Quote, Weather and Mourning Goose.

As a lover of old books I love this quote by C.S. Lewis…

Every age has its own outlook. It is especially good at seeing certain truths and especially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books.’

Terrible weather overnight in the south. Prayers for those in Alabama with 9 tornadoes last night! The 4th nor’easter of this month is beginning today in the northeast! My son in Maryland is expecting 12-18 inches of snow! That will break all records for this late in the season for them. Back home in Pennsylvania they’re right on the line between 1-3 and 8-12! We are suppose to get rain here in Greeneville, maybe a half inch of snow tomorrow. Woke up to heavy fog this morning!

Yesterday morning we woke up to a lone Canada goose pacing between our yard and the neighbor on the side. It was honking up a storm. The neighbor said it started around 3 am. By 1:30 I was worried that it was lost from its flock. The golf course is behind us and there is a chain link fence with barb wire slanted in at the top. I thought maybe it couldn’t get a long enough run to fly over. I called the Wildlife Agency and the ranger got right back to me. He said they are not in flocks right now but it’s mating and nesting time so they should be in pairs. It might be a male guarding a nest nearby. If it wasn’t injured just leave it alone and call them if it seems to not be able to fly or leave after awhile. I felt much better as I had been worrying about it all day. They really are pretty birds.

You can see the old barb-wired fence along the property line behind us in the pic below. It’s been there for a hundred years from back when this was all farmland. The goose had watched a robin bathing in the small water dish I keep out there for the birds and walked up there. I thought it was going to drink but it seemed to want to go into the other yard. After supper, Bossman went out and took down the barb wire fence. He’s been talking about doing it. The goose waddled over then. I was worried that it couldn’t fly as no matter how close we got to it, it never even flapped it’s wings. Silly me sat there watching it and praying about my concern that it might not being able to fly or maybe being injured. So of course the Lord being concerned about even the small things in our lives, let the goose pick up and fly a small distance so I could see it was okay 😁. I think it had lost its mate and was looking for it. They mate for life and mourn when a mate dies.

Did you see that a self driving Uber car in Arizona hit a woman on a bike and killed her yesterday? Crazy, self driving cars are a ridiculous idea! Even though there is a human at the wheel your just not as alert if your not doing the actual driving. This is the second time someone was hit by one. The other didn’t kill the person though.

I was playing around with the camera yesterday while Bossman was taking down the barb wire fence. Got a couple nice shots of the 🌼’s

This is the hemlock wooly adelgids on our hemlock tree. Amazing these tiny white things can kill the tree.

Hemlock cones

We started sorting books the end of February for the library book sale in April/May. We have double the books as before! Probably close to 200,000! Their going to hold the sale two weekends this time. This year we’re having a mystery section! I asked last year and they said no. I’m so pumped about it. I get to be in charge of it too!

img_0762Bowling has become a part of our routine over the winter. We go twice a week. Our bowling alley was built around 1968. Old wood lanes. The owners are super people. They had a new roof put on shortly after they bought it and then a hail storm damaged it. The insurance company has been fighting with them for several years over paying up so they are in court with them over it and in the meantime the leaking is getting worse and damaged the inside ceiling too. They have containers sitting all over to catch drips when it rains. They’ve put tarps over the roof trying to help but it doesn’t work too good. Needless to say the cost of repair now is astronomical. April 17th they finally get to find out if they get to take it to a jury. If not I’m afraid they won’t be able to stay open. I am the most inconsistent bowler ever! Last week I had an 82 game followed by 178! Yesterday I was fairly consistent with 125, 154, and 124. Brenda is trying to get me to join the ladies league. Maybe I’ll join next fall.

Finally got to see Three Billboards in Ebbing Missouri. So much unnecessary foul language! Good story and excellent acting though. I enjoyed it. I think Bossman was too put off by the language.  We are going to see I Can Only Imagine next Tuesday. Mercy Me is one of our favorite groups. We could use a movie full of hope with all negative news! What I’m really looking forward to is Paul, Apostle of Christ! It’s coming out March 23rd. Jim Caviezel is in it. I LOVE him.

We recently went to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville NC and to a Civil War re-enactment at a Tennessee Historic Site. I’ll post pictures from those soon!

Stay dry, warm and safe in whatever weather your being hit with right now and remember summer is on its way!


Irish TV

Keeping with all things Irish this month of The Begorrathon over at Cathy’s 746 Books I thought I would highlight a couple of Irish TV shows that I absolutely loved.

91fU27Tzy5L._SY550_Quirke is a three part crime noir series based on John Banville’s series of crime novels written under the pen name Benjamin Black. Amazing that I loved this show so much since I haven’t been able to get into a Banville book enough to finish one! I guess I should try this series. I loved Gabriel Byrne in this. I love him in anything actually. Byrnes plays Quirke, we never know his first name, a pathologist in 1950’s Dublin. It’s a beautiful period piece. It aired in 2014 on RTE and then BBC One. Michael Gambon plays Quirke’s adoptive father.

The first episode is based on the first book in the series Christine Falls:

It’s not the dead that seem strange to Quirke. It’s the living. One night, after a few drinks at an office party, Quirke shuffles down into the morgue where he works and finds his brother-in-law, Malachy, altering a file he has no business even reading. Odd enough in itself to find Malachy there, but the next morning, when the haze has lifted, it looks an awful lot like his brother-in-law, the esteemed doctor, was in fact tampering with a corpse—and concealing the cause of death.

It turns out the body belonged to a young woman named Christine Falls. And as Quirke reluctantly presses on toward the true facts behind her death, he comes up against some insidious—and very well-guarded—secrets of Dublin’s high Catholic society, among them members of his own family.

Set in Dublin and Boston in the 1950s, the first novel in the Quirke series brings all the vividness and psychological insight of Booker Prize winner John Banville’s fiction to a thrilling, atmospheric crime story. Quirke is a fascinating and subtly drawn hero, Christine Falls is a classic tale of suspense, and Benjamin Black’s debut marks him as a true master of the form.

Watch the RTÊ trailer…

You can watch clips on this show on the BBC site.

I really need to read these books! I did find a headline, while looking for info on this series, dated March 16, 2018 that states Byrnes returns to Dublin to film series two of Quirke! I can live in hope! This series doesn’t seem to be available in many places. I did find it on Amazon. You can buy episodes or watch it with a trial of Britbox through Amazon. Click on the link for Amazon above. Have you seen it? Have you read any of the books? What did you think of it?

Another Irish TV series I really enjoyed is Jack Taylor, a mystery drama set in Galway based on the Jack Taylor series of books by Ken Bruen. Jack is an old-school detective, a maverick, a hard drinking man, thrown off the force for one too many ‘incidents’. He starts picking up cases the cops won’t touch and begins a career as a ‘finder’, private eye sounds too much like an informant. Iain Glen plays the lead character and he is excellent in this role of a battered, hard-broiled and broken man. Again books I have not read. I did come across a Bruen book once at a sale, but didn’t pick it up.

Jack Taylor trailer…

There are four seasons of this series! This series is available on Netflix, Acorn, or Amazon Prime.

Have you read any of these books or seen this show? Did you like it?

The Small Widow

by Janet McNeill

img_3856-1back of the book:

Harold’s death leaves Julia a widow, alone and struggling with grief as well as her new life. How can she begin to build new relationships with her friends, what does she now owe to her children, or they to her? For the first time Julia has to learn independence, she needs to discover who she is when she is no longer a wife and is now a mother to children who do not need her. As a widow can Julia find a freedom, an identity, which has never existed in her life before?

Janet McNeill is one of the great writers of the disillusions of middle age, while her wry humor and compassion builds a spare and moving world. Her perceptive and intelligent writing is honest and unflinching in its understanding of the emotional conflicts of family life and the ironies of ordinary life.

After 32 years of marriage Julia is suddenly left a widow at 56. This is a well written story of probably most women’s middle age struggle whether left a widow or not. I enjoyed this and having just turned 60, saw myself in much of it. Although I still have my husband alive and well with me, I could definitely identify with this time of life. Once the kids are grown and out on their own with their own lives, my parents having passed away in the last few years, there is a real internal struggle with ‘who I am’ now that I’m not Mildred’s daughter, and the ‘mom relationship’ so different now that the kids have grown up lives of their own. Even the grand kids are older now and don’t want to spend hours being silly on Skype with me or cry when they have to go home from my house. It’s funny the timing, because it is something I’ve had on my mind and been praying about a lot lately. How can I be useful and contribute now that most of my main ‘uses’ in life have disappeared. How do I shift gears now and maintain a full constructive life? This story was just what the doctor ordered!

