Friday, 14 January 2011

Booking in for a Winter Break!

Monday 3rd January - Thorne Colliery (home) Match postponed
Saturday 8th January - Parkhouse (Cup replay, home) Match postponed

I've found myself with a bit of time on my hands lately, what with football having disappeared from the local calendar for some six weekends on the trot.
Even allowing for the fact we've just come through the Christmas holidays, with people to visit, pubs to attend and the Slushettes as hyper as a certain John Stape (bad comparison I admit!) I've still been left with plenty of time to think: what to do now?

When in deep...stop digging!

Especially when the kids have got bored of getting wet and cold, and when even Mrs Slush is struggling to find jobs for you to do "of a weekend".  I've even struggled to find anything to blog about - which is unusual.
So, reading then.  As in books.  That's what I've been doing for the past six weeks (along with trying to sort out a kernackered Steepletone stereo/MP3 downloader and attempting to keep pace with events on Corrie of course!).
As I've perhaps previously explained (probably at the same time last year) my book reading is a bit like Shane Watson's batting i.e. I usually make a good start and sometimes romp to fifty...only to then fail to build on things.  My bedside still comprises an almost completed In Cold Blood (Truman Capote) and George MacDonald Fraser's second Flashman instalment, which I've just recently re-started. (In fact so long had elapsed since I last put it down  I'd forgotten the identity of the main players!)
However, maintaining the batting analogy, these two titles aside I've moved from Watson to Cook in recent weeks and have been positively prolific in clocking up completed titles of late.
It must be to do with the snow.   And the ice.  And the rain.  And most of all the bloody cold!

And then when the snow goes...
I began with an Assam-inspired trio of books with an Egyptian theme (Winston Churchill's The River War, Michael Barthorp's Blood Red Desert Sand and Philip Ziegler's Omdurman) before then switching from Victorian military history to crime-fiction and racing through Cathi Unsworth's 60s Soho-set noir novel Bad Penny Blues.  An absolute stonker of a book.  Meanwhile, prompted by the recent TV adaptation of Aftermath, I've also set myself the task of completing Peter Robinson's highly-acclaimed Inspector Banks' mysteries.  The 1987 opener Gallows View was swiftly seen off, as was follow-up A Dedicated Man and I'm already cracking through third instalment A Necessary End (1989) like there's no tomorrow!  Just twelve more to go...
Thing is, I can never just read a book in its own right without wanting to provide  some background to what's actually happening therein.  Thus, while wading through books about the aforementioned tales of battling the "Fuzzy Wuzzies" in Egypt and Sudan I took the chance to watch The Four Feathers and Gordon of Khartoum; in addition of course to countless episodes of Dads Army in which Cpl Jones would reiterate, "They don't like it up 'em!" 

Sodden Saturday!

Similarly, the Cathi Unsworth novel had me also referencing Dominic Sandbrook's Never Had It So Good (A History of Britain from Suez to The Beatles) as well as listening to sounds ranging from late-50s British rock 'n' roll to early Mod Jazz compilations  (I drew the line at Trad!) to set the scene for the period covered in the book.  A fascinating trawl through the Jack The Stripper murders, which provide the backdrop to Bad Penny Blues, also helped set the novel in a clearer context.  
So, as you can imagine, all this reading, watching and listening (and I've not mentioned  More 4's re-run of the Red Riding trilogy - a decent companion to the Banks' series, also set in the seedier side of Yorkshire) has left little time for anything else.  Even football.  Little wonder then that Mrs Slush gets exasperated!  
Still, as I type this, hopes are finally high that a First Team fixture this Saturday may finally drag me out of a book and onto a playing field.  And, given that FC 05 Bilsthorpe's pitch is one of the best in the league, I've at last got some confidence that this might just be the case...

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