I thought it was about time for some notices, it seems that it has been near on four months since I have produced any and you might think this parish had disappeared. It hasn’t but it has certainly been in hibernation.
As spring has sprung and I have been able to go swimming again, it feels like a huge fog or fug has lifted and there has been a little more lightness in many ways. So I dust off this parish notice to let you know about some bits and pieces.
I shared a year of jigsaws with you and I have since finished another one and share that now, just in case you think you have to wait another year! It was a great way of consolidating all I have done and also putting theme somewhere so they were not taking space up on my iPad!
I have of course been creating and perhaps I need to share more of this on my blog too, so here is a sneak peak of something you will see come to life very soon…..
Of course in the main this is a book blog so what about some books – here are a few that might have passed you by and I think are worth a look.
This is a delightful debut novel from Sarah Steele who clearly has a flair for dressmaking, the details that have gone into using this as a means to tell a story is insightful and thoughtful. It really added to the depth of the story for me as these stories ran concurrently and then were all swept and stitched together.
This is the debut novel from this author and when I picked it up, I knew little of the subject matter and the history of Champagne. And if truth be known I am not a big fan of it – the drink not the book.
This book drew me straight in, I have been fortunate to visit Bletchley Park (and so want to go back) that I really did feel like I was walking through those gates, hunkering down in a hut with nothing but a jumble of letters and paper and pencils to crack something unknowable. What an experience it must have been and Kate Quinn brings that experience so much to life in this book.
I hope things are good in your parish? I appreciate everyone who pops by and says hello and also those who just pop by. I hope you find your time here enjoyable and of course pick up a book recommendation or two!
Gosh what a tumultuous few days. I have gone from Tier 2 to 3 to 4 in the space of about 72 hours. I was bogged down by the news yesterday and admit it got to me. I am now making a concerted effort to not get all consumed.
I came across these two little fun memes on some of the blogs I read so thought it would make a good diversion for a while. Links will take you to the reviews where there are some.
Describe yourself: Emylia Hall – A Heart Bent out of Shape
How do you feel: Sandi Toksvig – Between the Stops
It has been a while since I have posted any notices around here. I want to say it is because I have been too busy doing all sorts of wonderful things. But it is 2020 and doing all sorts of things are very limited and look like they will remain so for a little while yet.
How are you getting on around your parish?
So what has been happening…
Well reading of course, this is a book blog after all! Here are a couple of recommendations for you, just in case you need more books to read!
There is only one Queen of Crime (Agatha Christie if you don’t know) but what if the Queen was involved in solving crime. Well she needs to fill her days somehow between all the papers, visits and family battles surely?
This really is an exuberant take on the cosy mystery genre and has some good research done on it, to understand the workings of the the Royal Family and also the descriptions of Windsor Castle. There are some humorous moments and it had me laughing out loud and what seems like the absurdity of it all but then do we really know what goes on behind palace walls?
There is something reassuring about Heidi Swain’s novels. They take you to places that you just don’t want to visit, but also live and the beauty is you get to go back again and again.
One of my most favourite books of the year and is an example of escapism reading at it’s best as are all of this author’s novels. Be transported to the wonderful people of Nightingale Square and all that it offers and if you spot a place for sale- let me know, I have my bags packed and I am moving in.
Other than work and swimming (in between lockdowns) I have been busy with crafts. I have made quite a lot this year and I will not bore you with it all. However, I finished a blanket I started in 2019…
The only trouble I found starting something in April 2019 and not finishing until November 2020 is that your tension changes quite considerably! Good job it is only a blanket – but it keeps me lovely and warm and that really is a blanket’s purpose in life.
I got into Toft crochet quite considerably through the lockdown and have enjoyed the creative challenges it brings, even if I have a fear of missing out and what all the new things now! One of these challenges was Rohit the Peacock.
I was not sure about making him, as I have picked up the superstition that anything peacock in the house can bring you bad luck. I think I am safe with this crochet version.
This is an old superstition and an even earlier version claims that having peacock feathers in the house not only brings bad luck but destines any unmarried female to become an old maid.
Many actors will not allow peacock feathers to be brought onto the stage either as a prop or part of a costume and veteran actors and directors have recounted tales of sets falling down during performances that involve peacock feathers.
It is thought the superstition originated in the Mediterranean where the evil eye markings are said to represent the eye of he she-devil Lilith who is responsible for the unexplained deaths of children. By keeping peacock feathers in the house she is ever present and able to watch over your home.
