Anne: One mother’s story.

A British four-part drama revolving around the 1989 Hillsborough football disaster of 1989, where a human crush resulted in the deaths of 97 Liverpool football club fans. It’s the story of  campaigner Anne Williams’ battle for justice for her son Kevin, who died at the disaster.

To this day, almost 33 years later, no one has been held accountable for this disaster and subsequent cover-ups. 

The Good Pilot Peter Woodhouse by Alexader McCall Smith.

The Good Pilot Peter Woodhouse by Alexander McCall Smith

The Good Pilot Peter Woodhouse by Alexander McCall Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A lovely gentle wartime romance. Best line of the novel that I’m going to make sure I use somewhere- and this is an approximate quote:

‘…the type of girls that would do anything for a tin of peaches…’

Those American airmen stole our girls hearts.

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Elizabeth and Margaret: The intimate world of the Windsor sisters by Andrew Morton.

Elizabeth & Margaret by Andrew Morton

Elizabeth & Margaret: The Intimate World of the Windsor Sisters by Andrew Morton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

‘Closest of sisters, best of friends.’
A queen living her life as one would expect of the monarchy, putting her country above herself and her family. A sister, self-centred and used to getting her her own way.
A queen demure and low key in her personal life, preferring the country estates for her leisure time. A sister who is a glamorous, party going city girl.
One lives her life by the rule book, the other breaks every rule in it.
A highly compelling account of contrasts in the British Royal family.

Best comment from Margaret agreeing with the stopping of the debutante season:

‘…good job, every tart in London was coming…’

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Four Lives- BBC.

Written by Neil McKay and based on extensive research and multiple sources, Starring Sheridan Smith and Stephen Merchant.

Told from the point of view of the families and friends of the four young men – Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor – who were murdered by Stephen Port. Four Lives focuses on the fight to uncover the truth about what had happened to their lost sons, brothers and loved ones in the face of a now widely condemned police investigation.

Compulsive viewing. Horrifying on every level!

The Lucky Eight by Sheila Bugler.

The Lucky Eight

The Lucky Eight by Sheila Bugler

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The latest from my favourite Sussex crime writer- Sheila Bugler. The Lucky Eight- or not so lucky eight, depending on which way you look at it. Eight people survived a plane crash- the fault of a drink/ fly pilot. A crash which has long lasting consequences- as do the events leading up to that fatal flight. Had an initial problem sorting out the characters- who was with who and did what, but once I passed that I loved this thrilling crime thriller.

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Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie.

The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first Miss Marple! Having spent the Christmas holidays playing Cluedo, I fancied an Agatha Christie murder mystery to listen to while I decorated my hallway. Loved the fact the murder was in the study (in the vicarage) with the pistol, but who did it? Typically I guessed wrong- and I was so sure…

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Are We Having Fun Yet? by Lucy Mangan.

Are We Having Fun Yet?

Are We Having Fun Yet? by Lucy Mangan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I started this and was going to ditch it after the first chapter. I like books that relate to my life now, not something I left behind years ago- this was more suitable for my son with his young family. However the writing is sharp and witty. It made me laugh out loud and took me back to times past and feelings that, at the time, I tried to repress on more than one level. Now I know it was all just fine! I loved this book.

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New Forest. Hampshire.

Day two of our Christmas Road Trip to Dorset and Hampshire. The New Forest in Hampshire.

There are lots of waymarked walks and trails on the Forest, all starting at different car parks. Routes are circular. We started with the Wilverley Wander walk, from one of several carparks in that area. The trail winds through diverse and working woodland and was about 4.5K over gravel paths.

Next stop was the Heritage Centre, where we learnt about the Forest, it’s management and history.

Forest management.
The New Forest ponies .
The New Forest in WW2.

Time for another walk and this was a short 0.25 mile stroll to the Knightwood Oak- one of the most famous trees in the New Forest, believed to have been planted before 1600.

A December view.

There was also the much younger (1979) Queen’s Oak…

Last stop of the day- it is December and the light was fading- was the Blackwater Arboretum Trail 0.75 km, past tree species from around the world.

It was a wet, cold December day, but we discovered a winter Forest. A Forest resting. Hibernation and decay was the theme, brown and grey the predominant colours. Nevertheless beautiful in a different way- rugged and raw. We had a great day!

Ponies and dogs!

Lastly a big shout out to The Forest Inn at Ferndown Forest Golf Club. We had a delicious evening meal, the staff were friendly and they welcomed our three dogs.

Boxing Day Walk.

8 reasons the Boxing Day walk is the best walk of the year according to CountryLiving magazine… number 6 is my favourite:

6. You get to wear all your new winter woolies

The Boxing Day walk is just the occasion to showcase all the new gear you were given for Christmas – a new cashmere scarf, pair of angora gloves, wooly coat or Christmas jumper all make for excellent walking attire.

Our Boxing Day walk was at Friston Forest in East Sussex: