Saturday, 29 October 2016

Goodbye Blogspot- Hello Wordpress

Please go to  (our new home)

click below:  

I have been thinking of transferring the Penguin and myself to wordpress for quite awhile now but thought the effort might be too much.

However as I travelled through the UK and signed in and our of various servers blogspot just couldn't handle it.  First I lost my blog roll.  Then my stats were acting up.
When I lost the tabs that linked all of my Penguin series in my large vintage Penguin collection I spat the dummy so to speak.

I was afraid the entire blog of several years of posts and the long lists of my collection would completely disappear.  I have watched other bloggers over the years transfer to word press and thought now is the time to learn new skills. Just in time to set everything up for 2017.

I tend to learn technology fairly quickly but there are some areas of wordpress I am confused by but I will work it out.

I will keep this blog address in the blogroll list in our new house (so to speak) so old posts can still be found.

2017 is fast approaching and I am looking forward to new challenges, new books, new travels and new books in my collection in a new home.  Please bear with us as we stumble around finding our way for a couple of months.

The Penguin and I....

Goodbye Blogspot- Hello Wordpress

Please go to  (our new home)

click below:  

I have been thinking of transferring the Penguin and myself to wordpress for quite awhile now but thought the effort might be too much.

However as I travelled through the UK and signed in and our of various servers blogspot just couldn't handle it.  First I lost my blog roll.  Then my stats were acting up.
When I lost the tabs that linked all of my Penguin series in my large vintage Penguin collection I spat the dummy so to speak.

I was afraid the entire blog of several years of posts and the long lists of my collection would completely disappear.  I have watched other bloggers over the years transfer to word press and thought now is the time to learn new skills. Just in time to set everything up for 2017.

I tend to learn technology fairly quickly but there are some areas of wordpress I am confused by but I will work it out.

I will keep this blog address in the blogroll list in our new house (so to speak) so old posts can still be found.

2017 is fast approaching and I am looking forward to new challenges, new books, new travels and new books in my collection in a new home.  Please bear with us as we stumble around finding our way for a couple of months.

The Penguin and I....

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Remnants of the UK Trip Through Arthur Pepper

I have finished this book and I must say in my jet lagged haze it was a comfortable read. No terror, suspense, misogyny, war or animal cruelty.  A tale about Arthur, whose wife died one year previously and he is still in mourning. As one year has now passed he goes upstairs to finally remove her clothes from the wardrobe. In the toe of a boot he finds a gold charm bracelet with several beautiful charms.

This tale is his quest to find out about her life that he knew nothing about by tracking down the history behind each charm.  The characters in the English village are charming with touches of reality to their situations in life.

There is the too kind neighbour, her sullen teenage son Nathan who was a pleasant surprise after awhile. There were the strangers he either talked to (in India) or met in Paris. Throw in a couple of headstrong, dysfunctional grown up children and you have it.

It is the kind of book one might read while curled up on the couch in a comfy robe, hot drink on a rainy day, maybe if you have a headache. It won't be for everyone as several of the tales are just too crazy to believe and reality does fly out the window on occasion but everyone seems to do okay in the end. I thought it was fun to follow his quest.

Food is warm, beds are sometimes comfy, people are generally nice to each other though eccentric. If you enjoyed Harold Fry or the 100 Year Old man who left the nursing home through the window then you will probably enjoy this book.

I had to laugh as on my recent trip to the UK with my friend JW we got into some pretty solid routines. Big breakfast, lunch at a pub or cafe around 1:30, several hours of driving and sight seeing. Then at night we disappeared into our separate rooms to post pictures, write letters home and our evening meal was cereal, milk, yogurt, fruit or a salad. Something we picked up in the local Value store or Tesco.  We enjoyed our down time but one thing that seemed to be consistent was our quest to find a great biscuit (cookie). JW loved the chocolate digestives. She cannot get them in the USA where she lives. I can get them but don't' care for them. Give me a crispy chocolate chip cookie with a moist center. No matter what your preference is biscuits were a daily topic of conversation between us.

