“There was no doubt about it. Sister Evangelina’s action had been brilliant. A masterstroke. To say that a fart cleared the air may seem a contradiction in terms, but life is full of contradictions.”
Call the Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950’s by Jennifer Worth
Hubby: Father Zachariah, I’m taking over my father’s business next year and I wonder if you have any advice for me?
Father Zachariah: There were once three monks. One monk rose early every morning and left the cottage to work in the fields. It was back-breaking work. He only returned home as darkness fell, but he provided all the food and income for the household. The second monk was very ill and spent all day in bed, praying. The third monk remained at the cottage to care for his brother. Which one has done a full day’s work, I ask you? Continue reading Monastic musings
“[South Africans] are on friendly terms with time, and the plan of beguiling or killing it does not come into their heads. In fact the more time you can give them, the happier they are, and if you commission a [South African] to hold your horse while you make a visit, you can see by his face that he hopes you will be a long, long time about it. He does not try to pass the time then, but sits down and lives.”
Out of Africa (with a bit of poetic licence) by Karen Blixen
Breaking news this morning was that the ANC has officially decided to recall Jacob Zuma. Journalists are calling it Zexit (thanks David Cameron) and Z-Day (thanks WW2).
“It is useless to describe the astonishing performances of the acrobats and gymnasts. The turning on ladders, poles, balls, barrels, &c., was executed with wonderful precision. But the principal attraction was the exhibition of the Long Noses, a show to which Europe is as yet a stranger. These noses were made of bamboo, and were five, six, and even ten feet long, some straight, others curved, some ribboned, and some having imitation warts upon them. It was upon these appendages, fixed tightly on their real noses, that they performed their gymnastic exercises.”
Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
Coated and scarfed, we trooped across the common, crunching leaves under foot. The almost-full moon brightened the autumn sky. Circusy-music drifted towards us on the breeze, promising high-wire tension and hilarity.
Some 35 years ago I’m sure I must have run, towing one of my parents behind me, across the entire dusty field to the circus entrance, a similar pink ticket stub in my small hand. White horses with plumes, the smell of damp straw, animal cages, waistcoated monkeys and hotdogs – the Boswell Wilkie Circus! Continue reading Send in the Clowns
“For this I weep all my days and throughout my lifetime grieve that I swam from my own lands and came from familiar lands towards these strange doors to these foreign gates.”
The Kalevala by Elias Lönnrot
The train stopped. The announcer spoke first in Russian then in English. Five minutes, she said. 10:37. I looked out the window. Travellers poured out onto the platform and lit up. Venders met them with trays of smoked fish and wild berries. I watched smokers cough into their berry breakfasts and then rush back onto the train. It jerked back into action, leaving the sleepy hollow of Svir. 10:42. Five minutes exactly. Continue reading Russia part 3: Karelia: Petrozavodsk, Taiga, Kizhi, Valaam
“Tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow, creeps on this petty pace from day to day, to the last syllable of recorded time, and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death.”
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Oh, Shakespeare! You had me at tomorrow.
You’ve heard me say your first draft has permission to suck. That’s still true even though our first draft of 2017 has been unexpectedly fractious and gruelling. Call it seasonal affective disorder, call it one problem after another, call it what you like. So far, 2017 is not the post-2016-solve-all that it promised to be (promised as in the promise communicated to me over a glass of Champagne on New Years Eve). Continue reading Plodding along
“Few of us have chosen our clubs, they have simply been presented to us; and so as they slip from Second Division to the Third, or sell their best players, or buy players who you know can’t play, or bash the ball the seven hundreth time towards a nine foot centre-forward, we simply curse, go home, worry for a fortnight and then come back to suffer all over again.”
Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby
Still 30 degrees. 7:30pm on 13th September. We squeezed along row F looking for our wooden seats, careful not to knock over a pint. The air was pungent with the smell of sweat and tensions were rising.
“The whole of life is just like watching a film. Only it’s as though you always get in ten minutes after the big picture has started, and no-one will tell you the plot, so you have to work it out all yourself from the clues.”
Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett
I’m sitting on our terrace doing a bit of work and writing this blog on a sunny Sunday in London.
According to Hubby, this sort of weather is normal for London – that locals dub it “sunny London” (direct quote).
“… Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome...
… “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!””