Well it was about 80° by 9 o’clock again, so I went to water the plants before it became intolerable. While on this placid duty, the
bumblebee flew straight down the neck of my shirt.
Having in this compendious manner tried to achieve heat stroke and heart attack in the same encounter, I treated myself for shock and proceeded with the day.
At 10 o’clock we headed to a convenient beach. There was a ruffling breeze and on the fairly steep-to shingle the waves made aggressive dashes at our knees. Wet skirts were not a problem in the circumstances …
At noon the curtains were pulled against the sun and with local old-fashioned milk (full of old-fashioned top-of-the-milk) we made raspberry ice cream – yum, zingy.
And having run out of tosh for the moment, another book at 1 pm:
Wendy Moore has written an interesting double biography of Thomas Day and Sabrina Sidney/Bicknell. The key narrative element is that Day, a dogmatic, wealthy and eccentric 18th century bachelor, tried to create a wife to his own specifications by acquiring and educating his own personal orphan, naming her Sabrina Sidney. The morality of this is more complex than at first appears – less obnoxious because it did not in fact seem to cloak sexual abuse or pædophilia, and did in fact benefit his protégé in terms of prosperity and education; and more obnoxious, because the bald description of ‘apprenticeship’ barely indicates the mental manipulation, ownership, occasional physical cruelty and minute control he expected to exert over Sidney. What could possibly go wrong? Quite a lot, but again, no simple moral to be drawn.
It seems that the story was too good to waste, its afterlife leaking into several novels, and perhaps eventually into Shaw’s Pygmalion. Having read this account of Day’s experiment (and also Pygmalion), I can well believe it.
And now at another 9 o’clock, it’s time to water the frazzled pot plants again. Dare I brave the invertebrates?