Monthly Archives: July 2018

Stratford Upon Avon Rocks!

Morning Beauties!

It is summer and it’s still glorious out there. I hope you’re all keeping cool as taking care of yourselves.

All my July posts seem to be about places and adventures and I make no apologies that this post is sort of similar. I want to share with you something is happening in my home town which is completely awesome! By sharing with you all, you may find that where you’re from also do this and may wish to take part, or set one up for yourselves.

The idea is pretty simple: you paint and decorate rocks, hide them, search for others and post a picture on social media to show where they’ve been. You write a little message on the back so you know which social media site to post it to. For me, it’s Stratford Upon Avon Rocks. They’ve welcomed me with open arms which is just so lovely.

I’m not artistic in any way but I’ve had so much fun taking part in this. During the last half term at work I painted and decorated 20 stones of 5 designs. I really really enjoyed it! These are my first ever attempts.

I’m quite proud of these because I think they’re actually ok! I love my little ladybirds the most. So I set off on a little mission early one morning this week, to hide all of these for anyone and everyone to find. Stratford is quite a big town so I decided to stick to a walk all along the river, across the bridge and all along the other side and back again. I was having a lovely walk, with beautiful scenery and was hiding little stones for people to find. Perfect!

Whilst I was on my travels, I found my first rock. I was so excited, I can’t explain. My first rock was really apt too! For those of you who know me, you know I’m a massive Harry Potter fan. My first rock find was real perfection seriously!

What really is amazing is when you see people find your rock and post it online! It’s like spreading joy and excitement. What could be better? I must admit, every time I’m around now I keep an eye out to see what I can find! Last night, on my way to dinner, I found another in the car park. He had to come with me!

So I’m also thinking about my next lot of rocks that I’ll decorate. We had a little hedgehog visit our garden last night so maybe I’ll start with that. Any ideas? All welcome but remember I’m no artist. Some out there are incredible! I’ve seen portraits, chocolate bars, animals, famous faces – it’s endless! Now to find my next beauty…

I hope this inspires you to take part in a community project like this or set one up. It’s ridiculous how much joy I’ve taken from this and I wish you all happiness and joy too.

(FYI: Books will be returning as my next post will be my review of the July book for the Read the Year Challenge!)

Big love all!

Xxx

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Filed under Photography, Rocks, Stratford upon Avon, Summer 2018

Newcastle Adventure

Hello Everyone!

July seems to have become the month where I go off exploring. School hasn’t quite finished but this weekend has certainly made me feel like I am on holiday!

This weekend I spent time in Newcastle and the surrounding areas. It’s only my second time in Newcastle and I absolutely love it! There’s some really beautiful buildings here. I liked this guy most!

The first stop was Souter Lighthouse, standing midway between the Tyne and the Wear. This lighthouse opened in 1871 and stands proud today. It remains an iconic beacon. It’s the first lighthouse in the world that was designed and built to be powered by electricity.

Due to it being such a clear day, the views span for about 35 miles. Amazing!! You may remember from my previous post that being near the sea is one of my favourite things. This was just beautiful. Again, I felt like I was abroad. We need to cherish our British seasides really. They are just as good as any other.

After exploring the lighthouse and mooching about the coast, I then started to head towards Seaton Delaval Hall. This grand hall sits perfectly within Georgian society. However, it was more of a party house.

The Delavals had a flamboyant lifestyle and were full of life. They were known as the most notorious Georgian partygoers and pranksters. Everyone wanted to be invited to their balls and parties. It was hot topic at the time!

However, today this house requires your imagination as it was ravaged by fire two hundred years ago. It still wears it’s scars today. I don’t think this detracts from its beauty though. I think it adds to it because it survived.

The day of adventure didn’t end there! After having ice cream and lazing in deckchairs soaking up the sun, the last stop was to see The Angel of the North.

Created by Anthony Gormley in 1998, it stands 66ft tall looking over Gateshead. The wingspan is 177ft across, opening its arms across the city. Gormley wanted to create a sense of an open embrace.

I’m really thrilled I’ve seen her. Photos really don’t do it justice; you need to see her and experience her for yourself.

What an incredible weekend. I can’t believe I saw so many beautiful things in one day. We have some amazing places in this world but it’s what it makes us feel that’s just as special. This has given me the motivation to see out the last of this term. I can do it! If you ever have a sense of doubt, look out at this stunning view and give yourself five minutes. That’s my plan anyway!

Hope you’re all still enjoying this beautiful weather!

Big love all xx

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Filed under Days Out, Exploring, National Trust, Photography, Places, Seaside, Summer, Summer 2018, UK, Weekend Trips

Birthday Weekend – Flamborough Adventure

Hello Sunshiners!

July is upon us and it’s Britain is beautifully basking in the heatwave so far. Yesterday was my birthday and to celebrate my family and I are spending the weekend together.

Today we went to Flamborough because we fancied being by the sea. Flamborough is situated 4 miles from Bridlington. It’s a really beautiful little place; a hidden treasure. The little beach cove meant that we had found a lovely spot to spend the day.

I love being on a beach, the sand between your toes, the constant sound of the waves makes my mind completely empty. I’m completely at peace. I find it so therapeutic and calming. Today did not disappoint. In fact, I’m writing this on my way home, I’m that excited.

My birthday has been pretty awesome and I wanted to share it with you lovely people too. Have you any seaside stories? Regardless, I hope you’re enjoying the sunshine and taking some time for yourselves. You deserve it!!

Enjoy July everyone!

Big love xxx

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Filed under Days Out, Photography, Places, Seaside, Summer, Summer 2018, UK

RTY: The Shadow Of The Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafron

Hi guys!

