The wind blew, daylight was extinguished by weighted clouds, rain slashed across the windscreen, muddy runoff smothered many points in the road. In short, the pathetic fallacy was doing its damnedest.
I paused for a moment as conditions eased:
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.
though personally I am betting that there was one. The speaker is a character in Crime and Punishment, after all.
Perhaps the novel’s dramatic and emotional moments were compressed into undue proximity by the abridgement; I will only remark that the characters seemed to have a disproportionate quota of spasms, fits, convulsions, fevers, catatonic attacks, tremblings and faints, which had an unfortunate effect on one reader at least.
Outside the wind is picking up again; gusting to force 8, perhaps 9. 2018 coming in with a roar, and I hope we all keep our roofs on.
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.
Last night we walked across the Square, emptied of its Christmas market, the illuminated trees looking like the trees which gave James Thurber’s great uncle chestnut blight, only rather more festive.
The cathedral’s midnight service accommodated about a thousand, most of whom had colds. It was … tasteful. Won’t bother with that one again then. I miss the raw edges of home grown celebrations.
The nearests and dearests have enabled me to see what music looks like – in one format, which is 33 rpm. Amazing!
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.
(and it is quite a few thousand by now) each year I find a handful that seem completely unlike anything I’ve cut before, as they twirl quietly in pools of light on the ceiling.
The trouble with choosing an essay title which includes a metaphor is that it generates a sort of Tristram Shandy of essays. Instead of Sterne’s digressions On Noses and such Shandean topics, I could have written On Beginnings that are Endings, On Endings that are Beginnings, On Association, On Uncanonical Canons, On Questions, On Mosaics Ancient and Modern, and, of course, On Metaphor.
I ruthlessly removed most of these essays from the assignment finally submitted, compromising somewhat with the expectations of the tutor (which I may or may not have guessed correctly), though I worked out some of the phantom digressions whilst daydreaming in the shower. Vestiges remain in the multiple drafts on file, and in the back of my mind. They will also show up later in my water bill.