However, in India, China and Japan bringing peacock feathers indoors is actually supposed to increase good luck by providing extra eyes around the house to protect the occupants from danger.
Taken from 7 Bird Superstitions @ Birdspot.co.uk
Perhaps I will share some more creating journey’s again on Parish Notices in the future?
So that is some news and highlights from my parish? How is it in yours?
And out blows September. Here in the UK, the weather has definitely taken an autumnal turn and cardigans, socks and warm blankets are a must as we move into October. Though I think the reading has taken a seasonal leap and I am into Christmas already. The world has been so upside down in 2020 that I don’t think it matters at all.
It started for me this year with Rachel Burton – The Tea Room on the Bay which whilst being set in Winter and at Christmas had a real sunny feel about it and was wonderfully cheering when perhaps what was goign on with me wasn’t – the perfect antidote.
Emma Davies – A Year at Appleyard Farm, originally four separate novellas covering a whole year does of course mention Christmas, so perhaps should be the first book considered for Christmas reading but the book felt much more than that and was almost the perfect book for the changing of seasons. No matter what is going on the seasons are continuing to change.
Seasons are of course important if you are a gardener and very important to Heidi Swain – The Winter Garden. Back to Nightingale Square and it’s residents and the gorgeous garden being created to aspire and bring joy in the dark winter months. For someone who has not ready access to a garden this was an absolute joy to read.
Now of course I do have access to a kitchen and on many occasion it does take on the smell of baking but no where near the amount in Tilly Tennant – Cathy’s Christmas Kitchen. There is something comforting about baking and reading and this books combines both with a joyous outcome.
Of course Christmas is a lot of the time about family and never more so than the latest novel Bella Osborne – One Family Christmas, this could be your ultimate nightmare, all family stuck together at Christmas or it could be the best thing ever. Whatever your choice, the book is bound to make you smile.
Even though it has no Christmas theme, Ann Cleeves – The Darkest Evening did have a lot of snow in it. This is the latest Vera novel and I really must get round to reading more of them as they are great detective stories and you can see Brenda Blethyn jump of the page as you read them. I will be interested to see if they make this particular story into a TV adaptation.
Agatha Christie – The Seven Dials Mystery perhaps not the most well known of Christie’s novels and was certainly interesting and it mentions characters met in previous novels which made for a different sort of novel. Trouble is you can get used to Marple and Poirot and when it changes it can be a bit of a shock! At least it is another one off my list.
Salvador Dali was out to shock and whilst I knew the name and very little about his work, I learnt a lot more when I picked up Jeremy Vine – The Diver and the Lover. Sadly the plot which weaved the fiction into the truth was not that great and it did disappoint me. I wanted to like it more but I couldn’t. I do enjoy historical fiction but this did rather leave me wanting.
So that was September and the reading continues apace which in a world full of uncertainty, I can at least escape into a book or two!
Here are my choices for this years Six in Six – there is still time to join in and it is looking like a bumper year of blogs taking part!
Six Classic or Modern Mysteries
Rachel Rhys – Dangerous Crossing
Lucy Foley – The Hunting Party
Sophie Hannah – The Mystery of the Three Quarters
Agatha Christie – A Murder is Announced
Sara Sheridan – Highland Fling
John Buchan – The Thirty Nine Steps
Six book covers that stand out
Six books I have enjoyed the most
Brenda Davies – The Girl Behind the Gates
Lucy Foley – The Hunting Party
Sandi Toksvig – Between the Stops
Ali McNamara – Kate and Clara’s Curious Craft Shop
Katie Fforde – A Country Escape
Veronica Henry – A Wedding at the Beach Hut
Six authors I read last year – but not so far this year
Six books from the past that drew me back there
Lorna Cook – The Forbidden Promise
Nancy Revell – Triumph of the Shipyard Girls
Jennifer Wells – The Lost Girls
Jane Johnson – The Sea Gate
Fern Britton – Daughters of Cornwall
Jessie Burton – The Muse
Six books set in or near a beach
Carole Matthews – Sunny Days and Sea Breezes
Veronica Henry – A Wedding at the Beach Hut
Heidi Swain – The Secret Seaside Escape
Cathy Bramley – A Match Made in Devon
Helen Pollard – The Little Shop in Cornwall
Phillipa Ashley – A Perfect Cornish Escape
I think I am quite pleased with my choices and 2020 in terms of reading has been good. Of course some books fit in more than one category because they were great and worth reading. Some average books of course but lots that were above average, I hope the next six months is just as interesting!