Amazingly, I have a spare couple of hours now whilst I’m sitting on a train, so I thought I would post my review of my choice of book for June for the Read The Year Challenge. I wholeheartedly promise that I did read it in June, I just didn’t quite get around to posting it in time. But it’s here now!

This month proved slightly challenging as the topic was ‘Pick up a book that delves into the experience of fatherhood’. Now I have some clear limitations here, obviously, but I think I found a book that fits. The Shadow of the Wind. Whilst not explicitly being centred around fatherhood, there are a number of fathers and/or father figures in it. The beauty of this reading challenge means that I have read something I’ve never even heard of. The bigger present – I enjoyed it!

What’s it all about?

Set in Barcelona, the novel centres around a young boy, Daniel Sempere. Just after the Spanish Civil War, Daniel’s father takes him to the secret Cemetery of Forgotten Books. This is a place where old, forgotten books are loving preserved by a select few people. According to tradition, everyone initiated into this secret place is allowed to take one book and must protect it for life. The book Daniel chooses: The Shadow of the Wind by Julián Carax.

He takes the book home and reads it cover to cover. This sparks the need in Daniel to try and find other books by this unknown author but can’t find any. What he does discover are strange narratives of a man calling himself Laín Coubert. What is extraordinary about this is that name is the name of one of the characters in the book – the Devil, who has been finding Carax’s books for decades, buying and burning them.

“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.”

Structured as a story within a story, Daniel starts a quest to find Julian’s other works. In turn, he becomes involved in tracing the entire history of Carax. One of the father figures in the novel is Fermin Romero de Torres. He was imprisoned and tortured in Montjuic Castle for his involvement in an espionage against the Anarchists during the war. His background in government intelligent helps Daniel in numerous days. However, their probing into he past of people who are long dead or forgotten takes him to the path of Inspector Fumero, whom he had dealings with previously.

“Fools talk, cowards are silent, wise men listen.”

This narrative has long since been buried. However Daniel starts unravelling it, clue by clue. Daniel and Fermin find a love story, the beautiful yet tragic story of Julián and Penélope, both of whom have been missing since 1919, thirty years earlier. Julián, the son of a hatter, Antoni Fortuny and his wife Sophie Carax and Penélope Aldaya, the only daughter of the extremely weather Don Ricardo Aldaya and his narcissistic American wife developed an instant love for each other and lived a clandestine relationship, only through faint smiles and few glances for around four years. After this time they decided to elope to Paris. They were completely unaware that the shadows of misfortune had been creeping their way upon them ever since they met.

“Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens.”

Miquel Moliner, also the son of a wealthy father, was Julián’s best friend. He helped meticulously plan their elopement. It is eventually revealed that the loved Julián more than any brother and finally sacrificed his life for him. Julián eventually got to Paris. Penélope did not.

“Destiny is usually just around the corner. Like a thief, a hooker, or a lottery vendor: its three most common personifications. But what destiny does not do is home visits. You have to go for it.”

The memory of Penélope burns inside Julian’s heart and eventually this forces him to return to Barcelona in the mid 1930s. What greets him is nothing less than heartbreaking. She was nothing more than a memory. She had never been seen or heard of again by anyone after 1919. Daniel discovers from the note left for him by Nuria Monfort, that Julián and Penélope were actually half brother and sister. Her father had had an affair win his mother and Julián was the result. Tragically, after he had left Barcelona, it is revealed that Penélope’s parents imprisoned her because they were full of shame about her commuting incest with him. She was also pregnant with his child. The child, named David Aldaya, was stillborn. Penélope died during childbirth because her parents ignored her screams. Her body was placed in a family crypt along with her child’s.

“Memories are worse than bullets.”

When returning to Aldaya Mansion, Julián is bitter and angry by the news of his love’s death along with their child. He hates everyone and everything. Every second feels wasted; his books pointless. So he sets upon burning them all. Thus, the adventure of then and now is joined. Along the way. Fermin and Daniel know they’re in trouble with Inspector Fumero. They’re followed, they’re beaten up. Yet still their quest continues.

“A story is a letter that the author writes to himself, to tell himself things that he would be unable to discover otherwise.”

After Daniel finishes reading the book, he marries Beatriz ‘Bea’ Aguilar. He’s loved her for a long time, since 1956. Shortly after Bea gives birth to a son. They name him Julián Sempere, in honour of Julián Carax. 10 years later, Daniel takes his son to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books where the copy of The Shadow of the Wind is kept.

“Once, in my father’s bookshop, I heard a regular customer say that few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart. Those first images, the echo of words we think we have left behind, accompany us throughout our lives and sculpt a palace in our memory to which, sooner or later—no matter how many books we read, how many worlds we discover, or how much we learn or forget—we will return.”

Overview

The role of fathers or father figures in this book is paramount. Daniel’s father is a strong and quiet character. He doesn’t push Daniel to discuss what is going on. He’s quietly there for him.

Fermin takes a natural role of a father figure, becoming that partner in crime person for Daniel. He even sacrifices his life to help find out what he wants to know about Carax. Daniel and his father took him in and saved him from his past. He sees fatherhood as part of his future with his blossoming love and romance.

Julián’s loss of fatherhood is all the more tragic. You can tell he’s been grief stricken ever since Penélope failed to arrive. When he learns the truth he is a broken man.

Daniel too is a father at the end of the novel and how these role models have shaped him, lead us to know that he will be an excellent father to his own child.

This book was a complete surprise for me. I’d never heard of it before and I didn’t know anything about the author. However, I’ve really enjoyed it. Sometimes stories within a story can be quite confusing but this was weaved together seamlessly. I’m so glad I found it.

Enjoy the sunshine all!!

 

Big love xx

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Filed under Book review, Read The Year Challenge, Reading