Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Voices by Arnaldur Indridason

35. Voices - fifth in the Reykjavik Murder Mysteries
by Arnaldur Indridason
translated by Bernard Scudder
mystery, 2003
finished, 6/25/10

In my book report on Silence of the Grave, I said that I would continue buying the books in this series 'as long as Arnaldur Indridason continues to write them, and Bernard Scudder continues to translate them into English.' Peter left me a comment saying that 'Scudder died in 2007 partway through his translation of Arnaldur's novel "Arctic Chill." Victoria Cribb completed the translation and also translated "Hypothermia," the most recent of Arnaldur's novels to be published in English.'

I felt very sad about this, both about the death and the fact that he has been gone so long and I didn't even know it. Anyhow, I thought I would begin this post with a tribute to the wonderful translator. Here is his obituary:
Bernard Scudder
Poet and translator of Icelandic literature, ancient and modern

Joe Allard
The Guardian, Thursday 10 January 2008

Bernard Scudder, who has died suddenly aged 53, was a poet and the doyen of translators of Icelandic literature into English. Born in Canterbury, he read English literature at York University and was a member of the York team in one of their appearances on Bamber Gascoigne's University Challenge.

In 1977 he went to study the Icelandic language at Reykjavik University, after which he worked as a reporter for the Iceland Review and News and as a Reuter correspondent. While undertaking freelance commercial and political translations for many years, he also became widely respected as a translator of poetry and prose. Three years ago he took his first full-time job as translator for the National Bank of Iceland.

Bernard was a member of the editorial team that produced the Complete Sagas of Icelanders in English translation in 1997, which included the translations of some 30 native English speakers. He translated both Egil's Saga and Grettir's Saga, and was responsible for editing the notoriously problematic and difficult skaldic poetry from all the contributors. This five-volume compilation was published in Iceland by Leifur Eiríksson Publishing, but later taken up by Penguin Books. His lyric translation of The Prophecy of the Seeress appeared in 2001, a year before Cold Was That Beauty, a collection of translations of poems by nearly 50 poets.

In addition to his medieval translations, Bernard had an abiding passion for contemporary poetry and fiction. His renditions of a number of prizewinning novels included Thor Vilhjálmsson's Justice Undone (1995), Guðbergur Bergsson's The Swan (1997), Einar Már Guðmundsson's Angels of the Universe (1995) and Thorarinn Eldjarn's The Blue Tower (1999). He has more recently been translating the award-winning crime novels of Arnaldur Indridason, including Silence of the Grave (2006). His copies of the last were delivered to his house on the day of the funeral.

Bernard also translated songs and poems, both ancient and modern, exhibition catalogues, works about Icelandic geology, and subtitles for new films, most notably those by Fridrik Thor Fridriksson. Composures, a volume of his own poetry, was published in England in 1996. Another volume was nearing completion when he died, and will appear this year. It will combine Bernard's own poetry with a number of medieval and modern poetry translations he was at work on.

The poem Gravities, taken from the Composures volume, was characteristic of his work: "At the dead point of the afternoon/ where I at the sea's edge/ watch the waves poised/ between their climax and release/ posed with ineluctable grace/ between two gravities/ between the grave and the graver still/ I long for this dead point/ stretching the climax from the release,/ this finely spun short nothingness/ no longer spinning."

He leaves Sigrún Á Eiríksdóttir, his partner of many years and mother of their daughters Hrafnhildur and Eyrún Hanna.

Bernard John Scudder, translator and poet, born August 29 1954; died October 15 2007

Voices begins at Christmas time. A hotel is bustling with tourists coming to experience the season in a cold climate, while the doorman who doubles as Santa Claus for the children of employees and guests is found dead in his hovel of a room in that hotel, where he has lived for many years. He is in a state which would be most embarrassing if he were alive to know it.

