HelenEdith's Blog

The minutiae of my life, plus website updates and book reviews

Website Update: Chislehurst Fireworks, November 6th, 2010

Posted by HelenEdith on November 8, 2010

Fireworks from the 2010 Chislehurst Display

Fireworks from the 2010 Chislehurst Display

I’ve been remiss about maintaining this blog recently, but I’ve got something to say for once! I actually took my camera out and took some photos at our local fireworks display and I’ve uploaded them to my website: Helen Stephenson’s Chislehurst Rotary Fireworks Pictures, 6th November 2010

Contrary to what you might believe from looking at the picture above, the fireworks were not all one colour: in fact I think I saw one of the best colour ranges I’ve ever seen. I could link to a few of the pictures here, but it’s late, so you’ll have to click on the link to my website if you want to see the rest. 🙂

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Book Review: Mary Lynn Baxter – Sweet Justice

Posted by HelenEdith on May 22, 2010

This is romantic fiction, but with a proper plot besides “girl meets boy” to make it a worthwhile read.

Kate Colson is a young judge who is running for re-election in Texas. She had an illegitimate daughter eighteen years before: a fact which is not in the public domain, but which seems likely to come out as her opponents look for anything to use against her.

Kate herself wants to know more about the circumstances of her daughter’s adoption and hires a private investigator to try and find out what happened. The father wasn’t quite the upstanding son that his parents expected him to be; and has grown into a man cut from rather shady cloth. However, he has followed his father into the preaching business – and business it is – and not very well carried out business at that.

The private investigator has a conflict of interest as he is also working for someone who is backing one of Kate’s opponents. This leads to some interesting situations within the book, particularly as he becomes Kate’s romantic interest.

It all gets resolved in the end, although without an entirely happy ending.

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Herald Scotland Cryptic Crossword, Friday 9th April 2010

Posted by HelenEdith on April 10, 2010

I generally do the cryptic crossword in the Herald Scotland on weekdays and Saturdays and I got it all the way out again today with only two references to my favourite Crossword Dictionary for help. 🙂

I liked this one better than the one from Wednesday which I commented on in here as this one had better clues and a better variety of clues. You will appreciate some of the words which are made up of three or four separate parts of their clues when you come to them.

Here’s some spoiler space in case you’re still working on the crossword and you don’t want to see the answers just yet. 😀

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Across

1 Animal showing excessive display of hesitation [5]

OTTER
OTT = Over The Top = excessive display

ER = hesitation

4 Condemns senescent criminal [9]

SENTENCES
Anagram of SENESCENT (Senescent means ageing. I think it was just a handy anagram.)

9 Team’s leader organised athletics’ vehicles [9]

TRANSPORT = vehicles
T = Team’s leader – i.e. the first letter of Team
RAN = organised
SPORT = athletics
Good clue! 😎

10 Belts made from hose [5]

SOCKS – double meaning – hose as in hosiery

11 Signs nothing – people start shooting [5]

OMENS = signs
O = nothing
MEN = people
S = start shooting = i.e. the first letter of shooting
Another good one! 😎

12 A benefit of tennis [9]

ADVANTAGE – not all that cryptic

13 Take over, to experience again accepting point [7]

RELIEVE = take over
RELIVE = experience again… accepting
E = point (of the compass)

15 Ross worried about trouble from ship’s crew [7]

SAILORS = ship’s crew
Anagram of ROSS (because he is worried)
AIL = trouble

17 Contracts arrived during bad snow [7]

NARROWS = contracts
ARRived inserted in
NOWS = bad snow – i.e. an anagram of SNOW

19 Everybody in exam was most lofty [7]

TALLEST = most lofty
TEST = exam
ALL = everybody

21 Bound to accept mistake if scared [9]

TERRIFIED = scared
TIED = bound
ERR = mistake
IF = straight from the clue

23 Thinker, born to rule, reportedly [5]

BRAIN = thinker
B = born
RAIN = homonym of REIGN = to rule

24 Stars’ alternative – working around one [5]

ORION = star
OR = alternative
I = one
ON = working

25 Professional writer gets ban [9]

PROSCRIBE = ban
PRO = professional
SCRIBE = writer (I needed the crossword dictionary to get this part – it jumped straight out of the list as soon as I saw it!)

26 Carries old rushes for disposal [9]

SHOULDERS = carries
anagram of OLD RUSHED (for disposal signifies anagram)

27 Measures footprints [5]

STEPS – double meaning

Down

1 Banned party – alternative is alfresco [7]

OUTDOOR = alfresco
OUT = banned
DO = party
OR = alternative

2 Bank clerk gets hold of artist – very representative [9]

TRAVELLER = representative in the travelling salesman sense
TELLER = bank clerk
RA = artist (the initials stand for Royal Academy, I think)
V = very

3 Got up and started to smell the flowers [5]

ROSES = flowers
ROSE = got up
S = started to Smell

4 Warehousing rates go haywire [7]

STORAGE = warehousing
anagram of RATES GO – they’re haywire!

