Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare.

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

Much Ado About Nothing

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amusing romantic gossip and goings on in Messina- women trying to snare their men; men trying to escape, then succumbing:

‘When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I were married’
-Much Ado About Nothing, Act 2 Scene 3

The BBC Radio dramatisation of this Shakespeare comedy , with David Tennant and Emilia Fox is excellent.

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Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie.

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book will stay with me for a long time. We hear about freedom fighters on the news- young British Muslims going off to fight the jihad and the horrors this involves, but the huge reality of the consequences and the devastation on themselves and their families is often not comprehended . Kamila Shamsie goes right to the heart of this in succinct, no-nonsense prose. Direct, matter of fact and hard hitting. The words smacked you in the face before you realised what had happened. Enjoyed it? Maybe not. However I was deeply moved.

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The House Share by Kate Helm

The House Share: Seven housemates. Seven lies. Would you dare to join?

The House Share: Seven housemates. Seven lies. Would you dare to join? by Kate Helm

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Always been a bit nervous of house shares with strangers. You never know the hidden depths of your house mates. Now I know I was right to be cautious. Who is your friend and who don’t you trust? Dark secrets and a social experiment keep the pace moving in this psychological narrative.

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A Very English Scandal by John Preston.

A Very English Scandal: Sex, Lies, and a Murder Plot at the Heart of the Establishment by John Preston

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Very English Scandal: Sex, Lies and a Murder Plot at the Heart of the Establishment

I grew up in the seventies and remember hearing about the Jeremy Thorpe trial on the six 0’clock news. Liberal politician Jeremy Thorpe was accused of hiring Andrew Newton to murder Norman Scott, whom Jeremy Thorpe had been having a sexual relationship with, when homosexuality was still illegal. Scott had spent many years trying to reveal his sexual relationship with Mr Thorpe, contributing to Mr Thorpe’s loss of leadership of the Liberal party. The case came to trial at the Old Bailey in 1979, where Thorpe was eventually acquitted of conspiracy to murder.
The British Establishment at it’s worst, portrayed very well by John Preston.

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The Secret Gospel of Mary Magdalene by Michele Roberts

The Secret Gospel of Mary Magdalene by Michèle Roberts

This was the story of Jesus from A woman’s perspective. It’s also about Mary Magdalene’s relationship with Jesus. It is a book of revelation, that embraces a different aspect of Christianity- women are equal with men and their spirituality is recognised and celebrated.
I have read this over the Easter weekend, which felt quite apt. Putting aside any Christian beliefs, I love the old and new Testaments for the wonderful stories that they are and I always enjoy stories re- worked from the woman’s viewpoint. I really enjoyed this.

The Dig by John Preston.

The Dig

The Dig by John Preston

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Dig is based on the true story of a hugely consequential 1939 archaeological excavation of ancient mounds, on the property of Edith Pretty, at Sutton Hoo, Suffolk, England. I spent more time checking actual events than reading the book and following various archaeological blogs and Twitter sites. No prizes for guessing where my next road trip will be.

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Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the making of a Modern Royal Family by Omid Scobie.

Finding Freedom by Omid Scobie

Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family by Omid Scobie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Continuing my current Royal phase… this book is Meghan’s and Harry’s journey, form first date up to 2020.
I am a Royalist. I read this in the light of the recent Oprah interview with Meghan. Although I am not a Meghan fan, there is no denying Harry’s devotion to his wife- above all else. I think we can all get wrapped up in the media moral frenzy of Meghan knew what she was marrying into, so don’t try and change it and certainly don’t complain. But Harry loves his wife and is devoted to his family. He saw what happened to his mother and didn’t want the same for his wife. He wants his wife to be happy so did what he needed to. I’m still not a Meghan fan, but the author made me think from another angle.

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Lentil soup.

From my mum’s recipe book today it is all about cheap, nourishing meals. My mum was the youngest of fourteen children and she was brought up through the Second World war and subsequent rationing. My grandmother had to feed the kids nutritious meals on a very tight budget. so here is my granny/ mum’s recipe for lentil soup. I now cook it for my family in the soup pan passed down and used by three generations of women for over a hundred years. That pan and this recipe is part of my heritage.

Mothering Sunday.

‘Mothering Sunday was originally a time when people returned to the church, in which they were baptized or where they attended services when they were children. This meant that families were reunited as adults returned to the towns and villages where they grew up. In time, it became customary for young people who were working as servants in large houses, to be given a holiday on Mothering Sunday.’

Mothering Sunday in the United Kingdom (

My dear old mum is eighty eight and gravely ill in hospital. This is the first Mothering Sunday that we have not been together. As a child my dad would walk me to the end of the lane and we would buy a bunch of daffodils from a bucket outside one of the big houses. These would be proudly presented to mum.

One of the things I have inherited from my mum is a love of baking. Saturday morning was always baking day as I was growing up. So to ease the pain of not being able to visit her and sit with her in these Covid times, I thought it would be nice to share recipes from her book- a recipe a day.

Starting with a childhood favourite: Raisin and nut cake. Glaced with pink icing!

Happy Mothering Sunday Mum!