Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Good King Wencelas

A Christmas Carol of Good King Wencelas with
wonderful medieval pictures:

Seasons Greetings to all!

My best wishes Sandra

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all!

The Piano Guys : O Come Emmanuel: a Christmas version:

A beautiful piece of music.

The First Noel by Celtic Woman:

My best wishes Sandra

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Splendours of the magical fountains at Versailles

The magical fountains of Versailles are a wonder.

So special, so beautiful. 

I can imagine a time when Louis XIV and his courtiers would spend an
afternoon walking around the gardens of Versailles.  It must have been
a magical experience as it is today when the baroque music plays and
the wonders of the fountains seem to splash in time with the music.

It took some time for me to realise that there were several pathways to follow
and explore to find different fountains and themes at the end of many of the hedgerows
as I was quite entranced
by the beauty of the main displays.
The music was enchanting.  The day was wonderful in early June.

Statues and colourful garden floral displays give a real sense of creativity and beauty.
From the top of the steps looking down over the gardens the view and the perspective of the geometric patterns give a sense of wonderment and beauty.


A Christmas Garland by Anne Perry

A Christmas Garland

This is a novel set in Cawnpore, Northern India

during the nineteenth century.

Descriptive writing, almost haunting, the dry wind, the

tamarind trees and seed pods which fall on the ground

bring clarity and beauty to the story.

The dry earth not long before Christmas with reflections

of how different a Christmas in England might be for

Lieutenant Narraway.

A medical orderly is believed responsible for a heinous

crime of which he is to be tried and most likely to be

found guilty.

Lieutenant Narraway is young and new to the area. He is

given the task of defending John Tallis, the medical orderly.

Perhaps he was given this role as he may be able to view

the situation with fresh eyes. He is not familiar with the

situation at Cawnpore, where soldiers have been affected by

shocking events and atrocities which have

recently occurred in this area.

The little spark of hope and a belief in Christmas in an otherwise

bleak environment brings a special quality to this book.

Amongst the soldiers' dilapidated barracks, the dust and the heat

there is an enduring spirit of hope. Lieutenant Narraway assists

with Christmas decorations in a family home and is given a blue

Christmas garland by a young child bereft of a father.

In these special moments there is the belief in Christmas and hope.

Lieutenant Narraway questions his own belief and faith. He has to

hold on to hope but at the same time he cannot risk giving hope to

the medical orderly.

Where there seemed to be no hope for the prisoner Lieutenant Narraway

had to find a way to defend John Tallis and prove his innocence.

This book is wonderful to read and gives inspiration.

Christmas gives hope. It is a wonderful celebration.

A Christmas Garland is well recommended.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Preacher's Bride

The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund

I enjoyed reading this wonderful novel set in the early

seventeenth century of the Protectorate rule under Oliver Cromwell in England.

It is fascinating in its detail of the depiction of the lives of ordinary people who lived in Bedford, England and

made their living as bakers, tanners, merchants.

The heroine of the story, Elizabeth Whitbread, is a daughter

of a baker. She is the elder daughter of the family and by arrangement of her father is expected to marry an apprentice tanner from her neighbourhood by the end of the summer.

I loved the spark of romance in this novel regarding

Elizabeth and John, a widower with four children,

the youngest who is a baby.

Elizabeth is obliged to assist by request of a minister to help out the household and the four children, even against John's wishes. She believes that she is doing her duty and the baby may not otherwise have survived without her assistance. Early before dawn each day she would arise and make her way to the house of the preacher, John, and his four children.

A tinker by trade, John finds the time to often leave Bedford and walk in the surrounding areas to preach.

Eventually Elizabeth and John marry. Elizabeth would often watch John leaving in the mornings, his red hair flaming, carrying his tinker's bag and picking his way across the fields to another town or place to continue his work of preaching.

Later, in the story Elizabeth regrets that she had ever tried to encourage John to give up his preaching. She realises

that this was his true calling and it had been wrong of her to attempt to encourage him to stay at home. At the time Elizabeth's wishes for John to place his wife and family before his preaching had placed a strain upon the marriage.

This novel is a story of romance and true beauty, the beauty that is engendered by pursuing a life where worldly concerns cannot intervene or prevent John's true calling in life. Even when John is made aware that he may be arrested he still will continue to engage in a prayer meeting with local people rather than seek escape across the fields to freedom.

The romance sparkles, the dialogue flows, the story is a page turner and the characters give depth and character to the story.

There is also the beauty of working towards a higher and greater cause which is inspirational to read about.

One of John's friends, a minister, who would subsequently visit him in

prison, recognised his talent for writing and would encourage him to continue with his writing.

There is the simple life-style and aspirations of Elizabeth and many of the people of the town who have lived under the Puritan rule and the contrasts of life-style which become apparent and which Elizabeth encounters when she visits London on John's behalf.. and eventually in time there is the restoration of Charles II to the throne when eventually matters improve for John, when the King grants an Indulgence.

This is a lovely book, inspirational and beautiful.

Well worth reading!

This story is loosely based on the true story of John Bunyan, author of “The Pilgrim's Progress” which he wrote while in prison and the story of his second wife, Elizabeth.