One Day at a Time


Life is a little rough these days. We will get through it but it isn't a great deal of fun. Why do stressful things always occur in bunches? The only thing to do is to get through one day at a time and the best way to do that is to get through one book at a time. When I am stressed I end up doing a lot of rereading. It is undemanding. I am not going to be suddenly and unexpectedly confronted with the death of my favorite character. It is a bit like a visit with old friends.

Lately, I have been rereading Mary Stewart and Georgette Heyer. They are authors I always go back to. I have read their books again and again. I wish I started tracking my reading years ago so I knew just how many times I have read their books. Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, Pride and Prejudice; all of them are comforting books. They are books I can pick up and open at any chapter and sink into the story.

 Frequently, it seems people feel we should be reading books to be informed, to expand our horizons, to read about people different than ourselves. All of those things are valid. However, sometimes I just want to read books to escape. I want to return to a familiar world. I don't want to confront social issues or address the ills of the world. I want to retreat to a world where the girl solves the mystery, where the guy gets the girl, where the family lives happily ever after.

Right now, I want to live one day at a time with a pile of books, favorite books, by my side.

A Poem for a Thursday #52

Photo by Ian Cumming on Unsplash
I started "A Poem for a Thursday" one year ago. I've read a lot of poems in the last year. I've spent a lot of time browsing my way through books of poetry and wandering through the internet looking for words that catch my imagination. My horizons have definitely been broadened. Sometimes, however, I just want to return again and again to a poet that I have fallen in love with. This week that is what I am doing. I have chosen poems by Mary Oliver many times and I am sure I will choose her poems often in the future. This is one of her more famous poems but I love it and I love what it says.

I wrote this post and then realized I used a Mary Oliver poem a couple of weeks ago. What can I say, I seem to like everything she writes.

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things. 

Wild Geese
Mary Oliver

An Apple a Day


Few things taste as good as an apple you have plucked from the tree yourself. It is best eaten while wandering through the orchard with friends. Life is even better if the friends have a three-year-old who is thrilled with everything. Even the teenagers got over-excited and ran around madly filling bags to overflowing with all different varieties of apples. I see apple pie, apple crisp, apple bread, and applesauce in our futures.



There is something so satisfying about something as simple as apple picking. I don't know why. It isn't as if we grew the apples but you watch your bag fill up, you chat with friends, you wander down the rows of trees and watch kids having fun. It is basic in the best sense of the word; "forming an essential foundation, fundamental." Isn't that what we all need in life-food, fun, friends?



 Unfortunately, you don't get any photos of the cute three-year-old since her parents haven't asked for her to be plastered all over the internet. However, I offer a few photos of Celia instead. Just as cute but a bit older.



There was also a cutting garden where you could pick your own flowers. I didn't buy any but one of my friends did. The flowers were so pretty even at the tail end of the season.





Maybe for us in this modern world, it isn't the apple a day that keeps the doctor away. Maybe it is picking the apples that benefits us. We all need to escape from stress sometimes. I recommend a wander through an apple orchard. Enjoy the quiet, the scent of autumn and apples, and the time with friends. May you find a bit of peace in a hectic life. That alone should help keep the doctor away.

Then go home and bake a pie because no one said your apple a day couldn't be encased in pie crust and dusted with cinnamon.

A Poem for a Thursday #51


Today's poem is pure nonsense written by Lewis Carroll. Sometimes life just needs a little nonsense. This poem is best read aloud, at the top of your voice, while standing on your feet. Please use extravagant gestures and enjoy every moment of it.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
  Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
  And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
  The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
  the frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
  Long time the manxome foe he sought,-
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
  And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
  The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
  And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
  The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with his head
  He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
  Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
  He chortled in his joy.

"Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
  Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
  And the mome raths outgrabe. 

Jabberwocky
Lewis Carroll

A Poem for a Thursday #50


Today's poem is another one by Mary Oliver just because I like it. Sometimes I look for poets and poems that are new to me and sometimes I go back to ones that have become favorites. I don't think I have read a poem of Mary Oliver's that I haven't liked.

Don't you imagine the leaves dream now
   how comfortable it will be to touch 
the earth instead of the
   nothingness of the air and the endless
freshets of wind? And don't you think
   the trees, especially those with
mossy hollows, are beginning to look for

the birds that will come-six, a dozen-to sleep
   inside their bodies? And don't you hear
the goldenrod whispering goodbye,
   the everlasting being crowned with the first
tuffets of snow? The pond 
   stiffens and the white field over which
the fox runs so quickly brings out
   its long blue shadows. The wind wags
its many tails. And in the evening
   the piled firewood shifts a little,
longing to be on its way. 

Song for Autumn
Mary Oliver

Reese has a Robert Frost poem this week.

Crafty Things//A Refinished Table


I finally did it. I refinished my kitchen table and covered it in book pages. It isn't perfect and if I did it again there are things I would change but, all in all, I am very happy with it.

My table had a very damaged surface so something had to be done with it. I thought about just painting it but then I came across a tutorial online with gorgeous photos of a table covered in pages. I fell in love. I have quite a few books that have fallen apart and I have been using them for various crafts. I won't deliberately destroy a book but ones that disintegrated on their own are fair game. I used On the Banks of Plum Creek because I love the illustrations and the book is a huge part of my reading history.


It is surprisingly hard to take a photo of the finished product. It actually looks nicer in real life. I am hoping it holds up well. I used two cans of spray polyurethane in the hopes of making it very water-resistant. We shall see. I still need to spray paint the chairs so they match the table legs but I will get around to that eventually. The difference in color is barely noticeable anyway.

My husband is pleased I am happy with it, my daughter has decided she likes it, and my son is driven crazy by it. He says if I had to cover the table in book pages couldn't I at least put them in order and neatly next to each other so it can be read. The randomness of it bothers him.  I said it looks more artistic this way but he isn't convinced.

I have a lot of other books that have fallen apart. Does anyone have any other craft suggestions for me?




A Poem for a Thursday #49

Photo by LĂ©onard Cotte on Unsplash
Carl Dennis is an American poet who has won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. He writes of  "quotidian, middle-class life, but beneath the modest, reasonably lighted surfaces of the poems lie unexpected possibilities that create contrast and vibrancy."

Today as we walk in Paris I promise to focus
More on the sights before us than on the woman
We noticed yesterday in the photograph at the print shop,
The slender brunette who looked like  you
As she posed with a violin case by a horse-drawn omnibus
Near the Luxembourg Gardens. Today I won't linger long
On the obvious point that her name is as lost to history
As the name of the graveyard where her bones
Have been crumbling to dust for over a century.
The streets we're to wander will shine more brightly
Now that it's clear the day of her death
Is of little importance compared to the moment
Caught in the photograph as she makes her way
Through afternoon light like this toward the Seine,
Or compared to our walk as we pass the Gardens.
The cold rain that fell this morning has given way to sunshine.
The gleaming puddles reflect our mood
Just as they reflected hers as she stepped around them
Smiling to herself, happy that her audition
Went well this morning. After practicing scales
For years in a village whose name isn't recorded,
She can study in Paris with one of the masters
And serve the music according to laws more rigorous
Than any passed by the grand assemblies of Europe,
Laws I hope she always tried to obey. 
No way of telling now how close her life 
Came to the life she hoped for as she rambled,
On the day of the photograph, along the quay.
And why do I need to know it when she herself,
If offered a chance to peruse the book of the future,
Would likely shake her head no and turn away.
She wants to focus on the afternoon almost gone
As we want to focus now on breathing and savoring
While we stand on the bridge she stood on to watch
The steamers push against the current or ease down.
This flickering light on the water as boats pass by
Is the flow that many painters have tried to capture
Without holding too still. By the time these boats arrive
Far off in the provinces and give up their cargoes,
Who knows where the flow may have carried us?
But to think now of our leaving is to wrong the moment.
We have to be wholly here as she was
If we want the city that welcomed her
To welcome us as students trained in her school
To enjoy the music as much as she did
When she didn't grieve that she couldn't stay

In Paris
Carl Dennis

Brona has shared a poem by Wislawa Szymborska this week and Reese has one by Auden.

Book Purchases


My daughter has discovered a love for thrift shopping. She spent years rolling her eyes at my secondhand purchases and then suddenly decided thrift stores were full of cool, vintage things.  I am pretty sure a subreddit is responsible for her change of mind. There is absolutely no chance she suddenly realized her mom was right all along. Last Saturday she asked to go to Savers to look for vintage clothes. I was happy to oblige even though few things will make you feel as old as realizing that the "vintage" clothes your 14-year-old daughter is looking for are the very same clothes you wore in your teenage years. I know all clothing styles eventually cycle back but it is odd to see the 1980s returning. We both had fun trying on all kinds of random clothing items, and she decided to buy one very 1980s sweater, and then we went and browsed the book rack.