5 These people invest a different way [7]

NATIVES – anagram of INVEST A (signified by “different way”)

6 Line as set out is indispensable [9]

ESSENTIAL – indispensable
anagram of LINE AS SET (because it’s “out”)

7 Fifty per cent of cost doubled on a drink [5]

COCOA = drink
CO = 50% of COST – i.e. the first half
CO appears a second time, so it’s doubled
A – because the preceding letters are on A

8 Some nurses are nuns [7]

SISTERS – double meaning

14 Excited by energy movement on the borders of Argyll [9]

EMOTIONAL = excited
E = energy
MOTION = movement
AL – the borders of Argyll – i.e. the first and last letters

16 Worker’s work time – time given without limits [9]

OPERATIVE = worker
OP = work
ERA = time
T = time
IVE = given without limits – i.e. without its first and last letters, which is the opposite of the preceding clue
I got as far as OPERA with this one and had to trawl through the crossword dictionary for the rest!

17 Gifts do not make countries [7]

NATIONS = countries
DONATIONS = gifts
DO not so you take DO away

18 What a painter might do for second drink? [7]

STIPPLE – something a painter might do
S = second
TIPPLE = drink

19 Boring change is due to…[7]

TEDIOUS = boring
anagram of IS DUE TO, signified by “change”

20 son supporting cash offers [7]

TENDERS = offers
TENDER = cash, as in legal tender
S = Son supporting, as this is a down clue and the S is at the bottom

22 Animal that’s right at home in house [5]

RHINO = animal
R = right
HO = house
IN = at home

23 Resists cash from the United States [5]

BUCKS = double meaning – resists/Dollars

I don’t know when I’ll get to analyse another of these crosswords. I’ve made myself late for bed and there’s a cavity wall insulation man calling in the morning so I can’t sleep too late to make up for my late night. 😳

Posted in Cryptic Crosswords | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Herald Scotland Cryptic Crossword, Wednesday 7th April 2010

Posted by HelenEdith on April 7, 2010

I generally do the cryptic crossword in the Herald Scotland on weekdays and Saturdays. Today was one of those days when I got it all the way out and only had to refer to my favourite Crossword Dictionary for help with one clue. (That help did enable me to go on and solve the final clue, though! 🙂 )

As I’ve just had a couple of days off and I’m not feeling under too much pressure, I’ve decided to sit down and explain how I came up with my answers.

I’ll just add some spoiler space in case you’re still working on the crossword and you don’t want to see the answers just yet, and then I’m going to explain the whole thing… 😀

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Across

1 Much was written on this once [7]

PAPYRUS – not particularly cryptic, just clever

5 Dialect around the Kremlin? [7]

CITADEL – anagram of DIALECT

9 Prepare to use again in secrecy clearly [7]

RECYCLE – the answer is contained within “secRECY CLEarly”.

10 This posting means trouble in China [7]

MAILING – posting
MING – China of the pottery variety
AIL – trouble

11 No permission for recesses [5]

NOOKS – recesses
NO OKS – no permission

12 Most foolish however? [9]

LEASTWISE – an interesting answer where we join together antonyms of MOST and FOOLISH (namely LEAST and WISE) and come up with a word which means most foolish and also means however. I like it!

13 Convince electors it’s the only way to vote [3,6]

PUT ACROSS – convince
PUT A CROSS – the only way to vote
Nice and topical!

15 Appropriate ceremonial form in speech [5]

RIGHT – appropriate
RITE – ceremonial, which when spoken sounds like RIGHT, which is the RIGHT answer. 🙂

16 Out of such groups one is miserable [5]

SORTS – out of sorts = miserable and groups = SORTS

18 Examination of litmus? [4,5]

TEST PAPER – double meaning

21 Rough site developed in a reasonable way [9]

RIGHTEOUS = anagram of ROUGH SITE – indicated by the word “developed”

24 Country has right to mountain range [5]

RURAL – country, as distinct from city
R – initial letter of Right
URAL – mountain range

25 Perplexing situation for retired cover girl [7]

DILEMMA – perplexing situation
LID – cover – retired presumably clues you in that it’s backwards, but someone might have a better explanation for this part
EMMA – girl

26 It doesn’t make sense but put it in anyway [7]

INANITY – it doesn’t make sense – IT inserted into IN ANY – not the best of clues!

