Alexander Averin

Sunday 29 December 2013

Next Door

Good Morning

I have been  next door a little bit  of late but will be posting here again very soon. Do call by if you are passing.

Happy Sunday

Thursday 19 December 2013


As you may know I love to take photographs, I especially love to take portraits but for multitudinous reasons I don't post them on the Internet, it' s a shame really but the way of the world. Yesterday however I was in luck as I met several beautiful (and some not quite so beautiful) models who did not voice any objections to either posing for me or show the slightest reluctance for me to share their images with the world.  You will never guess where I found these beauties.  I will reveal all in a future post............... but some of you may possibly guess where they reside.
I am tempted to give a few of them names, they seem to cry out for names and stories.......................


Recognise anyone?

Saturday 14 December 2013

Means of Escape


A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.
Oscar Wilde
Would you like to know what books I have requested from the library service from their New Additions list? I bet you would, if you are a  bibliophile like myself.
There are ten of them, they won't all come at once I hope. But I do hope a fair selection are with me ready for  Christmas.

These are they:


The first book is one by Margaret Drabble, an esteemed writer I have read in the past. This title had already been mentioned to me by Frances of City Views and Country Dreams in New York, well she was reading it and I look forward to hearing what she thought of it. I love the black and white photo on the cover.
Jessica Speight, a young anthropology student in 1960s London, is at the beginning of a promising academic career when an affair with her married professor turns her into a single mother. Anna is a pure gold baby with a delightful sunny nature. ...


Warning:  there are far too many 'loves' coming up.

What can I say? I loved this man.  I loved him for his wit, his poetry, his humour, his sensitivity, his Irishness.

I also love letters and reading collections of letters. I love reading letters between two people, written over a period of time. I love writing letters and I love receiving (nice) letters.

I enjoy writing letters of complaint and also of praise as I am sure Spike did. And how wonderful that his letters, like all writings, will live on long after Spike has moved on.

God rest him;after all  he told us he was ill.

Spike Milligan: Man of Letters is a collection of the funniest, rudest and most revealing letters from one of the greatest comics of the twentieth century to some of its most famous personalities.

Spike Milligan's letters reveal the private man behind public the mask. Unlike his scripts, poetry, fiction or even his unique war memoirs, these letters show Milligan's talent raw and unvarnished - irreverent, often brazen, sometimes cutting, frequently outrageous - a reflection of his complex personality.

Spike Milligan: Man of Letters presents a rich selection of the funniest and most revealing of his missives - most of which have never been seen before. It includes correspondence with the most famous politicians, actors, celebrities and rock stars of his day, and takes the reader behind the scenes in his wrangles with producers, publishers, editors and his impervious manager-agent.

It also includes letters to a host of unlikely individuals on some surprising subjects: rounded teabags ('what did you do with the corners?'), backless hospital gowns ('beyond my comprehension'), heartfelt apologies ('pardon me for being alive') and the pressing issue of the imbalance of male and female ducks in London's parks.

Here, then, is the real Spike: obsessive, rude, generous and relentlessly witty.

Spike Milligan (1918-2002) was one of the greatest and most influential comedians of the twentieth century. Over the course of his astonishing career, he wrote over eighty books of fiction, poetry, plays, cartoons, children's stories and his unique war memoirs.

Norma Farnes was Spike Milligan's agent, manager, mother confessor and friend for thirty-six years. Her books include Spike: An Intimate Memoir, Memories of Milligan and Milligan's Meaning of Life.


I am drawn to vegan and vegetarian recipes so I pounced on this new acquisition.

