A Christmas Carol – by Charles Dickens

31 12 2017

Finished just in time for the end of the year!

I never thought I’d manage to read a Dickens, but gave this a go for a few reasons

  1. It’s only 129 pages long.
  2. I know the basic story from films so it can’t be too tricky.
  3. It’s Christmas!

Even with that it took a long longer than I expected, but I’d like to partly put that down to the busy-ness of December and having a couple of magazines to get through as well.

My main knowledge of the story comes from The Muppet Christmas Carol, which means that no matter how hard I tried, every time Bob Crachit appeared, all I saw in my mind was Kermit the Frog, and Scrooge was most certainly Michael Caine!

Oh, and a chick flick [loosely] based on the plot if that’s more your cup of tea is Ghost of Girlfriends Past.

Much as I really had to concentrate to get through it at times, it really was heartwarming and worth the effort.

Favourite line: “It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child himself.”

Internet highlights – w/c 24th December 2017

30 12 2017

Creative cyclist…

Hilariously trivial reasons people have given for breaking up with someone.

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Internet highlights – w/c 17th December 2017

23 12 2017

Christmas traditions from around the world.

Beginner’s guide to musical instruments.

Why The Entertainer toy shop isn’t opening on Christmas Eve.

The best reactions to the blue passport announcement (‘scuse the swears).

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Internet highlights – f/c 3rd December 2017

16 12 2017

The Simpsons can predict the future.

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Friday Five Favourite: Christmas Adverts that didn’t quite make the top 5 – 2017

8 12 2017

After last week’s winners, here are those which didn’t quite make the cut

6: Debenhams
A cute, modern day twist on Cinderella, just slightly too much social media for my taste

7: Sky Cinema

I liked the concept, but felt it could have been executed better

9: Tesco

10: Argos

How to Stop Time – by Matt Haig

2 12 2017

I tried so hard to wait for paperback but I’ve given in and got the hardback! …and now they’ve brought forward the paperback release date to less than 2 weeks time, but oh well!

So, how to explain this. Tom is 439 years old, but he only looks like he’s in his 40s. He ages about 1 year for every 15 actual years. While this sounds like a bonus it brings it’s troubles. His mother was accused of being a witch (which in those days was a huge deal), and he has to move every 8 years or so because people start to get suspicious as to why he doesn’t seem to age. Many moons ago he had a daughter and while her mother has clearly passed on, she had the same condition and so his focus is on finding her. In the present day he takes a job in a London school to be closer to his roots.

Of course the book jumps around in time quite a bit, from his youth through to the present day, which I think is what slowed me down a bit. Sometimes I only read a page or two at a time, and it takes most of that time to work out where on earth you were last time you picked up the book!

Matt Haig is just a brilliant writer, it took me a while to get into the book, but even when you’re not quite there with the plot yet, he just has some absolute gems of quotes that pop up and keep you going ’til you’re hooked! Some favourites below:

  • “Possibility is everything that has ever happened. The purpose of science is to find out where the limits of possibility end.”
  • “I never tired of the way birds moved when they weren’t in flight It was a series of tableaux rather than continuous movement. Staccato. Stuck moments.”
  • “I am good with pain. Small price to pay for being alive.”
  • “The very reason such music exists is because it is a language that couldn’t be communicated in any other way.”
  • “Don’t hoard [sorrows] like they are precious. There is always plenty of them to go around.”
  • “The main lesson of history is: humans don’t learn from history.”
  • “I have only been alive for four hundred and thirty-nine years, which is of course nowhere near long enough to understand the minimal facial expressions of the average teenage boy.”
  • “There is a crowd. Only this is a twenty-first century crowd, so everyone’s macabre fascination is tempered with at least the semblance of concern.”
  • “Yes, there had been a void inside me, but voids were underrated. Voids were empty of love but also pain.”
  • “Many of us have every material thing we need, so the job of marketing is now to tie the economy to our emotions, to make us feel like we need more by making us want things we never needed before. We are made to feel poor on thirty thousand pounds a year. To feel poorly travelled if we have been to only ten other countries. To feel old if we have a wrinkle.”
  • “It is not bad when you know someone, just when you first meet them.”
  • “She had [a panic attack] on the plane, coming back from Australia, but I hardly even noticed, except she became quite still.”
  • “You have to keep walking forwards. But you don’t always need to look ahead Sometimes you can just look around and be happy right where you are.”
  • And a poem he threw in partway through:


    The way
    That when you
    On their side
    Look like
    A long way
    Made out
    Of words.

Internet highlights – w/c 26th November 2017

2 12 2017

James Blunt dealt with Piers Morgan’s latest idiocy.

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Friday Five Favourite: Christmas Adverts 2017

1 12 2017

It was a tough one this year, my shortlist was about 10, and I’m still not sure I’ve got it right – I don’t know if I should penalise some for being nothing to do with the actual company they’re advertising, or what about companies I’ve never heard of – but after much deliberation, here are the worthy winners! (Results from previous years can be found here)

1: McDonalds
I absolutely loved this, though my colleague and I debated the ending as he wasn’t so impressed. We agreed that maybe the Dad should have taken the cheeseburger for himself if Father Christmas only eats mince pies….

2: Aldi
A great sequel to last year’s entry

3: Barbour
Literally no idea who this company are, but if they’re doing a sequel to The Snowman then that’s easy points right there!

4: Marks & Spencer
Feels like more of an advert for Paddington than M&S, but that doesn’t stop it being lovely.

5: John Lewis
The product placement is obvious, but such a sweet story!