Logging into my blog, I realise it has been a fortnight since I last updated, and my reviews before this have been rather infrequent. So, what have I been up to lately?
In the grand tradition of British weather, it has been unpredictable. After about three months of autumn, suddenly, at the end of September and beginning of October, the sun popped its head out from behind its cloudy blankets to give us a surprise week of summer - a week that, defying all tradition, coincided with my week off! I celebrated my birthday with a barbecue in the garden, and then, two days later, hunted out my winter coat, scarf and hat.
My reading has been on the slow side, and the books seem to have been all along the same sorts of lines of British, somewhat surreal comic fantasy or science fiction. My last review was of Rivers of London. After this came a reread of Pratchett's Witches Abroad, The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar - recommended by Neil Gaiman, who wrote the introduction of my edition, with the advice not to lend it out. Oops... Judith has it now. Then came The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Unfortunately, I had not got very far into the book, before I left it behind in a pub. For some reason, it seems to be the right sort of book to do this to - a cult classic, one which will need replacing many times in a lifetime. I trawled through the town's charity shops in search of a replacement, secure in the knowledge that one of them, somewhere, must have a copy. Like I said, it's that sort of book. My faith was rewarded, and I bought it for 50p.
I also watched the film fairly recently, and was inspired by one of the scenes to knit myself a Marvin doll. His personality started to come through before I had even finished sewing him together. I'm keeping a watchful eye on my teddies. I think they are all right, and won't need therapy...
On my week off, I went to Chichester for a couple of days to watch a production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, starring Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton. It was a fantastic show, hilarious, creepy and at times terrifying.
I've just recently got stuck into the second series of Downton Abbey on TV. I missed series 1 the first time around, but recorded it when it was repeated, and watched in the run-up to series 2. I am hooked! I'm loving the escapism into a world very different from my own, and engrossed in the lives of both the family Upstairs and, even more so, the servants Downstairs. Previously unsympathetic characters are becoming more rounded, the ice-cold Lady Mary is becoming nicer, Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess is, without fail, brilliant. Only former footman Thomas still seems 2-dimensional, but I suspect that his hidden depths will be made known as the series goes along.
Do you remember me reviewing a book called Wight Moon: Out of the Shadows a little while back? It's a self-published book by a friend of mine, a local author, about a community of vampires on the Isle of Wight. I've spent the last few weeks editing book 2 for her, and I can reveal that this one is even better than the last, full of mystery and suspense that kept me glued to the screen long after I'd promised myself "one more chapter." There's a plotline that feels like a classic gothic novel, expansion of Elaine's version of vampire lore, and secrets come to light about the characters we thought we knew. Excellent stuff, and I can't wait to read book 3.