Experience the true taste of morocco with these delicious aromatic vegetarian and vegan casseroles. Fragrantly spiced and comforting, tagines are easy to prepare and sure to satisfy at every occasion. And prepared without meat (and often without dairy, too) they are not only economical, but also one of the best ways to enjoy seasonal produce. In this collection of authentic Moroccan recipes, you will find some of the bestloved tagines, from Lighter Tagines, such as Roasted Cherry Tomato Tagine with Feta and Preserved Lemon or Roasted Pear, Fig and Walnut Tagine with Fennel, to Hearty Tagines including Roasted Sweet Potato Tagine with Ginger, Cinnamon and Honey or Spicy Carrot Tagine with Chickpeas, Turmeric and Coriander. Along with the tagines, you will find recipes for it's traditional accompaniment, couscous, prepared in a variety of exciting ways, as well as recipes for appetizers and other dishes to serve alongside. Create your own aromatic feast, worthy of any Moroccan kitchen.


OK I will own up, I have not read The Secret History. I surely must have tried and failed.  I am going to give this one a go though;it has rave reviews,

Aged thirteen, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, largely absent father, survives an accident that otherwise tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. He is tormented by an unbearable longing for his mother, and down the years clings to the thing that most reminds him of her: a small, strangely captivating painting that ultimately draws him into the criminal underworld. As he grows up, Theo learns to glide between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love - and his talisman, the painting, places him at the centre of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling power. Combining unforgettably vivid characters and thrilling suspense, it is a beautiful, addictive triumph - a sweeping story of loss and obsession, of survival and self-invention, of the deepest mysteries of love, identity and fate.


This one features home interiors. Well we all like peeking into other people's interiors don't we? If the book impresses me I shall report back.  I have to admit that the name Orla drew me as it is an Irish name I like.

Internationally renowned designer Orla Kiely describes her career as 'a journey in pattern and colour'. Her distinctive palette, and graphic and stylized motifs in clean repeat constructions, have won her devoted fans across the world, and have helped to turn, what began as a small British business designing bags, into a global fashion, accessories and homeware brand.

Following the success of her first book Pattern, Home opens the door on Orla's own house, looks at a series of British, Irish and Scandinavian case studies - all beautifully photographed by Richard Powers - reveals the mid-century modern items that have inspired her work and tracks the creation of her homeware range including furniture, textiles, wallpaper and ceramics.

Over many years I have read every one of Phil Rickman's books and can highly recommend them. I admit that because he lives locally many of the areas he describes are known to me (even if they are disguised or changed somewhat) which makes a good tale even better. This time the town is Hay-on- Wye, one of my favourites and is not disguised at all.  Merrily Watkins is a much-loved character of mine, she will appeal to you if you like mysteries with a touch of the supernatural.

A man's body is found below a waterfall. It looks like suicide or an accidental drowning - until DI Frannie Bliss enters the dead man's home. What he finds there has him consulting Merrily Watkins, the Diocese of Hereford's official advisor on the paranormal.

It's nearly forty years since the town of Hay-on-Wye was declared an independent state by its self-styled king. A development seen at the time as a joke. But the pastiche had a serious side. And behind it, unknown to most of the townsfolk, lay a darker design, a hidden history of murder and ritual magic, the relics of which are only now becoming visible.

It's a situation that will take Merrily Watkins - on her own for the first time in years and facing public humiliation over a separate case - to the edge of madness.


I am always excited when I see the library service have bought a new book of poems. This time I have high hopes. Again, I shall report back, watch this space.

The Visitations is the new book of poems by Kathryn Simmonds, the follow-up to her Forward Prize-winning debut, Sunday at the Skin Launderette. As with her previous collection, an appealing voice prevails, though this simplicity is something of a veil, through which the author, with subtle shifts of language and perspective, manages to imply darker themes and worlds unseen. The tone is often simultaneously satirical and elegiac and the collection abounds with sudden moments of strange illumination: a lime tree strikes up a conversation; a life coach finds an old passport; an infant teeters on the brink of speech. Here are poems where the physical and metaphysical meet, where questions of new motherhood are set against those of faith, and the larger conundrum of how to live.