As I said at the beginning – still time for you to join in!
It has been a couple of months since we have had any notices around here, so I thought it was about time to share some bits and pieces.
I hope you are all well and adapting to the what I think will be the phrase of 2020 ‘the new normal’. It looks like I will be able to take to the swimming pool in couple of weeks, which I am most looking forward to. Work continues, in a rather odd and stilted fashion with no plans to be made and nothing to work towards other than surviving day to day. They tell me 2021 will be better.
I am still enjoying the jigsaws, the craft continues and of course so does the reading…
What have you read in the last 6 months – do come and join in my Six in Six meme which features but just once a year on this blog. We are a select few that join in but it is still fun.
So what other books can I share with you – something summery and holiday themed perhaps?
This is a fantastic read. It has everything you want from a book, humour, tragedy, light and dark moments and covers some difficult subjects with careful consideration. Plus I got to learn a lot about viticulture as well as the word itself! Wonderful characters which are introduced gradually and all play a part in the overall story.
The Cornish setting added to the atmosphere and the author has an uncanny knack of making it all three dimensional away from the page. I could taste the salt in the sea air and feel the heat of the sun.
The Path to the Sea works on so many levels and is a book to escape right into and immerse yourself in secrets of history, of life, of family and of love.
if you are looking for escapist reads that take you away, where it may not all be rosy but at least some people get their comeuppance and others get their happily ever afters then you need to buy this series of books.
The Little French Guesthouse in question is La Cour des Roses and Emmy is still working there, with the wonderful Rupert who has become a firm friends since circumstances brought them together in the first ‘French Guesthouse’ book.
They are as busy as every and Emmy is settling very much into village life…….drip the sunshine into the pages and the rolling hillsides, even the delicious food prepared in the guesthouse has you salivating as you can almost taste the chilled white wine, easing away your troubles.
Links to my reviews of these select books can be found below.
How is it going in your part of the world? Here in the UK, we wait until 1900 this evening when Boris Johnson, Prime Minister sets out the next phase for us as a country. The speculation is beginning to wear a bit thin and I think that the ‘people’ are getting a bit restless without guidance and instruction. Until then though I thought I might let you know about some bits and pieces.
I am part of the Phillipa Ashley Blog Tour in June for her new novel A Perfect Cornish Escape.
Summer in Cornwall is the perfect time for a fresh start…
Seven years ago, Marina Hudson’s husband was lost at sea. She vowed to love him for the rest of her life – but when kind-hearted Lachlan arrives in Porthmellow, should she deny herself another chance at happiness?
Tiff Trescott was living life to the full as a journalist in London – until her boyfriend’s betrayal brought it all crashing down. Fleeing to her cousin Marina’s cottage, Tiff feels like a fish-out-of-water. And when brooding local Dirk wins a day with her in a charity auction, she’s thrown headfirst into Cornish life.
This summer promises new beginnings for both Tiff and Marina. But are they too good to be true?
Pop back on the 15th June (if not before) and see my review.
Another book I need to tell you about it is the new novel from Holly Martin coming in the Autumn funnily enough and we will be taken back to the place and the characters first featured in Sunrise over Sapphire Bay
I am desperately missing the gym and especially swimming and it has been a real struggle this last week to manage everyday stuff including work without that outlet. So when I have not been reading and crafting, it has been jigsaws that have occupied my time.
I love seeing them come together. So here is a few over the last few weeks, the small 500 piece ones take me no more than a day. I am not sure whether that is the size or the picture that make them seemingly easy!
There are a few more waiting to be done so I am good to go for a few more weeks yet.
What has been happening in your parish? How is the reading? Have you got to jigsaws yet?
Well it is three weeks since I lasted posted a little notice and how our lives have changed since then. At that point it was the day before we were told, this is it. Everything is to close and we are not to go far from our homes unless really necessary. My normal routines have been thrown into disarray and I am now finding others, like a lot of others probably have yet to find one that works.
I have still gone to work, I have reduced my hours considerably and I am now on leave. I needed a rest, my heads was full and I was starting to suffer from it. I recognise the signs. But of course when I go back everything will still be up in the air. I there again need to find another work routine.
The reading as I might have mentioned before took a bit of a dive, it has picked up, I think because of the books I chose. Agatha Christie, Poirot and some Katie Fforde have been wonderful places to escape into. Also reading without thinking about reviewing can be a blessing. I am so glad that I made the decision not to review every book I read anymore.
Keeping busy is of course important (as is not eating your body weight in food every day). I go out for my prescribed exercise, I have a rather steep hill (it probably isn’t that steep) to climb where I can look across the Solent and can see the formation of Portsmouth Harbour and beyond if it is clear. It has become my nemesis and I am determined to walk up there without getting out of breath!
I needed something to listen to on these walks, and whilst music can be great, I have the radio on most days for most of the day. I wanted to be educated so I have got into Something Rhymes with Purple Podcast with Susie Dent and Gyles Brandreth. Great fun, interesting and I am learning as I am pounding the pavements, looking out for rainbows and signs in windows. I have come across some knitting on a lamppost, books being offered in boxes outside houses and a general sense of we are all in this together.
As keeping the hands occupied (and away from the chocolate) I can turn to my knitting, crocheting, sewing and anything else in between, I present to you a selection of some of the last few days efforts.
Premature Baby Hat
Toft Little Lamb
Newborn Baby Hat
It has been a while since I have shared so much of my craft stuff on this blog. There was a lot more in the early days of the blog and I am also still looking back through 2012 posts so I can do a review of that year soon. That could be my project for next week?
This is the second in a reflective post of ten years of blogging and also to mark the new decade as well. Reflecting back I have rediscovered books and authors I have read and promised myself I would read more, but never getting round to it. I have also seen how much my blogging has perhaps changed, developed and hopefully improved – even if some of it does make me cringe!
So here I am back in 2011, the first full year of blogging.
I was still talking about my crafts – looking back at the pictures it seems that 2011 was a bit of a turning point where I started to branch out with more than one thing on the go (no different to now really)
This is a strong book, with a fairly complex plot and a number of characters but Lucinda Riley weaves a tale that makes it easy to follow and completely absorbing. I found myself wanting to read it any spare minute I had, just to get to the next bit.
I was hooked with this writer and anyone who has been reading this blog for as long as I have been wittering on, will know that I have read many of her novels. I love the current Seven Sisters series but I still think if I had to choose it would be The Girl on the Cliff.
Another author I have read no more of since 2011 is Nicola Upson, I know I did try one of her later ones but at the time did not get on with it. I probably subconsciously gave up with them at the point. Rereading the review for Two For Sorrow, led me to find two other reviews not featured on the blog and to looking out for one of her other books.
2011 was the year that a kindle came into my life. I am now on my second one as the original developed lines and made it difficult to read the screen. I was very dubious at first and am passionate about ‘real’ books, still am. However I then went the other way and started trying out lots of books, because I could and seeing if I wanted to read any of them.
It became a little project which sort of died a death really as some blogging projects do sometimes. I got simply bogged down in looking up and trying out books – I ended up not really reading many of them.
I think when you start a new blog you spend a lot of time trying out what works or doesn’t work for you and sometime you simply need ideas for blog posts. Some work, some don’t and some like this one from Simon at Stuck in A Book I only did once here when it was first brought out and then again for a second time here and for a bit of nostalgia look out for another one of these in the coming weeks and with all credit to Simon.
I look back at the books mentioned and find that some authors I have never ventured back to, others have stuck. How reading changes and introduces you to new things.
One of those new things was Persephone Books- this was my first time in participating a reading challenge and a read along. The book I chose was The Home-Maker. Ironically it is the only Persephone book I still have read and probably all these years later I should perhaps tackle another one.
I did go back and revisit some wonderful childhood books which I have carried on doing over the last ten years or so but may not have written about them. Of course my childhood was dominated by Enid Blyton but sadly many of the books I have read have been given away and the only versions I could find were of the ‘newer’ variety
Yes but there is a problem, I can only download a newer version of her novel. All updated to fit in with the politically correct brigade that seem to lurk around. Oh well, lets just try a sample without having to part with any money and see how we get on? They cannot have changed that much can they? Oh, they have!
Here where I have revisited Five on Treasure Island I go into some of the comparisons. If you ever go back and read them – find the originals not the ‘correct’ versions.
However I did find a copy of the Malory Towers book I read as a child many times and that was a sheer delight. Definitely the place I get my love of school stories from.
The term goes on with the trials and tribulations. Tricks are made with pretend deafness, spiders and spilt ink. Courage and cowardice are fought and lost. Work is hard and positions are important. Tempers are lost and regained and new friendships are formed. I do not need to go into detail of all the events, as they just fit in so seamlessly and that although they are short they are dealt with effectively and efficiently. Good and bad, rights and wrongs corrected. The right sort of justice is dispatched to the right people with no comeback. Rereading as an adult I wonder if perhaps Blyton was using some sort of moral tale with these stories. That thought passes very quickly and I have just enjoyed the book for what it is pure pleasure.
