Category Archives: reading

March ~ Round Up. 💛

So I am finishing off my month with a little Round-Up. March has been a pretty quiet one but I’m not complaining. Spring made an appearance ( hurrah ! ) and of course, I am just thankful that life here in my little corner of the world is relatively peaceful and uncomplicated. 🌻

READING ~ Just finished Girl A by Abigail Dean. This is a disturbingly dark tale about a young family who are imprisoned in their home on the Moors by their increasingly erratic parents. ‘ Girl A ‘ herself is the one who got away, the girl who escaped her chains and made it out to find help. Years later the children are left the house in their deceased Mother’s will. Can anything good come out of it? ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Julia Garner is not some ‘ Basic B**** in Inventing Anna.

WATCHING ~ For some reason none of the film’s I’ve watched recently have stuck in my mind. Definitely more into TV Shows so far this year. My binge watch faves in March have included Inventing Anna ( Julia Garner is brilliant as scheming New York heiress/con artist/ VIP is always Better Anna Delvey ), Bridgerton Season 2 ( Jane Austin meets Gossip Girl , once again in London’s High Society) and Upload ( comedy drama about a man who yes, looks a bit like a young Tom Cruise, who’m is able to choose his own afterlife after his untimely death). But what can I watch next……..

Afternoon Tea Time.

EATING ~ My first Afternoon Tea of 2022! And hopefully not my last. Enjoyed a sumptuous Afternoon Tea at the impressive Country Manor ‘ Mitton Hall’ in Lancashire. You can read about it here. 🍰.

Tunnel Vision. 😃

WALKING ~ Most of my March walks have been on the outskirts of my hometown of Clitheroe. But during a visit to the caravan we did manage to complete the Keswick Railway Walk which runs between Keswick and the nearby village of Threlkeld. Hopefully April will see me getting back into hill walking and attempting some Wainwright Fells. She says………

Sand Martin’s have returned from Africa.

Enjoying ~ Spring Sunshine ~ Yes we were all lulled into basking in actual warm sunshine 🌞 , then BAM it Snowed! As I turn on the central heating for probably the last time ever ( not out of optimism, but out of dread at April’s fuel cost rises) I will leave you with a few Spring like pics taken when the weather was a little warmer.

Dazzling Daffodils.
Curious Lambs.
Spot the Tiny 🏰 Castle.
Red Flowering Currant.
Hugo and Hyacinths.

Thanks for visiting and if you have any Book/Film/TV/ Walk/ Afternoon Tea recommendations, let me know in the comments. 💛

February ~ Round Up. 💜

Oh my it’s March already so it must be time to write a quick round up of my February. I have seen snowdrops , experienced some Van Time and watched a bit of good telly. Can’t be bad…..

READING ~ I haven’t finished it yet but I am enjoying reading Helen Russell’s ‘ The Year Of Living Danishly’ an amusing memoir of a Brit couples relocation to the land of Lego and Cinnamon Buns ‘ Denmark’. Apparently Denmark still tops the ‘ Happiest Country Polls ‘ 7 years after this book was published. Pass me a Danish Pastry!

The Marvelous Mrs M.

WATCHING ~ I have been in a binge watching mood this February. Blame the horrid weather! I’ve been reaquainting myself with money laundering in Ozark, sinking my fangs into Wolf Like Me, preferring the new Reacher series to the Tom Cruise films and of course adoring all things Midge Maisel in The Marvelous Mrs Maisel. ❤️

EATING ~ I won’t mention my new found addiction to Pot Noodles ( aagh why is this happening! ) but instead share a photo of a delicious curry some friends cooked for us. Quite simply scrumptious.

VAN TIME ~ We did manage a couple of nights away at the caravan in-between Storm Dudley and Storm Eunice. Luckily we felt very safe and cosy inside the van. And managed a walk and a visit to Penrith whilst the weather was calm. Now that Spring is round the corner we are hoping to get away to our bolt hole a couple of times a month.

ENJOYING ~ Going Out Out. Spot Funk & Soul DJ Craig Charles in the background.

~ Signs of Spring. Despite the dismal weather there have been a couple of dry days. The sun came out on Sunday whilst walking round Dean Clough Reservoir near Great Harwood. It was a privilege glimpsing a couple of Great Crested Grebes affirming their relationship with a dazzling Water dance display.

How has your February been? 💜

Books Read In May , June & July. 🍓

I didn’t read many books through the bulk of the Summer months and as usual I have been slow to write up about what I did read. Here is a quick catch up. I seem to be favouring Gothic Mysteries and Thrillers at the moment.

The Diabolical Bones ~ Bella Ellis ( 2020). This is the second of two mysteries that puts the Bronte siblings at the forefront of their own fledgling detective agency. The chill cloak of Winter has covered Haworth and the surrounding moorland, when a bleak discovery is unearthed at the remote farmhouse of Top Withens , a child’s bones in the chimney space of a seemingly haunted room. The literary family are brought to life so well in this shadowy gothic tale that combines science, the supernatural and a twistedly devilish villain. More please. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wakenhyrst ~ Michelle Paver ( 2019). Edward Stearne rules his home ( the isolated Manor house of Wakes End) and family with an iron rod. He’s also a religious fanatic slowly descending into madness. Maud his scholarly daughter spends time in the surrounding forbidden fens to escape the chlostrophobic household , her only friends being a wild magpie and a wild fen dweller. An atmospheric tale set in the Edwardian era. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Picture Of Dorian Gray ~ Oscar Wilde ( 1890 ). I had watched film versions of Oscar Wilde’s only novel and seen the handsome narcissistic character of Dorian Gray appear in the TV series Penny Dreadful, yet It has taken me until now to actually get round to reading about Dorian’s pact with the devil , his longing for eternal youth. Whilst our protagonist appears forever young and beautiful, the true Dorian is the one in his portrait, hidden from public view. With every selfish thought, every wicked deed ,the picture of Dorian Gray becomes all the more grotesque and hideous. As time goes on Dorian’s pursuit of pleasure leaves destroyed lives and reputations in tatters. Would you sacrifice your soul for eternal youth? ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Mapping Of Love & Death ~ Jacqueline Winspear ( 2010 ). Maisie Dobbs is a detective, perhaps an unusual occupation for a female in the interwar years. Her latest case ( this is the 7th book in the series, there are more that follow) finds her commissioned to solve the suspicious death of a wartime cartographer. His affair with an English nurse takes Maisie back to her own doomed wartime romance. A slow paced but readable mystery. ⭐⭐⭐

And that is about all I read through May to July. Thanks for reading!

Books Read In February, March & April.

Well this year is flying by and I keep forgetting to compile a Books Read post. Here’s a quick catch up from the last three months. 📚

Heroic Animals ~ Clare Balding ( 2020). Wil bought me this and it’s a great book to dip in and out of, or just read through alphabetically. Lots of emotional true stories about animals , many who put their lives on the line for us. Some don’t have happy endings though, so keep a tissue handy. Plus the tale of Mike the headless chicken is quite disturbing. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Duke & I ~ Julia Quinn ( 2000). I enjoyed the first season of Bridgerton on Netflix, this is the novel that it is based upon, written twenty years ago now. A Regency era romance , the book series concerns the lives and loves of the Bridgerton siblings, this one in particular focuses on the lovely Daphnes quest to find a suitable husband. There is one scene in the book ( thankfully not in the TV series) that does sour the story a bit. ⭐⭐⭐

