That’s one off the bucket list but not how I intended.

For a long time one of the things I have wanted to do is visit the Glasgow School of Art.  I have loved the works of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and also the works of his wife.  This year we are off for a holiday to Scotland and we will be spending five days close to Glasgow with the intention of having time to see the many things on offer in Glasgow and surrounds.  Top of my list was the Glasgow School of Art.

As you are no doubt aware that is now not going to be possible as the School suffered severe damage as the result of a fire, the second fire in four years.

The building was being restored after the previous fire when this fire occurred.


I will still be able to visit the Willow Tea Rooms

(Image courtesy of Willow Tea Rooms Trust)

but I am so disappointed that I will not see the School of Art  building in all its glory.  I was particularly looking forward to visiting the library.

If we get to Dundee we will be able to go to the new V&A museum there.  They are installing a section of the tearoom Mackintosh designed for The Ingram Street Tearooms which was destroyed in 1971 but part of the interior was rescued and put into storage by the Glasgow Museum. The Dundee V&A museum opens on 18th September so we might be able to squeeze in a visit on our return south after visiting Shetland.

I mentioned that I also was interested in the works of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s wife, Margaret Macdonald.

Hopefully we will be able to see aspects of their work in the various museums and galleries in Glasgow.

I might also mention that there is some street art to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Charles Rennie Mackintosh so we can visit that.


Good neighbours

We were sad to say farewell to our good neighbour who left for Melbourne this morning.

He has been our neighbour for about six years and we have thoroughly enjoyed his company and the company of his partner during this time.  We will miss them.

Hopefully we will be able to catch up with them when we are down in Melbourne in the future.

We are so lucky to have had good neighbours who we consider good friends.

My book titles for May.

A bit of variety this month.  I have managed a few as my other activities have been somewhat curtailed.  I am slowly building up my Reading Challenge total.

This House of Grief by Helen Garner :This book is about the death of children.  The death by drowning of three young boys at the hand of their father was truly tragic and created much speculation when the event occurred here in Australia. Helen Garner describes the court scene vividly and you can feel the anguish of all those present. A sobering read.

12th of Never by James Patterson : A really easy read but what my dad would have called “a penny dreadful”.

15th Affair by James Patterson :  Another really easy read, certainly not mentally challenging but enjoyable nonetheless.

Vanish by Tess Gerritsen : A thriller with 7 girls on a free “Mexican Tour”. They don’t know it’s going to a whorehouse to “Vanish”.
A nameless, beautiful woman appears to be just another corpse in the morgue. An apparent suicide, she lies on a gurney, awaiting dissection but the corpse opens its eyes.
Very much alive, the woman is rushed to the hospital, where she murders a security guard and seizes hostages . . . one of them a pregnant patient, Jane Rizzoli.
I really enjoyed the fast pace of this thriller.

Cross Country by James Patterson: “When the home of Alex Cross’s longtime friend Ellie Cox is turned into the worst murder scene Alex has ever seen, he is devastated. The destruction leads him to believe that he’s chasing a horrible new breed of killer. As Alex and his girlfriend Brianna Stone begin the hunt for the villain responsible for the killings, they quickly find themselves entangled in the deadly Nigerian underworld of Washington, D.C. What they discover is shocking: a strongly organized gang of teenage thugs headed by a powerful, diabolical man—The Tiger.” from the cover.

Empire State by Henry Porter : “In a world that inspires paranoia on a grand scale, where international agencies show no scruple in hunting down terrorists, Robert Harland must find the link between a sequence of apparently random worldwide events, including the assasination of the head of the US National Security Agency.”

I have read a few books by Henry Porter and thoroughly enjoyed each one.

I know why the caged bird sings by Maya Angelou : “This is a personal account told in the voice of a child. Through the observations of Maya, the child, comes a coming-of-age story – a social record of a young black female growing up in the 1930s. As an historical document ‘Caged Bird’ covers the bigotry, cruelty, oppression and the constant threat of death that constituted daily life in the South.”

A must read.

Jack Maggs by Peter Carey : “An enthralling old-fashioned story about a stranger with a mysterious past arriving in London in the 1800s. Jack Maggs, a foundling trained as a thief, betrayed and deported to a penal colony in Australia, has reversed his fortunes. Under threat of execution he returns to London after twenty years of exile to try to fulfill his well-concealed heart’s desire. Masquerading as a footman, Maggs places himself in the rather eccentric household of Percy Buckle, Esquire. But when the unlikely footman comes under the scrutiny of the brilliant and unscrupulous young novelist Tobias Oates, an enthusiastic dabbler in mesmerism, Maggs’s secrets are revealed and he is forced to take desperate, sometimes violent action. A powerful and unusual homage to Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations, Jack Maggs displays all of Peter Carey’s broad historical and artistic knowledge, his masterful command of character, and his powerful moral vision.”  Absolutely loved this book.   

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz : “In case you were wondering, I didn’t do it. I didn’t have anything to do with Frank’s death. I don’t have an alibi, so you’ll have to take my word for it…

Forty-eight hours after leaving her husband’s body at the base of the stairs, Tanya Dubois cashes in her credit cards, dyes her hair brown, demands a new name from a shadowy voice over the phone, and flees town. It’s not the first time.

She meets Blue, a female bartender who recognizes the hunted look in a fugitive’s eyes and offers her a place to stay. With dwindling choices, Tanya-now-Amelia accepts. An uneasy―and dangerous―alliance is born.

It’s almost impossible to live off the grid today, but Amelia-now-Debra and Blue have the courage, the ingenuity, and the desperation, to try. Hopscotching from city to city, Debra especially is chased by a very dark secret…can she outrun her past?”

A fast paced thriller but unbelievable in parts.

Almost Moon by Alice Sebold : “A woman steps over the line into the unthinkable.

For years Helen Knightly has given her life to others: to her haunted mother, to her enigmatic father, to her husband and now grown children. When she finally crosses a terrible boundary, her life comes rushing in at her in a way she never could have imagined. Unfolding over the next twenty-four hours, this searing, fast-paced novel explores the complex ties between mothers and daughters, wives and lovers, the meaning of devotion, and the line between love and hate.” book jacket

It is a challenging, moving, gripping story.  Confronting.

Whispers of Betrayal by Michael Dobbs : I have read a few of his books and have enjoyed each one. In this one “Colonel Peter Amadeus is an old soldier with a grievance. He wants an apology from the Prime Minister. But this Prime Minister does not believe in apologizing for anything.

For Amadeus it becomes a matter of honour – and retribution. Soon London is a city under siege, its lifelines cut. Then comes his ultimatum: the Prime Minister must resign – or London will be destroyed.

Only one man stands between the capital and disaster – Tom Goodfellowe, a backbench MP who can’t even sort out his own life, let alone save the lives of others. He is a man torn between ambition, honour and love – with the fate of London slipping swiftly through his fingers.”

A fast moving thriller.