Monday, 14 April 2008

Back in the good books


Reading is one of my greatest pleasures. Curling up and submerging myself in a wonderful tale has thrilled me since I was very small.
Thesedays - as many a busy mum will know, (is there such thing as an un-busy mum?) - being quiet and alone with a good book is a rare treat. I've been conscious of putting my books to one side for a while now, for too long, in vain anticipation of saving them up for a day when I'm not feeling too tired or have the chance to spend a whole day reading.

But life is for living isn't it and books are there to be read so I've swapped my embroidery for the book pile for few nights and its been a joy to delve into another world between the pages again. 5am starts with Little A mean that I'm still nodding-off after half an hour's reading in the evenings, like a proper old woman, so non-fiction is my bedfellow for now which means I can dip in and out a bit more easily.


Just after Christmas Country Living featured a wonderful article about the snowbound village of Barley from the Magic Apple Tree by Susan Hill. I was completely captivated by it and couldn't shake the pictures in my head of a hill side community and its bare winter landscaspe shrouded in a white blanket.
So I snapped up a copy on Amazon for a snip and it came yesterday. It is completely wonderful. It follows a year in the life of the village and through the seasons she describes animals, nature, festivities, landscapes and more. Her descriptions are so evocative and capture the images of the countryside I love so much.

From our new house we have an amazing view over the Churnet Valley and to the Peak District hills beyond (sorry I've talked so much about this already, I'm obsessed by it). Its like having a contsantly changing, wonderful painting outside our window and everyday I notice something new or changed about it. I drive poor Woody daft telling him how wonderful it is when all he has to do is look himself to know. But now I have my Magic Apple Tree book to dive into and share my joy of the wonderfulness of what's around us.
I'm only three chapters in but I know already that it will always be a special book to keep beside my bed. One of those reads that stay in your head and you just can't wait to open again. So I'm off now, off to Barley for a while before bed.

19 comments:

driftwood said...

oh that sounds truly magical!

there's nothing like losing yourself in a book, and some of my happiest child rearing moments are when I find our two with their noses firmly planted in a book, just because...

Liz said...

I agree, The Magic Apple Tree is a fabulous book. Have you seen Through The Kitchen Window, also by Susan Hill? The illustrations are gorgeous. Love reading your blog.

Dragonfly said...

Isn't wonderful to get lost in a book? I've found that recently I've been busy doing other things and not reading as much as I used to, but then only yesterday I took advantage of WHSmiths buy one blah blah blah and stocked up on some paperbacks so there's now a healthy pile beside my bed.
I'm v. jealous of your views too...

Alchamillamolly said...

i have that book and have read it so many times - My Mum reads it again and her neighbour bought her own copy.......I will find Through the kitchen window now - I have unpacked my books and my friends are back on the shelf - but so many of them had to move on - it was but off they went to make others happy.

French Knots said...

There's something about loosing yourself in a book, it's good for the soul.
Lovely photos again!

Deb said...

The Magic Apple Tree sounds like a wonderful book. You have a gorgeous view outside your window. Loved the photo of the snow capped roofs.

Ragged Roses said...

That sounds like a wonderful book to read Steph. It's great having a book to look forward to. I sneaked upstairs the other day for twenty minutes in the afternoon and lay on the bed and read, it was bliss! Enjoy your reading
Kimx

Faye 'Country Chic' said...

I'm with you on the book front... reading is one of my real pleasures but one I seldom have time for. I am planning of having a morning in bed soon, reading a book while Ella goes out for the day with daddy, ah bliss :)
xFaye

julia said...

I bought "Through the kitchen window" last week and it's a lovely book, looks like I'll need to add this one too.
Gorgeous view by the way!
Julia x

prettyshabby said...

I think it's wonderful that you wake up everyday and love where you live, love the view from the windows and love the hills in the distance..you must truly adore your new home.

happy reading..your new book sounds really delightful!

Heidi Ann said...

Hi Steph, I just wanted to tell you how very much I enjoy your lovely blog!...I am in Southern California, so to see such beautiful photos of England in general, as well as your particular village is just amazing! Your blog is simply enchanting! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!...Heidi

Rosie said...

I've really enjoyed reading your post. The Magic Apple Tree sounds wonderful. I think Susan Hill is a great writer and I have a much loved and well thumbed copy of her book Shakespeare Country. I'm also a fan of her Serailler novels as well as her ghost stories 'The Woman in Black' and 'The Man in the Picture'. She seems to write so well in so many genres. I must look out for this book it sounds just my cup of tea:)

Sal said...

It's a great book!
I also have 'Through the Kitchen Window' and 'Through the Garden Gate'. I blogged them a while ago.
They too are charming. ;-) Sal

periwinkle said...

Sounds like my type of book- at the mo I've gone back to my childhood and am reading The Kids From Dead End Street. I try to read for at least 30 mins before I go to sleep. Not to mention Milo's Fireman Sam books that I found in a charity shop 8 books ( like ladybird books) for £1.25. We have moved from 5am starts to 6am now yeah
Lisa x

Jackie M said...

Oh, that's one of my favourite books, Steph, I'm so glad you're enjoying it. Thanks for mentioning the Country Living article as I thought "I don't remember that", dug my copy out and found I hadn't got round to reading most of it, so I had a treat! The illustrations with the book extract are just gorgeous too. Your view is heavenly, you are lucky indeed. Jackie Mx

JuicyFig said...

must look out for the book, and the article - there is a village called Barley about 4 miles from us, in the shaddow of pendle hill!

I am loosing myself in the latest number one ladies detective agency - it is warmer!!!

;~)

Kath
x

periwinkle said...

Me again, just wanted to say when I first found your Blog I read it from start to finish, all about your house move and everything. Fingers crossed we can be so lucky and get somewhere just as beautiful as you
Lisa x

The Fairy Glade said...

Hi there was the article about Barley in the January Country Living or February? Seem to have missed a couple of editions and would love to read this article, will order if from them if I know which one it is. Also, was wondering how you get your blog noticed, I have just started, but how do people find me?

Cowboys & Custard said...

Hello Steph
Gorgeous snowy photos and remind me now .. I visited the small town of Ashford in Derbyshire the weekend it snowed and the hills of the peak district were sublime in the snow...
What a beautiful part of the world you live in..

Michelexx