Tag Archives: books

End of the line

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Sad on the bus to see an elderly man talking quietly but angrily to himself all the way, while the beautiful downs flowed by on the right and the beautiful beautiful sea passed on the left.

After eating a final archetypal cheese scone (though like all archetypes, they are not quite what they were) it was time to wander past the respectable houses and then the edge of the marshes, glimpsing towards the chalk.

The bay was draughty rather than stormy; even so the spray was flying from the prom, and the lucid (and literal) aquamarine turned ominous as soon as the sun left it.

A lifeboat station shop yielded second-hand books (a rash purchase at this moment) and a sugar fix.  On the bus, the downs flowed on the left and the sea passed on the right.

 

Where have I been?

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Screen time

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I’m listening to The Martian (Weir) more or less on repeat:  presumably my psyche bracing for adversity.  Finding and printing a map was a fiddle, though not nearly as much of a fiddle as retrieving the family cookbook from ancient Appleworks into pdf into Word, adding in bits from Pages en route.

Not on screen:  one or two of the pegged-down begonia leaves are trying, but not the red ones, which insist on dissolving into the compost.

Idling

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Wednesday.

Bother Oxford, I thought sniffily, going out as the rain slowed.  So I turned left, interested by the curious mixture of pretension and seediness that characterised the area.  (Click an image for the gallery)

Today I travelled home.  Someone burned the toast at Oxford station and we evacuated, but luckily that was the only drama.

Seasonal

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36 hours, and being Dickens there is a lot of redundancy, so it doesn’t matter if your attention wanders for a minute or two.  This came in handy for a number of very dull jobs, and in fact is well read.  I find Boz quite annoying, but every now and then I can’t help bursting into laughter,

One of the dull jobs:  skipped it last year, but now it’s back to stirring and reconstituting neglected glazes, dried to solid discs at the bottom of pots.  Also hunting for a low temperature glaze recipe which – and this is the key thing – uses up those bags of ingredients already sitting dustily on the shelf.  Gerstley borate?  No.  Lead bisilicate? No.  EPK? No.  Ummm…

Imposition schemes

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Boss-eyed with e-books, working on an imposition scheme seemed restful, until the prototype went wrong for the third time.

The traditional method (poundage a little excessive):

Being impatient, I also tried the modern method, in spite of a curious smell, which might have been the microwaved elastic bands.  It sort of worked; though it is surprising how much water there was in these few small specimens.  At least it used up the stack of essay drafts as blotting paper, a fate that they well deserved.

 

Another stonking pantechnicon

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I’m showing my age again:  the primary association of “consumption” for me is the coughing, haemorrhaging and fading millions leaving this worldly scene, led by Keats, Brontë and so forth.  And I’m sure that unwritten History of Consumption would be fascinating, if distressing.

This is the other kind of consumption.  I was made happy by the information in Chapter 2 about lupin seed stalls in classical Athens; unfortunately it is not one of the chapters I am supposed to be reading.  A hasty route march through a chunk of 600+ pages is required.

Herpetologist’s stoop

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I have been indulging in Cyril Hare.  His trademark plots each turn on some  legal clause or condition, and his settings are an austere wartime or post-war England.  Interestingly, this and An English Murder include various refugees and displaced persons in the cast of characters; does this reflect what post-war society really was like, or is it political correctness of the time, or just a taste for the exotic?

Small triumph:  I did guess the murderer, though not the motive.

Outside, dealing with neglected pots.  I had to cut this one off, and the plant lost big chunks of root, poor thing.

The wildlife is gratifying but reluctant to pose for portraits.  A slow-worm tucked itself down into a warm spot:

I craned agonisingly over the water (newts are worth hirpling for) looking for small slitherings and turnings.  There they were, in pairs and small clumps.  One pair was seriously interested – at least he was interested, though perhaps she was not.   But they were shy, and ducked when the camera came out.