Of Coventry, a Great Novel, and the Return of Bake Off

I have never been to Coventry, nor has it ever been high on my list of places I want to visit. That has now changed. Over the last few days I’ve been reading The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss.

Without giving too much away, as I don’t want to ruin it for anyone and I have raved about this book so much to Octavia that it is already on her to read list, but Coventry cathedral features quite strongly in it. Coventry was bombed to bits in the Second World War. Mother, doing her SRN training in nearby Birmingham, spoke of seeing the glow from the fires in the sky as Coventry burned. The C14 cathedral was left in ruins.

The rebuilding of the cathedral was an important symbol of both remembrance and hope, an affirmation of life and faith. The result was controversial. I remember people talking about it when I was a child. People seemed to have very polarised reactions, loving or hating Basil Spence’s design. But reading The Tidal Zone, I am both awed and excited by the way Spence went to work, and I have to see this cathedral with my own eyes; the plethora of photographs available are not enough.

I expect to finish the book tonight, but it’s a big TV evening; Bake Off’s new series has started, and immediately afterwards there’s a programme following last year’s GBBO winner, the lovely Nadiya, as she goes to Bangladesh where her parents come from, and gets stuck into the local cuisine. I was feeling a bit so-so about this, but there was a trailer and it reminded me of how much fun Nadiya was in 2015’s competition.

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10 thoughts on “Of Coventry, a Great Novel, and the Return of Bake Off

  1. Haven’t read the book but visited the cathedral many times…an odd place a bit like marmite some love it others don’t…will be interested to hear what you make of it…!!!

  2. We visited many years ago and I was very moved. I loved the symbolism of connecting the old ruins to the new, modern architecture. I have written the book down to explore.

    • Thanks Pat. Your comment has underlined my desire to see the cathedral. I loved this book. I should like to know what you make of it. I half read it, half listened to it. Do you have Borrow Box in the US?

  3. Please, Isobel — think of us languishing over here across the pond, already pining for the next GBBO, and *don’t* say who wins 2016 — a week ago we just finished 2015 and unfortunately I remembered your post about Nadiya winning so boo!! spoiled. Well, not really. Even though I knew the outcome, I so loved Tamar’s crazy abandoned Chinese fishing village. So have a heart and this year tease, but don’t reveal!

    • You could always not read any post that has bake off in the title or tags! I am guessing you don’t get Bake Off, Another Slice? I already have my favourite for this year, Andrew. But as there has only been one episode I have no idea whether he will survive or not.

      • Oh — no! Miss a post of yours? And no, we don’t get “Another Slice.” Times like these I wish I was back. I will just have to console myself with Jonathan Pie. You know him? Hysterical. If not, google him. (WordPress won’t let me post a link.)

        • So it is you who are my faithful reader! Thanks for the tip, I shall look him up. You may find An Extra Slice on YouTube. It is hosted by Jo Brand, three celebs come on, they discuss the programme, show clips. The audience had brought cakes, successes and disasters, and people send in photos. The person who has left the tent that week comes on with a version of one of their cakes that went wrong. It is invariably praised to the skies. He or she is then presented with a cake that features them in a scene from Bake Off. All very jolly and as addictive as GBB

  4. Fantastic! Found Slice! Looks like I have many hours of happy viewing. Must start from the bottom, so’s not to get “spoiled” for the 2016 season. Thank you! (And am waiting to hear what you think of Pie . . . all these desserts! (the Jonathan Pie variety, that is).

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