Tag Archives: books

The black ice

The ice is out in full force at the moment which means my walk to work takes on a whole new challenge, where just staying on your feet becomes a task equivalent to reading war and peace. This takes on an added dimension when the ice is combined with the fun that is recycling day, where it is not only the invisible black icy patches that have to be avoided.

This being York, nearly everyone recycles. Down our street where the average age is about 152 the recycling boxes are mainly just newspapers, with the odd plastic container that probably contained Horlicks thrown in. We obviously have a few more glass items in ours, although this week I was incredibly embarrassed putting out the bottles. There was only 4 in there, what must people have thought. I promise I’ll try harder this fortnight.

Obviously down the main street there is a much wider variety of recycling coming out of the big houses. Despite the obvious dangers of tripping over escaped caviar pots or rolling champagne bottles I must admit I find the chance to see what people are buying fascinating. Before recycling became popular the only way to know what complete strangers had for tea was to go through their dustbins which is borderline stalking apparently. However now just walking down the street allows those of us with a keen interest in the human race (some people call it nosy, I just like to think I am interested in my surroundings) access behind closed doors.

Of course the problem with that is you don’t get the full picture. It’s easy to see what people had for tea with the abundance of organic M&S ready meal wrappers. There is one house that I swear must buy the same ready meals from waitrose every week. It’s good to have a routine I suppose although personally I prefer a bit more variety in my food.

The ones that really frustrate me are the abundance of amazon parcels, especially the book shaped ones. Short of actually picking them up and hoping the delivery notes have been left inside (which I would do if I thought I’d get away without being seen) there are no clues from the outside as to what was inside. I’d love to be able to see into people’s houses and look through their books. There should be a website where people could post up pictures of their bookshelves for me to peruse. It would be like Waterstones but without the impossible to resist temptation of actually buying books.

Unfortunately until then I’ll just have to continue trying to spot peoples bookshelves through their windows and trying to guess what the latest purchase is. At least once the ice has gone it’ll make the walk a bit safer and I can concentrate on looking at the recycling rather than trying to spot patches of ice.


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Under the knife

Well as the eagle eyed amongst you may have spotted there has been another break in the blogging and reviewing here at acrimereadersblog. Unfortunately this time it wasn’t due to anything exciting or involving sunshine. I can however say that I’ve found somewhere that provides even more opportunity to read than a delayed East Coast train, a hospital waiting room.

I’ve recently had the dubious pleasure of a hospital trip. Now obviously that’s never going to be seen as a good thing but looking on the plus side it does provide the gift of time due to the endless waiting around.

As everyone reading this knows I’m a huge book fan. I’ve always thought there is no situation that can’t be improved by ignoring it and reading instead. Well it turns out I was wrong. Despite the saying ‘lose yourself in a book’ no matter how good a story you are reading, it’s not possible to completely disregard the surroundings you are in. This was especially true of the hours I had to spend waiting around for my operation. As if sitting around in paper pants and a back to front gown wasn’t bad enough things went rapidly downhill when across the room came the cry of ‘Can we watch Jeremy Kyle?’ Sadly the nurses refused my request to knock me out then and there.

Unfortunately things didn’t improve much after the actual operation either. I’m sure I’d been cast as a silent extra in ‘Carry on nursing’ When the nurses weren’t discussing whose turn it was to make the tea, they were pushing people round the wards in beds seemingly trying to recreate the Olympics Opening Ceremony with little success. Hearing nurses wandering round in the middle of the night asking if anyone has seen patient x does not fill one with complete confidence. In fact at some point in the middle of the night when I was accused of stealing my own notes (technically even if I had moved them they were surely mine anyway) I was convinced that I was actually taking part in some brand new reality tv show and any minute now I was going to be asked to vote off whichever non-celebrity was pretending to be my nurse (Simon Cowell – if you are reading this and want to buy the rights to Nurse Factor then do get in touch)

Of course it wasn’t all bad. I should be grateful that the hospital stay coincided with the winter Olympics. At least I was saved from the slippery slope that is day time tv by a new found interest in housework on ice. Who knew that watching people sweeping the ice whilst their friends played marbles, or a woman hurtling down a slope on a rather small tea tray would be so fascinating. 

Luckily my stay in hospital was short lived and I’m now enjoying a few weeks of recuperation surrounded by piles of books to read and enough flowers to make Kew gardens jealous.  Fingers crossed therefore that normal service has now been resumed and I can use this unexpected spare time to catch up on my book reviews (although a trip somewhere sunny also wouldn’t go down badly!)

