Readers Workout

Good morning to my fellow bookworms and workout partners! It’s a lovely 47 F here in North Florida and the walking has been good….but not great. We had very bad storms run through here over the past several days which meant walking outside was straight out.

This weekend was a bust for outside activities and we even had a very scary moment on I-10 headed home from Crestview. The rain was coming down so fast and hard that we hydroplaned over several lanes and slid sideways into the median. It was very muddy and once the vehicle started sliding, the mud built up a wall on the driver’s side tires, thus keeping us from rolling. Very scary!


I’m pleased our Subaru has all wheel drive (they all do). We were fortunate and able to get out of the median but that mud washing over the Forester once it came to a stop was like something out of a movie.

So………..the storms….that’s why we didn’t walk on the weekend.  But the rest of the week wasn’t too bad.  I had an average of 12,000 steps a day overall.  My weight went up a bit due to indulgences like apple pie, Mexican restaurant food and some pizza.

Yeah, I know better and it wasn’t a stellar week for eating but I am back on track now.

This past week’s menu:

Swiss Linguine Tart

Pizza from Oscar’s Restaurant in Havana (Roma tomatoes, mushroom and spinach)

Vegetarian platter at La Rumba restaurant in Crestview (very good!)

Grilled grouper, baby red potatoes and sauteed veggies (zucchini, garlic, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes)

Fall River Vegetable Soup

How was your week?

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


Notebooks and Social Media

The subject of notebooks and journaling came up the other day. I never thought to write about it as it seemed a mundane subject. But when interest was expressed I thought – why not?   note1One of the things that keeps me organized is a decent notebook.

That being said, I actually have more than one for different projects but there are only two I use for daily reminders and lists.

Embarrassingly enough……..I can’t stop acquiring them. I mean, you can always use a notebook, right?

My larger notebook has lists and ideas. Things I need to do, purchase, reminders of weekly events and linkups on blogs and things like this.

The small pink one that rides in my purse is more of a diary. What we eat, menus, books we are reading, movies……you get the idea.


I write down the names of books I want to read and if I saw it on someone’s website, I note where the recommendation came from in the event I review it. Then I can link back or give a mention.


Another constant on one of my lists is about crochet hooks I own. How many times in the past have I dithered about which size to buy, only to find I have duplicated it….again. Honestly, since I discovered the Clover bamboo from Japan I probably won’t buy another brand since I have so many of the other ergonomic types.

And now on to Social Media ……………

Every blue moon I need a break from social media. Once I tire of it and find I am not keeping up, I know it’s time to deactivate for a while. Over a year ago I deleted my Twitter account and turned out I regretted it. By the time I decided I wanted it back, it was too late. Completely purged. So I started a new one but the interest isn’t strong now. And as I said, when you don’t check in on it the feed seems unmanageable.


(I’m not on all of these above)

I say this as an announcement so no one thinks I have “dumped” them when I finally get around to deactivating. They need hibernation for a bit so, if I am not around, you were not dumped.

That’s about all I have to say today. We have been eating well, continuing to walk each morning, reading and watching movies. I’m almost done with a scarf that I have been crocheting off and on for a while. I know Doug would love for the weather to be decent so he can get a telescope out. It’s been rainy and now it’s cold.

Oh! Doug bought me this cool loom which should assist me in making hats. I am very excited about that and hope I’m not too dense to figure out the instructions.

Updates will be forthcoming.

PS – I am cross posting this to Squirrel Head Manor as I have two followers that read both sites.  Just a FYI post here.

Bradford-on-Avon, Wild ponies and Stonehenge #BriFri

These are old photos of our vacation to England in 1999. I realized how long ago it was, how long we have said “One day we need to go back” after our son celebrated his 28th birthday this week.   Wow, where did the time go?!

Here is a snap of me with our  11-year old son Tristan. Crusty Bloomers s now out of business but what a place! I remember asking what time they closed and getting a response of, “Oh, about 4:20.” It was whenever they ran out of pasties and breads and sweets.


