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That’s me. Lately I have been showered with gifts. Some I gave myself, to be sure. Some arrived in parcels from far-off places, sent by wonderful friends. And some came from the Long-Suffering Husband.


Fancy chocolates from my Man. These have exquisite shapes and designs. (The one with the fella holding a glass is “Whiskey” flavored, and the shamrock is “Irish Cream.”)

A cup of tea, a novel by Kate Thompson, a biscuit is all it takes to make me happy. So this haul of goodies ought to hold me in raptures for the near future…


Light reading is divine.

Everyone tells me that The Martian (both book and film) is excellent. It sounds like Robinson Crusoe in space. I love Crusoe, and also its children’s literature counterpart, The Swiss Family Robinson. Irish authoress Kate Thompson writes superior chick lit and now (as Kate Beaufoy) historical fiction. Lately I have been working my way through her oeuvre and that of one of her literary forebears, D. E. Stevenson, who wrote funny and moving light fiction in the 1930s and 40s. Finally there is Lois McMaster Bujold, whose science fiction is particularly appealing to women, dealing as it does with matters of gender, class and romantic entanglement. I have the feeling that Bujold is a Jane Austen fan. Her “Vorkosigan” series is not to be missed. One of my all-time favorite SF books is the first book in the series, Shards of Honor (1986). It tells the story of Cordelia, a scientist on an astronomical survey who gets marooned on a strange planet with Captain Aral Vorkosigan, a moody and magnificent alpha male. He’s from an aristocratic patriarchal culture, and she’s from a planet of equality where all genders and pairings are accepted…

As I was savoring the prospect of all these fun reads, a mysterious parcel arrived.


Cause for celebration, sweets from the Sweet. The kettle is on, the teacups are waiting…

Postscript: The lavender shortbread is good. Very, very good.