Category Archives: Paper

On walking away

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Down goes the labour of love, the elegance, the quietude, the pristine whiteness.  Sometimes one thinks:  perhaps keep one or two of the year’s best.  But no; better to bundle them hugger mugger, and don’t look while you do it.

Dusty, disordered and down.

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Not ready for it

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I’d had enough grim, so the next audiobook was selected for harmlessness.

It is true that Lady Flora Hastings’ fate was bitter, but the tale of George Eliot’s perhaps unladylike hand is innocuous, it was amusing to see Hughes get Darwin’s beard entangled in a compromise of the scientific principle, and the story of Fanny Cornforth is no more than louche.  I therefore walked unprepared into the account of the Fanny Adams murder case which concludes the book.  It’s not something I’d heard of before, and to be honest I wish I hadn’t heard it now, especially late in the evening; it needed quite a sweetener to take the taste away.

Sighing

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… with relief.  Apparently some of the metaphors played 🙂  And the bits that wouldn’t go into the suitcase don’t seem to have been too disastrous, leaving me a respectable % – quite pleasing, considering it’s twenty years since the last bout of academic prose.  On to the next…

Half an ear

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On a quiet day I indulged in the traditional holiday jigsaw:

This allowed me to listen to the non-traditional grim audiobook.  Complicated, and it would have made more sense if I had put a map in front of me, but then I would have had to listen properly.  A story so appalling can sometimes only be taken in with half an ear.

 

On not doing Christmas shopping

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I have left the snowflakes behind, supplied the mice in the attic with a treacherous Christmas dinner (O please not rats), and may or may not have locked the back door.  The shops in Salisbury are much better than those at home, but there are ways of not shopping, thus:

First go to the local library to look at the Kathe Kollwitz exhibition, and look very carefully at her looking very carefully at herself.

Then go to St Thomas’ and contemplate the Doom painting.

After this, proceed through the darkening crowded streets and brightly lighted shops, solitary, disorientated, and immune to temptation, and purchase one spoon.

Returning, I finished reading a book which in some places became a time machine

and now I have to choose the next title from a selection.  One for night and one for day.

Up and down

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and down and up and to and fro and back and forward – hunting the elusive gift.  At last I crossly gave up.

Once home there was indulgence:  what one might call a comfy read, though some of the content was far from comfy, given the grim history of gem mining in all the world’s continents.

The sun set over a quiet sea

and then a 360° degree sunset.  From the back

from the front

and straight up to the zenith.

Later I glued tiny angel pegs and dried oranges and deep grey card and leaves,

while listening to Oliver Twist – today’s bargain from the charity shop, somewhat hammered on the outside and missing disc 1 of Pride and Prejudice – but I could be said to be familiar with those chapters anyway 🙂

I’ll go on to something really festive to help me get through the pre-Christmas housework.  Maybe Crime and Punishment?

Turning out at night

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Out back to the garage in the dark and cold, playing a kind of loathsome hopscotch over grey slugs which slime about even in December.  As always I was longing for the heat in my face, the clean smell, and the sense of relief or exasperation, as it might happen to be.

Rather less like milk chocolate, and luckily the local clay hasn’t cracked. I’ve rushed these little plaques and the edges are rougher than they should be.  Must check them over and use a carborundum to take down anything notably savage.

These are a dull idea, redeemed because they retain the chaste quality of the parent porcelain, while a judicious quantity of toilet roll (infra dig!) added to the body makes them lighter and warmer to the touch.  They take a crisp impression, which may be useful for a more sophisticated future project.

I’m unsure what to do with the small pieces, though there are a few experiments ready to go.  But the pierced hearts have arrived just in time to save my bacon; it’s the Christmas tree festival this week, and until this hour had no idea what to do for the family tree.

Identifiable

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Time for a re-read.  This is anecdotal and identifiable-with; at some moments deliciously so. I particularly cherish Manguel’s Endpaper pages, in which he describes the history of reading which he imagines himself to be writing; it runs to a minimum of sixty-eight chapters.  (The version he did write has ten chapters, plus the Endpaper section).

Favourite anecdote:  In the tenth century … the Grand Vizier of Persia, Abdul Kassem Ismael, in order not to part with his collection of 117,000 volumes when travelling, had them carried by a caravan of four hundred camels trained to walk in alphabetical order.  (p 193)