Wild ponies in Exmoor, what else could a kid want?


When we visited Avebury our feet ended up soaked. So we bought Wellies. Once Tristan had them on his feet you’d be hard pressed to ever pull them off. Here he is enjoying the Exmoor National Park. And yes, he did ask for a tweed hat.


My husband took some amazing photos at Stonehenge. As a storm started moving in people were moving fast to take cover. Then there was lightening, evidently not a common sight because it actually made the National news.

It came down to Doug and a woman from Alabama getting some good shots before the storm actually hit. For us, big storms are a regular occurrence, not that we don’t take lightening seriously.


This is a vacation we enjoyed and I hope we return one day!

Linking up with Joy’s British Isles Friday


Wool Gathering – Why didn’t we move to Dunster?

We’re sitting at work today sipping coffee when a coworker comes by to tell us she’s going to a birthday party in England.  She’s gone before for less reasons than a party,  Lucky girl.

I asked if she planned to return to Devon England (near Barnstaple) as she’d been several times. Doug and I got to reminiscing about our vacation there and what fun we had.

This in turn got me thinking about a little shop in Dunster we contemplated purchasing. Sometimes, many times, I wish we had made the scary leap and bought that place. We were having a great time and stopped into this souvenir shop to buy balsa wood airplanes and post cards. The shop owner said it was for sale and the entire upstairs, same size as the large shop, was the living quarters. We looked at each other, you know the look – it says Could We?????

(The little shop is on the left side down the street)

Tristan was only 10 years old and I remember him saying “I don’t want to go to school on Saturdays!” The thought of leaving our home forever and starting over was very unappealing for him. But it wasn’t unappealing for me and Doug. We didn’t have established jobs/ careers at that time. We had good jobs but were still young enough that retirement investments or the benefits of staying with one employer forever hadn’t really cross our minds.

We could LIVE here! You could see Wales from the shoreline. It wasn’t horrifically hot there as it is in this swamp we live in now. While the appeal factor was very high, we wondered how difficult it would be for Americans to move and purchase a business in England. It would be a major upheaval to move across an ocean. We had dogs back home awaiting us to retrieve them from the kennel. How would that work to bring our pups? Not to mention, there is obviously a slow season with a souvenir shop so…would we have the financial savvy to make it through a slow season?

There are times we bring this up and wish we’d just made the leap and bought the place. Think how different things would have been for all three of us. Tristan’s entire life would have changed, as would ours, and I would like to think it would all be good changes for us.

As we move closer to retiring there are scores of places we want to visit here in the US as well as England (and maybe even Ireland one more time). We’ll just have to see what direction the wind blows us when that time comes.

End of wool gathering………

Linking up with Joy’s British Isles Friday


Magic Words in Book Blurbs

Instead of a book review I wanted to share a post I read at Katherine’s site – I Wish I Lived in a Library.  She was talking about Magic Words which draw us to a book.  Her article is titled Ramblings from the Stacks: Magic Words in Book Blurbs.  Click on the link to read her post.  I’m hoping she makes Ramblings from the Stacks a regular feature.

Certain key words in titles grab our attention, makes us pick up a book while roaming about the bookstore looking for new materials.

Quite a number of years ago I was perusing the tables at Borders Bookstore. (I miss that bookstore, it was great).  I saw the title A Good Year by Peter Mayle.  At the time, I had not read anything by Mayle but I was attracted to the book cover – A  man standing in a vineyard hoisting a wine glass.

Since I was a world class Francophile at the time, the setting being in France and featuring wine had me hooked.  I have now read many novels by Peter Mayle.

This is how I discovered another of my favorite authors – Edward Rutherfurd.  If it’s set in Ireland, I’m on it.  When I gazed upon one of the Dublin saga books I knew I wanted to give this author a try.  Magic words – Ireland, France and Wine.

Katherine listed 10 of her magic words that attract her to books.  If asked to quickly name what attracts me to books, I think this list is fairly accurate.

