Hello! And welcome to the week 3 of our May book club!
If you’re just joining the party, we’re reading a book called Free Country which was recommended by one of my neighbors. We read Days 10-14 this past week and we’re all here to e-chat about them today.
I’ll start by sharing some thoughts about each Day, and then I’ll throw out some conversation starters at the end of the post!
Favorite facial feature: Peter’s dimple. I loved reading, “I can only assume that this was the result of a lifetime of smiling and laughing.” 🙂 “He looked like an affable gargoyle. I half expected water to shoot from his mouth.”
Favorite view: The one near Skelmersdale in Lancashire. “Surprisingly, it was one of the most scenic views of the entire trip. We had a sweeping cornfield directly below us, which led to more fields and then in the far distance the murky sprawl of Runcorn and Widnes. The distance hum of traffic and industry was overpowered by the chorus of birds, and during the 15 minutes we lay there, not a single car passed.”
Favorite favor: When the lady washing her windows let the guys borrow her tent. “The house fronted directly onto the street so we had to walk around her to pass.” I’ve always loved an English house that sits right up against a street!
Favorite park: Lancaster Leisure Park. “It’s a shopping village with a big antiques centre. I think there’s a children’s play area there, too.” Sounds like my kind of place! I had to chuckle when the next sentence read, “Perhaps the Leisure Park doesn’t sound so great after all.” 😀
Day 12 –
Favorite location: The Lake District.
Favorite line: “Dry stone walls weaved their way across the fields before being swallowed up by the mist. Eerie derelict stone barns were partly visible, and sheep moved like ghosts across the hillside.”
Favorite new character: Mick, er, I mean, Ronnie. 😉 From the unexpected poetry to the epic Guinness/burger/fear fart…I was highly entertained by this chapter!
Favorite line: The first line of Ronnie’s poem to George: “Out of your eyes the love of life appears, seeking liberty to feel the actual, the real.”
Favorite thing that didn’t happen: George & Ben being witnesses at someone’s wedding at this place. Ha!
Favorite discovery: Learning that Henry Ford created a village/outdoor museum in Michigan that not only includes his favorite childhood author’s birthplace, but TONS of other historic homes and buildings he loved too!
(Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village)
I know George thought he was a “complete freak” for buying and moving William Holmes McGuffey’s house, but I LOVE that he had a heart for saving old structures and how COOL that he’s grouped them all in one place for us to visit!! 😀
(William Holmes McGuffey Birthplace)
If you feel the same way, you HAVE to watch this video:
Favorite pub: Traveller’s Rest in Neilston, Scotland.
Favorite moment in the pub: “We were sitting in a warm pub on comfy chairs, drinking free beer and eating broccoli and stilton soup with crunchy bread. We didn’t have a care in the world.”
Favorite patron in the pub: Les, because he gave George & Ben the keys to his SPARE HOUSE!
Your turn! I hope you’ll share some of your favorite parts, people, discoveries, visuals, locations, etc, too!
Here are a few more thoughts and questions about Days 10-14 too:
1. Did anybody else get a kick out of the fact that the two single biggest acts of generosity up to this point involved teenagers? First, the scruffy teen in Lancaster on page 227 and then the gal at the Costcutter in Patna on page 278. Made me smile. 🙂
2. On Day 12, George mentioned that William Wordsworth once said that the Lake District is, “the loveliest spot man hath never found“, and because I adore her, I know Beatrix Potter would agree. Did you know she used her land there to breed Herdwick Sheep which were, at the time, nearing extinction? I hope to visit her beautiful Hill Top Farm one day!
3. On Day 11, George & Ben sang songs in Lancaster’s town centre in hopes to earn some
money food. Would you have the guts to try something similar? 😀
I look forward to catching up with you in the comment section below, and then let’s finish up by reading Days 15-19 this week so we can meet up here for the final book club post next Monday!
I wonder if my love of history started with grade school field trips to Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum. And I will always be so very grateful to my third grade teacher, Mrs. Franklin, for reading the Little House books to the class after recess. I am 72, was born and raised in Michigan but live in the North Georgia mountains now. I still love visiting Michigan and Greenfield Village and Mackinac Island during the yearly lilac festival. And rereading the Laura Ingalls Wilder books!😊
Cheryl! Do you know that I was born in Mankato and grew up less than an hour from Walnut Grove! 😀 True Story!
I was really hoping I could find a video of George and Ben singing Take On Me! No luck… I loved the generosity of the teens! What a great scene! I loved that the one guy came back and asked for his doughnuts back! 😂 I can’t get over how generous most of the people they encounter are! What a risk letting two strangers stay at a house you have on the market!