The Moth And The Mountain ~ Ed Caesar ( 2020 ). Many men who survived the first world war brought their physical and mental scars back home with them, some like Maurice Wilson must have thought they were invincible. Wilson who had never been to Asia, nor ever flown an aeroplane before, decided it was his life’s mission to fly from England to Everest in a gipsy moth, then climb to the summit of the world’s tallest mountain, completely alone. I had never heard of Maurice Wilson, a brave but foolhardy & flamboyant character. An amazing true story, I would love to see his life up there on the big screen. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Bone China ~ Laura Purcell (2019). If you fancy a Victorian Gothic tale, set in a creepy crumbling old house, this is for you. Hester Why is running away. She needs to escape her past and has fled to Cornwall to take up a position as the elderly Miss Pinecrofts nurse maid. But refuge here involves eerie superstitions, damp dark places & bone china with changing patterns. Could Hester be in even more grim peril than she was before…. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Magpies Nest : A Treasury Of Bird Folk Tales ~ Taffy Thomas ( 2020). Storyteller Taffy Thomas has brought together a collection of short stories and myths about some of our most well loved birds. Charmingly illustrated too, a lovely book for young and old readers alike. Taffy himself is a storyteller at the Storytelling Garden in Grasmere. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A Snapshot Of Murder ~ Frances Brody (2018). So apparently this is the tenth Kate Shackleton mystery, but I am completely new to the book series. Snapshot was passed onto me and has alighted my curiosity! It is 1928 and lady detective Kate is taking a break from solving murders. Her other passion is photography and the local camera club has planned an outing to Haworth and Stanbury, homeland of the Brontes. But one of her fellow enthusiasts will not return from the trip and Mrs Shackletons investigative skills are called upon in Wuthering Heights country. ⭐⭐⭐

Happy Reading. ❤️

Along The Riverside At Sedburgh.

At the weekend we made our first trip of the year to stay over at the caravan. 🥰 We decided to deviate from our normal route up the M6 after Kirkby Lonsdale. Instead we meandered through the Dales and into the Eden Valley via the charming town of Sedburgh, nestling at the foot of the Howgills. This part of the Yorkshire Dales is pretty new to us, we usually only view the Howgills from the motorway. Alfred Wainwright once described the fells as ‘ looking like a herd of sleeping elephants’. 🐘🐘🐘

After parking in the town we made our way to the River Rawthey. It was certainly turning out to be a beautiful Spring day.

A well maintained Playing Field.
Pebbles at New Bridge.
Those Sleeping Elephants. 🙂
A stoney brook. No water but lots of pebbles.
By the river Rawthey.

Presently we came to a field where three Highland cows were residing. They seemed completely happy for us to pass by. Very chilled in the morning sunshine.

Highlands in the Howgills.
Happy Highland Cow.
Watching. 🙂

I had a plan of course! A little further on along the Rawthey I had read of an old Victorian Wool Mill. Farfield Mill hosts art & craft exhibitions, has a shop and a tearoom ,presently open as a takeaway with tables outside.

Farfield Mill.
Refreshment stop.
Views over the Rawthey.
A cottage by the mill. If I were to name this little house, I would call it ‘ Wild 🍓 Strawberry cottage’.
Lungwort.
Country Lane.
Wood Sorrel.

Heading back now along the river, there are more cute livestock to see. 🙂

Hebridean Sheep..
A wooly white donkey.
I think Hugo likes the Rawthey. 🙂
Obligitary Goosander.
Sunbathing.
Back into town.

So Sedburgh Is England’s Book Town and has more second hand book shops than Birmingham apparently!

Clutter books.
Sleepy Elephant.🐘
A disused bus shelter, now a book shelter.
Three Hares Cafe Bakery.
One of many independent shops.
St Andrews Church.

After buying some bread from the Three Hares Cafe Bakery, it was time for us to continue on to our van in the equally lovely Eden Valley. I am sure we will be visiting Sedburgh and the surrounding area again soon though. 🙂

January 2021 ~ Books I Read. 📚 ❄️

January has been an enjoyable reading month. A couple of the books were birthday or Christmas gifts, two were inspired by other bloggers reads and one was bought on a whim, purely because of the cover. Though in fact all these book covers are asphetically pleasing in my eyes.

Bookshop Tours Of Britain ~ Louise Boland ( 2020). Whilst our bookshops are sadly closed at the moment, how about browsing through a book that takes the reader on 18 journeys around Britain and its many beautiful independent book stores. This handy guide allows you to plan which parts of the country to visit once lockdown is over, with its indie bookshops in mind. Lots of travel information too and litery snippets. I love this celebration of our indie stores, they really need our support at the moment. A little sad that two lovely book towns that I have visited, Wigtown in Dumfries & Galloway and Sedburgh in Cumbria , weren’t included though. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Wild Life Of The Fox ~ John Lewis – Stemple ( 2020). A slim volume not unlike Adele Brands ‘ The Hidden World Of The Fox’ , packed full of fascinating insights into the life of this mysterious wild creature, who’m we share our countryside and urban landscape with. The author, a prolific nature writer ,starts off by talking about a phone conversation that went on slightly too long, causing him to head out to lock up his chickens that little bit later than usual. Well you can imagine what had happened to the chickens. Yet we can’t help but have a love/hate relationship with the 🦊. And that is explored expertly here. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Winter Holiday ~ Arthur Ransome ( 1931). I haven’t actually read any of the other Swallows & Amazon’s books. I assume they are all set in long warm summers. Winter Holiday though is absolutely perfect for this time of year. The frozen lake and surrounding snowy countryside lends itself perfectly to the children’s Arctic Expedition adventures. I love how the adults don’t bat an eyelid at the youngsters playing out from dawn until dusk and how everyone gets their skates on , igloos are built and ice yachts are commondeered. Delightful. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Before The Coffee Gets Cold ~ Toshikazu Kawaguchi (2015). If you could travel back in time to a crossroads moment in your life , would you want to, if you couldn’t change the outcome? In a quiet cafe in Japan , from a particular seat ,it is possible to do just that. As long as you drink your coffee before it gets cold that is. A moving and magical tale. And there is a sequel that I want to read too. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

What books did you pick up in January? 📚

Januarying.

I am treating January as I usually do. It’s my month of keeping snug and cosy inside, with a healthy dose of fresh air and exercise. I also like to plan holidays and weekends away at this time of year, so have been researching our little holiday in North Norfolk during May and weekend walks in the Eden Valley, for when we can get back up to the caravan.

Continuing Winter cheer with my window display. The Robins mimic my real life robin visitor. The hyacinth plant I found in Sainsbury’s for a bargain 65p is now flowering and giving off a delicious scent, resembling woods of bluebells.

Winter Walks.

I’ve been looking for more walks from home. Although I thought we had been just about everywhere on our doorstep, I was proved wrong last weekend, when we discovered new to us footpaths. I’m sure there are more to explore!

There will be another place to wander when Clitheroe’s new Nature Reserve opens. It is very local indeed. I have nosed over the fence a couple of times and I spied several Teal on the water. 🙂 Can’t wait for a proper look.

The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch is all set for the last weekend of January. I have signed up as usual and am looking forward to seeing which feathered visitors turn up in the hour.

Primrose Nature Reserve. 🦉🦉 Photo from their Facebook page.
Bridgerton. It’s a bodice ripper.

Incase you are looking for some on screen escapism, here is a list of what I’ve enjoyed watching recently. Most are series and there’s one film. But let me say this, my list is one of mostly guilty pleasures. 😄

  • Bridgerton. Netflix. Regency romance with lots of drama, comedy, gossip & scandal.
  • Derry Girls. All 4 / Netflix. Coming of age comedy set during ‘ the troubles’ in nineties Northern Ireland.
  • Ghosts. BBC I Player. Spirited comedy about the ghostly inhabitants of a haunted house, from the creators of Horrible Histories
  • Winter Walks. BBC I Player. Join well known faces as they film their favourite walks in Yorkshire. I miss Yorkshire. ❤️
  • Eurovision Song Contest : The Story Of Fire Saga. Netflix. Very cheesy but enjoyable musical comedy film set in Iceland and Edinburgh.
  • The Masked Singer. ITV/ ITV Hub. Addictive crazy singing competition.
  • Home For Christmas. Netflix. Norwegian rom com series.
  • Sneaky Pete. Amazon Prime. Crime drama about a con man who assumes the identity of his cellmate to escape from a vengeful mobster.
  • The Queen’s Gambit. Netflix. An orphans rise against the odds to become the Worlds number one chess player.
  • All Creatures Great And Small. My 5. Heart warming 1940s comedy drama about a young vet who accepts a job in a Yorkshire Dales Vetinary practice. This is a remake of the original series, and just as good. ❤️
Winter Reading.

