Salman Rushdie: Midnight’s Children

Midnight’s Children won the Booker Prize in 1981 and was judged the best of the Bookers both in 1993 and 2008. I anticipated something outstanding. It certainly seemed so in the early pages.

Yet, several times as I read through (and it is long), I began to think of it as a four star book rather than five.

Why did I doubt the brilliance of the book….

(read full review on Blogger)

Occupational Therapy Corners

The last post about the stair rail attracted more comments than usual. They ranged from the resigned to the resolute. The gist seems to be ‘hold on tight as you descend the slippery slope.’

Here is a similar post about a safety gadget that has appeared unexpectedly in our kitchen.

(read full post on Blogger)

Sylvia Plath: The Bell Jar

Another classic not read until now, prompted by the recent news story that permission has been granted for a devotee of the author to be buried near her in the same churchyard at Heptonstall, Yorkshire. It illustrates the strength of attachment some still feel for Sylvia Plath and her stories and poetry.

Published in 1963 under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas, and not under her own name until posthumously in 1967, Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar is a Roman à clef novel giving a fictionalised account of events from her life. (read full review on Blogger)

Facial Animation

Back in December, I posted a piece about the automatic colourisation of black and white photographs. One of the web sites I mentioned, MyHeritage, has now added a new feature called Deep Nostalgia which animates faces. “Animate the faces in your family photographs”, it says. “Experience your family history like never before”.

It gives me an excuse to re-post this wonderful picture, taken before a boat trip from the Yorkshire seaside resort of Bridlington in 1929.

How well does Deep Nostalgia animate these faces? (Read full post on Blogger)


Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but having your writing and research stolen most definitely is not. That’s abuse. It recently happened here.

Left: screen grabs from parts of my own page. Right: screen grab from part of the offending page

At the beginning of January, I planned a different New Month Old Post from the one I used. It was about a guitar teacher called Eric Kershaw who taught an evening class at Leeds College of Music in the early nineteen-seventies. I first posted it on the 1st August 2015, and, in considering re-posting, I looked around to see if any more recent information had come to light. I discovered a page on a WordPress site which, astonishingly, apart from minor re-sequencing, contained over 1,300 verbatim words and two original images from my own post. This is what I was able to do about it. (Read full post on Blogger)

New Month Old Post – Votre Billet, Monsieur?

“Billet?” “Votre billet, Monsier?” I will never forget the French word “billet” for as long as I live.

I had been staying with a Belgian family on a school exchange visit. They had put me on the right train at Charleroi and I had waved goodbye with feelings of relief and sadness: relief at no longer having to struggle in French and sadness because I had had a great time and would miss them. Having been there on my own for two and a half weeks, I was looking forward to being with English speakers again … (read full post on Blogger)

Re-reading: Nevil Shute – A Town Like Alice

Another paperback I remember getting through the nineteen-sixties Pan books offer, mentioned previously. It was not a top choice but I was running out of options. I was surprised at the time how much I enjoyed it. And I enjoyed it again now, the first half, anyway. Compared to The Saint and James Bond this was far more satisfying. (read full review on Blogger)

Buddy Can You Spare a Dime?

Brother CanYou Spare a Dime in MuseScore 3.6 (links to full post on Blogger)

I know I keep going on about the folk band we are in, but here’s a confession: I don’t really like folk music. Well, that does depend on what is meant by folk music.

But, one thing I am a sucker for is the music of what is often called The Great American Songbook. Next time I get chance at our Zoom folk meetings, I’m going to sneak in Brother Can You Spare a Dime on the pretext that the tune is based on a Russian-Jewish lullaby… (read full post on Blogger)