Friday, 20 January 2017

2017 Book Purchases, some late Xmas Gifts and other Miscellany

Our puppies in one of their favourite spots.. lol
Here it is, the 20th of January, 2017. I don't know if the year is moving quickly, but it always seems to catch me up.

We have had some snow this season
We've had a little bit of everything so far this year; a nice dumping of snow which only this past week has disappeared. It's been cold for us (nothing at all like back East), a week or two of 0 degree temperatures, some stormy weather, high winds and today again, sunny and mild. We are pretty temperate here so I'd much rather deal with what we have then what they can get on the other side of the Rockies. I will say one thing and that is that our local Comox snow removal folks do an excellent job keeping the streets clear and usable.

It's getting there
We continue to make progress on the work we had done in the room above the garage. The shelves and trim are painted. We need another coat on the ceiling and then the yellow for the sloping bit of the walls. The carpet is ordered and will with luck be installed in the next couple of weeks. Then it's just a matter of moving the furniture back and seeing how we want to rearrange things. (And of course putting a few books on the shelves. :0))

The skylight at the top of the stairs
You won't be able to see the above photo very well probably, but the work on the skylight is complete, new trim, bead board installed and the whole thing painted. I did post a picture of what it looked like before in an earlier BLog. It just seems so much brighter and fresher.

The newly updated Master bedroom
I haven't really added any photos of the master bedroom. We had done a fair bit to it when we first moved in; added new carpets, fresh paint, new drapes and that sort of thing. It has always been a dark room so a few years back when we had new windows put in throughout the house, we added an extra one in the corner and also had the main big window increased in size. It did help a lot but because it's a the back of the house, the room doesn't get a lot of sun during the day. In December we had three big fir trees chopped down. They were just outside the Master bedroom and already, in the morning, the room is brighter. As well, Jo has done a lot of work over the past month to freshen up the room; new bed, painted the mirrors white, switched the gray drapes to brighter white curtains; added a new chair in the left corner. It really has freshened up the room. Little things, but I find the work she has done (and basically on her own, as she is such a better painter) has made it more inviting and comfortable.

January 2017 Book Purchases

So, moving on to my January book purchases. I'm doing this a bit earlier than usual as we're planning to go to Victoria soon and I will probably visit a few of the local book stores there and I'm sure buy a few. I don't want to let this list get out of hand. The books listed below are books I've purchased since January 1st but also includes some books that Jo purchased on line for me for Xmas. They just didn't arrive in time for Xmas itself. A couple of my gifts for her were the same. Anyway, let's take a look. In no particular order, here they are.

1. The Clue of the New Shoe by Arthur Upfield - This is the 2nd book I've bought, written by Australian author, Arthur Upfield, featuring his half-Aborigine sleuth, Napoleon Bonaparte. I don't have the first book in the series yet, but I think I'll read one of these this year to see if it's worth further exploration. The synopsis is below. (I found this during a recent visit to Qualicum Beach, at the Salvation Army's Book Nook, a very nice little shop I'd never visited before.)

"The naked body of a man is discovered entombed in the walls of the Split Point Lighthouse on Australia's South East coast. Taking up investigations, Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte is curious to know why a coffin is moved in the night, who was the girl seen struggling with Dick Lake on the cliff top.... and why the Bully Buccaneers came to deal in death.
Superintendent Bolt said 'It's the toughest job we've ever had;.. but Bony never was an ordinary detective."

2. The Killing Kind by John Connolly - Irish writer, Connolly, is another new writer for me. He was recommended by one of friends in my Mystery book group. This is the third book in his Charlie Parker mystery series.

"When the discovery of a mass grave in northern Maine (Ed note - I never stated that he set his books in Ireland. :)) reveals the grim truth behind the disappearance of a religious community, private detective Charlie Parker is drawn into a violent conflict with a group of zealots intent on tracking down a relic that could link them to the slaughter. Haunted by the ghost of a small boy and tormented by the demonic killer known as Mr. Pudd, Parker is forced to fight for his lover, his friends... and his very soul."

3. The Maracot Deep by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - This is another of the books I picked up at The Book Nook. I have enjoyed Doyle's Sherlock Holmes books and some of his others. It was a nice surprise to find a book I'd never heard of before. It was originally published in 1929.

