Friday Smiles – Week 265

Hello everyone and Happy Easter. I’m joining in once again with Annie’s Friday Smiles

My new guinea pig finally has a name! He’s called Freddie.

He’s still very nervous but will come to the open cage door and take food from my fingers and sometimes get a little tickle but is still at the hiding from all loud and scary noises stage. He seems very happy though as he’s always ‘popcorning’ around the cage and he and Snowy are getting on famously.

Despite the weather being chilly again and the tiny threat of sleet and snow (again!) my daffodils are looking gorgeous out front. They are my favourite flower and i think look best when you have a whole field of them but i’m no gardener so, this will have to do

The Easter bunny still visits here even though my son is now in his 20’s and these are his favourites. Mine too come to that.

I hope the weather is good for you, have a great week with lots to smile about.

 

Friday Smiles – Week 264

After another short spell of snow we are once again looking forward to Spring happening here. I keep checking the pond for frog and toad spawn but have seen none so far.

This week has been all about pets. Hubby is sighing loudly as I introduce another guinea pig to the menagerie. My existing boar has been looking very sad and lonely since my other piggies died a year ago so i decided to get him a cage mate.

I found this little smasher

He is a short haired tri-colour and as you can see looks totally different depending on which side you are viewing him.  He’s just 12 weeks old and doesn’t have a name yet, I’m waiting for him to tell me what it is. No I’m not mad, I always like to see how a pets personality develops or maybe they do something particular that will give me inspiration for a name.

I’ve spent the last three days introducing him to Snowy and so far its going really well. Snowy is four years old now so all he wants to do is eat his veggies and get a good nap in. He snuggles down in the newbies cage and nods off, its so sweet to see them getting along and I’m hopeful they will bond okay fairly soon.

We are having a tree chopped down today in the garden with lots to do in preparation for that so i’ll sign off and say have a good week and more smiles than frowns.

If you’re new to this smiling lark then check out Annie’s lovely blog A Stitch in Time for more happy posts.

Gill X

Edwardian postcard – The Lovers Seat, Hastings, Sussex

I recently bought this postcard to add to my ever growing Edwardian postcard collection because of the amusing message on the back and the intriguing picture on the front. All those prim and proper ladies!

When it arrived I felt drawn to investigate the writer and subject matter further.

The writer, Harold describes the ladies sitting on the ‘lovers seat’ as being ‘Giddy Old Kippers’ which made me laugh. I immediately liked Harold’s sense of humour so had to know more about him.


But first, the ‘lovers seat’ mentioned was on a cliffside in Hastings, Sussex UK. I found two websites with lots of information about it.

My postcard was posted in 1905 but in 1910 there was a landslide and the sloping rock and a lot of ground disappeared down to the sea below.

A fence was then erected for safety but over the years that too fell down and later photos show it without any protection once again.

Its interesting to see it from a different perspective and appreciate the view and why they liked to sit there.

I’m borrowing this from a post on the 1066online forum for Hastings.

1851 – Pre-Raphaelite artist William Holman Hunt painted his greatest landscape, Our English Coasts, later known as Strayed Sheep, looking west across Fairlight Glen from ‘Lovers Seat’.

1910 – A land slip took away a large section of cliff including the large reclining rock shown in many images. After this the edge was mostly fenced off.

1932 February – Lovers Seat (wooden) was heavily vandalised and had to be replaced.

18 December 1960 – A landslip carried away the terrace on which the Lovers Seat (wooden) stood.

1961 February – The actual seat finally also slipped over the edge.

1961 Feb – The Lovers Seat ‘stone’ fell down the cliff in a landslide. A crane pulled it back up.

1980/81 – A major landslide completely destroyed the famous sandstone Crag at ‘Lovers Seat’.


Anyway, back to the writer and recipient.  It was sent to a Miss Fricker in Hornsey, Middlesex by someone called Harold.

After some digging I discovered that Miss Fricker was Lucy Fricker, born 1885 in Brentford, Middlesex to Arthur Fricker and Annie Baggallay.  Harold was Harold Burnett Smith born 1885 in Crouch End.

He begins the postcard Dear Sis, which led to me to think that he was Lucy’s brother but I found that Lucy brothers were both younger than her and called William and Arthur. It may have been a nickname of sorts i’m guessing.

The address on the card is 97 Turnpike Lane, Hornsey. Lucy and her family are listed as living there in 1901 & 1911 census.

I then searched for Lucy in the BMD records and found a marriage record in 1911 alongside a Harold B Smith. Could this be our Harold?

After some searching for Harold I found his occupation (stationers assistant) and parents details.

I later found a Church of England Marriages and Banns record which showed that Harold’s middle name was Burnett. The parents details matched up with what i’d found for them. They did indeed get married on 24th April 1911 in Hornsey.

They went on to have two children, at least thats all I could find.

