Good books, good friends and good fun for #lifethisweek

I was wondering what to write for Denyse’s prompt of GOOD for #lifethisweek and I started thinking about what’s been good lately.

And there’s been lots of good things, family time, travel interstate, blogging connections, riding my ebike, making progress on our rail trail 1st year celebrations, a much needed massage and much much more.

It also came to me that I’ve read some good books, had some fun with good friends and been inspired by ‘good people’.

I love this quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln – Whatever you are, be a good one – couldn’t have said it any better myself Abraham!

Whatever you are, be a good one
Whatever you are, be a good one – quote by Abraham Lincoln

Good Books

Recently I’ve read some great books – I’ve given out 5 stars to a few books in the last month, and I don’t give out 5 stars will-nilly believe me!

Here are two of my favourites.

Escape to Curlew Cottage by Joanne Tracey

Yes the same Jo Tracey who I met up with in Brisbane last month!! She is a brilliant author and her latest book is just fabulous in so many ways!

The blurb from Goodreads: Claire Mansfield is the host of the popular reality TV show Time For Tea, and possibly the nicest person on British television – until a secret from her past ignites a media storm. Someone, it appears, wants to see her career destroyed.

Seeking shelter, Claire runs to Brookford, the Cotswolds village she left behind nearly twenty years ago. Also back in town is Owen Gallagher, the man who broke her teenage heart and who is now one of the hottest chefs in the country – and has reasons of his own to see Claire ruined.

Three bloggers - Jo, Debbie, Sue
Three bloggers catchup in Brisbane – Jo, Debbie, Sue

My review on Goodreads: I loved this book, just like all Joanne’s previous books! She has created great characters and a fascinating storyline that kept me enthralled. The locations, the food, the imagery and the story all added up to an ‘easy to lose myself in’ read! I felt like I escaped to Curlew Cottage too. Just fabulous and Jo’s best book yet in my opinion.

In an Instant by Suzanne Redfearn

The blurb on Goodreads: Life is over in an instant for sixteen-year-old Finn Miller when a devastating car accident tumbles her and ten others over the side of a mountain. Suspended between worlds, she watches helplessly as those she loves struggle to survive.

Impossible choices are made, decisions that leave the survivors tormented with grief and regret. Unable to let go, Finn keeps vigil as they struggle to reclaim their shattered lives. Jack, her father, who seeks vengeance against the one person he can blame other than himself; her best friend, Mo, who bravely searches for the truth as the story of their survival is rewritten; her sister Chloe, who knows Finn lingers and yearns to join her; and her mother, Ann, who saved them all but is haunted by her decisions. Finn needs to move on, but how can she with her family still in pieces?

Now this one really tested me as it was very similar to something I went through when I was 17 but I couldn’t stop reading it or marking quotes to keep from it. My story is here if you want to read it, and it took me nearly 40 years after the accident before I could write about it. What I’ve learnt from surviving a school trip that went horribly wrong

My review: This was so close to what happened to me when I was a teenager on a school excursion overseas. On a wet and stormy night the bus we were on skidded off the winding road, rolled down a cliff, landing upside down in a river. I was thrown out of the bus as it rolled down the embankment suffering injuries and concussion. I made my way down to the river and helped aid people as they were rescued from the upside down submerged bus. Then I made my way with some of the others, up the cliff to get help. Three people, two of them students, died that night and many of the others, including teachers, were badly injured.

I returned home, attended funerals, sought medical attention for the glass embedded throughout my body and went back to school for my final year exams- without any help, counselling or much support, apart from family and friends, it was as if it never happened in some ways.

Although this all happened to me over 40 years ago, I can still remember it vividly and this book brought it all back again in an instant. I couldn’t stop reading and despite the story being different, I could relate to it so much. The drunk bus diver (I didn’t learn this until later), the fear, the sadness, the depth of my feelings and the sheer resilience I found in myself to continue on, to make the most of my life, to live boldly and use it as a positive rather than dwell on the negatives.

A friend read this book, and knowing some of my story, she said it made her think of me at the time. I was in two minds about reading it but I’m so glad I did. I copied so many of the quotes as they could have related to my story. I didn’t write about this accident until a few years and this has helped me too.

Some quotes from the book – they gave me goosebumps.

“Is that really how you remember it?” Mo says. There’s no anger in her tone, the question sincere, as if she really wants to know. Natalie looks down at the sidewalk between them, and her head shakes slowly as she shrugs. “Actually I don’t really remember much about it at all,” she says. “I mean, I do. I know it happened, and I know I was there, but it’s blurry, like it happened to someone else a very long time ago. Is that how it is for you?” Mo stiffens, and I watch as she exhales slowly through her nose, taking a long time before she answers. When she does, the words are slow and deliberate, betraying the effort it takes for her to speak about it. “No,” she says. “For me it’s the opposite, the memory so real it’s like I more than lived it, and so close it’s like it happened yesterday or like it’s going to happen again at any moment.” Natalie’s eyes widen. “Every detail so vivid that, most of the time, I can’t see past it.” “Oh,” Natalie says.

And this one:

Because no matter how busy you keep yourself, no matter how much you refuse to talk about the past or face it, no matter how many times you change the channel if the weatherman is predicting snow, there are moments, inevitable lapses and gaps in time, when the past floods into the present with such fury it sucks the wind from your lungs and knocks you off your feet.

Good friends

Riding my bike on our rail trail with good friends for our Social Saturday ride is always a highlight of the week for me. The return trip is close to 45km so it’s a great workout, but the best part is catching up with friends as we ride, sitting down together for a milkshake/snack at the halfway point and talking to other visitors about their experiences on the trail. It is so gratifying to hear of their enjoyment, their happiness at finding everyone so friendly and how much they appreciate the effort that has gone into the trail.

I’m also using my rides for my Icelandic Loop Challenge so it’s even more fun riding with my friends – they think they are on the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail, when in fact we’re cycling around Iceland together 🙂

Good fun

My online bookclub has recently read Wuthering Heights in sections, followed by a discussion over Zoom every few weeks. Next we each watched one of the many movies made of the book and discussed these in the context of the book. After we’d read, watched and discussed we did a cooking exercise over Zoom – yes we did!

We were ably led by one of our members (we are a very small group), with what was required beforehand and we were all ready at the set time to don our aprons and chat as we cooked our very appropriate Yorkshire Pikelets, they were a bit like a crumpet but an imperfect variety in size and shape.

I can’t tell you how much fun it was to do this. An hour was all it took, to cook, chat and have a cup of tea together, while eating our pikelets – all over Zoom.

Have you done something like this before with friends?

It’s interesting that these pikelets and the recipe are also featured in Escape to Curlew Cottage as mentioned above.

What about you?

So that’s a just a quick wrap-up of what’s been good for me lately. Thanks to Denyse for the prompt and the linkup, it’s always interesting to join in and see what others are writing about for these prompts.

What’s good in your life at the moment? I always enjoy hearing from you 🙂

Happy Monday 🙂

Deb xx

You can also find Deb’s World in lots of other places – stay in touch by clicking any of the buttons below.

Debbie - mother of a 40 year old

Everyone has a story to tell! Deb is a young-at-heart & active 60+ blogger/retiree, after being made redundant from her 22-year career managing education programs in a men’s correctional centre (jail). She now spends her time reading, blogging, riding her ebike and travelling. Deb was awarded a Bravery Award from the Queen when she was 17 after a tragic accident – a definite life changing moment! She is married with 3 grown-up daughters & has 4 grandchildren. She never imagined being Granny Debs would bring so much joy to her life! You can read more of Deb’s story here

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38 Replies to “Good books, good friends and good fun for #lifethisweek”

  1. If you were really riding around Iceland you’d have a glow from the lava in the sky – quite amazing. Check out the photos. The volcano erupted on the weekend near Reykavik (I don’t know how to spell that apparently)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I heard they’ve had a massive number of eruptions recently. Don’t think I’d go too well cycling with all that going on so am glad I’m doing it here!


