Friday, July 01, 2011

Where I Went on My Summer Vacation by Bookfool

Huzzybuns and I have just returned from the UK! London was last, but I thought I'd open with my favorite photo.

Unfortunately for the fella, this was a working vacation and I had more fun than he did, but he was happy. We went to Salisbury because he had meetings to attend. On our free day, we drove to Exmoor (which is on the western coast and was recommended to me by Simon, whom I trust implicitly). Among other things, we chased a few sheep off the road.

While the head of the family was having his meetings, I admired the Salisbury Cathedral (but wasn't able to tour it because of a service) and visited the local museum to read up on Old Sarum, Stonehenge and the many civilizations that have occupied the area, over the years.

After Huz was finished in Salisbury, we headed to London for a conference and we did stop at Old Sarum, along with a few villages we love and Avebury Stone Circle, an old favorite of ours.

I kept myself very busy seeing sights and managed to visit some new places I haven't seen in the past, like the Victoria & Albert Museum. I bought way too many books, but I don't regret a single one.

This is probably the photo you'll love the most:

Yes, I went to Persephone Books in London! How cool is that? Of course I came out with a bag. I got three books. Of the books I purchased in England, I've managed to finish two and am halfway through a third (very unusual for me, as I'm usually too tired and/or distracted to read while traveling). Here's what I bought, excluding museum guides, theatre programs and a book about Churchill:

Top to bottom:

Jane Austen's England by John Curtis (I want to take a Jane Austen trip, someday!)
The Summer of the Bear by Bella Pollen
Underground by Haruki Murakami
Wiltshire Folk Tales by Kirsty Hartsiotis
Second Term at Mallory Towers by Enid Blyton (because I've been hearing about her books for eons and have never even *seen* one -- it's obviously #2 in a series, but that's okay)
Amazing and Extraordinary Facts: Great Britain by Stephen Halliday
Casper the Commuting Cat by Susan Finden
After the Quake by Haruki Murikami
William - An Englishman by Cicely Hamilton
There Were No Windows by Norah Hoult
Saplings by Noel Streatfeild

Not pictured:

Churchill by his granddaughter, Celia Sandys

We got to see The Phantom of the Opera, here:

Our traveling companion and his wife accompanied us to Les Miserables - probably the highlight of our trip, as we saw it in 2010 and wanted to return to see a performance with the current star, Alfie Boe, playing Jean Valjean. Wow. Alfie has the most amazing voice. He nearly blew us out of the theatre and we were on Row S (kinda way back -- could have used some binoculars, actually). I really need to read the book, now.

The only problem with a working trip? Every time I turned around to say something, it seemed like husband was either on the phone on business or reading/writing emails, when he was around. Here he is, replying to someone while we were walking around Trafalgar Square at night:

But, hey, what a great place to be ignored by your spouse! I am so not complaining.

I'm in the midst of emptying suitcases and starting to wash great piles of laundry. We were gone long enough that we had to do a little washing in the hotel sink, but we were thrilled to have managed to carry a lot less than usual on this trip. I'm gradually learning the concept of "packing light". It's been a steep learning curve.

I got a few books in the mail, while I was away. Most exciting:

Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Van Booy! Woot!!!!! I'll tell you more about arrivals, tomorrow, but I am so freaking excited about Simon's first novel that I may have to start it . . . right now. Yes, I do believe now is the time. More about the arrivals, tomorrow. I've got to get back to work on the cleaning and, obviously, read. I'm planning (but you know how this works - we'll just see what shows up) to write about new arrivals, tomorrow, followed by my June Reads in Review on Sunday (even though nobody's probably around to read posts -- I'm going to worship the air conditioner for my 4th of July holiday) and then I intend to start tackling my backlog of reviews. Wish me strength. Happy July to all!

©2011 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery and Babble or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.


  1. Welcome home! Sounds like a great time, thanks for sharing and for posting the pictures!

  2. Amy,

    Thank you! We had a fabulous time. And, our return journey was easy. Everyone - and I mean *everyone*, including Passport Control people and TSA folks - was/were happy and friendly. No delays, no layovers. Very nice. The cats had Kiddo to keep them company, so they were happy to see me and have been staying close but were not freaked out as they are when we board them. Anyway, hope you're doing well! Happy Canada Day!

  3. Thank you thank you, happy almost 4th of July :) I am well, currently delayed, of course, in Charlotte!

  4. Ah, no wonder you were so quick to read this post! Sorry you're delayed. We were so fortunate on our return trip that it was frankly mind-boggling. Hope your delay doesn't last long and thanks! The 4th will be very, very uneventful, around here!!

  5. Anonymous3:25 PM

    While the Persephone photo is lovely, I kinda like the one of the sheep hightailing (literally) down the road.

    Your vacation sounds wonderful...thanks for sharing the photos!

  6. Softdrink,

    LOL That's a very classic English experience, there, encountering sheep on a narrow road with hedgerows on either side! We got a real kick out of it.

    Thanks! We had a blast. I adore the UK!!!

