Saturday, 22 October 2016

Remnants of the UK Trip Through Arthur Pepper

I have finished this book and I must say in my jet lagged haze it was a comfortable read. No terror, suspense, misogyny, war or animal cruelty.  A tale about Arthur, whose wife died one year previously and he is still in mourning. As one year has now passed he goes upstairs to finally remove her clothes from the wardrobe. In the toe of a boot he finds a gold charm bracelet with several beautiful charms.

This tale is his quest to find out about her life that he knew nothing about by tracking down the history behind each charm.  The characters in the English village are charming with touches of reality to their situations in life.

There is the too kind neighbour, her sullen teenage son Nathan who was a pleasant surprise after awhile. There were the strangers he either talked to (in India) or met in Paris. Throw in a couple of headstrong, dysfunctional grown up children and you have it.

It is the kind of book one might read while curled up on the couch in a comfy robe, hot drink on a rainy day, maybe if you have a headache. It won't be for everyone as several of the tales are just too crazy to believe and reality does fly out the window on occasion but everyone seems to do okay in the end. I thought it was fun to follow his quest.

Food is warm, beds are sometimes comfy, people are generally nice to each other though eccentric. If you enjoyed Harold Fry or the 100 Year Old man who left the nursing home through the window then you will probably enjoy this book.

I had to laugh as on my recent trip to the UK with my friend JW we got into some pretty solid routines. Big breakfast, lunch at a pub or cafe around 1:30, several hours of driving and sight seeing. Then at night we disappeared into our separate rooms to post pictures, write letters home and our evening meal was cereal, milk, yogurt, fruit or a salad. Something we picked up in the local Value store or Tesco.  We enjoyed our down time but one thing that seemed to be consistent was our quest to find a great biscuit (cookie). JW loved the chocolate digestives. She cannot get them in the USA where she lives. I can get them but don't' care for them. Give me a crispy chocolate chip cookie with a moist center. No matter what your preference is biscuits were a daily topic of conversation between us.

I was reading Arthur Pepper when I came across the following paragraph that made me laugh out loud.

Usually the first thing he and Miriam would do when they got to a room in a B & B was to have a nice cup of tea and see what type of cookie graced the courtesy tray.
They had devised a rating system together. Obviously, receiving no cookies at all scored a big fat zero. Digestives scored a two. Custard creams were a little better coming in at four.  Bourbons he had originally rated as a five but he had grown to appreciate them, so upgraded them to six. Any cookie that tasted of chocolate without containing any had to be admired. Farther up the scale were the pos cookies usually provided by the larger hotel chains- the lemon and ginger cookies or chocolate chip, which came in at eight. For a ten, the cookies had to be homemade by the  proprietors, and this was very rare. 

We always looked to see what kind of cookies the B & B provided and thought they were quite cheap when there was nothing available. We tended to like anything with ginger or chocolate.

I have no idea if anyone who reads this has read this book but if so I would love to know what you thought. I had not heard of it but we saw it on a shelf in one of our B & B rooms while we travelled and we both noted the title and author to check up on it later. I was not disappointed. 

Saturday, 15 October 2016

On The Way Home

The Penguin is packed and I am sitting in a large Dublin Hotel waiting to leave for the airport.  My flight is not until 10:35 pm so I don't need to get there until around 7:00 pm.

I have had all day not talking to anyone but the person who sold me a coffee earlier this afternoon. I sat in the lobby downstairs as it is a large conference hotel at the end of the Dublin Runway and lots of really comfortable couches and chairs downstairs.

I noticed on this blog that blogger has done something strange to my page. First it has deleted all the lists of Penguin books I had arranged under the title page of books owned in all the series. I will have to decide if I reload them all or not. The lists are not lost, just the placement of the lists on the blog so people can see what books are in my library. So I can see what books are in my library especially while hunting for them. Is this important to continue? I am not sure. Perhaps the main list is all I need to repost. Will look at it on my large desktop computer when I get home.

Then they have also deleted the Blogroll down the left side. I had listed all of the blogs I follow regularly. It is just gone. So while I sat downstairs this afternoon looking for anything to do I googled all of the blogs I could remember that I follow and just subscribed to them via email. I think I will put them back up as I believe some people do use the list to catch up on other blogs.  I know I often read others' lists of blogs they follow and have found some good ones doing that.

I have had a person or two write me to say that but I wonder if it is any longer the case.

At least I won't miss out on  reading them anymore as they come directly to my travellinpenguin gmail account. Will think about it.

I was able to secure a book online I saw in a B and B we stayed in. It is called The Curious Chars of Arthur Pepper. It is written by Phaedra Patrick, an author I was not familiar with. I have also started it today.

