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?
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.
lxxiv : Wear your dressing gown back to front
It’s surprisingly efficient when sitting up in bed to read in the cold cold small very small hours.
lxxiii : Watch silly things to do
The Winter Olympics are coming in handy for insomnia. Ice dancing … and chocolate. Yep; it was a long one.
… disinclining me to appreciate small things as much as usual. Here, however, I may mention two pleasures of the senses:
A home-made swiss roll bulging with summer fruits, raspberry preserve, and double cream – a potent consolation in its way;
and the Falcon Heavy launch (hardly small, but very brief). My rational part has its doubts about the value of the programme, but seeing the two side boosters settling out of the sky on their tails was pure magic. Pity they lost the core, but perhaps a good thing to keep down corporate hubris.
Now I’m going to watch those boosters separate and land again (for the eleventh time or so). Oh the improbability of it.
lxxii : Crawl on the floor
Kneeling down and bowing before the oven: severe demands of the inanimate object, without any of the dubious pleasures of idolatry. I refused to offer it Pow, Woosh, Zip, Whizz or any other such pricey commodity, confining myself to elbow grease and savage abrasion with a steel scourer, until they had removed a judicious quantity of black. And skin.
It doesn’t do much for insomnia, though.
… to the global internet thingy. Not my idea to have animals at the table – eating coconut ice cream too, and smacking her lips. Well, beak.
There are a lot of people re-reading their Le Guin at the moment, and I am one of them.
Owing to my liking for frozen explorers, and The worst journey in the world, this is my favourite. Though there were distrait moments when I read the same page six times.
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.