It’s nice to find a nice cosy read and I did in Winter Holiday from the Swallows and Amazon’s children’s book series by Arthur Ransome. I am immersed in a world of frozen lakes, snowy igloos and secret signals. Thanks to the What is it about books ? blog for the recommendation. ❤️

So this is my first foray into using the new WordPress editor. I hope it turns out okay.

Do leave me your own thoughts on how you are spending January?

Books Read In October, November & December 2020.

Here are the last few books I finished in 2020. In the end I have read 34 books out of the 35 I challenged myself to read on Good Reads. 📚 So close!

The Misinterpretation Of Tara Jupp ~ Eva Rice ( 2008). Tara Jupp is wisked away from her cosy life in the country to spend a lively glamerous time in London , when her talent for singing is discovered. This is a coming of age story set in the 50s & 60s. Our heroine navigates a budding career, falling in love, and tries to make sense of the complicated relationships of those around her . There are reoccurring characters from Rice’s more satisfying novel ‘ The Lost Art Of Keeping Secrets’. ⭐⭐⭐

We Have Always Lived In The Castle ~ Shirley Jackson( 1962) When reading the first paragraph of this strange gothic tale , you find out that the narrator is called Mary Katherine Blackwood ( Merricat) and she likes her sister Constance, Richard Plantagenet and Amanita phalloides , the death-cap mushroom. The much depleted Blackwoods live exiled from the nearby village ,where tongues wag due to the unfortunate deaths of most of the family, whilst at dinner. I immensingly enjoyed this eerie unforgettable book. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

A Poem For Every Autumn Day ~ Allie Esiri ( 2020). A gorgeous collection of poems, sometimes more than one for each day, through September, October & November. A book to dip into once the leaves turn golden brown. Allie Esiri has put together poetry from well known and lesser known writers, occasionally the poems recollect a particular occasion in history and at other times, the simple joys of Autumn. A lovely birthday present, I have been inspired to purchase the Winter volume since. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I Don’t Know What You Know Me From : My Life As A Co Star ~ Judy Greer ( 2014). I honestly have asked the question “Where do I know That Actress From? ” about Judy Greer, as she has a habit of popping up in just about every American Sit Com going , as well as in a number of rom coms , usually playing the female leads quirky best friend. Judy’s memoirs are funny and down to earth, she definitely comes across as someone you’d want to be mates with in real life. Disappointingly she isn’t one to dish the dirt on her Hollywood co stars, but that does make her refreshingly likeable. ⭐⭐⭐

The Wild Silence ~ Raynor Winn( 2020). When Raynor Winn and her terminally ill husband Moth became homeless they decided to walk the South West Coastal Path. Raynor’s evocative account of their epic trek is told in ‘ The Salt Path’ and this is the anticipated follow-up. What happens next for the couple who found hope and temporary respite via walking & wild camping in nature? Another engaging read. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Have you read any of these books? ❤️

Books Read In July, August and September. 📚

My reading has slowed down again in the last few months. I have enjoyed all these books ,so I can’t say why my reading mojo has suffered. Hey ho….

