Thursday, 29 December 2016

2016 and Beyond

So how was your Christmas?   Ours was quieter than last year but very enjoyable. We spent Christmas day with our two grandsons and Terry’s parents. We laughed a lot, played games, ate too much and had a great time.

The following photos are a little blurry, which might be a good thing considering we are all wearing silly hats!

Terry with his mum and dad

Me with our grandsons Tris (on the left as you look at the photo) and Kip 

Tris (left) Kip (right)

During the rest of the holidays we walked, read and caught up on films missed earlier in the year. The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin was the perfect holiday read. Wouldn’t you work in a bookshop in Paris if you had the chance? I certainly would. Days spent surrounded by books while snow falls on the Champs-Élysées – what’s not to like?  

A little more serious reading is in order for the New Year starting with two books received as gifts this Christmas. East West Street weaves together historical, legal and familial narratives to reveal the origins of international law, beginning and ending with the last day of the Nuremberg trial. I’m excited to read this recent winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction. I think I’m in for a treat.  

I’m also excited to read the complete edition of the Wipers Times, the famed trench newspaper of the First World War. It contains a unique record of life on the wartime frontline, together with an extraordinary mix of black humour, fake entertainment programmes and pastiche articles.

My favourite film of the year, watched just a few days before Christmas is:  Sully. 
On Jan. 15, 2009, Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) tries to make an emergency landing in New York's Hudson River after US Airways Flight 1549 strikes a flock of geese. Miraculously, all of the 155 passengers and crew survive the harrowing ordeal, and Sullenberger becomes a national hero in the eyes of the public and the media. 

Before saying goodbye to 2016, I thought it would be fun to look back at the most popular posts on my blog last year. I also want to take a moment to thank you.  It is your visits, comments and shares that keep this blog alive. I am so very grateful to you all. Thank you!  

Now for the top five: 

Coming in at Number One is the wonderful Finnigan The Circus Cat: A Guest Post by Mary T. Wagner.

Mary shared her post with us in August and in October Finnigan was awarded a first-place finish at the Royal Palm Literary Awards in Florida. Congratulations Mary I can’t think of a more worthy winner.

Mary T Wagner at the Royal Palm Literary Awards

In Second Place is a book which occupies a special place in my heart and on my bookshelf. When found it was in a very dilapidated state but an excellent book restorer sprinkled a little magic book dust, and saved it from the clutches of the evil book pulping machine! This is just one of the beautiful images from Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales - see others here

In Third Place is our visit to the Titanic Museum in Belfast. The museum kindly shared the post on their social media streams, which certainly increased the number of visitors to my blog. 

In Fourth Place: British Eccentricity on Show at: The Chelsea Flower Show.

Diarmuid Gavin creator of the above flower show garden has indicated he will be taking a break from Chelsea in 2017.  Such a shame as I really love his designs as do a lot of people. 

In July, we visited Krakow and Auschwitz, and that post comes fifth and last on the list.  

It’s almost time to wish you a very Happy New Year. I hope 2017 brings you all your heart desires. 

I'm putting a post together about my favourite blogs from around the web and will share it with you soon. In the meantime, I would love to hear about the ones you enjoy so thinking caps on please.  


  1. Barbara, what a great post, and I love all the photos and images!!! You know how much I love vintage! :) I am not sure about working in a book shop, but I would love to work in a pet supply store (no selling of animals, only the supplies!) I worked in such a capacity for about 9 years and enjoyed every minute of it. You visited Auschwitz? I have never had the opportunity to, but I have seen many images and videos and it is a very difficult place to visit, I am sure.

    I would like to wish you a very happy, safe and prosperous, and, of course, healthy, 2017, dear friend! Much love and hugs to you.

    1. Hello Linda, I almost took a job as the receptionist at a veterinary clinic once but my husband talked me out of it because he said I would bring every abandoned animal home. He probably wasn’t wrong so maybe I should have worked at a pet supply store like you. Auschwitz was really harrowing, but I’m glad I visited. It took a long time to work out how I felt about it, but my abiding feeling now is sadness. It was all such a waste.

      Thank you for your good wishes. I wish the same for you Linda, Happy New Year, hugs Barbara.

  2. I love your photos, looks like you had a fun time. I visited Auschwitz and 3 other Concentration camps with a group some years back, and it was a very harrowing experience. You asked where I keep all my glass? Hmmm, my shelves are all used for books,glass and crafting stuff - other things don't have much room! Have a great New Year, hugs, Valerie

    1. I figured it would be like that Valerie – our shelves are much the same. With us, it’s books, bits of vintage china, and all kinds of other collections. We need a smaller house with more storage space!
      Gosh we only did two concentration camps, and that was hard enough. Well worth it though and I am truly glad we went.
      Happy New Year, I look forward to all your posts in 2017. Hugs, Barbara.

  3. Lovely post. Happy New Year

    Julie xxxxxxxxxxx

  4. Beautiful post, Barbara! It encapsulates all the lovely variety you give us throughout the year! Happy2017! And yes, I would adore working in a bookshop in Paris! I LOVE Paris (my French is getting very rusty - working in a bookshop would get me up to speed).

    1. That is such a lovely thing to say, thank you Colleen. I’ve really appreciated your friendship and support this year and always look forward to your blog posts.
      What a shame we didn’t meet a few years ago, we might even have opened a bookshop in Paris! :-)

  5. Sounds like you had a lovely Christmas and have some great books to keep you busy reading. I loved all 5 of your top posts very much and look forward to more great posts in 2017!! Happy New Year to you and yours.

    1. Thank you so much Darlene. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your posts this year (and in previous years) and always look forward to reading about your writing, your family and friends, and of course the adorable Dot. Happy New Year, Barbara

  6. It sounds like you had a lovely Christmas :) I spent Christmas Eve with my niece & nephew (playing games and tracking Santa) before cocktails & nibbles with friends and then Christmas Day with Mum, Dad, Nan & Grandad. All quite nice :) All the best for the new year!

    1. Christmas Eve with your niece and nephew sounds perfect. The anticipation and excitement are often more fun than the actual event. Wishing you all the very best for 2017.

  7. Dear Barbara ,
    Happy new year 2017 in advance.Sounds like you had a great time.Your top five posts are beautiful,loved your writing :)

    1. Hello Aunt Mary, how lovely to hear from you, I must call in at your blog for a catch up. Thanks for your kind words. Happy New Year, Barbara x

  8. we are..all behind...must be these
    tight trousers! :).

    And the Finnigan post was definitely the number
    one post..Brilliant. Don't do 2nd, 3rd etc..For
    me you either win, come top, or not at all...!
    HeHe! Are'nt l wicked! :). Love Finnigan!x

    Well, l was 'home alone' at Christmas, so, my
    Christmas starts to~day, my daughter, son~in~law
    will down later to~day, for four days, and their
    bringing both Staffy's with them, it'll be a mad
    house, or should l say a dog house....! HeHe!
    So, l shall be opening my prezzies later this
    evening! They always buy me 'silly' things, but,
    at least there always 'pink'. :). l look out the Paddington Bear curtains...
    It's just starting to get light..
    I'd like to say, and wish everyone a blessed and
    happy 2017, may ALL your wishes come true..well,
    most of them anyway!
    And, thankyou one and all who replied to my guest
    post, and all the e~mails l received...Great fun,
    thankyou...God Bless! :0).

    1. Hello Willie,
      I was very happy to come second, third, fourth, etc., to Finnigan! I loved that post and little Finnigan himself. It’s always difficult to pick out the most popular posts because those posted at the start of the year are bound to have more ‘hits’ then ones posted in say December. Yours would definitely be in the top five if I were to check the numbers again in say June. There must be a more scientific way of working it all out, but I’m not much of a statistician or mathematician come to that! :-)

      I hope you have loads of fun with your family, and the dogs. I bet you’ve been really looking forward to their visit. Enjoy your prezzies, have a brilliant New Year’s Eve, and I will look forward to ‘chatting’ with you in 2017.

      Time to open those Paddington Bear curtains now, and if I was you, I would find a comfy pair of trousers, there is nothing worse than being all ‘behind’.

      Say hi to your family from me. Barbara xx

    2. HeHe! Perhaps you should put the best
      posts to the followers...let them vote
      for the bestest one..But, then, l'm not
      a great lover of statistics, either way.
      For me...Finnigan is number one...! But,
      then, someone else would prefer another
      post! :).

      I was just reading in the paper,
      a survey shows that 40 million people will
      stay indoors this New Years Eve...where do
      they get these figures from...I thought to
      myself...40 million...must be a big house...! :).

      Just got back from town..very quiet, coffee in
      Costa...Chatted to a few people, signed a few
      autographs, like you do, back home for a lemon
      tea a blueberry muffin...Job done! :0).

    3. I wish I was as famous as you! The only time I ever sign anything in Costa is when it’s my turn to pay the bill!
      That would be some New Year’s Eve party, but as we are not among the chosen 40 million people, we will just stay at home. Humbug!
      Enjoy your tea and muffin Willie, we are just about to go and buy more food, might treat ourselves to a cup of tea in Morrison’s café. :-)

  9. Good morning dearest Barbara! It's fun to see you and your husband and grandsons AND Terry's parents as well! I love that you all wear hats for Christmas (and the paper crowns!) and the festivities can be felt from across the pond. It was a delightful holiday for us as well, spending Christmas Eve here at home together, then walking across the street to our neighbors' home for dinner. Last night, we simply walked next store to a lovely party with more neighbors, and the festivities couldn't have been any prettier. They just renovated their little cottage and it is now a magnificent space of light and handmade craftsmanship. I am grateful for our community of cottage dwellers who work hard to make their homes very special. My friend, reading has been a delight for me lately, as I've been home for a week now and have another week to enjoy with me and my books. Your picks look wonderful and yes, I'd LOVE to work in a bookstore in Paris!

