Saturday, 31 January 2009

Books I Have Read...

A star next to those I have read.
An exclamation point next to those I intend to read.
5 stars next to the books I LOVE
Reprint this list in your own Notes with your choices, if you want to...

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
*2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
*4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
*5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
*6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
*8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
*10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
*11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
*13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
*****16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
!19. The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
*****25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
*29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
*30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
*****33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
*****36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
*37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
*39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
*40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
*41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
*42. The DaVinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (En Espanol!)
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
*****48. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
*49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
*****51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
*52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
*****58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
*59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
*64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
*70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
*73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
*74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
*****83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
*****84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
*87. Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
*90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
*94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
*****96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
*98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
*****99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

I wonder who came up with this list... I also loved The Famous Five and Nancy Drew when I was little, and I love the Joy Luck Club now.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

I'm having a moment...

I just want to curl up in a ball in my bed and shut my eyes to everything. I want to escape to somewhere I can be totally separate from everything. I can't understand a world where fathers kill their children, mothers kidnap their own children for money, governments oppress the poor and the weak, close their eyes to injustice, a world where being on top is more important than being kind and generous. I don't understand why I can't seem to make those closest to me understand how I feel. It's not that they're not listening, I just can't seem to say the words that need saying to the people who need to hear them.

I want to be somewhere quiet. There's no whine of a computer, no hum from the fridge. There's no-one asking me for anything, no-one to protect from harm. I want to be where there's no washing machine, no cars, no sirens, no television and no internet. Heaven is a beach, perpetual sunshine and fish. I think I would actually enjoy being a castaway.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

25 interesting things about me...

Well, this seems to be something of a Facebook craze at the moment, so who am I to buck the trend... although I'm not sure who decides whether the following entries are interesting facts, infantile drivel or a cure for insomnia. Let me know, won't you?

1. I love my family beyond description, but there are times when I wish I was single and childless.

2. I hate my body most of the time. I'm too fat, too white and in pain pretty much all the time.

3. I've had prayer ministry and I don't feel anything.

4. I'm pretty sure I have a book inside me, if I could just figure out the first sentence.

5. MSG makes me ill and I wish it was banned.

6. I have had migraines since I was 3.

7. I have lusted after a Jaguar since 1989, when my then-boyfriend's dad took me for a ride in his XJS, and now that I finally own one, I sometimes wonder whether it was a big mistake, especially when I got a flat tyre last week...

8. My first boyfriend broke my heart, but I forgive him. I hope he forgives me too. Ah, he probably doesn't even remember me *lol*

9. I wonder what my life would have been like if I'd listened to my mother and studied Japanese and linguistics at university.

10. I really want to learn to fly, but it's really hard.

11. I despise reality programs. They are a waste of radiation and people expend far too much energy on them. All of them. Except Strictly Come Dancing, as long as you fast-forward past the stupid voting-out bit at the end.

12. I did ballroom dancing for 6 years and actually got quite good at it, although I hated competitions.

13. I love indoor rock-climbing, but I hate the way my arse and my baby belly squeezes out of my harness. That's why I only go climbing with a female partner.

14. I love teaching. At the moment anyway.

15. I love people, but I don't share stuff about myself easily and I like to be on my own.

16. I'm a Christian. I hope that doesn't give Christianity a bad name.

17. It drives me mad when perfectly capable individuals can't clean up after themselves. I know there aren't any instructions for opening the dishwasher, but really, just a little bit of practice and you'll have it in no time.

18. I would like to be fluent in Japanese.

19. I'm probably a bit obsessive. A bit.

20. My parents got divorced when I was 6 and sometimes it's like it was yesterday.

21. I have deleted the thing I was going to put here because I just can't put it out there.

22. My favourite food is Japanese.

23. I love to travel.

24. I want to go to Antarctica for a year.

25. I love to sing.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

I Never Could Get the Hang of Thursdays Pt II

I really do have issues with Thursdays, but today seems particularly bad. I really feel for the people of Zimbabwe. The day Mugabe leaves can't come too soon. He may once have been a good leader, but he's just a power-mad paranoid now. The people are suffering needlessly and I wonder when governments are going to step in. I'm sure people have said it before, but if Saddam Hussein was bad enough to be bombed out of office, their surely Mugabe is too? I'm not in favour of war, but something has to change there. I don't know what the answer is...

The people of Gaza... when will justice be done for those people? When will Israel stop their persecution? I wish the Palestinians could send their kids to school, go to work and the supermarket and do all the ordinary things, same as me. I wish they only had to worry about money, or finding the right school or making sure their kids have every possible opportunity, same as me. Instead, they're just trying to survive. I can't imagine what that's like. Here am I, with my nice new dream car and they don't even have running water. What is going on in the world? I wish I could make a difference...

Friday, 16 January 2009

Someone's looking after us...

