What I read in May 2016

Since our local library closed, I have been making fleeting visits to one in the town I visit once a week.  All the books I have read in May were borrowed from the library.

Miss Carter’s War by Sheila Hancock would make a great Reading Group book.  It is set in the years following the Second World War, but includes flashbacks to Miss Carter’s wartime experiences.  Although it is a work of fiction, the changes in attitude and culture following WW2 and throughout the lifetime of the heroine are seamlessly woven into the story.  Sheila Hancock does not pull her punches and gives much food for thought.


Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey  Another member of the writing group I go to had also read this book recently.  We agreed that it deserved the prize it had gained for the author and the best word to describe the book was “unsettling”.

The story is told through the eyes of a forgetful elderly lady.  Her earlier memories are clear, but she is easily confused.

The Careful Use of Compliments by Alexander McCall Smith


This is Alexander McCall Smith at his best.  Isabel Dalhousie is a delightful character and the twists and turns in the plot of this book are highly amusing.  I do not usually bore hubby with the details of books I have read, but I told him this entire story as he drove me into the town to return these books!


Still Alice by Lisa Genova


I found this book, which had been recommended to me by a friend, on a display at the library for Alzheimer’s awareness week.  Although the subject matter is disturbing, this book is a page-turner.  It is a well-researched work of fiction.  Like Elizabeth in  the book mentioned above, Alice experienced tragedy early in life.  (The cover of the book I read had a different image.)

I thoroughly recommend all these books.


The Bicycle

With all the excitement of the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge and some outings, which resulted in posts (and future posts) on Sue’s words and pictures, I missed my target of a post a week here!

I don’t feel inclined to remove my postaweek badge however.  Instead I am posting a piece of writing I did as homework for the writing group.  This is a local group affiliated to the Association of Christian Writers.  The task was “Keep it simple – 300 words”

The bicycle

“Here’s a bicycle,” said Dad.  “You’ll need to practise until you can ride it without falling off.  It will make life more interesting and widen your horizons.  I’ll help you and go with you.”

“Thanks, Dad.  When can we start?”

“As soon as you like.”

“I’m ready.”

Dad pushed the bike to a level playing field.  His son walked beside him.

“I’ll hold the bike, while you get on.  Can you reach the pedals?”

Dad used a toolkit to adjust the saddle and handlebars.

They practised every day.  At first Dad held onto the back of the saddle.  Then he let go. His son was cycling alone without realising it.

“Don’t turn the handlebars!” warned Dad.  “Just lean slightly in the direction you want to turn.”

After a few falls onto the grassy field, the son could ride his bike.  Next he learned to signal. He was ready to go out with his father.

His life became more interesting and his horizons were widened.


Learning to trust God is like learning to ride a bicycle.  It takes practice.  Each day we need to climb onto God’s bicycle.  If we try to go our own way, we fall off and have to begin again.  Unlike the earthly father, who trains his son to ride independently, God does not let us go.

He has sent his Son to make it possible for each one of us to accept our spiritual bicycle, his Holy Spirit who guides us from within.  The Bible is our Highway Code.

If the earthly son becomes proud of his bicycle-riding prowess he may fall off. Similarly, if we forget our dependence on God and become proud or inattentive we become separated from him.  When this happens we need turn to him for forgiveness and restoration.



A to Z Reflections Post 2016

At the end of the A to Z Challenge it is traditional to have a look back in the form of a reflections post.

I signed up early for this year’s challenge for two blogs.  I had been preparing my posts for Sue’s words and pictures for nearly a year.  My theme for Sue’s Trifles, the blog for A to Z challenges from 2013 onwards, came to me later.  The hardest part was finding suitable illustrations.  However I had fun with this.

My blogs were next to each on the on the sign-up list.  After all the linky invites bloggers to add another link.  When I was looking for blogs to visit I found that some bloggers had multiple blogs consecutively in the list.

I have visited quite a large number of blogs and left comments on some of them.  I have not always been prepared to jump through the hoops to leave comments.  For blogs, which are not on WordPress I tended only to leave one comment, even if I decided to follow the blog via the WordPress reader.

Initially I looked at the blogs immediately after my own.  I have kept a list of the links of many bloggers, who have been kind enough to visit my blog.  I have made return visits, where possible.

There are too many blogs to attempt to visit all of them.

I already followed at least eleven A to Z bloggers before the Challenge began.  This year some of them have themes which did not appeal to me much.  I have had to discriminate between posts to read.  In general I enjoy posts about writing and books.  Films and bands do not appeal much.

This does not make me feel that I am breaking any understanding about visiting other blogs.  There are plenty of people with similar interests.  As in life offline, friendships are made between people with interests in common.


Blogs I already followed:

  1. http://laurahile.com/
  2. http://marthareynoldswrites.wordpress.com/
  3. http://fortyandfantastique.wordpress.com/
  4. http://stephenyhoughtlin.wordpress.com/
  5. http://positiveletters.blogspot.com/ (Hilary was unable to take part this year.)
  6. http://seezooeyrun.wordpress.com/
  7. http://bloggingastrid.com/
  8. http://evelyneholingue.com/2016/03/21/from-a-to-z-all-these-little-french-and-american-words/
  9. https://silviatomasvillalobos.wordpress.com
  10. http://solveigwerner.com/2016
  11. https://auntyamo.com/
  12. https://miriamdrori.com/
  13. https://lynnelives.wordpress.com/

Blogs I have begun to follow as a result of this year’s challenge:

  1. https://nvrivera.wordpress.com/ one line a day story
  2. http://bobscotney.blogspot.co.uk/ wildflowers
  3. https://lunanoctis.wordpress.com/ craft
  4. http://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.co.uk/ child of the 50s
  5. http://heartofareadywriter.blogspot.com/
  6.  https://suzannerogersonfantasyauthor.wordpress.com/
  7. https://claowuepotpourri.wordpress.com/ (English and German posts)
  8. http://wordwacker.me/ (A haiku riddle a day)

This has been another excellent challenge.  Many thanks to Arlee Bird, all the cohosts, minions and participants.

Due to circumstances, I was unable to visit as many blogs as I’d have liked towards the end of the challenge.  However, having scheduled my posts in advance, I completed the challenge and tried to keep up with the comments on them.  I have renewed the acquaintance of  bloggers I discovered in earlier challenges and made the acquaintance of new blogers.  It has been very worthwhile.