  7. Your vacation sounds fabulous. How did you like the V&A museum? And those running sheep! Too cute.

    Simon has a novel out? Oh darn, I should not have okayed the extra work on my car!

  8. I love London so am jealous that you were just there! It sounds like a great vacation with a variety of activities. When I was there last we saw Billy Elliott and War Horse, both fantastic!

  9. Carrie,

    It was definitely a fab vacation. I loved the V & A (it's huge!) but was very disappointed to find that the display I most wanted to see was closed for refurbishment. That would be the fashion/textiles area. I would have loved to wander around, admiring costumes from various ages. I guess this means I have to go back . . .

    Simon's book still has something on the order or 4 or 5 days till release. And, anyway, you'll want to go see him and get the book autographed, right? So, no hurry. :)


    Billy Elliott is one of the productions I'd like to see in the future. It was on the list but got scratched (along with The 39 Steps -- gotta see that, someday, if it's still around) because we found out the star of Phantom of the Opera is the man voted London's most popular Jean Valjean. We both liked his presence and voice in the 25th Anniversary Les Miz celebration video and decided we just had to see him. Naturally, he was amazing.

    London is one of my favorite cities, too! I wish I could go more often. Two years in a row of visiting was especially cool. I don't know when I'll return but as I first visited at the age of 17, it'll always be close to my heart.

  10. Oh, Nancy...huge sigh of envy-mixed-with-joy from over here in Illinois. I've never been to 3/4 of the things you showed or discussed; I only went to London once, in 1985, for New Years Eve with my first husband. It was a spectacular trip (nonworking for either of us); we took the Tube to St. Paul's cathedral for a service on New Years, then wandered around Trafalgar Square with all the punk rockers spraying everyone with green silly string stuff. I still remember safety pins in their ears, and all the make-up (this was the time of Boy George, remember?). I digress.

    So happy that you could go! So happy that you saw Persephone Books! So happy that you would share your vacation with those of us stuck in the Midwest wishing for a taste of Europe once again...

  11. Bellezza,

    Well, I've never been to Italy at all!! So, you know . . . envy right back at ya. LOL This was actually my 6th trip to the UK, but a Londoner once commented to me that you can live there all your life then suddenly turn a corner and spot some little piece of history you've never seen. It's true. There's just not enough time to see everything. Last year, we mostly hit spots we'd been before, so this time I sat down with my travel guide and wrote a list. I think that helped us expand our view of London a bit.

    Incidentally, my first trip to London was in 1980. I remember the punk rockers well. I thought they looked like clowns -- very scary clowns.

    Thank you and many, many thanks for asking me if I had wandered over to Persephone Books, last year. It's a little tricky to find, but well worth the effort. If you hadn't mentioned it, I doubt I would have thought of it, myself!

  12. Hands down that beats Detroit.

    Glad you had a wonderful time.

  13. I can't believe we were in the UK at the same time and didn't even know it. We started out in London and then headednto Northern Ireland where my husband attended a conference, then back to London for one more night. We got back to the US yesterday and head home to reality today. :(

  14. Wonderful pictures, Nancy! It sure sounds (and looks) like you had a fantastic time. I'm with Bellezza. Envious mixed with joy for you. My one trip to London (and surrounding areas) was so memorable. Amy and I went in 1994 and stayed 2 weeks. We did the whole Stonehenge, Salisbury, Bath tour and loved every minute. Warick Castle, Hampton Palace, Windsor, etc. Plus all the usual places in London. I'd love to go again someday, but Italy's calling my name. As is Canada. So many countries, so little time. ;)

    By the way, have you read Sarum? Wonderful book, but quite a chunkster.

    Anyhow, welcome home. Can't wait to hear about Simon's novel!!

  15. How fun! I'm glad you had such a nice time and picked up so many books. I always like the European cover art on books better than the American for some reason. I pick up too many books in England every time I go.

    Simon wrote a novel? Shut the front door. I can't wait to get my hands on it! Maybe a trip to the bookstore today is in order.

    Fight the jet lag!

  16. The trip sounds fantastic, and it's good to see a picture of David; not sure I ever have. I see you bought several Murakami's, I'll be interested in your reaction to those. I have The Summer Of The Bear here and plan to read it soon. So excited you got your copy of Simon's novel!

    Welcome back, you were missed!

  17. Cindi,

    Yeah, I've been to Detroit and it's fun. But, London wins. LOL

    Thanks! It was great but I'm happy to be home. :)


    We came home Thursday, so I guess you were in town while I was heading to the airport. Your trip sounds so fun! Ireland is on our wish list of places to go. We're thinking about taking Kiddo next year or the year after -- before he graduates from college, since Ireland is at the top of his wish list. He had to stay home to work and attend summer school, this time around.

    Hope you're recovering! Today was the first time I've ever thought I wasn't going to make it through Zumba and I hardly moved! I'm bushed.


    Thanks! It sounds like you had a great trip. You've told me about it, before, but I don't know that I knew exactly where you went.

