Sunday, February 08, 2015


The other grandparents are in Edinburgh for the weekend and we all met at Daughter 1's for lunch. Grandson really LOVES his traffic layouts and yes, those are bows in his hair. They belong to Granddaughter and he just fancied wearing them for a bit. And why not?

Granddaughter has a cold (again) and is teething - hence the red cheeks - but she was very jolly as usual. What a wonderful age nearly-2 is. (Most of the time.)

Snowdrops in the garden.

And crocuses. We're coming to get you, Spring!

And the new Anne Tyler is out, yippee. She's my favourite novelist; I love her beautifully-structured stories of slightly odd people (aren't we all?) and the words in which she describes the twists and turns of their lives. I read somewhere that this is to be her last novel, which is a sad thought, but I suppose she deserves a bit of retirement like the rest of us. I'm very much looking forward to reading it. Currently I'm reading "At Home" by Bill Bryson, which is about houses (and lots else) and is really interesting. I'm going to have to read it again, though. It's too nice an edition to read in the bath (lots of pictures) so I've been consuming it in bits, which means that I lose the thread somewhat. In the bath (and therefore also in bed) I've been rereading Thurber's letters - he was a fascinating chap, though again slightly odd  - and for the book group, Peter May's "Entry Island", which seemed to me somewhat pifflish. Some piffle is fine, if it doesn't aspire to being anything else but well-written fluff, but this combined some seriousness with (I thought) a ridiculous plot. The sense of place came across well (Skye and islands off Canada) but an ancestor's diary entries were remembered word-for-word from his childhood by the main character - improbable. In one of these, a girl during the Highland Clearances brought a "quiche" for her chap, who was in hiding. Granted, I wasn't in Skye in the mid-nineteenth century but I seriously doubt if actual quiches, by that name, featured largely in the diet. And there were A LOT of what a lecturer of mine, who couldn't pronounce his "r"s, used to call crude coincidences (cccchhhhude coincidences) - a phrase which has stayed with me. He was talking about the novels of E M Forster, which are also packed with such coincidences. I haven't been able to reread Forster since he pointed this out in 1971. I don't think I've missed much but he was better than Peter May, I feel.

Most of my book group liked "Entry Island" a lot, though, so it's all a matter of opinion.

I'm sitting here listening to the sixth movement of Brahms' Requiem on Cyberbass as I write, in the attempt to get it into my head because we're singing the Requiem at my Sunday choir. It's quite distracting. I should give it my full attention because it's also hard. And amazingly wonderful.


  1. If grandson wants to wear a bow in his hair - why shouldn't he? Same if granddaughter wants to play with cars and trucks. Love your pretty spring flowers! I enjoyed "At home" was very interesting, but then I like everything of Bill Bryson's I have read. I loved "Life and times of the Thunderbolt Kid".

  2. Oh dear, not sure I have read that one.....enjoyed the others, hope I didn't miss any piffle. Looked up the word quiche in Wikipedia (which isn't always right, admittedly) the idea was known in the 14 C in France but the name was crustardes. Love Bill Bryson, have you read Notes from a Small Island?

  3. What joy to have such wonderfulnesses in your life! And I'm afraid I will not look for Entry Island, but probably for the new Anne Tyler.

  4. My book group is doing "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed (just been made into a movie) and I enjoyed it! Keep sharing, I do like hearing what people are reading!

  5. Anonymous7:39 pm

    Entry Island was my introduction to Peter May, just last month. Like you, the word quiche really jarred with me as did the word ballbreaker and pled, for pleaded. I also found the story very weak and unbelieveable.

    I too love Bill Bryson but his last one about America in 1927 was a difficult read since there was an awful lot about specific baseball games with Babe Ruth.

    Love N's bows!