Queen Elizabeth’s address to the nation for #BriFri

I listened to Queen Elizabeth’s address and felt very moved.  It was a wonderful speech, the most inspiring speech I have heard from any head of state since this crisis.

While we have faced challenges before, this one is different. This time we join with all nations across the globe in a common endeavor, using the great advances of science and our instinctive compassion to heal.”

We will succeed – and that success will belong to every one of us,” she said.

We should take comfort that, while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.”

Did you listen to this speech?  I found it heartwarming and wish our world had more people like her to inspire rather than point a finger or boast. Well done, Queen Elizabeth.

Sharing with Joy for British Isles Friday


Educated by Tara Westover


Tara Westover never set foot in a classroom until she was 17. She didn’t see a doctor, nor did her siblings, when they direly needed medical attention. Her father was a survivalist Mormon with very strong ideas about how the world ought to be. His faith in his religion certainly jeopardized his wife and children’s health as well as his own.

Tara’s older brother Tyler said, “There’s a world out there, Tara and it will look a lot different once Dad is no longer whispering his view of it in your ear.”

I couldn’t put this book down. It’s well written and amazing to read about the obstacles Westover had to overcome. There were times I thought, if this were me I think I would have wept and given up. I’d like to think I’m stronger than that but I know this, I never had the drive Westover did at the same age. Nor did I live in the same circumstances.

It would have been far easier for Tara to fall back into the fold, follow her father’s path and shut off the inquiring and intelligent part of her brain, plow through life with her survivalist family. Good for her for striving forward. She taught herself mathematics and history and managed to get accepted to BYU.  After massive culture shock she thrived and went on to Cambridge and Harvard, eventually earning a Ph.D in History.

As for the memories which Tara states she consulted her brothers for their recollections, there is an inconsistency here and there.  To read what her brothers stated after the publication of this book click HERE. I am also considering that she may well have been treated differently as a female in regard to her father’s and church expectations.

This is is my fourth book for the 2020 Nonfiction challenge hosted by Shelley at Book’d Out. Check it out HERE.

Category: Social Science. It’s a memoir but as social science focuses on relationships among individuals and society.


The UP series {Watch life unfold for 14 British citizens}


Decades back I watched a PBS show called 7 to 21 UP.  Recently I was reminded of that series and see it’s now called The UP series.  Basically the director Michael Apted brought together fourteen  British children, all aged seven, from different social and economic backgrounds.  They were all interviewed and I found it interesting to see the differences in the children, how they spoke, the levels of shyness and what their aspirations were for life.

That last line is a funny one as what seven year old child really knows what they want.  My son at that age wrote an essay (which I still have) stating he wanted to greet people in a store, become a policeman and a King.  Not necessarily in that order.  It was interesting to hear these children talk and speak about their thoughts. The first interviews were conducted in 1964.

This evolved to having the same group meet up again seven years later at age 14 and then again aged 21.  Hence the name of the original broadcast, Seven to 21 Up.  You were able to see the growth, how they matured and what they were doing with their lives.  Obviously the participation was voluntary.

I just discovered that they kept doing the series.  They are now 63 years old!  Same as me.  Here’s a clip of the show or at least the premise.

Here is a link to tell about the participants, in a nutshell.  Some were from affluent families, others working class, some ended up in posh London and others in Yorkshire and Cumbria and Scotland.  It’s a great human drama, a slice of life sort of film.

Sharing with Joy’s British Isles Friday event.


The Year of the Dog by Vincent Musi

The Year of the Dog is a beautiful book. It’s one I will keep on the coffee table and can recommend it as a Christmas gift for any dog lover. Gorgeous photos with accompanying stories about each dog.

Vincent Musi is a National Geographic photographer who was frequently in challenging situations photographing tigers, lions and other wildlife in the field.  When he decided to suspend travel to be with his family for a year he took up a challenge of opening a studio exclusively for dog portraits.


This heavy and lovely book is the result.  The photo below reminds me of our old chow Sally.  I wanted to share at least one dog profile so you could see one of the photos and format.


Again, if you are a dog lover you’ll love looking through this book and reading about each animal.

