January: Reading. Shrinking. Drinking

the bone clocks

In early January, with just a little over a week to go to my book club’s first meeting of 2016, I started reading the chosen book: David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks. Thankfully it was a lively page turner so I had no difficulty navigating my way through its six hundred odd pages before our meet-up. The novel mixes realism with fantasy and science fiction and jumps from century to century, country to country, and genre to genre. The fantasy element was my least favourite part of the book but mostly it simmers in the background except for one section where it takes centre stage. The story that’s at the heart of the novel is that of Holly Sykes’s much less than ordinary life. We first meet Holly as a runaway teenager in Essex in 1984 and last see her, as the novel closes in 2043, as a grandmother in Ireland’s West Cork living through a chillingly possible dystopian near future. David Mitchell is a spellbinding storyteller who has wizardly way with words. 8.5/10

roasted winter fruit

I gave up gluten for January not because of any need to do so but because of a shallow wish to loose the excess pounds I had put on over the Christmas holiday. My rational for cutting out gluten was that I would thereby give up cakes, scones, and other sweet treats and the pounds would melt away. I stuck (mostly!)Β to the plan. I don’t own a scales so I use my clothes as a guide to weight loss or gain: they now feel looser than they were at the beginning of January. Nearly there. To satisfy my sweet tooth in the absence (mostly!) of cake I ate a lot of roasted winter fruits. I used a slightly adapted super simple Mireille Guiliano, she of French Woman Don’t Get Fat fame, recipe: It’s made with diced apples and pears, chopped dried apricots, and raisins baked in a teeny amount of liquid and with a tablespoon of maple syrup and a pinch or two of cinnamon.


Once upon a long time ago I worked in a wineshop, an independent one where the owners carefully selected the wines they sold. A hangover from that period is that I can’t drink rubbishy plonk. I am always on the lookout for a goodly wine that doesn’t cost an ungodly amount of money: I recently happened upon a red by the Bodegas Borsao from Spain’s Campo de Borja wine region that falls into both those categories. I choose it on the basis that a blurb in a wine shop (64 Wine) said that Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate had described it as (referring I think to the 2011 vintage): ‘possibly the single greatest dry red wine value in the world.’ Robert Parker is probably the world’s greatest wine critic. The bottle I bought was the Borsao Selection (a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Tempranillo) from the 2014 vintage. It was pretty delicious: it costs €13.50.


Filed under Musings

11 responses to “January: Reading. Shrinking. Drinking

  1. I have never roasted fruits like that – this is something I should try – I am back on my coleslaw diet too. but it is a good idea to give your body a break every now and then, cakes and bread are hard to digest. Unlike books – i will look for this one here.. thank you.. c

  2. I never have been able to stick to good dietary advice… Only thing I do is run through those isles of bad foods in the shop. If you don’t see them, you can’t buy them! Not very popular with my family though.

  3. If this be true, you will be able to get all you need from the maple syrup, without adding fruit. πŸ˜€ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1372549/Maple-syrup-joins-ranks-broccoli-blueberries-new-stop-shop-superfood.html It’s feels good to change our diet from time to time.

  4. How wonderful that you stuck to your diet or is it a life stylle change. I need a little of your willpower because I have some holiday pounds to lose for sure. I think your wine choice is excellent as is the book and the delicous roasted fruit. So glad to see you blogging.

  5. Good idea not to focus on scales, I normally find that the practice leads to too much negativity and discouragement! Glad that your weight loss goals have been working. As for the book, I must look up this title! Sounds really interesting!

  6. Sounds like you had a lovely January B! I too was on a quest to loose a few pounds from the holidays and still have some work to do. Cutting out gluten was actually a great idea! Your book sounds really intriguing. I love book clubs because they always push us to read things that we might not otherwise consider. Happy Friday and hope you have a lovely weekend πŸ™‚

  7. So many positives in your post B. I have French Woman Don’t Get Fat, it’s one of the few books I kept when we moved. I think I must reread it as the few pounds I’ve gained since our move refused to go away. More veggies and less potatoes I think. πŸ™‚

  8. I have always wanted to belong to a book club but … I like to read on my own terms and there are times when I read more than one book simultaneously. I’m terribly moody and my “simultaneous books” are a reflection of that! Not sure I would fit in a book club! πŸ™‚ Plus, science fiction? I agree with you. Not really my kind of thing! πŸ˜‰
    I couldn’t agree more: bad wine gives me awful headaches. If I cannot drink a decent wine, I’d rather stick to water!
    Love, love your treat! Bring it on!!! πŸ™‚


    That’s the most elegantly effortless vignette tying together a book that I instantly wanted to read, sweet treats and dry notes on wine. “Rubbishy plonk” made me laugh out lout, oh what a name for a blog this would make!

  10. Will keep a lookout for the David Mitchell book. It’s not something I would have thought of reading. I did wonder at your soya latte on the other post πŸ™‚

    • I was so surprised that I found the David Mitchell book so engrossing. I would have thought it wasn’t my sort of a novel. One of the joys of being a book club is that I am forced to read outside my comfort zone. πŸ˜‰

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