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Debbie

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Posts posted by Debbie


  1. There was a book being read to my class when I was 8 which was about some children who went under the sea, under the waves, which were called white horses, and lived and had an adventure in a world there. I was ill and missed the last episode, and never found out what happened. I can't even remember the name of the book or the author, but for 37 years I have wanted to know the end!

     

    Debbie


  2. 5. When I was a little child, I had to draw one picture a month for Desmond Morris, which was compared with a similarly aged chimpanzee's drawing, as research for the book, The Naked Ape. Until I was 2 1/2, the chimp was better than me!

    Now that's interesting! How on earth did you get involved in something like that?

     

    My uncle was at university, and one of his friends was one of Desmond Morris's post grad students, so I was a handy baby - in the right place at the right time!

     

    Debbie


  3. 1. I too am the oldest in my generation

     

    2. I am an IT lecturer at the Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford

     

    3. I have 1 daughter

     

    4. I got married when I was 18 because the married man's tax relief meant we could afford the rent on a flat, but it was ok because we are still together after 27 years!

     

    5. When I was a little child, I had to draw one picture a month for Desmond Morris, which was compared with a similarly aged chimpanzee's drawing, as research for the book, The Naked Ape. Until I was 2 1/2, the chimp was better than me!


  4. I love reading biographies. At the moment I am reading Nigel Hawthorne's. It's been on my shelf for ages and I am really enjoying it.

     

    Peter Ustinov's autobiography, Dear Me, is good too. I first read it about 20 years ago, but I still remember it.

     

    I also recently read autobiographies by Julian Clary and Boy George one after the other. I found them very interesting, as they are both the same age as me, near enough, so a lot of the references have resonances for me. They also grew up not very far from each other, but the differences in their lives far outweighed the similarities! Julian Clary is just so much more intelligent, and it really shows in the two books. I liked him much more after I had read the book, and I liked Boy George much less!

     

    Debbie


  5. I have just read the second in Robin Hobb's new trilogy, Soldier Son.

     

    This is set in a totally different universe from Liveships etc, and I was a bit disappointed with the first one, possibly because I wanted another in the six duchies etc, and also because it was a bit slow. The first one was called Shaman's Crossing. I bought the next one, Forest Mage, and it is fantastic! Robin Hobb at her best!

     

    I really really enjoyed it, and even went back to Shaman's Crossing and reread it. It was much more enjoyable the second time round, as I now really identified with the characters.

     

    Has anyone else read it?

     

    Debbie


  6. Big spoiler in this so don't read on if you haven't read the novel!

     

     

     

     

     

    I had never read any Patricia Cornwell, so last September started with the first Scarpetta novel, Postmortem, and have read them all now in order up to Trace.

     

    I really liked the first ones and became very pulled into the stories and characters, though as the books progressed I got a bit confused as Scarpetta hardly seemed to age at all and Lucy aged at a rate of knots!

     

    I was really starting to think before I got to Trace that the author was writing Scarpetta novels more because her readers expected it than that she had anything new to say about the characters, and Trace has confirmed it for me.

     

    I very much disliked the fact that we were introduced to Edgar Allen by name so early, and as her books always link seemingly disparate crimes in the end, it was obvious that he was the perpetrator of the Richmond death. It was like watching Columbo - will they catch him, rather than whodunnit! And what was the point of all the stuff between the girl's mother and Marino - it ended up going nowhere really - the end was really rushed and not followed through effectively.

     

    Bringing Benton back in the last book struck me as a Bobby Ewing moment as well, totally unbelievable and unnecessary.

     

    Why does everyone always seem to be conspiring against them as well?

     

    Very disappointed. I have started Predator, the last one, but this seems very similar, and probably won't read any more Scarpetta novels if she writes them.

     

     

    Debbie


  7. Thought I'd add these two, although it's too late for this year now!

     

    The first one is a Nigella and its gorgeous, and the second one is because Alwyn is diabetic and he loves Christmas cake, so this means he can have some of it cos theres no added sugar, just what's in the fruit.

     

    Chocolate Log

     

    Ingredients

     

    For the cake:

    6 eggs, separated

    150g caster sugar

    2 teaspoons real vanilla extract

    50g cocoa

     

    For the icing:

    175g dark chocolate

    250g icing sugar

    225g soft butter

    1 tablespoon real vanilla extract

    3-5 teaspoons icing sugar to decorate

     

    Method

     

    Preheat oven to gas mark 4 /180oC. Line a Swiss roll tin with baking parchment, leaving a generous overhang at the ends and sides. Fold parchment into the corners to keep paper anchored.

     

    In a large clean bowl whisk the egg whites until foamy and thick, then add 50g of the sugar and continue whisking until the whites are holding peaks but not dry. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks and remaining sugar, until they are pale and thick. Add the vanilla extract and sieve over the cocoa, then fold both in. Lighten the yolk mixture with a couple of dollops of the whites, folding in gently, and then add the whites in thirds, mixing carefully to avoid losing the air.

     

    Pour the cake mixture into the lined tin, and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Let the cake cool a little before turning it out on to another piece of baking parchment.

     

    To make the icing, melt the chocolate, either in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, or in the microwave, and let it cool slightly. Put the icing sugar into a processor and blitz to remove any lumps. Add the butter and process until smooth. Add the cooled, melted chocolate and vanilla and pulse again to make a smooth icing.

     

    Trim the long edges of the swill roll, as well as the shortest edge, which should be towards you. Spread some of the icing thinly over the sponge, going right out to the edges. Roll up from the short side facing you, taking care to get a tight roll from the beginning, and roll up to meet the other short end. Cut one or both ends slightly at a gentle angle.

