Book review: Body & Soul by John Harvey

Posted in Authors, Books with tags , , , , , on April 19, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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William Heinemann [Published 19th April 2018]

“When his estranged daughter Katherine appears on his doorstep, ex-Detective Frank Elder knows that something is wrong. Katherine has long been troubled, and Elder has always felt powerless to help her. But now Katherine has begun to self-destruct. The breakdown of her affair with a controversial artist has sent her into a tailspin which culminates in murder.”

So the blurb goes on the final of the Frank Elder novels (I have only read ‘Flesh & Blood’ in this series to date and intend to read the rest of the Elder novels), which I have to say was even more enjoyable than ‘Flesh & Blood’ and that takes some doing. Why? Because John Harvey has the knack of drawing you into the various subplots – here we have Elder’s daughter Katherine caught up in the murder of an artist, an escaped convict and how Elder himself is coping with being of the force and trying to connect with his daughter – and rounding out his characters to make you believe the story even more. Elder is quick to temper and wade into situations, but for all his faults he has a sense of justice. Even though retired from the force, he seems to be involved in his local police force.

It is a real shame the Elder series is finished now but it finishes with one of Harvey’s best books to date. If you have yet to try John Harvey you won’t be disappointed, if like me you enjoy the novels of Ian Rankin and Mark Billingham.

 

Big summer ahead for Stoke City…

Posted in Football, football transfers, News, Stoke City FC, The Premiership with tags , , , , , , on April 9, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Zouma, Stafylidis and Jese loans end and they will return to their respective clubs, whilst we will have returning loanees Imbula, Bojan and Muniesa. Of those if we are relegated I am sure we will look to loan or sell Imbula. Jacob Haugaard, Glen Johnson and Charlie Adam are all out of contract in the summer, plus Stephen Ireland’s short term contract expires in June. That will be seven out of the squad for starters – can’t see us offering contracts to any of these four.

Then if/when we are relegated we will lose Shaqiri, Joe Allen and Jack Butland plus looks like Badou Ndiaye will be off and Ramadan Sobhi.

Does leave a big rebuilding job for whoever is in charge come the summer (I do think Paul Lambert will be kept on) and hopefully the likes of Grant, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Cameron, Diouf and Bauer will stay, plus Crouch and even Darren Fletcher could prove better at Championship level. That leaves the flops like Berahino and Wimmer to deal with as well, plus Afellay will surely be on his way given recent events. The positive is the decent batch of younger players we have including Tyrese Campbell, Tom Edwards and Sorenson.

Whatever league we end up in next season it will require a massive squad overhaul and rebuilding, which has been long overdue and one of the reasons why we have struggled this season with an unbalanced squad.

RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch 2018

Posted in birdlife, Didcot, Family life, TV, wildlife with tags , , , , , , , on April 3, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

The house sparrow was the most popular bird seen on this year’s RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch (BGBW) and that was the top spot when me and my son did our bit for the BGBW. Not far behind though were blue tits and long-tailed tits in numbers spotted.

Interesting article on how to help encourage wildlife in your garden here.

Gibraltar 1-0 Latvia

Posted in Football, Gibraltar, News with tags , , , , , on March 26, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Gibraltar had only their second win since becoming a UEFA nation – and their first win since being accepted as a FIFA nation – with the one nil win over Latvia. The win will move them off the bottom of the FIFA rankings where they are currently joint 206th i.e. bottom. Notts County’s Liam Walker scored the late winner. They start their European Championship qualifying campaign against Macedonia on September 6th.

MARK STAY new book…

Posted in Authors, Books, News with tags , , , , on March 20, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Happy days! I just hit 50% FUNDED on THE END OF MAGIC! In the words of the poet, ‘Woah, we’re halfway there, woa-oh, we’re livin’ on a prayer!’

Huge thanks and big love to everyone who’s pledged so far. It’s incredible to me to think that we’ve come so far in just a few weeks.
As a treat (punishment?) here’s a quick extract of me reading from THE END OF MAGIC

I apologise in advance for the Scots accent. a) The character was written that way, and b) I’m an old ham and can’t help myself.

To pledge and support THE END OF MAGIC, click here: https://unbound.com/books/end-of-magic/

Glandular fever #11 – living with it longer term

Posted in Family life, Glandular fever, News with tags , , , on March 16, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

I was diagnosed with glandular fever back in October 2016, after a bad bout of tonsillitis. Since then I have recovered gradually with the odd relapse, although each one is only for a short time. I do now however have a red itchy patches on the left of my neck and at the top of my thighs, plus now under my left arm pit (itchy, white scaly patches) which causes a dull ache there and bizarrely down the top of my arm. It does appear to get worse if I am either stressed or enjoying something i.e. if my body balance veers from normal. One other very anti-social lasting effect has been copious amounts of wind! I am not sure if any others who have had GF/mono have had similar issues? Do get in touch if you have and any remedies you may have.

It does appear that GF/mono can linger longer in some for whatever reason and recovery times can be much slower the older you get. However, keep positive as you will recover J

Mark Hughes appointed Southampton manager until end of the season

Posted in Football, News, Stoke City FC with tags , , , , on March 15, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Mark Hughes, sacked by Stoke City after four and half years in charge, has been appointed Southampton manager until the end of the season – eight Premier League games plus the FA Cup QF this weekend away at Wigan. Previous clubs who appointed a manager for such a short time didn’t fare well – Hull (Dowie) and Newcastle (Shearer).

With West Brom all but relegated, the remaining two relegation places look to be between us, Palace, West Ham (the only PL club to have shipped more goals than us this season), Huddersfield and Southampton. Swansea could get dragged in again especially if the FA Cup proves a distraction and we play them away on the final game of this season, with Crystal Palace our final home game of the season the week before.