Category Archives: Books

Technology Unplugged

I make no apologies for producing another LSG post so soon after the last one, but I felt I needed to do something to occupy my brain while partaking of a refreshing glass of wine in a local establishment where the New Seekers are playing over the speakers, including the occasional Christmas song (although they are currently in the middle of ‘We Shall Not Be Moved’).
Why does my brain need to be occupied? – because I have just given up on the book I started reading yesterday – the second Sophie Hannah book I have felt obliged to abandon after just a few chapters. If you’re going to write a psychological thriller, get on with it – don’t get all pretentious and long-winded; that doesn’t add to the suspense, it just annoys me! Book review finished.
So what better way to occupy my unexpected spare time than to share with you some of my experiences with technology in the home? As you know, I now have an ‘ironing’ television – not one that irons for me sadly (no, I don’t mean that it irons for me sadly, but that, sadly, it doesn’t iron for me), but one I can watch while ironing in the back room because there is no room in the front room now that DODO is convalescing at home, although he also has a television in his room, but that seems reserved mainly for music videos, whereas the downstairs front room television is for ‘proper’ television such as THE NEWS and A Question of Sport. (The New Seekers have now moved on to ‘Danny Boy’, if you’re interested).

When I switched on the ironing television (which runs on a Fire Stick), nothing happened, even though it had been working perfectly the previous day. (Another digression – a female frequenter of the pub has just said that ‘dogs never forget’ – I think she may have partaken of one too many vodkas and is confusing dogs with elephants; they both have four legs, so an easy mistake, I suppose)

Anyway, DODO had a quick look at the television then switched the ‘downstairs’ Fire Stick for the ‘upstairs’ Fire Stick (i.e. the one in his room) and behold! – everything worked again! No, I don’t know what he did, either, but I think I may now be hooked on ‘Only Connect’ – Victoria Coren-Mitchell’s sense of humour is just delightful! I shall have to find more ironing!
However, technology can defeat us all, I’m sorry to say, even DODO, whom I regard as having one of the greatest technological minds on the planet – along with TOFU and my female siblings; in fact, I am the only member of my immediate family who knows little more than how to switch on a computer (and the iron and the microwaves and the dishwasher and…).

DODO has been having a clear-out in his room and the carpet needed hoovering, so this evening he asked if the small handheld hoover was fully charged. I suggested he’d be better using the upright cordless to cover a bigger area, so he carried it up to his room while I settled at the computer in my room. I could hear no sound of the hoover being used, but I could hear a strange swishing sound, so I went to his room and found him sweeping the cordless hoover over the carpet, not realising it wasn’t just a carpet sweeper! Oh, how I laughed! (Tears streaming down my face, in fact!) He agreed that it worked much better when it was switched on! (And no, it wasn’t a ploy to get me to do the hoovering because he thinks women are much better at that sort of thing than men – this is DODO, not Godfrey Bloom [the UKIP guy who condemned women for not cleaning behind their cookers!]. DODO would never condemn me for not cleaning behind the cooker, since he would never do it himself. TOFU, however…😂)

The music has now changed to Bread (we’ve got the original vinyl album) and the ‘dogs never forget’ vodka drinker has gone home, so I no longer need to occupy my mind, and the first episode of ‘Trust Me’ calls, so I shall end here and wish you all a very good evening, especially since I have an early morning appointment tomorrow for CACAC (Coffee And Crumpets At Costa).

Sleep well and don’t let the silent hoover disturb your dreams!

Invalid Thoughts From Home

Invalid or Invalid?

More Invalid Thoughts (from home, rather than invalid home thoughts from abroad)
Good evening, admiring (and admirable) acolytes! To commence, you may interpret ‘invalid’ in the title in whichever way you prefer (depending on your pronunciation, and your thoughts about the LSG’s posts, but please keep these to yourself). Tonight I wish to share with you my hints and tips about keeping poorly people entertained.

In my many attempts to keep DODO amused in his current invalid state, I offered to lend him my tablet while he had to stay overnight in hospital, so that he could access the Kindle books I had downloaded and which would therefore not require an internet connection. He started looking through the titles – I would like to say that they were all classic ones such as The Iliad, and War and Peace, but the first one that showed up was ’30 days to a Clean and Organised House’.

‘Why have you got this?’ he asked in a genuinely puzzled voice. ‘It was free.’ I answered honestly. ‘Any good?’ he responded. ‘No idea.’ I replied, ‘I looked at the first page and it said I would have to do all these tasks every day for the rest of my life, so I lost interest.’ ‘Fair enough,’ he said.

In response to my last post about a rusty microwave, TOFU has explained that it is caused by the steam escaping from the food being cooked, so he suggested leaving the microwave doors (note the use of the plural) open for 15 minutes after any culinary efforts. I share this tip with you freely – when TOFU speaks I listen, since he is a veritable walking encyclopaedia of electrical and engineering information (but he still passes on his cats, which are neither electrical nor engineered, from such diverse places as South Africa and Australia – Tubs was the first black South African I ever met!). I have seen no proliferation of rust as yet, but that may be because microwave no. 3 is STILL waiting to be unpacked – life moves slowly in the LSG household unless we are racing each other to the fridge for the last cold beer…

Positive Thoughts

One thing we’ve found is that positive thoughts are essential:
1. When the plumber doesn’t turn up to look at the poorly boiler, the positive thought is that at least the bathroom got a good clean!
2. Having a poorly boiler may mean cold showers (with the occasional intermittent burst of hot water), but it does ensure that you save on water because you stay in the shower as short a time as possible!
3. When DODO made his own way into town this morning on his own (while I was enjoying myself at the cinema), the positive thought was that he had a good nap on the conveniently-placed seats within the shopping centre so he was able to stay awake when we met for lunch!
4. The special offer on New Zealand wines that’s on at my favourite wine store (Majestic, but other wine stores are available) may cost me money in the short term, but in the long term it will give me many hours of pleasure… and it usually means TOFU comes to visit so that he can stock up as well, so a pleasant weekend is had by all (well, three of us anyway!).

On that note, I shall leave you to think positive thoughts of your own as you prepare for your nightly repose!

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!