*This was a complimentary copy from LibraryThing and I was not compensated for my review.  Thank you LibraryThing and Chronicle Books.

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

Into_Thin_Air From the start of this book journalist/mountain climber Jon Krakauer had my undivided attention. My husband and I recently watched Everest again and this inspired us to read the book, Into Thin Air.

Excellent writing, you feel like you are reading a novel about a first hand account of the hellish push to climb a mountain.

Having zero knowledge about mountain climbing, the tools of the trade or the almost maniacal desire to reach a summit I was was fascinated.

The conditions deteriorate so rapidly that you’d best be ready to admit defeat and return to home base…. or chance losing your life to power through conditions a human body was never meant to endure. There is speculation that so many seasoned climbers may not have died if it weren’t for Krakauer’s presence.  The guides Rob Hall and Scott Fischer were in competition so Krakauer’s article for Outside magazine  would boost their business.


Anatoli Boukreev, a professional climber and member and guide of Scott Fischer’s group, Mountain Madness, was painted in a rather harsh light.  I would like to read Boukreev’s book as well as I’m sure there are differences in the account of the 1996 Mt. Everest’s disaster. Boukreev went back out into the blizzard conditions to search for his teammates.  Krakauer made it into his tent and was physically unable to help with any search efforts.  Absolutely no judgement here but there are many who feel Krakauer didn’t do enough. Who knows. It’s amazing enough anyone survived that ill fated expedition.

Again, fantastic writing and I would recommend this book wholeheartedly.   It’s on my agenda to read Into the Wild by Krakauer before the year is out.

The English Rose Cafe in Havana Florida

It’s been a while since I could post and hook up with British Isles Friday.  I missed it.  Actually I have read a few books since the last time I posted but life takes a turn with family death and a hurricane so……I have neglected the book blog.

Today I want to join in and share a new place we discovered in Havana Florida. It’s a cute English tea room and decorated to resemble a cross between a pub and a tea room.


We haven’t tried it yet but have looked through the windows.  One day before the storm we walked by with Aja, getting her last walk in before the rains started.  A couple was sitting outside enjoying a bottle of wine and sandwiches.  Since we had Aja we couldn’t stop…..but we plan to in the future.



I love all the decorations, new and old, and I may just need to get the waving Queen gadget for my car.  Hope all is well in your world!

Linking up with Joy’s British Isles Friday.


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.


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


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


Readers’ Workout – Let’s say Goodbye to March

I missed reporting on the exercise last week and this week has been a bit slack. The month of March has been filled with doctor appointments and all the fun stuff that goes along with them.  The final slam was a colonoscopy but hey….preventative care is preferable to finding out something is wrong later, am I right?

While I lost a few days of walking due to prep and then a procedure – my numbers overall weren’t horrible. The fact that I had to stay home for a while gave me opportunity to finish a book with 879 pages and that was good.  Have you read Stephen King’s book 11/22/63?  I am not a fan of horror books so I usually avoid King – this was not a horror book, it was about time travel.  I couldn’t put it down.


Anyway, my walking had a temporary decline but I plan to make April a kick-ass month.  We are taking some time at the beach in mid April and I hope to bump up the steps.

How was your month, fellow readers and exercise partners?
Check out Readers’ Workout at Joy’s Book Blog!


Readers Workout

This week of walking has been much better than last week. Of course, you can’t help the rain and that kept us in a bit last week. Plus traveling….no walking when you are cooped up in a car.

I walked an average of 12,000 steps a day. The meals have been better, healthier I should say, with the exception of Mexican restaurant food and a few beers to wash it down.

The weather is still up and down – so very cold some days (we had frost this morning) and then it will get warm. Maddening. But with the warmer weather comes yard work and let me tell you, we have quite a bit to pick up. A tree was down from the last big storm and the branches littering the field need to be hauled into a pile. I expect i will get lots of activity and calories burnt there.

So, here is the Meal Plan

Garlic Scallops

Pasta Bolognese, garlic rolls and salad

Mexican at El Jalisco restaurant (dinner with the kids)

Spinach Ricotta Pie


How was your week?

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