27 Pull out in time [7]

STRETCH – double meaning – pull out or time, particularly as in serving time in prison

28 Poverty led to being irritated [7]

NEEDLED – irritated
NEED – poverty
LED – you don’t have to do anything to this, just put it on the end


Down

1 Mean to cut a vegetable [7]

PARSNIP – vegetable
PAR – mean, as in statistical average
SNIP – to cut

2 Recognise and select [4,3]

PICK OUT – double meaning

3 Bags of hikers [9]

RUCKSACKS – not very cryptic!

4 Brief period of enchantment [5]

SPELL – double meaning

5 They give directions to navigators [9]

COMPASSES – not very cryptic!

6 It isn’t corruption; but it is corruption [5]

TAINT – corruption, which is itself a corruption of IT ISN’T – I like it!

7 In such rain it’s better than walking [7]

DRIVING – what can you say

8 Support for a runner in the St Leger [3,4]

LEG REST – anagram of ST LEGER – and indeed it is a support for a runner

14 He works his fingers to the bone [9]

OSTEOPATH – clever but not that cryptic

15 Journalist’s work needs to be bang on time [9]

REPORTAGE – journalist’s work
REPORT – bang
AGE – time

16 Big steps tried out on board [7]

STRIDES – big steps
anagram of TRIED, signified by “out” in the clue; and wrapped in SS = on board (a Steam Ship)

17 Uniform – and its wearer? [7]

REGULAR – double meaning – the wearer is a regular soldier

19 Not just relating to some [7]

PARTIAL – this is the one I had to trawl the Crossword Dictionary for the answer.
PARTIAL = some
“Not just relating to” apparently means that there is more to the relationship, so you are PARTIAL – if anyone has a better explanation, I’ll be interested.

20 Passed through another station [7]

RELAYED – not very cryptic

22 Persuade an agency girl to start typing [5]

TEMPT – persuade
TEMP – agency girl
T – start of “typing”

23 Issue newly minted coins [5]

SCION – issue, as in offspring
Anagram of COINS, signified by the words “newly minted”

I hope that all made sense!

Posted in Cryptic Crosswords | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Herald Scotland Cryptic Crossword – Mon 05Apr2010 – help needed

Posted by HelenEdith on April 5, 2010

I’m stuck on two answers in today’s Herald Scotland Cryptic Crossword..

Today’s Herald Scotland crossword wasn’t too difficult overall, but I am left with two words that I can’t get.

[spoiler]

I did have recourse to the dictionary for 18 down –

During break call up mum [8]

The answer, when I tracked it down, is RETICENT, which is RENT (break) and CITE (backwards, as call is ‘up’) making mum as in “keep mum”.

I also started looking up the dictionary for 22 down –

Water tower includes a receptacle for pipes [6]

The dictionary started showing a lot of results ending in ING and I suddenly realised before getting as far as ‘T’ that the word was TUBING. I had to think for a moment about why, but a water tower is a TUG – i.e. something which tows in the water, and not a tower with a water tank on top at all 🙂 , and of course a receptacle is a BIN.

[/spoiler]

Anyway, the two that I can’t finish off are these:

4 across – Short skirt pretty girl’s about to make shorter [8]

_ I _ I _ I _ _

8 down – Distribute information for the press [4,3]

_ _ N _ ¦ O _ T

The first letter of 8 down is the last letter of 4 across.

I’m assuming that a short skirt is a MINI and I originally thought that the answer might be MINIMISE, but that didn’t fit with 8 down which is likely to be either HAND OUT or possibly BANG OUT. I can’t think of anything that fits 4 across that ends in either B or H and a dictionary search has proved fruitless. I think “pretty girl’s about” might mean that the last 4 letters of 4 across mean “pretty girl” but need to be arranged backwards to form the rest of the answer to 4 across, but maybe I’ve got the whole thing totally wrong and the word doesn’t even start with MINI.

Help!

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Book Review: Tess Gerritsen – Whistle Blower

Posted by HelenEdith on April 5, 2010

Catherine Weaver is driving to her friend Sarah’s place when Victor Holland runs into the path of her car. She takes him to the nearest hospital and continues on to Sarah’s place, but it appears that she’s got herself caught up in something deadly: so deadly that she finds Sarah dead on her driveway next morning.

Cathy runs for her life – with Victor in tow. They are in this together now! Victor has uncovered something so deadly at work that people will kill to stop it getting out; and Cathy has inadvertently picked up Victor’s evidence.

So begins a mad chase across Los Angeles, with Cathy using her skills as a make-up artist to keep Victor and herself one step ahead of the killers and the FBI agent that neither of them trust.

This was a suspenseful book of the standard I’m come to expect from Tess Gerritsen – just as well, as I bought a whole joblot of her books at a car boot sale and have rather a lot of them left to enjoy!

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Rolo is 9 months old but still very cute

Posted by HelenEdith on April 4, 2010

Rolo with his head on his paws

Here he is, lying down on the stairs with his nose on his paws and his little pink tongue just peeking out a tiny bit!

