The Good Life


All is well at countryside headquarters I’m delighted to report and, apart from feeling like we’re on one massively long holiday and that at some point someone is going to tell us we have to go back to the flat in Manchester, all is relatively serene. It would be rather sickening really were we not still ‘keeping it real’ with our humdrum office jobs in the city. In the meantime any potato planting is strictly limited to the weekends. Just think of the things I can grow when I quit my job to become a full-time writer/painter/flâneur(euse)!

Veg garden

Apart from having our budding lettuces stolen by birds and desperately trying to coax out some cherry tomatoes in our makeshift greenhouse (I’m not going to become a gardening bore, I promise) on the bookish front I am delighted to announce that both the boyfriend and I, after an exhausting March/April, have finally got our reading mojo back.  After finishing the fabulous Under The Skin by Michel Faber, the gooduns’ just keep on coming and I’ve finally managed to devour Treasure Island and Hotel Iris (both excellent), and make some starts on Pigeon English, this month’s book club choice, which has gotten off to a very promising start indeed.

Although we still work just as long hours as we ever did, I finally have a bit of a mini-momentum going with the blog, have been catching up with some of you out there after being quiet for so long and am feeling positive that now I don’t have to perch on the sofa or the bed to do any writing, I might actually keep this going (…famous last words…)

Pretty pants photography…

In other news, the Oxfam Bookshop in Glossop is proving to be rather dangerous for my poor purse but, in an extraordinary show of self-control, I did manage to limit myself to these three books when we visited last weekend; 

White Teeth (Zadie Smith) – I see this book everywhere and have shamefully never read any Zadie Smith. Everyone bookish I seem to know, if they haven’t read this novel, at very least own it. I can now join the club.

Rebecca’s Tale (Sally Beauman) – Post-Rebecca/Du Maurier jitters led me to this sequel. It has been sat on my Amazon wish list for ages (which I tend to use just to chart my book desires, not to fill Amazon’s pockets even further thankyouverymuch)

The Year of the Flood (Margaret Ashwood) – It’s Margaret Ashwood, what more can I say? I don’t really feel like I’ve read enough of her at the moment to be a particularly Literary Relish.

George Street Books

To my delight we also discovered the sweetest secondhand bookshop off the main stretch. As I find with most treasure troves like George Street Books, I was simply far too overwhelmed to leave with anything first time around but, come the next rainy weekend we get, something tells me that we’ll abandoning the fields for the fiction aisle…

So overall things are as busy as usual. We made the effort to go and see Christopher Sergel’s stage adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird which, once you grow accustomed to the odd (though very authentic) accents, was great and I’m off to a blogging event run by Kate Feld of The Manchizzle on Tuesday. Hopefully you will all see an instantaneous transformation as I learn how to be a real professional and Literary Relish becomes a truly slick operation. (Ha!)

What have you all been up to whilst I’ve been rediscovering my books? Although it may be just a phase, I’m feeling a little bored with the look of the blog and have been scouting out there for some inspiration. I’m feeling the Literary Relish of 2013 needs a haircut. Something a little cleaner and more modern. What do you think?  

9 thoughts on “The Good Life

  1. Hi LR, firstly – love the ‘good life’ reference – take me way back! Secondly, thanks for your comments about bookshelves at my blog earlier this month – great ideas. Thirdly, I think many of us are wondering about redecorating our blogs. I quite like yours, but if you find someway to ‘remnovate’ it with some new features, I’ll be keen to follow your example, Good luck!


    1. Oh yes. And ditto! I do like the way your blog looks at the moment though – wasn’t it red at some point in the past?
      I can’t wait for Paris in July by the way. I always forget about it, which is quite nice because I then get a nice surprise and can plan my Frenchie reading/eating/film watching for the summer 🙂


  2. Glossop is so lovely! The perfect balance between rural calm yet still being a decent-sized town with plenty to do. Glad to hear you’re settling in. White Teeth is really excellent, I avoided reading it for far too long because it seemed like one of those books that’s just everywhere, but it definitely deserves the praise heaped upon it.


    1. I’ve always driven through it on our way to the Peak but didn’t quite realise how much there is to do! Most importantly, the pork pies from the butchers on the main road are out of this world….


  3. All Oxfam Bookshops should come with a health warning. Somehow spending on books there doesn’t seem quite so wicked as it does in full price stores. Having said that maybe I should have spent more in our University bookshop because it is closing at the end of the week. How can you have a University without a bookshop?


    1. It’s all for a good cause Alex 🙂 That’s madness about the bookshop! Why? And, indeed, HOW can you have a uni without one!? Please tell me you have a library…. that would be too much :-O


      1. Oh yes, and we’re getting a new one, although despite the students having asked for more books and more computer space that seems to be precisely what they’re cutting down on! Sometimes you have to wonder about the powers that be, don’t you?


  4. I really like your blog design and how you update the graphics every once in a while. It’s clean and keeps the reader’s attention on the content, which is great, btw, including the gardening updates. It’s not too rainy where you are to have good strawberries? Ours are falling victim to chipmunks and a rainy spring, so I’m hesitant to try them again next year.


    1. Thanks Olga! You’re the first person to comment (on the blog at least) on my new look for 2013. I did feel a bit bogged down in colour and, although I know people do like the books down the side, etc, I thought a plainer background looked a bit cleaner. So I like to tell myself anyway!
      Well. I need some strawberry advice to be honest so if you have any then please do tell! We found them languishing in a corner half-dead – obviously left by the old owners. The plant looks healthy and has flowered but the flowers are drooping off now. Does this mean I’ll get strawberries soon!?
      Since the birds ate all trace of our lettuces I have covered the strawberries with netting….. 🙂


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