Joan Kathleen Smith in March 1912 and Joe W.A Smith in 1914

Harold joined up during World War 1 and served as a rifleman in the Queens Westminster rifles. Sadly the story does not end well as Harold was killed in action on 30th November 1916. He is buried at Cambrai in France and is listed on Panel 12 of the Cambrai memorial

I haven’t been able to find any service papers for him but i’ll keep looking.

Its amazing what you can find from just a short note on the back of a postcard written over 100 years ago.

 

Friday Smiles – week 263

Morning all, its a lovely early spring morning here with blue skies and sunshine but more snow is forecast for Saturday and Sunday here!  Its only meant to stay briefly though so i don’t mind that.

It great to be able to join in with Annie’s Friday Smiles again and I have a couple of things that have made me smile this week.

Firstly, it was Mothers Day last Sunday in the UK and i was lucky enough to get this from my son

He knew i needed a new mug as my old one was so chipped so he bought me this beautiful one which came with a matching teddy. I firmly believe you are never too old for a cuddly toy!  he also bought me a gift card to spend on my other passion, books. I am truly blessed in the mum department of life.

The other thing that made me smile and even chuckle a bit was this postcard I bought the other day. I collect Edwardian postcards but only one that have been written and posted. I am nosy and love reading the messages on the back, so when I saw this I knew I had to have it.

It shows a group of ladies sitting on whats known as the ‘lovers seat’ in Hastings, Sussex, UK I love the way they all look so severe and prim and proper but the message on the back is the best bit.

The writer of the card, Harold refers to them as ‘Giddy Old Kippers’ What a wonderful phrase! Has anyone heard that expression before?

I sometimes do research on these postcards to try to find out more about the sender and recipient and this one has been really interesting to delve into.  I’ll be posting the story on my blog tomorrow.

Well that’s me for this week. Enjoy your week and stay safe if you’re in a snowy area.

Gill X

 

Friday Smiles – week 262

Its been a few years since I joined in with this but have been feeling the need for more smiles lately and where better to get them than via this great weekly theme run by Annie over at A Stitch in Time

I’ve had a few things make me smile this week. The first was after the snow finally melted away last Saturday after hanging around for nearly a week!

We didn’t get it half as bad as some so I cant really complain but it did stop a few days of Post delivery which I cant recall ever happening before.

It was really pretty but i’d more than had enough by the time it went.

The second thing was having some fantastic bird visitors to the garden due the extreme conditions like 30+ fieldfares which were such a thrill to see and some long tailed tits who are very occasional visitors but it was great to see them on the bird feeders.

Its not a brilliant photo as its taken through the window and one handed but i’m pleased to have a record of their visit.

Lastly this mornings sunset really made me smile, it was gorgeous

Its so lovely to be taking part in smiley Fridays again and i look forward to catching up with all of you.

 

 

Six books by non British authors

This year one of my reading resolutions was to read more books by Japanese authors. I find them to be – the ones I’ve read anyway – gentle, fascinating and beautifully written and I wanted more of the same.

In this round up I have included four books by Japanese authors and I’ve also added two more books by non UK authors as they just sound so amazing.

EXIT WEST by Mohsin Hamid

This has been all over social media and i cant wait to give it a go. Its written by a now quite famous Indian author.

The next four are by Japanese authors

The Housekeeper and the Professor

 by Yoko Ogawa

A really pretty little floppy book with shiny cover and a gorgeous premise

Sweet Bean Paste by Durian Sukegawa

I heard about this on Ariel Bissett’s channel, its another gentle, sweet sounding story

The Nakano Thrift Shop by Hiroki Kawakami

Another from Ariel’s channel. She has the best recommendations.  I have started this and its a bit slower than i like but I find the Japanese way of life endlessly fascinating.

What I talk about when I talk about running by Haruki Murakami

Yep you guessed it I saw this on Ariel’s channel too! A strange little book and one I would enjoy more if i was a runner myself but I shall persevere.

Inside out & back again by Thanhha Lai

This is a recommendation from Russell over at Ink & Paper blog. Its written in poetry form with very few words per page and comes in a gorgeous shiny, floppy edition with an amazing cover. Thanhha is a Vietnamese author.

I’m very much an armchair traveler so these books will transport me round the world to places i’d never otherwise visit.

February book haul

Yes, its happened again. Proof that i have no control when it comes to buying books.

I also now have a very messy bookcase which needs sorting, badly!

Right lets get down to this shall we?

No your eyes don’t deceive you and yes, that is a book series. The Broken Earth series by N.K. Jemisin.

I have lost count of how many times The Fifth Season has appeared on my YouTube favourite’s channels. I really wanted to see for myself what was going on.

I actually bought Book 2 first as Amazon were selling it for £2, yes just £2! so i snapped it up then…

I found that book 3 was also £2 so i snapped that up too.

