Wool Gathering and Armchair Traveling

Sometimes we are able to travel and see more of the world. Other times it’s armchair traveling through books and websites.  When we were able to visit England many years ago I did not seek out the typical touristy souvenirs.

I like to get something unconventional or useful, that way I think back on the trip when it’s put to use.  Charity or thrift shops are great places for me to go.  There was a shop in Cheddar Gorge (maybe it was a Sue Ryder shop),  I picked up this old and well used leather bookmark.  It’s my favorite and I use it constantly.  It brings to mind that shop, the day spent there and the wonderfully chatty lady who ran the shop.

She was telling us how she didn’t like how the “National Trust took our gorge” and complained about Tony Blair.  “Oh course, you have that Clinton fellow” and she also wondered why politicians were always smiling, she asked in a mistrustful way.  But what a delight she was to talk to and she gave us her opinion on so much.  See, I still remember her well.

bookmark

Perusing another shop I found this old thermometer.  We still use it.  I wonder who owned it before.

Other travels I have enjoyed, vicariously of course, have been through the excellent site A Bit of Britain.  As I read about places I want to visit I add them to my ever growing list.

  • One of my very favorite posts has a good accounting of Swinside Stone Circle complete with photos.  The scenery is breathtaking and of a great interest to me.   My great great grandparents were married and raised a family in Cumbria, formerly Cumberland county.  I hope one day to roam around Cumbria and see firsthand all the images I have been enjoying through the Internet.

Photo credit: This is from A Bit of Britain, post on Swinside

cumbria

Another excellent site is My Yorkshire Dales. Treat yourself to armchair traveling through either of these sites mentioned and you will be trying to figure out how to move there. The winters would be tough…..I may have been in Florida too long for that!

That’s enough wool gathering today.

Linking up with Joy’s British Isles Friday

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Halfway Through the 2017 Monthly Motif Challenge

This past December I joined a few book challenges.  This helps me form reading lists, adding books I definitely plan to read in 2017.   This year I joined in on a new challenge.  The 2017 Monthly Motif Challenge.  Here is my 6 month update and so far, I am on track!

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If you haven’t checked out Girlxoxo you may want to drop by.  I had fallen in love with this site and the life hacks, the book reviews and organizational tips.

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Anyway………..this Monthly Motif Challenge  has me reading outside of my typical favored genres.  Here is a shameless copy and paste job of the themes (books read are added along with the links for the review). It’s not too late to sign up if you are interested!

JANUARY – Diversify Your Reading
Kick the reading year off right and shake things up. Read a book with a character (or written by an author) of a race, religion, or sexual orientation other than your own.
Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals that Brought Me Home by Jessica Fechtor

FEBRUARY – Undercover Thriller
Read a book involving spies, detectives, private investigators, or a character in disguise. Watching the Dark by Peter Robinson

MARCH – Time Traveler
Read a book set in a different dimension, a book in which time travel is involved or a dystopian or science fiction book where reality looks very different than what we’re used to. 11/23/63 by Stephen King

APRIL – Award Winners
Read a book that has won a literary award or a book written by an author who has been recognized in the bookish community.  And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

MAY – Book to Movie or Audio
Read a book that has a movie based off of it. For an extra challenge, see the movie or listen to the audio book as well.  The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

JUNE – Destination Unknown
Read a book in which the character(s) take a trip, travel somewhere, go on a quest, or find themselves on a journey toward something.

I started Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker.  The journey is about wine, learning how difficult it is to become an accomplished sommelier and there is most certainly a bit of travel too.

 

Here are the categories for the next 6 months.

JULY – Believe the Unbelievable
This month it’s all about fantasy. Epic fantasy, urban fantasy, fairy tales, magic, etc.

AUGUST – Seasons, Elements, & Weather
Read a book in which the season, the elements, or the weather plays a role in the story.

SEPTEMBER – Creepy, Chilling, & Frightful
Cozy mystery ghost stories, paranormal hauntings, murder mysteries, weird and scary creatures- it’s up to you!

OCTOBER– Games, Challenges, & Contests
Read a book that involves a game of some sort. Video games, war games, psychological mess-with-your-mind games, characters who participate in a contest, or a story in which the character takes on a challenge.

NOVEMBER – Last Chance
Read a book you’ve been meaning to get to all year but haven’t yet or read the last book in a series you started.

DECEMBER – Picking Favorites
Read a book by one of your favorite authors or read a book that Girlxoxo has recommended this year.

So there it is, folks.  I am almost to the halfway mark.  It’s been enjoyable.

 Join in, it looks like fun!2017-reading-challenge-sign-ups-1

The Syndicate for #BriFri

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I have long been a fan of Anthony Andrews so when I saw he was in this mini series called The Syndicate, I had to get it from my library.  It’s 6 episodes total, 1 hour for each episode.

There were evidently two seasons prior to this one but you don’t need to see each season in order to follow along.  For a full summery of this show click HERE.

Basically, each season focuses on lottery winners, how their lives change and a bit of drama and mystery thrown in..  It’s a drama and we very much enjoyed it.  In All or Nothing we meet Lord Hazelwood (Anthony Andrews) and the small staff of Hazelwood Estate.  There was a large staff on this gorgeous estate but due to deepening debt, the staff is down to six people.

