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Bramhalls’

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Today’s lunch outing in Ashbourne. Fab place with a great menu and frequently changing specials. They also have a lovely deli. Worth checking out if you’re in the area.

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Building a Library – Part Two

So. My library is now as complete as it is going to be for a while. You can find part one of this library exploration here. The pictures are not wonderful – I wanted to take pictures when there was good light, but it’s November in England. Not going to happen.

Welcome to my library!

My second desk – it was bought from a little shop in Brick Lane. My friend Lise helped me barter for it (and the masonic chair it came with!) and Rach came to my rescue to drive it to my house.

Non-fiction, poetry, plays and some general fiction. Plus a few I gained from my Mother who was getting rid of books. As well as not throwing my own away I take unwanted books from people. (Anyone read the Cave Bear series?)

My everyday desk – complete with tea, water, glasses, poetry, research, pretty lamp and lots of stationery!

View from the door – including the radiator which is *very* essential at the moment. Taken before I rearranged the books a little. You can see Fantasy, General (esp. Crime and Thriller), Childrens/YA, Classics and then Antique-ish plus current reading, more research and notebooks. (From L-R!)

Looking towards the door. Plus – fireplace!

The door next to the armchairs is a cupboard which has been named Narnia. Obviously!

Almost none of the windows in the house are standard size – so I have yet to fit a blind for the small window – hence the draped cloth!

Cosy reading space. Happy times.

Thanks for visiting my library – I might post some purely book pictures soon as well.

Vick.

Ten Years of Chocolate Crackles

Ahem. Please excuse the odd title – I have been watching election results come in live for ten years now and a tradtion has grown up that I always have chocolate rice-crispie cakes of some kind while doing so.

This sugary tradition is even more important when, like tonight, the election is happening five hours behind the time-zone you live in. Lots of tea, chocolate and sugar today! I also need help keeping awake this year because it’s the first time in a while that I have been up for an election but without access to a TV. While I was living in London I crashed other people’s election parties (yes, we Politics geeks do have such things) or was at my folks’ house.

One of the things that I like reading about during elections in the US are the state-specific amendments and some of the senate races. They don’t get much coverage in the UK sadly and you have to hunt to find out more. Al Jazeera has done a good run down of some of the more interesting non-Presidential issues.

Of the ‘other US elections’ highlighted in that last link I am really interested to see where the three votes on same-sex marriage go. It’s an issue I care deeply about but also all three states that have amendments on the table are solid Democrat states. One to watch…or rather, three.

There are a few really interesting amendments being looked at. The California Proposition 34 is set to abolish the Death penalty. The LA Times article can be found over here. Strangely (or perhaps not) most of the pieces I have read about this have been focused on the cost to the State of life-imprisonment vs. death penalty.

One of the issues I’ve been following closely has been LR-120 out in Montana about Parental Notification for abortions. Many states already have this so it’ll be interesting to see which way Montana votes.

The Orlando Sentinel has done a pretty comprehensive run-down of the twelve amendments being proposed in Florida this election. An important state it has been in the news even more over voters having trouble getting into polling stations. Not helped by things like this of course…

This is a great article about North Carolina (a state I particularly love) as a swing state. It’s from the Duke Chronicle – the newspaper from Duke University. Top tip here – if you want to read very passionate and well researched journalism from the USA you could do a lot worse than reading the College papers and magazines.

Colorado is another interesting swing state – there are some great county stories to watch out for. The Denver Post has done a run-down of what to watch.

I love this. I am a true politics geek at heart, even now I am no longer working directly in politics it doesn’t affect me any less. Even though the election is based in the USA the world is so small now we are deeply influenced by decisions in every country.

As I keep reading throughout the night I might pop another post up with some more links. Tonight I will be reading the NYTimes, Washington Post, Al Jazeera, Guardian, NPR and as many local online news sites as possible, especially for the states I’ve been watching for Senate seats and key amendments. And if it all gets a bit much then I’ll watch an episode of ‘The West Wing’ and pretend all is well!

Vick.

Coming to Dinner…

At the weekend I said that I would be starting a new series of blog posts this week entirely for fun. I’ve not really started I’m just chattering away today. This idea came from a series of conversations with a bunch of different people all asking me who I would invite to my ideal dinner party. It is a really daft question to ask me because I usually ramble on for hours afterwards as I keep thinking of new people and why I would like to invite them.

So I thought I’d put together a few lists, maybe with reasons or maybe not and have six people every week at my dinner table. My dining table would fit eight people so there is room for six fantasy guests plus myself and a friend (because what is the point if you can’t get one of your best friends to share it with you).

I’ll be adding people who I think would make a dinner party interesting so I won’t be including any (many) people just for decoration. I also only include authors/artists who I think would be fun to talk to rather than those whose work I like. I really don’t think the two things always go together. I’m not going to go for gender balance because I’m not patronising like that and I want groups of people who would start great conversations regardless of their genitals. Oh, and I’m including dead people – because there are a lot of them I want to have a good chat with.

I’m not sure yet whether I will do these regularly or just as I think of a new group of people I would really like to chat to. If people have ideas of who I should include I would love to hear them. Either suggestions of who would make a good group of six, one or two people you would like to have dinner with or people I have missed out. Also if I add people and you think they would make terrible guests do let me know!

In other news there will probably be a business announcement coming up in the next few weeks – will keep y’all posted.

Vick.

What Would You Do?

I found this on Pinterest several months ago now but I keep going back to it. I think that it is a wonderfully interesting question. I have a lot of answers but I’m not sure I can settle on just one of them. I would love to know what other people would do if you could live the next 24 hours and then erase it and start over.

Have an argument? Gauge reactions to something? Tell a truth you’ve hidden? Go somewhere you shouldn’t? Eat anything you want? Do something really dangerous? Break a law?

If it was your Groundhog Day would you rob a bank or learn to play the piano? I’ll bet one thing though…not many people would say that they would go into work. It’s something that I’ve been thinking over so often that I just had to put it up here.

I like ideas like this because it makes you realise what is important, makes you think harder about lots of different aspects of your life and what you want most. All thoughts on this very welcome. Answers on a postcard (or the comments section if you’d like!)

Vick.