29 August 2022

A Good Read

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Set in a remote part of  Australia, Tranquillem House is a health and wellness resort that many clients claim transformed their lives for the better.

Nine strangers gather hoping that it can do the same for them. Some want to lose weight, some want to detox from the alcohol they've become a bit too fond of, some are here to get a reboot on life, and some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know their ten day stay will involve some challenging work. But none of them could envisage just how challenging.

Frances Welty, a formerly best-selling romantic novelist,  is nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner of Tranquillum House, Masha, a narcissistic, humourless and ruthlessly ambitious former company executive whose near death experience led to a complete change in her life direction. Masha has a dark and hidden agenda for her latest customers, driven by the best of intentions.

Could Masha really have the answers Frances is seeking? Should she put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer—or should she run while she still can? It’s not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is having the same thoughts.

Forced into each other's company with little in common, the nine strangers find themselves in circumstances where they form unlikely bonds and undergo unexpected transformations. 

I liked the characters, they are well depicted, and I remembered them throughout the story.

With some suspense and tension I really enjoyed it and would recommend it.

It’s been made into a film with Nicole Kidman brilliantly playing the role of Masha. It mostly stays true to the book with just one or two embellishments.

∼ Happy Reading ∼ 

Polly x

23 August 2022

All Good Things Come To An End

I'm feeling very sad. Time goes too quickly. My darling Ozzie daughter went home yesterday. As I type this they should have taken off from Changi. We've had a great time and created some happy memories - retail therapy, breakfasts out, outings, lots of chatter, my girls laughing at all my old photos, way toooooo much eating and drinking! playing games

and lots of laughs, particularly when playing Dobble! It's a great game, and my Ozzie daughter was the champion.


My laptop has finally stopped working, it's not even limping along now, it is no more. I'm writing this on a desktop computer until I decide whether to buy another laptop or a Chromebook. My grandson mentioned a Chromebook ages ago when the laptop started to go wrong, and a very nice man in John Lewis recommended one for the sort of things I do. I am liking this desktop though, I like using a mouse.

∼ Be safe and well∼
Polly x

15 August 2022

A Very Good Read

Away With The Peguins by Hazel Prior

If, like me, you have a fondness for penguins, and what’s not to like about those perfect little gentlemen waddling around dressed in tuxedos, you will love this book. It’s a lovely, charming, gentle story.

Veronica McCreedy is 85 and lives in a mansion by the sea. She loves a nice cup of Darjeeling tea whilst watching a good wildlife documentary. And she’s never seen without her ruby-red lipstick. Although nowadays Veronica is rarely seen by anyone because her days are spent mostly at home alone.Being alone is supposed to be an issue for people such as me, but I have to say I find it deeply satisfying”.

She spends her time  either collecting litter from the beach “People who litter the countryside should be shot”, trying to locate her glasses “Someone must have moved them” or shouting instructions to her assistant, Eileen “Eileen, door!”.

I liked Veronica, she hasn't always been cranky and bad-tempered. In her youth she was full of life, with a big heart, but after losing her parents in WW2 at the tender age of 14, the loss of her baby, and her marriage she built a wall of defence to protect herself from more heartache.
Now alone in the world Veronica is starting to think about what to do with her considerable wealth before she dies.

One day Eileen finds a wooden box that has been tucked away for over seventy years. As Veronica wistfully sifts through the contents she finds her treasured locket and diaries, and she begins to wonder if she has any family members still alive. A bit of research uncovers a grandson. Veronica contacts him and arranges a meeting which doesn’t go well. He thinks she is the quintessential grumpy old curmudgeon, and she, finding him rude, unkempt and smoking pot, doesn’t think he is worthy of her fortune.

A TV program captures Veronica's fancy. It's about the plight of the Amelie Penguins on Locket Island, which she sees as a sign, and decides that the scientists trying to save the penguins might be the perfect recipients of her fortune. But before she commits, she decides that she needs to visit the research station and get to know the people she's leaving her money to. She contacts the scientists promising funding and requires them to provide living accommodation for 3 weeks. She takes absolutely no notice of their frantic efforts to dissuade her, like the penguins, Veronica is feisty, persistent, and an unstoppable force of nature.  She says “It's been a very long time since I've had an adventure”.

You might be thinking that an 85 year old lady going to Antarctica on her own makes for an improbable story, but not impossible, given enough money and decent health. Prior makes us believe it all and gives us some thoughts about what we're doing to our environment. She also includes penguin facts throughout.

