Monthly Archives: January 2014

Baby’s First Food

Baby Daisy’s first home cooked food!

The Book Lover's Kitchen

20140119-133237.jpg It may not look much but this is a very important meal.

This (slightly overcooked, hence the collapse!) baked apple is Daisy Piper’s first home-cooked food!

I’m not counting the carrots she tried last week because she didn’t eat or like them; and whilst she did eat sprouts, I don’t class boiling a vegetable as cooking! This is proper cooking: cored apple, stuffed with dried fruit and sugar and butter to make a caramel-ish sauce to pour over (my part, not Daisy’s: we shared!)

So currently as I blog I have a sated slightly sticky and appley baby sat on my tummy digesting her first home cooked pud.

She ate my cooking with less fuss than her teenage brother!


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I love libraries.

That is all. Really.

What is the first thing I do when moving house? Join the library.

How many library cards do I have in my wallet? Five: mine from three previous addresses (why would I relinquish one? I may move back again!), my step-son’s and my five month-old baby’s!

Where else – in this day and age – can you walk in with nothing and leave with a stack of books on the strength of a promise to return them later?





A single room overflowing with entire worlds!

The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.
Albert Einstein

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.
Marcus Tullius Cicero

An original idea. That can’t be too hard. The library must be full of them.
Stephen Fry

I once stole a book. It was really just the once, and at the time I called it borrowing. It was 1970, and the book, I could see by its lack of date stamps, had been lying unappreciated on the shelves of my convent school library since its publication in 1945.
Hilary Mantel

You want weapons? We’re in a library. Books! Best weapons in the world!

Dr Who


I’m the Doctor and you’re in the biggest library in the universe.
Look me up.

Dr Who


Shades of Meaning: Lay and Lie


There are so many times when I have had to explain that these are actually different words with different meanings and different morphologies.

Obviously, there is a shared etymology here from Middle English leyen and Old English lecgan but, in the eight hundred years since the thirteenth century, this single root has diverged. To lay is transitive and requires an object to have been put down; to lie is intransitive and has no need for an object.

And, it goes without saying that the homophonous (and also intransitive) verb to lie meaning to deceive and dissemble is from a different root altogether: the Old English lēogan. Phonologically equivalent but etymologically and semantically totally distinct.

Who says the English language is easy?

2013 on the blog

So these are my stats from the last year’s worth of blogging!

A good, decent upwards trend here which is great.

Not a wholly unexpected geographic spread of readership at the top: English speaking and Western. But I am impressed that there are significant (for me anyway, probably not for the rest of you blogosphere illuminati) in Iraq and Saudi Arabia!

Some interesting gaps in the overall map though: it’s no surprise that China’s still a blank white gap with its internet paranoia but I want to get more Nigerian views. I adore Nigerian Literature, history and culture so I’d like more followers there. And Greenland. Why can I got get into Greenland?!

And my most popular blog post is about an arcane and archaic grammatical structure.

I am going to change my blog pattern for 2014, I think: currently I have a number of different ones which I have tried to keep focused on individual themes but I’m planning on bring most of those into this blog. The Book Lovers’ Sanctuary will remain just for book reviews; and the Book Lover’s Kitchen just for recipes – mainly because I’d forget things otherwise. The main difference will really be the addition of my incessant gushing and cooing over 2013’s star arrival, my daughter.


Dear Daisy

My highlight of 2013.

There can be no comparison at all! The birth of my beautiful healthy cheeky baby girl six months ago!

The Book Lover's Baby

Dear Daisy,

I don’t know at what point babies memories become recorded. I don’t really know what my youngest memory is: vague impressions of my grandmother’s – your great grandmother’s – farm perhaps; cooking with my mum for Sunday roasts – my job was to make the gravy and I still make a damn good gravy; Saturday visits to my other grandmother in a pristine house who always had a bowl of Mars Bars and chocolates available. The rhythm of the shipping forecast on Radio 4. Orange juice with sugar in it – seriously, why? Dogs and cats!

However, I figure that you will probably stumble across my blog at some point, Daisy, so this is a little letter to the future for you.

These are the impressions and the feelings that I hope are embedded deep inside you from your first few hours.

You are so loved.

As I…

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