No one seems to know this man, even his fellow employees. The police begin their slow search to piece together bits of information which will lead them to his killer.
Erlendur had unearthed a lie and he knew there was nothing more valuable for a criminal investigation.
That is something we all know, whether we read mysteries or watch them on televison, but I don't think I've actually read the line before. Arnaldur Indridason, more than any writer I've known, takes the time to mention such things. They help the reader see what being a policeman is all about. Another is:
His first sight of the body was etched in his mind and the more he found out about the man in the Santa suit, the more wretched was the mental image he preserved and knew he could never shake off.
In much the same way as in Silence of the Grave, Voices is about families.
Erlendur thought about his own father who did nothing but teach him good manners and show him affection. The single demand he made was to behave well and treat other people kindly. His father never tried to turn him into anything he was not. Erlendur thought of the father who was awaiting sentence for a brutal assault on his own son, and he imagined Gudlauger continually trying to live up to his father's expectations.
'Do you know what it's like not to be the favourite?' she asked instead. 'What it's like just being ordinary and never earning any particular attention. It's like you don't exist. You're taken for granted, not favoured or shown any special care. And all the time someone you consider your equal is championed like the chosen one, born to bring infinite joy to his parents and the whole world. You watch it day after day, week after week and year after year and it never ceases...
In Silence of the Grave we learned why Erlendur is so drawn to reading 'ordeal' books. In Voices, further details are revealed. Erlendur is like the proverbial onion: each book peels off another layer as we get to know this private and solitary man better and better. He tells his daughter, Eva Lind, a young addict who is trying to clean up:
'Instead of trying to rebuild something from the ruins, which I think I was trying to do when I met your mother, I dug myself down deeper into it because it's comfortable there and it looks like sanctuary. Like when you take drugs. It's more comfortable that way. That's your sanctuary. And as you know, even if you are aware that you're doing other people wrong, your own self matters most. That's why you go on taking drugs. That's why I dig myself down over and over again into the snowdrift.'
Along with the descriptions of excellent police work, and Erlendur's personal life, the reader gets to learn some hitherto unknown aspects of Icelandic life. In the first book I read, Jar City, Erlendur's co-worker, Sigurdur Óli asks,
"Isn't this your typical Icelandic murder?" ... "Squalid, pointless and committed without any attempt to hide it, change the clues or conceal the evidence."
In Voices, this criticism of their country continues:
They make such an awful fuss about small things here in Iceland, even more now than they used to; it's a national trait in a country of under-achievers.
No one is ever allowed to excel in this dwarf state. No one's allowed to be different.
When I had finished Silence of the Grave, I looked around the shelves wondering what I would read next and I realized I just wanted to read more about Inspector Erlendur and Iceland. I feel the same after finishing Voices. I've picked up a couple other books, and liked them perfectly well, but I'll put them aside to continue with my visits to Iceland.

The author, Arnaldur Indridason

On a fun side note, there were frequent mentions in Voices of the tourists in their brand new Icelandic sweaters. I wanted to see what they look like. Now I want one!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Farm and Garden Weekly - weeks of June 13 and June 20

The last two weeks of spring gave Windy Poplars Farm the annual joy of peonies, though they went from bud to full bloom to overblown in a matter of quick days. Sad that such loveliness can be so very fleeting. It often depends on the weather. Even though our plants are caged for support, there really isn't any hope for the poor flowers if a hard rain falls. They droop, they brown, they die. But oh, how beautiful they are while they last!

Ove the years of the blog, I've offered two peony poems. If you haven't read them, you may find one by Donald Hall and another by Mary Oliver. Both are exquisite.

Lisa left a note on one of the Farm and Garden Weeklies saying maybe the bluebird would be back, and I couldn't believe it after all the commotion that went on, but one day Tom thought he heard it, and then on Monday, the 14th I saw it on the wire near the birdhouse! Will there be a second nest?? No further sightings of the bluebird.