"'We slid through the claws of the horrible creature and went circling downwards into the abysmal depths...'
Down into the silent world under the Atlantic, went Doctor Maracot and his two companions. In their cage of steel and glass they gazed on a world of strange life-forms and unknown terrors...
From the deep came the fierce crustacean giant, the Marax, and in vicious battle their life-line was severed.
Stranded on the ocean floor, Maracot's expedition emerged into an even stranger world - the living remains of the lost civilisation that gave the ocean its name.. Atlantis."

4. Classics of the Macabre by Daphne du Maurier - I found this at my local, Nearly New Books. It's one of those books that attracted me immediately, hard cover, excellent condition and the nice thing about it was that, amongst the short stories within was The Birds, a story I've never read but have long been interested to find.

"This sumptuous volume (published by Victor Gollancz Ltd of London) celebrates the 80th birthday of one of the best-known and most-loved storytellers in the English language today, Daphne du Maurier.
Here are six masterpieces of the imagination, illustrated in glowing colour by prize-winning artist, Michael Foreman.
Don't Look Now, a classic story of the macabre, opens the collection, followed by The Apple Tree, The Blue Lenses (I've read this before and it was excellent), The Birds, The Alibi and Not After Midnight."

5. Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier - du Maurier is one of those authors whose works I want to explore more. The only book of hers I'd read, for the longest time was, The House on the Strand and I read that two or three times. More recently I finally tried Rebecca, and loved it. I also read a collection of her short stories, The Blue Lenses and other stories and that has just made me want to read more. So when I saw this book at The Book Nook and it was in such excellent condition, I figured I should have it. It is one of her Cornish collection.

"The cold walls of Jamaica Inn smelt of guilt and deceit. Its dark secrets made the very name a byword for terror among honest Cornish folk.
Young Mary Yellan found her uncle the apparent leader of strange men who plied a strange trade. But was there more to learn? She remembered the fear in her aunt's eyes...
Out on the wild, rough moors there were only two people to befriend her - a mysterious parson and an insolent, likable rogue who broke the law every day of his life."

(Brief weather update - Just got back from our noontime walk. What a beautiful, sunny, mild day. It's days like this that make me happy that I moved out here back in 2001. )

6. Without Consent by Frances Fyfield - I've collected a few of English writer Fyfield's books the past few years and finally read one last year and enjoyed very much. This is one of the Xmas gifts that Jo got me this year. It is the sixth and last book in the Helen West mystery series.

"Prosecutor Helen West's relationship with police officer Geoffrey Bailey is becoming more serious, but the couple is at odds because Bailey's protégé, Sergeant Ryan, is suspected of rape. As the evidence mounts against Ryan, West and Bailey examine the seemingly open-and-shut case; a terrible crime warrants justice regardless of their feelings toward Ryan. But as they dig deeper, a new suspect emerges - one who possesses a cold-blooded intuition about women. West and Bailey quickly find themselves trying to clear Ryan's name and avenge a series of crimes with no evidence."

7. Day Shift by Charlaine Harris - This is the second book in Harris' Midnight, Texas series and I'm looking forward to starting it as I've enjoyed her Sookie Stackhouse, Harper Connelly and her Lily Bard series. She tells great entertaining fantasy/ horror/ mystery stories.

"There is no such thing as bad publicity, except in Midnight, Texas, where the residents like to keep to themselves. When psychic Manfred Bernardo finds himself embroiled in a scandal and hounded by the press after one of his regular clients dies during a reading, he turns to enigmatic, beautiful, and dangerous Olivia Charity for help. Somehow he knows that the mysterious Olivia can get things back to normal. As normal as things get in Midnight..."

8. Nobody True by James Herbert - I've read two of Herbert's horror stories in the past couple of years, The Secret of Critchley Hall and The Fog and enjoyed both of them. He's one of those authors who I regret not having started sooner. I found this book at another cosy used book store in Qualicum, Book Case.

"I wasn't there when I died.
I'd returned from one of those out-of-body dreams, the kind where you feel your spirit has left your body and it isn't really a dream.
But somebody murdered me while I was away. Mutilated me. Left nothing for me to come back to.
Who did it? The serial killer terrorising the city? Or someone closer, someone known to me? But I had no enemies. At least, I didn't think I had.
And it's scary when you meet the serial killer, when horror is followed by even greater horror, when your own family is threatened and only you can stop the killings.
So what do you do? You have no substance, no real power. You cannot even touch.
What the hell do you do?"

