Tacking and cats’ teeth

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Being underslept, I had difficulty keeping a focus on the official business of the day.

It was distractingly easy to consider munchy ginger fudge, since they keep the fudge shop so handy to the cathedral.  I leave it to each reader to decide on the wisdom of this policy. At lunch time thought became action.

A pamphlet:  less obviously enticing. I was nonetheless tempted by this distraction, and was only prevented from some old-fashioned reading under the desk by the very small class size and my corresponding visibility.

Part of the day was spent contemplating hand sewing fine hems of muslin.  Later I congratulated myself on the prescience which had caused me to pack pins.

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The sea, the sea

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And I have missed it.

We trekked slowly over the ankle-breaking flint cobbles, which at this beach are usually an unlovely shade of orange.  The sea pinks’ sprightly defiance is always a welcome sight.

Returning, the falling tide made the upper edge of sand available to us, saving our ankles at the cost of having to nip suddenly up the shingle for the seventh wave.

I indulged in a few minutes’ smugness; the jokes about the Epistle of Barnabas don’t seem to have done much harm.

Generations

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What we know and what we don’t know about our families.

Margaret Forster exercised both her historical and creative imaginations to investigate her own female line, partly for pure story, partly for the whole mother-and-daughter commitment thing, and partly as an analysis of how women’s lives worked in the past and how they work now.  The result is sobering and tantalising.

I thought of the Mitford sisters’ lives, outwardly a dramatic contrast.  Forster’s mother and her sisters lived through the same decades, but as northern working women their lives could scarcely have seemed more different.  Except, of course, for their shared preoccupations with marriage, illicit sexual relations, and the question of balancing income, personal fulfilment and childbearing.  And they all had their secrets.

The secrets seemed particularly onerous for Forster’s mother and grandmother.  And exceptionally well-kept.  There is a large, secret-shaped space in their lives, but what is inside it Margaret Forster will never, never know.

Unnatural

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It seems unnatural:  sunshine on a bank holiday weekend.

Ne’er cast a clout …

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… till May be out.  So I took my jacket and woolly hat …   (Click a thumbnail for gallery)

Remedial for grumpiness

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There was a certain amount of complaining going on today.  I grumped round the grass with a struggling mower for the third time in a week (that’s how bad it was) and grumped at the slugs that have had a go at the baby rudbeckia.  There was also a fair bit of Flufferscussing as by some inspiration she managed to deposit in any doorway I was about to walk through.  She did some cussing of her own as I refused to let her sit on the sofa.

By the pond I found this poor tiny relic.  Surely not a victim of predation, as even its little paws are still attached; maybe caught out by the icy weather we had a few weeks ago, and freeze-dried on its way to the water?

I settled for half an hour on the paving, pretending to be a tree stump, and watching for little plips and swirls.

The more fortunate newts were fossicking about; always difficult to know how many, but I saw one with a pale spine sprinkled with freckles, two with yellow or cream stripes all down their backs, one olive brown with leopard spots, one plain olive with a fine dark dorsal stripe, and one almost black and nearly invisible, plus a couple of juveniles.

Newts don’t seem to have red-eye problem so much as golden eye problem when the light reflects.

This is not what newts are meant to do.  Assuming it was another corpse, I scooped it out, upon which it leapt into action and squiggled off my palm.  If not moribund, it must be one of Nature’s eccentrics.

I ought to be feeling five years younger

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and possibly five pounds lighter, but at present it’s more a case of inward niggles, wondering which typo or howler has made it through the proof-reading.  There has to be at least one. Also worrying slightly about the jokes.

Always risky, jokes.  But once I had had the eating weasels rule pointed out to me, the Epistle of Barnabas just had to go in.  And once the Epistle of Barnabas was in, one might as well have Warwick the Kingmaker as well (“Are you Edmund Mortimer?  If not, have you got him?”)  And then somehow The Sorrows of Werther crept into the general stirabout.

It may have been injudicious.  I carefully remind myself:  who cares what THEY think?