I am counting my blessings today, after reading about the aircraft that ditched into the Hudson river after being struck by birds. That could easily have been our situation. As it was, the bird hit the fuselage and we were very near the ground, so apart from a bang and a bit of a wobble on the runway, no-one knew anything until the pilot told us we'd had a birdstrike. I'm so relieved everyone on board that aircraft got off safely. It could easily have been very different.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Home at last...

Well, we finally made it home! I've never been so glad to get off a plane, I can tell you. We got a flight from Bangkok to Charles de Galle and from there it was only a short hop home. We managed to get ourselves into the BA lounge, in spite of not being first class passengers... a sob story at 6am works really well! I'm so glad we managed to get in, because we we all so exhausted and fed up by that stage. By 'we' I mean the small remnant of BA 10 passengers, about 12 of us, including a lady with two young children who were just amazing. They must have been about 4 and 6 and not once did I ever hear them moan or complain or have a tantrum, even at 4am in Bangkok! She was probably more glad to be home than anyone! I also met a teacher from Edinburgh who was really interesting to chat to, and a guy who's into sports and wants to learn to fly. We even took a group photo in the baggage reclaim hall at Heathrow - other people must have thought we were quite mad!

In a sense, the delay was a good thing, because none of us would have talked to each other had the flight been uneventful. Just shows adversity really can bring people together, if you let it. Some people were very angry, understandably, but I think they missed out, with all their threats to sue and shouting and blaming.

So, what did I learn... thinking positive, while sometimes annoying in Pollyanna sort of way, can get you through a lot. Taking people at face value and trusting what they say is far more interesting than assuming the worst about everyone. You get further and you might just meet a person whose life you touch in a wonderful way, and who might just touch yours equally. So the next time the tube breaks down between stations, talk to someone! Better still, make contact before adversity strikes. You never know, you might be doing someone a favour...

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Still here...

So, still here... Have been told that we'll be on a flight to London today, but they can't tell me what time so I'll believe that when I'm sitting on the plane. The weather in central Europe is bad, so I'm only going to fly to London - we might get stuck somewhere cold! I'm trying to keep it together, but I'm starting to get seriously fed up. There's a poor BA representative in the lounge just a few meters from me. I feel sorry for her, because she's got to face all the anger and upset and has little to no information to offer anyone. What a rubbish job that is. The hotel staff are marvellous, but I wish we could get out for a bit. We can't really go anywhere in case we are called with information about a flight. If we do get a flight, it will be with only 30 minutes notice or so, so we have to be ready to go all the time and I find myself listening for the phone. It's very unnerving and stress-making.

I had a wonderful massage, Thai style last night, and have the bruises to prove it! When I get home I'll write a full account of it. Honestly, this place is wonderful for a holiday, it seems so mad that I'm so desperate to get home! There's just three important ingredients missing in this enforced holiday - Peter, Keiran and Naomi....

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Bangkok Dispatches

So, it's been a while since my last carrier pigeon message and a *lot* has happened, so here's the abstract for those of you with lives to be getting on with...

Naomi turned 1, made Christmas dinner for 7, went to Oz and a wedding, got stuck in Bangkok.

Details follow...

So, Naomi turned 1 on Christmas Day and I made a big lunch for some friends. We had prawns on a bed of rocket drizzled with Balsamic vinegar so thick it was like treacle (but tasted much better), roast pork with all the trimmings and a pear cider sauce, rounded off nicely with traditional plum pudding and icecream. Lots of presents and excitement all 'round! In fact, with Keiran's birthday being on the 18th, he was still opening presents on Boxing Day! Naomi just took the whole thing in her stride of course.

On the 27th Catherine and I headed off to the land of Oz. Got to the airport in plenty of time, as is my habit with air travel, got onto the plane and sat for a bit.... pilot makes an announcement to say they're having trouble loading on of the pallets and as soon as it's fixed we'll be underway. All fine. 20 minutes or so pass, then the capain gets on again... they can't get the pier used for boarding the aircraft to detatch from the plane, but as soon as they get that off we'll be underway. That's good, I think. The plane will fly better without a pier attached to it... Ho hum, another 20 minutes or so pass by, then the captain, whose voice is now very familiar, gets on the blower again to tell us the little pushing truck has developed a fault and can't push us away from the terminal, at which point I explode with laughter. I mean, come on it's funny!!

Other than that, had a fine trip to Oz, lovely wedding, although *very* hot. Pictures will be available on my Facebook page later...

And now I'm stuck in Bangkok, thanks to a wayward bird. It must have been quite a large one, because the flight was cancelled and now they're trying to fix the aircraft and find alternative flights. On the upside, we're staying at the airport Novotel, which is very lovely and the staff are really looking after us, and it's all at BA's expense. There's even a swimming pool, which I'm off to investigate now. More news as it comes in...