Thursday, March 14, 2019

Happy Pi Day

p = 3.14

I wish I had some fresh pie to share with you but I'll have to settle for this one I made a while ago.

I've been practising my pastry skills. After more than 50 years of baking, I'm finally getting (thanks to Smitten Kitchen)the hang of pastry - I know, I'm a slow learner. The cherry pie I made more recently looked much better than this one but we were in so much of a hurry to dig in I forgot to take a photo. 

Anyway, let's celebrate Pi and Pie - both awesome concepts and even related!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Don't Let Go

Don't Let Go
Michel Bussi
translated by Sam Taylor

It has been a couple months since the last book review on Favourite Things. Time to remedy that.

Michel Bussi is a Frenchman, a professor of geopolitics and a well-known best-selling author in France. He lives and works in Normandy where many of his mystery novels are set. Apparently, his other novels, which I haven't read, this one being the first for me, are absolutely terrific if you enjoy the genre. In fact, several reviewers said that, for them, Don't Let Go, by comparison, was a real disappointment.

I'm here to tell you that not only was I in no way disappointed, but I could hardly tear myself away when other duties called. 

Unlike his other novels, Don't Let Go is set in the tiny French Département of Réunion, a volcanic island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar and southwest of Mauritius. 

 At only 970 square miles and with a population of under a million, Réunion is a popular holiday destination for French people, but a new place to discover for moi. I'd heard of it, but really knew nothing about it and last week I couldn't have told you even its location.

The island appears to be tropical, although volcanic mountains inhabit the interior. Exotic palms trees sway in the wind, sandy beaches extend along the western coast and a host of birds and animals not found anywhere else call the island home. Réunion also appears to be a melting pot of peoples, cultures, religions and languages. Although the inhabitants refer to each other by names which identify the group they belong to, they seem to get along fairly peacefully without the degree of racism you might expect. With the location as it is, there are Africans, Malagasy (from Madagascar), Europeans, Indians of Muslim extraction, Indians of Hindu extraction and so on, with mixing producing families with beautiful children.

One of the joys of the novel, then, is discovering something about the geography and inhabitants of Réunion. The other joy is the compelling story which at first glance seems to start with a family of tourists - husband, wife and 4-year old girl. The wife suddenly disappears in broad daylight, leaving behind a bloody hotel room and the husband soon comes under suspicion. He is, at first, cooperative with police, but then he takes off with his little daughter and from then on, there is a chase, and other victims along the way. All is not what it seems at first with this French tourist and there is a slow revealing of the truth during the frantic attempt to save the little girl's life that involves all of the cultures that inhabit Réunion. 

I loved the novel and for sure will be looking for more Michel Bussi books.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

International Women's Day March 8

Happy International Women's Day!

Here's to all the strong women who have brought us to this place and time!

Here's to all the amazing women present and future 
who are/will be 
role models to so many!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Katrina Megget

I don't think I've introduced you yet to Katrina Megget

She's a "Kiwi" health journalist currently walking from the very north to the very south of New Zealand, raising awareness and funds for mental health. 

I started following her journey last fall as she was finishing her pre-trek preparations and have quietly celebrated all her small victories as she encountered the seemingly endless miles of 90-Mile Beach (difficult walking, sometimes very wet) 

miles of road-walking (again difficult -  hard on the feet)

 thick forests


and mud. VERY deep mud. 

Kat started the 3000 km journey last November at the north end of the North Island and has just recently arrived in the South Island, ready for more adventure on the Te Araroa Trail.

It's fun to read her highlight of the first 49-day blog post. She has had some amazing and unexpected adventures.

Now on the North Island, she is encountering trails that are closed or blocked due to fire risks and lack of water sources. But she'll carry on, undeterred, and stronger by having already come so far. 

Katrina has many "followers" and admirers thanks to her regular blog posts and also by being a frequent presence on Facebook,  Twitter and Instagram. Again, she is walking solo on the Te Araroa Trail, 3000 Km. in her own words, "to raise awareness of self-doubt and low self-esteem and also raising money for (UK-based) Mind - the mental health charity" as well as NZ-based Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.  

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Here's Another Walker

People here in Canada often seem astonished that I would want to undertake a long-distance walk. In the UK long-distance walking is very common and here is yet another addict enthusiast.

This is Quinton Lake, a British walker, whose walks inform his passion for photography. If you go to his website: you can browse his galleries of amazing images. Lake is also an architect and his photos of buildings around the world are just as stunning as those of his outdoor scenes.

At the moment Quinton Lake is in the midst of a 10,000-mile trek around the perimeter of Britain, a 5-year project. He set off in April 2015 from St. Paul's Cathedral, travelling around the coast clockwise, and just a few weeks ago I found him on Twitter when he was in western Scotland.

One of Lake's (self-imposed) "rules" is to walk the entire way - no ferries across estuaries and rivers and no vehicles. This means that the walk around Cornwall, in and out of the various coves and harbours added up to more than a third of the entire coastline! You might think that a coastal walk would be pretty flat, but I know from my walk on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in 2003 that coastlines rise and fall from beach to cliff to headland, a real work-out!

Mr. Lake takes about 400 photos a day, editing it down to the best 10-30 to keep. He sells limited edition prints and holds out the possibility one day of a book. Sales of his prints help in funding his journey.

In remote sections, he wild camps and in more urban areas he stays in B and B's or offered accommodation. Married, with 2 children, Lake tries to be away for only a week or two at a time, so is doing the walk in chunks of time. Like all long-distance walkers, he is never lonely or bored on the walks. :)

He generously posts photos to Twitter and here are a few recent ones that I particularly like.

Plants growing out of stone walls or pavements have always fascinated me.

Evidently, with the right camera and knowledge of photography, a misty or cloudy day is just as ripe for a great photo as a sunny day.

How about this awesome photo of Ailsa Craig.

"What on earth", I hear you saying, "is this?"

4000 or so years ago prehistoric people, for reasons only to be speculated about, carved these cup and ring shapes into the rocks of this spot in Argyll. Sadly, a few of the marks (the "dials") are 19th-century graffiti. These types of marks can be found throughout the British Isles, northern Europe and even as far south as the Mediterranean - Italy and Greece in addition to Australia, India, Africa, Hawaii, Israel and Mexico. Makes you really wonder, doesn't it!

Anyway, when you have a few moments to spare, have a look at the awesome photos on Lake's Website: and also visit