Thanks to a couple of detours, one planned, one not-so-much, our weekend walk ended up nearly 9 miles long. We walked from Brockenhurst out to the former WWII airfield on Beaulieu Heath.

We met loads of pony friends, including a foal with an adorably velvet nose.

Bay foal

This time of year you have to be careful not to end up in the middle of a pony drift. That’s when the Commoners (that’s people who have the rights to common graze animals in the forest, not common people!) round up all the semi-wild ponies in the New Forest. People used to go to watch but large crowds were making things dangerous, so now the public are advised to stay away.

Mushrooms growing at base of tree

Despite the exhausting mega-walk, I read loads of books this week. I’m having a big push to get my reading challenges finished so I can have a couple of months reading whatever the hell I like at the end of the year.

I finished listening to The Women of Troy by Pat Barker, which I have mixed feelings on. It’s a bit of an awkward time to set a book, after the fall of Troy the Greeks are waiting for the weather to turn so they can sail home, and this is all about life in that makeshift camp. There wasn’t much hope for the Trojan women who are now slaves, so while I liked returning to Briseis’ story, this was a bit depressing and not a lot going on.

I read Bolu Babalola’s Love in Colour, a selection of short stories retelling myths from around the world, mostly in contemporary settings and focusing on love stories. This was a decent collection, I enjoyed most the stories and it was interesting hearing about different myths from the usual.

I also gave Talia Hibbert a go, with the first of her Brown Sisters books, Get a Life, Chloe Brown. This was much steamier than the romance I usually read! It had potential but there was something just a bit off about the characters, like I don’t think their behaviour was always consistent, and they definitely went from hate to lust very quickly.

I read The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo, set in a world reminiscent of medieval China, with a cleric who records history meeting an old woman and learning about the empress who was exiled there. Really lovely writing, will be reading the second book in the Singing Hills Cycle.

And finishing off with Lanny by Max Porter, and I realise I had no idea what this was about but it was an excellent portrayal of a British commuter-belt village, with resentments and pettiness, but also kindness. Dead Papa Toothwort is a spirit who embodies the village and he loves listening into the humans, one in particular, a human child called Lanny. One day he decides to stir things up.

Blogging has slowed down again but I did post my five star review of The Last Graduate.

Empire of the Vampire book

New books acquired:

Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff
The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones