Three Things… #4

Reading, Looking, Thinking

Three Things Pic

This is a place for me to yap about things varied and unspecified. You are invited to participate.

There has been so much reading, looking and thinking occurring since my previous Three Things… post, it’s difficult to know where to begin. Although it was never my intention this should be a weekly digest of my every thought and action – more a sporadic dunk into the shallows of my inner ponderings (as I rather doubt there’s a deep-end) – a four-month hiatus is lackadaisical, if not downright negligent.

I shall, therefore, plunge straight in with whatever memories present themselves since returning from Northern Cyprus in early October (a holiday covered extensively in previous posts):


The past month has been great fun, with umpteen reading jollies taking place around the book blogging community – although I found it difficult to squeeze in all the themed challenges. I was able to take part to varying degrees in Margaret Atwood Reading Month, Nonfiction November and German Reading Month (just!), but there were other events I missed out on that had rather appealed, such as Novellas in November. Better planning skills on my part would have been useful, but typically, everyday life intervened, gobbling up my reading hours. A poor excuse, I know, so henceforth the eleventh month will be highlighted in bold on my book planner as NONSTOP NOVEMBER!


In October I came across a fascinating post by Ali Hope on her Heavenali blog: The latest from Persephone Books was a delightful paean to Persephone Books in which she discussed The Persephone Biannually arriving in the mail. Now, call me dense but I hadn’t previously realised it was possible to sign-up and freely receive this lovely magazine, so I immediately dashed over to the website and added my details to its mailing list.

A week or two later, Issue No.24 was delivered to my door along with a chunky edition of The Persephone Catalogue: 1999-2018 (an aesthetic joy in itself) and one of the publisher’s famous bookmarks: ‘The Happy Tree by Rosalind Murray’. I spent a pleasant evening thereafter reading about the recently deceased author Emma Smith; engrossed in a short story by RC Sherrif; and discovering new books to be published this winter. Thank you, Ali, for sharing such rewarding information.

I am about to embark on The Wind in the Willows for The Reading Challenge Group on Goodreads (combined with The Classics Club), after which it is my intention to spend the remainder of the year perusing whatever takes my fancy (see Thinking).


PROMS IN PARKAside from my regular link-truffling activities for Winding Up the Week, my partner and I have enjoyed meals out at favourite restaurants, doggy-sat a gorgeous Doberman called George and organized a surprise birthday bash for a friend (I don’t normally do parties but made an exception because it was a ‘special’ one), which, because she is such an ardent fan of Lewis Hamilton and racing in general, had a Formula 1 theme. We had enormous fun decorating the house with chequered flags and a life-sized cardboard cut-out of her hero (so realistic that it made me jump every time I walked into the room).

Shortly before leaving for Cyprus, I went with friends to BBC Proms in the Park Wales. It’s an immensely popular annual event, which takes place in Colwyn Bay’s 50-acre Eirias Park, this year featuring (among others) the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Lee Mead and my favourite lyric mezzo-soprano, Katherine Jenkins. There was much flag waving (the Red Dragon, of course), silly dancing to Jack the Lad (The Hornpipe), and raucous singing of Rule Britannia when we hooked up live with the Royal Albert Hall and other Proms events taking place around the country. The night was rounded off wonderfully with a rousing rendition of the Welsh National Anthem, Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau. It was a spectacular celebration and an excellent way to be joyful and silly for a few hours. Something so necessary in these times of deep pessimism.

I spotted this fabulous old typewriter (below) displayed in my favourite local store cum eatery: Bellis’ Farm Shop and thought I would include it here for no reason other than it made me smile.


I’ve been without a car for several weeks, for reasons best forgotten (see WUTW #43), but it has now been returned in almost perfect condition, so I am able to venture further afield and enjoy rummaging in book shops while taking-in the copious festive decorations to be seen just about everywhere at the moment.


Singing reindeers at the Grosvenor Garden Centre


As for my thoughts: after struggling to connect with Franz Kafka’s soon to be published short story collection, and putting this down to an overlong spell of required reading obligations, I have determined to have a thoroughly mellow mid-winter and be completely undisciplined in my reading habits; spending time with books because it pleases me to read them and not because I have some sort of obligation or deadline. I am aiming for entertaining, stimulating and calming – though, not necessarily all three at once.