The air is full of robin song. The mother with the nest in the Dutchman's Pipe scolds us only as we walk by the nest onto the porch. Otherwise, she allows us to sit at the table eating with friends as we did on the first day of summer.

Matt saw a black bear down where the house is being built, and on Father's Day his mother and Margaret saw one heading up the road into the woods from our house when they were over here for brunch. Sadly, no photographs.

The wild turkey families have been closer to the house; right out front by the maple tree. Tom took this shot through the screen but you can still see how very adorable they are. I am so fond of wild turkeys, and feel such gratitude that they raise their families here.

On the 23rd I saw two moose out in the north pasture. Again the pictures were taken through the screen, and also with the zoom lens.

On Thursday, the 24th, Tom saw deer tracks up the road; a mother and a fawn. He didn't have the camera with him though.

The Zephyr squash is up!

As are two plantings of the French Gold yellow pole bean. This is the first time we've grown pole beans and are using these cages to support them.

One of my very favorite flowers is the mallow. I remember my mother saying it used to grow by the chicken house on her childhood farm so I planted it here on this farm. I love these which popped up amongst the daylilies.

And speaking of daylilies, the first of the 'common' or orange daylilies have opened. I believe that of all the beautiful colors I have, they are still my favorite.

The milkweed has opened with its incredible fragrance. It reminds me of the hoya plant we used to have. Very strong. It is growing alongside the spiderwort and globe thistle.

I am happy to report that the bleeding heart came back from the late frost and heavy snow, and is still blooming.

Once a year, the cedar waxwing comes along to eat the honeysuckle berries in front of the side porch. Such a welcome treat. Tom was lucky enough to be standing on the porch to catch this view of the dear bird.

We are still having quite a bit of rainy/cloudy weather, and hence the vegetables seem a little slow, but as soon as we get some sunny hot days they should really take off. The lettuce, onions, and leeks are growing just fine.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Housework/Sanding the floors

It has been a long time since any floor sanding has happened in this house. We hired people when we first moved in. They removed the old linoleum from the kitchen, exposing the beautiful hardwood. They sanded off the old paint on the upstairs floors letting the golden glow of the pine floors come through. Most of the floors haven't been done since except for Tom sanding the kitchen floor many years ago.

We decided to do the floors which were in the worse shape: the kitchen (along with the new pine floor in the new butt'ry) and the entrance hall.

This gives you an idea of how they looked.

Yesterday we moved everything out of the kitchen except the refrigerator and stove.

And today, the fridge and stove went out - the fridge on the side lawn, plugged in through the kitchen window, and the stove on the porch.

And here's Mr. Sandman! The ribbons from the lights are to prevent him bumping his head on them.

My part in this is such a hard one. Let's see, I'm reading some of your blogs and reading my book and keeping the dogs company in the two rooms they must live in, the living room and study, until this work is done. We've got the sander rented until Monday morning. Tom has just finished the initial sanding, and will soon begin to put on the polyurethane. It will need two coats. Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A better mousetrap!

If you live in an 1800s farmhouse in the middle of fields and woods you will have mice. It is simply a fact of life. We'll go months without seeing a mouse, and then one morning we come down and find mouse droppings on the kitchen counter. They come up from the cellar I think, and make their way to the counter from behind the refrigerator.

And if you've been reading my letters for any time, you will know that we are vegetarians, and that our farm animals live until they die naturally, and thus it follows that we aren't going to catch mice in a trap that kills them. For years and years we have used the Havahart brand of trap and it has worked well. The mouse is then transported away from the house into a stone wall down the road. But for some reason, in the past couple weeks, the mouse would eat what was put in the trap but not get caught. Tom went looking for a new Havahart, thinking ours was simply old and not working well anymore. The store he was in didn't offer that brand, so he bought another called Victorpest. You may recognize the name. All the old killer traps were Victors. The Victorpest was a little bigger, and they claim it will hold 3 or 4 mice. Well, ours didn't need to attempt that particular feat because ... well, here's the story. In the evening, we caught a mouse. Tom took it outdoors, and set the trap again. He used peanut butter as they advised. Soon, there was another mouse inside. Tom trekked down the hill again. He decided to stay downstairs last night to see what happened. Over the course of the night, four more were caught, and Tom made four more trips, guided by the almost full moon. What a success!

