Monthly Archives: July 2013

Review–The Selkie Spell by Sophie Moss

51PGJfj4s-L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-67,22_AA300_SH20_OU02_Sophie Moss is a writer you can trust. You can trust her storytelling, her characters, her pacing. Most of all you can trust her to entertain you without once resorting to either cliché or stereotype. Let her take you by the hand and lead you into her world, a place that is real and yet unreal, idyllic yet awry. Admire the beauty laid out before you, and try to ignore that dark flicker in the corner of your eye. Wrap yourself in the atmosphere of Seal Island, and shiver deliciously when Ms. Moss catches you off guard with things that should not happen, yet do. Things that somehow do not seem out of place in this magical landscape.

Believable three-dimensional characters populate Ms. Moss’s Ireland. The protagonist is flawed yet lovable, the bad guy’s actions completely understandable within his own context. How refreshing to meet people who do not simply perform to a genre-dictated script. On top of this, the touches of myth and magic are the perfect garnish for this feast for the imagination.

One reviewer has pointed out errors in the Irish way of speaking. Yes, this does happen in a few places, at least until a new edition addresses them, but such are very rare and in no way detract from the tale or pull you out of the story. I only noticed a few on my second read through.

Ms. Moss has a deft hand with language; I can honestly say that I have highlighted more enchanting passages in her work than any other writer on my Kindle, saving perhaps my beloved Pepys. I cheered, I cried, I was beguiled throughout. Do yourself a favour: take Sophie’s hand and enter her enthralling world.

Biscuit World Cup Quarter Finals

Sponsored by Wombat Books. BUY ONE BUY ONE BUY ONE. 
“Wombat’s Books – because you’re worth it.”

It’s Quarter Final day here at The Biscuit Tin stadium. Amazingly, Viennese Whirls are still with us and are starting to attract the attention of biscuit lovers the world over. Voting, which you can do over on the right there, runs until midnight. Remember to add a comment to this post to explain why your choice should win. Such comments have already decided several matches. All commenters will be entered into the AMAZE PRIZE DRAW (see below).

REMEMBER, YOU CAN STILL DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE WALLCHART HERE.

Almond ThinstimtamsAlmond Thins                                v                    Tim Tams
Thins seem to have sneaked into the quarter finals almost unnoticed, but if they can gain a victory over the Australian heavyweights people will finally begin to take them seriously. Wombat Predicts: A Thin win.

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caramel waferschocolate_chip-cookies_1Caramel Wafers                       v                    Choc Chip Cookies
The Wafers easily saw off Fig Rolls last round, but have stiff opposition today in the chocolate-bespattered biccies that won a walkover yesterday. Wombat Predicts: Cookies get lucky.

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Viennese-Whirls-1Custard_Cream-1Viennese Whirls                      v                     Custard Creams
Surely Viennese Whirls can’t do it again, can they? It’s hard to imagine that anyone would prefer their frou-frou airy-fairy arty-farty namby-pamby pretentiousness over good old custard creams. Wombat Predicts: Whirls finally get creamed.

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Shortbread-3hobnob-001Shortbread                              v                     Hobnobs
Both teams beat much fancied opponents in the last round, so will be full of confidence. Wombat Predicts: a nobby win, if only for their superior dunking power.

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PRIZE DRAW: everyone who leaves a comment will be entered into a Prize Draw after the tournament to win three packets of the World Champion biscuit (unless Tim Tams win cos I have no idea where to get them. You can have Penguins instead) along with a range* of teas in which to dunk them. *might not be a terribly huge range; it depends what I’ve got in the top cupboard.

Visdare 31–Dave

02b614a8399eb6e544464bbf5b4dd416“Dave?”

“”

“Dave?”

“For goodness sake, what now?”

“I think… I think I love you.”

“This again, Julian? Really? I’ve told you God knows how many times, you can’t possibly love me. You’ve only ever seen the back of my head.”

“Such a lovely head. The line where it joins your neck is deliciously curved. A perfect, heart-wrenching, arousing arc of gentle delicacy.”

“Oh, do sod off. Apart from anything else, I’ve not seen you at all. All I get hour after hour is an eyeful of Kevin’s backside. That’s not a sight that inspires heady thoughts of high emotion or, well, anything really. So let’s just get through the next few weeks as best we can. Once and for all, just drop this love nonsense, OK?

