Good Things Collection: Brit Edition

    The world has gone mad– yet again. I am feeling like one weary mama. But I have been busy painting it out, and I am eager to share that with you; My Madonna of Hope, that you may have seen on FB or Instagram. I am in the process of doing some prints of her, and will have those ASAP. But first….I feel the need….

  I am struggling with keeping my heart open (or heartbeat from rattling in my ears screaming ‘what is wrong with us?!??!’) and so I am trying my best to keep balance with uplifting media as I try to digest current events. And no one does that better than the Brits. I’ve decided after getting frequent questions about what Im reading and watching lately, that I will share here with you all from time to time the things I’m enjoying— my Good Things Collection. Because  if we can soothe ourselves, we can take on the world with dignity, respect and empathy. If we are just a twitching ball of outraged nerves, we just continue the terrible cycle of blame and suspicion.


   There are some GREAT magazines out there with British charm— The new issue of Victoria Magazine is all about Britain (with photo spreads of amazing landscape and spectacular desserts that will have you scheming up your own celebration for the Queen’s Sapphire Jubilee. There’s even a story about the 200 year anniversary of Jane Austen’s death and a tour of her home at Chawton.
   There is also a special “English Cottage” edition put out by Victoria this summer that has been a fun, dreamy read with lots of beautiful homes full of charm.
   And I can never resist picking up British Country Living (as in our American magazine, but 5,000 times better and more interesting…not just a bunch of rich people from New York buying up all the farm houses in Vermont and then painting everything white!) They always have amazing interviews with artists and crafters, are more connected to the land (and you know, living in the country!) and really great quality articles. The photo below is a large spread about a woman who is living off the land in a gorgeous rural landscape and harvests her own dye material, which she uses to dye her own yarn that she spins, knits and weaves with (sorry, that was the sound of my heart exploding in joy)

   And if I find myself with the rare blessing of having the tv all to myself and I want to curl up with some knitting and quality television– I set my sights across the pond! I just subscribed to Britbox, which is television streaming offered through a joint effort of the BBC and iTV(they are the ones who showed Downton Abbey) and I am just dipping my toe into their catalog, but am really excited. They even have British Soap Operas :O

   My favorite show to stream is the mystery series featuring my favorite priest, Father Brown. He lives in a picturesque village in 1950s Britain and is loosely based on a character created by GK Chesterton. Even though murder is usually the order of the day, things always get tied up and resolved within the half hour 😉 these days, I’ll take that kind of resolution where ever I can get it! The cast is fantastic and the stories always interesting. You are never quite sure ‘who dunnit.’

   I also love the show (now on netflix) called “Escape to the Country” which is essentially a ‘looking for a house to buy show’ but really well done (oh Brits, you are so good at this stuff!) A variety of hosts take a family through a particular area of the UK to look for that perfect country home; often hundreds of years old, perhaps thatched, but always amazing and chock full of history. You learn a little bit about all the various areas of the country, their unique specialties and bits about their culture. You dont even care that more often than not, you have no idea if the family even bought a house in the area (usually they give a tepid, “oh yes….we might ring to have a second look at the place!”) but you DONT EVEN CARE. Lol, if you’re like me, you’re just happy to have been along to peek into inglenooks and ancient halls without having to pay an admission fee!

 However, my current British obsession is this A-MAZING book by Ruth Hogan called “The Keeper of Lost Things.”
   I picked it up at the library because I remembered seeing the cover in my friend Patricia’s library stack (thanks, friend!) and was immediately captivated.
   It is, granted, a little hard to explain. So I will put the Amazon description here:

