'I am simply a 'book drunkard.' Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.' L.M. Montgomery

'There are no faster or firmer friendships than those formed between people who love the same books.' Irving Stone



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

St. Mary's Church 1896

My mom spent hours looking out her apt. window the last year or so before she passed. She could see all the comings and going in and out of her apt. building. See who was taken in the ambulance, watch the fire trucks when someone left the hotdog burn on the stove. There was an old Catholic church right on the corner and it had a small school attached. She would watch the kids coming and going.
from mom's window




St. Mary's Church was built in 1896 and once was a very active church. But the years passed and things changed. The congregation grew smaller. The building got older and the roof started leaking, badly. It was going to cost over a million dollars to repair and they decided to tear the church down. Several smaller churches joined into one in a newer building. Mom was so excited to have a front row seat to watching them tear the building down! She would tell me all the time she'll call me when they start and I can come over and watch with her! We couldn't wait to see how they brought down that tall tall steeple!

Time went on and nothing happened. Fences were put up around it we thought this is it anytime now. Nothing happened. Heard the demolition company went bankrupt and that was the hold up. Mom passed on Sept. 30, 2014 and the church was still standing. She never got to see it torn down.

This spring a small 2 or 3 man crew slowly took it down. I drove by every now and then to check on the progress. So these pics are for you, mom.







Peggy Ann

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Knickerbocker Glory

I was treated to a British classic dessert today in Peebles. A knickerbocker glory! We watched a cooking show the other day and Mary Berry was making one and I said what in the world is a knickerbocker glory?! So today Jack treated us all to one. Evee got a Banoffee Split. 


Delicious! Here's the recipe
http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes/535924/mary-berry-s-knickerbocker-glory

It was great finally meeting Evee in person and we had a nice day. Peebles is a really nice town and she showed us where the Buchan's, John and Anna ( O. Douglas), lived. Looking forward to Evee going to the Highlands with us this week. 

Peggy Ann

Smuggled

I 'smuggled' in corn meal and grits to Scotland in my suitcase! I cooked Katrina and Jack an authentic 'hillbilly' dinner that I grew up on. Pinto beans and hoe cakes ( pancake type cornbread). The conversions from our cooking measurements to theirs took some researching but the cornbread turned out great. The meal was a hit! Kat in a said several times 'This is very nice', a high compliment in Scotland I am told and Jack are 3 bowls! 


We had grits one morning for breakfast and I think they liked them too.

It's been fun trying new foods. Katrina made me a traditional dish when I first got here called Rumbledethumps! Potatoes, cabbage, onions and cheddar cheese. We went out to a buffet and I got to try Yorkshire pudding. A pastry shell not pudding as we know it in the States. The other night we had Indian Curry which I've never had and it is very popular here. I loved it. If I get a chance I am going to make southern chicken and dumplin's for them too before I go.

Yesterday we did Edinburgh Castle and walked the royal mile and walked past the Scottish Parliament and Holyrood Palace where the Queen stays when in town. I don't think I've ever walked as much as I have since getting here. I've put miles and miles on this old bod! Today we are going down to Peebles to meet up with Evee from Evee's blog and look for O Douglas' house! 

It's cold and windy here, so if your planning on coming over pack layers and don't worry about dressing up because you'll have your coat on anyway!

I'm reading a copy of Barbara Comyns 'Our Spoons Came From Woolworths' that Katrina got at the library. It's been on my wish list. Also reading Katrina's copy of The Matchmaker by Stella Gibbons. I love her! Hope I can get it done by the time I leave! 

Aren't the covers lovely? Better run! 

Peggy Ann


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Treasure Found in St. Andrews

I am a George MacDonald fan. In the States you only find newer edited versions of his books. I did find several years ago online new versions not edited. They were special editions. A joy to read! Difficult at first, but a real joy. I was hoping to find at least one original MacDonald while here. Hadn't seen a one and then at Katrina and Jack's favourite used bookstore I hit the jackpot! I had to restrain myself and I only picked four of the eight. Absolute gorgeous old volumes in lovely shape. 

The Alec Forbes book is a first edition with an owners signature and the year 1893 written in the front! 122 years old! 


Ranald Bannerman's Boyhood has such a lovely cover and beautiful illustrations. There is no publication date in the book. So many really old ones don't. 


Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood has lovely end papers and just says New Edition.


Malcolm was the first book I read by MacDonald in an edited new version years ago and became an instant fan. This edition is a real treat as it is written in the Scot language! Here's a sample:

 "I think we cud sort them," said Phemy. "There's ae place, a guid bit farrer in, what the rufe comes doon to the flure, leavin' jist ae sma' hole to creep throu': it wad be fine to hae a gey muckle stane handy, jist to row athort it, an' gar't luik as gien 't was the en' o' a'thing. But the hole's sae sma' at the laird has ill gettin' his puir back throu' 't." 