Rolo enjoys lying on the stairs and can spread himself over most of a complete step.

The other evening, he nearly spread himself over the stairs in an unwanted way though: Stephen and I heard an almighty crash. Stephen rushed out of the 3rd bedroom, where he was using a computer, while I rushed out of the living room. Stephen found a large carton on its side by the bathroom door with its contents strewn about, while I found Rolo clinging to the outside of the balustrades to our galleried landing!

I did try to rescue him, but he wouldn’t let go of his grip on the balustrades and instead he climbed back up. What’s that: 9 months old and already one life gone…?

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Book Review: Nora Roberts – Sanctuary

Posted by HelenEdith on April 4, 2010

I’m way behind on my book reviews, as I read this book a good couple of months ago. Having been on non-library books for a while, I haven’t had an incentive to keep my book reviews up to date, as the books haven’t had to go anywhere once they’re read – although this one will probably find its way to the charity shop eventually.

Sanctuary is the house where photographer Jo Ellen Hathaway grew up. She escaped many years ago and carved out a career away from the island where Sanctuary stands. However, now she is back, because somebody is sending her pictures, and she needs to face her past, including the murder of her mother.

Architect Nathan Delaney has also returned to the island. Like Jo, he was still a youngster when Jo’s mother was killed, but his family were on the island at the time, too.

When it becomes apparent that Jo is facing danger at Sanctuary, she questions whether Nathan is safe or a part of the danger. In typical Roberts fashion, we get kept in suspense right to the very last page. The key players remain on the island during a hurricane and the final chapter to a tale of murder unfolds along with the storm.

This book is a little dated. Jo’s career is photography; and since 1997, when this book was copyrighted, there has been a digital revolution. Some of it almost reads like a historical novel, with scenes taking place in a darkroom. However, it didn’t affect my enjoyment and I will continue to lap up the output of Nora Roberts at every opportunity.

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Went to the TickedTICA cat show in Swanley last Sunday

Posted by HelenEdith on March 25, 2010

The TickedTICA Cat Club had a show both days last weekend at the Whiteoaks Centre at Swanley.

I thought about going on Saturday, but it was just as well I didn’t as we had a family emergency – fortunately only a small one requiring a rush trip to Stephen’s Mum’s place, but she’s perfectly fine 🙂 – so I managed to fit in a visit on Sunday along with meeting my wind quintet for a morning playing session and visiting the ASDA supermarket in Swanley where I was desperate for some raspberry flavoured soluble Vitamin C. (I don’t like orange or blackcurrant flavours and Boots seem to have discontinued their lemon flavour, so it’s got to be ASDA for raspberry – as they’re the only ones who sell it.)

I’d never been to a cat show before, and having read the rules about taking your cat out early, I was quite surprised when I arrived at 3pm to see people removing their cats. Anyway, I went in and there were still quite a few cats there. My first impression was that the hall had a definite smell of ‘cat’ about it!!!

I saw a totally gorgeous 7-month old Bengal that I would love to be able to take home, but bet I can’t afford. He had won various rosettes – and not just within his own breed. His owner didn’t say so, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they keep him and have him at stud.

I also saw my first ever sphynxes – and even got to touch two of them. As their owners said, they do have a “peachy” feel to them. I liked a sphynx boy with a dark body and very dark face, but the judge only gave him third in his breed, placing two girls ahead of him. One of the girls had some pink skin and some grey skin.

I was fortunate not to be standing too close to an angry tom whose owner was just mopping up the floor. She hung kitchen towel down his cage, and it’s just as well she did as he sprayed again and clobbered the kitchen towel. 😀

The people were very friendly and I saw some lovely cats. I have my doubts about whether a cat show is something that Rolo would appreciate though.

The same club have another show in a month’s time at the same venue and I might go again for another look, but try and get there a bit earlier. I’d love to see that beautiful Bengal again…

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Upside down Rolo

Posted by HelenEdith on February 21, 2010

Rolo in the waste paper box

Rolo spent much of yesterday evening in the waste paper box. It’s one of his favourite places to curl up.

I went to take a peep at him during the evening and found that he had uncurled and was lying on his back with his hind legs in the air and his head curved around the end of the box. He looked totally ecstatic and must have been completely relaxed. As an inside cat, he doesn’t have to worry about predators or other marauders, after all.

I put the super wide angle lens on my camera, got up really close and trusted the image stabilisation function built into the camera to ensure that I got some usable pictures. Rolo did open his eyes during my activities, but I like seeing his eyes open, so I didn’t mind at all. 🙂

He stretched one front paw up in the air, but that picture just showed a blur where his paw was. However, he then rested his paw along the side of the box and that looked pretty good, so I’ve included it below.

Rolo in the waste paper box

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