In Praise of Literacy

Jeanette Winterson. Amazing. Have you read her memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? If not, I am almost jealous of you, because you still have it to savour for the first time. An extraordinary book about an extraordinary life.

 

I’m glad she chose happy.

She certainly looked happy on Thursday night.

Celia and I trekked from the wilds of Se17 where we have only recently stopped painting ourselves blue, to the self-consciously sophisticated quarter of Notting Hill to hear JW talk about her new book, The Gap of Time, a reimagined version of Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale.

It was more than a talk, more than a reading, it was a performance. At first the sound system was overwhelmingly loud, but fortunately they got it sorted.

Naturally I want to read the book now, having passed up the possibility to buy it along with my ticket. The trouble is, my bookshelves are groaning. It doesn’t seem to matter how much I cull them, how much I try to restrict my book habit to library copies, there are always disorderly piles of them on every surface. Continue reading

Deborah (100 word challenge)

Many workplaces have a Deborah. Her currency is lies and innuendo. She’s a lunchtime gossip, a whisperer in corridors. She exploits minor jealousies and foments discontent. Hers is a realm built on divide and rule where her subjects eye each other with learned mistrust.

She’s not intelligent, but she’s sharp; quick to recognise opportunity. Her smiles are as false as her vaunted honesty. She targets her victims and coddles her favourites. Continue reading

Duvet Days and Cultural Craic

It's weather that tells you to curl up on a sofa with the papers or a book. Yesterday I *babysat* the puppy while everyone else attended a funeral. There were three funerals locally. Some wanted to show their faces and pay their respects at all of them.

Cousin lit a fire before she left. Yes it was that cold. Pip thought it was a great idea.

The two adult dogs, no doubt correctly reading the attitudes of the humans around them, also decided it was a day for little activity. A duvet day, Cousin called it.

The puppy, aka the Thuglet, was not on the same page. As Pip and Westie Boy snuggled into warm beds, she had just one idea on her mind; to make them play. She really didn't want to take no for an answer. Even when that no was uttered in increasingly impatient and irritated growls.

Continue reading

Separated by a Common Language

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “A Dog Named Bob.”

James walked into the sitting room and sat down heavily on the sofa. Bob thumped a welcome with his tail on the floor and James reached down to stroke the dog’s head.

Jane smiled, carefully capped her pen, and blotted the ink on the letter she’d been writing. She poured him a glass from the bottle on the table.

“Is she asleep?”

He nodded, taking an appreciative sip and turned the bottle so he could read the label. Continue reading

Serene Sunday

Picture posting will have to wait until I get home. But from where I am stretched out in the fore cabin I have fine views of the changing skies. It looked like the heavens would open a little while ago, but the winds blew the grey clouds over and we had just a few drops of rain. MasterB is asleep and serene. He didn't like it when I left his sight and meted rather plaintively, so I have not carried out my plan for a short walk plus camera. Maybe in a few minutes.

Older Nephew may drop by with the new woman in his life, but it is fairly unlikely. I have done a good job on yesterday's paper, written some fiction, and feel incomparably lazy. Continue reading

Hubris

Just over a week ago I was mentally congratulating myself on having got through the winter with no more than a few sniffles.

Hubris.

As spring sunshine turned skies blue and my neighbours socialised in their gardens, I was wrapped in my quilt, the light filtered through the half closed shutters, my temperature risen and my head pounding.

It’s amazing how quickly things fall apart. I can easily understand how people are reduced to eating sardines out of the can; leaving the washing up; allowing laundry, cleaning, everything to slip. Illness, physical or mental throws us off balance, upsets our routines, our systems; reveals the chaos that lies just beneath the surface.

I had to work on Saturday and again on Sunday morning. It’s all a bit of a blur, but I was very glad to get home and into bed. There I stayed for two and a half days with some breaks lying on the sofa or letting MasterB in and out.

At least it provided some precious reading time when I wasn’t sleeping. I read Helen Macdonald’s sublime and extraordinary H is for Hawk which won the Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction last year. After her father died, she decided to train a goshawk. Continue reading