I was reading Arthur Pepper when I came across the following paragraph that made me laugh out loud.

Usually the first thing he and Miriam would do when they got to a room in a B & B was to have a nice cup of tea and see what type of cookie graced the courtesy tray.
They had devised a rating system together. Obviously, receiving no cookies at all scored a big fat zero. Digestives scored a two. Custard creams were a little better coming in at four.  Bourbons he had originally rated as a five but he had grown to appreciate them, so upgraded them to six. Any cookie that tasted of chocolate without containing any had to be admired. Farther up the scale were the pos cookies usually provided by the larger hotel chains- the lemon and ginger cookies or chocolate chip, which came in at eight. For a ten, the cookies had to be homemade by the  proprietors, and this was very rare. 

We always looked to see what kind of cookies the B & B provided and thought they were quite cheap when there was nothing available. We tended to like anything with ginger or chocolate.

I have no idea if anyone who reads this has read this book but if so I would love to know what you thought. I had not heard of it but we saw it on a shelf in one of our B & B rooms while we travelled and we both noted the title and author to check up on it later. I was not disappointed. 

Saturday, 15 October 2016

On The Way Home

The Penguin is packed and I am sitting in a large Dublin Hotel waiting to leave for the airport.  My flight is not until 10:35 pm so I don't need to get there until around 7:00 pm.

I have had all day not talking to anyone but the person who sold me a coffee earlier this afternoon. I sat in the lobby downstairs as it is a large conference hotel at the end of the Dublin Runway and lots of really comfortable couches and chairs downstairs.

I noticed on this blog that blogger has done something strange to my page. First it has deleted all the lists of Penguin books I had arranged under the title page of books owned in all the series. I will have to decide if I reload them all or not. The lists are not lost, just the placement of the lists on the blog so people can see what books are in my library. So I can see what books are in my library especially while hunting for them. Is this important to continue? I am not sure. Perhaps the main list is all I need to repost. Will look at it on my large desktop computer when I get home.

Then they have also deleted the Blogroll down the left side. I had listed all of the blogs I follow regularly. It is just gone. So while I sat downstairs this afternoon looking for anything to do I googled all of the blogs I could remember that I follow and just subscribed to them via email. I think I will put them back up as I believe some people do use the list to catch up on other blogs.  I know I often read others' lists of blogs they follow and have found some good ones doing that.

I have had a person or two write me to say that but I wonder if it is any longer the case.

At least I won't miss out on  reading them anymore as they come directly to my travellinpenguin gmail account. Will think about it.

I was able to secure a book online I saw in a B and B we stayed in. It is called The Curious Chars of Arthur Pepper. It is written by Phaedra Patrick, an author I was not familiar with. I have also started it today.

It is the story of a man whose children are grown and his wife has been dead for exactly one year. It is time to clear her things away.  He is dreading doing that but once he gets stuck into it he discovers a gold charm bracelet in the toe of one of her boots he has never seen before. There is a single name and a phone number inscribed on it from India. Amazingly he calls the number and chats to the man who gave it to her. Evidently she cared for him when he was a teenager. The Indian boy loved her then but at the time was jealous as he grew older and his sisters got the attention. He made up a lie that got her sacked and always regretted his actions. He gave her a golden elephant charm. But...interesting...the bracelet has other charms. Her husband wants to know the story behind all of the charms and now the story begins.

According to the blurb on the back of the book he begins to travel. He has never been out of the UK before and thus another quirky travel tale begins. Shades of the 100  Year Old Man Who Went through the Window and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.

I have no idea of whether it is any good. Only published this year I look forward to seeing all of the quirky people he meets, stories he hears and what the story is behind all of the charms. It seems to be an easy read and if there is nothing good on the Boxed Sets on the plane I may continue reading it.

I find it hard to concentrate on books while travelling on a plane. There are so many interruptions and I seem to reread the same paragraph again and again. But as I never sleep on a plane and I have at least 23 hours in the air maybe I can squeeze it in.

I'll let you know. Not being one to always enjoy modern stories I do like the premise of this book.