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The keys to the street

Well as you may know, last week was the big move, so it’s now all change for me. This may come as a surprise but I don’t embrace change well. Challenges are fine, I like trying new things, but actual change causes untold bouts of tears and tantrums. Therefore I am officially calling the big move a challenge not a change (Keeping in mind my previous sentence I suspect Mr F would agree with my terminology, it’s a good job I’ve found a patient boy!)

Anyway the challenge is now complete with the help of one man and his van (which was actually two men but one van) It is incredible the amount of stuff two grown adults can accumulate without even realising it. The first van load consisted mainly of books, which have now filled our spare room. I suspect even Mr F was rather shocked by the amount of books I have. Mind you he couldn’t really complain, at least not once I saw the extent of his Tupperware collection. I should point out here as I wouldn’t want to ruin his reputation, his Tupperware collection was second only to his booze stash – we all know which one I’ll be making the most use of.

Of course a new street means new neighbours. I’m pleased to say we have moved into a very nice quiet area. Mainly because I suspect we have accidently accepted the role of wardens in a sheltered housing project. The average age so far looks to be around 112. Our neighbour on the right seems nice, and luckily if we decide to have any wild parties there will be no complaints from him as he is deaf as a post. I’ve not yet met the neighbour on our left, although he did have a rather long chat with the man from Sky Tv. Apparently he wanted to know how he could get a security system installed like ours. Obviously he thinks that our sky dish is actually used for detecting ballistic missiles rather than just picking up Coronation Street.

As always, at least on every street I’ve ever lived on, there are the usual parking wars. On this street it seems that the instigator is Mr Van Man (no relation to our removal firm) Usually Mr Van Man parks opposite our house, which is annoying in itself. Sunday morning we heard him up and about early getting into said van. I’d assumed he was off to work, until closer inspection revealed he had actually just moved it to park in front of his own house. Why I hear you ask (unless you are a member of my family and you will therefore no doubt have guessed the answer) Being a long standing observer of parking wars, it was a standard tactic of obstruction. Their neighbours were having visitors and obviously at some point in the past had dared to park in front of Mr and Mrs Van Man. Therefore Mr Van Man must get his van there first to ensure that it can’t happen again, thereby in his head winning the battle that week.

It just goes to show that it really doesn’t matter where you live as nothing changes that much. The same petty squabbles go on in street after street. I may have swopped the Hilda’s for the Harold’s but I suspect that the gender change is the only real difference (that and I now have enough Tupperware to freeze the entire cake production from a Great British Bake Off)

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The Final Account

Well I have to start this blog with some very sad news. I’m sorry to announce that tthis will be the final account of life on the street. Acrimereadersblog is moving house and the Howard’s and Hilda’s of this rather odd cul-de-sac crew will be left behind.

It’s frankly rather a daunting prospect all round. The street is noticeably upset and I’ve been ostracised even before I’ve left. It’s understandable of course, they have to deal with the possibility of a new neighbour which is always concerning. They might end up with someone who rather than spend their evenings reading books will be more the type to get drunk and fall in the lavender bush, or hold wild parties in the front garden (a garden which holds approximately 4 people so not really sure how wild that could be) They might get someone who is much less polite than me and rather than pretend that they are actually interested in what Mother Hubbards kids are doing, the new neighbours might just ignore her. There is also the worry that me leaving brings the average age of the street up to approximately 107, fingers crossed I get replaced by someone younger or they’ll have to think about getting in some kind of neighbourhood warden scheme.

Of course it’s even more daunting for me, not only do I have to live with a boy and a cat (one of which is housetrained, not so sure about the other) but before I even get to that stage I have to do the dreaded packing.

I last moved three years ago and a friend put up some lovely book shelves for me which I carefully placed my books on and even had some space spare. However three years later not only are those bookshelves filled, so are the ones in my bedroom, and the ones downstairs, plus there are piles of books on my dressing table, on the stairs, there are even some still in bags in the wardrobe. It’s going to take days to pack them all and then there is the unpacking at the other end. I’m not sure there is going to be space for me, the books, the cat and the boy (boy free to good home if anyone is interested?)

Whilst the new house isn’t exactly far from the old house, its definitely on the wrong side of the tracks and I get the feeling there will be no nosy neighbours. The houses are all proper grown up houses and have driveways for a start so there won’t be any parking wars (see a stain on the silence) I imagine that Sundays are spent mowing the lawn in unison, creating nice perfect stripes.

There are even issues I’d never thought about, where are my jiffy bags going to get sent? (winterfrost) At least with the Hilda’s there was always someone to take in a parcel, on the other side of the tracks we’ll end up having to collect them from the post office like normal people.

Things change and the home of acrimereadersblog is moving, although one thing that won’t be changing is the reading. It may just have to be postponed slightly until I can actually find all my books!

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