I bought a few books. I don't usually do too well finding books at this Savers but someone with similar reading taste to me must have just donated some books and I hit the jackpot. I found two British Library Crime Classics. I almost never come across those. I practically started jumping up and down in excitement. I am sure my daughter would have loved that. Parents are so embarrassing. I also found two more books with very pretty covers. They obviously came from the U.K. since the price on the back is in pounds. I have read Cold Comfort Farm but I didn't know this book existed. The Edmund Crispin book is familiar but I don't think I have ever read it.


I also bought a copy of War and Peace. It was never a book that appealed greatly to me but then Hamlette at The Edge of the Precipice wrote a review that got me interested. Maybe I will get around to it during the winter. The Georgette Heyer is because I am trying to complete my collection. I might actually own this somewhere but I can't be bothered to look right now. My daughter bought a couple of Redwall books and we picked up a Star Wars book for my son.


I also had a few books show up in the mail. The Mignon Eberhart is because I can never have too much vintage romantic suspense in my life. The book of essays about Jane Austen was recommended by Girl With Her Head in a Book. I can't find the specific post but her whole blog is very good. Go read it if you don't already. I bought In Search of London because I am slowly working my way through H. V. Morton's books. I greatly enjoy his travels around the U.K. I wrote a post about one of his other books here.

I think my daughter's new interest in thrifting might be bad for my book purchases-or good, depending on how you look at it.


This was my other purchase at Savers. Ignore the fact that the mirror isn't clean and the photo is pretty bad. My grandmother had a mirror very similar to this and I always loved it so when I saw this I had to buy it. I have no idea where I am going to hang it but it is still making me very happy.

A Poem for a Thursday #48

Photo by Tom Rumble on Unsplash
Our neighbor got a dog. It barks. It barks a lot. Last night it barked for 95 minutes straight; yes, I timed it. We have tried talking to her and she just got angry with us. We have tried contacting animal control and they just ignored us.

I am ready to move. If anyone has a little farmhouse in the middle of nowhere we can rent that would be great. It has to have no neighbors. Though my husband says we could build a house in the Sahara Desert and someone would buy the next dune and move in with a yapping dog. Probably true.

Billy Collins wrote a poem about a barking dog. Here it is.

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
He is barking the same high, rhythmic bark
that he barks every time they leave the house.
They must switch him on on their way out.

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
I close all the windows in the house
and put on a Beethoven symphony full blast
but I can still hear him muffled under the music,
barking, barking, barking.

and now I can see him sitting in the orchestra,
his head raised confidently as if Beethoven
had included a part for barking dog.

When the record finally ends he is still barking,
sitting there in the oboe section barking,
his eyes fixed on the conductor who is
entreating him with his baton

while the other musicians listen in respectful
silence to the famous barking dog solo,
that endless coda that first established
Beethoven as an innovative genius. 

Another Reason Why I Don't Keep a Gun in the House
Billy Collins

Reese is sharing a Dorothy Parker poem today.

Rereadings by Anne Fadiman


I love Anne Fadiman's writing. Her love of books spills out from the page and she frequently puts into words the things I have just thought. I am slowly working my way through Rereadings: Seventeen Writers Revisit Books They Love and while it does not have as much of her writing as I would like it is still very enjoyable. I particularly liked her introduction where she talked about reading a beloved book of her childhood aloud to her son.

Reading a favorite book to your child is one of the most pleasurable forms of rereading, provided the child's enthusiasm is equal to yours and thus gratifyingly validates your literary taste, your parental competence, and your own former self. Henry loved The Horse and His Boy, the tale of two children and two talking horses who gallop across an obstacle-fraught desert in hopes of averting the downfall of an imperiled kingdom that lies to the north. It's the most suspensful of the Narnia books, and Henry, who was at that poignant age when parents are still welcome at bedtime but glimpse their banishment on the horizon, begged me each night not to turn out the light just yet:  how about another page, and then how about another paragraph, and then, come on, how about just one more sentence? There was only one problem with this idyllic picture. As I read the book to Henry, I was thinking to myself that C.S. Lewis, not to put too fine a point on it, was a racist and sexist pig. 