I hope I have signed up to all of the book blogs I follow as I have followed these particular ones for such awhile I would miss them. If I don't comment on your blog soon please send me the name of it either in the comments below or at  travellinpenguin at gmail dot com.

Off into the wilds I go.  
Photo by Travellin Penguin

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Last Day of Touring Ireland Except for......


We have pretty much finished up our travels around the southern part of Ireland. We began in Dublin, went around the southeast to the southern coast then came up the west coast ending in Dublin.

We have had so much beautiful scenery to talk about. It has been fun but extremely tiring. We drop into our rooms in the evening and try to post pictures to our relatives and friends on Facebook and write a few emails.

I always need news from home from Mr. Penguin and my dogs and cats. Evidently my little terrier Molly had a bath and she fluffed up so much she is three times her size. I will be glad to see them when I get home on Sunday.

Tomorrow we drive from Galways to Dublin, return the rental car and stay over in a hotel. We both fly out on Friday. My friend is going back to the heat of south Florida and I am on my 30 hour trip home to Australia. I am looking forward to it. I hope Emirates has some good boxed sets and I have downloaded books and magazines onto my Samsung tablet.

We have had some funny experiences along the way. As one can imagine a long car trip has conversations about all things real and silly. We go to solving the problems of the world, how children should be raised, funny stories from our work days together almost 30 years ago and google.

Every time we stumble in a conversation such as who played in that movie, who sang that song, what was the last lyrics in a nursery rhyme we say we are going to google it.  We began keeping a notebook of things to look up on google at the end of the day.

When did people begin smoking meat to store it? Who sang a particular song in the movie White Christmas with Bing Crosby?  Details about Edgar Allen Poe or Alfred Hitchcock. We have covered a lot while riding longer distances in cars.

Yesterday we stopped at a craft and book store along the Atlantic coast. My friend was looking at woollen sweaters and scarfs. I was taking photos of books because I like the book covers and often turn the pictures into bookmarks. Without even thinking about it I took photos of five books.

The book seller was very angry. He seemed angry when we walked in. My friend asked him about the marble in the mountains and if it comes from here. He was very short with her and snapped out half an answer.

When I went to pay for a blank journal I was buying because I loved the cover so much he didn't even want to wait on me. Then he snapped about all the people photographing books and not buying anything. Hey, I was buying a journal that looked like a book. He absolutely stormed away and if looks could kill. I have met rude booksellers before but this guy really took the cake.

Of course that led to several hours of conversation about how unhappy he must be. I still have the photos. I won't buy those books on Book Depository or Amazon.  I just wanted to revisit the covers of the Irish books. They were interesting. One should not jump to conclusions.
At an aquarium on west coast of Ireland

One of the Irish B and B's we stayed in had several books on the shelf by Maeve Binchy. How Irish is that?

We went through James Joyce's country yesterday west of Galway. Couldn't find a lot of information on his past but noticed his books for sale in several shops. No, I have never read Ulysses. It's one of those books you want to say you've read but haven't. I might remedy that, I might not.

I will leave you with pictures of the Penguin travelling with us along the way up the west coast as far as Galway and the peninsula it rests upon.

I'll be back once the jet lag passes.

Penguin at the aquarium watching the penguins.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

We Are Enjoying Ireland Very Much

Yes we are tired. Yes we are still sight seeing, driving endlessly, booking accommodation for the following days and eating.  Everywhere we go seems to take ages. We get lost at every turn and continue to argue with Beverly. Beverly is the GPS lady. She is so polite when giving us directions but yells at us when we miss the turn. Who programs these women anyway?
Powers court House and Gardens

Yesterday we went to Powerscourt Gardens. That was gloriously beautiful. It even had a pet cemetery on the grounds. Ponies, a cow and many dogs. The dates on the stones went from 1901 to 1940's when it seemed to stop.

I get distracted by the animal goings on. If you wish to know more about the history and what else is there please google it.

