Autumn is here… :)


The weather has turned. The winds have changed. Summer is long gone and we have some of the most amazing autumn colours. People visit Scotland in summer, for the sunshine and warmth but I think autumn is the best season. I just love October – the leaves turn into flowers, the clear skies, the nip in air and the occasional chill.

 

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That’s how the trees look right in front of our house.

How does your Autumn look?

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Culross – The Royal Burgh


The Royal Burgh of Culross village is around 12 miles west of the Forth Road Bridge. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Royal Burghs were generally sea ports with a thriving community and flourishing trade. I wasn’t expecting much out of this coastal town with an industrial landscape but it was a pleasant surprise.

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It is the best preserved example of a 17th and 18th century Scottish town. The old buildings and cobbled streets of this Royal Burgh transported us into the domestic lives of the 17th century Scottish town.

There is even a 17th century model garden recreated behind the Culross Palace displaying a range of plants including vegetables, culinary and medicinal herbs, fruits and shrubs. There is an unmistakable aroma of herbs in the air around the palace gardens.

The village looks across the River Forth to oil refineries. The village is the closest thing to a 16th century village all due to the efforts of the National Trust of Scotland that has been working with Culross to conserve its historical past.

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The Culross Palace restored to its original mustard yellow render and wooden shuttered condition

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The Mercat (Market) Cross has a unicorn on top. (Did you know Scotland’s national animal is Unicorn?)

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What sets Culross apart is its stunning buildings and narrow wynds (A typical Scottish word ‘wynd’ referring to a ‘winding’ street)

The Palace Garden

The Palace Garden

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Another example of the stunning buildings

Another example of the stunning buildings

View of river Forth

View of river Forth

Such is life…


As long as you help people, do their work even keeping aside your pressing matters, they remember you and talk to you. If God forbid you tell them, it can’t be done or you don’t have time, you are in the bad books, banished, blacklisted. You are meant to remember everything about such people, if you don’t respond, reply, they bark and shout like mad dogs but as long as you do their jobs, you are tolerable enough. Nobody thinks of you until they need you to do something for them. Only then you are the capable person, the responsible one, the dependable one. And don’t you dare say no to them. You, just you, are never enough, you always need to prove yourself, your worth, only then these highness-es, these big heads who consider themselves on a higher footing than you deem to give you their attention.

The worst part is you cannot say no! Out of some misguided sense of duty, family, relations, some misplaced complex that makes you want to please these people and stay in their good book.

Book Review: Arsenic for Tea (Wells and Wong #2)


Title: Arsenic for Tea (Wells and Wong #2)
Author: Robin Stevens
ISBN: 9780552570732
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK Children’s
Source: Advance copy via NetGalley
Release Date: January 29, 2015
Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: 

Schoolgirl detectives Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are at Daisy’s home, Fallingford, for the holidays. Daisy’s glamorous mother is throwing a tea party for Daisy’s birthday, and the whole family is invited, from eccentric Aunt Saskia to dashing Uncle Felix. But it soon becomes clear that this party isn’t really about Daisy at all. Naturally, Daisy is furious.

Then one of their party falls seriously, mysteriously ill – and everything points to poison.

With wild storms preventing anyone from leaving, or the police from arriving, Fallingford suddenly feels like a very dangerous place to be. Not a single person present is what they seem – and everyone has a secret or two. And when someone very close to Daisy looks suspicious, the Detective Society must do everything they can to reveal the truth . . . no matter the consequences.

Review:

Arsenic for Tea was one of the books I had been excited to read. I thoroughly enjoyed Steven’s first book in the series, Murder Most Unladylike so I was delighted to find Arsenic for Tea on Netgalley.

This is a cute book with a cosy murder. It is the second in the Wells and Wong series, Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong – schoolgirl detectives. They are at Daisy’s house for the school holiday. For Daisy’s birthday, the entire family, a few friends and relatives are invited for a splendid birthday tea party. At the party, someone falls ills mysteriously.

A closed house mystery, motley of people – all with reasons for doing the bad deed, stuck in the house due to bad weather (another Christie style mystery – could it get any better!). Everybody seems to have secrets and it’s upon the Detective Society to solve their second case before something very bad happens.

Daisy and Hazel are delightful characters – witty and quirky. Daisy’s father, mother, uncle and Miss Alston provide further layers to the plot.

The second book in the series is always compared to the first one will the plot be as good, will the characters grow mature or appear pale? Arsenic for Tea is deeper and stronger. Daisy and Hazel are settling well into their role of detectives, the setting of the murder is charming and cosy and the mystery is very interesting indeed.

I am now a fan of this series.

Book Review: The Deep End


Title: The Deep End
The Country Club Murders #1
Author: Julie Mulhern
ISBN: 9781941962268
Publisher: Henery Press
Source: Advance copy via NetGalley
Release Date: February 17, 2015
Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis: 

Swimming into the lifeless body of her husband’s mistress tends to ruin a woman’s day, but becoming a murder suspect can ruin her whole life.

It’s 1974 and Ellison Russell’s life revolves around her daughter and her art. She’s long since stopped caring about her cheating husband, Henry, and the women with whom he entertains himself. That is, until she becomes a suspect in Madeline Harper’s death. The murder forces Ellison to confront her husband’s proclivities and his crimes—kinky sex, petty cruelties and blackmail.

As the body count approaches par on the seventh hole, Ellison knows she has to catch a killer. But with an interfering mother, an adoring father, a teenage daughter, and a cadre of well-meaning friends demanding her attention, can Ellison find the killer before he finds her?

Review:

The Deep end is the debut mystery novel by Julie Mulhern. One early morning in 1974, Ellison Russel, an artist, heads to her country club for her routine morning swim. She didn’t expect to find the body of her husband’s mistress floating in the pool. Now life is not only complicated for Ellison and her daughter Grace, but also messy and confusing. Then Henry, Ellison’s husband disappears and two more mistresses show up.

The Deep End is a classic mystery with red herrings and clues sprinkled throughout. It has an Agatha Christie feel to it. I enjoyed this book thoroughly. Ellison is such a lovable character, you feel bad for her but she holds it together with her dry humour and sarcastic comments/dialogues in her head! All the people in her world are fully-fleshed out and add so much detail to her story.

I highly recommend the The Deep End.

The cover shows that The Deep End is book one of The Country Club Murders. I’m eager to read the next book in the series.

It’s over


The blogathon is officially over. Well thank god! I’m relieved I don’t have to wake up and think of a post. I’ve missed a few days of posting but still it was really fun. I loved reading all the posts from the other bloggers who participated in this blogathon. Please keep posting even if the blogathon is over :)) Thank you Seema for hosting this one! I intended to have a nice long thank-you-how-lovely-this-blogathon-was-post  but then I just had a heavy lunch and slept it off 😀

What blogathon?


I have missed the past few days of the blogathon. Well what can I say? I am quietly mourning Federer’s loss in the Australian open and that’s made me go off posting here.

As a quick Federer fix, I have been insistently watching youtube videos of his best shots and reading articles. But that still doesn’t make up for all the missing action 😦