  1. A setting in Ireland.  Just about any time frame will do, as long as I am reading about Ireland.
  2. England or Scotland – same thing.  If the setting is there I  usually enjoy it.
  3. Books such as the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society  or The Land Girl as they are set in the WW II era.  I like the focus on regular, everyday common people and reading about how they adapted, challenges they took on.
  4.  Police Procedurals, especially those set in the British Isles.



5. Ex Pat literature – a title or blurb about Americans settling in a foreign country and starting a new life. It’s a common dream for us, to pack up and move to another culture.

6. Books set in Australia or New Zealand. I have read all 12 books in The Australian series by William Stuart Long and many more Aussie themed books.

7. Food and Wine.  So you’d think some cozy mysteries would fit in for me but they are too…..tame.  Books where there are meals shared, food described in pubs or dinner parties.  If there is a glass of wine on the cover I usually pick it up to read the book jacket and see if the story interest me.

8. Apocalyptic literature. Anything from Justin Cronin’s The Passage to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road to Nevil Shute’s On the Beach.  Books like that.

Thanks to Katherine for that thought provoking post today.   I hope there will be more topics in her Ramblings from the Stacks theme.

Please share what attracts you to a book, especially if the author is unknown to you.

Happy reading!



British Isles Friday Link

For this week’s linkup I would like to share my quest in documenting family history information for my Dalton family. One line of my English lineage may be found in Cumbria England, near Carlisle. In 1841 the county was called Cumberland, then it merged and is now called Cumbria. My GGG grandparents were weavers, working in Burnrigg and Wetheral at the cotton mill.


I had managed to trace back to the 1841 census in Cumberland County and found Joseph and Jane (Weightman) DALTON. This was a great find as my grandmother told me my GG grandfather, Joseph Dalton JR, was born on a ship coming to the USA. Lo and behold, there is baby Joseph enumerated on that census as an 8 month old baby. After that I was able to find his baptismal record in a Wetheral church in October 1840.

Some people do what I call casual research where they take information off the internet at face value. For me, I need some proof…I need cemetery records, a census, a birth record, military records….things like that.

In my recorded history I have noted every single source I’ve found to prove a lineage. Where the relationship or a date may be sketchy, I also note that. As I was gathering so much information I decided to make individual biographies for the family members. It brings them to life a bit more.

Once I had an entire family documented I submitted it to the Delaware County Historical Society in Pennsylvania. That’s where I grew up, in Pennsylvania, and the rich resources for family history were a great assistance. Going to a graveyard and photographing a headstone or visiting the previous neighborhoods to see where they worked and lived.

If you want to read all the biographies check it out HERE at the Delaware Country Historical Society in Pennsylvania.

Here is a recap for my GGG grandparents, Joseph Dalton and Jane Weightman.

They were born approximately 1805 and both appear in official records in the Dalston Parish in 1831. Research of marriage and baptism records, archived at the Carlisle Records Office in Cumbria England, revealed the following marriage:

Joseph Dalton of Wetheral parish married Jane Weightman of Dalston on 6 March 1831.

Their firstborn child,  Ann Dalton arrived on 6 April 1831 and was baptized on 6 May 1831.  Baptismal records for Ann indicate the Daltons were living in Dalston parish. It is situated on the eastside of the Caldew River where there were two corn mills, a large flax mill, an iron forge, a sawmill, and three cotton mills.

The family moved to Burnrigg, in Wetheral parish, and lived at the “Cotton Works” sometime between the Winter of 1831 and September 1833. Joseph found employment as a cotton spinner. There were two cotton manufactories in Wetheral parish in this time period. The largest was at Warwick Bridge but there was a smaller one near Broadwath in the township of Great Corby.

Wetheral parish records confirm the baptism of their son Isaac on 15 September 1833 and state the family lived in Burnrigg. The closest cotton mill was Peter Dixon & Sons. This business no longer exists however, the old cotton mill at Warwick Bridge is still standing and now houses a number of small businesses.