“OK.”

Silence save for the footsteps outside and the rumbling of traffic.

“Dave?”

“WHAT?!”

“Those shorts make your bum look huge.”

 

This is an entry for Angela Goff’s Visdare challenge.

RULES:

150 words – or less, no erotica or graphic violence.

Keano’s Big Stick

IMAG1663If you were at Bleakholt this morning you may have seen KEANO come back from his walk with me with a stick. Nothing unusual there – he does love a stick – but today he found his biggest yet. More of a branch, in fact. It was leaning against the fence over near the farm, and his little eyes lit up as soon as he saw it. He grabbed it triumphantly, and picked it up at one end, only to find that the weight of it just made him go round in circles.

Eventually, more by luck than judgement, he managed to grab it in the centre and actually lift it. Of course, when he got back to Bleakholt he discovered that it was too wide to go through the kennel doorway. He discovered this repeatedly by trying to go in; over and over bashing the sides of the doorway with his ‘tree’.

It took the combined efforts of Adie, Charlotte, me and another walker (sorry matey, I don’t know your name) to separate him from it. Best laugh I’ve had for weeks. Thanks, Keano.

Biscuit World Cup Round 2

Sponsored by Wombat Books. BUY ONE BUY ONE BUY ONE. 
“Wombat’s books do exactly what they say on the tin. Erm, cover.”

Today we feature ALL EIGHT Round 2 matches. Eight because this is the only way to fit the whole competition in before my covert mission behind enemy lines. Have fun voting. Remember to add a comment to this post to explain why your choice should win. Such comments have already decided several matches. All commenters will be entered into the AMAZE PRIZE DRAW (see below).

REMEMBER, YOU CAN STILL DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE WALLCHART HERE.

Round 2 Games:

Almond ThinsbiscottiAlmond Thins                          v                    Biscotti
Thins scraped past Fat Rascals in Round 1, while Biscotti disposed of the biscuit equivalent of nipples, Iced Gems. Wombat Predicts: a narrow win for Almond Thins.

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Biscuit_Lemon_PufftimtamsLemon Puffs                     v                    Tim Tams
Puffs stuffed Perkins last time and are looking good. Australian interlopers Tim Tams have chocolate going for them though, and that thing where you bite the corners off and suck the tea through. Wombat Predicts: the Antipodeans will march on.

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250px-Fig_rollcaramel wafersFig Rolls                            v                     Caramel Wafers
This one is hard to call. Fig Rolls easily dismissed Speculoos last time, while Wafers squeaked through in extra time against the fancied Jammie Dodgers. Wombat Predicts: extra time, decided by the quality of comments.

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chocolate_chip-cookies_1snickerdoodlesChoc Chip Cookies            v                      Snickerdoodles
Happy Faces crumbled under the Cookie assault in the last round, while Snickerdoodles, those delicious cinnamon-enhanced sugar biscuits, surprisingly disposed of childhood favourites Rusks. Wombat Predicts: an easy win for Cookies.

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malted milkViennese-Whirls-1Malted Milk                        v                      Viennese Whirl
On paper this looks like an easy win for Malted Milk, who trounced minnows Lotus in the last round, but Whirls should not be written off after their amazing fightback to defeat tournament favourites Rich Tea in Round 1. Wombat Predicts: Malted Milk to march on.

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fruit-shorties-thumb4952073Custard_Cream-1Fruit Shorties                     v                       Custard Creams
Shorties won ‘The Battle of The Flies’ in the last round, but will be hard pressed to make any inroads against the mighty Creams. Wombat Predicts: a Custardy conquest.

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Shortbread-3DigestiveBiscuitsShortbread                       v                        Digestives
Shortbread disposed of the fanciful Leibniz crew yesterday, and might prove stiff opposition for Digestives, who have yet to throw off their ‘Boring’ tag. Wombat Predicts: Digestive’s dunking prowess will prove decisive.

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hobnob-001ginger_nut430x300Hobnobs                             v                        Ginger Nuts
Predictably Danish Butter Biscuits proved easy pickings for the rough tough Hobnobs, while in the match of the round Bourbons proved just too soft against a hard Ginger Nuts team. Wombat Predicts: Ginger Nuts to just edge this clash of the titans.

