I hope everyone is having a good week so far. I have been busy working and getting ready for Christmas but I have also managed some fun adventures as well.
We went back to one of our favourite National Trust places to see their Christmas displays this year. I really enjoyed the theme of A Christmas Carol and thought it was beautifully done. I always find Wightwick so quirky and pretty but with the decorations this year as well it really was magical.
I have recently done my first Christmas stall with my new business Lyra’s Pawsome Books. I really enjoyed the day and sold some items as well which was an added bonus. I will be definitely doing more stalls in 2023.
Bath Christmas Market
Last week we stayed in Bath for a few days and did loads of Christmas shopping at the Christmas Market. It was really nice to get away for a few days before it gets really busy work wise over Christmas.
There were parts of this which I found interesting but I did not like the weird smells that also came with the displays. It was quite creepy in places but it was funny to see just how much the monster has been used in film, TV and advertising over the years.
On the run up to Christmas we have some more Christmas adventures planned but the main thing we will be doing is prepping and playing for Christmas jobs. I am hoping to get some reading done on the run up to Christmas and also some more products for my Etsy.
I thought it was time for a check in of my non-bookish activities. A lot of my time is currently taken up with work and because the weather has been so horrid I haven’t managed much walking but we have been trying to make the most of our days off together.
Statesman Trainand Whitby Abbey
We recently went on a Statesman Train to Whitby and back with my husbands family. The food was absolutely incredible and I managed quite a bit of reading on the train. It would have been nice to have had a bit more time in Whitby but we managed to see the Abbey which is somewhere I have always wanted to visit.
I love Christmas and I love buying Christmas decorations so we have been to a couple of places to buy some new decorations. These include lights for the outside and inside, I also managed to get a few Christmas presents as well. I have yet to find a new singing toy but I have managed to find a light up Father Christmas. I buy a new Christmas singing toy every year. I’m hoping to get some more decorations when we visit the Bath Christmas Market in December.
Christmas Card Making
I have recently got into Christmas card making and I am really enjoying it and finding it a nice relief from work. In fact I am finding it a little bit addictive. Due to the sheer amount of cards I have been making and I am now putting them on my Etsy site as well just in case I get swamped with Christmas cards. I am going to have a go at making some birthday cards as well. If you would like to check out my Etsy site the link is below.
We are trying to go on walks when we have time and the weather isn’t to horrid or it is too dark. We have been having a lot of rain recently which has been hampering our walking but we are still trying. On Tuesday we went for a lovely walk with beautiful sunshine and explored our local nature reserve.
So there are some of my latest adventures and endeavours. We have quite a few things planned for the run up to Christmas so I will keep you all posted.
I thought it was time for a non bookish update. I will be honest since being back at school I haven’t had as much time for adventures but we are trying to make the most of our days off together.
Boscobel House and White Ladies Priory
Last week we visited Boscobel Hosue and White Ladies Priory. We loved the fact that you get a candle and every time you see the candle symbol you put your candle on it and something happens, whether that be sound effects or videos. It was a nice feature that we had never seen before. When we had finished in the house we walked to the ruin that is White Ladies Priory and then went around the farm at Boscobel.
Today we met up with a friend and visited the National Trust property Berrington Hall. Berrington is one of my favourite National Trust properties because I always love how they decorate the rooms at Christmas. It was also nice to see the house without the scaffolding inside as that was there when we last visited. After a lovely lunch we went for a nice walk around the grounds and enjoyed the beautiful views and Autumn sunshine.
I am really looking forward to half term as we have lots of adventures planned so I will probably do another This and That Thursday then.
I hope everyone is well and having a good week so far. We are still trying to go on plenty of adventures whilst the weather is still decent. Here are our most recent adventures.
Ludlow Castle and Ludlow
We love visiting Ludlow but haven’t been for quite a long time due to covid so it was really nice to go back. We spent most of the day going around the castle but we also found an amazing little music shop where I bought a lot of music books. I did go around a bookshop but i just didn’t find a book that really interested me.
We have both been to Chirk Castle before but neither of us could remember much of it so we decided to go for another visit and I am so glad we did because it is such a wonderful place and has the biggest Grandfather clock we have ever seen.