The Bomber Dog ~ Megan Rix ( 2013). This is a fave book of my 12 year old nephew, which he lent me over lockdown, it’s a good story too! Grey is a clever German shepherd pup who is rescued from a bombed building in the Second World War by Nathan , just as he is on his way to train as a paratrooper. The two develop a remarkable bond and become inseparable, until the day they lose each other in Germany. A heartwarming tale about man’s best friend. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Love And Treasure ~ Ayelet Waldman ( 2014). Another book that delves back in time to World War 2. In 1945 American soldiers capture a train of riches & gold, treasure stolen from Jewish families by the Nazis. Years later Natalie Wiseman is staying with her beloved grandfather Jack , his dying wish is for Natalie to find the rightful owners of a peacock pendant he’s had in his possession since his war serving days. A thought provoking novel that spans the decades. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Salt Path ~ Raynor Winn ( 2018). Not many people would set off to walk the entire 630 mile South West Coast of England. After losing their home and livelihood Raynor and Moss are given more devastating news, Moss is diagnosed with a delibitating illness. With nothing left to lose the couple set off with a small tent and limited supplies. Told with strength and humour this memoir is a true testament to human resilience and the healing power of nature. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Reckoning ~ Yrsa Sigurdardottir ( 2019). The lasting legacy of childhood trauma is explored in this dark Icelandic thriller. This is in fact the second book in a series, but can be read as a stand alone. A schools time capsule is opened and a chilling message is inside. The names of several would be victims are on a kill list, written by a child. A demoted detective and a dissilusoned psychoanalyst struggle to solve the case. ⭐⭐⭐

Beach Read ~ Emily Henry ( 2020). Not your typical beach romance, but definitely a great holiday read. January and Gus are writers in a rut. January is a romance author who likes a fairytale ending. Gus writes dark gritty fiction. Years ago they were also college rivals with a strong attraction. Flung together over one summer, the two struggling authors decide to help each other get over their writing ruts by swapping story genres. But will channeling the demons of their pasts into their work destroy a blossoming friendship….. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Have you read any of these?

Images from Pinterest & Unsplash.

Bronte Connections ~ Cowan Bridge.

In recent days I have written about a village with a movie connection and two villages visited by vampires. This next one has an association with members of perhaps England’s most famous literary family ‘ the Brontes’ .

I have passed through Cowan Bridge numerous times as it sits on the busy A65 in between Ingleton and Kirkby Lonsdale, our usual route up to the Lake District. In days gone by it would have been much quieter, the continuous traffic noise definitely distances the imagination away from the 1820s , when siblings Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte and Emily attended The Clergy Daughter’s School in the village.

We had decided to stop off for lunch on the way home from Cumbria on a busy bank holiday Monday. I must admit I suggested Cowan Bridge because I thought it may be easier to get lunch there than its more touristy neighbors. I have also always been curious about where on earth the Bronte school is……

It turned out the Tea Room was busy inside, but there was space outside next to the noisy road with the traffic whooshing by. 😅 We just decided on coffee and prepackaged sandwiches and ate them in the pretty seating area.

Afterwards we pottered about the village in totally the wrong direction. Eventually a kind local pointed us toward the original bridge that Cowan Bridge takes its name from. After crossing it we came to a row of old stone cottages. These are what remain of The Clergy Daughter’s School.

An inscription on the end cottage wall reads :

Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte & Emily Bronte

Lived here as pupils of the Clergy Daughter’s School 18-24 – 25.

The school was moved to Casterton 1833.

Patrick Bronte was a clergyman living in Haworth with six young children. His wife Maria had sadly died a couple of years earlier. Sending four of their offspring to a respected boarding school for clergy children would no doubt have seemed the right thing for this busy man of the cloth to do.

Unfortunately the harsh environment at the school would contribute to the untimely deaths of the two eldest girls. Poor quality food, cold damp conditions and cruel unjust punishments were the norm. Maria, then Elizabeth were sent home suffering from consumption , both would die within weeks of one another. Patrick sent for Charlotte and Emily and they never returned to Cowan Bridge.

A still from the 1944 film version of Jane Eyre.

For Charlotte , her experiences at the Clergy Daughter’s School were to be drawn upon for her novel Jane Eyre. In the book young Jane is sent to Lowood School where she makes a new friend, Helen Burns. Helens and Jane’s life there mirrors that of her and her sisters harrowing time at Cowan Bridge.

Today one of the remaining cottages is available as an attractive Holiday Let , so fans of the Brontes’ can experience a little part of Bronte history. A short walk and you are away from the road noise and out into beautiful rolling countryside.

I am glad the buildings stand as a reminder of how harsh life could be back then, and also as a celebration of what the Bronte family would eventually achieve.

Have you visited any places where the Brontes’ lived, worked or played? 📖