What does one do when your much-loved book does not fit in with your grown-up, current-day values? How do you present it to your child? Fadiman started discussing the book with her son and this is what happened.

Henry shot me the sort of look he might have used had I dumped a pint of vinegar into a bowl of chocolate ice cream. And who could blame him? He didn't want to analyze, criticize, evaluate, or explicate the book. He didn't want to size it up or slow it down. He wanted exactly what I had wanted at eight; to find out if Shasta and Aravis would get to Archenland in time to warn King Lune that his castle was about to be attacked by evil Prince Rabadash and two hundred Calormene horsemen. "Mommy," he said fiercly, "can you just read?" 

Henry, like many children, immersed himself in the action, the adventure, the sheer excitement of the story. But when we reread we see things we missed before. Does that always change our love of the book? I'll let Fadiman answer.

Still, C.S. Lewis treated girls and Calormenes as inferiors, and I could not get that out of my mind. For a while, the knowledge of his small-mindedness wrestled uneasily with the pleasure I took in his book. By the time I closed the last page, however, I found that the pleasure, without conscious instruction from me though doubtless with some abetment by Henry, had clearly gotten the upper hand. The book's flaws were serious but the connection was too strong to sever. 
And why shouldn't it be? The same thing happens with our parents. They start out as gods, and then we learn that they committed adultery, or drank too much, or cheated on their taxes, or maybe they just looked awkward on the dance floor or went on too long when they told a story. But do we stop loving them?

 I have only read a couple of the other essays in the book and they are very good but I do wish I had an entire book of Fadiman's writing. If you haven't read Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader then go find a copy right now. It is a joy and a pleasure. I wrote a post about it here.

A Poem for a Thursday #47

Photo by StĂ©phane Juban on Unsplash


William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet who lived from 1865-1939. Yeats was very involved in politics and was appointed a senator of the Irish Free State in 1922. His poetry frequently reflected his pessimistic attitude toward the state of politics in his country. Yeats was also a playwright and he was one of the founders of the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. Yeats won the Nobel Prize in 1923.

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars. 

When You Are Old
William Butler Yeats

Reese is sharing a poem on her blog, Typings.

A Poem for a Thursday #46


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) "achieved a level of national and international prominence previously unequaled in the literary history of the United States." What American schoolchild has not read "Paul Revere's Ride" or "Hiawatha"? Longfellow also gave us this gem:

There was a little girl,
            Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
             When she was good,
             She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.

No, that is not your poem for today. Longfellow was one of the few American writers to be honored in the Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey. Longfellow was viewed as "a champion of poetry in an otherwise prosaic society" and he provided encouragement to other poets including Emily Dickinson. His narrative style poems are out of favor these days and, as readers looked for more complexities in their reading, he fell out of popularity. It is a pity because there is something very appealing about much of his work. It may frequently be sentimental and old-fashioned but it is also very readable.

The tide rises, the tide falls,
The twilight darkens, the curlew calls;
Along the sea-sands damp and brown
The traveller hastens toward the town,
       And the tide rises, the tide falls.

Darkness settles on roofs and walls,
but the sea, the sea in the darkness calls;
The little waves, with their soft, white hands,
Efface the footprints in the sands,
       And the tide rises, the tide falls.

The morning breaks; the steeds in their stalls
Stamp and neigh, as the hostler calls;
The day returns, but nevermore
Returns the traveller to the shore,
      And the tide rises, the tide falls. 

The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Here is the poem Reese at Typings shared this week and here is one from Jennifer at Pastry & Purls.

A Day Out//Harkness Memorial State Park


Summer is almost over. Soon the days will be getting cooler and school will be back in session. One more day of walking a beach, collecting sea glass, and listening to the waves seemed necessary. We went to Harkness Memorial Park in Waterford, CT. It is a park we have visited many times over the years but we never tire of it. The park has gardens, a mansion, and a beach on Long Island Sound. No swimming is allowed on the beach but that was fine with us. We were happy to putter around taking photos and paddling in the waves.