    I want to wish you a fantastic 2017 and beyond! Anita

    1. Dear Anita, your Christmas with friends in their beautiful homes (and in your lovely home) sounds magical. I was thinking of you when I read the story set in Paris as I know how much you love it there. Enjoy the rest of your time off, it sounds as though you and I are spending the days in very similar ways.
      Happy New Year to you and to all the people you love. Barbara x

  10. What a wonderfully festive post. It wouldn't be Christmas without the wearing of a silly hat.

    Wishing you and yours all the best for 2017.


    1. You are absolutely right Tracy. Silly hats and even sillier Christmas cracker jokes just have to be part of the fun.
      Happy New Year to you and yours. Barbara

  11. You all look simply adorable in those hats, and what fun you had! Looking back, you've had some amazing and interesting adventures. We also had a quiet Christmas and will spend New Year's Eve with friends. Wishing you only the best of times in the New Year!

  12. Hello Diane, we did have a lot of fun the boys had us laughing from beginning to end. Sharing time with them and with Terry’s parents is very special.
    Have a very happy New Year, 2017 can only get better. Hugs xx

  13. being with family on such special days is always a blessing ! i can imagine the depth of your joy while you are enjoying their company .
    wishing you a wonderful healthy new year dear friend !!!

    1. Happy New Year to you too! I hope 2017 brings everything your heart desires.

  14. Wishing you and your family a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

    1. Thank you Nasreen, I wish you the very same. Barbara

  15. Great post, Barbara, as were all of your previous posts (I remember these favorites in particular!). I'm looking forward to what you'll come up with in 2017. Your Christmas sounds perfect--lots of laughing, reading, and playing games. I haven't seen Sully yet, but thank you for the reminder that it's not to be missed. Have a wonderful year, friend! xx

    1. Hi Marcia, I’m interested to see what I come up with in 2017 too! I honestly don’t have a clue, but I’m sure something interesting will come along (I hope), and I will somehow manage to put something together. The best inspiration of all is visiting wonderful blogs like yours, thank you for that and for your friendship. Happy New Year xx

  16. Happy New Year Barbara! I hope to be regular this year dear and that everything is good and blooming at your end.
    And, this is a wonderful post as always.You people are looking good in the pics:)

    1. Thank you Kokila, I hope 2017 brings you nothing but joy. I will be over to your blog in a while. Barbara

  17. Dear Barbara, I am a bit late in visiting your blog but still not late to wish you a beautiful year ahead. What a beautiful post and yes your post round up reminded me of all your lovely past posts. I loved them all. Your vintage cards are always a delight to look at. Working in Paris bookshop conjure up lovely romantic images about the city. I do love Paris but not sure about working there. I think it's the word 'working' that I am not happy about😀because I would rather roam around the city rather than work 😀😀


    1. Hello Shashi, I hadn’t though about being in Paris and not really wanting to work, but you are absolutely right. I do love books and bookshops, but perhaps I should just own the shop so that I could breeze in and out as the fancy took me. ;-)
      Thank you so much for all your visits and comments in 2016, I always look forward to hearing from you. Hugs Barbara

  18. Dear Barbara this post was very nice to read.
    I have retained the book "East West Street" and will add it to my "Reading List".
    I also like the idea of ​​making a summary of your favorite posts - I did one on my blog - I cannot wait to read "Krakow and Auschwitz" and the "Titanic Museum in Belfast."
    My favourite film of the year, watched last November was Sully  (I'm fond of Tom Hanks). Very entertaining and well documented.
    In short, I think that putting together a post on your blog posts favorites since the opening of your blog will be a difficult task. Because in my opinion they are all excellent.
    Congratulations on your beautiful blog and keep up the good work.

    1. Thank you so much, I’m very pleased to know you enjoyed this post. Perhaps I got the idea of making a summary of my favourite posts from you. I know I saw it somewhere but could not remember where. I really enjoyed Sully. Tom Hanks is wonderful but then all the cast were good. I’m really enjoying East West Street, although I’m not sure ‘enjoy’ is the right word, it is quite harrowing but well worth reading.
      You are so kind to say such complimentary things, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Barbara x

  19. Great post, Barbara, as were all of your previous posts. I'm looking forward to more interesting post and what you'll come up with in 2018.


I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

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