When it gets hot outside in the middle of the day, I stay inside and read, before my eyes droop and I nod off. Some Good books this month, and some really good books too.
Hilary Mantel- Bring up the Bodies- Being the follow on from Wolf Hall. Wolf Hall was on the Big Jubilee Read list for 2009, but as I had read this I decided it was time for the second book in this triology. Now I thoroughly enjoyed reading of the intrigue and political machinations it took for Cromwell to dispose of Anne Boleyn, but I suspect you have to be quite a fan of all things Tudor to relish this book. Wolf Hall I loved for the feeling of menace that ran throughout . I didn’t get that in this book, which was a shame because it must have been quite terrifying to be around Henry VIII’s court. Never the less a Good read.
Dervla McTiernan- The Ruin- excellent murder mystery set in Ireland. Office politics in a police station! Most enjoyable.
Claire Fuller- Our Endless Numbered Days- I’d gone to the library for another of this authors books. I couldn’t find it, so borrowed this instead. Oh my goodness me, it is goooooooooood. So blurb on the back cover… Peggy is 8 years old when her Dad takes her to live in a remote cabin in a forest. He is a survivalist, and explains that her mother died alongside everyone else. Now they have to live off grid. How long though can they manage. The only other thing to add is that it won the Desmond Elliott prize in 2015, and is described as compulsive, dark, bewitching, scary and spellbinding. I read it over a weekend. Try it and let me know what you think.
C S Lewis- A Grief Observed- in which he analyses the grief he feels for the loss of his wife and how he views God. The thing about grief is that it’s personal, to those left behind , dependent on who they are grieving for, their personal belief system and what the circumstances were. All I know is that it hurts like crazy and that time doesn’t heal, you just have to find a new way to be and that requires effort. We all have our own singular experience. I could relate to somethings in the book, but not others, and some bits I plain didn’t understand.
Fredrik Backman- My Grandmother sends her Regards and aplogises- Going away from home for a holiday requires the packing of a great number of books. For a week less than 5 books induces panic. Which is ridiculous because I doubt I’d read more than three MAX. One and a half is more likely. So I go to the library armed with a list of authors I have liked. ( Life without lists also seems impossible , why clutter my brain with stuff that I can write down and refer to). Now I loved A Man called Ove, so funny, so this author was top of my list, and so I borrowed this book. Which I finally read at home between naps in our heatwave. Well I very nearly abandoned it, it tries very hard to be funny, and just wasn’t. Granny seemed to be a caricature and her granddaughter precocious and annoying. But… Elsa and her Granny are very close. Granny tells amazing fairy stories which tip into real life. Oh I really did not like that element either. But….Granny sends Elsa on a treasure hunt to deliver letters containing regards and apologies. And through these letters and subsequent events, you discover Granny’s past, and what was really irritating to me became in due course, something very moving. Glad I persevered. Love to know what others thought. Can’t tell you why I’m pleased I kept going because that would spoil the plot entirely. (The reason I did keep going was that I too adored my Granny).
Rachel Kadish- The Weight of Ink- my goodness me this is a marvellous book, and the first one this year I am adding to my 100 best book page . It won the National Jewish book award, and why it’s not won more awards I can’t understand. So there is a secret stash of 17th century documents found in an old house in what is now Kingston upon Thames, but at the time was way out in the countryside. These are poured over by two sets of academics, very much in competition with each other. Gradually we learn the story of who and why they were written and then hidden. Throw in religious debate, the plague, love, a kibbutz and failing health all meticulously researched and beautifully written and you have nearly 700 pages of total delight. I loved it, can you tell?
Sam Selvon- The Lonely Londoners- by total contrast, a perfect novel in 140 pages. This was featured by the BBC as one of their choices from the Big Jubilee Read. It was published in 1956 and is the story of some of the Young men who came to Britain from the Caribbean seeking their fortune in a city where the streets were reputedly paved with gold, but in reality were still a massive bomb site from WW2. The language is that of the Caribbean, standard English was ditched by the author as he couldn’t get the tone right, until he switched. The blurb on the back from the Guardian calls it ..”Unforgettable….a vernacular comedy of pathos” . What of course you have, is a group of lonely people in a strange city who come together to survive, yearning for the things they miss whilst making tbe best of the things they like. It’s a portrait of a city recovering from war, a people recovering from war, a change of culture rushing headlong to the swinging 60’s . There is racism, but an understanding also of the White working class people most effected by the changes around them. If you watch Call the Midwife you will have seen the appalling slums people were competing to live in at this time. Unforgettable are the wonderful characters that we encounter in the book. I was so reminded of John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row. The humour is the same too. I still prefer Steinbeck who is my favourite author..
Which begs me to ask Who is your favourite author and if you had to pick just one book which would it be?
August was never going to be easy for me. Weather wise I struggle with the heat which just depletes my energy to zero. And I have slept a lot this month. Whereas some people can’t sleep when it’s hot, I just zonk out for the duration. Afternoon naps oh yes. Eight hour a night sleeps, oh yes. Throw into the mix many of my monthly groups taking an annual break, family going away, our wedding anniversary and by the time I hit post, another anniversary,- I will have been a widow over a year. So I laid careful plans for this month,and whilst some days have had their moments, the majority have been good.
There was my lovely holiday at the start of the month.
The gardeners came. The chaps fixed a fence post and painted the summer house.
I went a walk with the U3A.
I coped with a power cut, two in fact. Reconnecting my heating system to the internet took effort. I could have cried after the first struggle when it went off again after just 20 minutes, and I had to do it over again. On the positive side it is August, and I wasn’t fighting it in the depths of Winter.
Dental work continued…nearly done.
I went to my daughter in laws Art exhibition.