Warner Brother Harry Potter Studio Tour
It was my husbands birthday yesterday and he asked to go to the Harry Potter Studio tour for his birthday, so yesterday we spent a wonderful day going around the tour. It was really good to see the new exhibits in the back lot and have a go at pulling out a Mandrake.
We spent the night away last night so on the way home today we visited a new National Trust property for us, Hughenden Manor. Hughenden Manor was the home of Benjamin Disraeli and it had the most amazing library, although smaller than some of the libraries I have seen in National Trust properties I just loved it, it was so cozy and well organised. I could happily have spent all day in that room.
I thought it was time for another This and That Thursday because I have been quite busy going on adventures recently.
Just recently I went to Norfolk where my best friend lives to surprise her for her birthday. The surprise went really well and we had a really great time. We ate some lovely food and visited a lovely National Trust property called Felbrigg Hall. It was a wonderful weekend away and it was so good to spend time with friends.
My husband and myself went to try afternoon tea at our local Golf club. We had never been before but thought as it was the holidays we would treat ourselves. We really enjoyed it and have also been for dinner there as well.
Powis Castle is a bit of a distance for us but we had a rare Sunday off together so we thought we would set off earlier and go to a National Trust place further afield. We enjoyed the castle so much that we went around twice and this also helped us avoid the rain.
We are also members of the English Heritage but we haven’t used our membership this year so we decided to remedy the situation and visit Witley Court. I love Witley Court but I do find it depressing. The house was clearly a gorgeous house and would have been wonderful to see before it was burned down. However, walking around the ruins you get the sense of the grandeur but also sadness that so little remains.
Wightwick Manor is one of my favourite National Trust places and one that is very local to us. I love the design of Wightwick and the fact that in comparison to most National Trust properties it is relatively new. The house is so eccentric and always fills me full of wonder. It is also has some beautiful artwork in and a very nice library.
So there are some of my adventures. I am going on another adventure tomorrow all being well so I am hoping it doesn’t rain.
I hope everyone is having a good week so far. I started yet another book today. I now have four books on the go which is feeling very odd and I definitely prefer reading one book at a time but I just can’t seem to settle at the moment.
I have been having some adventures outside of books though, so here they are.
Lord of the Rings Conqueror Challenge
We are still walking and trying to complete our Lord of the Rings Challenge. We are still on the first medal (there are 5) but we have now reached the 40% mark of that medal. Who knew it would take so long to get to Bree!
RAF Museum Cosford
I had an unexpected free Monday a couple of weeks ago so we decided to go to and see some antique planes. I always love visiting but I always feel a little sad at seeing all these beautiful planes which will never fly again. This is one of my favourite planes.
It was my Mom’s birthday last week so we took my parents out to an amazing afternoon tea at Stanbrook Abbey. The food and service was absolutely brilliant and the venue itself was incredible. Definitely worth a wander around.
Today we took advantage of the beautiful weather and went on a National Trust outing. Sadly, we were not able to go around the house but were allowed to go for a wander around the basement. Thankfully, the grounds at Attingham are beautiful so we did lots of walking and investigating. There was also a huge second hand book shop where we found a holiday guide for our next holiday.
So there are my recent adventures, making the most of days off.
I hope everyone is well and looking forward to Easter with all the yummy goodies that come with Easter. I am particularly enjoying the Marmite and Cheese Hot Cross Buns by Marks and Spencers, my husband is horrified.
Anyway, here is what I have been up to recently.
I met up with my best friend last week which was wonderful. This meet up meant lots of yummy pizza and cake and spending far too much money in Waterstones. The weather was terrible but that just meant more time sheltering in the book shop.
For Lent my husband and myself have been trying to do more walking. Our day off from walking is Sunday but otherwise we put our walking boots on and off we go. Most of the walks have been local which has been lovely because we get to say hello to the local horses and lambs. We have also gone to different locations for a change as well and one of these was a Gruffalo walk which was very exciting.
Yummy Lunch and Pipe Organ Builders
My husband and myself are both church organists and this week we had an opportunity to go around an organ builders which I must admit was a bit worried about but it was very interesting. Before we went though we fortified ourselves by going to lunch at a local french restaurant and i had two of my all time favourite dishes, French onion soup followed by Mussels and fries.
