30 April 2010

Inspired by La Chat Noir...

My first reading!
Originally uploaded by Nancy Dunne
(who, by the way, is positively lovely and should be followed on Twitter and by way of her blog by the same name!)

This is a list of the top 100 best-loved novels as complied by the BBC in 2003 as a part of their "BigRead." How many have you read? I'm going to make it a late New Year's Res to read all the ones from here that I haven't already...the ones I've read will be marked with bold type.

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien

26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

29 April 2010

Happy Gotcha Day, Bean.

Is there a problem?
Originally uploaded by Nancy Dunne
10 years ago today I came home from a workshop to find a spooky little blond girl in the back of a crate in my basement. I opened the door and sat down outside, and in a few minutes the most beautiful greyhound I'd ever seen walked slowly out of the crate and put her face into my collarbone and sighed. Finally, she seemed to be saying, you're here to take care of me. A year ago I arrived in a new country, and the same blond girl hobbled over to me, sank her beautiful face into my shoulder, and sighed. Finally, I'm tired and I hurt, but you're here to take care of me.

Happy Gotcha Day, my Bridge Angel. I miss you.


26 April 2010

Hello from the St George's Day festival!

As seen over at Touring Old Blighty, this is "Travels with Daisy, Part Two."

This installment really centers on the great days out you can find by checking on the market schedules in whichever part of the UK you're visiting.

This past weekend, Simon, Daisy and I had a fantastic time at the St. George's Day festival/market right here in Keighley. For those that aren't familiar, St. George is the patron saint of England, slayer of dragon and saviour of fair maiden (that was set up as a sacrifice to said dragon). On our lovely church green in the town centre was set up a market, demonstrations of medevial life/crafts/swordplay and food! We took Daisy with us and she was a star yet again, handling the crowd like a champ. We were also excited to check out the finished products from the Shorn Keighley project, where local artists painted sheep statues in honor of the rich history of the wool trade in this part of the country. It reminds me of the painted bulldogs in Athens, GA at the University of Georgia (go DAWGS! Sorry, Dave.).

While there are many attractions in the UK that will permit dogs (far more than in the US, I must admit), if you have a gorgeous day in England you should definitely take advantage of the weather and get out to some of the outdoor markets. You won't be disappointed, and you may find a treasure or two along the way. If you're lucky enough to be in the UK in the springtime, outdoor markets and festivals/faires are an absolute must because the weather is sunny but not boiling and all the plants are in bloom.

The next installment of Travels with Daisy will be a trip to Skipton this Friday that we've been trying to accomplish for two weeks now...fingers crossed the rain stays away!! We will be cruising the Skipton open market and hopefully heading up to Skipton Castle, which is a dog friendly attraction.

21 April 2010

Lazy Days

Mills loves the gas fire...
Originally uploaded by Nancy Dunne
There's not a lot to report here at the Lettuce. Work continues as whateverisnormal for where I work. The house continues to not only NOT sell but NOT attract any potential buyers. Daisy continues to need a place to run full tilt and I continue to not have any options in that department. The weather continues to be weird and ever so chilly, and Mills continues to worship at the Gas Fire Altar most nights when I can sneak in and light it.

And speaking of the weather, one thing that seems to not be continuing is the ban on flights in and out of UK airspace...well, down south anyway. I think airports in my end of the country have been open since sometime yesterday, but I wouldn't swear to that. However, since the majority of the flights come through the London airports, that's what is getting the media attention.

Sorry, I need to take a second to remove my tongue from my cheek. It's painful.

There are lots of things that I just don't get about British/European life, but this week's drama with the airlines over the volcanic ash that grounded flights has me puzzled on many fronts, not the least of which being the overwhelming amount of whinging going on on television, radio and newspapers from people whose flights are grounded.

Oh, sorry, whinging=whining.

Really? I get that it's a first class pain when your travel plans are interrupted...when I lived in West Virginia for that one LONG year, there were plenty of times that I had to re-arrange my plans because there were no planes going anywhere near Charleston's airport (usually if someone suspected that there was a vague notion that there could possibly be something that slightly resembled frozen precipitation). But at the same time, I'm so very attached to the fact that I'm still alive that I had to be okay with the cancellations and delays. Give me stuck in an airport over dead next to a smoking pile of melted airplane engine any day.

Another bit that I don't get is the fact that UK travellers are being "rescued" from places that are accessible by train or car, but not from places that are, let's say, across an ocean like the US. It isn't the "why aren't they getting folks onto boats from the US, etc., and back to the UK" part I don't get...boat=slow, I got that part. But why are we sending boats to Spain? Isn't it connected by rail to France, which is further connected to the UK by train and ferry?

I know that on some level I should keep my mouth shut on this because I'm not stranded anywhere and none of my plans were disrupted by the volcano. (But now that I mention it, why doesn't this happen when I'm on holiday in the states?) But that leads me to the third thing I don't get...why has there been little to no coverage of what's going on in Iceland as a result of this major occurance? Are there people near the volcano who have lost lives or family or homes due to the eruption? Why are we so quick to worry about our flights and to forget, almost, that the volcano has possibly affected others in far more critical ways?

Much to ponder. I think I'll go turn on the fire.

16 April 2010

Well, it is Friday after all...

This month has been a time of great retrospection in the Dunne household. On 2nd April we celebrated Mills and Daisy's "Daddy Gotcha Day," marking one year from the day when a van pulled up behind our house and deposited four crates with a new pet owner. We wished that H and J were here with us to celebrate and talked about our favourite memories.

On 8th April we celebrated the one year anniversary of my arrival in Keighley, as well as the fact that even if we HAD a car, I could no longer drive legally on my American driver's license. We remembered how I had four checked bags and two pieces of hand luggage, and yet somehow made it from baggage claim to Lou's awaiting car without any of it falling off the trolley. Say what you will, but I am in possession of mad stacking skillz when it comes to luggage.

On 10th April we were quiet and remembered that it had now been a full year since our Jeany Bean left us. We again missed her, wished that she was still with us, and told our favourite stories. There was the one about how many times Simon would spoon feed her water, or the look she would give me when I dared bring her food she didn't like. We reminded Daisy of how she would run up to Jeany in the early days of their relationship, happy and bouncy, only to be backed up by the mere lifting of Jeany's lip.

Soon it will be time to wish my sister a happy...birthday (I won't say how old she is because then the addition of 5 to find how old I'll be on MY birthday would be just too easy, now wouldn't it?) and again to remember my Bean on the same day, for her Gotcha Day was Susan's birthday.

But for now, it's just Friday. The house hasn't sold. My rail pass has expired. We're going shopping tonight and to Nando's in Leeds for dinner after. Daisy is fine, Mills is sassy, and Simon and I are still crossing all appropriate appendages that we'll soon be announcing the countdown to a new Baby Dunne.

Life's not so bad on this Friday. And tomorrow, we'll go to the chippy in the picture there, and we'll do our grocery shopping and all that happens on weekends here in Keighley. Happy weekend, y'all.

07 April 2010

As seen on NERDA's world...My Deaf Family

Check it out, y'all. This is a fantastic idea for a reality show, and it's very well made to boot. Double props to Google for the automatic captioning!!

Upcoming Appearances, 2023

At 742 North, Rock Hill, Fall 2022 So I sat down the other day and looked at my travel calendar for this year. Whew! There is a lot coming u...