We didn't visit all the gardens because Celia was very anxious to get down to the beach. A Tuesday morning is not exactly a prime beach visiting day so we had it pretty much to ourselves. There were a few mothers with their small children happily building sandcastles, some older couples ambling down the shore, and a small group of artists very involved in painting the ocean view but that was it. We were free to imagine that the mansion was ours and we had simply wandered down for a gentle stroll before lunch.




There is something so soothing about a beach. The rhythmic sound of the crashing waves drowns out the worries we all carry around with us. The sun, the sand, and the search for the perfect shell or rock return us to childhood. For a little while, we are happy and at peace.



Eventually, hunger drove us out in search of clam chowder and french fries but we had seashells in our pockets and salt spray in our hair to remind us of one last summer day.

A Poem for a Thursday #45


Four years ago this week I started this blog. Four years of taking photos of books, talking about books, writing rambling posts about my random thoughts, and being constantly surprised that people take the time to read and comment. I've frequently thought I had nothing to say and then found that once I start typing the words are there. I've learned a lot about blogging and photography; just enough to know how much I still have to learn. I've discovered that I actually like poetry and I have expanded my reading horizons by reading other people's blogs.

Most people in my everyday life don't know I have this blog. I don't talk about it, at first because I was self-conscious and now because not  talking about it has become a habit. But this space has become part of who I am. It is a place where I have a voice and where I can talk about things that many people around me don't have an interest in. Like anything online, it only portrays a snapshot of my life but that snapshot, small as it is, is real. That means that, yes, I am just as London, tea, and book obsessed as I seem.

It seems appropriate that this week's poem be connected to books because so much of my blog is about books. Thank you for sticking around and reading my rambling, book-obsessed thoughts.

A precious, mouldering pleasure 't is
To meet an antique book,
In just the dress his century wore;
A privilege, I think,
His venerable hand to take,
And warming in our own,
A passage back, or two, to make
To times when he was young.
His quaint opinions to inspect,
His knowledge to unfold
On what concerns our mutual mind,
The literature of old;
What interested scholars most,
What competitions ran
When Plato was a certainty.
And Sophocles a man;
When Sappho was a living girl,
And Beatrice wore
the gown that Dante deified.
Facts, centuries before,
He traverses familiar,
As one should come to town
And tell you all your dreams were true;
He lived where dreams were sown. 

In a Library
Emily Dickinson

Reese, at Typings, has also shared a poem.



Books I Bought in Scotland


Most unusually, book shopping was not the focus of this trip. I was traveling with my daughter and, much as she loves reading, she did not want to spend all her time in book shops. She wanted to see castles and pandas and museums as well. I suppose that is reasonable. However, I did manage to pop into a few bookshops and I came home with ten new books. I didn't put a lot of thought into my purchases. Since I didn't have much time in bookshops I just bought things when they looked interesting. Or I bought things because the bookseller was nice. The book second from the bottom in the stack was purchased solely because the bookseller spent 20 minutes discussing what route we should take to get to Kelvingrove Park and what we should do along the way. I had to buy something after he had been so nice.


We did have one day when we visited a few bookshops. Katrina, from Pining for the West, and her husband offered to meet us in Edinburgh and give us a tour of the city including stops at a few bookshops. It was very, very kind of them and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Celia had been nervous about spending time with people we didn't know but about ten minutes after we met up with them she dropped back to walk with me and whispered: "they are really, really nice." She was right.




I could easily have bought so many more books but I was limited by what would fit in my carry-on suitcase. Such a pity. I will have to go back. Celia enjoyed rummaging around in the bookshops. She ended up buying a small dinosaur encyclopedia and an old copy of The Swiss Family Robinson. She wanted a complete set of The Secret Seven by Enid Blyton but there was no way we were going to get that home.



Celia and I also visited a couple of bookshops in Glasgow but the only one I have photos of is Caledonia Books. It was charming and the owner was friendly but we were both very jetlagged at that point and I am sure I missed some treasures.




Of course, I managed to visit Waterstones a number of times since it was just around the corner from our hotel. So, all in all, book shopping may not have been the focus of this trip but I did manage to squeeze quite a bit of it in.




A Poem for a Thursday #44

Photo by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash

Sylvia Plath was an American poet and novelist. Her poems are autobiographical and focus on her own emotions and sense of despair. Joyce Carol Oates wrote of her poems that "many of them written during the final, turbulent weeks of her life, read as if they have been chiseled, with a fine surgical instrument, out of arctic ice." Plath took her own life when she was thirty.

