Summer 2019

According to the song Unchained Melody, "time goes by so slowly...", this is a lie. It feels like yesterday I was recovering from flu, trying to survive chocolate free February, had only just got home from Milton Keynes and LittleBit was studying hard for her SATs. And now it's almost August, my baby girl has finished Primary School forever and will shortly have her last session at holiday club after 7 years! I've just got back from a work trip to Glasgow, hot on the heels of another trip to the Crime Writer's Festival at Harrogate!
The Old Swan Hotel - Harrogate

So, what have I been doing since February?

Reading: Don't panic, I'm not going to list everything, just a few highlights. One of my favourites was East of Hounslow by Khurrum Rahman, shortlist for the Crime Novel of the Year at Harrogate. The premise is that Jay is a small time drug dealer turned "accidental jihadist" and to be honest, I wondered how likeable I'd find the MC. I think it's a sign of excellent writing that I was rooting for Jay from the very start until the very end. I really, really don't want to spoil it for anyone, but I do genuinely recommend this book, it's brilliant.

I also finally finished reading 100 Favourite Poems by Classic Fm (I was reading one a day, with some breaks). I didn't love all of them, but there are some beautiful poems in there. Some old favourites and some new ones I absolutely loved.

And one I borrowed from a friend at Bookclub, Best Foot Forward, an autobiographical book by comedian Adam Hills. I truly howled laughing in places, he really does have a knack of making things sound funnier than you'd expect.

Travel: Well, I went to Bristol for work. I didn't see very much of Bristol proper, just the hotel, the office, one shopping centre (with a Yo! Sushi and a Castle Art Gallery in it - I do like looking at all of the beautiful paintings that I can't afford!) and a lovely Chinese Restaurant! However, I did see one of their Gromit statues (like a superlambanana, but in Bristol, and shaped like the animated dog).

After Bristol, was the NEC in Birmingham. We didn't see anything at all in Brum, apart from BBC Gardeners World Live and the BBC Good Food Show! I took hundreds of photos, but I've only chosen two of the show gardens, my favourite two panels, and the 50s style singers at the bandstand.

Between the amazing show gardens and the expert panels (including Matt Biggs from Gardeners Question Time, and Michel Roux Jr above) we watched, the entertainment at the bandstand and the shops, oh, the shops (including one selling hot tubs so big you can swim in them, like a tread mill for swimming - with a lady demonstrating!) there was so very much there, I don't think we really saw all of it over the full two days, and we managed to get a guided tour of the show gardens!

More recently has been The Theakston's Old Peculiar Crime Writer's Festival at the Old Swan, Harrogate...

And Glasgow, for work, where I saw more of their "Oor Wullie" statues, than I did of the Bristolian Gromits, but fewer than when we did the tour of Superlambananas, obviously! As I was there for work and had limited time, I stuck to the Kelvingrove area and didn't even make my usual pilgrimage to the cinema on Renfrew Street or the Shops on Buchanan Street!

Anyway, in a vain attempt to stick to my 2019 resolutions, I am off to bed while it's still tonight to try and get good sleep... Hopefully, next time will be sooner than 6 months!


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