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Dig for victory

A book meme ganked off liadtbunny, and general rambling about life, the universe and everything stuff.

1. Can you remember the first book you read?

No. Haven't got a clue what it was. It was almost certainly a Ladybird. We had a whole learning-to-read set at home, ranging from one-word-per-page picture books, to complicated proper reading books, all featuring the hilariously dated Peter and Jane. Peter used to help Father to fix the car, whilst Jane was helping Mother to bake cakes. The seventies: land of equality!

2. What was the last book (electronic or otherwise) you read?

I could lie, and claim that it was something hefty and worthy, but it was actually The Rescue Of Ker, by Sheila K. McCullough. It was one of my first proper school reading books, and I adored it as a five-ish year old, and following a conversation on LJ the other day, I looked it up on Amazon. It was for sale second-hand (for one pence!), so I bought it, and it arrived today. It was very good.

3. Do you read for enjoyment, work or both?


4. What is your favorite genre of book to read?

One with words in it. I don't know. I like adventures primarily, but I don't much mind what sort. I probably favour fantasy, but really anything that's one step removed from reality, so anything that isn't set in a recognisable modern England. Why read what you can see out of the window?

5. If you could visit your younger self, what book would you tell yourself to steer clear of?

I might suggest not wasting however long it was in a valiant attempt to get through Moby Dick. Or possibly to skip the last-but-one book that I read. It was called The Iron Will Of Shoeshine Cats, and claimed to be about a nerdy bookworm who accidentally became a gangster. The sales pitch was infinitely better than the plot.


Elsewhere, life is pretty non-stop at the moment, so if I've missed anything important, I apologise. My mother has just acquired an allotment, which had been left fallow for several years, so has accumulated all the weeds in the world. Naturally it's my job to dig them all out! In between times I've also been painting (rooms, not works of art), so I am largely mud-covered, and speckled in green. On the plus side, the allotment comes with in-situ strawberry and raspberry plants. I have strawberry bushes anyway, but the more the merrier, and these are a different variety. On the less tasty front, I have discovered a new nemesis, in the shape of something called coltsfoot. It's largely taken over the allotment, along with madly spreading buttercups, which are clearly its best friend. Coltsfoot has friendly-looking leaves, but beneath them lurk roots that go all the way down to Australia. And I thought digging up dandelions was difficult...

Elsewhere elsewhere, I have begun to watch Laramie again. I am most familiar with the colour episodes, and have previously only managed to see about half of the black and white ones, since the Beeb only showed the colour ones when I was a kid. The black and white ones are probably better though. Laramie is a great show. Moody, monosyllabic drifter Jess Harper moves in with genial, nine-foot-tall rancher Slim Sherman, and together they set the world to rights. The plots are your usual late fifties affairs, with dastardly bad guys and heroic good guys, but it makes a good stab at being nice to the native tribes, and standing up for other minorities, if occasionally ham-fistedly. And Jess Harper is awesomeness personified. I don't know if it was because he was small, dark, moody and anti-social (ie: me, but cool and heroic), but I latched on to him in a major way as a kid. You probably wouldn't want to know him in real life though. He seems to have an endless supply of old "friends", fond of turning up for a visit, most of whom are psychotic, or inevitably bound for a tragic ending.

Other cast members of Laramie, at least to begin with, are spiky old-timer Jonesy, and Slim's fourteen year old brother Andy, who manages to be a child on television, and yet not remotely irritating. Neither gets in the way of Slim and Jess being so slashy that they make Cody and Nick over on Riptide look positively straight.

Oh, and one of the early episodes guest-starred Nanette Fabray! That was nice. I don't know how well-known she is now, but she was quite the personality in the fifties. Significantly hearing-impaired, she generally had to work by lip-reading. Didn't prevent her from singing like an angel though. Inevitably for a singer of that era, I know her from a TV special that she did with Dean Martin. She was very funny. And, remarkably for a singer of that era, she's still alive. Wiki says that her niece is married to BJ from M*A*S*H. I wonder if she often muses over the fact that he's just not as good as Trapper?

I'm waffling, aren't I. Sorry. Laramie is good though. I love how every other episode seems to culminate in Jess scrapping with three guys all at least a head taller than him. Like Michael Landon, Robert Fuller started out as a stuntman, and could put on a hell of a fight. And now I want to watch Bonanza again too. Seriously, those fight scenes are a joy to watch! Damned shame they never got to fight each other.

And now I'm waffling about stuntmen again, aren't I. Sorry. Shutting up now!


( 16 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
May. 29th, 2016 04:29 am (UTC)
no title
Yup. Totally not slashy at all :)
May. 29th, 2016 12:32 pm (UTC)
Ah yes, there they are. Nick and Cody, the very image of heterosexuality. :D
May. 29th, 2016 05:12 am (UTC)
Aw, I'm glad you found the Sheelagh McCullagh again! And good luck with the allotment - no wonder you've been busy.
May. 29th, 2016 12:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the conversation that triggered it! I don't feel like trying a Village With Three Corners book again, but "The Rescue Of Ker" was fun to revisit.
May. 29th, 2016 10:33 am (UTC)
He seems to have an endless supply of old "friends", fond of turning up for a visit, most of whom are psychotic, or inevitably bound for a tragic ending.

That's so true of every single 50/60/70s Western series! That I've seen, anway. Big Valley? Bonanza? The High Chaparral? Every 'old friend' and random acquaintance was doomed or bonkers...or both. Especially if there was a chance of marriage. :oD

The allotment sounds great, though a lot of hard work. Say hello to the psasing kangaroos and koalas.

I'm stealing your book meme too. Just FYI. *has no shame*
May. 29th, 2016 12:37 pm (UTC)
All old shows are like that, aren't they! Everybody's friends dying all over the place, or popping up out of the woodwork looking for revenge. It's just that Jess Harper has a mean-and-moody past, and a fair few Wanted posters in his closet, so he seems to have more dodgy mates than most. And yes, never fall in love with a cowboy on the telly! You'll never make it to the end credits. :D

All memes are intended for stealing. That's the point. :)
May. 29th, 2016 11:51 am (UTC)
More gardening! You seem to live a life where people harass you constantly to do their gardening. I'm glad the allotment has strawberry plants in it and, my fave, raspberries!

Books with words - crazy - you don't need words! 'Ned the Lonely Donkey' was my fave ladybird book. It was dead sad until he made a friend.
May. 29th, 2016 12:45 pm (UTC)
I had that one. My favourite was "Tootles The Taxi", a collection of rhymes about various vehicles.

I'm Flashy the fire engine, off to a blaze
I'll put the fire out, while folk stop and gaze
Dashing through busy streets, clanging my bell
Carrying hosepipes, and firemen as well.

I love how the firemen sound like a bit of an afterthought. :)
May. 30th, 2016 12:10 pm (UTC)
Lol! Flashy is as flashy does;) My ladybirds weren't quite so fast paced.
May. 29th, 2016 01:41 pm (UTC)
Definitely relate to struggling through Moby Dick. I had to read it for school. Never again. *heavy sighs*

Laramie! <333
Ah, I didn't know Nanette Fabray was hearing impaired! My grandmother always liked her a lot and is happy when she turns up in things. :D
May. 29th, 2016 04:52 pm (UTC)
IIRC she was pretty much deaf in one ear, but not quite so bad in the other. It was something that happened when she was young. She became an advocate for deaf/hearing impaired rights later. I guess she was able to sing so well because of being able to hear to begin with.
May. 29th, 2016 05:15 pm (UTC)
Ah. Very cool and interesting.
May. 29th, 2016 02:41 pm (UTC)
The allotment sounds like a lot of work ... but yeah ... berries!
May. 29th, 2016 04:51 pm (UTC)
Sometimes hard work is worth it. :)
May. 29th, 2016 09:54 pm (UTC)
Peter & Jane! hahaha! I remember them!

I had to google Coltsfoot as I've not heard of it before, it is apparently a medical herb as well as a weed! The flowers are quite pretty like Dandylions but not!

May. 30th, 2016 04:09 am (UTC)
Yes, they flower earlier than dandelions apparently, so I've missed the flowers. This also means that they've already seeded themselves, so presumably I shall have round two in my battle against them later in the year!

( 16 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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