The Gardens

Today we went to Glendalough Monastery ruins that St Kevin established in the 6th century. It was really interesting.
On the grounds of the Glendalough Monastery 

Tomorrow we go to Blarney and Cork areas. I don't know if I will kiss the Blarney stone or not. Evidently it is in a very awkward place and all I keep hearing is, "Don't worry, they will hold you."
They?  We have been talking about "They" lately.

Who is "they". 'They' say this remedy works. 'They' say this spot of the world is gorgeous. We have been wondering who "They" is and will we ever meet this invisible person(s)?

The things you talk about on long car journeys, especially when lost in remote areas of a country we have never visited.

As this is supposed to also be a book blog I can only say the only books we have really studied is the manual for the BMW (ah yes) we upgraded to it because the Toyota Yaris scared us a bit. Manual and no GPS plus enormous suitcases.  With two of us we could cut the cost down. We know all about the dash of the BMW now and I must say it is ridiculous. We had to look up how to turn the turn indicators off. It is a three step process and if you do it too hard, don't touch it gently enough, it does not turn off.

Our too fancy car.

We were wondering how far car manufacturers will go with the bells and whistles of operating a turn indicator, a speedometer (yes we had to look that up because we could not find it) and when we press a key button to unlock it the boot swings open. Ridiculous. Where is the 1950 Ford I grew up with that had no seat belts, a 3 position gear stick on the steering wheel column and a button on the floor to change the brights.

We have also been reading maps. Lots of maps. We have read brochures, plaques, signs. We have been reading menus and price tags. I have never read so much.

I am starting to wish for a rainy day at home, a hot cup of coffee, three cats around me and a dog pushing on my shoulders to get a better position on the top back of my chair so he can see out the window. The other dog will be pushing the cats away from me so she has a spot and Mr. Penguin will be asking me if I want more coffee or a glass of wine maybe?

Cork and Blarney

We are heading to the Cork area tomorrow for two nights then on to Kilkenny on the west coast to drive the Ring of Kerry. I am looking forward to that.

I miss my animals, my friends, my books, my routines, my structures but we continue to have fun even if we drag ourselves to bed each night exhausted. Thanks for reading our travel dribble.
Stay tuned,  no doubt there will be more. We have another 11 days.

The Penguin found his way to some very soft Aran jumpers. He's tired too.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Did People Know About This?

I have not tried it yet but it looks interesting.

Earlier this year, the price on the blockbuster book, The Girl on the Train, was slashed from $11.99 to $1.99 for one day only.
Previously, Gone Girl was discounted from $9.99 to $2.99, and The Da Vinci Code was given away for free for one week. In all three cases, the discounts were only available for the ebook version.
Most people were completely unaware of these huge deals.
A select group of readers, however, had the inside scoop on all these deals and more. They were using BookBub, a daily email that alerts readers to free and deeply discounted ebooks that are available for a limited time.
Over 5 million people have signed up for BookBub’s free service. Readers sign up with just an email address, and then select their favorite genres. Each day, BookBub sends an email with free and discounted bestselling ebooks in the selected genres. Just click, download, and read on any device: Kindle, Nook, iPad, iPhone, Droid, & more.
From romance to mystery, cookbooks to non-fiction, and literary to historical fiction there are more than 20 categories to choose from to customize your email. Each title is hand selected by BookBub’s editorial team to ensure the highest quality – they do the work for you. In addition, each book is at least 75% off, and many are free, which makes it extremely low risk to try new authors and genres.
“It’s the Groupon of books,” Dominique Raccah, the publisher of Sourcebooks, told The New York Times about deal sites like BookBub. “For the consumer, it’s new, it’s interesting. It’s a deal and there isn’t much risk. And it works.”
Book lovers have now become practically obsessed with BookBub. In many cases, they’ve downloaded hundreds of books and saved hundreds of dollars using the service.
“I now have more books than I can read in a lifetime,” said Suzie Miller of Auburn, WA. She said she has downloaded more than 350 free ebooks using the service.
To see today’s ebook deals, go to
It sounds good anyway. 

Saturday, 1 October 2016

The Penguin Leaves Wales Tomorrow and Heads to Ireland

This was our road we travelled on.
Today we woke up to pounding rain on the west coast of Wales. We had a three hour drive north to Holyhead, where we will take the ferry to Dublin tomorrow.