9. The Preacher by Camilla Lackberg - This is the second book by Swedish writer, Lackberg, after her successful introduction to the crime / thriller genre with The Ice Princess.

"Twenty years ago two young women disappeared whilst holidaying in the peaceful resort of Fjallbacka. Now their remains have been discovered, along with a fresh victim, sending the town into shock.
Detective Patrick Hedstrom, whose partner Erica is expecting their first child, has personal reasons for wanting to find the killer. When another girl goes missing, his attention focuses on the Hults, a feuding clan of misfits, religious fanatics and criminals. Which of this family's dark secrets will provide the vital clue?"

10. Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews - This is the first book by ex-CIA agent, Jason Matthews. The book was recommended to me by another of my Goodreads' mates. I do like me a good spy story.

"In present day Russia, ruled by blue-eyed, unblinking President Vladimir Putin, Russian intelligence officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the post-Soviet intelligence jungle. Ordered against her will to become a "Sparrow," a trained seductress, Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a young CIA officer who handles the Agency's most important Russian mole.
Spies have long relied on the "honey trap," whereby vulnerable men and women are intimately compromised. Dominika learns these techniques of "sexpionage" in Russia's secret "Sparrow School", hidden outside of Moscow.
As the action careens between Russia, Finland, Greece, Italy and the United States, Dominika and Nate soon collide in a duel of wills, trade craft, and - inevitably - forbidden passion that threatens not just their lives but those of others as well. As secret allegiances are made and broken, Dominika and Nate's game reaches a deadly crossroads. Soon one of them begins a dangerous double existence in a life-and-death operation that consumes intelligence agencies from Moscow to Washington, D.C."

11. The Fiend by Margaret Millar - Since I discovered her books, Canadian Margaret Millar has quickly become one of my favourite mystery writers. She had such a unique way of telling a story and all of the books I've read to-date have been excellent. I'm always happy when I can find another of her books. I discovered this one during our visit to Qualicum Beach, at the Book Case.

"Your daughter takes too dangerous risks with her delicate body. Children must be guarded against the cruel hazards of life and fed good, nourishing food so their bones will be p;added. Also clothing. You should put plenty of clothing on her, keep arms and legs covered, etc. In the name of God, please take better care of your little girl.
Kate Oakley received this strange letter in her morning mail. It marked the beginning of a campaign of terror waged against Kate, her little daughter, and an entire community."

12. Night Games by Mai Zetterling - The remaining books were all Xmas gifts from Jo. Mai Zetterling is a Swedish actress, director and writer. Jo had to search around quite a bit to find a copy of this book. Night games was released as a movie in 1966 in Sweden under the title, Nattlek.

"'I wanted rebirth; my birth had been a mockery. I wanted liberation from myself...' The narrator of this curious and fantastic novel is a young man born to a rich, selfish and desperate mother, who pursues a nightmarish life in which the compulsion to humiliate both himself and others, and to degrade conventional values through profanity and perversion, is seen to be an attempt to exorcise an horrific childhood.
Mariana, a beautiful girl who resembles his mother, becomes the catalyst towards which he gropes in his search for a rebirth. Before all the ghosts are laid he and Mariana explore completely the 'human hell' necessary for his final purgation."

The final three books are also Xmas gifts from Jo and are by one of my other favourite mystery writers, Minette Walters.

13. The Echo by Minette Walters - This book was originally published in 1997.

"In this hypnotic novel of psychological suspense, a homeless man is found starved to death in the garage of a ritzy London home. The police chalk it up to an unfortunate accident, but a journalist, Michael Deacon, is intrigued. Amanda Powell, a socialite whose wealthy husband vanished five years ago after being accused of embezzlement, is just as interested as Michael in finding out who died in her garage. They have no idea that this simple story will unveil a web of deceit that is as appalling as the people behind it."

14. The Sculptress by Minette Walters - This book is Walters' second and was originally published in 1993.

"It was a slaughterhouse, the most horrific scene I have ever witnessed... Olive Martin is a dangerous woman. I advise you to be extremely wary in your dealings with her.
The facts of the case were simple: Olive Martin had pleaded guilty to killing and dismembering her sister and mother, earning herself the chilling nickname 'The Sculptress'.
This much journalist Rosalind Leigh knew before her first meeting with Olive, currently serving a life sentence. How could Roz have foreseen that the encounter was destined to change her life - for ever?"