Utilizing the county archivist and baptismal records, you can follow the family’s growth for the time they resided in northern England. The following are baptismal recordings housed at the Cumbria Archives in Carlisle:

1831 6 May Anne d. of Joseph and Jane Dalton at Dalston.

1833 15 September Isaac s. of Joseph Dalton and Jane Weightman at Wetheral.

1837 25 January Elizabeth d. of Joseph Dalton and Jane Weightman at Wetheral.

1838 6 May William s. of Joseph Dalton and Jane Weightman at Wetheral

1840 18 October Joseph s. of Joseph Dalton and Jane Wheatman at Wetheral

Joseph Jr’s baptismal records disclose Joseph Sr. was employed as a cotton spinner and the family lived near Warwick Bridge, in Burnrigg.

The following census record is the latest document (in regard to date) found for the Daltons in England.

Parish of Wetheral, Township of Corby Great.Registration District: Carlisle. Sub-district: Wetheral. Address: Meadow Cottages

Joseph DALTON, age 35, Cotton Spinner
Jane DALTON, age 35
Ann DALTON, age 10
Isaac DALTON, age 7
Elizabeth DALTON, age 5
William DALTON, age 3
Joseph DALTON, age 8 months

All were born in Cumberland. When the census was taken on 6 June 1841, the family still lived in the county of Cumberland.

They left Cumberland County England sometime between June of 1841 and October 1842. Most likely Joseph and Jane booked passage from Liverpool England, a major port with frequent crossings to the United States. They sailed with Ann, Isaac, Elizabeth, William and Joseph.

The Dalton family attended services at the Upland Baptist Church, which was established in May of 1852. Of the original members, only 12 were of the Baptist faith but it is reported 8 people converted.

Military Records 


1861 brought many changes for the Dalton family and well as their friends and neighbors in Upland. Three of Joseph’s sons were involved in the war efforts. The younger son Joseph, at 21 years of age, joined the Army of the United States and served in Company I, 3rd Calvary of Pennsylvania. With the conflicts of the Civil War approaching closer to home, his older sons, Isaac and William, then 30 and 25 respectively, were united in the Upland Volunteers two years later.

Joseph Senior was in his late 50’s during the war and still working at the cotton mill. He was also the Postmaster of Upland, continuing to serve the community in this capacity until his health wavered. After Joseph’s retirement in 1862, from the position of weaver at the mill, he remained in the employment of the Crozier family as a night watchman.

By 1870 Joseph and Jane were both 64 years old. They lived in Upland, and had the pleasure of seeing most of their children married and settled, living nearby. Joseph continued to work as a watchman at the mill, leaving at 6:00 p.m. and returning at 6:00 in the morning accompanied by his dog. The value of their personal estate was estimated at $175 at this time.

On the 13th of December in 1878 at the age of 73, Jane Dalton died peacefully at her Upland home. Jane and Joseph had been married for 47 years. A newspaper article described her death as follows: “She passed away as a sheaf of grain fully ripe. Few women have spent a more peaceful and useful Christian life. She sweetly fell asleep, as far as the writer knows, without an enemy, honored and loved…..” The article goes on to reveal Joseph’s retirement from his position as night watchman, due to the “the infirmities of advancing years……and a great sorrow has overtaken him” at the loss of his lifelong companion.

Joseph, lived thirteen months longer than Jane. He died 18 January 1880 in Upland and is buried beside his wife in the old section of the Upland Baptist Church.


The gravestones are very worn but you can clearly make out a thistle on Jane’s gravestone. Scottish connection?

I wouldn’t know where to start to search for more about them, they are my brick wall on the Dalton side. I often wonder if I have Dalton cousins in the north of England.

Linking up with Joy’s British Isles Friday


#OneWord update

I was going to wait to update my progress with #OneWord until the end of the month.  My word is Responsibility and so far I have been staying on the path.  It’s only been two weeks but it isn’t easy to modify your old ways.  I had talked about personal and financial responsibility and how I expected to carry out my lofty goals.  So what progress is there?


