I’m taking a break from blogging for a bit. I will be popping in to visit the blogosphere, but don’t think I can concentrate on reading much at the moment…
My Mum, Maureen died in the small hours after a tough battle with secondary breast cancer. She was 79 and died peacefully in her sleep at the Royal Marsden Hospital. She would have studied classics at Queens University in Belfast but the money didn’t work out, so she moved to London to work where she loved all the arts – opera, ballet, theatre, film, art and books. She also played the piano well and sang in a top London choir, the Philharmonia Chorus, for years. We shared books all the time too of course, and actually had very similar reading tastes – although she wouldn’t tolerate too much bad language but, like me, did appreciate a good murder mystery. In particular, I’ll miss our bookish and arty conversations so very much.
I shall leave you with a photo of her posing on the beach at Alum Bay on the Isle of Wight in 1953, aged 22.
Apologies for going AWOL, but I’ve been a bit over-busy! Lots of preparations for a big event at school, my Mum being in hospital, and a summer cold combined with being zonked by anti-histamines for the worst hayfever I’ve had for some years, meant that although I have been reading, I haven’t had time to blog about it.
Photo by Philippa Strange
Our Country Fayre at the weekend went brilliantly. We hold a ball in alternate years, and in between have usually done some kind of party for parents. This year, we decided to involve the children as well and to hold an afternoon event. What activities could we offer to supplement a big BBQ and bar? Well we decided to do a mini version of a County Show. We got in a mini farm menagerie which had the most lovely kid goats; the lambs and Shetland pony got lots of hugs too. Then we had folk come in to give working dog and hawk displays plus ferret racing. Ferret racing (down tubes with a meaty treat at the end) is so much fun, and all the children got involved. Our marketplace with an assortment of stall-holders helped to make it special too, and as the sun shone all afternoon, the ice-cream van did well also. We made over £500 towards our fundraising projects, so it was a successful afternoon all round! The first thing I did when I got home though was to have a cool shower to calm down my hayfever, then I was soon asleep in front of the telly.
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Back to bookish things now … My thoughts are now beginning to turn towards summer holidays. We’re going to Fowey in Cornwall for a week towards the end of July. A certain Cornish author famously lived in the area, indeed I have a book she wrote about the county purloined from my Mum, (see right).
The question is, if I choose one Du Maurier book to take with me to read on holiday, which one should it be? I have read Rebecca, My Cousin Rachel, and Jamaica Inn – but all of them many years ago. Rebecca excepted, I can’t remember much about the others, so I would be happy to re-read them. Or would you suggest another of her books for a holiday read? Do let me know.
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And lastly, a selection from my incoming pile, which includes a couple of books I just had to order from other bloggers’ recent posts:
- Forgetting Zoe by Ray Robinson. I was introduced to this wonderful contemporary author via Scott Pack’s blog, and you can find an interview with Ray about this, his latest book here. His first two novels (Electricity and The Man Without are challenging in subject matter – but both got five stars from me they were that good – so high expectations of his third.
- War with the Newts by Karel Capek – the inventor of the word/concept ‘Robot’ in his 1921 work Rossum’s Universal Robots. War with the Newts is glowingly reviewed by John Self at Asylum here.
- How Bad Are Bananas?: The carbon footprint of everything by Mike Berners-Lee. I love good popular science books, and this timely one has garnered good reviews and sounds fascinating and scary as the things analysed within are rated in increasing carbon footprint. I daren’t look at the contents to find out what’s at the end, but I’m sure it’ll be an interesting journey!
- Joe Speedboat by Tommy Wieringa, translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett. Wieringa is from Aruba, a former Dutch colony off the coast of Venezuela which looks idyllic in my Lonely Planet Travel Book. This is a coming of age story, and sounds charming and eccentric.