LOL! I thought the guy asking for the doughnuts back was serious! Whew- did I breathe a sigh of relief when I realized he was kidding- ha! 😆
Liz in MN
At this point I’m wondering how the number of times they got turned down compares to the number of times people said yes. I haven’t been keeping track, and he kind of glosses over the no’s. But I’m curious!
Singing for food: I’d do it if I had someone else to do it with me.
Oh my gosh! Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum are THE BEST, and so precious to me and my family! Born and raised in Dearborn, MI, actually IN a Ford historical home which was built in 1919 (parents still live in today) is within walking distance to The Henry Ford. We were definitely a Ford family, my dad is a retired Ford automotive designer. We spent so much time at GV and I have so many wonderful memories: fieldtrips, my first job, my sisters wedding, just to name a few! The Cotswold Cottage is my favorite building there, you can have an English tea out on the side patio. There is so much to do, you just HAVE got to take a trip up to Michigan sometime. Where else you can ride in a model T, tour Edisons Menlo Park, check out Orville and Wilbur Wrights home and bicycle shop, and walk across Ackley Covered bridge from 1832! You could stay across the street at the historical Dearborn Inn that was built in 1937! Can you tell I love this place? lol Seriously though, right up your alley, you, Kevin and Steevenson would love it!
I love that Ben and George sang for their food. Relying on others to help you get cross country is a huge lesson in doing the uncomfortable, stepping outside your comfort zone, and this definitely stepped way out there 😆 It’s a euphoric feeling to truly shed those feelings of self consciousness and just be ok with who you are. The boys got to experience that and that is awesome!
The doughnut saga was so good because of the no singing comprising that they agreed ! So glad it work out for the lads!!!! Day 14 was so good also when he got his Falcon fixed … never did the chain come off again!!!!!
I have been reading this story to my 10 year old son as part of his ‘home schooling’. I have had to replace some of the inappropriate words but the idea of this adventure and relying on the generosity of strangers really struck me. My mom was born in England and was sent to live with her grandparents (for 6 years!) in the Lake District during the war. Even though the times were difficult, she has fond memories of her homeland and it’s beauty. I have visited England many times as a child but haven’t been back in over 10 years, reading this story makes me want to visit again, this time with my son. My mom passed away last year and reading this book brought back memories of her. We finished the book last week and am looking for another light hearted, inspirational book if you have any recommendations. Thanks for sharing this one!!
I find it interesting how you always appreciate the beautiful, soulful moments in the book and I’m just loving the humor. You are my daughter, but we are Geminis. 🙂
Here’s some of my many LOL’s this week:
Day 10: Ben “I just slicked up a bit of my Subway” (about George’s wool pants)
Day 11: George “Of course I’m not. I can’t think of anything I would rather do less.” (Maritime museum)
Day 12: George “I came close to crying.” (Kipper breakfast) plus their political conversation about Maggie Thatcher.
Day 13: I read all the Scottish accent lines out loud and laughed at myself!
Day 14: George “I know. That’s why I didn’t tell you.” (90 miles of riding)
I’m not naturally a sarcastic person, or humorously tease others, but I sure admire this talent in others. Reminds me of my brothers 🙂
I am so GLAD The Falcon is fixed!!!
I googled Sausage Bap….sausage in a tender pillow of dough…mmmmm.
Thanks again for all the laughter.
I’m LOVING the humor too, but I guess it’s just harder to write ABOUT humor than it is to just absorb it! 😀 This book has *definitely* made me laugh out loud a LOT though. It just seems like whenever I put together a post, it’s the pictures and precious moments that are easier for me to share about.
Now about that Sausage Bap…mmmmm. We TOTALLY have to celebrate the end of George & Ben’s adventure by making some of our own!! 😀
My absolute favorite scene in this batch of days is Mick/Ronnie! The scene at his house when George farts still has me laughing with tears! I can just imagine the fear and hilarity of that situation. I also love the deep conversations that George and Ben have! 😜 I can just imagine all the crazy things they talked about. 😂
I have to agree that Mick/Ronnie was my favorite character in this batch of days and definitely one of my favorites so far in the book! I felt like I could picture him sitting there completely drunk and how awkward it must have been to go back to his house! And by awkward I mean that I probably would have slept with one eye open! Like your mom said, I also read all of the Scottish lines out loud and had a good laugh over me trying too hard lol! I also felt myself give George a high five when he said the chain never fell off the Falcon again! What a sweet victory!!
I liked the book too much to stop reading for the week! Love to hear everyone’s insights.
I have to confess that I couldn’t stop reading, and I just finished the book! No spoilers, though. I’ll just wait for next Monday to comment. However I want to thank you, Layla, for this amazing recommendation! Your book club has been a motivator for me to “keep up” with my reading. We should do it again in June!! Per your review in your blog, I already ordered “Miracle on Voodoo Mountain”. Can’t wait to read it!
Thank you so, so much.