Book 1 was actually full price but even put together the whole series comes to just a tenner! Bargain of the day/week/month/year or what?

I have been waiting for The Spaceman of Bohemia to arrive in paperback form for months so it was good to get that and then i saw Exit West  was out and i have not heard a bad thing said about that anywhere. My god the cover is gorgeous too eh? (see featured image next to this post)

This duplicates a couple of the books but it also shows the most gorgeous graphic novel i’ve ever owned. The warmest colour is blue by Julie Maroh, translated by Ivanka Hahnenberger. It is full of muted browns and greys with the odd hint of colour, mainly blue obviously and is just so beautifully drawn.

I would really love to have a graphic novel collection so this may be the kickstart i need.

 

 

Poems for a world gone to sh*t – Review

This was lovely surprise bookmail from Quercus a few days ago.  They are a fabulous publisher who have been very kind to me over the years, so a big thank you to them.

Poetry is something I really enjoy and a little book like this to dip in and out of is always welcome.

Hey you have a book to review! Whats it called?

Poems for a world gone to sh*t

Who wrote it?

No one author, Its a compilation of poems, old and new

Whats it about?

Poems to make life better in this messed up world we live in right now

Now for the important bits, did you like it? (be honest now)

Its fantastic! I do love discovering new poets works as well as having a special old favourite poem just at my fingertips when i need a lift.

Gimme the Pros?

Its set out into separate chapters e.g

1. What the f**k?

2. get me the f**k out of here…  down to

5. life is still f**king beautiful

Its a gorgeously made little naked hardback and the poetry has been thoughtfully chosen to both amuse and enlighten us.

Hit me with the Cons?

No cons here.

All the feels or none of the feels?

All of the feels definitely, here are two of my favourites

Okay, so enjoyment factor out of 10?

20! its a beautiful little book

Would you recommend I read this book?

Yes in a heartbeat!  Its perfect for long standing poetry fans and for introducing poetry to those who may have thought it wasn’t for them.

 

 

The Cactus by Sarah Haywood

This was kindly sent me for review by Two Roads books, so a huge thank you to them.

Hey you have a book to review! Whats it called?

The Cactus

 

Who wrote it?

Sarah Haywood

 

Whats it about?

 A woman called Susan Green. At 45 she thinks her life is perfect. She has a good job,  a nice flat and personal arrangements with benefits that leave no room for messy emotional ties.

But following the death of her mother and the discovery that she is going to be a mother herself soon, things start to become a little messy.

 Now for the important bits, did you like it? (be honest now)

I did, but it never really blew me away. Its quite funny in lots of places but I found it flat and never felt the need to carry on reading everytime I had to put it down.

Gimme the Pros?

a sweet, easy read with a character that you take to right away.

 Hit me with the Cons?

I hate to say it but it’s a pale imitation of ‘Elinor Oliphant is completely fine’  They both have a female protagonist who is not your usual everyday character, who becomes a fish out of water and who is amusing in her naivety but there the similarity ends for me. There is no depth to the character and the plot ending can be seen from miles away.

And what the heck is going on with the use of the American spelling of Mom, when the book is about a British character, set in UK?

Cool Characters?

No one special

Prey tell, what of the Plot development?

Simple story and ending which as I said above can be guessed at early on

All the feels or none of the feels?

None sadly

Any other comments or are you done?

nope

Okay, so enjoyment factor out of 10?

3

Would you recommend I read this book?

I wouldn’t say rush out and buy it but i’m sure it will appeal to a wide range of readers who like their books gentle and non taxing

 

 

 

Slow bullets by Alastair Reynolds

I began 2018 with the intention to read more Science Fiction

This arrived yesterday from Gollancz/Orion. I began reading it almost as soon as it was out the package

Today I finished reading it.

Boom! mind blown!

A fairly short (at 182 pages) novella written by Alastair Reynolds.  I have to admit I hadn’t heard of him before or his writing so I can tick off quite a few things all in one go there.

Synopsis is quite long so read this to get an idea

Its a lot darker and a lot deeper than i imagined it would be and i’m not sure i’ll ever be able to understand it fully but I do love Alastair’s writing. His dialogue is wonderful, the plot begins fast paced and confusing to us readers but slows down and introduces us to the main protagonists, some of which Scur, Prad and Yesli are fascinating.

Its a tense, exciting thriller with a shadowy presence of doom always hanging in the air.  The characters are at first understandably suspicious of each other but throughout the story there is a sense of coming together which is beautifully written and the pace does not slip for a moment which i why i read this in a day.

Its not overloaded with ‘spacey’ terms and phrases so is good for a beginner like me. Its also the only book I can recall which has absolutely no romance or close friendships between the characters, its quite a revelation but a good one.

Bottom line is I really enjoyed it and it was a great place to begin my Sci Fi reading quest, so thank you to Gollancz books for sending me a copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.

 

 

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