Birthday Outing and Book Haul

I’m not quite sure why, but I’ve made it a habit of posting something about each birthday I’ve celebrated since I started blogging. Maybe because, otherwise, the years pass so quickly that I can’t remember from one to another what I did, ate, or received as presents! So, to follow on from my 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 posts, here’s this year’s rundown. (Oh dear, I realize I’ve read just one of the books I received last year!)

On Thursday, I treated myself to a charity shop crawl around Newbury (it’s a great place for thrift shopping, as is nearby Thatcham) and got two jumpers plus this small stack of secondhand books.

Then yesterday, my actual birthday, we took time off and went to Kelmscott Manor in West Oxfordshire/the Cotswolds (right on the border with Gloucestershire), where Victorian designer William Morris lived. We’re a fan of Morris’s floral-based wallpaper and textile designs and he was a progressive thinker, too, embracing socialism and environmentalism – I’ll get his utopian novel, News from Nowhere, out from the university library to read soon. Despite a drizzly start to the day, the place was packed with visitors. The tea shop’s cakes incorporate fruit from the manor’s own trees. Naturally, I had to sample two of their offerings, and still had room for a chocolate beetroot cupcake (with the requisite candle) once we got home.

On the way back, we stopped in Wantage for some secondhand book shopping. I’d found out about Regent market from Simon’s blog and he’s right – it’s huge, with an excellent stock and good prices (£2 or £2.50 for nearly everything I looked at, vs. when we were in Inverness I didn’t buy a thing at Leakey’s because even poor-condition paperbacks started at £4). I would happily have spent much longer there and acquired twice as much, but one must be restrained when there are further book hauls to come. I was pleased to find several books I’ve been interested in reading for a while, as well as a couple by authors I’ve enjoyed before.

I requested a vegan Chinese feast, inspired by a recent cookbook I’ve reviewed for Shelf Awareness’s upcoming gift books feature, The Vegan Chinese Kitchen by Hannah Che. My husband made a special trip to an Asian grocery superstore in Reading and the recipes were fairly involved, but the results – cabbage rolls, wontons and bao buns, most featuring tofu and mushrooms – were worth waiting for. We have leftovers for the weekend, along with a banoffee cheesecake from Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen still to come. (When are complicated dishes for if not for birthdays?)

Here are the books I received as birthday gifts, with more to come, I expect, plus a significant amount of birthday money that I may well spend on books. Some good options for #NovNov22 in here!

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29 responses

  1. Belated happy birthday. It looks a great day out. Love seeing all your new books – Unwell Women looks very ‘you’!!
    I’ve just recommended a William and Jane Morris book to you via Goodreads.
    Have a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! When I got home from the charity shops I realized I already had Unwell Women on my Kindle from a 99p deal, but I’m much more likely to read a print copy.

      I’d like to know more about the Morrises — there was actually surprisingly little info on display in the house (though that’s fine with me, as I get museum-ed out if there are reams of information to read).

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  2. Sounds like a lovely day out with lots to remember it by!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was! I hope you had a special day, too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I did, although due to the weather we brought it forward to last Monday because I wanted to visit Hestercombe Gardens which were looking gorgeous in their autumn colours.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. A fine idea. It was drizzling as we arrived yesterday, but turned into a nice afternoon.

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  3. Curious about the Wegelius and how it ties into The Murderer’s Ape.
    Happy Birthday!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s the children’s graphic novel in which he introduced Sally Jones! So The Murderer’s Ape is actually the middle book in a trilogy. I will have read them in a weird order, #2, #3, then #1.

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      1. Oh…thank you. I found The Murderer’s Ape through you and loved it. I will have to look for the others.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy Birthday for yesterday! Sounds a lovely outing, and your husband is to be congratulated in producing your feast. Nice book haul too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I’m lucky to live with an excellent home cook. 10 of my acquisitions happened to be of novella length, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Such a lovely way to mark your birthday. I hadn’t heard of the William. Orris home but have now added to my places to visit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s not part of the National Trust, unfortunately, so we had to pay separate from that membership — but it’s fine for a special occasion. I think he had homes in London as well.

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  6. I’ll be interested to see what you think of Fruit of the Drunken Tree. I thought the writing was very good but it hasn’t stayed with me at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Perhaps one to follow up The Anthill with for an armchair trip to Colombia.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Belated Happy Birthday. Sounds like you had a splendid day. Enjoy the books, and be extra nice to the excellent home cook. Your BD feast made my mouth water!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s been a lovely weekend, thank you. I’m spoiled with good food all the time, but complicated recipes like this wait for special occasions.

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  8. Happy birthday!!!! That food looks really good!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Yes, it was all excellent. Asian food is so easy to make vegetarian/vegan.

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  9. Perfect birthday weekend, by all accounts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t complain 🙂

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  10. Hooray, happy birthday!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What a lovely haul! Not only have I not read my last year’s birthday books (and there were many for turning 50) but I haven’t spent my book tokens, either, and now it’s heading into can’t buy in case someone has bought it for me season, plus there’s no room on my TBR shelf. Help!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha, these are nice ‘problems’ to have, aren’t they?

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Happy birthday! Looks like a lovely day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a great day, and it being a Friday it carried over into a nice weekend of apple picking and volunteering as a bartender at our local arts venue, with leftovers of all the birthday treats to eat and drink.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. You’re making me want to go to Wantage bookshop again 😀 I can’t remember how far away you are from it, but maybe we should have a bookshopping trip together there one day…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Theoretically half an hour away (though we got lost on the way home!). We don’t own a car but share one with a neighbour and can borrow it pretty much at will, so that would certainly be doable. I think Annabel is keen, too, and only in Abingdon. Perhaps a Christmastide outing and refreshments for any local bloggers would be a nice thing to arrange 🙂

      Like

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