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Book review: Finding Myself in Britain

Finding Myself in Britain by Amy Boucher Pye is a delightful book.  Its subtitle is Our Search for Faith, Home & True Identity.

This book is entertaining and revealing.  Readers on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean may understand each other better by reading about the author’s experiences living in England.  This book could be enjoyed by others, who feel torn between two places and/or cultures.

Beginning in Autumn we are taken through the year with stories about how British life seems to one particular American lady.  As I read this book before Christmas I felt myself drawn in from the present season, looking back to what I had just experienced and forward to what is to come.

The book includes recipes handed down in the author’s family.  I do not usually try out new recipes, so I cannot say whether they work or not!  Judging by the excellent way the book has been edited and produced, I expect they have been tried and tested before publication.

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Another train journey

Last Saturday I decided at the last minute that I would go to the writing group I joined in 2014.  I had wondered whether it was worth the effort.  We meet in alternate months.  I checked the weather forecast and it was going to be warmer by 1°C and sunnier than here.

Last time I went I made notes in a small notebook on the outward journey and later used them to write a poem.  This time I realised I only had my diary and a posh notebook with me.  I noted down the birds I saw on a spare page in my diary.

The notebooks I mentioned

The notebooks I mentioned

It was high tide.  There was a large group of cormorants, which I was not quick enough to snap.  Later a group of birds on the shore included cormorants, oyster catchers and gulls.  They looked to have sorted themselves out into breeds!

Some of the berries I had noticed in November were still on the bushes.  This time I didn’t see any herons.

I took a few photos from the window of the train, having in mind the Daily Post photo challenge – Optimistic.  I was optimistic travelling and even more optimistic taking photos through the dirty windows of a moving train!

There were many people travelling to a football match.  The platforms looked busy, but the train did not become too crowded, although it was only two coaches.

Some of my photos may be seen on Sue’s words and pictures.  I also took a photo from the Castle View Restaurant in a department store, where I ate a sandwich and drank tea.

Can you see the castle?

Can you see the castle?

As well as travelling on the train I also have to catch a bus to reach the house where we meet.  I was eating a bar of chocolate as I boarded it.  Then I remembered that bus companies do not allow eating or drinking.  I hastily hid it in my bag, without thinking of the consequences.  (The following day I emptied my bag and had to clean away crumbs of chocolate.)

The meeting was enjoyable and interesting.  Our homework had been to write about red sky.  One person had written a children’s book and illustrated it.  We had at least two poems written by members and several pieces of prose.  We heard about South Africa, India and Switzerland as well as Bible lands.   We also talked about books we had read.

On my way to catch the bus home I was treated to a murmuration of starlings, which I saw twice in the sky above the busy road.  It was dark by the time I reached the station, which sounded like a roost for birds.  I did see one pigeon on a platform.

Some of the passengers had been to the match and were discussing it and the wider politics of football.

My walk home from the station was in pouring rain.

Three days later part of the railway line I had travelled on was closed due to a landslide in a storm.  It reopened in a couple of days.  It is easy to take the infrastructure for granted. The mechanical diggers that we have today make work easier than when the railways were constructed.  Even so people have to work in all weathers (and at night) to repair and maintain the railways, roads and power lines.

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The Jazz Files – Book review

That I bought this book last Friday morning, began reading it in the afternoon and finished it in the evening is a recommendation by itself.  The story is well constructed.  I spent the whole of one chapter wondering whether there was an error in what the film industry calls continuity, only to discover it was an important element in the plot.

I had put off reading the book as I was uncertain whether it was a crime novel or a historical novel.  The former is not a genre I enjoy now, but the latter is.  I am going to declare that this is a historical novel.  It is set in the 20th century and whether any crimes have been committed, well, why don’t you read it and find out?

I am still puzzled by one sentence, which has been transcribed from Russian.  It perhaps is not important to have the meaning, but having a passing acquaintance with the language, I’d have liked to have been able to work out what it meant.  I failed. Я не знаю.  I don’t know!

However I do know that I’ll be looking out for the next in the Poppy Denby series by Fiona Veitch Smith.