There are extended family relations and relationships included and a pretty major family secret that spills out too. Kept me reading, I read it in two days. Good book! I really like McNeill’s writing. Tea at Four O’clock was wonderful too. Hoping I can find more of her books.

Reading Ireland 18

Traditional Dublin Coddle

In keeping with all things Irish during the Read Ireland/Begorrathon this month of March I thought I would share this wonderful recipe(crockpot version) with y’all! We ADORE it at our house. Friends I’ve served it to ADORED it! I think you will too! I never did take a picture of it when I cooked it so you’ll just have to run over to Cooking in Bliss to see her pictures.

Dublin Coddle

6 sausages (preferably Irish)
9 slices of thick cut bacon chopped
6 large potatoes peeled and cut in large chunks
2 carrots cut in pieces
2 medium onions sliced in rounds
1 beef stock cube

  • Add one cup of water and the beef cube to the crockpot on high, stir until it dissolves.
  • Fry bacon in a large skillet
  • Cut sausage how ever you prefer and add to frying bacon
  • Cut onions and add to frying bacon and sausages. Fry until translucent
  • Once done frying add to crockpot and top with potatoes and carrots
  • cook 4 hours on high or 8 on low

I’m American and trusting this is ‘traditional’ though cooked in a crockpot, if your Irish and do this differently leave a comment telling us how. Thanks!

I tried to read John Banville‘s The Book of Evidence this week but like his book The Sea I just couldn’t get into it! I really tried, it’s a mystery and I love mysteries. I finally just put it down and I’m not wasting anymore time. Too many books to read for this month! I see it gets lots of 5 star reviews and I was hopeful, but his writing and I just don’t gel I guess. I’m putting it back on the shelve and will try again later when I’m not constrained for time. I’m moving on to The Small Widow by Janet McNeill. I know I’ll love that one! I think I forgot to add it to my original list on my signing up. I found a whole new stack of Irish authors in my shelves yesterday too! Didn’t realize I had so many Irish authors.

Roddy Doyle: A Greyhound of a Girl, A Star Called Henry, and Paula Spencer. I had read his book The Woman Who Walks Into Doors a few years ago and loved it.

Joseph O’Connor: Star of the Sea
John Brady: A Stone of the Heart
Emma Donoghue: The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits
Frank McCourt: Tis and Angela’s Ashes
Patrick Taylor: An Irish Country Christmas, A Dublin Student Doctor and An Irish Country Girl

Hope your enjoying The Begorrathon!


Bogmail by Patrick McGinley

IMG_0552A truly funny and stunningly well-told tale of murder in a small Irish village in Donegal, Bogmail is a classic of modern Irish literature.

Set in a remote village in the Donegal countryside, the action begins with a murder when Roarty, a publican and former priest, kills his bartender, with a volume of his beloved 1911 Encyclopedia Brittanica, then buries his body in a bog. It’s not long before Roarty starts getting blackmail letters, and matters quickly spiral out of his control.

Twisty, turny and enlivened with colour that echoes the landscape and surroundings, Bogmail was Patrick McGinley’s first novel, yet it remains just as fresh today as the day it first appeared.

Bogmail is NOT your traditional mystery! We know right up front who did it, it’s rather about will he get caught. We don’t know the blackmailer is though! Bogmail is also a dark comedy, basically about the deterioration of a man’s psyche after he commits murder. McKinley didn’t portray the people of Glenkeel in a very favorable light and I’m sure if I were Irish I would understand the little nuances better. The Donegal Democrat wrote this on the publication of Bogmail…

‘a horrific concoction of filth … a picture of life in Donegal that is revolting in the extreme … virtually pornography veneered with an assumption of literary value … a shocking libel on the people of Donegal.’

There is some sex in this book, fairly descriptive and failure of male physiology. A straight forward novel with philosophical, theological and psychological weight to it.

