Bath Abbey, Part 1 #BriFri

British Isles Friday logoWelcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British-themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!


Bath Abbey is both a functioning church and a major tourist attraction. I enjoyed an hour or so of photographing it.

Bath Abbey

The front of Bath Abbey, late afternoon when the golden light warms the front

From the tour we took on the first day, I learned that Bishop Oliver King was responsible for restoring the church after 1500. He left his name, in a way on the front.

Oliver King symbol

Bishop Oliver King — the mitre hat above an olive tree encircled by a crown. Get it?

One of the unique aspects of Bath Abbey is the ladder on each side of the doors. The story is that these are a manifestation of a dream that Bishop Oliver King had, where angels ascended and descended to fetch souls to heaven.

Jacob's Ladder on the front of Bath Abbey

Angels go up and down the front of Bath Abbey. The second angel from the top is coming down — you can tell because the head is facing down instead of up.

Before the present-day Bath Abbey was built, a Norman Cathedral stood on the same site. According to a sign, the Norman Cathedral would have been much larger (and Bath Abbey seemed big to me!) and surrounded by monastic buildings and gardens, a palace for the Bishop, and burial grounds.

Norman pillars under Bath Abbey

Remnants of the old Norman cathedral pillars

The ceiling in Bath Abbey was particularly beautiful.

Magnifying mirror in Bath Abbey

A magnifying mirror was set up in the middle of the aisle, to make it easier to admire the beautiful ceiling.

Later, I took a tour to the top of the bell tower — I’ll post photos from that next week.

What do you think of Bath Abbey? I put up more photos on my Flickr photostream.



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R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril Shorts #BookReview

RIP IX

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril is in its ninth year!

As I mentioned yesterday, I haven’t posted much for this year’s R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril event, but I have done some reading that qualifies in the themes of mysterious, spooky, and dangerous. In order to get my reviews up before the fun all ends on October 31, I decided to put three short reviews in one post today.

RIP IX is hosted by Carl of Stainless Steel Droppings. The introductory post has all the details and the review site contains links to the over 400 reviews written so far.


Dark Destiny by M.J. Putney

A YA novel, third in the Dark Mirror series

Dark Destiny by M.J. Putney. Dark Destiny is the least Halloween-y of these three titles, but there is one very scary villainous magician to contend with. This is the third volume in the YA series that began with Dark Mirror. In this world, the aristocrats of Regency England send any of their children who manifest magical powers to reform school. So low class to practice magic, you see. Of course, the best of the mages find a way to use their skills anyway in subterranean halls and rooms. With the help of some magical mirrors, they travel in time and space to employ their magic in the service of turning back invaders, from Napoleon to Hitler.

In Dark Destiny, the magical crew travel to Wales to thwart an attack by the French and then to France to confront Napoleon himself.


Ghoul Interrupted by Victoria Laurie

Sixth in the Ghost Huntery Mystery series

Ghoul Interrupted by Victoria Laurie. You’ll figure out by the end of this post that I’m a wimp when it comes to scary novels. I like my horrific creatures served up with a large dose of humor. The Ghost Hunter Mystery series (this is the sixth book) features M.J., a ghost hunter with a witty observant voice, and her sidekick Gil who is afraid of ghosts. You may recognize author Victoria Laurie’s name — she also writes the Psychic Eye mysteries, another very funny series.

In Ghoul Interrupted, M.J. and Gil travel to New Mexico with M.J.’s boyfriend, Heath, who has his own ghost-busting skills. The authorities won’t believe it, but a demon is determined to kill Heath and the other members of his ancestral tribe. Claw marks, bumps in the night, and other even scarier things await.


Kitty Steals the Show

Tenth in the Kitty Norville series

Kitty Steals the Show by Carrie Vaughn. The Kitty Norville series is another one I read because the narrative voice is so amused and amusing. We’re up to number 10 in this series that features unwilling werewolf, Kitty, who runs a late night call-in radio show.

I nearly squealed when I saw that the latest installment sends Kitty to London to attend the First International Conference on Paranatural Studies. She went to a several of the same places that I did. But I’m quite glad that I went to Hyde Park in the daylight. Even more than the conference, the drama in London happens in a kind of shadow conference organized by the vampires.


Since two of these books were set in Britain, I’ll link this post to British Isles Friday tomorrow.

Have you read any books to suit the Halloween season? Do you have other books to recommend to me that serve up the horror with equal parts humor?