  2. Hi, Debbie – I agree with Jo – there’s so much to love about this post, and such a mixture of emotions. Focussing on one of the lighthearted pieces – Zoom cooking with friends — I always love every single minute of it. I look forward to doing this more often!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Books and pikelets – can’t get much better than that! I love reading. I have amassed a huge pile to get though. I don’t think I have read any by these authors though.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t wait to read Jo’s new book – it sounds like a cracker! I think I would like to be in a book club if it was as fun as yours! Did you love the pikelets. I’m a huge fan!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, Deb! What a terrible ordeal you suffered as a teenager! You are one brave and strong woman. Reading that book must have had such an impact on you.

    Your book club is ambitious! My book club can barely stay on the topic of the book under discussion. We go off on wild tangents and never get around to discussing much of the book. Maybe it’s the wine! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your kind words Laurie, it was a huge ordeal at the time and even so now, all these years later it comes back to haunt me, especially when I read things like this book.

      I’m in 2 bookclubs, the local one where we meet in person is more relaxed and chattery over wine and snacks but the online one is small and intimate so we get lots done – so much fun!


  6. Hi Deb – love the positivity in this post – life is full of so many good things when we stop for a moment to appreciate them. You’ve done well to narrow it down to just three good things – I bet there were dozens more you could have chosen if you had the time and space xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your kind words Leanne, so many good things when we take time to look for them as you say. I always appreciate the good things in life. There were oodles more I could have mentioned but I liked these three the best 🙂


  7. This prompt stumped me, but I loved reading your approach to it. You certainly have had much “good” in your life lately. I’m just about to start Jo’s book and have put In An Instant on my TBR list. Like you I think it will press some buttons for me, especially after reading that last paragraph that you wrote. But it does call to me. #lifethisweek

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I was a bit stumped as well Jen, as I could have gone on and on…. but I enjoyed writing about these three things. The book was triggering but I couldn’t put it down!


    1. Thanks Toni, the Icelandic loop challenge is helping keep me motivated I must say. They’ve been having lots of eruptions over there so it would be very interesting to see, from a distance of course!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Lovely to read your post…in fact, it was GOOD.

    Seriously you did a great job with the prompt…and a little heads up, next week for #heroic I am re-sharing you as a woman of courage Thank you for linking up your blog post to Life This Week #232. Lots of interesting comments from bloggers this time about “good”. Next week, the optional prompt is Heroic….that too might generate more conversation…and THAT is what I love about hosting a link up on my blog. See you there. Denyse.along with 2 others.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love that quote Deb. In this time of ongoing stress we all need such a simple reminder that we can make the world a better place. Thank you for the book recommendations. I believe I spoke to you about how in 2020 I couldn’t settle my mind to read a single book. I am delighted to report I am on book 13 of 2021 and the funny thing is I feel more settled from reading. I’ll add these to my list. I can see why In An Instant has such a profound meaning for you. I’m currently reading Crossroads by Kahleb Dahlgren. He was one of the survivors of the Humboldt hockey bus crash in Canada in 2018 where 16 players and staff were killed. Heartbreaking and inspiring all at once.
    Sending hugs across the miles. It’s just getting to be cycling season here. Wishing we were there to try out your rail trail.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Sue, I remember you saying you couldn’t settle to read books at the time and I knew of many others in a similar situation. I’m glad to hear you are back on track with your reading – I would miss not being able to sit and enjoy a good book! The book you mention Crossroads sounds like another one I might or might not be able to read, due to its similarities to my experiences. I find I shrivel up inside whenever I hear of a bus accident anywhere in the world – just for a few moments but I’m there with them. We are still enjoying our rides and I can’t wait for the day when you can join us! Sending hugs back to you xx

      Liked by 1 person

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