    Italy is calling me, too. We're considering a trip to Italy for my 50th, next year, but there are so many places we want to go. Ireland may win out. We'll see.

    No, I haven't read Sarum. I started it in anticipation of the trip but I still have a backlog of ARCs and I wasn't concentrating well. It's still sitting on my stack by the bed. I really want to read it, but it is definitely a door-stopping chunkster.

    I didn't get far into Simon's novel. I don't usually get jet lag but I can hardly move, this last couple of days, so I think it got me, this time! Must be getting old.

  18. Nikki,

    Me, too! I adore European cover art. This time, though, my eye was really caught by specific books I've had on my wish list for ages, like the Murakamis and . . . well, I got the Persephone books because they're Persephone books. LOL I always buy too many books in England, also, but I enjoy them so I have no regrets. It's just how I wanted to spend my money, along with loads of F & M tea and theatre tickets.

    Yes, Simon wrote a novel!!! I cannot wait to get into it. Must fight the jet lag and stay awake to read. I'm just back from Zumba and I hardly moved but actually thought I wasn't going to make it. So, obviously, this is a perfect day for reading. :) Looks like you can order Simon's book - not sure if it's hit the stores. You definitely need to find a copy, gobble it up and then we can talk about it. Sound good?


    You're kidding. You've never seen a picture of David? Where've you been, lady? LOL I've already finished After the Quake and I loved it. It would make a great discussion book, even though it's short stories.

    I was offered Summer of the Bear by the author and passed it up. It's one of the few that I regretted turning down, so when I had to get rid of my last few pounds at the airport (because you lose money exchanging it back, we always just spend our last little bit), it was an obvious choice. I'm really enjoying it. You should definitely read it soon so we can talk about it!

    Thanks! So excited about Simon's novel! And, thank you. I missed my reading buddies. I was able to peek in a bit, but not often. It's nice to be back. :)

  19. I am so jealous!!!! And yes the Persephone bookstore photo is my favorite.

    I'm waiting for Everything Beautiful Begins After to arrive for a book tour but the postal strike here has messed everything up. :(

  20. awesome! So many things amde me laugh, how I did miss you! i was thinking abt you - there were a few titterings abt your boy Simon...
    Glad you had fun. (and I TRIED to show you how to pack light!!!!)

  21. Chrisarama,

    I thought you would love that photo of Persephone Books! Husband took a picture of me in front of it, too, but it was . . . well, awful. Blurry and no smile.

    Oh, yippee that you'll be getting a copy of Simon's book! Boo to the postal strike delaying it. I'm going to try to finish The Summer of the Bear, tonight, so I can focus on Everything Beautiful Began After. Hope I can stay awake. I keep falling asleep. All that travel finally caught up with me, I guess!


    Why, thank you! I missed you, too! I thought about you several times. I'm pretty sure some of those English people who established Charleston must have come from Salisbury. Same wrought iron, same fancy numerals and door knockers. You'd love Salisbury, I'm sure!

    Yes, you did! I just don't travel often enough. I tried something new and it worked brilliantly. As it turned out, we didn't end up dragging our luggage through the Tube, like we usually do, but if we had . . . I would have been just fine with my little case and backpack.

  22. Oh, how fabulous!

    Jealous as anything here.

  23. Marg,

    It was definitely fabulous!

    Sorry - don't mean to make you jealous!

  24. Well, in London one must see Persephone; in Paris one must see Guerlain.

    Neither of which I thought to do when there, but plan on if there's a next time.


  25. Bellezza,

    I think you just need to come with me, next time. I think I can get back to Persephone pretty easily, now that I've been there. On the other hand . . . it was a bit tricky.

    I'm not familiar with Guerlain, but I've only been to Paris very briefly and just hit the usual high spots (or simply walked past them -- we walked past the Louvre, but did not enter).

  26. I am jealous of your summer vacation! Because of Lorrie's sister being ill at the end of last year, he wound up taking an emergency trip and when he is off in August they are having a memorial service for his sister anyway, so maybe next year I will get to go somewhere... Not that he had fun on his trip...

  27. Kelly,

    Envy seems to be a common theme in these comments. I've been through many vacation-free years and I get antsy when I don't get to escape, so I can relate. So sorry you didn't get to go anywhere for such a sad reason. We've been through a bit of that with my parents' deaths - several years' worth of having to spend most of my time on the road to and from Oklahoma. No, it's not fun. It doesn't matter where you go, when you're dealing with the illness of a loved one, it's not a vacation.

  28. I'm so behind on catching up - looks like you had a wonderful time in England, even if your hubby was working :)

    Isn't Persephone great? I even love the name of the street it's on! haha...

  29. Iliana,

    We had a terrific time. I probably should have taken off and roamed a little during the conference calls, but otherwise we were often out on the town while he was working. I just had to make sure he looked the right way at zebra crossings. Phones can kill you in London!

    I didn't know you'd been to Persephone! Yes, we both got a kick out of Lamb's Conduit, too. They're so literal with their street names that you have to wonder where the lambs were headed and in which century.


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