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Doomsday Book by Connie Willis #BookReview #BriFri

RIP IX

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril is in its ninth year!

I get such a kick out of R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril every fall that I’m really surprised that this is the first post I’ve managed, just before all the fun ends on October 31. RIP IX is hosted by Carl of Stainless Steel Droppings. The introductory post has all the details and the review site has the links to the over 400 reviews written so far.

Part of the problem, of course, was spending three weeks of the RIP season in England. While I was there, though, I read a book that has perfect themes – time travel and deadly pestilences.

Book: Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Bantam Books
Publication date: 1992
Pages: 578

Source: Purchased from my local independent bookstore, STL Books

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

A chunkster I read while traveling in England

Summary: The action in Doomsday Book occurs in the environs of Oxford during two time periods, a near future in the mid twenty-first century (but note the publication date) and the fourteenth century. The Plague haunts the earlier period and an unknown virus stalks the future setting. Modern scholars and medieval villagers fight battles, mostly unwinnable, against these frightening foes. Kivrin, the time traveler, witnesses the old struggle while Professor Dunworthy works frantically to get her home.

Thoughts: As I wrote in my initial post when I got home from England, bell-ringing was one of the themes of my trip. Doomsday Book contributed to my fascination with a major subplot and lots of symbolism involving bells, starting with the quote on the title page of Book One:

“What a ringer needs most is not strength but the ability to keep time . . . You must bring these two things together in your mind and let them rest there forever–bells and time, bells and time.” RONALD BLYTHE Akenfield

The modern bell-ringing in the story is much like what I listened to during my trip. The medieval bell-ringing, sadly, is mostly tolling for the dead. This is not a happy book, but there are many quieter and lighter moments that keep it from being maudlin.

The characters continue to populate my brain, more than a month after I finished the book. Kivrin, the young woman who travels to the fourteenth century has a coming of age story. Meanwhile, in the parallel futuristic plot, Professor Dunworthy develops relationships in ways that he missed earlier in his life. The minor characters are equally entertaining and memorable — a doctor who works heroically to solve a deadly medical mystery, an energetic teenager who fights through abandonment issues while zipping around being (mostly) helpful, a libertine student with great connections and a helicopter mother, an archaeologist who perhaps cares more about her dig than her colleagues, and a medievalist who definitely cares more about his reputation than the danger that Kivrin has encountered.

The book has some inadvertent amusing moments since it was published in 1992 and, presumably, written in the late 1980s. This is a future that has time machines. But the author guessed wrong on the future of communications technology. Video phones are ubiquitous but answering machines, the internet, and cell phones haven’t been invented yet.

Appeal: Doomsday Book is unusual as a book that will appeal to both science fiction and historical fiction fans — doubly entertaining to those of us who love both. 

logo for the 2014 Chunkster Reading ChallengeReviews: The Little Red Reviewer also appreciated the characters and the humor in this serious book. Becky, a regular participant in British Isles Friday, also enjoyed Doomsday Book and put some quotes in her review to give a sense of the writing style in the book.

Challenges: This is my 3rd of 4 books for the 2014 Chunkster Reading Challenge and my 9th book of the 2014 British History Reading Challenge.

Besides R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril, I’ll also link this review to British Isles Friday later this week.

Signature of Joy Weese Moll

 

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Readers’ Workouts — October 28

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Welcome to Readers’ Workouts, the weekly event where book lovers share workout stories, goals, successes, and challenges.

I’m back on track to exercise 800 minutes from October 12 to October 31. A long walk at the Missouri Botanical Garden with Bonnie of Bonnie’s Books helped me generate some exercise minutes! We had a beautiful day for it and a lovely visit. So cool to meet some one in real life that I met through my blog.

How are you doing with exercise?

For Readers’ Workouts, talk about your fitness activities on your blog (feel free to grab the logo) and link to your post below or join us in the comments! Be sure to visit the other participants to see how we all did.



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Book Club List #WeNeedDiverseBooks #FergusonReads #SundaySalon

Fragmented by Design by E. Terrence Jones

This is the book I’ve been assigned to this year

As promised on Thursday, I’m posting the list of books our Diversity Book Club is reading for 2014-2015. I was in England and missed our annual selection meeting, but I am so pleased with this list.

We’ve had some renewed interest in our book club since the events in Ferguson following Michael Brown’s death. Our list reflects that. I’m particularly looking forward to the discussion I’ll be leading on Fragmented by Design by E. Terrence Jones about the St. Louis area. St. Louis City is not part of St. Louis County and St. Louis County has 90 municipalities! Some of the problems in Ferguson and surrounding communities are rooted in our bizarre system of tiny governments attempting to deal with huge urban problems. I’m looking forward to learning how we got in this situation.

Here is our full book list for 2014-2015:

  • The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
  • Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
  • House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
  • Autobiography of a People by Herb Boyd
  • Sundown Towns by James Loewen
  • Dust Tracks on a Road by Zora Neale Hurston
  • Devil in the Grove by Gilbert King
  • South of Haunted Dreams by Eddie Harris
  • Fragmented by Design by E. Terrence Jones
  • Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

If you live in the St. Louis area and would like to join us for a discussion, send me an email (I’m on yahoo.com and use joyweesemoll as my username). I’ll send you the version of the list with dates and locations.

Signature of Joy Weese Moll

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Tea in the Pump Room #WeekendCooking

As I promised yesterday in my post about the Roman Baths in Bath, today I’m sharing photos from the Pump Room where we ordered a full tea for a late lunch. The tour of the Roman Baths finishes in the Pump Room. The Pump Room, now a restaurant, was featured in Persuasion and Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (not to mention countless Regency novels). Travel websites and books recommend the traditional English tea at the Pump Room — a historic setting, a good spread, and cheaper than taking tea in London.

Tea at the Pump Room

Sandwiches at the bottom, scones with clotted cream and jam in the middle, sweets on the upper level

The famous Beau Nash presides over the Pump Room, even now.

Beau Nash in the Pump Room, Bath, England

statue of Beau Nash

The Georgian architecture provides the perfect ambiance for tea.

Windows

I loved the windows and the natural light.

new Weekend Cooking logo

Check out Beth Fish Reads for this week’s round-up of cooking posts at Weekend Cooking.

Signature of Joy Weese Moll

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Roman Baths in Bath #BriFri

British Isles Friday logoWelcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British-themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!


One of my favorite sites from our England trip was the Roman Baths in Bath. The museum is excellent especially when accompanied by the audio guide that lets you select which displays you want to hear more about.

The visit begins on a 19th century terrace lined with sculptures that look Roman, but it turned out they were 19th century, too. This terrace looks over the Great Bath.

The Great Bath in the Roman Baths, Bath, UK

The Great Bath from the terrace

Sculpture and Bath Abbey

On the terrace above the Great Bath, looking toward Bath Abbey

From there, we move inside to a variety of interesting displays and recovered parts of ancient buildings that once stood in the complex. A building devoted to helping the sick was dedicated to the moon goddess Luna, who sent healing dreams.

The Goddess Luna, Roman Baths, Bath, England

Luna was the moon goddess of ancient Rome, one of several gods and goddesses honored at this site.

Eventually we reached the level of the Great Bath. This quote was on the wall:

The picture is not complete without some quarrelsome fellow, a thief caught in the act, or the man who loves the sound of his own voice in the bath – not to mention those who jump in with a tremendous splash. ~Seneca, Epistulae Morales, 56, 1st century AD

The Great Bath in the Roman Baths, Bath, England

The corner where the water enters the Great Bath from the hot spring

A pipe fed the tub below, bypassing the Great Bath, so that it got the hottest water.

Tub in the Roman Baths, Bath, England

The Roman version of a hot tub, complete with steps and a bench

From a sign:

The Sacred Spring rises at the heart of the site. It was a place of veneration for local people before the Romans came. Its sacred pool is where the spirit of the Goddess dwelt and the hot waters were used by the Romans to supply the baths. They had completed the first baths and temple buildings around the Sacred Spring by 76 AD.

Here’s a short video showing the water bubbling up in the spring:

I hope you enjoyed this virtual visit to the Roman Baths in Bath. I’ll link it to Saturday Snapshot at West Metro Mommy Reads tomorrow.

Check back tomorrow — for Weekend Cooking, I’ll report on the tea we had in the Pump Room after our tour of the Roman Baths.



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Kirkwood & Ferguson Tonight

I was pleased to see 7 members of the Diversity Book Club tonight at a non-book event. I wrote about our book club most recently last month before our annual selection meeting. Just now, I realized I’ve neglected to post our 2014-2015 list. I’ll make a note to put that up over the weekend.

Those 7 members plus other people in our community met at the library tonight to hear Patricia Bynes, the Ferguson Township Democratic Committeewoman. She has witnessed much since the death of Michael Brown and was willing to share her experience with us here in Kirkwood.

