"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

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Recent Reading, Knitting and Christmassy Stuff

Recent Reading

I really do enjoy the Maisie Dobbs series - and thankfully there are still quite a few to go before I finally get up to date. Maisie herself is such a likeable character.

I used to read Rosamond Richardson's column in Birdwatching Magazine and loved her beautifully descriptive style of nature writing and so I just had to buy this book which lived up to its promise. The descriptive writing is sublime describing the sense of wonder you can attain from watching birds. It also includes wonderful quotes from various poets and philosophers. It is a book to read slowly and savour every sentence.

I have read all of Rachel Hore's books and they are good, easy to read and the type of book that is ideal holiday reading.

I so enjoy this Fen series - always I find the book difficult to put down. So glad there are more left to read in the series!

I bought this book because my love of medieval churches left me wanting to know a lot more than I did on life in Medieval England. This is an interesting book if you like history. The book uses an interesting new technique describing what life would actually be like if you travelled back in time to that era. I will be looking out for his book on Elizabethan England.

"Medieval Masons" is another book I bought because of my interest in medieval churches. I wanted a general back-ground read on the subject before starting a book on "The Herefordshire School of Romanesque Sculptures". Easy to understand but probably not for everyone unless you too have an interest in stone carving during the Medieval Ages.

The book below is the second in a series of Wesley Peterson books which I discovered thanks to Rosie from "Corners of My Mind Blog who has inspired me to try many new authors. I enjoyed this very much and yippee again there are quite a few left for me to read in the series.

I've started collecting this lovely little series on features in churches. Lots of fascinating facts and photos.

I follow the author of this book on Twitter where I became aware of this book set near Alderley Edge. This book is gripping and full of suspense and I read it in two days as I just could not put in down. As it is a Christmas haunting story it seemed the right time of year to read it! Evil is lurking beneath the ground waiting to be released from a tomb being excavated by a team of archaeologists. It is part of a Trilogy so I will read the other two books. It is a trifle scary far more so, in my view, than say Barbara Erskine or the Merrily Watkins books. In fact scare factor wise I would put it more on a par with Phil Rickman's non Merrily books such as the Cold Calling which I did find frightening! There again to be fair I should point out I do not read many horror stories so other people may well disagree with me on the scare factor.

I really enjoyed Patrick Barkham's books on his search for butterflies and on badgers and I really liked this book. As he walks the coastal paths Patrick Barkham tells the story of our coast including snippets on rocks, plants, birds, history and people who live or have lived by the coast along with man's attempts to protect our shoreline from tidal erosion and sea-rise due to climate change. A great read.

Getting ready for Christmas

I finally got round to making the mincemeat earlier this month.

We have finally put up the Christmas Tree - better late than never!

I've been knitting again this time an Elf on the Shelf - not happy with his face to be honest but it was the best I could do. I can knit but I am not good at sewing and the faces are the one thing I struggle with when making toys!

Every year I seem to be too busy on Christmas Eve to watch all of "Carols from Kings's" so my son had the lovely thought of buying me tickets for my birthday to see King's College Choir singing Christmas Carols at Birmingham Symphony Hall. It was a magical experience and one I thoroughly enjoyed so thank you D.

Grasmere Gingerbread arrived today - it won't last until Christmas!

I made the cake last month and fed it countless times before B managed to marzipan and ice it. We keep the decorating simple!


Bovey Belle said...

What wonderful books and reviews - I daren't get started on any more authors - you should SEE the enormous pile of books I have bought (most for small donations in the Tesco book swop for charity) - at present I am hooked on Peter James, and trying to read all his thrillers.

I have Skendleby on my Kindle, but always forget I have books on there still to read too. We have the Green Man book - bought it years ago in Hereford Cathedral.

I hope that the Medieval Masons book gives you an insight into "Kilpeck and all that" - I too have the Herefordshore School of Romanesque Sculptures book (bought at Kilpeck of course) and it is excellent.

I don't make a proper Christmas cake as I would be the only one eating it, Keith would say "too sweet" (in other words, fattening) and our children don't like fruit cake. Yours looks lovely (and I am sure it has just the right kick from the booze!)

Merry Christmas.

busybusybeejay said...

You have been busy.Am I the only person who doesn't make mince pies.I used to in the past but not any more.Love your elf and the face looks fine.What a lot of reading.I have made a note of some of those titles.

Ragged Robin said...

Bovey Belle

Thanks so much. I have not read Peter James - will add him to my list of authors to try if not already there!! I do get author ideas from you too :) I have a lot of books on my Kindle to read and so many non-fiction (mainly proper books) hidden away from OH's eyes!

I have been reading The Herefordshire School of Romanesque Sculptures book - started a few days ago. It is brilliant - the only problem is I now want to rush out and visit all those Romanesque churches and could scream at the one's I have been close to and not visited when in Herefordshire for the day or short break. Problem is though the rest of my family do not enjoy church crawling at all :(

I think there may be rather a lot of brandy in that cake! Luckily we all like it here (the cake that is not the brandy!!!!) although son prefers a lighter fruit cake so will have to treat him to a Dundee cake in the new year.

Merry Christmas to you too :)

Busybusybeejay - Thank you so much for leaving a comment. I do still make mince pies although make more of a recipe called Mincemeat Macaroons which have a pastry base then mincemeat filling and a top of a meringuey almondy mix with flaked almonds and cherries on. I haven't made a Christmas Pudding though this year as only 2 of us eat it and I have one in the fridge left from last year.
Thank you re: the elf :)
Hope you enjoy the books if you decide to read some of them.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Even better than seeing your tree is catching sight of all the books behind it. Long live bibliophiles!

Ragged Robin said...

David Gascoigne - Thank you - you can see about half the bookcase there :) As you say long live bibliophiles :) If I had my way I would have another bookcase the same size but sadly OH does not share my obsession with books!

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Waiting for the Albino dunnock is a good prog rock album title

CherryPie said...

An interesting selection of reading choices.

I LOVE the bookcase behind your Christmas Tree.

Springinsfeld said...

Just the post I needed as I have been casting about for new books to read. Skendleby has been ordered. Shire seem to be coming out with more and more eclectic titles, which is wonderful, so that is another one gone into the basket. Have a splendid Christmas.

Ragged Robin said...

Simon Douglas Thompson - Thank you - I didn't know that interesting fact.

CherryPie - Thanks so much - I love my bookcase too :)

Springinsfeld - Thanks so much. I do hope you enjoy Skendleby - I have recommended it to my son as he is fascinated by the Alderley Edge area!

Shire do publish some superb titles on such a wide ranging selection of subjects :)

Have a wonderful Christmas too :)

Rosie said...

Lovely festive things in your post. Decorated tree, homemade mince meat, cakes and gingerbread, Christmas Carols and elves, and lots of interesting reading. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas:)

Ragged Robin said...

Rosie - Thanks so much. Have a wonderful Christmas too and thanks again to you for inspiring me to try new authors :)

David M. Gascoigne, said...

My wife is a book lover too, so we agree in that respect and she is a quilter too so her stash of fabric more than matches my books!

Ragged Robin said...

David Gascoigne - My son loves books too - he has quite a few bookcases in his room! I also get "into trouble" for my knitting stash and craft stuff! although OH does paint so he can't moan that much!

Caroline Gill said...

Oh, RR, I just had to 'pop by' when I saw you had been updating your blog. I just don't seem to have stopped spinning from one thing to the next since early November ... but all is well, and perhaps my own blogs will get a bit more of a look-in after New Year! Meanwhile, I send lots of wishes and must say how impressed I am with all your preparations ... the beautiful cake, the little elf, the mincemeat etc. etc. How have you found time to read all those books, too, I wonder! I shall certainly be taking more reading tips from you ... And what a beautiful present to go to the King's carols in Birmingham. It sounded sublime. I shall think of you when we watch the Cambridge ones. I guess it will be a slightly strange Christmas for you, but I hope there will somehow be special joys for you and your family. Your (not so) absent friend, C.

Ragged Robin said...

Caroline Gill - Thanks so much for your comments and so lovely to hear from you. Glad to hear all is well as I have missed your blog. So easy at this time of year to be constantly busy but I hope you have been enjoying yourself and can blog in the New Year :)

It is quite a few months worth of reading I think - seems ages since I last did a book reading post plus had a chest infection for a while and so did even more reading!

Yes, it was such a thoughtful and charming present and a superb experience to see King's Choir. Hopefully, will catch some of it on tv tomorrow.

It will see strange not seeing the mothers (B lost his mother November last year) but to be honest Caroline with them both having the last stages of advanced dementia Christmas has been a sad and difficult time when we have seen them over the last few years. At least I have many memories of so many happy Christmas's when both mum and dad were alive and David and Emily shared quite a few of them before Dad passed away. So I will raise a toast to both mum and dad and remember both Christmas Day. Thank you for your kind thoughts.

I will do a wishing everyone a happy Christmas post but just to say I hope you and David have a wonderful time and wishing you both a very Happy New Year with many wildlife sightings and adventures :)

Midmarsh John said...

Your 'finds' regarding medieval times and masons look very interesting.

Ragged Robin said...

Midmarsh John - Thanks so much. Have really enjoyed the two books mentioned in the post and loving the one on the Herefordshire School of Romanesque Sculpture - giving me plenty of idea of churches to visit!

Anonymous said...

I have had it in mind to buy the Dunnock book then, having read your post decided to look up Rosamund Richardson only to find that she died last year! Late to the party! I will, no doubt, buy it at some point.

Regarding the Kindle - I frequently forget that I have books on it! I live alone, so have no-one to answer to when I buy more books, it is rather a luxury.

What a marvellous present you got from your son!

I hope you enjoyed your Christmas and I wish you and your family a marvellous 2019.

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - Thanks so much - I hope you enjoyed your Christmas too and best wishes for a happy, peaceful and healthy 2019.

I noticed Rosamund Richardson had died - I seem to remember there was an obituary in Birdwatching magazine. The book contains the most beautiful nature writing and quotes and as well as watching birds she writes of seeking silence and coping with the end of a relationship. Well worth reading and I will read it again.

I have a lot of books on my Kindle to read too! Every so often I go through all the books on there and bring the ones I haven't yet read to the top! I have got some nature writing on there but personally I prefer it for fiction. With non reference where possible I prefer to have the actual book.

Thanks again :)

Caroline Gill said...

Thank you, RR, for your kind wishes! And, yes, we had a lovely time with the family. And not a snowflake in sight, which was good for travel plans!

Ragged Robin said...

Caroline Gill - Thank you and so you glad you had a good time and snow didn't disrupt travel plans! It has been so mild but a lot colder today!!!!