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Burning books – symbolic or ridiculous?


I know this is really more of a mummy blog, but I wanted to write about this…

I was on my way to the supermarket this morning listening to a random radio show on a random channel (something BBC, not sure what as it was left on by Hubby) and it was various members of the public commenting on a current news story. I was getting more and more shocked before they recapped the news story and my jaw hit the floor.

I should probably preface this post by saying that I am not religious. I am an atheist but more relevantly, organised religion makes me uncomfortable. This quote from the film ‘Dogma’ sums up my feelings pretty well…I have no issues with the ideas other people have about higher powers or life after death, it’s when it becomes an organised belief structure and people start thinking their ideas are the right ones and everyone else is wrong.

Anyway, before I get into a huge debate (which I tend to), I’ll skip ahead a little and warn you that despite current appearances, this post isn’t going to be about religion…or maybe it’s about something that comes closest to being my religion…confused yet?!

So, I’m listening to the radio, in shock that some religious guy thinks burning another religion’s important book is a good idea. Quite obviously it’s not, and I think most of the commenters thought he was wrong, but one comment really made me think. I don’t remember it exactly, but someone said that if he wants to burn this book, he can…it’s ridiculous and pointless but at the end of the day, it’s just a book.

I actually think she had a point…technically speaking it is JUST a book….just a few hundred pieces of paper held together with a spine and a cover. On the other hand, I disagree completely. Vehemently in fact. The very idea of burning books makes me shudder, and frightens me in a way that isn’t entirely rational. I know I have a thing about books – I have shelves and shelves and shelves of them, in practically every room in my house, and several boxes of them in the loft, and I’ve recently begrudgingly given away eight large boxes of them to charity, and I am still surrounded by books. And I’m not the sort of person who can fold down a corner of a page or write my name in the front. I get edgy when people put my books down spread open (the spine could get damaged), or use them as coasters. All this despite loving second hand, well-read books with random notes from previous readers tucked inside. So I know I’m biased in favour of protecting the book…but still, I do feel that burning books is wrong.

The thing about books is that they contain things. Words. Thoughts. Ideas. And we’re not talking about someone destroying a book by accidentally dropping it in the bath; burning is symbolic. Hell, even shredding would be symbolic in this case. Destroying a book because of what it contains can never be right, because it’s not just destroying the paper it’s printed on, it’s saying that the words themselves ought not to be written, that they are so wrong that they should be destroyed.

That is censorship.

Don’t write anything I don’t agree with or I will destroy it, because what I think is right so everything else is wrong.

I don’t understand how anyone could be so arrogant as to think that way. The written word is precious. That doesn’t mean I agree with everything that’s written, but I do feel that it has value. At the very least it helps paint a picture (together with other books and other historical sources) of the time it was written in. It gives us an insight into the mind of the author and the minds of the people who agree with it…those who follow its teachings if it is a religious or political book. Isn’t it always a good idea to try to understand other cultures and belief systems? Because to me, destroying their words isn’t that many steps away from wanting to destroy their culture.

Burning a book in your own back garden with no witnesses and not telling anyone would, I agree, be faintly ridiculous, but to do it in front of anyone, to shout it out, is to say you are symbolically destroying the words, not just the paper.

Anyone else agree with me? Or the lady on the radio? Just burning paper? Or burning ideas?

Sushi Madness


Last week I won a meal for four at the brand new Yo! Sushi restaurant in Milton Keynes (they haven’t asked me to write about it or anything, but I thought I would try my hand at reviewing it). I grabbed a couple of sushi loving friends and booked a table. We LOVE sushi in this house…in fact I had to keep it quiet around Twink as he is also a sushi fiend and would not be impressed at us going without him…not to worry though, I’ll be just have to go back with him soon!

We arrived more or less on time and the staff were very welcoming. My fat wodge of vouchers was waiting for us behind the counter, and our table was quickly made ready. First hitch…they have these round booths. Round tables with padded benches either side, the sushi train (can’t think of a better name for it…) on one end, and a gap to get in at the other end. The problem was there wasn’t enough space for either me (with Squishy in the sling) or my pregnant friend to actually sit at the table! The staff were still brilliant & quickly sorted us out another table with chairs that actually move.

Then the eating started. When Hubby took me to Yo! Sushi in Bond Street, London, I think we spent about £30/£40 for the two of us…so do you think it was difficult for the four of us to spend the £100 worth of vouchers I had? Nope. Not even a little bit!

