Saturday, February 25, 2012

Catching Up and a Couple of Book Reviews

I am still playing catch up after my two week babysitting gig.  I did ok the first week but the second week found me a bit tired toward the end.  It would be fine if there wasn't so much getting up and down off the floor.  Now that Bean is pushing two, however, there isn't nearly as much lifting which is a blessing and considering that she is the independent sort, she does a lot for herself.  Aside from having the opportunity to spend time with Bean, the time I spend at her house does afford me a good amount of time to read which I really enjoy.  She still takes a good afternoon nap so I have at least two hours of uninterrupted time to get into a really good book.  I have  been able to finish or almost finish a couple of really good reads in a short amount of time -- for me -- this way.

The  first book I finished was The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons.

 I discovered it when I did a search on Downton Abbey and several complementary books were recommended.  It is the story of a young Dutch Jewess who was shipped off to England at the beginning of World War Two to work as a domestic in a big house, even though she was somewhat aristocratic in her own right.  She was dispatched to Tyneford house where she learned all the ins and outs of British aristocracy.  She also learned of love, loss -- great loss, and of starting over again and having strong resolve.  This book was a page turner, I couldn't put it down and would recommend it to anyone.

The second book I have been reading, and am about to finish is The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton.

This book presents more of a challenge than the first.  It is longer and much more detailed as it presents the story of three interconnected women.  Each chapter is devoted to one of the three women's story and you have to pay close attention to the intertwining of these stories -- one from Victorian England, one from mid-twentieth century Australia and one from current Australia/England.  Through part of the beginning of the book, when so much historical foundation was being laid, I felt as if I should take notes!  However, as I am nearing the end of the book, it is all pulling together nicely, making sense, and making me sorry that the end is so near.  To make a complicated story shorter, it is about three abandonments, so to speak -- Eliza who was orphaned by death, Nell who was kidnapped, and Cassandra who was left with Grandma by a self-absorbed Mum who was needing to find herself and have fun while she was at it.  In addition to all these women being related that would be the common link.  It, too, is a page turner -- some of those turns going backward to re-read sections. I can't wait to get back to it today and finish is up although I am sure I am going to be sad when it is done.  I will probably have to seek out a copy of another Morton book -- The House at Riverton.  I am certain it will be as captivating. I would recommend  The Forgotten Garden hands down with one reservation -- it might make you want to create a magical secret garden -- I know it has made me want to work in my yard!

Another activity this week, unrelated to babysitting or reading, was Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day, or Fat Tuesday -- whatever way you want to say it.  This was actually the first time we ever attended because, in the past, The Hubs was always at work at the time most of our church events begin but, clearly, this year was different.  So, we decided to join Bean and her folks  in the festivities.  The parish hall was decorated in the usual gold/green/purple and there were beads abounding -- all anybody had to do was grab them  off the table.  Bean looked lovely in green -- really went with the red hair.  There were literally piles and piles of pancakes and waffles, bacon  and sausage and bowls of fresh strawberries.  Whipped cream and maple syrup completed the buffet table along with milk, tea and water.  It was a feast, for sure, and none of us took a camera.  You would think that at my age I would realize that every day has its Kodak moments and carry a camera with me at all times!  I will work on that and in the meantime, I will see if I can "steal" one from the good Father Klein off the church website.

So, all of this coupled with beautiful spring weather (almost 80 a couple of days-- makes me fear for July) it has been a fantastic week with another just like it on the way!  I may get out and work in that garden yet -- I just need a gate!