Going back to my childhood took me back to the Mobile Library that visited and also libraries in general. I should use them far more and I don’t and I feel totally ashamed by that. I know I should do more, reflecting back on this post and the last ten years has really made me think. Perhaps I need to redress the balance in 2020. I make no rash promises because I know that life has a funny way of interfering.
There are many things that interfere in life and looking back in 2011 I was busily losing weight – I got to my target, I was more than please but life got in the way the following year. The losing weight ceased and I think I need say no more for the moment. Now is not the time to share about it. But what looking back at 2011 showed me was I shared a lot about food and cooking.
Cakes are a popular bake in my household, carrott, chocolate and cookies. Of course living on your own means you have to adapt and change things around and challenge yourself which I did when I made some Scotch eggs. I don’t think I have made any since – and I know I could quite easily as I have all the ingredients at home.
2011 for blogging was what I call a real mixed bag and I posted about lots of different things as you can see from this post. That has certainly changed as I look back at the blog in the last twelve months. It is all evolving and what I do wonder is what people want when they pop by and read my blog. Do they want to see what else has been going on? Do they want to understand the person behind the book reviews? Only you reading this know that!
So in conclusion from looking back at 2011 I need to find some Nicola Upson books, Persephone books, libraries and Scotch Eggs! I wonder if I will?
I want to say an extra day has given me an extra days worth of reading but I feel that probably is not the case, I am on target for my 100 for the year but who can possibly be thinking about when we have only completed two months of the year.
All but one of the book was on kindle, and that makes me glad and grumpy in equal measure. I delight in holding the actual book but with so many opportunities to read great books, the kindle was heavily used in February.
Having only read The Hunting Party back at the beginning of the year, I was intrigued to get Lucy Foley – The Guest List. A great twisting turn of a novel which kept me guessing or did I really know but not want to admit it? Read it see if you think the same?
There was more murder with Daisy Waugh – In the Crypt with a Candlestick, not an author I have read before and one I probably would be reluctant to pick up again. This was very tongue in cheek but lost something in the aim of the book. I am afraid I was swayed by the cover, judged and was wrong.
And even more murder with Helena Dixon – Murder at Enderley Hall, the second in a series of novels, set in the 1930s and featuring the wonderful Kitty Underhay and ex Army Captain Matthew Bryant. This time they are in the big country house and that can only mean one thing – murder!
Staying in the past I was delighted to be back with Nancy Revell – Triumph of the Shipyard Girls. This saga gets better and better as the book goes on and I am delighted it continues apace.
Learning about the past is a wonderful pastime and one I thoroughly enjoy in many forms. No more so that picking up Sandi Toksvig – Between the Stops. Sandi has not written your average autobiography, but then she is not your average women really. This is Sandi on a journey, on a bus through London on the way she tells us about her surroundings, the buildings, the roads, the famous people and it jogs ehr memory to what has happened to her in her past. Whether that be with her mother and father and the places she was luckily to travel, to her schooldays, early days of celebrity and more recent experiences. It is a great book to dip in and out of.
Talking about taking journey’s there is one place I really want to visit (though it is not a real place) and that is Heartcross in Scotland. It was great to be back there with Christie Barlow – Clover Cottage. Here we join the local vet Rory and his girlfriend Allie who are struggling with the concept of escaping the little village and finding an adventure. Sometimes adventures can be had at home. But is that enough?
Cottages unintentionally started to be a theme in February when I was off to visit Kate Forster – Starting over at Acorn Cottage. A dream of Clara’s to live in a cottage because a nightmare when reality bites and she finds herself in a rundown cottage with no roof, no job and no prospects. But events can take an unexpected turn.
More run down properties in Lisa Swift – The School of Starting Over mean that new resident Nell has a lot to contend with if she wishes to settle into the village. Being the new reception class teacher will help but what else is distracting Nell as she makes the home of her dreams?
Fulfilling people’s dreams seems the obvious job description for a wedding planner, but Lara is not the perfect contender for that in Tilly Tennant – The Break Up. Determined to not let her personal life affect her job she throws herself wholeheartedly into weddings and looking after her cat. But then it seems someone else has been feeding the cat….
Not a bad month, it is only when I look back how I see that some of these books connect and follow different themes. I promise you it is not an intended course of action but a wonderful coincidence. It makes me wonder where my March reading is going to take me.