Fortunately the rain stopped as soon as we got underway and we enjoyed the Welsh mountains
and seaside glory on the way to this ferry port.

I passed one second hand book shop on the way but sadly it was closed. It looked interesting. So on we went.

We stopped for lunch in a busy pub. We had a "squealer" next to us. (What we call those toddlers who squeal at the top of their voice and the parents ignore.)  So between bites of food we had this cacophony of noise piercing our heads. We ate and fled the scene of the noise.

Part of the port in Holyhead.
We needed a walk after severalhours in the car.
We didn't make too many missed turns. We have a joke going that if Google tells us a destination is only two hours, we say, "Good, we'll be there in four hours." That is almost always true though we are getting better.

We need to stop having arguments with our GPS lady we dubbed Beverly.  We lose our temper with her and sometimes just hit the 'off' button when we turn a corner we are sure is the correct direction and she starts going on about "Recalculating- Recalculating". We have even sworn at her once or twice. We wonder why she uses the word "Please" so often but sounds so grumpy when we make a mistake. It is scary.

We turn in Big Bertha tomorrow. We were supposed to have had a small Opal economy car but the guy handed us keys to a large Fiat 500 SUV at Heathrow. We did not argue. In Ireland we are to have a tiny VW Polo and are wondering where we will put everything.

Maybe he'll be nice and upgrade us too. We have been calling the big diesel Fiat Big Bertha because she makes so much noise whenever we head off in first gear.

I am not grinding the gears nearly so much these days.

The west coast of Wales is very beautiful. Our road had mountains to the east and open sea to the west. It reminds me a lot of Tasmania. The weather seems similar also. But it is also different.

The Penguin loves the seaside.

I have put a few photos of this beautiful country that we saw today.  I hope we find more bookstores in Ireland but I am not holding my breath. Many of them are either hidden or just plain gone.

The Penguin is packed and ready for another two weeks of adventure.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Penguins From Hay On Wye

 Two days ago we finally got to Hay on Wye again. It has changed since I last saw it. More empty shopfronts for lease. A few less bookstores. It was rainy and dreary and didn't seem to have the same energy I remember from last time.

Maybe it was I who didn't have the same energy but I enjoyed it very much never the less.

We arrived before lunch time and had a good walk around. I was disappointed to see the castle has deteriorated so much in the five? years it has been since I saw it last.

Previously it was full of books. Now the ceiling is collapsed in, the doors and windows are boarded shut and there wasn't the display of books there had been.

Several of the shops are no longer book stores but filled with art or ceramic souvenirs.  We had lunch at Oscar's Cafe and that was very good. It is small but it was warm and a respite from the rain.

I don't imagine I will every visit there again but... on a brighter note-

I found Penguins I did not have. I vowed I would only buy Penguin books that were numbered less than 1000 and were first published.

I found 12 (new to me) Penguins in the main series and two Penguins were first published that will replace old reprints I have at home. The reprints will go to new homes.

The display of Penguins in Addyman Bookshop

I am tightening up my collection because I do realise I cannot collect everything published between 1935 and 1970. I will continue to keep my other series (listed at the top of my blog page) but probably won't add to them as quickly.
 Penguins are still relatively easy to find in Hobart and I will continue to collect those I do not have but only if they are first published.

I think I might have a year off from my book clubs next year and concentrate solely on reading books I already own. I have very many books I would love to read but I find the book club books are detracting me from that. They are often long books of which I don't usually enjoy. Modern literature (in my opinion) often leaves a lot to be desired and I would like to spend time with the wonderful collection of books I have. Then I can pass them on and reduce the number of books in the house.

I am torn because I enjoy the book club meetings but I do miss reading books that really grab me and I must say it is seldom any bookclub book grabs me.  I am thinking about it at this point but will decide by the end of the year.

I continue to enjoy my Tuesday Play Reading classes and my writing group that meets three Wednesdays a month. (approx)

I have put up some photos of our day out.

