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!
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.
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.
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 🙂
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 🙂
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A tragic accident at age 17, resulting in a Bravery Award from the Queen, didn’t deter Debbie from travelling the world. A young retiree, after being made redundant from her 22 year career managing education programs in a men’s correctional centre, she now loves reading, blogging, riding her ebike and a good cup of tea! Also known as Granny Debs to her 4 grandchildren.
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