Saturday, August 22, 2015

Sunday Expressions: C2C Edition

I've been learning a lot about Yorkshire, thanks in part to Last Tango in Halifax and also due to my recent read of Amanda Owen's memoir The Yorkshire Shepherdess.  I will be doing a post on this book soon, but I digress.

The other day I stumbled upon a beautiful blog called Four Walkers on Walking Places.  The four walkers in question are four grandmotherly-types who walked the Coast to Coast trail in 2010.  I highly recommend this blog for their amusing account of their experience, as well as stunning pictures.  It is quite a bit of inspiration as well.

This week's Sunday Expression was discovered on their blog.  Heather, the blog's author, writes, "An early start of us, so it was a cat's lick and a promise as far as getting washed was concerned..."  I thought that was such a great expression for those times when you know a shower or bath is just not in the cards.  So thank you, Heather, for this week's "Sunday Expression".

Do you have time for a proper bath in the morning or evening or do you have to get by with a cat's lick?



Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sunday Expressions: The British Banker Edition

Trying to be all adult-like, I made several appointments with my local bank to try and sort out things like oh...retirement and funding the children's education.  You know.  Minor details.

So of course my Banker would be from England.  And just in time because I needed some authentic Sunday Expressions.

I was treated to several HOURS (lots of sorting needed) of British expressions.  I seriously wanted to take notes, but I supposed that would have been too weird.

So my Sunday Expression:  The Banker Edition is "Wait a tick."  This expression was used when I attempted to chatter while he was adding up my sums (or lack of), when I interrupted him while he was on the telephone sorting out my various messes, or needed me to clarify some financial nonsense I was spouting.

Any Brits out there use "Wait a tick"?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Last Tango in Halifax - No Spoilers Here!

Ann Reid and Derek Jacobi as Celia and Alan
Luckily, due to my job as a school librarian I have the summers off.

Unluckily, due to a bout with Mono (that's glandular fever to you Brits), I spent about three weeks of my summer vacation on the couch.

Luckily, I discovered Last Tango in Halifax to get me through.

In my feverish state, I happened upon the current episode (at the time) of Last Tango in Halifax on my wonderful local public television station WETA UK (p.s., they have a lovely little blog called Telly Visions).  I was immediately hooked but needless to say I was a bit behind - by about 19 episodes or so.  So with a major spoiler under my belt...I backtracked courtesy of Netflix and watched all of the episodes I'd missed.

If you don't know the premise, here it is in a nutshell.  Alan Buttershaw and Celia Dawson are widowers in their 70s who are reunited after 60 years courtesy of their FaceBook-savvy grandsons. Alan lives with his sheep-farmer daughter, Gillian and his grandlad Raff, while Celia lives with her Headmistress daughter, Caroline and her grandsons Lawrence and William.  But of course, that's not all and the series bursts out of the gate with much ground covered in season 1, episode 1.

My favorite actor in the series is Derek Jacobi who plays Alan Buttershaw.  He's just so believeable, so natural - he's an absolute pleasure to watch.

Here are a few things that I enjoyed as I laid dramatically on my sickbed:

1) Last Tango is a perfect drinking game if you binge watch the episodes.  In my case I hydrated (I was sick remember) as so:

a)  A car pulls in or out of a drive (sip of water)
b)  A character says "I'll put the kettle on." (large gulp of water)
c)  A character exclaims "I'm cooking!" (drink the entire glass of water)

2) Inside jokes...

I'm sure there were many more that went over my head, but I loved when (no spoiler) Alan Buttershaw says, "Now heaven walks on earth..." and then wonders if that's a quote from Shakespeare.  Quite so, and I love that it's from Twelfth Night in which Jacobi starred as Malvolio.

3)  Subtitles

Because I'm all up to date on LTIH, I'm watching the episodes again...this time with the subtitles on. Getting lots of smart dialogue that otherwise got lost in the shuffle.  Any favorite expressions from LTIH that you've picked up?

Well, I'm off to put the kettle on.



Monday, March 2, 2015

What Am I Reading Monday - Brit Lit Edition 2.2.15

Congratulations to Hannahlily over at Full Metal Whimsy who will become one of the first U.S. readers {in my estimation - don't quote me on this!} to get her hands on a copy of Arsenic for Tea by my author idol Robin Stevens!

Unfortunately I did not get to read any new MG or YA Brit Lit this past week, {although I did finish the Call the Midwife trilogy.  If you have not read these memoirs by Jennifer Worth you absolutely must.  Bleak, astonishing, wonderful, magical, spiritual all at once.}

Heart-breaking and heart-warming all at once.
I hope to be back on track this week with Jonathan Stroud's The Whispering Skull.  I raved about the first book in the series, so I am very much looking forward to the second.

I'm guessing this will be as spine-tingling as the first!
Any Brit Lit you'd recommend this week?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sunday Expressions: What?

No, really what?


No, what?

This week's Sunday Expression was inspired by Sophie Brookover who after listening to a few Jeeves & Wooster audiobooks increased her British vocabulary impressively and
exponentially.  This tweet had me particularly intrigued...

So, what is what?

Sophie's theory is that it emphasizes the speaker's point and is used to "encourage agreement with an expectation of a response like 'quite so', 'indeed', or "I jolly well agree!'".

I jolly well agree and feel like it's similar to the Hindi "accha" which can be used in a variety of situations and for different meanings.

Ah, the mystery of British expressions, what?

Do you use what? and when, what?

And thank you, Sophie, for your simply dashing use of British expressions.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

What Am I Reading Monday - Brit Lit Edition 1.16.15

View-halloo!  Did you get yesterday's clue? This week's What Am I Reading entry is both a review and a giveaway!  Somehow, in my quest for MG Brit Lit, I stumbled upon Robin Stevens over at .  Her first book is for the MG Agatha Christie-fan set {even if they aren't aware of it yet} and introduces us to Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong, two boarding school pals at Deepdean School, who stumble upon muuuurrrrrrrr-daaaahhhhh...  This book is very much a period piece, taking place in 1934, and it includes all those delicious things mystery-lovers love, like maps, and red herrings, and lists of characters.  The book, over on Robin's side of the pond is titled Murder Most Unladylike, but will arrive on these shores under the alibi Murder is Bad Manners.  Since I've only read the British edition, I cannot speak as to how many changes there will be {if any} between the two editions {other than the title and cover art, of course} but I am super excited for this series to make landfall here.
The first in the series - U.K. edition.

U.S. version coming soon to a bookstore near you.
 :: taps foot impatiently ::
Not willing to wait for Murder is Bad Manners to wash ashore {okay, okay, I'll stop with the nautical references}, I pre-ordered Robin's second book in the series:  Arsenic for Tea which takes place a Daisy Wells' home {in the country, so is it an English country home?  Or just a home?} whilst the two friends are on hols.  {And yes, it does include the phrase view-halloo!}  

And here is where things went wrong.  For me.  But not for you.  Every time I saw mention of Arsenic for Tea on Twitter, I'd head over to {not compensated for their mention} and pre-ordered it.  And pre-ordered it!  And, wait...did I pre-order this book already?  So when my two copies of Arsenic for Tea arrived in quick succession, I thought of you, you, YOU dear readers.  One of you will receive that second copy.  This give-away is only open to U.S. readers and I'll tell you why...because it will not be readily available stateside for eons and I need to spread the love imbeds.
My memory loss is your gain:  the giveaway book in question.
Book two in the series; U.K. edition
Now I'm going to pretend that I am like the awesome Mr. Schu and have a giveaway.  Commence giveaway.
Rules for Giveaway

1.  It will run from 1/16 to 11:59 p.m. on 1/18
2.  Open to U.S. mailing addresses only
3.  If you win, pass it along once read


Sunday Expressions: View-halloo!

Whether you agree or not with the idea of fox hunting, this week's Sunday Expression is view-halloo!  This is a fox-hunting term that is used when the fox "breaks cover" and is sighted during the hunt.  If fox hunting is not your sport, you can still use this expression when you've discovered something important.  For example, an important a murder a English country home...

Which all leads me to tomorrow's book review AND giveaway!  What?  View-halloo and stay tuned!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Sunday Expressions: Kip

Well I have noticed that my last two Sunday Expressions have been slight downers.  Nobody wants to focus on the collywobbles or be a damp squib.

So this week's expression is "kip".

As I was in bed for two days this week, I had plenty of time to catch up on Season 3 of Call the Midwife.  And by catch up I mean I viewed almost the entire season from start to finish.  Chummy, for reasons I won't reveal, is feeling quite low and so her husband fixes her tea, a hot water bottle and orders her on a kip routine.

A kip can mean some sleep, a lie down, or a place to take a lie down.  I had two day's worth of kip routine and was back to work by Friday.

What's your kip routine?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

What Am I Reading Monday - Brit Lit Edition 1.12.15

This year I've decided to participant in my good friend Jen's meme over at Teacher Mentor Texts. But I've added my own Brit Kid Lit twist.

I've also decided to join the British Books Challenge over at Fluttering Butterflies.  I can already tell that I will have a very large book order on my hands each month.  I'll be sure to share with you any great books I learn about from the BBC.

This Week's Book Perambulations

This week I read a book by one of my favorite authors, Annabel Pitcher.  Two years ago I read My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece, which I loved and which made me cry big globbing tears.  I think I read it soon after reading A Monster Calls, so by then I pretty much owned stock in a tissue company.  I was a little hesitant to pick up Ketchup Clouds, mainly because I was worried I wouldn't like it as much as the first book - but Ketchup Clouds sucked me right in.  I was on pins and needles throughout most of the book wondering how this was all going to end and if there was some big unexpected twist - I hadn't felt such a sense of foreboding since reading A.S. King's Please Ignore Vera Dietz.  Zoe Collins {not her real name} has a pen pal, but instead of a peer from another country, it's a Texas inmate on death row.  Ketchup Clouds is perfect YA - one girl, two boys, rowing parents, SOME sort of event,  a secret and all sorts of small, realistic details that make it very easy to identify with Zoe. I highly recommend this book for middle school or high school students (and beyond!).  I cannot wait for Annabel Pitcher's next book called Silence is Goldfish!!

{P.S.  This book is readily available in the U.S. albeit with a different cover.}

Last Week's Book Perambulations

Last week's read was one of those "perfect timing" books.  I purchased it on bookdepository and my 4th grader and I sat down to have a look.   Ready?  It's...

Yes!  An Usborne book:  Lift-the-Flap Times Tables.  This book is super fun and I highly recommend it for parents and kids who are have a bit of trouble with those nasty multiplication tables.  I also recommend it for classrooms.  The layout is beautiful, with a particular times table written out in full on each page and then clever activities that depend on lifting the correct tabs, plus tips and hints.  There was only one British term that we couldn't figure out:  splurge, as in fuel tanks holding splurges.

Does your fuel tank hold a splurge?

Sunday Expressions: Damp Squib

This week's Sunday expression is one I first noticed while browsing through an online dictionary of British slang.

I wasn't sure I was going to go with it, but then there it appeared in the book I'm reading by Annabel Pitcher, Ketchup Clouds!  I decided it was a sign, so here we go.

This week's expression is damp squib.  Literally, this is a firework that does not go off because it has gotten wet.

Or...  My trip to NYC was a bit of a damp squib due to the fact that I lost my wallet.

Have you ever had a damp squib moment?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Wednesday's Arts and Leisure

Today's Arts and Leisure: Crochet

Over the past few years I've become more and more proficient at crochet.  And when I say over the past few years I mean eleven!  I first picked up a crochet needle when I was on five weeks of bedrest waiting for my son to arrive.  I was terrible at bedrest and worse at crochet.

Since then I have become better but it has been a slow process.  I have gobs of yarn from all my attempts over the years so I decided a good use for it was to learn how to make a decent granny square. Of course this took me to ye olde YouTube which is so incredibly handy when you're learning a new skill.  I happened to find one of my now favorite UK YouTubers and bloggers, Sarah-Jayne at Bella Coco.  With her directions and her patient replies via Twitter, I was able to figure out how to granny square and connect them!

Last spring I became a huge fan of the series Call the Midwife based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth {a topic deserving at post of its own}.  When I saw this pattern by Amy's Gurumis I knew that I just had to try it!  Not long afterwards, I had my own version of Chummy!  Amy was even nice enough to feature a picture of my Chummy on her blog {last photo - felt jacket}.

Tickety-boo!  I crocheted Chummy!
Thank you, Amy for the great pattern!

Do you like to crochet or are you a knitter?  Anything particularly British that inspires you?

Monday, January 5, 2015

What Am I Reading Monday - Brit Lit Edition

It's Monday!  What Are You Reading?  Brit Lit Edition

This year I've decided to join my good friend Jen {I think I can say that now that we've finally met IRL!} over at Teacher Mentor Texts in her It's Monday!  What Are You Reading Meme!  But because I have a hard time focusing :: wait...what did you just say? ::  I'm going to focus on British KidLit because, well,...I lervs it.  

Some of the Brit Lit Kidlit I read is ordered from Britain. I use  It is an easy way for me to get British releases that have not yet arrived Stateside or that I have a hard time finding over here.  It also helps that shipping is free with no minimum order!  {I have not been compensated for this shout-out, btw!} goes it...

Last Week's Book Perambulations

Do you like this cover...

...or this cover best?

The signs were there.  I purchased Jonathan Stroud's The Screaming Staircase at my school's bookfair.  Then a fifth grader where I teach asked me if I had read it yet.  Then Ms. O at went gaga over I retrieved it from my TBR (To Be Read) pile.  LOVE THIS BOOK.  If you love Flavia de Luce, Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes, I feel like this is all that rolled into one and sprinkled with even more delicious details.

The Upcoming Week's Perambulations

This next book is kind of a cheat.  It is a book I read this week and one I'll read next week.  In fact, I consult it every time I read some Brit Kid Lit!  Did you guess it...?

I love to use London A to Z to look up real places featured in the books I read!

What have been your Brit Lit Perambulations this week, kidlit or otherwise?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Sunday Expressions: Collywobbles

This week's Sunday expression is one I found by browsing through an online dictionary of British slang.

The collywobbles basically means an upset stomach brought on by anxiety, which I am definitely prone towards having.

As I head back to work tomorrow - even though it's mid-year of my seventh year - I can't help but have a slight case of the collywobbles.

Do you ever have the collywobbles?  Anything you're nervous about this week?

P.S.  Don't forget to check your local public television listings (1/4/15) to see when Downton Abbey and The Great British Baking Show are on the air!