     

    Use the sponge trimmings to make branches, then ice the log with the remaining icing, covering the cut off ends as well. Create a wood like texture and dust with icing sugar to serve

     

    Low Sugar Christmas Cake

     

    Ingredients

     

    280ml Guinness

    3 eggs

    560g plain flour

     


  8. Quick and easy low sugar lemon cheesecake

     

    For the base:

    100g no added sugar muesli

    50g butter

     

    For the topping

     

    250g mascarpone cheese, or low fat Philedelphia if you are very virtuous

    250ml double cream

    4 level tablespoons of Splenda low sugar sweetener

    juice and rind of 1 lemon

     

    Melt the butter and mix with the muesli. Press into a cake tin base and put in fridge to set.

    Whip the double cream until fairly stiff

    In a separate bowl mix the cheese, sugar, lemon juice and rind together, and then add the cream, stirring with a metal spoon.

    Spoon the mixture onto the base and return to fridge to set for a minimum of 1 hour

     

    Debbie


  9. I love this dessert for when I have no time for anything clever.

     

    1 packet biscuits - (you can use most types, but ginger, digestive or choc chip cookies work best)

    250ml double cream

    sherry, whisky or orange juice

    1 cadbury's flake and/or trifle decorations to suit

     

    Whip the cream until it is stiff.

    Dip each biscuit in the sherry, whisky or orange juice depending on your tastes, and then sandwich together with about 1/2 the double cream.

     

    leave in fridge for 1 - 2 hours to mature.

     

    Before serving, spread the rest of the cream over the biscuit roll, and decorate with crushed flake or decorations to suit (mandarin oranges are a great decoration if you use orange juice)

     

    Serves 6 -8


  10. This is a murder mystery set in the time of Henry VIII, and it a sequel to 'Dissolution'. A lawyer in London, Matthew Shardlake, is asked to defend a girl, Elizabeth, accused of murdering her young cousin by pushing him down a well. It seems hopeless as she is to be pressed for refusing to plead when the judge unexpectedly gives Shardlake 2 weeks to investigate. He soon discovers that Thomas Cromwell has need of his services again, and buys his cooperation by arranging the respite.

     

    The investigation for Cromwell is to find the formula for Greek Fire, the dark fire of the title. Cromwell has been approached by two brothers who tell him they have discovered the formula and given a demonstration of it's powers. Cromwell has agreed to pay them for it, but wants Shardlake to visit them to explain that they must give it up without paying as not to do so would be treason. Shardlake has limited time to persuade tehm as Cromwell has promised the king a demonstation of dork fire in 2 weeks.

     

    When Shardlake and Cromwells man Barak visit the brothers they find them both horrifically murdered and this starts a trail back and forth across London to try to find the formula and save Cromwell, as well as Elizabeth.

     

    I have not read the previous book but I thoroughly enjoyed this one, and will look out for Dissolution. The historical accuracy was very good, I checked with my father who is an amateur historian specialising in the Tudors, and he couldn't fault it, although it is of course fictionalised.

     

    I did find some of the detail of the period tedious, and wanted to get on with the story rather than read how bodily waste was disposed of in Tudor London for instance, but generally it was a good book with a slightly signposted but still surprising end.

     

    Debbie


  11. Here is the place to list your thoughts on this book.

     

    Synopsis below:

     

    Robin Cook: Toxin

     

    Dr Kim Reggis takes his daughter for a special night out to a fast-food restaurant. But the good time turns to tragedy when the young girl becomes ill and dies as a result of E coli poisoning. Kim devotes all his energies to tracing the cause of contamination, against even violent opposition

     

     

    Debbie


  12. When I was eight, I remember the teacher reading a story to us about some children who went into the sea and found another world beyond the 'white horses' of the waves, a bit like the Water Babies but the sea not a river. I was ill the day she finished it and never got to the end, and now I can't remember anything else about it. It is really frustrating, and even now I would love to know what happened at the end!

     

    Other than that we did the usual at school - I remember Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies in the lower years; Romeo & Juliet, Great Expectations and poems by Tennyson for O' level (yes, I am that old!) and Hamlet and Chaucer among others for A level.

     

    Debbie


  13. I've just finished it, but I have been thinking what to say about it!

     

    I really enjoyed it, though as usual for Greg Bear, the science goes a bit over my head and I have passed it on to Catherine to read as this is her field! [she will tell me if it is possible or complete fantasy! :D ]

     

    There were areas I would like to have explored more, such as the sudden appearance at the end of very old SHEVA people (huh?) and I found the way he wrote about the reaction of the government interesting, but I would have liked to know more about SHEVA children in other countries, and how they were dealing with them, this was only referred to casually.

     

    I will think of more to say, but what did you think?

     

    Debbie


  14. Catherine learned to read very early - she was reading at 3 and reading the newspapers every day at 7. She had a reading age of 14 at 7.

     

    This might sound great but it was a big problem. Although she was advanced in reading, she was still a 7 year old; modern books written for her age were too babyish in the language, and those with suitable language were covering themes she wasn't ready to deal with. (Jacqueline Wilson is great, but not for a 7 year old I think).

     

    For this reason the older books by Enid Blyton, and further back by E Nesbitt and PL Travers were an absolute godsend. They didn't talk down to her and gave her stories she was interested in.

     

    It is a shame though that you can't get contemporary books that are suitable for the brighter young child. Does anyone want to have a go at writing one?

     

    Deb

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