15. The Shape of Snakes by Minette Walters - This book was originally published in 2000.

"'I could never decide whether 'Mad Annie' was murdered because she was mad or because she was black...'
November 1978. Britain is on strike. The dead lie unburied, rubbish piles in the streets - and somewhere in West London a black woman dies in a rain-soaked gutter.
Her passing would have gone unmourned but for the young woman who finds her and who believes - apparently against reason - that Annie was murdered. But whatever the truth about Annie - whether she was as mad as her neighbours claimed, whether she lived in squalor as the police - something passed between her and Mrs. Ranelagh in the moment of death which binds this one woman to her cause for the next twenty years.
But why is Mrs. Ranelagh so convinced it was murder when by her own account Annie died without speaking? And why would any woman spend twenty painstaking years uncovering the truth - unless her reasons were personal?"

So there you go... More to follow on my January reading, further book purchases, etc. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Canadian TV - Mysteries

The other day I started a thread on my Mystery group page in Goodreads. I had just finished watching the latest Murdoch Mysteries and a new mystery series on CBC (the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), Pure. It made me start thinking of some of the excellent Canadian TV mystery series that are on now and have been on in the past. Hence my post on the Mystery site.

So since it's a bit quiet at the moment, as the missus is entertaining a friend, I thought I'd continue the discussion on my BLog.

Jo and I do love a good mystery. We have enjoyed many US series, especially the Law & Order franchise, but so many others have attracted our interest. We obviously enjoy British mysteries, Jo being English and all that. They tend to offer a different perspective than the US shows. For one thing, there are quite a few period type mystery series; Sherlock, Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, etc. As well, there are a mix of nice cozy mysteries; Hamish MacBeth, Agatha Raisin, Midsomer Murders and much more gritty shows; Shetland, Rebus, Silent Witness. There have been British shows that have been transplanted in North America, such as Broadchurch and Prime Suspect, with varying degrees of success. The US shows just don't seem to have the same sensibilities as the UK versions. Having said that we both enjoyed the Maria Bello version of Prime Suspect; it was sufficiently different from the Helen Mirren version to make it unique in its own right. It was unfortunate it was cancelled.

Of course, we're lucky here in Canada to get quite a few Australian and New Zealand mystery shows. fondly remember enjoying Halifax FP back in the day, which starred the lovely Rebecca Gibney. But more recently, we've had shows such as Dr Blake Mysteries, Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries (starring Essie Davies), Janet King, a legal mystery starring Marta Dusseldorp (also star of another favourite series, A Place To Call Home). The Australians also have their own unique style, rougher maybe and more down to earth. The Americans have tried to transplant Secrets and Lies, starring Juliet Lewis and while it's had two seasons in the US, we enjoyed the Australian version more.

Anyway, on to my main topic, Canadian mystery series. It's only been in recent years that I've really noticed the quality of the many Canadian shows that Jo and I have enjoyed so much. I don't recall any mysteries made in Canada that I watched growing up. The closest would be a kid's show, The Forest Rangers, which was more of an adventure series than a true mystery.

One of the first big shows that I recall was Street Legal and that ran from 87 - 94, starring the lovely Cynthia Dale and Sonja Smits, amongst others. It was a legal drama set in Toronto and was very popular, offering a Canadian perspective of the legal system. If you'd like to see a clip of a show to get a feel for it, click on this link.

Around the same time frame was a more humorous series about a newspaper reporter who had visions of murders and became involved solving the crimes. Seeing Things ran from 1981 - 1987 and starred Louis del Grande as Louis Ciccone, intrepid news reporter, who also had to deal with issues from his ex-wife and a budding relationship with Crown prosecutor Janet Redfern. It was an excellent and funny series. There are episodes on You Tube if you want to try and get a feel for the show.

Howard Engel created the wonderful character, Bennie Cooperman, a Jewish private eye who lived near Niagara Falls and was involved in a number of fun, interesting cases. In 1985 and 1986, two of the Bennie Cooperman mysteries were made into TV movies; Murder Sees the Light and The Suicide Murders. The movies starred Saul Rubinek as Bennie Cooperman and he did a wonderful job as the hapless detective. As with most good things, the movies are available on You Tube. The link to The Suicide Murders is available by clicking on the title of the show. (Of course, the books are also excellent)

Please recognise that I might jump around here with my suggestions and recommendations for Canadian shows. Some I didn't watch until reruns. Showcase is an excellent source for reruns of some of these Canadian series, that have become favourites of ours.