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PRIZE DRAW: everyone who leaves a comment will be entered into a Prize Draw after the tournament to win three packets of the World Champion biscuit along with a range* of teas in which to dunk them. *might not be a terribly huge range; it depends what I’ve got in the top cupboard.

Biscuit World Cup Group 3

Sponsored by Wombat Books 
“Wombat books melt in your mouth, not in your hands.”

Yesterday’s matches might have started slowly, but some ended with a bang. Fig Rolls, Choc Chip Cookies and Malted Milk all sailed through as expected. Rich Tea, however, found that Viennese Whirls were stronger than the crumbly wussy things they appear to be, the pointlessly icky things snatching victory from the jaws of defeat with a late surge. The involvement of betting syndicates has not been ruled out. You can’t even dunk a Viennese Whirl, for heaven’s sake.

The other two matches, Caramel Wafers v Jammie Dodgers and Rusks v Snickerdoodles ended level, and Referee Wombat had to refer to the comments left by their supporters. In the end the eloquence of both Caramel and Snickerdoodle fans won the day, and there’ll be dancing in the streets of Snickerdoodle today.

Here are the final Round 1 games. After this it gets serious*. Remember, vote for your favourite biscuit in each of the games in the poll boxes on the right. Add a comment to this post to explain why your choice should win. (if you need further information on any biscuit, harness the power of Google). In the event of a drawn match, the comments that impress Referee Wombat the most will win for that biscuit. All commenters will be entered into the AMAZE PRIZE DRAW (see below).

*even sillier

REMEMBER, YOU CAN STILL DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE WALLCHART HERE.

Today’s games:

fruit-shorties-thumb4952073Garibaldi_biscuitFruit Shorties                  v             Garibaldi
Look it’s got flies in!                        Look it’s got flies in!

Vote for your favourite in the box on the right. Comment below

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brandy snapsCustard_Cream-1Brandy Snaps                 v             Custard Creams
Even better with cream                    The hot favourites

Vote for your favourite in the box on the right. Comment below

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leibnizShortbread-3Leibniz                          v              Shortbread
German philosopher                         Crumbly texture

Vote for your favourite in the box on the right. Comment below

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niceDigestiveBiscuitsNice                                 v               Digestives
Sugary too                                        The big one

Vote for your favourite in the box on the right. Comment below

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danish butter biscuitshobnob-001Danish BB                        v               Hobnobs
A Yuletide treat                                  The finest dunker

Vote for your favourite in the box on the right. Comment below

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bourbonginger_nut430x300Bourbons                         v               Ginger Nuts
Choccy dipper                                    With milk mmmm

Vote for your favourite in the box on the right. Comment below

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PRIZE DRAW: everyone who leaves a comment will be entered into a Prize Draw after the tournament to win three packets of the World Champion biscuit along with a range* of teas in which to dunk them. *might not be a terribly huge range; it depends what I’ve got in the top cupboard.

Thunderdogs

IMAG1642It was lovely to be at Bleakholt with a lead in my hand once more, after a few weeks off due to a manky ankle. First up was KEANO, whom you’ll remember from previous posts. He was on top form, full of fun with lots of interaction. Keano’s renowned for his love of sticks, or bottles, or wooden legs, or anything else he finds lying around. The stick he found today, though, was not so much lying around as attached to a tree. He spent a good three or four minutes heaving at the thing before finally succeeding in ripping it free. There he is on the left, with his prize. The thing with Keano is, don’t try to take his sticks off him. That way lies trouble. He’s OK if you swap a toy for it, mind.

IMAG1644Next, along came BROOKE, a big girl at Bleakholt for a short time only, before going back home next week. She’s very nervous and not fond of stepping out. Lovely temperament, though, so with a little occasional persuasion she came along happily. She really needs to lose some weight, when she’ll be a wonderful dog. In retrospect, I’m pleased that the thunderstorm did not arrive until after Brooke was back in her kennel. I’m not sure her nerves would have stood being out in that.

Instead, it was with lovely old FLACK in tow that I felt the first splot of rain on my head. Distant thunder soon became huge KERRAKs immediately overhead, with lightning forking down from above Edenfield and solid rain stair-rodding it onto our heads. We were both drenched in seconds, absolutely sodden by the time we found the shelter of a reasonably large tree. Not that it offered a lot of protection, such was the ferocity of the downpour. IMAG1647Flack, bless him, was completely unthrown by either deafening thunder or torrential monsoon, sitting by me and looking up occasionally as if to say “Shall we move yet, Beardy Bloke?” He’s looking a lot better now than he did immediately after his run-in with PUDDING a couple of weeks ago, don’t you think? Eventually the rain lessened into merely chucking it down, and we returned. Charlotte towelled us both down and the sun emerged over Holcombe Hill.

It’s good to be back.

Your Free Biscuit World Cup Wallchart

Click on the image here to see a larger version, right-click and download.

wallchart

Biscuit World Cup, Group 2

Sponsored by Wombat Books – “Wombat books kill 99% of household germs.”

The vanilla thriller last night between Fat Rascals and Almond Thins ended with Thins progressing to the next round with a deciding vote in the last minute. The best supported match was between Iced Gems and Biscotti, with thousands of fans dancing in the streets of Biscotti after a close win, again by one point In the other games, Lemon Puffs and Tim Tams progressed easily against weakly supported opponents.

Now, don’t tell anyone, but in a week I will be going dark for a black ops mission. In order to hold the Final before I leave, we need therefore to increase the number of matches played daily. Accordingly, you have six matches to decide today.

Remember, vote for your favourite biscuit in each of the games in the poll boxes on the right. Add a comment to this post to explain why your choice should win. (if you need further information on any biscuit, harness the power of Google). In the event of a drawn match, the comments that impress Referee Wombat the most will win for that biscuit. All commenters will be entered into the AMAZE PRIZE DRAW (see below). Today’s games:

250px-Fig_roll250px-Spekulatius_four_pieces_ofFig Rolls                     v                 Speculoos
Chewy & satisfying                          Dutch Delights

Vote for your favourite in the box on the right. Comment below

 

caramel wafersjammie dodgersCaramel wafers          v                Jammie Dodgers
Dutch version shown                       Hot favourites here

Vote for your favourite in the box on the right. Comment below

 

happyfacechocolate_chip-cookies_1Happy Faces               v                Choc Chip Cookies
Dodger wannabees                        “Cookies” pffft!

Vote for your favourite in the box on the right. Comment below

 

ruskssnickerdoodlesRusks                           v                 Snickerdoodles
Strong youthful following                  Gorgeous US BILNs

Vote for your favourite in the box on the right. Comment below

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lotusmalted milkLotus                           v                  Malted Milk
Weeny little coffee bix                      Underrated star

Vote for your favourite in the box on the right. Comment below

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250px-Rich_teaViennese-Whirls-1Rich Tea                     v                  Viennese Whirl
The original & best                           Poncy whirly crap

Vote for your favourite in the box on the right. Comment below

 

PRIZE DRAW: everyone who leaves a comment will be entered into a Prize Draw after the tournament to win three packets of the World Champion biscuit along with a range* of teas in which to dunk them. *might not be a terribly huge range; it depends what I’ve got in the top cupboard.

Biscuit World Cup, Group 1

Sponsored by Wombat Buymybooksyouwazzocks Inc. – “Probably the best books by Wombat in the world.”

PHEEP! The first four matches are now underway. Vote for your favourite biscuit in each of the games in the poll boxes on the right. Add a comment to this post to explain why your choice should win. (if you need further information on any biscuit, harness the power of Google).

In the event of a drawn match, the comments that impress Referee Wombat the most will win for that biscuit. All commenters will be entered into the AMAZE PRIZE DRAW (see below). The games:

fatrascalsAlmond ThinsFat Rascals                     v                    Almond Thins

Vote for your favourite in the box on the right. Comment below

 

biscotti4_iced_gemsIced Gems                       v                     Biscotti

Vote for your favourite in the box on the right. Comment below

 

Biscuit_Lemon_PuffperkinsPerkins                           v                     Lemon Puffs

Vote for your favourite in the box on the right. Comment below

 

kletskoppentimtamsKletskoppen (lace biscuits) v                   Tim Tams

 

 

PRIZE DRAW: everyone who leaves a comment will be entered into a Prize Draw after the tournament to win three packets of the World Champion biscuit along with a range* of teas in which to dunk them. *might not be a terribly huge range; it depends what I’ve got in the top cupboard.

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