bookcovers
The summertime is when I get most of my reading done and since we are now settled into the season I asked my step-mum, who is an English teacher, what she would reccommend. I love to read a variety of books and I love classics, recently I have enjoyed some more modern American classics, such as On The Road, which I read last year and so this year I thought I’d try some more. Sadly, none of my reading will take place on a beach as I have not got a single holiday booked but here are nine titles I plan on working my way through, hopefully in the garden with some sunshine:

Into the Wild – Jon Khakauer
The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
Red Dragon – Thomas Harris
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey
The Casual Vacancy – J.K. Rowling
The 39 Steps – John Buchan
Enduring Love – Ian McEwan

I am particularly looking forward to reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Into the Wild and Red Dragon. I have previously seen the films and really enjoyed them, which I am hoping means I will like the books even more (I tend to prefer books to the film adaptations). What are you planning on reading this summer?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt the start of the month I drove to York to help my sister move into her new house, I hadn’t visited her since her birthday and she has helped me move several times before, so it was my turn to give her a helping hand. It was the same weekend that Tour de France passed through the city centre and so we wandered into town, stopping to look at the yellow bicycles and bunting scattered around.

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20140710-211749-76669469.jpgOnce the burn has finished and the oil drum has cooled you can take the lid off and take a look at how much charcoal you’ve made. This was the first time I’d made charcoal and my boyfriend’s first time in a while so we haven’t yet perfected our method. Out of our full oil drum we ended up with a third of the wood being turned to charcoal, the remainder needed to burn for longer so we will use it in another burn at a later date. The charcoal should be able to be snapped easily, where as the partially burnt wood won’t. Despite only a third turning to charcoal we still managed to divide it into several bags to give out as gifts to family and friends, along with a couple of bags for ourselves. Since our burn we have already used one of our bags of charcoal to barbecue the chicken I learnt to portion in a lesson from my boyfriend’s uncle in exchange for charcoal.

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20140710-211354-76434586.jpgLast time we had just started lighting our charcoal burn using the kindling. Once it starts going you have to wait patiently for the burn to become smokeless, it does smoke a lot to begin with. When you are left with a clear flame, let it burn for a while before stopping the oxygen flow into the bottom of the oil drum by surrounding it with dirt. Then carefully place the lid on top of the oil drum before covering that with dirt too, the aim here is to starve the flame of oxygen. It will continue burning and that is what causes the charcoal to form. Now leave it until it has finished burning, if you take the lid off before the burn has finished you can risk re-igniting the flame. Once its cooled you can take a look inside and see what you’ve made…

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