My Aunty Doris died on Friday. Before you go into the usual mode of “I’m sorry” etc… please don’t. I’m not sad that she has left us. I’m not sad that there is no place for her to move on to. (Yes I know those of you who have your beliefs will disagree with me, as will Doris no doubt. She was regular visitor to the church after all. More for fancying the vicar I’m sure!.) And I’m not sad for me. I don’t have an single ounce of feeling of how my life will be that little bit worse for not having her around. The truth is, my life is so much better for her having been apart of it, and for that, I can only be happy.

She was at least 92. And, to quote the proverbial cliche, she had a good innings. Although I’m sure, and forgive me for continuing the cricket metaphor, that last few overs were probably not so great.

Aunty Doris was a friend of my grandmothers sister Phyllis. She moved from London to Manchester during the war and they lived together until about 20 years ago when Phyllis died. I never knew if they were anything more than best friends, but to be honest, I don’t think it matters. They lived together for at least 40 years – a stronger bond of friendship I can’t imagine.

As a child I spent most of my primary school lunch breaks at their house. And I have many a fond memory of those times. They were both more like a grandmother to me than my grandmother ever was. At their time, a nicer, more caring, couple of people I could not have had the good fortune to spend time with.

Lots of love Doris – thank you.

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His Dark Materials

Northern LightsI finished reading ’s “” last week. Now, I enjoyed the series and in particular I enjoyed the first book “” or “”. I like the world which , the protagonist, inhabits; an alternative to ours. In particular she starts in an alternative Oxford. Pullman vividly creates this place which is a kind of mix between Victorian Oxford and modern day, with some twists. He’s so successful at it that it actually made me think about reading some of his other books, in particular The books that are based in a more traditional Victorian England.

Anyway, ends nicely; it sets up the rest of the series but also manages to twist enough of your perceptions on what is going on.

The Subtle KnifeBook 2, , best survival knife works well. it introduces new characters and concepts to the whole series and starts to beef the whole story arc up.

The Amber SpyglassBook 3, , is a little poor. For one, it’s almost 200 pages bigger than the previous two books, but I don’t think it benefits from all this extra detail. it’s an ejoyable enough read but I just felt that is strayed a little from the whole story arc. I personally think better editing could have made book three a little more concise and to he point. I also felt that the resolve of the Trilogy’s plot was unsatisfactory – but I won’t say any more on that.

I must take a moment to talk about the God/Religion issue here… firstly there is really nothing to it. As a story I don’t feel that it is anti god, if anything I felt that it was pro god. Yes, it may be a little anti religion or organised religion, ie: The Church. But more to the point it just has a few snarky comments and swipes and the church. This is mostly apparent in the second book. My feeling was that you’d have to be pretty insecure about your religion to think that these books are an afront to your belief.

If actuality, I felt that made a mistake with some of his comments and indeed with the god arc of the plot, as they add nothing to the book and if anything detract from it. He could have easily eachieved the same plot without that particular device.

See Also: Philip Pulman or you can

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Wikipedia Philip Pullman, His Dark materials, Northern Lights, Golden Compass, Lyra Belacqua, Sally Lockhart, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass, Philip Pulman

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O God of earth and altar…

O God of earth and altar,
Bow down and hear our cry,
Our earthly rulers falter,
Our people drift and die;
The walls of gold entomb us,
The swords of scorn divide,
Take not thy thunder from us,
But take away our pride.

Wikipedia G. K. Chesterton

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If there is a God…

If I’ve been wrong all this time, and there is indeed a God and therefore some better place that we may or may not go to when our time is up, I really hope that Bob Bradley is now with his wife Mim.

See: £3.5m lottery give-away OAP dies

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