Okay, maybe it’s just sour grapes, but books about enjoying the good life in foreign lands can really annoy me. You know them. A single woman/recently widowed man/tired-of-the-rat-race couple buys a farmhouse/villa/ruin in Italy/France/Greece. They encounter all sorts of quirky characters, befriend some warmhearted locals who help them overcome setbacks and settle happily into the sun-drenched landscape.

July 14 is not only a celebratory day for Francophiles, but for space geeks, too. Today marks two important events in the history of space exploration. Fifty years ago to the day, the Mariner 4 spacecraft completed a successful flyby of Mars, treating us earthlings to the first-ever images of the Martian surface. And this evening, NASA scientists expect to receive a signal indicating that the New Horizons spacecraft has completed a flyby of Pluto, zipping past some 7,800 miles above the surface.

Downton Abbey has been off the air for a month, but perhaps you’re still mourning the absence of the Crawleys and their retainers. Goodness knows, the announcement that next season will be the last is enough to send any TV-watching Anglophile into a tailspin. In your Downton-less state, do you don a tux for dinner? Or snipe at your friends, à la the Dowager Countess, “Don’t be defeatist, dear. It’s terribly middle-class”? Well, as Mrs. Hughes might say, a fresh weed is better than a wilted rose. Meaning, Peaky Blinders may be the perfect antidote.