I absolutely loved it.
∼ Happy Reading ∼ 

Polly x

11 August 2022

Friends, Shopping And Eating

Our cream tea went very well except, like last time with my friends, we had to abandon eating outside under the gazebo - last time it was chilly and overcast, yesterday was too hot!!

We've also enjoyed going out for breakfast. It's been popular in Australia for years, and is catching on here in the UK now. Soon after taking this photo the outside area was full.

Time spent visiting friends, more retail therapy, and way toooooo much eating and drinking! 

Today we're relaxing and trying to keep cool.

∼ Be safe and well∼
Polly x

4 August 2022


No I'm not back in Australia, my darling daughter and her partner are here. They arrived on Tuesday. We've enjoyed retail therapy, a board game, imbibing a few beverages, and lots of chatter and laughs. I love to hear my girls laughing about shared memories. We have things planned, cream tea at the village church on Sunday, a few days out, probably more retail therapy, I'm going to do my cream tea like I did for my friends a few weeks ago, but with Prosecco and Asti instead of tea! And my daughter has a few trips to visit friends planned.


Is anyone else mourning the end of Neighbours? I started watching it years ago but didn't get hooked on it but started again whilst I was visiting my daughter in Australia in March, her partner was a huge fan, we watched it together while my daughter suffered in silence! So having just got back into it, it's finished :-(  I liked having a soap to watch buI don't want to go back to Eastenders, Coronation Street or Emmerdale. I might try Home & Away.

Rufus is blending in well with the countryside!

The wheat is ready for harvesting

I won't have to go far for blackberries this year, we have some good crops in the garden, courtesy of birds. They are too tart for me to eat picked off the branches, but will be fine with some apples and sugar in crumbles or pies. 

I hope this lovely weather lasts for a few more weeks. Rufus is laying out on the cool lawn at the moment.

∼ Be safe and well∼
Polly x

1 August 2022

It's Harvest time

August is the eighth month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. It was originally named Sextilis because it was the 6th month in the ten-month Roman calendar, then in about 700 BC it became the eighth month when it was rudely shoved back in the order of months when January and February were added by King Numa Pompilius.

The 1st 
August, traditionally known as Lammas meaning 'Loaf Mass', was a festival to mark the annual wheat and corn harvest. On this day farmers made loaves of bread from the new wheat crop and gave them to their local church. They were then used as the Communion bread during a special mass thanking God for the harvest. The custom ended when Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic Church.

The National Eisteddfod of Wales takes place during the first week of August.

On the 3rd August 1492 Christopher Columbus left Spain with his fleet of three ships to set sail across the Atlantic to America. 
He was actually trying to find a new route to China and thought by sailing west he would find a quicker and easier route.

Barack Obama was born on the 4th August 1961

Neil Armstrong was born on the 5th August 1930

The Edinburgh Festival starts on the 5th

On the 6th August 1991 Tim Berners-Lee released his text-based web software to the public creating the beginnings of the World Wide Web and general public use of the Internet.

On the 7th August 1840 an Act of Parliament in the UK prohibited the employment of children under 16 as chimney sweeps. Small boys (starting at the age of 5 or 6 years) were employed to climb up chimneys to clean the inside of the flue. The poor boys came down covered in soot, and with bleeding elbows and knees. They often got stuck or froze with terror in the cramped darkness - in these cases the Master Chimney Sweeper, would simply light the fire underneath to 'encourage' them to get on with their work. Horrible times.

One of the most infamous robberies in British history, The Great Train Robbery, took place on the 8th August 1963. A gang of thieves ambushed the Glasgow to Euston mail train and stole used bank notes worth £2.3 million (£40 million in today's money). The robbery took place at Bridego Railway Bridge, Ledburn in Buckinghamshire when the robbers stopped the train by changing a rail signal from green to red. 12 of the 15 robbers were later caught, convicted and jailed.

On the 13th August 1961, communist East Germany built a wall in the middle of the night and for 28 years kept East Germans from fleeing to the West. The wall stood as a symbol of the Cold War.

Elvis Presley died on the 16th August 1977. He is widely known just as Elvis, and is referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll".
On the 17th August 1978, three American balloonists made the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in a hot air balloon.

On the 25th August 1609, the Italian astronomer and philosopher Galileo Galilei demonstrated his new creation the telescope.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta was born on the 27th August 1910. She always wrote her birthday as this date because that was the day of her baptism, which was always more important to her than her birth.

Martin Luther King Jr's famous speech 'I have a Dream', was delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC on the 28th August 1963

The Notting Hill Carnival takes place over the last weekend of August

Diana, Princess of Wales was killed in a car crash in Paris on the 31st August 1997

∼ Be safe and well∼
        Polly x

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