Nobody in the lane, and nothing, nothing but blackberries,
Blackberries on either side, though on the right mainly
A blackberry alley, going down in hooks, and a sea
Somewhere at the end of it, heaving. Blackberries
Big as the ball of my thumb, and dumb as eyes
Ebon in the hedges, fat
With blue-red juices. These they squander on my fingers.
I had not asked for such a blood sisterhood; they must love me.
They accommodate themselves to my milkbottle, flattening their sides

Overhead go the choughs in black, cacophonous flocks--
Bits of burnt paper wheeling in a blown sky.
Theirs is the only voice, protesting, protesting.
I do not think the sea will appear at all.
The high, green meadows are glowing, as if lit from within.
I come to one bush of berries so ripe it is a bush of flies,
Hanging their bluegreen bellies and their wing panes in a Chinese screen.
The honey-feast of the berries has stunned them; they believe in heaven.
One more hook, and the berries and bushes end.

The only thing to come now is the sea.
From between two hills a sudden wind funnels at me,
Slapping its phantom laundry in my face.
These hills are too green and sweet to have tasted salt.
I follow the sheep path between them. A last hook brings me
To the hills' northern face, and the face is orange rock
That looks out on nothing, nothing but a great space
Of white and pewter lights, and a din like silversmiths
Beating and beating at an intractable metal. 

Blackberrying
Sylvia Plath

Brona is also sharing a poem this week.

Scotland, We Loved You


Here are a few totally uniformed opinions about Scotland based on my one week visit.

It is very pretty. Apparently, the Highlands are even prettier than the area we visited. I will be happy to return and test that theory.

The people are unbelievably friendly. Everyone talked to us. Everyone was helpful. It was lovely.

Scones with cream and jam are the food of the gods.

You can spend a lot of time at the Edinburgh Zoo before the panda decides to emerge. For a whole 2.5 minutes. But that was enough to make Celia's day.

Glasgow is a bit rough around the edges and not quite what I expected but we loved it and would happily live there.

Edinburgh was objectively prettier but it was so crowded because of the festival going on. We will have to go back. Of course.

There are a lot of castles. Celia would happily visit all of them.

I bought some books.

There was a Waterstones around the corner from our hotel. A couple of mornings Celia slept in a bit and I went to the cafe for tea and cake and some book browsing. It was the perfect way to start a day.

We walked over 60 miles in a week. It balanced out all the cake and scones. I wish we lived in a place where we didn't have to drive everywhere.

Trains are very affordable. We went to Edinburgh twice, Stirling, and Loch Lomond. The most we paid was about 13 pounds. For both of us. Round trip. That is amazing. Celia is under 16 so her ticket was 1 pound every time.

Bagpipes are best enjoyed from a distance.

Walled gardens make me happy.

Our flight home was canceled and we got an extra 24 hours in Scotland. Once we knew we had a bed for the night we had absolutely no complaints about that.

British Airways then decided to check our bags for free. If only I had known before I had arrived at the airport I could have bought more books.

Celia has decided she is going to grow up and move to Scotland. I don't have the heart to explain the impossibilities of moving to the U.K. so I am just joining her in unrealistic dreams.

Yes, Scotland, we loved you.


One more thing; Simon, at Stuck in a Book, has brought back his My Life in Books series. I am one of the two bloggers featured today. If you want to read the post it is here.

A Poem for a Thursday #43


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
John Donne was an English writer and Anglican cleric born in 1572. His poetry was very well-known during his lifetime and for some years after but then went out of favor for several centuries. He is considered one of the great metaphysical poets. Most people are familiar with No Man is an Island because of studying it in school. Today's poem is a love poem. It appeals to us because "it speaks to us as directly and urgently as if we overhear a present confidence."

I wonder by my troth, what thou and I 
Did, till we loved? were we not wean'd till then?
But suck'd on country pleasures, childishly?
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers' den?
'Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be;
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got 'twas but a dream of thee.

And now good-morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone;
Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown;
Let us possess one world; each hath one, and is one.

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;
Where can we find two better hemispheres
Without sharp north, without declining west?
Whatever dies, was not mix'd equally;
If our two loves be one, or thou and I
Love so alike that none can slacken, none can die. 

The Good-Morrow
John Donne