Would you like a taster of her poetry? Here is an 'old' poem of Kathryn's which I found by chance on a blog called Eyewear.  I like the poem a lot. Quite by chance there is a comment on it from the late, much missed poet Dave King. Synchronicity again. ....

The World Won’t Miss you for a While
Lie down with me you hillwalkers and rest,
untie your boots and separate your toes,
ignore the compass wavering north/north west.

Quit trailing through the overcrowded streets
with tinkling bells, you child of Hare Krishna.
Hush. Unfurl your saffron robes. How sweet

the grass. And you, photographer of wars,
lie down and cap your lens. Ambassador,
take off your dancing shoes. There are no laws

by which you must abide oh blushing boy
with Stanley knife, no county magistrates
are waiting here to dress you down: employ

yourself with cutting up these wild flowers
as you like. Sous chef with baby guinea fowl
to stuff, surveillance officer with hours

to fill, and anorexic weighing up a meal,
lie down. Girl riding to an interview,
turn back before they force you to reveal

your hidey holes. Apprentice pharmacist,
leave carousels of second generation
happy pills. The long term sad. And journalist

with dreams, forget the man from Lancashire
who lost his tongue, the youth who found it,
kept it quivering in a matchbox for a year.
Kathryn Simmonds
BBC Radio 4's Poetry Please is the longest-running broadcast of verse anywhere in the world. First aired in 1979, the programme, a request show which broadcasts to two million listeners a week, has become a unique record of the country's best-loved poems over the decades since its inception.

The BBC has looked back through its rich archive of recordings to produce a poll of the most asked for and most broadcast pieces ever: it is those poems that this anthology brings together here. A showcase, in effect, for the nation's favourite verse, Poetry Please is a treasure trove for our most requested and most listened to poems of all time. It is a compelling invitation for readers of all ages and backgrounds to celebrate the verse that we care so much about: from new readers to old, from schools to reading groups, this a book for giving, a book for cherishing.

I peeked inside this book on mindfulness on Amazon and liked what I saw.

This ground-breaking book explores the theoretical, clinical and training application of integrating mindfulness with all of the arts therapies, and includes cutting-edge contributions from neuroscience. Written by pioneers and leaders in the arts therapies and psychology fields, the book includes 6 sections that examine mindfulness and the arts therapies from different perspectives: 1) the history and roots of mindfulness in relation to spirituality, psychotherapy and the arts therapies; 2) the role of the expressive arts in cultivating mindful awareness; 3) innovative approaches that add mindfulness to the arts therapies; 4) arts therapies approaches that are inherently mindfulness-based; 5) mindfulness in the training and education of arts therapists; and 6) the neuroscience underlying mindfulness and the arts therapies. Contributors describe their pioneering work with diverse applications: people with cancer, trauma, chronic pain, substance abuse, severe mental illness, clients in private practice, adolescents at camp, training dance and art therapists, and more. This rich resource will inspire and rejuvenate all clinicians and educators.


At last!  -  you are probably thinking, if you have got this far.

There's an epidemic sweeping the nation
Symptoms include:

*Acute embarrassment at the mere notion of 'making a fuss'
*Extreme awkwardness when faced with any social greeting beyond a brisk handshake
*An unhealthy preoccupation with meteorology

Doctors have also reported several cases of unnecessary apologising, an obsessive interest in correct queuing etiquette and dramatic sighing in the presence of loud teenagers on public transport. If you have experienced any of these symptoms, you may be suffering from VERY BRITISH PROBLEMS.

VERY BRITISH PROBLEMS are highly contagious. There is no known cure.

Rob Temple's hilarious new book, inspired by the incredible @soverybritish Twitter phenomenon, reveals all the ways in which we are a nation of socially awkward but well-meaning oddballs, struggling to make it through every day without apologising to an inanimate object. Take comfort in misfortunes of others. You are not alone.

Well that's it. Congratulations if you have read this far.

If you can bear it I have also blogged next door with some local photos.

Bye for now,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,

PS  What are you reading?