Thursday, 17 January 2019

Hard Wired By Kathleen Mckay - book review

Hard Wired  by Kathleen Mckay - 

(my goodreads book review)

The title phrase 'Hard Wired' implies that certain people are inherently
inclined to commit certain offences. The lead character, Charlie, who works in a Newcastle bail hostel, believes this and when Darren, her friend Di's teenage son, is murdered Charlie can't decide who to suspect the most out of all the men in the hostel. To help her friend, she takes on the mantle of private detective and soon finds it just isn't that simple.

A very character driven story, we believe in Charlie, she's convincingly well intentioned and flawed. She's often distracted or exhausted and gets understandably sidetracked by important life events. She is also strong, she has to be. She helps Di who goes to pieces, while herself mourning 15 year old Darren who she's known from infancy. At the same time she holds down a difficult job, often on night shifts, alongside coping alone with her own teenage daughter, following the death of her partner. In other words, Charlie has her hand full before she even takes on the tricky task of investigating Darren's murder when the police appear to lose interest.

Overall, Hard Wired is a good read. It's not the archetypal whodunnit with lots of clues dropped in for readers to try to follow and it's definitely not just engrossed with police procedures, but rather more a study of how grief and loss can affect individuals. And there are a lot if individuals, all drawn with some conviction. The number of realistically drawn people makes the plot line confusing a times, but then murder stories are meant to mislead. I will probably read this one again.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

And Finally... they Voted...

I lose sleep, frequently, over the unpatriotic, self-seeking disloyalty and short-sightedness displayed by this garbage of a government, and the cowardly, arrogant dolt who started it all quite unnecessarily.  

I could be even ruder, without using a single expletive, that might well by my only achievement for today. I refuse to use the B word.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Albert Camus, The Outsider - Book Review

Image result for camus the outsider I've entered this as 'read'  in my Goodreads listings because I can't get rid of the thing otherwise. I haven't finished it and probably never will. I'm sure it's a very clever book, modernist, absurdist, Kafkaesque etc. Subject, alienation. My response is to become alienated, I can't be bothered with the protagonist, his surroundings or his life.

So I gave him two stars, maybe because Marie said he had a face like a funeral.

The gobbledegook below is supposed to be a link to the Goodreads post but they never even appear properly, never mind work as links. Which increases my sense of alienation...………….

 href="" style="float: left; padding-right: 20px"><img border="0" alt="The Outsider" src="" /></a><a href="">The Outsider</a> by <a href="">Albert Camus</a><br/>
My rating: <a href="">2 of 5 stars</a><br /><br />

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Vituperation - Word of the Day

Vituperation - all variants on the Word of the Day. Relating to currently very popular internet activities of a supposedly conversational character.

I wonder why.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Palm Oil, Why is it in Almost Everything I Try to Buy?!

Does bread and breakfast cereal need to contain Palm oil? What about peanut butter and lemon meringue pie? Or toothpaste, or shampoo? Of course not, so why the hell is it there?? Companies who claim that their palm oil is sustainably sourced are very seldom telling the truth; they either don't know and take someone else's word for it, or they more likely don't care. Forest destruction and the slaughter of wildlife continues, while they are still filling almost every product we can buy with unnecessary palm oil.

On a recent journey I was thirsty. Stopped at the small Tunbridge Wells service station on the A21 and nearly bought a bottle of M & S sparkling Florida Orange drink. But saw in time that it contains palm oil so put it back. Why a soft drink of any kind needs to contain oil, let alone palm oil, is beyond my comprehension. What was in them before palm oil became the go to ingredient for every manufactured product in the universe? Palm oil comes from the nut, palm kernel oil which is used in soaps etc comes from the outer layer around the nut. 

So, when did palm oil become ubiquitous? Not before the 1960's. I understand that the oil palm tree - Scientific name: Elaeis guineensisis - originated in West Africa, where it's been used by humans for four or five thousand years. But don't blame Africa, the continent itself uses all the palm oil grown there. Its spread to Indonesia and Malaysia began in the nineteenth century, introduced by colonial Europeans from The Netherlands and Britain. However it wasn't until the 60's that oil palm plantations in the Far East began to spread beyond what had previously been rubber plantations and onto land carved and burned out of the rainforests.

The oil palm is an easily cultivated, highly productive tree and creates more usable oil from its nuts than any other tree on the planet. So it's cheap, easily available and who cares about the orang-utans, or the forest ecosystems, or the carbon released into the atmosphere by their destruction? Not the companies producing and exporting the oil, that's for sure. And we're to blame for encouraging them.

New Year Resolution - What's mine? Less Waste, More Thrift.

Is there any point to making a new year's resolution? I'm bad at keeping up random commitments/expectations of myself at the best of times and I suspect plenty of other people are too. I'm making no judgements. I have no intention of expounding any expectations I'd like to have for my family, friends, country, Prime Minister, Jeremy Corbin, East Coast Mainline trains, European Union, Huddersfield Town FC, Brexit, Monster Raving Loony Party, Old Uncle Tom Cobbley and/or all. But I have quietly made a commitment relating to my post of 8 August 2018:-

Any sane commitment I make for the future has to be aimed at helping to save the environment. So for now, mine is that I shall try to be less wasteful. I started by saving some of the Christmas wrapping paper, ribbons and ties that were used. I do remember that my grandparents, both sides of the family, did this and really nice, good quality wrapping paper often reappeared three or four years running before finally being consigned to the fireplace or bin. They didn't do this because of serious poverty but through innate thrift, which we seem to have forgotten is a virtue.

Wrapping paper is largely insignificant, do I realise this and will try to do more, much more. Just as soon as I get over this damn horrible cold! At least the dirty tissues have gone in the stove and briefly helped to keep us warm, thus saving a minute puff of gas.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Word of the Day: Hiatus

Word of the Day


Meaing - pause, break, being up shit creek but still sure you do have a paddle, somewhere.