Lots of wonderful tension that kept me interested and turning pages. The characterization is wonderful! I loved all the characters and got pulled in right away. Wonderful sense of place with lovely descriptive writing that puts you right there in Ireland, having a pint in the pub to fishing in the bay or hunting snipe. I loved the lyrical writing of Mr. McGinty, here’s a sample, a bit on the long side, but worth the read. Meet Roarty…

‘Roarty was sitting behind the bar, holding the newspaper at arm’s length as he read. Even in his present hunched position he looked impressive. He was tall, broad-backed, bald and bearded with an air of stillness that reminded Potter of early mornings on the mountain. Was it the stillness of self-possession or self-absorption, he wondered without knowing why. When you met him in the street, the first thing you noticed was the width of his shoulders and his bow-legged walk. But when he was behind the bar, you could only see his top half, and then it was the head that impressed. It was a noble head with a grizzled beard from the depth of which emerged a sandblasted, straight-stemmed pipe. Beardless, he would hav been red faced. As it was, the flush of his cheeks showed above the greyness of his beard, contrasting oddly with the pale skin of his bald head. The thickness of his beard concealed his closely placed ears. You could not see them if you looked him full in the face, and this gave his head its unforgettable outline. Pulling a pint of stout, he would eye the rising froth, his head tilted sideways, the cast of his half-hidden lips betraying serious concern. But when the pint was nicely topped, his eyes would light up momentarily as he placed it before the expectant customer. At such moments one felt that because of some pessimistic streak in his nature he did not expect the pint to be perfect and that he was continually surprised by the successful combination of brewer’s technology and his own handiwork. The pint served, he would put out a big hand with wet-kept nails and take your money with an absentmindedness that robbed the transaction of anything approaching the cold-blooded self-interest of commerce.
   Looking at him now, Potter became aware of the difference between him and the farmers and fishermen who drank in his pub, hardy, bony men who went out unthinkingly in all weathers. They were men who reminded him of bare uplands, grey rocks and forlorn roads in the mountains. Even in the twilight of the pub they wore their peaked caps down over their eyes, and though they could be seen occasionally squinting from beneath them there was an unflinchingness in their gaze as if they believed that looking could change the object looked at. Their lean faces bore spiders’ webs of deeply etched lines that branched from eye corners or criss-crossed stubbled chins, expressing for Potter a noble stoicism in the grip of life’s adversity. But Roarty did not look like that at all. He was big-boned and fleshy rather than hardy, with the look of a man who had led a comfortable life, who had never experienced sun or wind except from personal choice.

I’ve had this book on my shelf for sometime. I also read Goosefoot by McGinty some years ago and wasn’t sure what to make of that one. I’d kind of like to reread it now but I’ve passed it on to someone else :(. Read Ireland Month over @ 746 Books was the impetus to finally pick this one up and read it. I’m glad I did!

The BBC made a TV series from this book back in 1991 and I found it available to watch on Youtube! There are three episodes. Check it out HERE. I’m including links to two reviews by Irish authors who would get more out of the Irishness of the book than I might for you to read….   Rob Kitchin and Darragh McManus. HERE is a nice interview with author. I think I’m going to enjoy this month of reading very much!

#readireland18   #begorrathon18   #irishliterature

This fulfills the “set in a small village” category under “where” in the silver era Just the Facts Notebook @My Reader’s Block.   Also counts for Cloak and Dagger.

The Begorrathon


Cathy over @746 Books hosts a READING IRELAND MONTH each March. (Click the link to read the how to’s.)  I’m joining in this year. I just discovered Cathy’s blog this last year and have found lots of good reads there! Cathy lives in Ireland. I have Irish ancestry on my paternal grandmother’s side, she was a Gallagher before she married my German grandpa and became a Brintzenhofe :0

‘Reading Ireland Month (or The Begorrathon as it is affectionately known) will feature book and film reviews, poems, music, interviews, giveaways and much, much more.

I have several good ‘Irish’ books that I’ve been looking forward to reading. This is my list I will be reading from. I know I won’t get them all read but hopefully at least 4-5!

Bogmail by Patrick McGinley
Across the Bitter Sea by Eilis Dillon
Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín
The Book of Evidence by John Banville
Charming Billy by Alice McDermott  (Irish/American community setting)
A Chance To Die by Elizabeth Elliot biography of Irish Missionary Amy Carmichael
The Death of An Irish Lover by Bartholomew Gill
The Death of an Irish Sea Wolf by Bartholomew Gill
The Islandman by Tomás Ó Crohan
In the Woods, The Likeness and Faithful Place  all three by Tana French
Loving and Giving by Molly Keane
Mad Puppetstown by M.J. Farrell (Molly Keane)
Mary Lavelle by Kate O’Brien
My Lover’s Lover by Maggie O’Farrell
And one I’m hoping to get from my library: The Good People by Hannah Kent

It’s a great excuse to look for Irish movies to watch and music too! You should run over and sign up too! THE BEGGORATHON