Thursday 30 November 2023


I haven't posted my reading for a long while and this autumn one of the book groups that I'm in picked books for discussion that I'd already read. At first I was disappointed, there are so many books that I'm waiting to read. The first re-read was 'My Cousin Rachel' by Daphne du Maurier. I hadn't read this for many years but remembered the story clearly. Because of this I read the introduction first, something I usually do at the end of a book as they so often give the plot away. This introduction made all the difference to my reading of the story, pointing out that we only hear the thoughts of Philip, a twenty-four year old with very limited knwledge of the opposite sex. It caused me to question everything that I was being told. At the meeting, an all women group, when asked if we thought Rachel was guilty, everyone said,'YES!' The second re-read was Edith Wharton's, 'House of Mirth.'
Once again, I hadn't read this book for many years but could recall the story clearly. I've also seen the film with Gillian Anderson in the lead role. I think both film and book are superb. Knowing the ending gave me time to appreciate the quality of the writing. There are places where it cuts like a knife. This edition has an interesting afterward by Hermione Lee.
Sadly I won't be able to attend the Yorkshire book group who will be discussing a favourite book of mine, one I've read a number of times., 'A Month in the Country.' I first bought the paperback, then saw the film, and eventually treated myself to a Folio hardback edition.
This is a very gentle, warm-hearted book with an undertow of sadness. Is it a novella? I don't know at what point a short book tips over into being a novel rather than a novella. The author has written a foreward that gives us the background and mood of his story.
I love the ending, it captures my own emotions about people and places that I've loved.

Monday 11 July 2022

A musical weekend

Good weather and outdoor events don't always coincide in Blighty, but, for once, the long-planned mini festival at the hotel in our hamlet was a glorious blue sky event. A temporary bell tent town had been erected for the overnighters. We sauntered up the road with friends in good time for the main stage events. Our blokes settled themselves on a hay bale with their drinks and prepared to enjoy Sister Sledge.
Hats were definitely the order of the day, unless, of course, you had an umbrella! It is always fascinating to see what festival-goers wear; lots of floaty dresses, short shorts and retro jeans! After Sister Sledge it was Jools Holland and friends on the centre stage. What a joy!
Not everyone was dancing!
It was such a happy event. Sunday morning promised another glorious day. Good, we had been invited to a party at Teãn's. Her husband, Alex, heads the 'After Hours' band and they were going to be playing in the garden for their friends. Their home is beside the Bristol Channel and it is fascinating to watch the variety of craft moving up and down; tug boats with huge transporters in tow, a flutter of small sailing boats having a Sunday afternoon race and individual boats. The music must have sounded lovely for them as it floated over the water.
Some were eager to find a bit of shade.

Thursday 30 June 2022

June books

Our June book club discussed 'Invisible Ink' and although it is a small book it produced a lengthy discussion! In our group whoever has chosen the book does the introduction. Hearing about the author's life was fascinating, we could see the connection to things within his novel. A biography of his life would make another good read!

Tuesday 7 June 2022

Toad Hole Cottage

Having ducked down and successfully navigated the bridge at Ludham it was good to moor the boat and step ashore. We discovered the delightful small museum of Toad Hole Cottage, a house that had been lived in by generations of eel catchers.

There were several items that I remember from my childhood, stone 'pigs' used to warm cold beds.Those pigs will have been very welcome in harsh weather, surrounded by water I'm sure the damp would seep into your bones. There would have been jousling for position to be close to the fire on winter nights! In the pantry there were jelly moulds like the ones we had at home, my mother used her rabbit mould for blancmange or caramel custard.