Top and inside
Side view
Where we set it on the counter; the fridge is to the left of the lamp

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Nun in the Closet by Dorothy Gilman

34. A Nun in the Closet
by Dorothy Gilman
mystery, 1975
unabridged audio read by Roslyn Alexander
finished, 6/23/10

One of the reasons I enjoy writing my book reports is that I must stop and really think about a book. In the case of A Nun in the Closet, I found myself wondering just what has drawn me to the story, not once or twice but about six times! I listened to it so many times on Recorded Books that I finally bought my own copy a few years ago. Obviously, I love this book. But what keeps bringing me back to it?

The story goes like this. A house in New York state has been left to the cloistered convent of St. Tabatha in Pennsylvania by a Mr. John Moretti. Mother Clothilde, the head of the Abbey sends two nuns to investigate the place and to think about what might be done with it. Sister John and Sister Hyacinthe take off in a loaner delivery van after Sister Hyacinthe learns to drive, sort of. She is an herbalist with her head rather in the clouds. Sister John is more practical and capable, but both of them are very unworldly. The last event they really know about was when a television was brought to the Abbey so they could watch that nice Mr. Glenn orbit the earth in 1962.

The house is on over a hundred acres of woods and fields. It is rather dark inside because of the wisteria which has grown over the windows. It is atmosperic to say the least. There is a secret staircase, money in a well, big jars labeled sugar which are not sugar at all. They come upon a wounded man who is healed by Sister Hyacinthe's herbal remedies. He has been shot, and to keep him safe the nuns dress him in a habit and keep him hidden. The sisters meet young people who are helping migrant workers pick beans, a bigoted scary sheriff, a mystical young man who throws the I Ching, and the Mafia. Whew! That's a lot of living for these nuns. Sister John handles every situation with aplombe, and her 'perfect faith.'

It is 'dated' but in a very good way. We see America as it really was in the mid-1970s. The people are kindly and gentle souls except for the villains. They support one another, accept one another's beliefs, do good toward others. If you are feeling jaded about the world, it will renew your good spirits. If you want to know how a lot of young people felt in 1975, it will teach you through the example of the characters. If you believe in 'many paths, one goal' the book will give hope to that belief. If you like to read about people who don't whine, but work on the solutions to problems, you will find them in abundance here.

In addition to all these wonders, it is a plain good story. Interesting, intriguing, and fun. It is very well-written, as are Dorothy Gilman's Mrs. Pollifax books, which I have also listened to over and over again. She is one of my favorite writers and I am thrilled she was the Grand Master at the Edgar Awards this year.

One of the best quotes I've ever heard comes from Sister Hyacinthe:
I've never understood how anyone can doubt God after seeing an egg.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Quote du jour/Gladys Taber

The magic of June is a very special magic ... It is compounded of much beauty and kindliness on nature's part, it really leaves nothing to be desired.
It is the deep heart of New England beating to a rhythm that never grows old, that is forever young, forever fair.
Surely the petals will never fall from the rose this time, surely it will always be June!

Gladys Taber
Stillmeadow Daybook, 1955

Monday, June 21, 2010

Eloise by Kay Thompson

33. Eloise
by Kay Thompson, drawings by Hilary Knight
children's picture book, 1955
library book
finished, 6/21/10

Maybe I am too literal minded. Maybe I took this book too seriously. But honestly, I didn't like it at all. And I can't understand why it has become a classic in the literature for young children. It is about a six-year old girl who lives at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. She has a nanny.

