Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What I read in 2014

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters*
Her by Harriet Lane
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
A Cornish Affair by Liz Fenwick
The Murder Bag by Tony Parsons
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
Public Battles, Private Wars by Laura Wilkinson
The Unknown Bridesmaid by Margaret Forster
The Friday Gospels by Jenn Ashworth
Life Drawing by Robin Black
Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey
Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson*
The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence
Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding
Strength in Strangers by Lauren Britton
The Land of Decoration by Grace McLeen
Erosion by S A Hemmings
The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain*
Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope
The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan
The Accident by CL Taylor
Secrets and Rain by Cally Taylor
The White Cuckoo by Annie Ireson
The Diary of The Lady by Rachel Johnson
Out of The Ruins by Sue Guiney
The Moment by Claire Dyer
The Rosie Project by Graeme C Simsion
Wake by Anna Hope
The Legacy of Hartlepool Hall by Paul Torday
All Change for Nurse Millie by Jean Fullerton
Woman Walks into a Bar by Rowan Coleman
Call Nurse Millie by Jean Fullerton
The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud
The Lewis Man by Peter May
The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriaty
The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood
Longbourn by Jo Baker

*Book Club choices

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

A tiny flaw in the plan...

Ahhh, so there was something of a weakness in my plan, wasn't there? On Sunday, did I not say something along the lines of "there were some good things in 2013 and I shall come and tell you about them"? No, no, it's not exactly that I've forgotten what they were; I do have photographic evidence to remind me what I did last year. I've, errrm, just forgotten the precise details. It transpires that I can only come here and tell you, er, vaguely what happened at the beginning of last year.

At the end of February last year I joined an excursion to a mozzarella making Buffalo farm outside of Bangkok. I have no idea now where it was but it didn't take long to get there. I expect if you wanted to know and Google couldn't tell you, I could find out. It was fascinating. I think. I learned lots about making mozzarella. I took lots of pictures. And I DO remember thinking you'd be as fascinated by the process as I was... Only beyond hot and cold water to shape the mozzarella into those rotund yummy balls, I'm all of a blank.

Still, I don't suppose there are many people who come to Tea Stains to learn anything... So, sorry and all that; apart from one picture that illustrates I DID actually see mozzarella being made, instead of any details whatsoever about the process, here are some pictures of the lovely, milk yielding buffalo:

LOOK! This is something to do with making mozzarella.

This is my best side.

Well, we ARE water buffalo...

Check out those eyelashes. 

What? It's mud; mud's good for the skin.

Hmmm, I'm a tiny bit freaked out by their cloven hooves.

Gorgeous girls

And my favourite picture of all....

Sunday, January 05, 2014

My wonky New Year

Has all that overt New Year optimism gone? Is it safe to come out now? 

I felt unaccountably low on New Year’s Eve, which Husband and I spent on our sofa watching the last series of Luther. Rock and Roll we're not.

I say unaccountably because yes, it had been a rotten year, but I couldn’t see why, on this random date, I should feel sadder than I had, I don’t know, the week before… (I know how arbitrary the notion of New Year is: here in Thailand we celebrate three New Years: 31 December, the Chinese one in Jan/Feb time and the Thai one in April. Useful, huh? Plenty of opportunity to reassert broken resolutions!)

We can’t breathe for ‘looking back and looking forward’ articles/statuses/programmes at that time of year and so perhaps, however reluctant, I’m hardwired to do some assessing of my own, whether I wanted to or not.

I didn't want. But yes, 2013 was a pretty crappy year for us lot. The Grim Reaper has been stepping out of the shadows, flicking his black robe menacingly and doing his stuff before sashaying back into the recesses. I am really glad to see the back of it.

But you know what was good? Ha! I laugh in the face of being out, drinking too much Prosecco… I woke up on 1 January feeling positive and ready for a new start: I’m either a cliché, or that’s genetically determined too. And life never is only awful, is it? There are always positives to see even if they are teeny weeny ones. Or sometimes, things need looking at from a different perspective.  I stood on my balcony at midnight this year, taking pictures of the fabulous fireworks display so that I could post them here, and look, they are probably the worst set of photos anyone’s ever produced. Almost every single one is out of focus and yet… I still love them - for this was my wonky New Year.

And that’s what I’m going to start the year blogging with: documenting those little tiny good things from last year and some of the GREAT BIG BLOODY amazing things too because  they were there and I missed writing them down on my blog.  If this year’s pitiful attempt at blogging counts, then Tea Stains has been here for seven years and it seems to me to be worth something.

So before I get more Pollyanna on you, I shall go. But I’ll be back.