"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Monday, 24 October 2016

Wild Flower Albums and some recent reading

Several years ago D bought me this lovely wildflower album (published 1937) as a birthday present.

Recently I spotted a similar album on ebay which had been published the year before in 1936 and couldn't resist buying it. Both albums contain 50 wildflower cards and I think they are delightful and so charming. Lovely to see some wildflowers which were no doubt far more plentiful in the 1930's!

Recent Reading

I really enjoyed this book by Katherine Swift - it contains articles that she wrote several years ago when she was a gardening correspondent for The Times. It follows the months of the year and, having visited the garden, it made the book extra special. I would very much like to return to Morville early next Spring and see the tulips and enjoy another cream tea :)

I do like books by Susan Howatch, in fact I find once started I can't put them down - having finished the Starbridge series, I moved onto the St Benet's trilogy, set around a Christian healing centre in London and containing a couple of characters from the Starbridge novels. Sadly, I don't think Susan Howatch has written any more books since the St Benet's stories.

Reading "Dead Water" and "Thin Air" by Ann Cleeves has brought me more or less up to date with the Shetland books. A new story has recently been published but I'll have to wait until it comes down in price!

"Too good to be True" is a quick read featuring Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez from the Shetland series and

"Offshore" is a short story collection containing stories about DI Jimmy Perez and DI Willow Reeves from the Shetlanders and a story about Vera Stanhope before she joined the police force. Enjoyed both of these books although perhaps not as much as the longer stories.

Now I'm more or less up to date I think I may put the Shetland series dvd on my Christmas and Birthday List and will now move onto the Vera Stanhope novels.

I had perhaps better explain that I wouldn't normally read as many books as this!! but I had a bad cold a few weeks ago and then developed bronchitis which meant there wasn't a lot I felt like doing for about a week - apart from reading!

I always over-estimate the time I will have available for reading when I am on holiday and before we went to Devon in June I bought half a dozen or so books for the Kindle which I still hadn't read. Much as I love my Kindle - buying is so very easy that you can often get carried away buying books on special offer for 99p or £1.99 which Amazon is always suggesting that if you liked such and such a book then you might like this. It is not a bad way of trying new authors but there are some you will enjoy and other's you won't.

I bought this book purely and simply because it was set in Holder's Hope, Herefordshire and this is one I did enjoy. It is well written if perhaps a little over long. The book time slips between the early 20th century when the garden was created and the present day when a young man and his girlfriend discover the derelict garden and research the history. It is sad at times and is definitely a house and garden with a secret!

Another book I enjoyed with an interesting plot/characters and it has that many twists and turns that it was difficult to put down.

Another time slip story between Rebecca and Sarah who lived in Red Hill Hall in Victorian times and the present day where Gemma is researching the history of the hall and the discovery of two pistols. I don't like criticising books but I really did not enjoy this at all - far too predictable. In fact, if I had read this when I was well I don't think I would have got past the first chapter.


Wendy said...

I'm sorry to hear you were ill and hope all is well now. At least you were able to do some reading. The wildflower albums from the 1930s are wonderful, such beautiful books. As you say, many of these wildflowers would have been so common before post-war intensive farming. They are a record of what we've lost.
I'm always interested to see what you've been reading and once again you've recommended Katherine Swift so I must try her books.

Ragged Robin said...

Wendy - Thanks so much Wendy - am a lot better now. We all went down with it and everyone still has a bit of a cough - a particularly nasty virus :( So pleased you liked the wildflower albums - I love things like that (I have quite a collection of Observer, New Naturalist and Wayside and Woodland old books - the latter are particularly charming). So sad though when you consider the decline in so many wildlife species :(

Would really recommend the Katherine Swift books - she is a superb writer and the books are not just about gardening but geology, history, etc. I think (and fervently hope!) she is working on a new one :)

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

The wildflower books are very pretty, I need a decent guide!

Rosie said...

Sorry to read that you have been ill and hope you will feel well again soon. Good idea to catch up on reading whilst you feel under the weather. I have the new Shetland novel Cold Earth reserved at the library but I'm 22 in the queue so it will be a while before I get it. I always mix Gillian Linscott up with Gillian Tindall who I think writes non fiction books about houses through history. I think I have read a Nell Bray suffragette novel by Gillian Linscott. I'd love to return to Morville one day too:)

Ragged Robin said...

Simon Douglas Thompson - thanks Simon - worth buying a decent wildflower guide - you are spoilt for choice these days :)

Rosie -thanks very much Rosie - I was reading that much that for the first time ever I actually got fed up with it! I will check out the Neil Bray books. I recently rejoined a local library - mainly in case I do any more research into family history. Hope those 20+ people get a move on with reading the book :) I don't mind paying full price for a hard/paperback but it always seems a bit excessive for the kindle version which is why usually (- there are a few exceptions!!) I wait. Do hope we both return to Morville soon - I dream about that garden! :)

Pam said...

Aren't colds the worst, they always seem to cause further problems and linger around! I hope you're feeling much better. A great excuse for lots of reading so that's something I guess! The flower albums are just lovely, I vaguely remember collecting cigarette cards as a child when my Dad was a smoker!!

Ragged Robin said...

Pam - thanks Pam. Colds these days seem much nastier than they used to be - I would say it was an age thing but my son and daughter in their 20's really suffered too although I was the only one to go down with bronchitis :( Feeling much better now thanks! I was so glad I could read otherwise I think I would have gone round the bend! I used to collect the tea cards (Brooke Bond?) sadly, no longer have the albums :(

Amanda Peters said...

You did manage to get some reading done, I'm still unable to concentrate long enough to read, as my mind jumps all over the place.
The card book does look lovely, I need to have a proper look through mine and see what flowers are displayed. Wonder if there are any I have not seen over the summer.
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - Thanks Amanda - some of the books were read before and after being ill - since last blog on reading anyway! I can only concentrate on books when in a room on my own - can't read while the tv is on for example.

Good idea about checking which of the flowers have been seen from the card albums - although I don't think I've seen many of the arable wildflowers in the wild :( Will check later :)

SeagullSuzie said...

What beautiful wildflower books. Nice to have a reading catch-up, but not due to illness. I'm struggling with reading my books since work on the computer is hard on my eyes at the moment.

Ragged Robin said...

SeagullSuzie - Thanks so much - glad you like the wildflower albums :) So sorry to hear about your eye problems due to working on computer so much - worry about my son at times as he spends all day at work on computer then comes home and spends all evening and weekends on one doing voluntary work. Hope you can read more soon.

The Quacks of Life said...

You might like Sharon Kay Penman.... she is noted for the Sunne in Splendour about Richard III..... but she has written lots about the Plantagenets. She has a mystery series set around 1190 (Justin de Quincey is the lead character),

I bet you have the PG Tips wildflower cards or want them :)

Ragged Robin said...

Pete Duxon - Thanks so much Pete - off to check out Sharon Kay Penman on Amazon - always grateful for new author suggestions :)

Sadly, don't have the PG Tips wildflower cards but yes I would like them.! Unfortunately, I got rid of a lot of my childhood stuff when I got married and regret it so much - probably why I am such a hoarder now :)