Can you see the last line? 'She is my mostly companion' - and that's the truth. Her nanny and the various employees at the hotel are her only friends. Her mother makes an appearance in a section of the book when Eloise tells us she likes to pretend.
Sometimes I am a giant with fire coming out of my hair
That's perhaps a fairly normal child's imaginary situation, but then:
Sometimes I get terribly sick and have to be waited on
Sometimes I get so sick my head falls over and is wobbling until
it is loose

So, this thirty-year old mother 'knows an ad man' and then we find out:

Eloise has a tutor -

And these snippets are just about the sum total of the mentions of Eloise's mother. Achingly sad. I think it is all too clear that this young rich woman leads a jet-setter life in which there is no room for a little girl. Eloise's life truly is at the Plaza.

This book came out when I was little, but I never read it then and didn't read it to my kids. I wonder why? Since Kay Thompson is one of the authors to choose from in the You've Got Mail Reading Challenge, I thought this would be a perfect time to finally read it. I guess I'm sort of glad I did. At least now I know who Eloise is. But again, I just can't see how it got so popular. This is a children's picture book, not a juvenile or young adult book. I can't imagine a child understanding it as her mother or father reads it to her. The language is complicated and the references obscure to most readers. Hilary Knight is a well-known and well-respected artist, and though the illustrations were excellent, this little girl is not in the least appealing. Again, just so sad to me. When the children's librarian saw me with this book, she offered me three other Eloise books. After I finished Eloise, I knew I didn't care to read them, but I did skim through. Because in one she goes to Paris and in another she goes to Moscow, I thought, ah, maybe now she'll be with her mother, but no. Nanny is still her 'mostly companion.'

There's some information about Kay Thompson here.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Avocado Salad

Peel and pit two ripe avocados.
Put the pulp into a food processor with the juice of half a lemon.
Process until smooth.
Place in a bowl.
Chop as many grape tomatoes as desired and put on top of avocado.
Chop fresh chives and add.
Salt as desired.

This couldn't be any easier and is simply delicious!

Friday, June 18, 2010

On 'our Paulie's' 68th!

The words are not in sync, but still... this is the song that made me fall in love with Paul McCartney when I was a young girl watching the Ed Sullivan Show all those years ago.

Mystery Mile by Margery Allingham

32. Mystery Mile (second in the Albert Campion series)
by Margery Allingham
mystery, 1930
library book
unabridged audio read by Francis Matthews
finished, 6/15/10

On the back of the box of tapes it says that Margery Allingham introduced Albert Campion as a secondary character in The Crime at Black Dudley (1929), and that she grew so attached to him he became the central character in Mystery Mile (1930) and 19 more Campion mysteries.

Isn't that just delightful to think of a writer becoming 'attached' to a character?

I recently bought the first in the series in a beautiful edition from Felony & Mayhem. I have mentioned this fantastic company several times on the blog. They offer a great selection of the Campion books with simply beautiful covers. I fully intended to begin my Albert Campion adventure with The Crime at Black Dudley, but one day at the library, while looking for an audio book, Mystery Mile jumped right out at me and whispered, listen, listen. So I did. I loved it. In fact I loved it so much, I plan to buy a print copy from F & M.

The book opens on an ocean liner going from the US to England. There is a conjuring entertainment on board and a volunteer is requested. A young man rushes to the stage and saves the man from what would have been certain death. The man is an American judge traveling with his adult son and daughter to escape being murdered by a criminal group at home. Clearly, the group called Simister (yes an m, not n) has followed him and will stop at nothing until their target is killed. The judge's savior on board ship is none other than our hero, Albert Campion, an unlikely hero in appearance and demeanor. He is a little like Bertie Wooster, but with the brains of Jeeves. He comes up with a plan to bring the judge and his family to a place called Mystery Mile, an isthmus (I feel like the little boy in The Music Man when I try to say that word!) in Suffolk, where only a few families live. Campion is old friends with a young woman and her brother and hopes their home will be a refuge for the judge. Of course it isn't. There are many adventures in store for our little group, both dangerous and romantic. There is mud which is like quicksand. There is a disappearance from a maze which has no escape. There is a mysterious fortune teller who comes, after whose visit a much beloved friend commits suicide.

