Today we went into Newcastle ON THE BUS, thereby leaving our cars at home and saving our carbon footprint. (I am haunted by dreams of polar bears swimming, swimming as the ice melts beneath them, swimming to exhaustion and no land in sight... )
Visited my favourite hairdresser - my only hairdresser - whom I've visited through thick and thin for over twenty years. He soon smartened me up and I left feeling good about myself and having probably ruined all the carbon saving I'd done with the bus. Still, better than none at all. At least I probably came out equal. The town was busy busy. When is it not? I learned long ago that there is never a quiet day in Newcastle.
But the difference is that there are a lot of men out shopping, both alone and with wives, and that is because Christmas approaches. Some stand there, particularly the older men, hanging onto a counter or a clothes stand, gazing off into the distance while the wife diligently hunts through every garment on the rack just in case she'll find what she wants. Other blokes finger things in a puzzled sort of way, eye the price ticket, purse their lips and let go a soundless whistle. Then they drop the tag and seek something else.
Others - a few, but some - rifle through half a dozen things, seize one with a pleased smirk and head for the cash desk. Usually its underwear they've got hold of, and I don't wait to hear the "How much?" when the assistant announces the cost.
I've got a followers widget on this blog, and today I moved it up to the top of the sidebar. I'm not exactly sure what it does, but I think it makes it easier for readers to read my blog. If anyone knows any different - let me know. I'd hate to invade anyone's privacy or something weird.
I've just finished reading two Adele Geras novels - A Hidden Life and Happy Ever After. Both good, both enjoyable, though A Hidden Life had a lot of confusing characters at the start which meant a lot of flicking back and forth for me - but perhaps I'm just slow at picking things up these days. Happy Ever After is the story of an engagement that slowly disintegrates against the central story of the bride's mother's reluctant infidelity with the groom's step-father. Sounds like heavy stuff and yet it manages to be both tender and funny at the same time. I'll certainly look for more of this author's novels.
I don't know about you, but I don't want to read heavy, hurtful stories. I did not finish The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini even though it was beautifully written, for the brutality inherent in the tale is not what I want as I read myself to sleep at night. I have one of those unfortunate imaginations that translates brutalities into dreams, wakefulness and even, if its very bad, depression that can last for days. So I've learned to close the book and look for something lighter.
Harry Potter is just the thing. Just enough nastiness to make me turn the pages faster, but not bad enough to turn me away. I tried The Tudors: King takes Queen by Elizabeth Massie, based on the Showtimes series but found it irritatingly episodic - short scenes, obviously intended for screening, and gradually lost interest even though it is one of my favourite periods of history. Now I am halfway through Suzannah Dunn's Queen of Sorrow.
Oh, and I should have said days ago but if you go to Authors and Books - check the sidebar - they have been running a giveaway from the 8th until the 14th. Check it out!