Monday, August 29th, 2016
Any visitor to Norway knows how expensive it is to travel and sightsee in the country. When our cruise ship stopped at Tromso, we discovered the Arctic-Alpine Botanic garden, which was a short walk from the port. Even better, admission was free.
It was in a gorgeous spot, overlooking the valley of Tromsdalen and the mountain Tromsdalstind in the background.
All the plants come from alpine regions of the northern hemisphere, and the garden is open from May to September. It is run by the Tromso University Museum.
I love tulips, and these ones made a stunning display. There were also black tulips.
These blue Himalayan poppies were in full flower and absolutely beautiful. Such a pretty color. I’d never seen blue poppies before.
The day turned fine and hot. This is me posing with the blue poppies.
There is a small cafe in the gardens, and hubby and I purchased a waffle and coffee. In Norway, the waffles are served with jam and cream or Brunost, which is a brown cheese made from goats’ milk. I expected the cheese to be strong but it was quite sweet and soft and went perfectly with the waffle.
If you’re in Tromso, a visit to the Arctic-Alpine Botanic garden is the perfect way to while away an hour or longer. I highly recommend a visit.
Friday, August 26th, 2016
Grab a paranormal bargain for 99c or less! Today and tomorrow only.
Lynx to the Pharaoh is my contribution to the Heat Wave sale, and it is available at all online book stores for 99c. Here’s the blurb:
Sethmet Khalil comes from a line of shapeshifters who protect the pharaoh from tomb robbers. It’s a sacred duty handed down from father to son—a duty he’s determined to carry out successfully so his family retain the shapeshifter powers they cherish. Failure means death at the hands of a deadly curse.
Desperate to escape the strictures of mourning, Charlotte Webster travels to Egypt with her stepbrother. The freedom of Patria Oasis is heady after the stuffy rules of the London season. It’s full of temptation. Sethmet, their guide, is handsome and sparks forbidden desire in Charlotte. Risking censure, she embarks on a passionate affair, secret rendezvous full of lingering caresses and explosive pleasure.
Charlotte pleases both man and feline, but she’s with the men Sethmet suspects are hunting for the pharaoh’s treasure. If Charlotte is involved, he can’t protect her from the pharaoh’s curse and she’ll die with the others. Love, danger and betrayal battle beneath the blood-red desert moon as the lovers steal moments together and fate works its wiles.
Purchase at: : iBooks | Kobo | Amazon | All Romance | Nook
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Thursday, August 25th, 2016
A female cop apprehends a jewel thief…
“We caught you trespassing,” she snapped. “What were you doing there? What did you take?” Her gaze slid down his body toward his crotch.
Jonno laughed, not even trying to control his unruly body. The steal of color across her cheeks charmed him. A blusher. He wondered how big an area the flush covered. “I’m not hiding any jewels there, aside from the obvious, although you’re welcome to investigate.” A sly grin slid across his lips. He hadn’t had so much fun with a woman in ages.
“You’re trying to embarrass me.”
“Is it working?”
“Yes,” she hissed. “Are you satisfied? You’re making me behave in an unprofessional manner.”
“I’m not making you do anything, sweet cheeks.”
Here is the blurb:
Middlemarch Mates, Book 8
Laura Adams is a cop with ambition, and a job in Middlemarch isn’t what she wants for her future. Hooking up with the wrong man is responsible for the wrong turning, and she refuses to repeat the mistake, especially with a sexy thief.
Leopard shifter Jonno Campbell takes one look at Laura and desires her as his mate. He’s enthralled with the fiery cop, and when she arrests him, he’s ready for a strip search. Convincing Laura he’s innocent and that they should work together to capture the thieves stealing from Middlemarch residents isn’t easy. A kiss laced with his easy charm does the trick and sparks fly. Passion escalates into primitive hunger. A night of hot loving convinces Jonno. He wants forever with the gorgeous Laura, but her ambition, his feline heritage and a gang of thieves stand in the way of his progress. Then there’s the ex-boyfriend who wants Laura back. This time charisma and erotic promises mightn’t be enough to win the lady.
Purchase your copy today!
Amazon | All Romance ebooks | Nook | iBooks | Kobo |
Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
The North Cape on the island of Magerøya in Norway is in the Arctic Circle, and it is the farthest land point before the North Pole (Apart from the Svalbard archipelago). During the summer months, the sun doesn’t set and daylight is constant for two and a half months.
On the day we visited, it was cold, even though it was mid-summer. This is the view we saw on our arrival. About half an hour later, the sea and cliffs were shrouded by fog.
There were hundreds of people and dozens of buses at the cape. I decided to purchase and post a postcard with the special North Cape postmark. Service at the souvenir shop – slower than a snail. I swear I was in the line for half an hour.
We saw a few herds of reindeer gazing on the side of the road. They are not wild, but are released to graze the area during the summer months. The cape area is popular for bird watching and hiking.
This is the globe right on the point in front of the visitors’ center. Not much of a view with the fog obscuring the sea beyond.
Hubby took this photo at midnight, as you can see by his watch. The sun set at midnight and it rose at midnight.
This is me at midnight. While it was fun seeing the midnight sun, I’m not sure I could handle the lack of daylight during the winter months.
How do you think you would cope with only a few hours of daylight per day?
Monday, August 15th, 2016
During our recent cruise we stopped for a day in Dublin. We’ve visited Dublin before, but it was fun reacquainting ourselves with the city. Drummers welcomed us as we disembarked from the cruise ship.
Our first stop was to the Georgian House Museum in Fitzwilliam Street. Mrs Beatty, the widow of a wine merchant, was the first occupant of the house. The house is furnished and appears as it would have during 1790 – 1820 period. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take photos, but it was well worth the visit. Dublin has lots of Georgian buildings, and I enjoy the elegance of this time period.
Two doors for Georgian townhouses.
Our next destination was The Book of Kells and the Long Room at Trinity College. The queue was long but I passed the time chatting with the man in front of me in the line. He was there with his wife and two adult children in a family reunion of sorts. My advice to anyone intending to visit in the future is to buy your tickets online before you go. It makes the wait much shorter!
The Book of Kells exhibition was crowded, but the illuminated manuscripts are beautiful – so much artistry in the illustrations. It was exacting work and done by more than one scribe. Due to the delicate nature of the manuscripts, no photos were allowed.
My book lover’s heart was looking forward to the Long Room, part of the Trinity College library. It is floor to ceiling with books and so impressive. It thrilled me.
This is me in the Long Room. Check out those ladders to get to the top shelves.
Dublin is full of history. Dublin Castle is mainly 18th century in origin, although a castle has stood on this site for much longer. It is open to the public, apart from during state functions. We merely admired the exterior.
A view of Dublin Castle
Temple Bar is the cultural and entertainment center of Dublin. It’s full of pubs, expensive drinks and tourists. U2 own a bar here.
The weather for our day in Dublin was fantastic. The locals were out in force too, and I’ve never seen so many people with red hair. A lot of pale skin was on display due to the heat. I managed to get a bit burned and I had sunscreen, so I imagine there were lots of sunburnt people that night.
If you’re in the market for knitwear, there are some beautiful jumpers, hats and scarves available to purchase. I dragged hubby around several stores in my search for an Irish green scarf. Mission complete. I’ve worn it a lot this winter and get lots of compliments since it is a bit different to those in New Zealand.
We had a fantastic day, did heaps of walking and got enough culture to make me happy. Dublin is a fun city to visit for a day or longer.
Thursday, August 11th, 2016
A Smithsonian article turned up in my inbox this week about mammoths that lived on an island in the Bering sea. They became extinct on this island around 5600 years ago and experts have concluded this happened because rising sea waters contaminated the water table and therefore their water supply.
This reminded me of our visit to Hot Springs in South Dakota a few years ago. The city of Hot Springs is the southern gateway to the Black Hills. In 1974 a construction crew were working on a building site and hit a tusk. They called experts who found a site full of bones, and what turned out to be a huge Columbian mammoth gravesite.
The area was once a sinkhole and over the years, many mammoths and other animals fell in, and unable to climb back out, they perished.
The site has turned into the largest collection of mammoth skeletons found in the United States. They have found 60 mammoth skeletons and at least three woolly mammoth skeletons.
Work on the site is on-going and volunteers are still uncovering new finds.
You can see the skeletons and tusks in the above photos of mammoths that ventured too close to the sink hole and died.
This particular head and tusks is known as Beauty because it is so beautifully preserved and symmetrical.
This is a life-size model of a Columbian mammoth, and that’s hubby standing in front of it so you can get an idea of the size. The tusks are huge, and the mammoths must have been a fearsome sight in the flesh.
We loved our visit to the mammoth site. It was fascinating, and we spent some time wandering around and taking photos. If you live anywhere near Hot Springs or are visiting the area, I highly recommend a visit.
Monday, August 8th, 2016
Short term lovers?
My Determined Suitor is out today!
Here’s the blurb:
Every woman has sexual needs. Lana Sinclair, feline shapeshifter and widow, is more than ready for a fun night with a likeminded male. Hot lovin’ is compulsory because she’s determined to scratch the itch that’s driving her crazy. This time, career-girl Lana is picking a malleable male who won’t try to corral her into the housewife role.
Fellow shifter Duncan Ross is the perfect candidate. The cowboy follows the rodeo circuit and is only in Middlemarch for the bull riding. One night of mutual seduction, slick, naked bodies and pleasure then he’ll be on his way.
Duncan is astonished when Lana propositions him, but no one could ever call him stupid. He’s always desired Lana and now that she’s ready for sex, he’s all action. It’s time to lasso the woman of his dreams with some sweet lovin’ and charm, a sexy massage and ropes spliced together with addictive pleasure. He’ll seduce her to his way of thinking—a permanent arrangement. This is one go-round Duncan is determined to win.
Purchase your copy here:
Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Nook | All Romance |
Monday, August 1st, 2016
Llamas originate from South America and are closely related to the camel. They are domestic animals, used for packing supplies. Their feet are padded, which allows them to travel easily over rocky terrain without disturbing vegetation, and they’re capable of navigating very narrow paths.
Llamas are gentle animals, and this good temperament combined with their ability to pack supplies has birthed a new type of eco-tourism tour—Llama trekking.
I’ve wanted to go llama trekking ever since I saw a special interest piece on our local television a couple of years ago. I was thrilled to discover they did llama trekking in Dartmoor National Park in Devon and immediately showed hubby.
“We should do this,” I said.
After discussing the tour and how to fit it in to our schedule, we duly booked. As our tour approached, I watched the weather and crossed my finger it wouldn’t rain.
There were four of us trekking plus the two owners. Each of us had a llama each plus there was one alpaca. I volunteered to be in charge of the alpaca. I mean, who can resist their adorable faces.
The tour was two and a half hours long with an afternoon tea break—a Devon cream tea—at the halfway point.
This is the start of our tour where we met our llamas and my alpaca. We were given a quick talk then off we went.
We walked up hill and down hill…
We came across some of the other wildlife – a herd of Dartmoor ponies.
We took in the glorious views then stopped for a delicious afternoon tea of home made scones, jam and clotted cream with a cup of tea.
The walk over (3 miles of walking), we posed with our companions and said goodbye.
Those rumors about spitting llamas…evidently, they only spit at each other and are well-behaved with humans. Our llamas were well-behaved and high with the cuteness factor.
I’m a llama trekking convert, and would happily recommend trekking to any animal lover. I can’t wait to repeat the experience!
Monday, July 25th, 2016
Jane Austen, author of novels such as Pride and Prejudice, Emma and Mansfield Park, moved to Chawton on 7 July 1809. Her brother Edward, who was adopted by the Knights, provided the cottage for his mother and two sisters after he inherited the estate left to him by the Knights.
These days, Chawton in Hampshire, England is a delightful village with a tea shop, a pub, a community hall, a church and some pretty thatched cottages. The house where Jane Austen lived with her mother and sister is directly opposite the tea shop and is now a museum dedicated to Jane.
A short drive away is Chawton House, the estate owned by Edward Knight, Jane’s brother. Edward lived elsewhere and let this estate to tenants. The Chawton House Library is also situated here—a special library featuring works of women writers from 1600 – 1830. Unfortunately, this was closed on the day we visited but the setting is beautiful.
This is a picture of the cottage from the main street.
This is a picture from within the gardens, which are surprisingly big and full of plants for healing and also for dying fabrics different colors.
During our visit to England this time, I was surprised by the fact that many of the historical properties allowed photos (as long as the photographer didn’t use flash) and in many places we were allowed to touch and open cupboards. Most of the places we visited also had clothes available to try out. I couldn’t resist trying a Regency bonnet. What do you think?
Jane wrote many of her most famous books while at Chawton. Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park and Emma. It amused me to see that Jane experienced publisher problems too. With me, it is the Publisher Who Shall Not Be Named, but Jane’s publisher didn’t want to publish a second edition of Mansfield Park. A new publisher called John Murray approached her, and she ended up publishing with him. While she was generally happy with her new publisher, she felt he took too long to get her books to market.
They have Jane’s writing table in the museum. It is made of walnut and has twelve sides. It is quite tiny and wouldn’t do at all for a present-day writer!
Jane became ill and in May 1817, she and her sister Cassandra moved to nearby Winchester to be near a doctor. They lived in this house, which is now privately owned.
Jane is buried in Winchester Cathedral.
Are you a Jane Austen fan?
Tuesday, July 19th, 2016
Solange Luyon, a French Huguenot, arrived in Bath, England in 1680. She gained employment in a bakery and baked her own special recipe – a brioche bun, which was a dough enriched with egg. The buns were sold in the bakery where Solange worked and out in the street. Customers started to call in at the shop to request the buns, and they became fashionable amongst the wealthy Georgians who ate them cut open and spread with butter.
The buns were named Sally Lunn, and it is thought that this was an Anglicization of Solange’s French name.
These days the Sally Lunn is still a very popular treat. The Sally Lunn shop still exists in Bath and operates as a teashop. It’s a busy place and hubby and I were lucky to book a table for an early dinner.
This is the outside frontage of Sally Lunn’s. Diners can sit either downstairs or upstairs.
This is me with part of a Sally Lunn to go with my soup. The bun is very light and tasty.
The Sally Lunn bun was used as a trencher (an old-fashioned plate made of bread) with the main course. Hubby had chicken and vegetables on his trencher.
This is a photo of the shop frontage and shows a basket of Sally Lunn. The tops are rounded and the bottoms flat. Of course, once I tried my first bun, I decided I needed to find a recipe. Mission accomplished. As soon as I get a free weekend, I’m going to attempt to bake my own Sally Lunn buns. Watch this space!
Have you tried a Sally Lunn?