Cold Squad ran from 1998 - 2005 and, while I won't say that the US show, Cold Case, had any basis on this Canadian series, they do have a similar concept, that being a police unit specialising in solving cold cases. The Canadian series starred Julie Stewart, who ran the unit and various other detectives moved in and out of the show over its 7 year run, including Michael Hogan and Matthew Bennett. It's a show that I came to upon my move out to the West Coast and it had been running for 3 or 4 years by then. Jo used to watch in the mornings on Showcase as I was at work. It helped her acclimatize to our Canadian culture somewhat, watching a unique Canadian crime show. Episodes are available on You Tube. I've linked to a promo for the show.

Blue Murder ran from 2001 to 2004 and was a crime show about Toronto cops investigating murders in the city. The series also went through a number of actors who worked in the squad, including Mimi Kuzyk, who played the deputy police, for the whole series. Joel Keller was the only other who stayed for the whole series, but you also would find Jeremy Ratchford, Maria del Mar, Kari Matchett, amongst others. It was edgy and excellent.

Da Vinci's Inquest was one of our all-time favourite series. It ran from 1998 - 2006 and was based on the stories of ex-cop Dominic Da Vinci who becomes Vancouver's coroner. It had a uniquely Canadian feel to it, the dialogue, the pacing, the stories. It could be very gritty, especially when it dealt with the subject of the missing prostitutes, based on a true, horrific story. Da Vinci was played by Nicholas Campbell and he was excellent. When the series was cancelled, a follow-on series was made, Da Vinci's City Hall, in which Da Vinci became mayor of Vancouver; art based on reality. This show was every bit as good as the first, especially as it delved into the politics and wheeling and dealing involved in running a major Canadian city. I've linked to the excellent theme for the show. It establishes the mood of the series so very well. Just watching that theme brings back so many excellent memories of the series. It had everything, excellent characters, fantastic stories, good cops, bad cops, politics. Definitely one of the best shows you will ever see on TV.

Now on to some newer shows.

I think I have to start this with King. It's unfortunate that this series was only on the air for two seasons. It starred Amy Price Francis as Jessica King, a Toronto police officer who has just taken over the Major Crime Task Force. King is a force to be reckoned with, smart, edgy, with great hair (it was always amazing how it could change from the most fantastic red to black depending on the lighting) and fantastic boots. She had a wonderful team and interesting relationships and issues. But there was no doubt that she was there to solve crime and would do what was necessary to do so. It was so unfortunate when it didn't get renewed after the 2nd season as Price Francis is a wonderful actress who deserves more work. Here is a link to a scene from one episode.

Republic of Doyle has been one of CBC's most popular shows since its inception in 2010. Feature the location, St. John's Nfld; a handsome, but sometimes hapless private detective, Jake Doyle, played with style by Alan Hawco, who runs a private agency with his dad, Malachi, in a style very reminiscent to that of Jim Rockford and you've got the makings of a rollicking good show. The scenery is fantastic, the rugged rock of Nfld, entertaining characters and fun stories with lots of action and romance and there you have the makings of a successful series. Alan Hawco plays Doyle with similar energy and style as James Garner played Jim Rockford and he has the same rugged good looks. Heck, he even has a similar ring tone on his phone to that of Rockford's phone in the opening sequence of The Rockford Files. But, with all the similarities, the show still has its own unique qualities and is a great showcase for Nfld's best actors. Here is a link to the 2nd show of the series.

Flashpoint was a CTV (one of Canada's other major networks) show and one that translated well to the US. It was about a tactical response team who worked as part of Toronto's police force and starred Enrico Colantoni and Hugh Dillon. It ran from 2008 - 2012 and, for Jo and I, was must-see TV. Besides the action and interesting crime stories, as with most excellent Canadian series, you got to know the characters, their lives, the situations. It is always more important than just a crime show. When you find yourself in tears at certain episodes, you know that it's touched a chord inside you. The actors were excellent and they worked together so very well. Here is a link to one episode to give you the feel for the show.