It is the story of a man whose children are grown and his wife has been dead for exactly one year. It is time to clear her things away.  He is dreading doing that but once he gets stuck into it he discovers a gold charm bracelet in the toe of one of her boots he has never seen before. There is a single name and a phone number inscribed on it from India. Amazingly he calls the number and chats to the man who gave it to her. Evidently she cared for him when he was a teenager. The Indian boy loved her then but at the time was jealous as he grew older and his sisters got the attention. He made up a lie that got her sacked and always regretted his actions. He gave her a golden elephant charm. But...interesting...the bracelet has other charms. Her husband wants to know the story behind all of the charms and now the story begins.

According to the blurb on the back of the book he begins to travel. He has never been out of the UK before and thus another quirky travel tale begins. Shades of the 100  Year Old Man Who Went through the Window and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.

I have no idea of whether it is any good. Only published this year I look forward to seeing all of the quirky people he meets, stories he hears and what the story is behind all of the charms. It seems to be an easy read and if there is nothing good on the Boxed Sets on the plane I may continue reading it.

I find it hard to concentrate on books while travelling on a plane. There are so many interruptions and I seem to reread the same paragraph again and again. But as I never sleep on a plane and I have at least 23 hours in the air maybe I can squeeze it in.

I'll let you know. Not being one to always enjoy modern stories I do like the premise of this book.

I hope I have signed up to all of the book blogs I follow as I have followed these particular ones for such awhile I would miss them. If I don't comment on your blog soon please send me the name of it either in the comments below or at  travellinpenguin at gmail dot com.

Off into the wilds I go.  
Photo by Travellin Penguin

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Last Day of Touring Ireland Except for......


We have pretty much finished up our travels around the southern part of Ireland. We began in Dublin, went around the southeast to the southern coast then came up the west coast ending in Dublin.

We have had so much beautiful scenery to talk about. It has been fun but extremely tiring. We drop into our rooms in the evening and try to post pictures to our relatives and friends on Facebook and write a few emails.

I always need news from home from Mr. Penguin and my dogs and cats. Evidently my little terrier Molly had a bath and she fluffed up so much she is three times her size. I will be glad to see them when I get home on Sunday.

Tomorrow we drive from Galways to Dublin, return the rental car and stay over in a hotel. We both fly out on Friday. My friend is going back to the heat of south Florida and I am on my 30 hour trip home to Australia. I am looking forward to it. I hope Emirates has some good boxed sets and I have downloaded books and magazines onto my Samsung tablet.

We have had some funny experiences along the way. As one can imagine a long car trip has conversations about all things real and silly. We go to solving the problems of the world, how children should be raised, funny stories from our work days together almost 30 years ago and google.

Every time we stumble in a conversation such as who played in that movie, who sang that song, what was the last lyrics in a nursery rhyme we say we are going to google it.  We began keeping a notebook of things to look up on google at the end of the day.

When did people begin smoking meat to store it? Who sang a particular song in the movie White Christmas with Bing Crosby?  Details about Edgar Allen Poe or Alfred Hitchcock. We have covered a lot while riding longer distances in cars.

Yesterday we stopped at a craft and book store along the Atlantic coast. My friend was looking at woollen sweaters and scarfs. I was taking photos of books because I like the book covers and often turn the pictures into bookmarks. Without even thinking about it I took photos of five books.

The book seller was very angry. He seemed angry when we walked in. My friend asked him about the marble in the mountains and if it comes from here. He was very short with her and snapped out half an answer.

When I went to pay for a blank journal I was buying because I loved the cover so much he didn't even want to wait on me. Then he snapped about all the people photographing books and not buying anything. Hey, I was buying a journal that looked like a book. He absolutely stormed away and if looks could kill. I have met rude booksellers before but this guy really took the cake.

Of course that led to several hours of conversation about how unhappy he must be. I still have the photos. I won't buy those books on Book Depository or Amazon.  I just wanted to revisit the covers of the Irish books. They were interesting. One should not jump to conclusions.
At an aquarium on west coast of Ireland

One of the Irish B and B's we stayed in had several books on the shelf by Maeve Binchy. How Irish is that?

We went through James Joyce's country yesterday west of Galway. Couldn't find a lot of information on his past but noticed his books for sale in several shops. No, I have never read Ulysses. It's one of those books you want to say you've read but haven't. I might remedy that, I might not.

I will leave you with pictures of the Penguin travelling with us along the way up the west coast as far as Galway and the peninsula it rests upon.

I'll be back once the jet lag passes.