These six are loyal to Lord Hazelwood, a very down to earth fellow but Hazelwood’s wife and step-son seem to plot against him to sell the estate.  This changes quickly when the 6 staff members win the lottery.

The estate is stunning as are the landscaped grounds.  It’s filmed in the coastal town of Scarborough.  In real life Hazlewood Manor  is actually Bramham Park country house, located near Wetherby and Leeds in West Yorkshire.

It’s a good drama and I will certainly try and find the first two seasons.  Mark Addy stars in one of those seasons.  I liked him in The Full Monty as well as Game of Thrones.  This is another excellent show from Acorn TV.

Linking up with Joy’s British Isles Friday.  

Join in!  You don’t need to post on Fridays, just link up at her site on Fridays.

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Readers’ Workout – June Goals

My strength appears to back after a such a long time – So. Happy.
My walking has picked up except for days we take a motorcycle ride, then I don’t get very many steps or activity. But, last fitness report I received from FitBit showed I walked 41 miles which is 10 miles up from the week before.

June Fit

For the rest of the month I hope to continue with daily walks, weather permitting, and I have started doing stretches while in my office during the day time.  Sitting at a desk will kill me and my flexibility so….gotta get up and stretch.

Menu:

White Bean Soup and Homemade Bread
Pizza
Grilled Fish
Sushi
Mushroom, Spinach and Tomato with Orzo

Check out Readers’ Workout at Joy’s Book Blog!

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Living the Dream by Lauren Berry

living the dreamWhat a delicious romp through London.

Living the Dream by Lauren Berry is an entertaining book and I look forward to more by this new author.   What attracted me about this book was the description and the setting in London.

“Living the Dream is a cheeky, charming debut about twenty-something best friends in London navigating their careers and love lives past post-collegiate turmoil and into adulthood with lots of pints along the way.”

Sounded like a fun romp through London.  Certainly I am much older than our main characters – Clementine Twist and Emma Derringer – but I read for entertainment and traveling vicariously via books so this was perfect.  I can still relate to their frustrations in the workplace, looking for a job, enjoying a pub/bar get together with girlfriends and their youthful outlook on life in general.  Clementine is just back from New York after getting her degree in film.  She wants to be a scriptwriter and is apparently a good writer.  She just needs that big break and a paycheck so she can move out of her mum and stepfather’s home.

Emma has a job and while she has no enthusiasm for the work, she is awaiting her break as a writer for magazines.  The frustrations she goes through with her boss Adrian and interviews with pompous editors at magazines is spot on.  You can feel her frustrations.

Lauren Berry is the founding editor of satirical feminist ‘zine KnockBack and has been writing for and about women since 2005. Her work has been featured in Easy LivingGuardianObserver and Independent. She was born, raised and works in North London. Living the Dream is her first novel.

I won an advanced reader’s copy of this book from LibraryThing.  All opinions are my own and I was not compensated.

Linking up with:
Joy’s British Isles Friday

British Book Challenge at Tales of Yesterday

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Readers’ Workout – It’s already June!

Hello there!  I have not been participating in the Readers’ Workout for a bit and am glad to touch base with you all again.  My plans for May were thwarted by a virus that kicked my butt.  I have never had such a time recovering from an illness as I did with that one.  For two weeks it knocked me flat.

My stats were poor as I slept quite a bit but I am back.  Gaining strength with each day, determined to get my walking and distance back to the way it was.  At present we are in the thick of north Florida humid mornings but that is still the time to walk, early in the morning.

We are walking Aja and then setting out again to walk a circuit that rounds to 2 1/2 or 3 miles.  It includes a hill, I call it the hill i love to hate, but that works the leg muscles and gives me a boost of cardio.

Meals
I have had some wonderful meals, my husband has stepped up and grilled quite a bit and prepared many dishes while I was recovering.,  My birthday dinner may be seen HERE.  Other meals include stir fry vegetables and rice, salmon with spinach and feta, eggplant and pasta and a turkey wrap.

Check out Readers’ Workout at Joy’s Book Blog!

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The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares

wholeThing

Evidently Ann Brashares is a very popular author. This is my first book and sorry to say I couldn’t get invested with the characters or their internal struggles. Since she receives such high marks perhaps I will try another of her books unless she only writes young adult fiction. Maybe that was my problem with this book, I didn’t know it was young adult fiction or I wouldn’t have requested it.

There were far too many characters to keep up. I should have had a clue about that when a family tree was highlighted in the front of the book. By the way, the family tree involves multiple marriages and children and step parents and step siblings….see, that’s confusing.

The seventeen-year old characters, Ray and Sasha, have one parent in common and while they have shared closet space at the beach house, they never meet early in life. They are never at the beach house at the same time because their parents hate each other. The mother is definitely not a sympathetic character.

Anyway, Ray and Sasha aren’t related, except as step siblings…I think….but the implied romance between them seems wrong. Maybe I am the only reader who felt uncomfortable with that romantic relationship that develops – it’s not incest but it feels like it when reading.

I did like this quote:

“Why did parents ever make their kids watch them get re-married? Ray imagined a coffee table book suited to a photographer like maybe Diane Arbus for publication around Halloween: Children Watching Their Parents Marry People Who Aren’t Their Parents.”

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions, nice and no-so-nice are my own 🙂