Month: April 2011

Room by Emma Donoghue

It has taken a bit of mulling over this book.  It is so cleverly done that it seems simplistic, but it really isn’t.  Not in the least.  This book is told through the eyes of a five year old boy who has been cooped up in a room (the Room of the title) for all his short life.  His mother was kidnapped at the age of 19 and has not been out of the room since then, her kidnapper visits at night to take what he feels is rightfully his and he hasn’t seen the child since he was a small baby.  An impressive feat on behalf of the mother who has set up a bed in a wardrobe for the child and has kept the child and the father completely apart despite the confines of the tiny space they live in.

Jack (the child) is comfortable in his world, understands his world and his Ma has nurtured, loved and taken care to teach him all she knows without him even realising that the world outside is not just on the television he is allowed to watch from time to time.  Jack’s view of the outside world is one of the most fascinating things about the book, but there are plenty of other wonderful and insightful things that this author has done.  The naming of things, the concept of ‘The Sunday Treat’, the subtle hints along the way that Ma is realising what the future trapped in this tiny space will mean.

This book is one of those books which people find it hard to discuss with those who haven’t read it.  You don’t want to give too much away.  You want to encourage everyone you know to read it.  You need others who have read it to chat with and discuss lots of the issues the book raises.   It is a tricky thing, I don’t want anybody who hasn’t read the book to have an inkling of what the two characters in the book will have happen to them.  So really, if you haven’t read it then get hold of a copy and devour it in a day or so like I did, then spend a week with it haunting you.   Below is the publishers book trailer.

Life in a day – I can’t wait to see it

“On July 24, 2010, thousands of people around the world uploaded videos of their lives to YouTube to take part in Life in a Day, a historic cinematic experiment to create a documentary film about a single day on earth.

Now, it’s time to watch their story unfold on the big screen.”

I’m really excited about this one.  I watched lots of the little clips as they were submitted some were just wonderful, obviously others were not so much, but it is a lovely record of what the world was like on one day in 2010.  Remember those books that we used to do where the photographers all went out and took photos all on one day, well this is the YouTube experience.  There is plenty more to see on the YouTube channel for the film and the project.

Here is hoping it is in our Film Festival this year, I for one will be there to watch it on the big screen.

Chocolate Yum Yums

Look, I have a functioning kitchen and can bake again.

These are the best things.  They have the crunchy deep chocolateness of an afghan but are lighter (there is a lot less butter in these than an afghan) and have a good crunch.   You can choose whether to ice them or not, and of course if you do it is compulsory that there is half a walnut on the top or a little sprinkle of coconut if you would like.  I don’t ice them, I prefer them to be less sweet – out of character for me but I like these ones simple and plain.

I’ve had this recipe for years, I suspect it came from a friend in Alexandra.  The paper it is written on it all covered in baking spills, therefore guaranteeing it’s goodness!

Chocolate Yum Yums

180g butter, softened

1/2 cup caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups self raising flour (sifted)

1 tablespoon cocoa, (sifted)

1/3 cup cornflakes

1 tablespoon coconut

a little slosh of milk

Preheat the oven to sloy (160 degrees C) Line two trays with baking paper.  Beat butter and sugar with electric beater until butter is pale and creamy (or use your big strong beating arms)  Add vanilla and beat for another minute.

Mix in the flour, cocoa, cornflakes and coconut.  Add a slosh of milk but not enough to make it too wet.  Roll into balls.  Place well apart on trays and bake for 20 – 25 min.  Allow to cool on the trays and then transfer to a wire rack for the final cooling.  Ice them with chocolate icing and a walnut or a sprinkle of coconut if you wish, or leave un-iced and eat em.

The great reveal – my new kitchen

Finally, an evening with a little time while I wait for a coat of paint to dry in the back bedroom so that I can add the finishing touches to the skirting boards.

I tried to get photos to load in two batches, with the old kitchen pics, then another slide show of the new ones but I can’t get that to work properly.  So, here are some photos of the old kitchen.

You are seeing the entire amount of benchspace I had.  I could reach across the whole thing from one side to the other and that included the sink. The oven was very leaky of hot air and the space was all in all not a fun space to cook in.

Here it is – drumroll please – the new kitchen!

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Check out the lights!  The flying donuts, aren’t they just the uber coolest things?  Yes they are!  The whole thing is lovely, the blue is a little bit funky and the red is a little bit bold.  Very pleased with the splashback and pleased also that the taps from the old kitchen have been saved and re-used in the new one.  The blackboard cupboard is cool and I’m looking forward to my visitors writing on it.

There are a little few jobs still to be done, shelves in the top cupboards, side panels on the high cupboard and a cupboard door for the cupboard next to the oven.  I have owned the oven since I bought the house and it has been stored at the appliance shop for the last four years, I’m really pleased with it, you can’t buy an oven with a separate grill any more.  So, there you go.  Thanks to Lesley for her uber commitment to project management (and the rent money) and Al for his wonderful building skills.  You guys rock.

One of the big bonuses is the sun.  I had a little sun before, but the sun now is really bright, the whole place is warmed up by afternoon sun, to the point when the other day when I fell asleep on the carpet I nearly expired from heat exhaustion!  That is a very good thing in Sunny Dunedin.

Comments are invited!