Penguin at the aquarium watching the penguins.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

We Are Enjoying Ireland Very Much

Yes we are tired. Yes we are still sight seeing, driving endlessly, booking accommodation for the following days and eating.  Everywhere we go seems to take ages. We get lost at every turn and continue to argue with Beverly. Beverly is the GPS lady. She is so polite when giving us directions but yells at us when we miss the turn. Who programs these women anyway?
Powers court House and Gardens

Yesterday we went to Powerscourt Gardens. That was gloriously beautiful. It even had a pet cemetery on the grounds. Ponies, a cow and many dogs. The dates on the stones went from 1901 to 1940's when it seemed to stop.

I get distracted by the animal goings on. If you wish to know more about the history and what else is there please google it.

The Gardens

Today we went to Glendalough Monastery ruins that St Kevin established in the 6th century. It was really interesting.
On the grounds of the Glendalough Monastery 

Tomorrow we go to Blarney and Cork areas. I don't know if I will kiss the Blarney stone or not. Evidently it is in a very awkward place and all I keep hearing is, "Don't worry, they will hold you."
They?  We have been talking about "They" lately.

Who is "they". 'They' say this remedy works. 'They' say this spot of the world is gorgeous. We have been wondering who "They" is and will we ever meet this invisible person(s)?

The things you talk about on long car journeys, especially when lost in remote areas of a country we have never visited.

As this is supposed to also be a book blog I can only say the only books we have really studied is the manual for the BMW (ah yes) we upgraded to it because the Toyota Yaris scared us a bit. Manual and no GPS plus enormous suitcases.  With two of us we could cut the cost down. We know all about the dash of the BMW now and I must say it is ridiculous. We had to look up how to turn the turn indicators off. It is a three step process and if you do it too hard, don't touch it gently enough, it does not turn off.

Our too fancy car.

We were wondering how far car manufacturers will go with the bells and whistles of operating a turn indicator, a speedometer (yes we had to look that up because we could not find it) and when we press a key button to unlock it the boot swings open. Ridiculous. Where is the 1950 Ford I grew up with that had no seat belts, a 3 position gear stick on the steering wheel column and a button on the floor to change the brights.

We have also been reading maps. Lots of maps. We have read brochures, plaques, signs. We have been reading menus and price tags. I have never read so much.

I am starting to wish for a rainy day at home, a hot cup of coffee, three cats around me and a dog pushing on my shoulders to get a better position on the top back of my chair so he can see out the window. The other dog will be pushing the cats away from me so she has a spot and Mr. Penguin will be asking me if I want more coffee or a glass of wine maybe?

Cork and Blarney

We are heading to the Cork area tomorrow for two nights then on to Kilkenny on the west coast to drive the Ring of Kerry. I am looking forward to that.

I miss my animals, my friends, my books, my routines, my structures but we continue to have fun even if we drag ourselves to bed each night exhausted. Thanks for reading our travel dribble.
Stay tuned,  no doubt there will be more. We have another 11 days.

The Penguin found his way to some very soft Aran jumpers. He's tired too.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Did People Know About This?

I have not tried it yet but it looks interesting.

Earlier this year, the price on the blockbuster book, The Girl on the Train, was slashed from $11.99 to $1.99 for one day only.
Previously, Gone Girl was discounted from $9.99 to $2.99, and The Da Vinci Code was given away for free for one week. In all three cases, the discounts were only available for the ebook version.
Most people were completely unaware of these huge deals.
A select group of readers, however, had the inside scoop on all these deals and more. They were using BookBub, a daily email that alerts readers to free and deeply discounted ebooks that are available for a limited time.
Over 5 million people have signed up for BookBub’s free service. Readers sign up with just an email address, and then select their favorite genres. Each day, BookBub sends an email with free and discounted bestselling ebooks in the selected genres. Just click, download, and read on any device: Kindle, Nook, iPad, iPhone, Droid, & more.
From romance to mystery, cookbooks to non-fiction, and literary to historical fiction there are more than 20 categories to choose from to customize your email. Each title is hand selected by BookBub’s editorial team to ensure the highest quality – they do the work for you. In addition, each book is at least 75% off, and many are free, which makes it extremely low risk to try new authors and genres.
“It’s the Groupon of books,” Dominique Raccah, the publisher of Sourcebooks, told The New York Times about deal sites like BookBub. “For the consumer, it’s new, it’s interesting. It’s a deal and there isn’t much risk. And it works.”
Book lovers have now become practically obsessed with BookBub. In many cases, they’ve downloaded hundreds of books and saved hundreds of dollars using the service.
“I now have more books than I can read in a lifetime,” said Suzie Miller of Auburn, WA. She said she has downloaded more than 350 free ebooks using the service.
To see today’s ebook deals, go to
It sounds good anyway.