Sunday, July 03, 2011

Recent Arrivals and some other inane jabber

I underestimated just how tired I was from our vacation and spent most of yesterday being a complete and total bum. So, today you get a hodge-podge including a photo of most of the books that arrived while I was gone and the purchase previously not shown (there weren't many arrivals - and you already know about Simon's book, which I will likely talk about so much that it'll make your head spin).

Top to bottom:

God Gave Us You by Lisa Tawn Bergren from Waterbrook for tour
The Beekeeper's Lament by Hannah Nordhaus from HarperCollins for review
The Wild Life of Our Bodies by Rob Dunn from HarperCollins ditto
The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson - Double ditto
And, the spine of Churchill by Celia Sandys, which I purchased at the Imperial War Museum

Not pictured is Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Van Booy, which is beside my bed.

I had to photograph one silly London purchase before opening it:

This is a t-shirt compressed into a cube approximately 2" x 2" on each side, which we happened across at Selfridges. I bought a little dress in London that I think the shirt will go under nicely. I don't travel enough to save the t-shirt in compressed form for future trips, otherwise I'd leave it as is, although I do carry an emergency outfit in case luggage goes astray.

And, I'm thinking you might like to see how the kitties are getting along:

Very well! Apart from one little tiff over who got to nap on top of the IKEAs, Fiona and Isabel have been really sweet together. Kiddo was home to care for them, while we were away, so they were happy and relaxed when we arrived home. They came running to greet us as we walked in the door and I've had fun playing bird-on-a-stick and rattle ball games with Izzy, laser chase with Fi. Since Kiddo was quite busy with work and school, I assume the girls were forced to rely on each other for companionship in a way they normally are not.

A little more about England. To soak up a little bit of literary London, we went to Keats House at Hampstead Heath on Simon's advice. There was a poetry event due to begin later in the afternoon and I'm sad to have missed that due to time constraints. Although I'm not familiar with the poet apparently in charge, Simon Mole, I do plan to look up his work. He was walking around and lounged on the lawn, eating his lunch, near us. I didn't realize he was noteworthy until I saw a life-sized poster of him in one of the upstairs rooms.

Keats House hosts occasional poetry events. If we lived nearby, I'd definitely purchase a membership and return as often as possible! Visiting his home has piqued my interest in John Keats. I loved reading the bits of poetry and excerpts from letters that were on laminated cards for visitors to read. He was quite the romantic.

And, here is one of my favorite moments from our walk around Hampstead Heath, which started out with two people shouting, "No Betty, no Betty, no Betty, NO!!" and was followed by a splash:

Poor Betty thought she wanted to go for a swim. She had regrets. Her human had to fish her out of the pond. Then, she ran around in circles, shaking herself off, much to the amusement of passing sun worshippers. It was a beautiful and rather hot day in London. I got a touch sunburnt, actually. Very surprising.

I've got a lot of tidying to do, since Kiddo seems to have really, really enjoyed spreading out, being King of the House, while we were gone. Hopefully, I'll be able to do a little blog-hopping, soon. I may have also overestimated how much time I'll have to post, but we shall see. Hope everyone's enjoying the weekend!

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  1. What a wonderful trip! We didn't get to spend enough time in London since Northern Ireland was the reason for our visit. I've been surprised that jet lag really didn't affect me this trip.

  2. Kathy,

    Well, you'll just have to go back for a London trip, then, won't you? I hope you'll post some photos of Northern Ireland! I'm anxious to see what you got to enjoy on your trip.

    I don't think I was jet lagged so much as just overtired. I usually don't have any trouble with jet lag at all, really. It was a long 10 days and we didn't get very good sleep, so I think the lack of rest just caught up with me. I feel pretty normal, today, thank goodness.

  3. I've been to London twice and I LOVE it. Though, I never went to the Keates house. I'm glad to see the kitties survived.

  4. Jenny,

    London is a great city, isn't it? I love it, too. It took me 6 visits to end up at Keats House and I wouldn't have even known about it, if not for Simon (Van Booy). He gives great travel advice. :)

  5. Heh what a cute story about the pooch! Also, the picture of the cats is adorable :) Thanks for the updates!

  6. Amy,

    We both got a kick out of poor Betty's plight. :) Thanks! The kitties have been so sweet. I think they must have missed me a bit. Every time I turn around, there they are. If I leave a room, they jump up to follow me. I feel so loved! LOL

  7. Oh, I am very envious of your trip! I would love to visit England someday. I also just finished Simon Van Booy's Love Begins in Winter and just loved it so much. He has an incredible way with words and story. I will be interested in hearing what you think about his book.