1.        I cut up my personal credit card.  Yes, we still have  a family credit card for emergencies and such but we don’t abuse it.  My personal credit card…yeeeeeah….I abused it big time.  But now I can’t because the card is in little shredded ribbons in the trash.  This is a huge one for me and I can tell you – it was like a weight was lifted off me.  Removed the temptation, that’s what I did.

2.       Budgeting.  We always had a budget and each payday we’d go over the bills, pay them and discuss goals.  Now I feel like the budget is in better shape.  We made the decision to pay the auto insurance – the full balance, not minimum payment.  This way we not only save $3 a month with installation fees, but that payment is taken care of for six months.  We can concentrate on other debts.

3.       We canceled Netflicks.     Netflicks wasn’t a huge monthly bill but it’s gone.  I’m not saying we won’t subscribe again but right now, I am enjoying reading more than we had been.  Many of the movies we wanted to watch have been available through our local library….yes, even the new releases.  We are very fortunate to have a great library system with so much variety.  I can check out eBooks from our library too.  Anyway, the reason we canceled was the long waits for DVDs and since we can’t stream video, that seemed a good idea to stop service.

4.       Starbucks.  That’s one habit that we are keeping….in moderation.  We don’t go there every day, never have, but it’s easy to get addicted to the Flat White coffee.  My feeling is, you need to indulge a little or you feel deprived.  That’s why diets fail.  People deprive themselves of anything pleasurable and then you crack and give in.  Moderation is the key to everything.  We keep our Flat White habit to the weekends and use their FREE Wi-Fi


That’s the short 2 week progress report.  Like I said, I was going to wait a month but I’m feeling like any progress to report is motivational.  To me and possibly to anyone else participating in #OneWord

I was reading Bryan’s post at Still Unfinished and this motivated me do an update.

How is everyone else doing?

Alan Rickman, you’ll be missed

I was saddened to hear of Alan Rickman’s death today. He was an amazing actor. What a smooth voice, you could recognize him if you heard him delivering a performance without laying eyes on him.

I’ve loved him in Love Actually, despite being such a dog to Emma Thompson. He was magnificent in the Harry Potter movies, can’t imagine anyone else playing the role of Severus Snape.


I just read that J.K. Rowling told him Severus Snape’s character was in love with Lily Potter at the beginning of filming the series. None of the other cast or production members knew this, causing them to ask why he played the role or delivered a line the way he had. He merely replied, “I know something you don’t know.” To see Harry brought back his memories of Lily and how he loved her.

He played a pretty good wine snob in Bottleshock and was the perfect voice of the Blue Caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland. Too many good roles to list but for a complete list of the productions he’s starred in check out IMDB


I saw in this article HERE that Rickman married his girlfriend of 50 years very recently. Perhaps he knew he was ill and for whatever reason, made it a legally binding relationship. They met when they were 19 and 18 and have been together all this time. A true love story.

The world has lost a great actor.

Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman
February 21, 1946 – Hammersmith, London, England
January 14, 2016 – London England


Linking up with Joy’s British Isles Friday


One blog to rule them all….I guess..

This is clearly my bookish site to talk reviews, upcoming publications and post about reading challenges. Last year I wanted to combine this site with my foodie blog Squirrel Head Manor. They are so different and I am so attached to both sites that….I can’t pull the plug on one over the other. I want to…..but…yeah…..I keep writing on both and that’s fine.


If you like meal planning, motorcycle excursions, movies and the occasional talk about exercise and wine reviews……that’s at Squirrel Head Manor.

I very much admire sites like The Friday Friends and Still Unfinished and Books, Lists, Life….just to name a few…..because they combine it all. All the subjects under one handy dandy web address. J

Anyway, without getting long winded, just wanted to state that my threat months back to combine sites isn’t a happening thing. One Blogspot site and one WordPress site.

That’s it. Just felt like updating my current thoughts…..