Category Archives: Advice

Book Review Jeffery Deaver Speaking In Tongues

Warning – spoiler alert!

Last night I was sitting with DOT in the local, watching the middle-aged couple next to me swapping their tablet between them so that they could both have a go at ‘Bejewelled’, and thinking, ‘Get a tablet each, you cheapskates!’ I was watching them because I was bored with the book I was reading, which has so many coincidences and ‘devices’ to move the plot along that I felt like screaming and throwing the book at the ‘Bejewelled’ players and shouting, ‘Match three in this story, you fools!’

Attacked By Machete And Rottweilers

How can someone be viciously attacked with a machete by a psychopathic therapist before being thrown into a fenced enclosure with five – yes, FIVE – ravenous Rottweilers and yet still manage to get into the abandoned asylum where his kidnapped girlfriend (who’s been selling herself to older men) has managed to escape from a padded cell by squeezing through a grille next to the toilet (whilst being attacked by ravenous rats)? She sews up his wounds with a ‘cheap sewing kit’ she found in the psychopath’s bathroom (why would a psychopath want a sewing kit, cheap or otherwise? And what colour thread did she use?).
In the meantime, her divorced parents are having problems of their own (even though, from almost the first chapter, you know that they are going to end up back together), whereby the father, a super-intelligent lawyer-turned-farmer (yeah, right), gets framed for murder, all the time trying to help a police friend who’s been enticed by the psychopath to start drinking again (alcoholics are now obligatory in most books these days, I find) while the lawyer’s ex-wife (a former flaky New Age interior designer, but who’s now forsaken the Tarot cards for a boring fiancé, and whose eyes are described as ‘the colour of a sunset sky’ – bright pink?) is caught in a compromising position with the psychopathic therapist by her fiancé, who has been enticed there by a phone call from the mad shrink. I have about four chapters to go and I’m not sure I can handle them. You will have realised that I am reading a real classic – it may not rank alongside ‘War and Peace’ or ‘Anna Karenina’, but it may beat ’50 Shades of Grey’ as a load of badly-written and badly-plotted tosh.

Last Four Chapters

It is now the next day and I have finished the book and found that the final four chapters are no less ridiculous than the previous 27 – the kidnapped daughter escaped from the psychopath and headed straight for… the basement!

Coffin

Of course, that is the obvious place to get away from someone – THE BASEMENT! Has she never watched any horror films where the last place you go is THE BASEMENT? And where does she hide? Where else but in a ‘metal box’ (i.e. a coffin) in which the psychopath has been storing the embalmed body of his son who was so badly torn apart in prison that even the prison priest couldn’t recognise him – and yet, there he is, lying in the metal box, instantly recognised by the girl who saw his face once in a photo in a newspaper. Of course, the madman finds her.

Meanwhile, the girl’s father (who, we learn a little later, is not really her father because his ex-wife had an affair with her twin sister’s husband while the twin sister was having treatment for a long-term heart condition and it is he who was the biological father, but he committed suicide because of the guilt) is now being hunted by the police who believe he has killed his daughter’s best friend, and he and his ex-wife are heading to the disused asylum to confront the madman. When they are stopped by a local patrol car, they manage to trick the silly policeman, and the ex-wife is left standing guard over him with a gun while the hero carries on to the asylum where he is ambushed by the psycho but, being a silver-tongued, smooth-talking lawyer, he convinces the psycho to let the daughter go and kill him instead, persuading him to take him out into the extensive grounds because he’d rather ‘die in the open’ and the psycho – who’s just an old softie at heart, really – agrees.

The daughter sneaks up on the pair as they are having a discussion about the existence of God (yes, really!), and shoots the psycho four times, starting at the leg and working up to the head. (My first thought was that a mitigating plea of self-defence might be a tad difficult to uphold.)
The book ends with the daughter and non-father cycling off to visit some Mayan ruins in Belize while the ex-wife is going to see the fiancé who caught her almost in flagrante delicto with the psycho earlier in the book.

Suspend Disbelief?

I know that one has to suspend disbelief at times, but disbelief in this case needed to be hanged, drawn, quartered and buried in a metal box in a basement in a disused asylum!
Jeffrey Deaver, stand up and be counted with your ridiculous ‘Speaking in Tongues’!
I think I need to go back to the pub now!

Wheelchairs Are Wonderful!

Hello, hello, hello, FFs and BBs! I know it has been a little while since I last offered you some advice to help you cope with suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or taking arms against a sea of troubles (hmm, I’m sure someone else has snaffled these words from me…), but I am back and have a GREAT DEAL of EXTREMELY VALUABLE advice on DRIVING A WHEELCHAIR! (Ha, Mr William Shakespeare – steal that for your plays, if you will!)

