Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Wednesday 20th February - of reading, and words

and flowers and dentists...

I am reading 'Persuasion' by Jane Austen. This is because I have signed up to a book challenge, which gives a suggestion for a 'Classic' each month.

I read 'Dorian Gray' last month, and I've made a start on 'A Room of One's Own' but not found it very gripping. Maybe I'll find a renewed interest in March! 

Looking through the selection, I'm apprehensive about the Communist Manifesto and Frankenstein as neither of these have had any attraction for me in the past. We shall see!

I've previously read 'Persuasion', 'Alice in Wonderland', 'Wuthering Heights' (only half) and 'Anne of Green Gables' , and I've seen 'Midsummer Night's Dream' performed several times, but never read the actual play. I'm looking forward to rereading them, apart from 'Wuthering Heights' , which I started as a teenager and found unreadable at the time. But then, I had the same reaction to 'Jane Eyre' first time around. 

I've been on a bit of a hunt to find out when the word 'electric' was first used; 1600, it seems. The word itself is derived from the Latin for 'amber', and was used in the context of the way amber can attract things. The hunt started when I read this paragraph in 'Persuasion';

"She was quite easy on that head, and consequently full of strength and courage, till for a moment electrified by Mrs Croft's suddenly saying,"It was you, and not your sister, I find, that my brother had the pleasure of being acquainted with, when he was in this country."

'electrified' indeed.

Earlier, Jane Austen writes of a visitor

"she only came on foot, to leave more room for the harp, which was bringing in the carriage." 

A curious construction...

Himself has gone off to the dentist this morning. It's a beautiful morning for the journey, but I don't think he's going to enjoy himself when he gets there. The hygienist is Extremely Thorough, and there are also to be discussions regarding repairs to bridgework and a replacement crown. I suspect the crown is inevitable, but am hoping the bridgework will escape. I have fortified myself with a second breakfast of tea and toast as lunch is going to be Very Late, if at all.

My contribution to his happiness has been unloading the dishwasher and hoovering the downstairs of the house. Next I intend to write some letters and walk to the local shop/post office as the weather may remain sunny for another half hour or so.

    You can see a patch of blue sky in this (slightly crooked) picture of the last two flowers on the amaryllis. I had brought a knife out from the kitchen to cut off the stalk, but will wait another couple of days before I carry out the deed.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Sunday 17th February - Sun and Sea

Church first though - I was on 'Stewarding' duty. The first time I did this, I had to ask what was involved. Ah, if they had said 'Sidesman' I would have known what to do already, but of course 'Stewarding' is gender-neutral... which I approve of, but a little sadly at the loss of another old-fashioned word.

The main entertainment (of course the liturgy and worship is not meant to be entertainment - but there's always something to make you smile) (apart from the Vicar's microphone unexpectedly switching from off to ON partway through her welcome) was the wrong part of the Scripture being read to us. Muttered consultation halfway through, and the reader exclaiming 'this is my favourite bit in the Gospels'. So we compromised - finishing that reading (given to her in error) and going on to the one we were supposed to be hearing. Actually Luke 4; 14-21 (accidental lesson) ties in reasonably well with Luke 6; 17-26.

Onwards. It was a lovely, lovely day, so instead of going home, we said 'where to next?' I set to work on google and found an old Sunday Telegraph '10 Best Seaside Places for Food' article and it included East Beach Cafe in Littlehampton. Do follow that link to see how it was built!

This is what it looks like from the land... It was still the breakfast menu when we got there, so that's what we had for lunch - eggs Benedict in my case, and smoked salmon and scrambled egg in his.

Then we set off for a prom along the prom. There was a holiday atmosphere; families out walking in the warm sun (wrapped up well against the brisk breeze).

A noticeboard mentioned the longest bench, but did we have to go East or West to discover it? I asked a woman passing by; while she was explaining that she didn't know anything about it (we realised later she had been walking past it for the previous ten minutes) a small boy interrupted 'is that the one that goes loopy loopy loop?' I nodded, guessing from his description that was probably what I was looking for. 'That way,' he pointed, and caught up with his own family.