I have more adventures planned for next week as I have the week off from teaching so I plan on making the most of the free time.
Over the last few weeks we have been trying to get some adventures in before Christmas. Christmas is always a busy time for us work wise so it is always nice to have a little break before the madness starts.
We went to a lantern show near us which was absolutely amazing and great fun.
We went with family on a steam train for a Christmas evening which involved carol singing, mulled wine, Christmas decorations and festive fun. It was really nice to spend time with family and I love going on a steam train.
We usually go to Bath over the New Year but because of work commitments it wasn’t possible this time so we went this week instead. I love Bath and I really missed not going last year. I was really happy to visit Toppings’ new location and to visit the new Persephone Books that has opened. I also visited Mr B’s Emporium which has really changed since we last saw it. It wasn’t all bookshops though, we also went to the Rossetti exhibition at the Holburne Museum and the Fashion Museum in the Assembly Rooms. I really did not want to leave but I have a big list of places I want to visit next.
The rest of our time has been taken up with Christmas decorations and work. Here are a few snaps of the Christmas decorations.
Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission – and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.
Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.
All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.
His crew mates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, Ryland realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Hurtling through space on this tiny ship, it’s up to him to puzzle out an impossible scientific mystery-and conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.
And with the clock ticking down and the nearest human being light-years away, he’s got to do it all alone.
Or does he?
I have finally got around to reading this as I let my husband read it first. I was so excited to read this as I absolutely love The Martian and have read it more than once as I just love the humour in the book.
I love how this story begins because we as the reader know exactly as much as Ryland Grace and we start to get all the facts as Grace finds them out or remembers them himself. You also soon realise that Grace is quite amusing and the humour reminds me a lot of Whatney from The Martian. This book made me laugh a great deal I must admit. I also loved how Grace names everything. I also name everything; my printer at university was called Vinnie.
Stratt is a scary character but a woman of power and I do find her highly amusing and intimidating. She stands no messing and will do anything and everything to make sure Project Hail Mary is a success. I also really like how Stratt and Grace interact and what other people think of their relationship.
My favourite character is Grace’s ally Rocky. I won’t say much about Rocky as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone but Rocky is adorable and I think he is wonderful and funny. He really is a fascinating character and I would happily read another book all about Rocky. He is extremely clever and can build or fix anything.
The book has diagrams of the space ship at the beginning of the book and this is really helpful for understanding certain things that happen in the book. I also really enjoyed the science experiments in this book and that Weir was not afraid to give all the details in the book rather than skipping over the details. This is a really good science fiction novel and I couldn’t put it down. I give this book 5 out of 5 Dragons.
(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)
About the author
Andy Weir built a career as a software engineer until the success of his first published novel, The Martian, allowed him to live out his dream of writing full time. He is a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of subjects such as relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. He also mixes a mean cocktail. He lives in California.
Have you read this book?I would love to hear your thoughts, please drop me a comment.
I haven’t done a This and That Thursday in ages so I thought it was time for an update that doesn’t involve books.
I have had my first vaccine now and have gradually started going out and visiting places which has been a nice change.
I have now begun work on my dissertation and I am thoroughly enjoying it. It is so nice to be studying a topic that you have chosen for yourself.
I am averaging an hour a day of piano practice and thoroughly enjoying it. It is so good to be practicing and having a proper structure to my practice again.
We went for a lovely day out to Croome which is a National Trust property. I hadn’t been for years so couldn’t remember much about it. It was beautiful day and it was wonderful to go for a nice walk around the grounds and go around the house followed by a nice lunch in the cafe.
We also went for a lovely meal this evening for my mom’s birthday. It was so good to have some normality and have a nice relaxing evening.
This morning we got the telescope out to see the solar eclipse, with a filter of course. It was rather cloudy but we managed to see it which was wonderful to see. I managed to get a rather dodgy picture with my phone through the telescope, it isn’t great but it was really tricky to get the phone lined up with the telescope.
So there are a few of my adventures recently. Work and chores continue as normal but I must admit I have been having lots of fun with the new strimmer. Hopefully I will manage to go to an actual bookshop soon as well.