Songs of a Sourdough


This is a much-loved book. My dad's.
The pen was his too. 
C.Tracey etched in cursive script.
Same details as mine.

Public Reading - Donal Ryan


Back at a public library again! 

This time for a reading by author Donal Ryan.  We almost missed the event as when we applied for seats registration was already full.  A helpful staff member put us on a waiting list and sure enough some spaces became available.  We jumped at the chance to attend.

I love his writing and with the addition of his latest, the queen of dirt island, have all his books. The one he is reading from in the picture above gave him, and then his listeners, some amusement.  It was an early publication version and the cover had been presented upside down.  The sections he read though were powerful and his literary talents are assuredly the right way up.

At the library event he talked about the process of writing and the critical inputs of editors and family members. He invited questions and responded to these at length revealing in the process further insights into his literary journey.

We were delighted to hear that this current title invites a follow-up.

Thank you LibrariesNI.


Check out more on the book at this link.

Pen and Ink


The new King Charles III, is signing all sorts of documents these days and recently had some trouble with a fountain pen.  It may have been an official or a borrowed pen but in any case on this occasion it oozed ink and he complained this happens "every stinking time!"

I love writing with my pen. I'm left-handed and over time the nib has adapted to the way I write. Fountain pens are personal to the user.  The ink in mine flows brilliantly but might not if loaned to another, say right-handed user.

Ink residues are inevitable when filling and I keep a well-blotted napkin to wipe the barrel and remove excess.  

Love the ritual of filling the pen - every inking time! 

Vote here


A short break in Derry/Londonderry. A vibrant city with much going on.

Everywhere we went we felt very welcome.  There was a festival taking place - apparently there's always something going on - and we did plenty of walking.

Out and about, I couldn't resist snapping this pic of a refuse bin.

Yes, it's a tidy city too.

You've got our vote and we'll be back soon.

Library reading group


I haven't been to a Library Reading Group before and a bit unsure of what to expect.  But I have been enjoying The Black Dress by Deborah Moggach and am looking forward to discussing it.

I saw the flyer when borrowing a couple of books from my local library and since this was a title which suggested content that I wouldn't normally go for I thought I would give it a try.

Expand my literary horizons.

There's a reading group meeting each month and I figure it's both a stimulus and discipline for staying on track with reading goals.

I'm also told there'll be a cuppa and biscuits to relax participants into the discussion.

Read more:

Here's a link to more information on The Black Dress.

A bookmarked book


Judged a book by its bookmark!

I had ordered this very large book on the visual strength of its giveaway bookmark, a stack of which were on the counter at my favourite bookstore.

I picked the book up today and now cannot wait to get into it.  It is three books in one I'm told and "big as it is you'll not want it to end".

Here goes then... To Paradise.


Check out this link for more details about the book.

Stirrings of spring


A time for every purpose...

Some current readings, suggesting stirrings of spring?


Title: Mudlarking
Lost and Found on the River Thames

Author: Lara Maiklem

Publisher: Bloomsbury. 2019
ISBN: 976-1-4088-8921-3

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and feel that I have learnt so much from it about the Thames and its impact on history down the centuries. I particularly liked the writing style. Each chapter, focussing on a location along the river's course, begins with a literary extract describing those who make their living on and from the Thames. The author provides historical details in a very accessible way, supplementing them with her own deductions, hypotheses and intuitions; along the way she shares with us some of her personal biography connecting that to the places she visits. She had a particular connection with her precious Greenwich where she had lived for 13 years.  She also introduces us to some of her mudlark friends who come across as a friendly supportive group of like-minded individuals.

I started reading the hardback edition and when I spotted that it was also available in audio format I didn't think twice before downloading the spoken version which I was able to play while travelling.  That too was a treat. It was beautifully read by the author.  BBC Radio 4 had also broadcast it in its series "Book of the Week" albeit in an abridged form.

I was sorry that the book has come to an end but it's one that just as a true mudlark returns to their favourite spots along the river that I will certainly read again.  Walking beside a river will never be the same again; this book has awakened my inner mudlark and I'm ready to get busy exploring.