Sorry all! If you can’t beat them…


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37 replies

  1. Ha! Ha! Love the photo.

  2. That photo is so endearing! I’m happy you have your car back, Paula, and I love your midwinter plans! ♥️

    • Thank you, Jennifer. Lovely to see you. I expect you are busy preparing for Christmas. I’m not at all organized!

      • It’s been so busy, Paula, I feel liked I’m behind! Here’s to both of us feeling prepared! ♥️

      • It’s such a hectic and stressful time of year, Jennifer. I bet you are entertaining a multitude over Christmas – thankfully my culinary abilities are famously calamitous, so nobody dare let me loose in the kitchen on big occasions. It’s an immense relief for me as well as family and friends! 💙👩‍🍳🎄💥

  3. Lovely post Paula! The Persephone Biannually Is a joy isn’t it – like all they do 🙂

    Very pleased to hear your car is back and your plans for a relaxed midwinter sound excellent- I may follow suit. I hope Santa granted your wish!

    • Thank you, Madame B. Yes, it’s good to have my wheels back. I live out in the wilds, so missed having a car. Well, I think curling up on the couch with a good book is the next best thing to hibernating in the chilly months of winter. Hope you find some pleasurable books to read, too. I suspect Santa may have been too shocked to listen to my wishes! 🤣

  4. Thank you, Paula, I enjoyed reading this very much. Thank you also for the Persephone prompt, I’ve signed up on the website too.

  5. Good to know your wheels are back in action. You don’t realise how much you depend on them until they are no longer there…
    I hadn’t realised Persephone had that free newsletter either. So am off to sign up

    Re all those challenges – I used to do a lot more than I do now. I pulled back when I found I was reading to order rather than reading for pleasure. But I do miss them 🙂

  6. I *want* that typewriter…. I’m a sucker for them (maybe because I learned to type on one years ago). So cool! And yes, the Persephone Biannually is such a joy – what a wonderful publisher they are!

  7. That typewriter! SWOON!!
    Thanks for the info on the Persephone catalogue… I hopped over and signed up as well!
    I just loved this post – 😀

  8. Love the typewriter, love the Persephone Biannually and most of all their website, and love your winter of undisciplined reading habits! Hopefully you will find something entertaining, stimulating and calming. . .

    • Thank you, Jane. It’s so nice to be in the company of people who appreciate the finer things in life (books, old typewriters et cetera) and understand when you go rogue with your reading habits every so often. That’s what I love so much about the book blogging community. 🤗

  9. I love when the persephone biannually comes through the letter box too. I was at proms in the park too- although in rainy Scotland–it’s such a fun way to spend an evening, even if a little chilly!

  10. ‘Lackadaisical’, that’s a word that’s not used often enough, I love it. Also like the photo op with Santa; I think I’m too grinchy at the moment to do that and try to paste a smile on my face. I’m just not ‘feeling’ Christmas this year, maybe I’m in the minority in feeling that way. I think that reading for pleasure rather than obligation is an excellent idea, and it’s great you have your car back!

    • I’m afraid it isn’t a word that can be applied often enough in my case! 🤭

      I’m definitely in your grinchy camp, Caz, but there’s just no avoiding it all for the next few weeks. Several years ago I went to Sharm El Sheikh for Christmas and New Year, hoping to escape all the hullabaloo (visions of reading quietly by the sea) – under the misapprehension that because it was a mainly Muslim country, very few people would be celebrating. A big mistake: it was wall to wall glowing reindeers, fake trees and tacky flashing Santas – and constant jingly music played at full volume absolutely everywhere (including the beach). I survived the experience, just about, but realised there was actually less enforced festivity on home soil (which is saying something). I swore after returning I would never grouse about Christmas again! 🤣 xx

  11. “Nonstop November” is perfect! I was also trying to participate in Novellas in November, and I did read a few, but am late posting about it. My Novellas in November usually turns into Novellas in December or January. Ah well… it’s all fun. 🙂

  12. Yippee! Three Things! Must sort out some of mine again 😉 As always such interesting insights, Paula, and I love the typewriter, that’s what I pounded on at business college in the (cough, cough) years.

  13. I probably write more than read. That’s where this has gone

  14. I only read Wind in the Willows for the first time a few years ago. It is now a favorite. Some ‘children’s’ books are meant to be read as adults!!

  15. That typewriter also made me smile. I am a big fan of typewriters. There was a documentary on them not so long ago with Tom Hanks which I recommend. Typewriters are really the relics of today, but there was something ineffable and poetic about them which this generation…well loses.


  1. Winding Up the Week #47 – Book Jotter

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