Shooting in Scotland with Keith Calder

The leaves are turning. The sun is losing its warmth. And the mozzies have gone to bed. I love this time of year. I’m a huge fan of autumnal colours and few things can better a cold, crisp, sunny day. Invigorating. For many, this will be a time when they turn to their books. Long evenings in front of a fire paging through their latest adventure. I read year round. Voraciously. Read more

2020 Grateful 17: Gerald Hammond

My dead-people’s dinner table has had an extra seat added to it, somewhat surprisingly as I’ve only just found out that Gerald Hammond is no longer with us. I’ve spent a blissful three weeks or so reading the 13 novels in the Three Oaks series written by the Scottish author. Not believing in coincidence, the day I finished the final book, I read an article in The Guardian about the COVID rule of six not applying to shooting sports in the UK. The headline would normally have been as far as I’d have read, but having spent so much time with John Cunningham (Hammond’s protagonist), I’m giving more thought to game shooting and what’s behind it.

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2020 Grateful 20: Caimh McDonnell and Bunny McGarry

I’ve often wondered if authors get lost in the shadows of their protagonists? A case in point – I know sod all about Caimh McDonnell, but I feel like I know his guy Bunny McGarry personally. Read more

2020 Grateful 30: Found in Translation

Ever since the local librarian Mrs Byrne turned a blind eye to me signing up my parents as members of the village library and then choosing books for them, mar dhea,* I’ve been an avid reader. I wonder if she knows what a huge influence our collaboration has had on my life.

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Twenty-first-century nightmare

When I stop to think about how connected the world is, how dependent we are on things that need charging, I can feel my blood pressure rise. A slight panic sets in and I need to think of something completely different to avoid working myself into a lather and succumbing to this twenty-first-century nightmare. Read more

Make room Jack Reacher

I’ll admit to being a tad obsessive. Once I find something I like, I can’t get enough of it. And then when I exhaust it, I look for something to replace it. Read more

Walking in Circles

2019 Grateful 50

About a year ago, on a flight from Munich to Malta, I did the unthinkable. I tore out a couple of pages from the inflight magazine. I’d come across a poem I really liked and wanted to have a copy of it to reflect on later. Which I did. Fast forward to November and I received an email from the poet, Giulia Privitelli, who had come across my blog. The book of poetry I’d mentioned – Walking in Circles – had finally published and she kindly offered to send me a copy. I thought no more of it. Until it arrived. It was waiting for me when I got back to Budapest in late December. Read more

Free books and where they take you

My brother turned me on to BookBub when I went over to the Darkside and bought a Kindle. You fill in your details, check some boxes to build a reader profile, and then each day you receive an email with book offers listed on Amazon. Most days there’s at least one book on it that’s free, with the most expensive hovering around the £3.49 mark. My selection is fixed for crime novels, whodunnits, and detective fiction and rarely do I shell out more than a quid.

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Inspiring Parenting by Dorka Herner

Inspiring parenting

I live a life without issue. I have no children. I wasn’t living in Ireland when my nephews were in nappies so I’ve minimal experience with babies or toddlers. I’ve babysat on very rare occasions; I could count the number of nappies I’ve changed on both hands. I think that when God was dishing out the maternal genes, He shorted me. Some would (and have) argued that my lack of desire to have kids is quite selfish as, according to them, by virtue of my being a woman, it’s almost a duty to procreate.  Whatever. Read more

Unicum

If you wear galoshes, you’re an émigré

When it comes to museums and stately homes, I’m not one for do-agains. Other than Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill, which I visited many times during my year in Oxford, I can count on one hand the places I’ve gone back to a second time, let alone a third. Once I’ve been, I’ve been. I will happily wait outside as my visitors wade through the history and experience all on offer, but I don’t usually have the bandwidth for  a do-again. In Budapest, though, I’ve made an exception; I’ve found my Blenheim Palace in the Zwack Museum in Budapest’s IXth district, on Dandár utca 1. Read more