My favourite hot dish is still the Prawn Tempura, but the chicken katsu curry was also yummy…well, so was everything else, but that did stand out! As for cold…probably the tuna sashimi. We tried the desserts this time…I wasn’t a huge fan of the chocolate mochi thing. It tasted nice, but had the oddest texture! Hubby liked his chocolate cake more…at least he didn’t share it with me. We didn’t have any spoons on our table, so being slightly mad, the boys decided to try to eat it with their chopsticks…

Even Squishy joined in the fun, deciding that being in the sling facing mummy was a bit boring, so she sat facing the table for a while. She eyed up my prawn tempura, had a hold of some chopsticks and generally chatted away with my lovely friend A.

We had a fabulous time. Obviously being a sushi addict, the restaurant would have had to be pretty bad for me to not go back, but they really were lovely. I can’t tell you how happy I am that MK finally has a sushi bar!

Speedy Pasta Dinner


I managed to cook dinner last night. That is quite a rare thing in this house. Although I do love cooking, I have a fantabulous husband who comes home from work early to cook for us (he works for himself, so then continues working after the children are in bed)…so I generally don’t bother. However, yesterday was a No Nap Day for Twink which usually means he crashes early evening. So I wanted dinner done and dusted as early as possible. I raided our sorry looking fridge and came up with this. It was yummy, and I think hubby was quite pleased to come home to find dinner made for him.


  • Pasta – enough for all of you…in my case it was the ends of 4 different packets so we had farfalle, fusilli, rigatoni & penne!
  • Garlic boursin – or cream cheese of your choice – I would get philly or supermarket own version of, but I like the garlic & herb ones and it annoys me that they only do them in low fat versions. (while I would benefit from low fat, it’s not so good for small people like Twink)
  • Leeks – chopped into strips – god knows how long these had been in the fridge…eeek!
  • Mushrooms – chopped into cubes – the end of a packet again…also have been in the fridge longer than they ought (can you tell our veg box hasn’t been delivered since before our holiday & we’re too lazy to go to Sainsburys?!)
  • Bacon (I had a packet of pancetta cubes)
  • Frozen sweetcorn
  • Butter/oil for frying (I prefer the taste of mushrooms & sweetcorn in butter, but usually add a dash of oil so the butter doesn’t burn)

What to do:

  • Put pasta on to boil.
  • In a large frying pan melt butter & throw leeks, mushrooms & bacon in. Stir half heartedly while trying to placate toddler.
  • Stir the cream cheese into the contents of the frying pan about 3 minutes before the pasta is ready. You can use as much or as little as you want, today I used 3/4 of the boursin in the frying pan, then added the rest to the pasta once I’d drained it. Keep stirring to melt the cheese, so it becomes like a sauce.
  • 1 minute before the pasta will be ready, add the frozen sweetcorn to the pan of water.
  • Drain pasta/sweetcorn mix, put in bowls and top with veg mix
  • Scoff quickly & get toddler in bed, asleep, by six. Result!

Disclaimer: Author makes no promises that eating the aforementioned pasta dish will result in your toddler going to sleep by six. Sorry about that ;-)

The Shortness of Life


I’ve just had some news which has made me thankful for everything I have…and realise it could all disappear in the blink of an eye. My neighbour’s wife has just died from some kind of cancer. She wasn’t ill for long – she was only diagnosed last week. It’s brought all sorts of memories back to me – my mum died just over four years ago from Pancreatic Cancer. Everything my neighbour was saying about the hospital reminded me of what we went through with Mum. All those memories I’d stored away in a mental box marked ‘do not open’…all the unpleasant, hospital/hospice moments we battled through. In comparison with my neighbour I suppose she was lucky – Mum had three & a half months from diagnosis. The worst few months of my life.

I can imagine what my neighbour’s children are going through….the unreality of it all, right next to the brutal fact that she’s not there any more. Just horrible. The ground falling away under your feet.

So I will be cuddling my little Squishy closer tonight, & trying to be more patient with Twink tomorrow. My thoughts are with my neighbour and his family, as well as anyone else going through a nightmare time because of illness or grief.  And as always, my mum will also be in my thoughts.

Sorry for the slushy post, but that’s just how I’m feeling.

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