By the way, did you happen to spot our Travellin'

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Good Bye Lowe Farm: A Tribute to Juliet...

Today we had to leave this beautiful farm stay. We had three nights and lots of fun. Juliet is the landlady here and she is a one stop wonder. She cooked for us, sat and had afternoon tea, chatted, shared stories and even did our laundry and folded our clothes.

We all had afternoon tea together yesterday.
We had such a good time. We were going to Hay on Wye and I shared with her my obsession for Penguin books. She also got to meet the Travelling' Penguin and took her into her home without question.

She gave him a great time along with us and he participated in many things while visiting there. (We are not the only crazy ladies.)

I would like to thank her again and if you ever get to the Hereford area be sure to stay at their farm. You will not be sorry. Beautiful rooms, beautiful farm, lovely, lovely people. The guests who arrived all seemed to have been there before. Good friendships ensued.

So thank you Juliet from Judy, Pam and the Travellin' Penguin.
Juliet wanted Margery to say goodbye to us. There was a bit of a chase.

Juliet showed the Penguin around and let him slide down the bannister.
The Penguin says goodbye to Miss Pringle.

Beautiful rainbow one afternoon.

One of the views at Lowe Farm

Sunday, 25 September 2016

"Land's End," I Exclaimed, What a Fun Time We Are Having

We are not being overly bookish but we are sure travelling'. My friend Judy and I and the Penguin have just spent a week in Cornwall. We saw Port Isaac, Padstow and St Ives Harbour. We spent a happy day at the environmentally impressive Eden Project.

St Ives, Cornwall, England
We enjoyed a late afternoon at Land's End. I was happy to spend time there because in the past I have experienced John O'Groats at the northern end of Scotland and now I was at the other end of this interesting and beautiful country.

The view from Land's End, Cornwall

The Eden Project is so encouraging as the world is full of politicians who don't seem to care about the environment. They are doing wonderful things with this project which was once a Chinese run quarry or rather a large hole in the ground.

We enjoyed the biodomes of the rainforest, though it was sweltering and the Mediterranean, which was lovely and cool.  We had a good look around the giftshop and the three of us enjoyed excellent pizza and cold drinks.

The Biomes

A rainforest plant

A plant from the Mediterranean

The Penguin playing in a cabbage.

The Penguin ready to tuck into our pizzas. They were very good.
Now we are farther north and have crossed back and forth between England and Wales. We are staying at Lowe Farm, about 15 miles from Hereford. This farm accommodation is lovely, lovely, lovely. It also has two beagles, one cat and one hen on site. I have been introduced to all of them.

Margery the rescue hen.
As it is Saturday night there is a little party going on outdoors in the barn, which houses a big spa and loud music.  I am happily ensconced in my room. A room with good reading lights and high speed wi fi. I am enjoying quiet activities. Since I am the driver of a manual rental (I have not driven a manual car in years), SUV going down motorways and unfamiliar one lane roads I need a little rest.  Although we are doing well.

Miss Pringle being quite silly.

We get in the car, set the GPS. It says 3  hours and we know we will be at our destination after 6 hours. That includes missed exits, unnamed roads of which we get lost and grinding the clutch a few times. However the weather is good. This poor rental will be returned to Holyhead, Wales, probably without a clutch, a stuck emergency brake and lots of miles on the odometer.

The Farm Hotel
Tomorrow we are visiting the Hampton Court Castle and Gardens near Hereford and then....
wait for it.....Monday is.....HAY ON WYE!!!!! The village filled with bookshops.

I am really looking forward to that. I hope to get the t-shirt, the bag, the fridge magnet and maybe a Penguin book or two I have not been able to find in Australia. We are planning a day there with lunch and walking from shop to shop.

The farm garden
My friend Judy and travelling companion is being a very good sport in letting me have a day with all the books I can dream of.

Another part of the garden.
The Penguin will probably be excited too. We have done so much in a week. We still have three weeks to go. What a fun time this has been. Though I am missing Mr. Penguin and my lovely dogs and cats, I know they are glad we are having fun, because that is the kind of creatures they are.