The weather this month has been changeable and it was cold enough to light the fire this evening, but there are still a few plants growing and flowering in the garden as we edge towards winter.
In the back garden, I’ve pulled up the self-seeded nasturtiums, which had been making a nuisance of themselves in the back border sending vines out in every direction, while Salvia, Calendulas and Asters have been providing some colour in the flower borders.
We lost almost a third of our squashes to slugs, but we still harvested a few for ourselves, though I didn’t realise that they could cross-pollinate and we’ve ended up with some slightly bland hybrids, so next year I’ll grow fewer varieties. Wool pellets have protected the kale and chard from the slugs in the adjacent raised bed.
We’ve been filling up the bird feeder every week and watching our feathered friends has been a whole family activity with our cat Mara chittering away while my husband and I try to identify the different birds that visit our garden, and we all enjoy watching the squirrels’ acrobatics.
It amuses me that we’ve somehow become a couple that listens to Gardeners’ Question Time and watches Gardeners World, and we’ll miss Monty and the gang’s advice over the winter months, but we still have a few jobs left to do before the garden starts to hibernate. Have a lovely week! X
Dark and stormy evenings in our corner of the world have given me a lovely excuse to stay at home snuggled under a blanket on the couch with candles lit and books to read. I’ve had a few false starts this year – books that I’ve started but lost interest in – and I decided to re-read The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson to refresh my memory before picking up the other books in the Mistborn trilogy, which have been on my TBR list for a long time.
The plot of The Final Empire follows a fairly typical hero’s journey as the charismatic Kelsier leads a daring group of rebels from a subjugated race in an attempt to overthrow the tyranical Lord Ruler and his oppressive empire. Along the way, Kelsier takes a thief called Vin as his apprentice and trains her in allomancy, the magic system Sanderson created and it’s easily one of the most original and well-integrated systems I’ve come across in a long time.
I suspect fantasy novels are often dismissed by many readers because they require too much suspension of disbelief and yet beyond the magic and battles, The Final Empire explores some universal and pertinent themes such as prejudice, persecution and even the injustices and atrocities that ordinary people ignore or accept every day, as well as the redeeming qualities of courage, resilience, loyalty and hope.
The biggest criticism I have of this story is that Sanderson doesn’t so much foreshadow the two major plot twists as shine a spotlight on them, and many readers will probably guess the Lord Ruler’s identity and the source of his power long before any of the characters do, while another character’s death carries a certain sense of inevitability. Despite this though, it’s still a gripping tale and I enjoyed re-reading The Final Empire just as much as I did the first time around, and I’m looking forward to finding out what happens next in the series. Have a lovely week! X
We’ve been visiting the Enchanted Forest in Pitlochry every year since 2011 and it remains one of the highlights of our calendar, and this year was no exception with lights choreographed to music, interactive displays and a stunning projection over Loch Dunmore.
Visiting the Enchanted Forest is one of our favourite annual traditions, and we always enjoy wandering around the woods hand-in-hand, snapping photos and sipping the first mulled wine of the season, but my husband and I still always pause at the spot where we got engaged here and enjoy reminiscing about our many other visits to the Enchanted Forest over the years.
As lovely as it is having a little adventure together, staying in a hotel and not having to worry about cooking or washing up, we’re also happy to be reunited with our cat Mara when we return home. It was just over three years ago that we adopted Mara, and although we don’t know her actual age, a recent trip to the vet to have her teeth cleaned and one extraction reminded us that she is getting older, but fortunately she remains healthy, playful and full of purrs.
Have a lovely week! X
For almost as long as I can remember I’ve been a Star Wars fan, and my affection for the franchise is in no small part due to the sassy, blaster-wielding Princess who bossed her male counterparts around and was always at the forefront of the action.
Carrie was apparently inspired to write The Princess Diarist when she stumbled upon the diaries she wrote while filming Star Wars: A New Hope, and decided that forty years after the event, the public revelation of her affair with Harrison Ford would cause minimal damage to those involved.
The Princess Diarist starts with Carrie recounting her decision to step out of her celebrity parents’ shadows, and how at the age of nineteen she was cast as Princess Leia in a low-budget “space fantasy” simply called Star Wars. I sometimes wonder how faithful her recollection of events is but I can’t deny it’s entertaining to read about some of the changes in the original script, the process of finding that iconic hairstyle and various other behind the scenes moments between the cast and crew. However, for what is ostensibly a kiss-and-tell memoir, Carrie Fisher is remarkably tight-lipped about the details of her love affair with Harrison Ford.
The mid-section contains poems and direct extracts from the diaries she wrote in 1976, and this part lags a little as the diary entries are rambling, self-indulgent and laced with Carrie’s teenage insecurities.
The final part explores the cultural phenomenon Star Wars became, and some readers might be offended by the way she describes the rabid fans and their sense of entitlement for autographs and selfies, yet I suspect she probably understood why the Star Wars characters are so beloved because she admitted that there were times throughout her own life when she wished she was more like Leia. I also found it interesting reading about the different ways male and female fans respond to her character, and she doesn’t shy away from sharing details of some of her experiences and observations about Hollywood sexism (and ageism).
I suspect that Star Wars fans may be disappointed that she doesn’t share more behind the scenes secrets and people expecting a more linear biography may also be disappointed, but Carrie’s inimitable style, humour and candour still make The Princess Diarist an easy and enjoyable read. Have a lovely week! X