The Hungry Bookling

A journey through books and the imagination

This last couple of weeks have not worked out exactly as I planned. Having been overtaken by the traditional cold and flu, all my plans (and my blog for that matter!) have iced over and there are only two things I have wanted: tomato soup and hibernation. 

Tomato Soup is my hero. It just is. Ok so you may laugh at that, that’s ok. What can I say, for me, it’s memories too.

When we were young kids we played out a lot, my dad used to say we could never make our minds up, always in and out of the kitchen traipsing in the leaves or the snow. That was a favourite saying of his “You are either in, or you are out!” He liked to state the obvious! (he still does!) So we used to stay out as long as we could bear it and then gather at the breakfast bar (I am showing my age!) with, on occasion, bowls of tomato soup. 

Then there was Charlie. 

Charlie was my beloved budgie when I was growing up. He behaved more like a parrot really. He would sit on my shoulder and follow me everywhere. We used to leave his cage door open, he was so friendly. Did I mention his cage was in the kitchen? One day, whilst the family were huddled at the breakfast bar tucking into our bowls of tomato soup, Charlie decided  it was the perfect time to fly down to my shoulder. Like me, he wasn’t the best at directions. Charlie’s flightpath landed smack dab in the middle of my mums (thankfully now lukewarm) soup. For an instant we just stared at this charismatic budgie in a bath of soup. He did instinctively hop out. And there we all were, transfixed, watching this tomato dipped budgie, pad his way across the breakfast bar table towards me. 

The Tomato Soup Incident

Let me tell you cleaning up a tomato soup stained budgie is not an easy task and thankfully Charlie was no worse for wear. Needless to say, mum did not eat the rest of her soup that day. So, yes, you could say tomato soup holds a lot of memories for me. I have already gone through my fair share of soup in the last couple of weeks and the snow hasn’t even arrived yet.

The mention of snow brings me to my second need: hibernation. I wish it was possible to hibernate, but sadly I have been too busy even with a cough and cold in tow. I have, however, had an overwhelming need to start making my house cozy for winter. 

If only my living room was a pop up book of instant cozy. Sadly it isn’t, but I do have a marshmallow mound of throws and winter cushions. Yes you heard me right I have cushions just for winter, do not judge me. 

I wish I could say I was warming up by a crackling fire right now, but the closest thing I have to a real fire is one found on my tv, a continuous looping video, which I  personally think looks great, but of course no heat! So, outcomes the trusty water bottle. The virtual fireplace is also (surprisingly to me) not a success with all my friends (you know who you are!). Having been asked to turn it off as they found the crackling noise irritating after the first hour. I did tell you I have it on loop!

The one thing that does make me feel instantly cozy is settling down with a hot drink and a good book and you probably have guessed by now that my book choices for this post have a cozy/winter vibe.

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Onto the book reviews….

My Penguin Year by Lindsay McCrae 

This is the perfect book to read in the warm. I have always had an interest in marine life (I don’t know where this came from!) and I have seen many documentaries on penguins in the past, but I have never felt the need to sit and read a book on them. Until now. This book struck a chord with me. ‘My Penguin Year’ is a personal account by cameraman Lindsay McCrae on his year living and filming Emperor penguins in Antartica. Right from the outset of this book, Lindsay’s love for the natural world (and his family) was so evident, I found myself sharing his enthusiasm along his extraordinary journey. Lindsay’s passion for his work comes through like popping candy on the page. 

I appreciated, his very honest, down to earth approach, with a willingness to share his frustrations as well as the truly memorable moments. The glossy photographs were a real treat. I would have personally, loved to see maps as well and maybe some hand written excerpts just to add to the personalisation of the book. This book is a testament to both the strength of nature and the human spirit, it is also a reminder of how quickly our planet is changing. Thank you for sharing Lindsay! I would highly recommend this book. 

Cosy The British Art of Comfort by Laura Weir 

I stumbled across this book and it seemed an obvious pick for me given how I have been feeling for the last couple of weeks. This book is just what I needed. 

Cosy is an encouraging reminder of the little happinesses in life that we often overlook due to the hectic chaos and responsibilities of everyday life. It’s independent little chapters, with helpful hints, beg to be dipped in and out of and not necessarily to be read in one go. Perfect for those who are struggling to commit to a book and for those of us full of cold who’s attention levels are not what they should be! It’s the kind of book you hang on to and refer back to, whenever you need it. 

Yes, you could argue there are many books out there with a similar notion (Hygge is a well known example). In fairness, I could say that point about most books out there! The illustrations in the book are very sweet, but, I think the style of the book, on this occasion, would have benefited from colour illustrations rather than black and white. Perhaps you disagree with me?

I will say, I find the author’s descriptive writing style both comforting and appealing. She also shares my love for tomato soup so how can I not relate to that! I love the little personal touches throughout the book: recipes and book/film suggestions. Excerpts by other writers on the subject of cozy are also sprinkled throughout this enjoyable little book. 

Cosy is a little nostalgic nugget of book, perfect for cold months.

The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris (Children’s Book) 

Ok, so this is one of those children’s books that is so beautiful I think it would be hard to find an adult that would not appreciate it.  It is a book of poetry and stunning colour illustrations that seeks to remind children of the incredible natural world around them. It is a striking, visual encouragement to take long walks and appreciate the nature around you. There is no question, this is a giant book. As a child, I would have loved the size of this book. I would have stretched out on the carpet by my parent’s fireplace and flipped the pages over and over. As an adult, I find the size of the book a little cumbersome, I would have still found it just as effective if the book was smaller in size. You will need to have somewhere special to keep it or a bookcase large enough, because this book is deserving of it. I applaud, the use of poetry in the book. An art in itself that I hope never goes away and I am glad to see it is still encouraged in children’s books. 

This is a special keepsake of a book, with a message so beautifully told it cannot be ignored. 

It makes me want to go outside now… but first a cup of tea!

4 thoughts on “Tomato Soup, Hibernation and an Enthusiastic Budgie

  1. Donna Dunstan says:

    Love reading your reviews and your childhood stories! Fabulous picture of Charlie the budgie too 😊 I really fancy some tomato soup right now!

    1. Ha ha, thanks Donna! Yes I appear to have made myself hungry too!

  2. Sarah says:

    The book Cosy sounds intriguing & I really love the notion! I also like to have a “background book” going & this sounds like a good fit. Hope you’re feeling better and I want to know more about those winter cushions, lol!

    1. Hi Sarah! Your feedback is fantastic thank you so much! Yes I know what you mean about a ‘background book’, Cosy is a real easy read so I am sure you will enjoy it! – Let me know what you think! I am doing much better thanks and just a note on those winter cushions they are multiplying….not by themselves that would be strange and worth writing about! Thanks again!!

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