Patricia Bynes

Patricia Bynes, Ferguson Township Democratic Committeewoman

Early on, Patricia reminded us of our experience in Kirkwood. After our shooting tragedy, we needed to do a lot of healing within our community. Ferguson has that need now. Anyone who doesn’t live in Ferguson is considered an outsider, even if they live in the neighboring communities or elsewhere in the St. Louis area (much less Chicago and beyond). An outsider is not a bad thing to be, but outsiders aren’t welcome in every meeting because some things need to be solved by insiders. I remember having that experience in Kirkwood.

Here are some things I learned about protests and protesters in Ferguson tonight:

  • All protesters are not the same.
  • For many, this is personal — this one lost a father to a police officer, that one was beaten in police custody.
  • There are no leaders. In many ways, they are protesting authority itself. If you step up to lead that, you’ll get cut off. Many legs, no head.
  • The protests and protesters have evolved.
  • At this time, groups are competing with each other to be more organized — a competition that is good for everyone.
  • Many protesters are young, which is good (such passion) and not-so-good (such limited experience). They won’t be told what to do.
  • The protesters don’t all get along with each other and they don’t all have the same agenda.

Here’s a framework that I found useful. According to Patricia, there are four communities on the ground in Ferguson right now:

  • Ferguson
  • Protesters
  • Law Enforcement
  • Media

All four of these communities have factions within them. All four communities have both connections and dysfunctions with the other communities. In other words, this is a very complicated situation and we’re all going to need to practice some patience before we’re done with this.

Here’s a new resource I didn’t know about: Ferguson Fact Check on Facebook and Twitter.

This was all helpful information to me. It’s now been two and a half months since Michael Brown’s death. The St. Louis area is holding its breath in anticipation of the grand jury results: will the police officer be indicted or not? Either way it goes and whatever the aftermath of that announcement, there is much more work to be done.  Our book club selected several books for the coming year that might help us with a deeper understanding of the problem and with solutions that have worked in other parts of the country or the world.

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Readers’ Workouts — October 21

 

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banner designed by Isi

Welcome to Readers’ Workouts, the weekly event where book lovers share workout stories, goals, successes, and challenges.

Check out our new banner, courtesy of Isi. She and her sister posed in the exercise while reading positions. Isn’t it great?

I set a goal last week, 40 minutes a day for the rest of the month. I made my goal most days. Saturday was a long and busy one, so I only managed 20 minutes, but I’ve already started making up that time.

How are you doing with exercise?

For Readers’ Workouts, talk about your fitness activities on your blog (feel free to grab the logo) and link to your post below or join us in the comments! Be sure to visit the other participants to see how we all did.



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England Photos — Day 2, Bath #BriFri

British Isles Friday logoWelcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British-themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!


On our first full day in Bath, we took the highly recommended walking tour presented by The Mayor of Bath’s Corps of Honorary Guides. We agree that this is a not-to-be-missed experience in Bath.

Here, our group is walking along the gravel path made famous by Jane Austen in Persuasion, where Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot reconciled.

Tour group on Gravel Path in Bath, UK

“….soon words enough had passed between them to decide their direction towards the comparatively quiet and retired gravel walk, where the power of conversation would make the present hour a blessing indeed…”

Here, we’re looking around the Royal Circus. Our tour guide, John, was a wealth of information and he really brought these sites to life in both the past and the present.

Royal Circus, Bath, UK

In the middle of the Royal Circus, mid-18th century circle of townhouses designed by John Wood, the Elder

Later, we took a walk in the Parade Gardens and encountered this statue of Prince Bladud and his pig. We knew what this was about because John, our tour guide, told us the founding myth of Bath (he said he was contractually obligated to do so). Prince Bladud developed leprosy and was kicked out of his tribe. He tended pigs, but even that venture failed — they got leprosy, too! One day, the pigs wallowed in some hot mud, enjoying it so much that Prince Bladud couldn’t get them to leave. He finally had to tempt them out with acorns. When he got them cleaned off, he discovered they were cured. He tried the mud himself and was cured as well. Returning to his tribe, in due course, he became King Bladud and he founded Bath on the site of the miracle-working hot mud. To this day, pigs and acorns are both symbols of Bath.

Prince Bladud and pig

Prince Bladud with his pig, a modern statue in the Parade Gardens

Find more photos of our Bath walking tour and our time in the Parade Gardens on my Flickr Photostream. I’ll link this to post to Saturday Snapshot tomorrow — check out West Metro Mommy Reads for more photos around the web.



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