Thursday, 5 November 2009

What's behind the Curtain?

Thought I'd slip in a quick one (ooer!) before heading off to behind the former Iron Curtain tomorrow morning.

My bad mood of the other day by teatime had vanished like so much morning mist. I did actually feel better for blarting it out all over the interwebulator but I'll try not to inflict such misery too often. When I started writing this brain-spew, my intention was that I would only put up posts that had a definite something to say and weren't just regurgitated ramblings about the (non-existent) activities of my everyday life. But I've found said ramblings creeping in amongst all the more worthy educational nonsense. And, to be honest, the blogs I read mostly consist of other peoples' musings about stuff happening in their lives which, I have to say, I find fascinating. So, perhaps the few readers I have are also interested in what goes on at Jones Towers. Hmm, this means that having said a few sentences ago that I wouldn't fling more whinging crud at you, I may have to retract that! Well, we'll just see how it all goes.

The good news (the very good news) is that in swapping over the contents from my summer raspberry-pink handbag to my winter black capacious sack-like bag, I managed to find the missing Mont Blanc pen! Calloo Callay, oh frabjous whatnot. I'd shoved it into a pocket that I don't normally use and so couldn't find it before when I was searching for it. I have therefore returned TLH's pen to him - it turned out to be a very short loan period indeed.

I am almost packed for Budapest. The flight leaves tomorrow at 1130 from Gatwick and, as I live only an hour away, we don't have to leave the house until about 0830, so a very civilised time to travel. I have 4 days on my own in which to explore the city during the day, visit the clinic at some point, and then entertain myself in the evening. I'm not brave enough to venture out after dark to investigate the bar scene or anything as tacky as that, so I've had to ensure that I've packed enough stuff to keep me entertained until Mum's back in the apartment.

I'm taking my iPod which now has 8500 songs on it including everything from Chopin to Einsturzende Neubauten together with this really nifty portable speaker which is teeny but LOUD.

I'm taking my laptop with me as I will go seriously mental without regular access to the interwebulator. If it all works properly, then I may well be able to update my blog from there.

I'm also taking my camera and intend to take A LOT of pictures. Budapest is blessed with some beautiful 'fin de siecle' architecture (well, it used to be part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire before the First World War) and it has a fair old quantity of museums and art galleries that I'm hoping to get round.

I'm also taking eight books with me which I may not get round to reading but at least I'll have them there. Some are books I've meant to read and others just sound interesting, but they're all light reads and I'll leave them in the apartment once I've read them. I got them all secondhand so they didn't cost me much which means I'm happier to leave them for future tenants.

They are 'Light a Penny Candle' by Maeve Binchy - obviously I know the name but I've never read any of her books. I heard her on Radio 4 a few weeks ago and thought she was hilarious. It's a thick book and the cover's a bit offputting (looks a bit too 'girly' for my liking) but what the hey, I'll give it a go.

'Let Them Come Through' by Neil Forsyth - the back cover says, "Nick Santini would have made a good living as a Medium if his manager wasn't a thief and he didn't operate in a world of endless corruption. With a TV show cancelled in murky circumstances, a crew member dead on his tour and the police and his past fast catching up with him, Santini is a man on the edge. The medium's job is to lie and lie well and only Santini's talent can save him while his life steadily unravels". It's been given reasonable reviews so sounds quite promising.

'I Capture the Castle' by Dodie Smith - I'm aware that this is a much-loved novel but it has somehow passed me by. I'm a little concerned that I'm now too old for it and I should have read it when I was 17 but I'll give it a go. I may read this one first.

Two books by Tobias Hill - 'The Love of Stones' ("The lives of stones are the lives of the dead; which always lead back, never ahead." So says Katherine Sterne, a woman whose life is devoted to searching for a single jewel. "The Three Brethren", a brooch fashioned from rubies, diamonds and pearls has been in existence since the 15th century, passing through the hands of Europe's monarchs and, in spite of its exquisite beauty, leaving a trail of bloodshed and ruin in its wake. Captivated by the jewel's dark history, Katherine finds herself on an increasingly perilous quest to discover its current whereabouts. Searching the hidden quarters of modern-day London, Istanbul and Tokyo, she enters a world steeped in greed and ambition, a world where men are prepared to kill to safeguard the Brethren's secrets") and 'The Hidden' ("Ben Mercer, a young archaeologist fleeing his estranged family in Oxford, finds his way to Athens and thence to Sparta. Confused and lonely, he insinuates himself into a team digging the site of ancient Sparta, an austere and introverted society whose warrior elite practised a form of eugenics by exposing unwanted children and for three centuries managed to keep subdued huge numbers of local people through terror. Ben desperately wants to feel he belongs somewhere, to be part of the multi-national group of archaeologists, but is the dig all that it seems? As he gradually melts their hostility towards him, and begins a relationship with one of the women on the dig, one is led to wonder whether there is something behind their apparent willingness to admit him to their number. Worryingly, ritual appears to be as important to the modern-day team as to the ancients... ").

And, finally, the trilogy by Pat Barker, 'Regeneration', 'The Eye in the Door' and 'The Ghost Road'. These books mix the lives of real and imagined characters during the First World War and I've wanted to read them for ages.

So that's reading material sorted. I'm also taking a whole load of DVDs to watch (I won't list them here but they include such gems as all three Godfather films, the first two Alien films, the original Hallowe'en, The Right Stuff, some Alfred Hitchcock, Fargo, Sexy Beast, Mike Leigh's fabulous film about Gilbert and Sullivan - Topsy Turvey, and other stuff which I can't remember just now).

I've also decided I'm going to teach myself how to crochet (I also want to learn to knit but that can come later) so I got myself a kit which includes a hook, a book of instructions and a large ball of livid lime green wool (you had to have the colour wool they gave you). I did once know how to crochet but that was several lifetimes and two husbands ago, and I've forgotten.

As if all this isn't enough, I've also packed quite a large quantity of Fimo Clay in various colours. TLH's sister made the sensible suggestion that I should pack the receipt because the large block of chocolate-coloured clay does look remarkably like cannabis resin, which could confuse an especially stupid Customs official. Although they're welcome to have a go at smoking it! And then I realised it did also look like how I imagine plastic explosive to look, so an extra reason for packing the receipt.

Fortunately the apartment where we're staying has a washing machine and tumble dryer because, with all this crap now in my suitcase, there isn't that much room for clothes so I'll have to wash what I do manage to fit in.

Hmm, I think I'm quite looking forward to it now. Obv, I'd prefer it if TLH was coming with me (his 'affliction' seems to be getting better, thanks to dilute bleach baths!!!) but that's not possible. We went out for an early dinner last night and had a really good time, ending up in Sainsbury's slightly pissed at 8.30pm and filling the trolley with cakes, biscuits, chocolate and ice cream (the basis of any well-balanced diet).

And talking of chocolates (nice segue there, Kaz), you might wonder what I want Fimo clay for. Well, I don't normally use this blog to specifically advertise my jewellery, but I'm making a new range of completely guilt-free, fat-free, sugar-free and calorie-free chocolate jewellery at extremely affordable prices. For real. I mean, just look at it and try not to drool:

So if any of those float your boat (and don't forget that it's getting perilously close to Christmas!), pop on over to VenerableBead where you'll find all these and more. /end shameless plug.

Well, that's me done, for now. I'm off to the land of Magyar horsemen and Goulash (in reality, it's more motorcars and McDonalds these days, but I can dream....)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

have a fabulous time. Good choice of reads. I don't think you'll regret Capture the Castle and I loved the Regeneration Trilogy. I'm desperately trying to think whether I've read The Love of Stones. Sounds very familiar.