Tuesday, 21 October 2014


I was thinking yesterday after posting my Lytham post, that although I named my blog Beetles, Bikes & Books, there has been very little written about Beetles and Books. I had thought of a catchy name and a few came to mind, one of which was Writing in Pencil, as I always used to use pencil in my German classes at the Goethe Institut. Mainly so I could rub it out when I made a mistake! Then I found there was already a blog named that, so I gave it a miss.

My Beetle has been with me for about 4 years now but it is getting time to part company with it as it has been sitting fairly idle for weeks on end and it's too pretty not to use. Thankfully the only cost is insurance, but as it a heritage vehicle, the cost is very little and the occasional bit of work needed for MOT, which husband does. There is no Vehicle Excise Duty either as it is over 40 years old. Since I bought my fabulous noisy, scruffy old Land Rover I have hardly used it. So, although I am using Beetle this week whilst there is a bit of structural work going on with Landy, as soon as the major jobs on it are done, the Beetle will be on the market. I will use the money for another project I have in mind.

I must add that husband restores classic cars (he hasn't done mine) and cars are his 'thing'. I have learned to live with that and tried to get enthusiastic as I had no interest in them whatsoever when I met him. Years ago we had a mini which was actually only 3 months old, he bought when he had the truck business but after that went we always had cars that many people would describe as 'old bangers'.

Books - well I am avid reader but books are aside when doing my crochet projects for friends and the blanket for my very soon to arrive granddaughter? (hoping it is still a girl). Travel books used to be my favourites but I did run out of them as I tend to like Nick Crane and the cycling travellers like Anne Mustoe (sadly now deceased), Dervla Murphy (who also trekked) and Bettina Selby. As I only have a couple of Anne Mustoe's left to read, I'm holding fire on them.

Dick Francis was always a favourite but I am running out of his too, although his son has written a few. A friend then recommended I try the Val McDermid books, particularly the Kate Brannigan series. After reading two, I am hooked. The first one I read was actually a late one but they are pretty self sufficient in themselves. I'm trying to decide now whether to buy the first one on Kindle or buy a paperback. Maybe the former. She writes another series too, the Lindsay Gordon series.  I haven't read any of the ones with the characters Wire in the Blood yet, as I don't want to confuse the issue too much.

Of course, I have still all my Lorna Hill books that I have collected over the years, a whole set I will add, the last two having evaded my possession for years as they were so difficult to get hold of. In my attempt to declutter the house, proving most difficult, I keep wondering whether to sell the ballet series and keep the horsey ones, which I think I prefer, as they are more outdoorsy.

Has anybody read The Housekeeper by Beverly Cochran? I think it was her first novel and I bought it in a charity shop. I really enjoyed it and still have it. It's about Mary-Ruth Findlater who was housekeeper in a grand Scottish house with an absentee landlord. When the lord remarries a rather silly society girl, promises to come up to visit, and extensive arrangements were made including food preparation, house cleaning and such and then the lord cancels at the last minute, Mary-Ruth decides to take matters into her own hand, with rather strange results. It combines normal everyday things with a bit of guile and excitement.

There is another book which I believe was very rare and when I put a search in the price was rather high, but somehow I managed to buy it from Waterstones on line and paid £11.00 for it. I've not read it yet - I'm saving it for I don't know what.

Sorry, that is all I can think of today, it's a lot of writing about very little really, sorry if I have bored you.


  1. Hi Anne Marie, I’ve often wondered where Beetles, bikes & books came from but never thought to ask.
    Your Beetle really IS pretty, and I love the colour (I know that’s a girly thing to say – but I am a girl – well, an old girl!)
    Paperback – every time, I’ve got a tablet, and I have downloaded the occasional book but I just can’t get enthusiastic about reading unless it’s a real book.
    I keep wondering if I should sell my Famous Five & Secret Seven books, but then I look at them on the shelf and change my mind. If your Lorna Hills are in the original dust jackets I would say to keep them, they are lovely books and if would seem a shame to split them up. I sold a full set but they all went to different homes, and I still feel sad about it.
    I’ve not read The Housekeeper by Beverly Cochran? But it sounds right up my street.
    As you can see I’m not in the least bored, it’s like chatting to an old friend every time I visit you.

  2. Yes, Barbara, you are allowed to say the Beetle is pretty, that's what I say too. I'm girly in some ways, and I am also an OLD girl!

    It is really good to hear from you again. I thought I had a spare copy of the Housekeeper but it think maybe I have given it away.