Isn't that great?!

Problem is, I am going to go way over my weight limit in my luggage going home. Katrina is sending lots of books home with me and we still have to go to Leakeys used bookstore in Inverness. So we have gone to the Postoffice and inquired and I can send a box of books home by freight not air for a good price. Much cheaper than an extra suitcase to check! But George MacDonald will be traveling in my carry on!


Today we took a long coastal walk along the Firth of Forth in Kirkcaldy and climbed over rocks to get close enough to take pics of a bunch of seals sunning on the rocks! I used muscles I forgot I had! It was worth it though! For supper we had Indian curry, my first taste of that kind of food. Delicious! 

Edinburgh Castle on Saturday! And Sunday we're going to Peebles to meet Evee from Evee's Blog. She's going with us on our trip to the Highlands too! Looking forward to meeting her in person!

Peggy Ann


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Alan Jones Stops Over with a New Book Review!

The Headscarf Revolutionaries   
by Brian W. Lavery

I don't read as much non-fiction as I probably should, but when I heard about The Headscarf Revolutionaries, I just had to take a look at it. I contacted the publisher, and received an advance copy to review; the book is due for release on the 11th June 2015.

I was not disappointed. I read it cover to cover in almost one sitting despite it being written in a very matter-of-fact style, and having an almost old-fashioned tone. This suits the story and makes it all the more raw and moving. The book is incredibly well researched, and it comes as no surprise to find out that this was written during the author's academic involvement with the University of Hull. There are no over-embellishments or sensationalism of events and the story is told very much as it happened.

There are two closely interconnected narratives: the sinking of three Hull trawlers in the horrific conditions of the North Atlantic within three weeks in early 1968, with the loss of 58 men, and the call to arms of a group of Hull womenfolk, led by the force of nature that was fishwife Lilian Bilocca.

Her almost visceral reaction to the plight of the Arctic Trawlermen, often sent out with ill equipped and unsuitable boats, and with under-trained crews in many cases, is the main thrust of the book. How she mobilised an army of ordinary Hull women, all with kinsfolk on the trawlers, raising more awareness of the serious safety issues in a few weeks than the unions had achieved in many years of campaigning, is remarkable, as is her sense of purpose when not all of the fishing community approves of her actions.

There are a few appearances in the book of a young John Prescott, a quayside union firebrand in those days, and he writes the foreword, with a warmth and personal admiration for 'Big Lil', as the unlikely leader of the fishwives was known.

The book isn't one sided, and doesn't shy away from the negative side of the campaign, and there's some sense of irony by the end as the Icelandic Cod War and fishing quotas change the Humber fishing fleet forever. It contains a photograph section which is useful, giving the reader an insight into the trawlers, the people involved and a flavour of the time and place the book is set in.

It wouldn’t be surprised if this book is made in to a film, like 'Made in Dagenham'. It has all the elements of a human story with a social message and larger than life characters. Think 'Brassed Off', but a true story!

I thoroughly enjoyed The Headscarf Revolutionaries; for me it was utterly compelling and a 'must read'. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone who loves a great story with a social conscience. I gave it 5 stars.

http://www.barbicanpress.com/headscarf-revolutionaries-lillian-bilocca/

Thanks Alan! I'm excited to read this too! It's available to order for the US through The Book Depository with free shipping. Looks like it's available May 19th there. It's available on Amazon UK June 11th.

If your interested in learning about the British Icelandic Cod War here's a great video by the BBC about it.

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Bird Artist by Howard Norman

Finished my one and only book so far this month. I enjoyed Howard Norman's What's Left the Daughter so much I hurried and got another one by him. I enjoyed this one too, but not as much. 

In this one we find out in The first paragraph that the main character has murdered someone. Then the story of why, how and what follows. More of Norman's quirky characters which I love and set in Newfoundland, an interesting setting. 

An interesting tale of the effect of adultery and betrayal on a family and small community.

From the back of the book:
Howard Norman's spare, lovely, haunting novel begins in 1911. It's narrator, Fabian Vas, is a bird artist: he draws and paints the birds of Witless Bay, his remote Newfoundland coastal village home. In the first paragraph of his tale Fabian reveals that he has murdered the village lighthouse keeper, Botho August. Later, he confesses who and what drove him to his crime - a measured, profoundly engrossing story of passion, betrayal, guilt and redemption between men and women.

Today we went to Stirling Castle. Magnificent place. So much history. I stood where Mary Queen Scots was crowned as an infant. Tried to get pics with the iPad but didn't get any good ones.  I couldn't even see the screen for the sunlight. It was so incredibly windy it actually blew me off a step! All that wind really does tire you out!


Peggy Ann