Albert Campion was a bit of a mysterious fellow himself. I thought I couldn't figure some things out because I hadn't read the first book yet, but from a bit of reading I've done, this is the case throughout the series. We don't learn everything about his past, his family, or his manservant, a former burglar named Lugg.

I loved every minute of my time within these pages. I so look forward to each book in this long series. Margery Allingham is considered one of the queens of Golden Age detective fiction, and now I know why. The only mystery to me is why I didn't begin reading these books long ago. I have seen a few of the televised versions, and now that I've met Mr. Campion in print, I see that Peter Davison was the absolute perfect choice to play him.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mrs Bale is not really complaining, but...

Mrs Bale wonders if we've gone into another weather zone. Has our windy hill been transported to the Pacific Northwest? I think there have been some sunny, warm days this month, but what I remember are rainy, cloudy, raw, dark days. She and I aren't really complaining because after all our British souls are most at home in this sort of weather, but still ... it would be nice to have a wee bit more sunshine. So far the plants seem fine. In fact, they are looking more like those in a tropical rainforest everyday. Green, green, green. I will certainly take this over dry and brown and hot anyday, but still ... it would be nice to see the sun.


Addendum: a few hours later the sun came out! I'm happy. :<)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Silence of the Grave by Arnaldur Indridason

31. Silence of the Grave (Icelandic title, Grafarpögn) - fourth in Inspector Erlendur series
by Arnaldur Indridason
translated by Bernard Scudder
mystery, 2002
finished, 6/14/10

As in all new estates, the children played in the half-built houses, climbed up the scaffolding, hid in the shadows of solitary walls, or slid down into recently dug foundations to splash in the water that collected there.
What an eight-year old boy finds in one of these foundations is an old rib bone, and so begins a mystery that bridges sixty years.

Grafarholt used to be rural countryside outside of Reykjavik.
But the city had spread across the bays and hills as the rural population depopulated. A modern city swollen with people who did not want to live in the countryside or fishing villages any more, or could not live there, and came to the city to build new lives for themselves, but lost their roots and were left with no past and an uncertain future.
This is the modern day Grafarholt that Erlendur would see as he investigates the bone.

The book goes back and forth between modern day police trying to discover who it belonged to and why it was there; and the story of an extremely abusive husband and his family. The reader puzzles about a connection but there are so many twists and turns that when the ending revealed all, I was surprised. I had to avert my eyes from some of the descriptions. I read enough to get the gist, but honestly some of the details made for difficult reading. How I hated that man. What made it especially terrible was a scene of the husband shaking hands with the police as they left the house without doing anything, though they saw the woman's injuries. We later find out this is a family of many years ago, and the reader might think, 'well those days are gone' except I know they aren't, and the author knows it, too. Erlendur encounters the same situation, asks where the man is, and the woman tells him:
If you're going to take him, make sure you kill him. If you don't, he'll kill me.
And we all know the truth in her fear; and how seldom restraining orders work.

As I read on in the book, I came to realize that it is a story of families and how some can go wrong, and some can go horribly wrong. What should be a source of refuge and peace and support can become exactly the opposite; from Erlendur's own family to the family with the cruel father in the past to the family with an abusive father and an addicted mother, whose child is taken away in the present.

Erlendur suffers the guilt of a man who left his wife and children many years ago. We met his daughter in Jar City and she comes into his life again in this book. Other than losing a child to death, this policeman's situation really couldn't be worse. Eva Lind is an addict who lives the life no parent can bear thinking about.

