Category Archives: Pub

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!

Possible Career Change

What could I do?

I have been considering a career change.
I have thought about:
1. being an actress. I believe that my forte would be in the adverts you see on afternoon television and so I have been practising getting up out of my armchair and walking across the room with a fixed smile on my face to show how pleased I am with my levitating armchair; however, I worry that the mechanism might go wrong and I would be flung across the room, so I have also been practising my mournful face for those adverts for specialist lawyers – injuries4u, I think, which always sounds vaguely threatening, as if they are going to send ‘the boys’ round to make sure you DO have an injury which will necessitate you employing them.
2. advising on horticulture and conservation. My garden is a haven for wildlife and would shelter anything from a baby elephant downwards. I like to think that I am helping to save bees and butterflies at this time of year, because they love dandelions for their early spring nectar after a long winter. The long grass is also an excellent place for Molly, my lucky black cat, to hone her hunting skills. So far she has caught three dead leaves, a broken peg and several particularly savage pieces of very long grass. She’s coming on a treat.


3. becoming a film critic. I’m sure you’ll have read some of my film reviews in earlier posts – incisive, apt, truthful, all designed to help you decide whether or not you want to see a film. However, I have decided against this job after listening to the BFG (Bazza the Friendly Geordie, mentioned in a previous post) when we had been to see a particularly unpleasant – but fascinating, nevertheless – French film called ‘Elle’. (We needed a reviving bottle of wine after that one, I can tell you!) I couldn’t better this review: ‘The violence was very violent.’ It says it all.
calculator4. becoming a professional fraudster, even though I’m not from Nigeria. This results from a successful impersonation of DOT (Dai of Turkey) when his bank called about some possible fraudulent activity on his debit card. The call was an automated one and required a return call to an anonymous automaton who simply asked me to press certain buttons in answer to a range of questions. After acquiring the necessary details from DOT, I was able to satisfy the automaton that I was my brother and that the transactions were genuine. I now have all the details I need for further activity on DOT’s debit card…
5. becoming a wine critic. This came under consideration for all of a Nano-second, for how could I criticise something so close to my heart… unless it has a two-word name, such as Blossom Leaves or Turning Hill, and is from California (these wines do not exist, to the best of my knowledge, although there may be wines with similar names, but I don’t want to get hit with a libel charge and have to employ some dodgy television lawyers).
6. being employed to shut people up. There is almost nothing more guaranteed to engage someone else’s interest than to sit reading a book in a pub, as I found out earlier (and on many previous occasions). The conversation will go something like this:
Bloke: Good book?
You: Yes, very good.
B: You like reading, then?
Y (vaguely sarcastically): When I can, yes.
B: Lot of pages.
Avoid the temptation at this point to say that that’s the trouble with books – they have lots of pages.
B: What’s it called?
Y: Dictator.
B: What’s it about?
Y: Cicero, the roman philosopher and orator.
Complete and utter silence…

(I’d just like to say that the book really IS fascinating. It’s by Robert Harris and is well worth reading [as are all his novels] – history made into a good story.)

Enjoy the rest of this sunny weekend before we return to arctic conditions next week.

The Lost Weekend

An Old Classic

For those of you old enough to remember, this post’s title refers to a film starring Ray Milland and Jane Wyman about a man who goes on a bender and I immediately spotted the similarity between it and a rugby weekend in Llandudno. ‘Why Llandudno?’ I hear you ask, as you cut to the heart of the matter. A simple answer suffices – one member of the group had been conceived in Llandudno. No further details are necessary.

The LSG’s almost limitless patience was severely tested right at the start, I can tell you, when one of the Midlands contingent thought it would be good fun to get the meeting time wrong, arriving almost 45 minutes late. I shall refer to this sorry individual as TP (or TeePee), which stands for Tall Paul because a) he’s tall and b) his name is Paul. The other Midlands passenger was TT (the Tiny Tyke), who has been mentioned in previous posts.

Four hours later, instead of the 2½ promised by Google Maps, we arrived at our destination – this lengthy journey was partly due to the three satnavs in the car being unable to agree on the route to our hotel. The three satnavs were Google maps, TT and TeePee. I had printed out the directions to the hotel and asked TT to read these out to me because Google maps had gone into a sulk as we passed Rhyl and had stopped speaking to me (having been to Rhyl once, I can understand this). TWENTY MILES from Llandudno, TT started reading out the directions – EVERY SINGLE ONE, including street names, exits on roundabouts, left and right turns… Now, the LSG may have a superior brain and memory, but even she was going to have difficulty remembering all these instructions, so she politely asked TT to read them out once we got closer (I think the exact words may have been: ‘Shut up and don’t be silly. I’m not going to remember all those. Be like the satnav and read them one at a time when we’re actually in Llandudno.’ It had been a long day, Faithful Followers…).

We met up with the rest of the merry band, who had travelled from all corners of the globe – well, London and Hull, to be precise – and, after a reviving drink or two, we decided to go for a meal. The meal was pleasant enough and the bill was acceptable, but TT showed his Yorkshire colours when he rounded the bill up so that it would divide easily between six of us as well as allow for a tip … of £1.27.

The following day was taken up with watching the rugby in a pub chosen by the member of the group who had also chosen Llandudno as our destination for this year’s rugby trip. The pub was rather lacking in atmosphere – and rugby fans. In fact, it seemed to be lacking in Welsh people as well. (One of TT’s comments on the weekend overall was that he had been disappointed because Llandudno ‘isn’t very Welsh’. I think he may have been expecting to see hordes of women dressed in traditional Welsh costume, complete with tall black hats.) The nearest we came to another fan was someone standing behind our seats shouting that well known rugby chant: ‘Meat pie, sausage roll; come on, England, give us a goal… or a try.’ Youngest sibling even managed a few moments of shuteye in between games, but this is not unusual, since he falls asleep at the drop of a hat (Welsh or otherwise).

That evening’s meal was Indian… it was supposed to have been Chinese, according to TripAdvisor.

The journey home on Sunday was uneventful, mainly because the LSG knew where she was going and didn’t need to rely on TT, TeePee or sulky Google. The weekend was completed by an evening meal out with TT, TeePee and his new girlfriend (who hadn’t come to non-Welsh Llandudno). The LSG had opted for a casual look for the evening – i.e. jeans and trainers – because thinking of anything else to wear seemed too tiring after two days in Llandudno. Meanwhile, ‘new girlfriend’ had obviously had time to think about what to wear – a whole weekend, in fact! – and was dressed in a rather glamorous fitted red lace number and heels. Of course, as the LSG, I managed to rise above lowly feelings such as jealousy, thinking only that I would have somewhat resembled an overblown rose with a bad attack of ‘downy mildew’ should I have attempted to wear anything similar, whereas ‘new girlfriend’ looked like a willowy tulip. Shan’t be making her my new best friend.

And there you have it, Beloved Believers – a lost weekend in Llandudno. Highly recommended, but only once…