Roses at the front door.
October has flown by, and all of a sudden we're in November: 2017 really feels like it's coming to an end. I've noticed a pattern over the years: the year always seems to plod along as it should until about August and then all of a sudden it gathers speed. 2018 is slightly less than 2 months away, but I'll bet the two months will fly! October was a strange month for me for two reasons: firstly, some minor health problems - I've had a very bad foot. Every so often, say five or six times a day, I'd get a severe stabbing pain that would last about 10, 20 seconds. It was very debilitating and the worst pain I have ever felt. Turns out it was my shoes, and thank God I've found the cause. I've now gone for over a week with just a few stab of the severe pain, but usually it's more discomfort than anything. I've also been taking anti-inflammatories which has been a great help, but it's been not so good for my asthma, thus I've been using inhalers now, and that increase in using them (they're steroids) made me a little more anxious than I ought to have been. But, it's getting better and I'm very happy, but desperate for the pain to stop altogether. It's rather upsetting when it happens, and it's been going on since mid-September. And, on the theme of health problems - just one more small one - I've lost one of my fillings and for some reason have slight inflammation of the gums. My dentist isn't worried and it's all getting treated, but I have to return to the dentist early next week and I am terrified of dentists. I will be so happy when that's over and done with, so very happy! I hope the visit is a success. And that brings me to the second reason why October's been an odd month: it won't surprise anyone having just read what I've wrote, but because of all of this I've had quite a reading / blogging block. I feel returning to Thomas Hardy's saved me - I loved his first poetry collection Wessex Poems and I went on to read Thomas Hardy: The Time-Torn Man by Claire Tomalin, which I finished last night and loved. I'll blog about it in the next few days, and I also plan to read Hardy's second collection - Poems of the Past and the Present (1901) - over the weekend.

Other than that my plans for reading this month are fairly minimal. I'm on the point of finishing my 2017 challenges: I set a goal of reading 100 books this year and I've now read 98, my Back to the ClassicsEuropean Reading ChallengeMount TBR ChallengeRussian Literature Reading Challenge, and Victorian Reading Challenge are all finished and I have just the final instalment of The Pickwick Papers and the Deal Me In Challenge left. What I thought I might do is aim to finish the Deal Me In Challenge before November's out, read some more of Hardy's poetry, and for the rest of the year settle into some big reads. Fanda is hosting a Dickens in December event and after finishing Pickwick I'll be ready for more Dickens, so I'll join in with perhaps Our Mutual Friend, Bleak House, or maybe Nicholas Nickleby. Until then, the two big reads on my mind are Le Morte D'Arthur by Thomas Malory (every year I say I'm going to read it and I don't: I can't face another year of promising myself I'm going to read it!) and The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Adam's hosting a read-along). This is partly why I'd like to finish the Deal Me In Challenge before the end of the month: I'll be so busy with the big reads I think I'll welcome some shorter works! Before any of it though: yesterday I started H. G. Wells' A Short History of the World and I'm very into it: once I'm finished, though, I'll start first with Le Morte D'Arthur.

Aside from reading and foot pain, everything is fairly quiet though I do have some pretty big tasks ahead to finish before the end of the year. The chickens are all well: Meg's in the early stages of her moult, Ruby's almost finished, and the little ones are full of energy as ever. It's very sweet how much those two love each other and how close they are. The budgies are well too, and so is George the parrot. In nature news: we had our first frost on the 27th, there's a great many geese flying over (I love hearing them!) and, not surprisingly, the trees are becoming very bare, though there are still a good many hanging on! I've not taken that many pictures in October but, to finish off the post, here's a few I did take:



Ruby refusing to pose (I only include this because I hate to leave her out!).

My neighbour's chickens.

Frost in the morning sun (end of my street).



View from my bedroom window.
Halloween pumpkin (cat).

Skeleton pumpkin.

Cat, ghost, and scary face pumpkins.

Happy November, everyone!


  1. the view out of your window is much like ours, except we have firs and alders, mostly... terribly sorry to hear about your foot... i had something similar and only got over it by wearing flat soles with no humps in the middle... i'm trying to get started on "My Novel": Edward Bulwer-Lytton; i like his writing; it's funny... Ruby and Meg seem contented and happy... i think you ought to get a cow... and agree re dentists; it's been a while and i know i have to do it, but Procrastination is my wont...

    1. I would love a cow! Garden is no where near big enough, though, no where near! We always say when (!) we win the lottery we'll have cows, donkeys, sheep, goats, dogs.... It's the dream :) Pleased to see you talk of your foot in the past tense - glad it got better and you're giving me hope. Had a good few days though. Looking forward to it being over. That and the dentist! :)

  2. To begin with, I hope you are feeling better and the Dentist visit passes off smoothly. I too hate Dentists and I too get asthma when taking anti-inflammatory drugs; so I know how awful all this feels and here's hoping that Winter brings you relief for all such unnecessary nuisance and good health! Cleo and I keep talking about how inspirational is your reading and blogging habits and its no surprise you have almost completed your 2017 Reading Challenge along with so many other reading events, two months before the year is over. It does however leave me in complete awe! Here I am struggling to be on target with my Reading Goals! Lol! Le Morte D'Arthur?Well, I think you are very brave to attempt it. I tried it twice and after a few pages gave up. I am sure with you much more disciplined reading habits, you will make a success of it! All the very best. I love Bleak House , but then almost all Dickens makes for a good read. to me. I too am revisiting The Brother's Karamazov this month, though considering the horrible work load I have this month, I am not sure I will be able to keep up with any reading schedule. However, it is November and hopefully there will be times to curl up and read! Love the pictures as always! Happy November Reading! :)

    1. Thank you! :) Hopefully I'll enjoy Malory - everyone keeps telling me I will! And yes, pleased to be nearly finished the 2017 Challenges - I didn't manage to read the Lord of the Rings though - that was the one I gave up in March! :)

  3. Well, with your bad foot and gum, and my concussion and broken thumb (I think there's a rhyme in there somewhere!) perhaps we can commiserate together. I can't believe your foot is still giving you problems! I had to buy Kyboot shoes and they made a HUGE difference. I had Achilles pain and when I bought them, 80% of it went away in about a week and the rest in about 6 months --- and that's after having it bother me for 5 years. Shoes can make all the difference. Great to see the girls! Hope you're better soon and more inspired in the reading area --- I commiserate with that too! Take care!

    1. Thank you, and you take care too! I think we've both had a bad month, but yours does seem especially alarming I must say! :S

  4. Ugh, I just had several visits at the dentist, & it was terrifying! But it was way worse imagining it than it was in reality. And now I feel MUCH better! Sending good wishes <3

    1. Lovely to hear from you! <3 The dentist went reasonably well (as wisdom tooth extractions go). I must say though he is a good dentist and I like him - not been able to say that about a dentist for 20 years! Have to go back next week though, need a filling :( I hate going so much, but as I say I like him and think he's good so that's a massive step forward for me. I once had - not an argument but an exchange of words with a dentist (passive-aggressively polite, something we English excel at), after which he had to pull out another problematic wisdom tooth of mine. It was a horrible experience being terrified and angry with the chap doing the procedure. Awful man, at least awful with frightened patients. It was to do with his impatience that the anaesthetic didn't work, and I felt like it was my fault for being overly sensitive, but when the new nice dentist did it this time it worked with his first attempt, so I'm right to say the other one was indeed horrible. Anyway, marginally less worried about next week though disappointed about the filling :)


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