We know that Erlendur is a great reader of books about 'ordeals in the wilderness' and his knowledge of such things gives him guidance in solving this case.
"Someone sets off from a farm, say. It's the middle of winter and the weather forecast is bad. ... He loses his bearings. Gets lost. In the end he gets covered over in a snowdrift and freezes to death. By then he's miles off the beaten track. That's why the body's never found. He's given up for lost.

That's a typical Icelandic missing person scenario and we can explain it and understand it because we live in this country and know how the weather suddenly turns bad and how the story of that man repeats itself at regular intervals without anyone questioning it. That's Iceland, people think, and shake their heads. ... There were rarely grounds for treating such disappearances as police or criminal matters.

What if people said so-and-so had set off for the moors or another farm or went to lay a fishing net in the lake and was never heard of again? A search is mounted, but he's never found and is given up for lost."

"So the whole household conspires to kill this person?" Sigurdur Óli said.

"Then he is stabbed or beaten or shot and buried in the garden?" Elínborg added.

"Until one day Reykjavik has grown so big that he can't rest in peace any longer," Erlendur said.
It is such details which bring Iceland alive to the reader.

How the police come up with information about the past, and about the people who used to live on that hill before it changed beyond all recognition makes for fascinating reading. There were both English and American barracks and the reader wonders if somehow soldiers from the Second World War could be involved. There's a man whose fiancée apparently drowned, and we wonder if the rib is hers. He himself died many years ago, and his niece has all his papers in her cellar. She hasn't been able to bring herself to go through the morass of boxes. A good argument is made for not holding onto clutter.
The cellar measured about 90 square meters and ... full of boxes and more boxes, some labelled, but most not. There were cardboard boxes that once contained wine and cigarettes, and wooden crates, in all conceivable sizes and filled with an endless assortment of rubbish. In the cellar were also old cupboards, chests, suitcases and sundry items that had accumulated over a long time: dusty bicycles, lawn mowers, an old barbecue.
Horrors! Yet, some important information is found there after days and days of searching.

I cannot praise this book highly enough. It was a perfect followup to Jar City. With each book, we learn more and more about this interesting, thoughtful Inspector Erlendur. We learn about Iceland. And we follow investigators as they pore over clues until they have solved the case. Along the way, we see human nature at its best and worst. I have the next two in the series on my shelf, and will continue buying them as long as Arnaldur Indridason continues to write them, and Bernard Scudder continues to translate them into English. I'm hoping at some point, the first two will be translated.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Vacuum update, and a thank you

Well, here I am with my new upright vacuum cleaner. :<) Not what I thought I wanted, and not a brand I expected to buy but I am happy, happy with my new Electrolux. We hadn't even researched it. We went to Lowes fully intending to check out all the Dyson models and come home with one. But the Electrolux was the first one we came to, and I watched the little videos and read the literature. It was half the price of the Dyson Animal, and it may well turn out to be half the quality, but we thought why not? If it doesn't work out, we can always go back and buy the other one. But it really seems fine, and actually more than just fine. I love it! Who knew? I was sure I wanted a canister type. But the upright is just great. It has a button to make the handle go lower. It has buttons for rugs and for bare floors. It has NO bags, which thrills me. It looks beautiful in my butt'ry. And I cleaned the whole downstairs in about an hour. Unheard of! There was so much less stopping, and putting on attachments. These attachments are all right on the machine, and it just takes a minute to put one on. There is a great telescoping wand with a brush on the end with which I can do the whole set of stairs. I can take the whole thing off and put on a little attachment to vacuum the furniture. No complaints, just joy. And I was smiling as I worked.

Here it is. That little dog and cat sticker can come off but I kinda like it.

And this is how much dirt I got! I had just vacuumed three days before. You push a button while holding it over the trash can, and it drops right out. Easy peasy.

And now I want to thank you all so very much for leaving notes about what you liked and didn't like. It was rather like reading reviews of machines online. One person would love a certain kind, and another had nothing but trouble with it. That seemed especially true of the Dyson which is why we thought we'd go with a cheaper machine.