History of Wolves – Emily Fridlund

History of Wolves - Emily Fridlund
History of Wolves – Emily Fridlund

Minnesota teen’s account of the summer she looked after a four year old boy, Paul, who dies of cerebral oedema, his Christian Scientist parents, in particular his scientist father Leo, refusing to seek medical help.

(And no, I didn’t read this in a matter of hours on 19 May – I’d almost finished it before heading up to Penrith on Friday and needed to take a longer read with me… hence When Breath Becomes Air.)

Publisher page: History of Wolves – Emily Fridlund

When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air - Paul Kalanithi
When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi

Thought provoking biography and exploration of many of life’s key themes – morality, duty, life, death – and, most of all, how to find meaning in life and how to live a meaningful life.

Paul Kalanithi is on the cusp of completing his training as a neurosurgeon when he discovers he has lung cancer. He is 37 years old and one of the best brain surgeons of his generation in the US, blending expert surgical skills with deep human empathy.

This book is his posthumously published memoir contemplating his career and his medical training, the importance and significance of his relationships with his family and friends, and how he copes with the choices he makes as a doctor / surgeon and then as a patient and a husband.

Finished on the train back from the LED Fundraising Weekend, tears flowing in spite of the public setting.

Publisher page: When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi

How It All Began – Penelope Lively

How It All Began - Penelope LivelyA chance find on the Walton bookshelves, I suspect this was one of the books we inherited from Janet or John at the caravan. Just right for a blustery Bank Holiday Monday and ensuing working week.

We spend a few months in the company of multiple Londoners, born, bred and immigrant, whose lives are all affected by the random mugging of 77 year old Charlotte. An exploration of the butterfly effect and the characters that inhabit modern middle class London.

Author page: How It All Began – Penelope Lively

Mera Peak – Amphu Lapsta – Imja Tse: Update

Even the best laid plans sometimes go awry….

Being my usual super organised self, I sorted out flights for November’s four week extravaganza way back in January. We got a fantastic price with Jet Airways (£430), flying out via Mumbai and back via Delhi.

In early April, a chance chat at work flagged up that Jet were experiencing financial problems…. and I’d booked direct, and on my debit card. Uh-oh.

Then, on my birthday I got a cryptic email from Steffi: Flight cancellation?

A quick Google and email check revealed all – Jet Airways had suspended operations, “temporarily”, as of 17 April. Here’s the first couple of paras of the BBC’s article:

Troubled Indian airline Jet Airways has temporarily suspended all its domestic and international flights after failing to find fresh funding.

The airline said its last flight would operate on Wednesday as it was not able to pay for fuel and other critical services.

So I spent a good hour or so working through the Jet Airways Flight Cancellation emails and refund claim process – a separate claim per flight, per person. That made 8 in total.

Since then, I’ve had various confirmation emails, all automated, but as yet no refund.  I’ve got the CAA’s Advice to UK consumers impacted by Jet Airways suspending operations tucked away, just in case.

Once I’d recovered from that little “Birthday treat”, I dug out my dusty credit card and scoured Kayak for replacement flights. The algorithms must have been in overdrive, factoring in all the Jet passengers suddenly swamping the flight search. Hey ho.

We’ve ended up with a not-too-bad option flying out with Emirates / FlyDubai and back with Qatar. Handily, given that we’re flying out at the end of a work day for me, our outbound flight leaves from Stansted so we’ll be getting the Stansted Express from Liverpool Street, which is (a) 5 mins walk from work, (b) a more reliable journey than the Piccadilly line out to LHR, and (c) much, much easier for those wielding heavy luggage. VIP that last point as we have 30kg baggage allowance both ways.

I’ve been in to “manage my booking” for the new flights today, primarily to check that we do actually have tickets (paranoia!), and was able to book seats, set meal preferences, provide emergency contacts and print e-tickets. So that’s a good job done.

Let’s just hope that Jet Airways refund does eventually materialise….

In other news, it’s the LED Fundraising Challenge up in the Lake District next weekend, which will provide an opportunity for Steffi and I to meet Nicola, who’s doing the Mera Peak section. We’ve already emailed a bit, mainly about boot hire and training. Now I’m worried I’m not doing as much as Val seems to think I am!  We’ll also be able to talk through the 6000m gear list Val sent through, working out what we might be able to borrow or hire either from Bim’s in KTM or the UK in the case of insulated boots.

Five months to go. Better get working on those weedy arms…..


13 May 2019 – Update

Jet Airways refund came through today.

Phew.