Tag Archives: making

Scrubulous

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It isn’t a word really.  But a scrubulous weekend is what I had.

I returned to muggy days and sea mists

and scrubbed ten windows, three double sets of glass doors, and a conservatory.  Both sides.

The seagulls were eyeing up the gleaming panes, sniggering to themselves.  So it seemed a good idea to get in first.

I was a bit surprised by these lacy ones.

Now I am back in the attic nest with a lot of books about icons.

 

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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.

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.

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?

Not all Judith

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From the dear old days when upon marriage you lost not only your surname, but first name as well:

Round about 1902 Mrs Aeneas Gunn went, with Mr Aeneas Gunn, to a cattle station in the Northern Territory of Australia.  This was not a destination for wimps.

Her two books have been condensed for a more modern audience, probably a good thing as even in this form the narrative is diffuse.  Mrs Gunn’s authorial voice is both permanently arch and continually patronising – towards the indigenous people, naturally, but also to the Chinese, the rustic stockmen and pretty much anyone else she happened to meet (except Mr Aeneas Gunn).  It has to be said that they all seem to have patronised her first (including Mr Gunn), for being a townie, and, of course, for being a woman, so perhaps one should not be too indignant about her attitude on this occasion.

That might not sound promising, but I read every page with attention.  Here we have a voice from a tiny, transient foundational community that has disappeared from all knowledge.  And the story, beneath the archness, is one of great pathos.

In another corner of the nest:

Having all the pieces is a surprising and gratifying outcome.

Three Judiths

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A nostalgia piece really, or an introductory text for those of us who weren’t there for steam trains or WWII.  The details are interesting, though excessive use of the words ‘hero’ and ‘heroic’ is always to be reprehended; in a properly narrated story, the reader will be quite aware of courage without having to be told, and there was a lot of it about at the time.

Then there are the three Judiths.  Biblical Judith is pink and there is a lot more of her; Middle English Metrical Judith is yellow, and is both selective and inventive; and Old English Judith is green, and unfortunately missing her first section, so we are not exactly comparing like with like.  The point is to clarify what was left out, what was included, and what was made up as additional story elements in the re-tellings.  Hmmm.

The psyche is a strange place

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… and a law unto itself.  Having given mine over to the acquisition of facts, academic analysis, and sleeplessness, the arrival of a poem was unexpected.  It is always fascinating to see what turns up; on this occasion there is a slightly inverted relationship to the day thoughts, as the poem is about going to sleep, but the reproachful tone is a considerable surprise.

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…