Murdoch Mysteries is a TV series based on the excellent mysteries by Maureen Jennings. It's a show that has gone through various transformations. Originally it was made into a series of TV movies, starring Peter Outerbridge as Detective William Murdoch. The mini-series featured 3 of Jennings' books; Except the Dying, Poor Tom is Cold and Under the Dragon's Tale. The movies ran 2004 - 2005 and they definitely were much edgier than the follow-on TV series that still runs today. Yannic Bisson took over as William Murdoch in 2008 and still acts as Detective Murdoch as it moves into its 10th season. The show started on City TV and then was bought by CBC and they have kept if moving along very nicely. It's a lovely show, with great characters and fun stories. It can be both humorous or edgy which makes it even more interesting. Murdoch's love interest, Helene Joy, who plays Dr Julia Ogden, the city coroner, is one person who acted in both the original movies and the TV series. She had a major role in Under the Dragon's Tail. There are so many nice touches to Murdoch mysteries. Every episode Murdoch or his partner in crime, Constable Crabtree, invent something with ramifications for today's culture and we always enjoy the explanations and names they come up with for their inventions. It's such a fun show and we have loved watching the characters grow and mature with their characters. Below is a link to the first episode if you wish to get a flavour for the show.

19-2 is one of the edgiest crime shows that Jo and I have enjoyed. Originally a French language show, it is set in Montreal and focuses on Station 19 of the Montreal police department. The other numbers are the call signs of the individual patrol units. This is cop drama at its edgiest. We see all the rough edges, from alcoholism, broken relationships and bad cops. It's an enthralling look at the police and the work they have to do. This show has provided us with one of the most intense episodes of any show I've seen. It involved a school shooting, was shown without commercial break and followed the cops as the move through the school trying to save kids and teachers and also find the shooters. We sat on the edge of our seats for the whole episode and I think we barely breathed for the whole hour. Quite a different show, well worth watching. This is the link to this show. I will warn you, it is very powerful. Just watching a few minutes has brought it back to me.

Private Eyes had its first run this past year and starred Jason Priestley, as ex-hockey player and budding Private Eye, Matt Shade and Cindy Sampson as Private Eye Angie Everett as his mentor and new boss. It's a very fun series and it's one that I hope will return for a second season. Jason Priestley is likable and excellent as Matt, dealing with his ex-hockey career, trying to raise a daughter alone as his wife left him and also dealing with a possible budding relationship with the talented Cindy Sampson. No indications if there will be a second season but I sure hope their is. This is a link to the show opener (with the song by Hall and Oates).

So what other shows can I tease you with?

Let's move on to some of the new shows that are making their way to our televisions.

Pure is a new show on CBC that started two weeks ago. It's got such a unique premise. It's set in Mennonite country in Ontario. It involves a Mennonite 'mafia' lead by the ever present Peter Outerbridge who are in the business of smuggling drugs from Mexico through the US to Canada. The newly promoted Pastor of the Mennonite community is told that he must bring peace back to the community and he finds himself caught between the local police, his community and the mob, which is quite scary. The first two episodes have been intriguing. I can't wait to see how it resolves. This is a trailer for the show. Interesting, eh?

There are two more shows that haven't started yet but both look very interesting.

Mary Kills People starts Jan 25 and stars Caroline Dhavernas, of Wonder Falls fame, as Mary Harris, an ER doctor by day and an angel of mercy by night. It sounds interesting. Time will tell if it's a show that attracts our attention.  This is a trailer for the show.

Bellevue was just advertised the other night. I know nothing about it really except it will star Anna Paquin. It does have a spooky, creepy look to it. This is the trailer for it. Does it look interesting?

So there you go. My briefest synopsis of Canadian mystery television. I know I've missed many more excellent shows. But I hope these might have piqued your interest.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Reno Update - The Work Continues

The panelling looks fantastic
In my last post I updated the work being done in our extra bedroom (the room above the garage). On Thursday, Jay and Vicky came over to do the panelling on the walls and the crown moulding. You can see how it's transforming the room. It makes it look richer in texture and more homey.

More substantial floorboards, trim around the two cubbies at the end.
Jo and I painted the panelling and crown moulding in advance to help speed up the work. It's already making the room look brighter.

The ceiling finally looks white!! (It's always seemed to be brown no matter what we've done)
The crown moulding also adds a nice quality, makes everything more substantial. You can also see in the bottom corner of this photo, the slightly wider trim around the door. Vicky and Jay have done a wonderful job, very methodical in their work.

Bonnie recommends the black, but then again what does she know, she sees everything in black and white.
So what do we have left to do in the room? Well, we do still have to finish all the wall and book shelf painting, although I id try to persuade Jo that the walls, with the bits of blue, white and yellow could be a nice sky scene.... you know, clouds, blue sky with the sun peeping through. Unfortunately, she didn't buy my idea. We had the lady over from one of our local flooring stores and picked the rugs we want for the extra bedroom and, at the same time, for the family room as it's taken a bit of a beating over the past 15 years since we had it installed. The carpeting will be installed once the work is all done.

The next project, the skylight
Jay and Vicky will continue to use the extra bedroom as their work shop as they finish the other projects. We also use it to paint the wood being used. We've added a couple of other projects since they started.

Bead board for the skylight
First will be the skylight at the top of the stairs. When we had new windows installed back a few years, we also replaced the old skylight. We've always thought it was a bit of an unfinished project as the trim on the inside was kind of worn and shabby. Jo has always toyed with the idea of replacing the trim with something a bit more substantial and adding bead board to the walls that lead up to the skylight. So that's the project. The bead board is now in the bedroom and yesterday Jo and I painted the first three pieces. We'll finish painting today and it'll be ready for installation on Monday.

So there you go, the latest instalment. everything is looking great and we're very pleased and happy with the work. Can't wait to see how it'll all look once we finish painting and get the new carpet in and then move back the furniture. I'd guess it'll be sometime in February. More updates to follow as we continue to progress.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Reno Update and Some Xmas Book Purchases

What it looked like before we bought it.
Just back from my morning run. It was definitely frosty but at least there was no wind like the other day. The carpenters are coming back today to continue working in the extra bedroom. There have been a few changes since my last Blog entry on it. As a reminder, the picture above is what it looked like for the previous owners.

We made some changes
We made a few changes, like putting in new lights, getting rid of the dark blue, obviously changing the furniture. We like the room and it is normally the one we use for visitors. It's a nice cozy room with probably the best views.

The changes started in December
So just before Christmas, our contractors, Vicky and Jay of Spinning Compass began work in the room. The first part was to install built-in book shelves at the window end. Jo and I started painting, preparing the lumber and beginning to paint the walls and ceilings.

The shelves are in
By the week before Christmas the shelves were installed and I have to say, they look pretty darn good. After that we took a break for Christmas and New Years, but as of this morning, they'll be back to begin installing the crown moulding and new trim.

Another perspective
Jo and I spent the last few days painting the materials that will be used for the moulding, also adding more paint to the walls, the ceilings and the shelves. That's not finished yet. You can see that we plan to paint the upper part of the wall some shade of yellow. Jo just hasn't found the right shade yet. :) and then once the moulding and trim is done, we'll get new carpet laid in the room. So more to follow as the work progresses. But it's looking real good so far.

Book Stuff

The Jane Austen Collection
On to books. Both Jo and I ordered each other some things on line for Christmas. Unfortunately, they didn't arrive before the day arrived. The Book Depository had special editions of the Jane Austen collection for sale. They had lovely covers and it is Jo's favourite series of books. You can see how colourful and nicely designed the books are. She was very happy with them. Now what to do with the other editions we have.. :)

Inspector Frost
One of the items that Jo ordered me arrived last week as well. I've read all of the Inspector Frost books but A Killing Frost and I haven't been able to find it in my local stores. It's amazing to me how a book series of just five books became a TV series that lasted 18 years and spanned 42 episodes. I'm looking forward to reading, even though I'll also be sad to finish such a good series.

I also purchased a couple of colouring books. I don't really care if she colours them. They just look very nice. We saw this Scandinavian artists book in The Book Depository listings but I was lucky to find it at The Laughing Oyster downtown.

Jo noticed this book the same day I'd purchased the Scandinavian book and thought it was kind of neat. So she now has something else to play with when she's in the mood. Maybe once we've got the craft room set up upstairs, it'll give her some incentive and inspiration to work on them.

So there you go, now I'd better go wake up Jo before the contractors show up and then move the car out of the garage so they've got a place to set up their tools. Take care and more to follow.
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