This is what we found;

The longest bench in Britain!

You can have your own message carved (engraved?) onto a slat, which you 'lease' for five years. Many of the messages commemorate weddings, birthdays, families or express love for people and places. The whole construction is one of joy and fun.

As we walked along, more and more people seemed to be emerging into the afternoon sun. It felt like the final scene of a disaster movie, where the people appear from their shelters after a long period of danger and terror and depression into the burgeoning hope of a new dawn (or afternoon). Or maybe the opening lines of 'The Wind in the Willows', when mole emerges from underground spring cleaning and discovers the sun;   

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Saturday 16th February - Knitting and Reading

Yesterday was a gloriously sunny day, which we spent waiting in for a delivery ('all-day' delivery slot turned out to mean around 3pm).

Today has been grey, dank, miserable sort of weather. Best get used to it, as that is the forecast for the rest of the week.

I had another morning-in-bed, surrounded by cat, cups of coffee, mobile phone, Kindle, diary, suduko. Excellent. I would have got up if the weather had made it worthwhile. Still,, in spite of spending half a day lolling about, I have cleared a reasonable amount of admin

  • send in pay claim for music lessons
  • send in completed registers for music lessons
  • email parents about forthcoming music exam dates
  • email round everyone on the Women's World Day of Prayer committee to remind them to gather numbers for the coffee morning next Saturday, and persuade some of them to bake Slovenian Apple Cakes 
  • email to say I would Much Rather Not play for a memorial service on Friday as I will be baking Slovenian Apple Cakes
  • email to give transport dates for fetching an elderly parishioner to church -  I try and share the duty with a friend - she does the taxi bit, which I dislike, and I do the 'looking after her in church' bit, which she dislikes.

And so on and so on. Stuff. Paperwork. Things to lose and find and put somewhere sensible and lose and find again.

I've also been reading a lot recently; currently I have got these books on the go;

Persuasion - Jane Austen: AnnotatedHolding

Persuasion - Jane Austen
Letters to Alice: On First Reading Jane Austen - Fay Weldon   
Holding - Graham Norton (book club on Monday. I did read this last year, so am sort of skimming through)

and I'm about to re-read 'Arthur and the Seeing Stone', or maybe one of the others in the trilogy,

The Seeing Stone: Book 1 (Arthur)At the Crossing Places: Book 2 (Arthur)King of the Middle March: Book 3 (Arthur)

just to revisit the way the books have been written, like a series of little word-pictures.

I am determined to finish the red and yellow jumper that I finished knitting ages and ages ago - all it needs is to be sewn together, but I haven't dared tackle this until the right moment - that is when the ingredients of time, mental acuity and good lighting all coincide. I'm hoping that this conjunction of the stars and fates will happen sometime this week...


This picture dates back to 31st May 2018!

My current 'mindless knitting' scarf is going well; I started it at the end of January and it now looks like this;

It is meant to be an odd shape; all the increases are along the curved edge and the effect is a sort of crescent shape. I have had to switch from the circular needle I started with as some of the alloy near the point flaked off (never had that happen before). I would have swapped needles in any case - the metal tips are hard on your fingers compared to these nice bamboo needles, but I'm going to run into trouble soon as I will have too many stitches. You can see how the knitting is all bunched up at the top.

The knitting is progressing well - not least because I have discovered audiobooks on YouTube!

I'm halfway through listening to a dramatisation of 'Tiger in the Smoke' by Margery Allingham, originally a radio production. So far the Bad Man has murdered four people in one night, and Albert Campion's wife has survived a near miss. Thrilling!

Himself sitting back in his chair with a glass of wine and little olive palmieres - and apperitif before supper. He brought me mine earlier;

I've been making my way through them while I've been blogging. Ah well. Nothing lasts for ever.

He's taking a break from cooking, sitting and reading and consuming his own little dishlet of palmieres and glass of wine while the kitchen timer ticks away like an unexploded bomb beside him.