As many of you will know – in fact, ALL of you should know if you read my last post about Turkey; and if you didn’t read it, WHY NOT?? – DOT (Dai of Turkey, although this is no longer a strictly accurate description) has been a little under the weather and I had to go out and bring him back from the aforementioned foreign country. The use of wheelchairs has figured large in my life in the last few weeks and I now feel I can speak authoritatively on their deployment.

1. It is great fun having a wheelchair lift into the cabin of an aircraft – you can wave to the pilot and co-pilot as they complete their checks because you are lifted up right next to the cockpit, AND you are ‘loaded’ first onto the aeroplane, so this is well worth considering next time you’re thinking of flying Ryanair.

2. Take as little luggage as possible on any flights because you will find that you are dragging two suitcases along whilst your ailing companion is being whizzed along by a lithe young male on a sort of Segway with wheelchair attachment in front. When you eventually arrive at the ‘wheelchair lounge’, you are the one who will look in need of support because you are sweating profusely and breathing heavily as you have had to follow the mobile wheelchair at a steady trot, suitcases trailing behind.

3. Hiring a wheelchair is relatively easy (if not cheap), but pay close attention to the ‘opening and closing the wheelchair’ lesson – some people of close acquaintance didn’t listen carefully enough and had to return to the hire shop within half an hour of hiring to ask how to open the bl—y thing.

4. Those special dropped kerbs are not ‘dropped’ enough and you will have to perfect the technique of approaching said kerb at a slight angle and at a speed a little above walking speed if you wish to get onto the pavement without either tipping your ailing companion out of the chair or getting run over because you haven’t got off the road fast enough.

5. Pub doors should be automatic ones – at the moment, we are trying to work out the best way of getting into/out of a pub without either ailing companion getting out of the wheelchair to open the door (which rather defeats the object of a wheelchair!) or ailing companion’s companion having to abandon the ailing companion to hold the door open while trying to manoeuvre the wheelchair by dragging it from the front – by the time those in the pub have stopped laughing at your contortions and dash to your aid, it’s too late: you’re already at the bar!

6. A final point – hospital wheelchairs are best dragged backwards rather than trying to push them from behind. This allows the ailing companion to wave regally as he passes people and the ailing companion’s companion to smile benignly and smugly at other ‘drivers’ who are making a valiant attempt to steer their own ailing companions in a straight line, much like a supermarket trolley. It never works!
Happy driving!

Top Travel Tips For Turkey

International Travel

As many of you know, the Lifestyle Support Guru is an intrepid explorer, offering travel advice on such far-flung places as Huddersfield, Halifax and Hull. This evening, my advice will be about Turkey, home of delights such as…Turkish Delight!

I am here on a mercy mission because DOT (Dai of Turkey) has been taken ill and it was decided that the quickest way to help him recover was to send me out…

Top International Travel Tips

So, what advice can I offer you, my Faithful Followers (FFS for short)? Follow these Top Travel Tips and you will not go far wrong:
1. Do not assume that Turkey will be hot and sunny – this is what you will be told when you check the long-range weather forecast, but this is simply to lull you into a false sense of security so that you only equip yourself with light clothing, a pair of sandals and no raincoat. (I am a little cross that youngest sibling didn’t force me to take at least one jacket – what’s the point of a youngest sibling who doesn’t tell you to cover all eventualities?) When the downpour starts, as it does most days – but not at the same time every day, just to fool you further – you will find that the only protection from the rain that you have is a toffee-coloured mini-umbrella with a pattern of cute cartoon cats all over it, found at the back of a cupboard in sick sibling’s apartment (no, I haven’t asked). Much as I love cats, I do not necessarily wish to be seen carrying an umbrella covered in them!
2. Travel in the capital of Turkey is easy – as long as you are not easily frightened. Taxi drivers (of which there are many) have two speeds – 100 mph and ‘BRAKE’!!! You will also find that, on the whole, seat belts are there purely for decoration – I think I have found only one taxi so far where you could actually clip the belt in securely. I have developed a technique of using one hand to hold the seat belt across my body – which would serve no purpose at all in an accident – whilst clinging on to the handle above the window with my other hand. Not pretty, but it makes me feel better!
3. Learn a little Turkish (and believe me, when I say ‘a little’, I mean ‘a little’ – you would need a lifetime to get past the basics, fascinating though it is to listen to the language). A little goes a long way and I have particularly impressed local people with my mastery of ‘Thank you very much’ – Teşekkűr ederim, pronounced something like ‘teshkweredereem’. (Do not try this at home unless you are closely supervised.) It has brought a big smile to people’s faces whenever I’ve used it (in fact, the cleaner nearly collapsed laughing when I first tried it), although I am a little concerned that I may be putting the emphasis in the wrong place and I am actually telling people, ‘I am leaving you all my money when I die.’

I think that’s enough for the first lesson, but look out for ‘the tale of the confused taxi driver’ and ‘making friends with the hospital lift attendant’, along with ‘guided tours of the hospital departments a speciality’. That’s all still to come!