  8. Zibilee,

    You should definitely go! I'm absolutely crazy about the UK. Best thing about it, besides the history: They speak English. Gotta appreciate that. LOL

    Wahoo! I'm so glad you read Love Begins in Winter! Isn't his writing breathtaking? I just realized I have a book tour, this week, so Simon's book may get shoved to the wayside. Wish I wasn't such a slow reader. It'll be next in line, though. I'm still playing homemaker catch-up, here. This vacation really wore me out more than expected, so I keep falling asleep in the middle of the day.

  9. Awww...poor Betty :p So CUTE! I just got back from Arkansas and thought of you of course as I drove through Mississippi :) Ooooh, is Simon's new book out now?? Like available to buy? If so I have to get it!!!!

  10. What a funny little package for that t-shirt! And I recognize the name "Selfridges." We actually stayed at that hotel, which as I recall is right next to the store. Marks & Spence is nearby, too, I think. Oh, how I love London!

    Hope you've recovered from your jet lag and are getting back into your groove. We're off to Oregon on Friday. I'm hoping to get caught up on my reviews before we head out. Have a few ready to go in the pipeline!

  11. Chris,

    Isn't Betty adorable? She looked so sad after her slip in judgment. LOL

    I wondered if you were away for the holiday weekend. Yes, this is release week so Simon's book should already be on the shelves -- if not, it will be within a couple days! :)


    Isn't that cute? They had a little travel-clothing section at Selfridges that we thought was really nice. Yep, Marks and Spencer is down the way (bit of a hike) on Oxford Street. I'm still having knee issues, so shopping was kind of painful but we had fun. The summer sales had just begun and Oxford St. was intense.

    I think I'll recover faster, once I get back to exercise. The gym was shut down for the holiday but I start a daily 2-hour workout, this evening. Hopefully, that will help me get some energy back (if it doesn't kill me). I've been pretty sluggish. Hope you have a wonderful time in Oregon! I've got to get back on the reviewing horse.

  12. Sooo wonderfully envious of your recent travels AND I can't wait to gush with you about Simon's novel!

  13. Andiloo,

    I'm still basking in the afterglow of my trip, watching video clips of songs from Les Miserables and such. I just adore the UK.

    Yes, we shall definitely have a gush-fest. LOL I need to add a book to my sidebar. I've got a tour on Thursday and I hope I can do the book justice because I find that I'm trying to shove myself through it so I can get back to Simon's book!

  14. I hope you enjoy your new books!!

  15. Thanks, Kelly! I got quite a few books in England and I've enjoyed all of them, so far.

  16. Sounds like a great trip and the kittes are playing nicely together! The Keats house sounds marvelous, as does your No Betty! story.

  17. Carrie,

    It was a terrific trip. I seldom feel so satisfied that I can say, "Okay, I'll happily stay home the rest of the summer," but this time . . . seriously satisfactory. The kitties are so sweet! I walked outside to get the mail, today, and when I reached the door they were sitting side by side. So cute!

    Keats House was fascinating for the glimpse into his life and work. I wish we could have stayed for the poetry event. Poor Betty. I will be grinning about her bad experience for years, I'm sure. Isn't she a cute little gal?

  18. That t-shirt is too funny! Now I want to see what it looks like all spread out. :)

    The Keats house sounds great, and the dog story was cute!

  19. Alyce,

    It looks very, very wrinkled! I washed it, but have not yet gotten around to ironing. Apparently, being crammed into a 2" x 2" cube under pressure leaves a heck of an impression.

    Keats house is cool. I love it that it's not just a place to visit but a location for regular poetry events. :)

    I'm glad you liked reading about Betty! That was a great moment, if only for the shared laughter with strangers.

  20. So glad your trip turned out to be so rewarding! I love London. In August, the girls and I will be heading to Edinburgh and the Fringe Festival. Can hardly wait!

  21. Jenclair,

    Thanks! We truly had a wonderful time. London is one of my favorite cities on the planet (#1, in fact). I'll have to look up the Fringe Festival to see what that is. Edinburgh is great fun, too. I don't know if my knees could handle those hills, anymore, but I'd love to return. I've only been there once.


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