Feel a tad guilty that my blogging has been a bit spasmodic of late but family and events seem to conspire to keep me from sitting down, reading a book and writing about it. Delighted of course that Oxford University Press have offered two sets of the Palliser novels for a give away and delighted at the number of you who have entered. I will be drawing it at the weekend and then two lucky people will be sent a box set just in time for Christmas. I do have another give away coming up soon - this time it is romance and wallow courtesy of Mills & Boon, but more of that later.
I had my sister staying with me this week and we planned very little but just took it easy. I would make a cup of tea in the morning and take it in to her and then we would just sit and chat and put the world to rights and generally be very politically incorrect. All great fun and reminded us both of when we used to do this as children. Visited Hall Farm in Suffolk for coffee and then popped into their lovely farm shop and bought an item or two for Christmas and then exhausted by our madly exciting outing we spent the afternoon doing a jigsaw puzzle of the bay in Sorrento harbour full of boats and sea and lots and lots of sky.....left that to Judith to do...
Next day we drove down to Frinton and went for a walk by the sea. I love Frinton, it is very quiet and old fashioned and has managed to successfully fend off the threat of candy floss, Macdonalds and fish and chips, all of which can be found a mile or so along the coast at Walton where the pier is loud, brassy and noisy. Frinton is, well, genteel is the only way to describe it and the high street has several bakers, a fishmonger, small grocery shops, a hardware store where you can buy a single nail should you wish to do so, a 'department store' which is a large bow window fronted shop with an excellent stock of clothing and footwear. I remember going in there with my lovely mum and she found a pair of sandals which suited her beautifully. Coffee shops aplenty of course and we had a coffee break and then decided to make a foray into the charity shops. I love charity shops - you never know what you are going to find and this was brought home to me in no uncertain manner when we entered the first one.
Those of you who have read my recent posting over on my baking blog about the birthday cakes I used to cook for my girls when they were small, will have seen a very dim and not very good photo of the Seven Dwarves cake which was a Jane Asher creation some thirty years ago. Efforts to track down a picture or the recipe proved fruitless (though when I asked on Facebook a good friend had a pic and sent me one) and then, to my amazement, I had a quick reccy of the cook books in this charity shop and lo and behold there it was - a pristine copy of the Jane Asher book of Cakes for £2 contining the recipe and details of the Seven Dwarves Cake. I let out a shriek and went into full Victor Meldrew mode waving the book around to cries of 'I don't believe it'. Talk about serendipity.
I also picked up some Peter Robinson Inspector Banks books and then discovered a book shop in aid of the St Helena Hospice, a local charity who I support whenever I can, and am determined to go back and have another look at this as it was very well stocked indeed and I had a good rummage. Struck gold again with some Green Viragos which are now residing on my shelves. I do have two copies of Miss Mole already but no way was I going to leave that one behind and as I am meeting up with my bookgroup this week and we swap books, this will be coming with me. The Daisy Chain I have never read and, again, no green Virago is ever left behind by moi. Then an Edith Wharton and my day was complete. Is there anything nicer than rummaging in a second hand book shop? Well, sure there is, no need to go into detail (you get my drift) but it is one of life's pleasures.
Then up to London on Wednesday to spend the day with Helen and my darling girls and Judith met Beatrice and it was one of those glorious mild sunny autumn days and we went to the park and down by the canal and this is a very long sentence.
So a busy, happy and satisfying week. Am in the throes of doing another jigsaw puzzle this afternoon, curtains drawn, all cosy and gemutlich and loving it - a Canaletto of the Grand Canal (lot of sky again) and nearly finished it. Earlier on a cup of tea with my good friend Rosemary, a shop to get all the ingredients for my Christmas cake which I will be making this weekend and all in all, I am feeling very content with life.
I hope you all have a great weekend. I have loads of exciting things lined up, consisting of Strictly Come Dancing, Homeland and, best of all, The Killing 3 with the redoubtable Sarah Lund solving another case - sooo looking forward to that.
Winners of the draw will be up on Monday so do check in and see if you have been lucky.