the way that you get a letter when a normal planning application has been made, giving you the opportunity to have your say? We could at least then say that we aren't happy. On the other hand, when perspective buyers for our house go to have a look round, they might think that there is room to extend the house further, taking our dear carbuncle-building neighbours as an example. Six of one, half-a-dozen of the other, I suppose.

Monday, 1 February 2010

It's Been a While

But I couldn't resist sharing this little one from The Times, 6th January 2010

Middlemist On 3rd January 2010, to Louise and Ian, a son, Alfred Huckleberry Jack Beowulf

Jack? Come on, couldn't you have come up with something a little more imaginative??