Monthly Archives: May 2018

Tacking and cats’ teeth

Standard

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.

The sea, the sea

Standard

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

Standard

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

Standard

It seems unnatural:  sunshine on a bank holiday weekend.

Ne’er cast a clout …

Standard

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