Renewed my driving license, you have to do this every three years after your platinum jubilee. I was rather apprehensive over reports of delays by the appropriate government body, but in the end it only took two days to send me my updated one, and said jubilee not yet happened. Turns out you can make mountains from mole hills.
I’ve nearly filled another skip with stuff from the garage, had to because I got the boiler serviced which was hidden behind stuff, no issues with the boiler , phew.
Lovely picnic with middle son and family. Family meal with older son and family. Lunch with youngest son and Baby P who is now one year old.
A year on my own.. But not on my own, family, friends, wonderful bloggers, New groups, New places, New memories
A year of standing on my own two feet… But finding help when I need it… the electricians, plumbers, gardeners, car mechanics, doctor, dentist, hairdresser, not forgetting Dave the computer whizz, nor the solicitor, accountant and financial advisors who expertly steered me through insurance claims, computerised forms, taxation etc. My son and I completed the last bit of bureaucracy two days short of the anniversary .
A year of remembering, the good, the bad and the mundane. When you know someone thoroughly they never leave you really. Dad’s voice telling me to” just get on with it”, Mum’s sigh of “Oh Cath”, Mr E telling me something is too expensive, or to “Throw money at it” . He would most certainly have complained that this is Too Big
So despite the ups and downs, I feel a balance is happening.
I know that this week’s picture looks pretty much like last weeks, but I promise it isn’t exactly the same.
I am about 5/6ths the way through the book and all I can say is it’s totally amazing. So much in it- hidden stash of 17th Century documents, the Black Death, love, academia in the 21st Century, religion, so much in it layer upon layer. I have spent a lot of time reading not knitting. Seeing Baby P on Monday, may have a finish?
Joining with Kat for Unraveled Wednesday, without her and the other unravelers there would have been zero knitting this week.
Meantime I have been exploring locally here, attended another felting workshop and picking up endless stones from the Dead Patch formally known as the Forlorn Patch. Actually I have only lost one peach tree in this drought, the rest are either thriving or trying very hard. Next year all will be green and lush!
Hard to believe I have been home from my holiday for two weeks. I had a wonderful time . My last morning was spent at my favourite place in my old hometown of Pickering – the castle.
After my visit here, I went to a nursery and choose a rose bush for my garden . A spot of lunch, then I went one final walk, picked some wild bilberries, stopped off at a fruit farm and picked raspberries. Then back to my holiday home to pack.
I had an amazing time , spent with old friends and visiting a few of my favourite places whilst surrounded by happy memories. I honestly don’t think I could have chosen a better spot for my first solo holiday. The journey home was straightforward and no disasters had befallen my home or family. What more could I ask for?
Before I begin, can I just ask if anyone else is having problems posting comments on the blogs they read. I keep being asked to log on, when I am logged on, or I oblige and log on again and then it’s totally random if my comment gets posted or not. So until I sort myself out I am not ignoring anyone, it’s my comment that’s being ignored!
Nearly at the end of my holiday now. Nunnington Hall is a lovely little Manor house. It changed hands quite frequently as owners had the habit of choosing the wrong side as monarchs tussled for position as King, whilst heads may of may not have been kept lands were forfeited. We used to take grandchildren here when there were Easter or Christmas events, so it was nice to see the house without the tinsel and glitter, and recall those visits.
Loved my visit here. The sun shone. I had a tasty lunch, and maybe you’d find it weird but my favourite bit was the glimpse of under the floorboards. Anyone remember The Borrowers?
I have enjoyed reading Kat’s posts and those of others who have joined in to share their current knitting and reading projects. As my knitting progress has been exceedingly slow this year I thought I would try a weekly link in as encouragement to me. Here’s the link to Kat’s post- http://askatknits.com/2022/08/17/unraveled-wednesday-8-17-22/
And here’s my current knitting and book I have on the go.
The colour reproduction is terrible. The yarn is turquoise, Sirdar Snuggly and I am knitting a cardigan for Baby P… who is one years old. She’ll have grown too much if I don’t get a shift on. Back , 2 fronts are done and I am on the first sleeve now.
The book cropped on a few blogs recently. I started it last night. I have so far two time periods, an old house and a secret stash of papers. Sounds promising.
Do check out her page for hints on what can be made from a high vis jacket, and for links to other blogger’s ideas.
I have been away on a holiday during which time I did nothing but have a big nice time. On returning home Britain had another very hot spell, for which neither the populace , our homes or are infrastructure is ready. As always when it gets hot I sleep, but Kate’s prompt on the 12 th galvanised me to pick up my embroidery needles to finish a slow stitching stitchbook. Your read that right…finish! So here in pictures is the finished book, it folds like a concertina and can also be opened out flat to give two sides, thus:-
Each double sided page has a pocket between it in which we have labels to add mini stitching too. I am at the stage with this project where it has taken me so long I have gone off it. I’ll find it in a few years time at the back of a drawer and think Oh I like it. Does that happen to others? Projects you don’t like grow on you with time?
I was doing well with my list of things to do. I’d laid flowers on my Dad’s grave, visited three churches with family connections and lit candles, honoured Gt Gt Grandparents in different churchyards and cemeteries, and spent a wonderful day with my old school friends. Between us gals , we racked up one golden wedding anniversary, three divorces, one re marriage, two to four children each , as many as five grandchildren apiece, and most fun of all one whose son was a very gorgeous drag queen.
Now the original plan for the school meet up was just for coffee. I realised the night before I would need something to do with the afternoon, and decided to visit my favourite lavender farm. In the event coffee became lunch… after which I was tired.
The following morning I woke still feeling tired. I had by then covered a lot of miles , so decided that the Yorkshire Lavender farm at Terrington was the perfect place to go. I parked the car under a shady tree and opened the car door. The fragrance from the fields was simply wonderful.