A charming, clever, and quietly moving debut novel of of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that explores the promises we make and break, losing and finding ourselves, the objects that hold magic and meaning for our lives, and the surprising connections that bind us.
Lime green plastic flower-shaped hair bobbles—Found, on the playing field, Derrywood Park, 2nd September.
Bone china cup and saucer—Found, on a bench in Riveria Public Gardens, 31st October.
Anthony Peardew is the keeper of lost things. Forty years ago, he carelessly lost a keepsake from his beloved fiancée, Therese. That very same day, she died unexpectedly. Brokenhearted, Anthony sought consolation in rescuing lost objects—the things others have dropped, misplaced, or accidently left behind—and writing stories about them. Now, in the twilight of his life, Anthony worries that he has not fully discharged his duty to reconcile all the lost things with their owners. As the end nears, he bequeaths his secret life’s mission to his unsuspecting assistant, Laura, leaving her his house and and all its lost treasures, including an irritable ghost.
Recovering from a bad divorce, Laura, in some ways, is one of Anthony’s lost things. But when the lonely woman moves into his mansion, her life begins to change. She finds a new friend in the neighbor’s quirky daughter, Sunshine, and a welcome distraction in Freddy, the rugged gardener. As the dark cloud engulfing her lifts, Laura, accompanied by her new companions, sets out to realize Anthony’s last wish: reuniting his cherished lost objects with their owners.
Long ago, Eunice found a trinket on the London pavement and kept it through the years. Now, with her own end drawing near, she has lost something precious—a tragic twist of fate that forces her to break a promise she once made.

As the Keeper of Lost Objects, Laura holds the key to Anthony and Eunice’s redemption. But can she unlock the past and make the connections that will lay their spirits to rest?
   I am about halfway through, but it is SO good. Something else that appeals to me, but isnt mentioned here, is the little clues and hidden religious meanings Hogan tucks into her prose. The character Anthony lives in a home called Padua (like, you know, St. Anthony of Padua!) and the character Therese has given him her confirmation medal— St. Therese of Lisieux…and is very fond of roses. Little things like these, which arent overt, but makes someone like me go “Ohhhh, I get it!!!” are lots of fun.
   I can wait to see how it all ends, and I’m praaaaying its good. We need some happy endings and hope in this world right now. 
   I thought I’d pass this on to you though, because you might like it as well, and its fairly new!~

And so…..
This is my Good Things Collection. Do you have any suggestions for ME? Great books you’ve read, magazines that delight, television or movies that have captured your imagination? I’d love to hear about them! Lets share all the GOOD THINGS!~

Until next time,

7 thoughts on “Good Things Collection: Brit Edition

  1. I love British TV too! Recently on Masterpiece Mystery, we finished up another season of Grantchester. The young handsome Vicar struggles with his love for a married woman. Of course, it all wraps around the murder mystery of the week where he helps his best friend, Inspector Geordie. It is a moving , funny, and wonderful series and I highly recommend watching it. Also, the first season of Masterpiece, My Mother and other strange friends, is another great show that just finished. I hope there will be more seasons next year! Next week another season of Endeavor begins and also soon after that is Poldark, season two which is another great show. If it wasn't for our PBS, I would not be watching much TV at all. Your novel review by Ruth Hogan has me intrigued! It sounds like a must read for sure.


  2. I've found it at Barnes & Noble (they have a good collection of UK magazines, actually) and Books-A-Million! Its not too terribly expensive for an import magazine and SO nice!


  3. Oh my stars – I LOVE Father Brown! My husband and I have been watching it on Friday nights for a couple of months now (we are still in the first season). I saw that Amazon also has some Father Brown readers for kids. I've put them in my wish list, but I'm wondering if anyone else has read them?In approaching the problems we face today, I feel we could all be a little more like Father Brown. While he always acknowledges evil for what it is, he doesn't just condemn the criminal and walk away. He is always working toward the absolution of the sinner. He wants, more than anything else, to get the sinner right with God. He epitomizes the phrase \”love your enemies\” – such a difficult thing to do.


  4. Our favorite is Foyle's War. It has several seasons, but we are so sad there are no more!! He is such a great character. You will fall in love with him!! It's a detective show. And though not BBC, as great in quality is Anne with an E. I imagine you've already seen it, but if not, it's amazing!!


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