“I’m going to buy buns for tea,” said Peter. “I thought you were all so poor,” said the Station Master. “So we are,” said Peter, confidentially, “but we always have three pennyworth of halfpennies for tea whenever Mother sells a story or a poem or anything.”
The Railway Children by E. Nesbit
Last weekend we took our first road trip of the year – to visit my family in Kingston-upon-Hull (our 13-year-old-niece informed us that only a ‘southerner’ would call Hull, Kingston-upon-Hull – locals call it ‘ull.)
It was wonderful to see our nieces who have all grown up and changed considerably since we saw them last at Christmas. Even the littlest one has progressed from terror to just tenacious. And I’m pleased to report that my little northern family has flourished over the COVID lockdown. For all sorts of reasons it’s been good for them as a family and of course it’s been a long hot summer for the girls, and conducive to good veggie-growing on their allotment.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
On Saturday evening I attended a piano concert in aid of charity with my Hubby and my dear parents-in-law.
It was a chilly evening.
Mid way through the second half of the concert my bottom was becoming numb and my mind began to wonder. I do love Chopin, but the plastic seat was getting the better of me. I was pleased to stand and clap after an encore of Chopin’s – Fantaisie Impromptu – you all know it, it’s beautiful.
“If Red breaks that leg again,” Howard said soberly, “it will cripple him for life.” Alexander told him that maybe it was better to break a man’s leg than his heart.”
Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
I increase my pace. In my head the blood in my veins pumps audibly. My chest burns. I love the sense of freedom that running (or rather a good run) can offer. I watch The Adjustment Bureau on the small screen. Matt Damon and Emily Blunt dash across a busy New York street. On the treadmill to my right, a man in his 60’s slaps his stomach intermittently as he runs. Is he trying to spur himself on? Is he literally smacking away the tummy fat? Does he like the sound of it? I try not to pay too much attention to him. He’s also pushing his body.
I think how grateful I am for a healthy, relatively fit body.
I think of Hubby and the fateful fishing weekend.
“I’m not interested in what happened,” said my Husband “It’s what didn’t happen that’s infinitely more important.”
I took a metaphorical key out of my pocket, turned it in the lock and pushed the now-slightly-warped door open, wiped my feet on the mat and walked in. The air was a little stuffy, but I opened a window, drew back the curtains and breathed in the familiar smell of home. Continue reading Honey, I’m home!
“One thing I’ve learned in my brief career: It’s the side projects that really take off. By side projects I mean the stuff that you thought was just messing around. Stuff that’s just play. That’s actually the good stuff. That’s when the magic happens.”
Steal like an Artist by Austin Kleon
My English ancestors sailed on the HMS Weymouth from Portsmouth to Algoa Bay in 1820. They were from Burton-in-Kendal, Evlestoke and Guildford. An out of work labourer, a weaver, a wife. It took them 6 months to get there. Their hope: to reinvent themselves in a new country.
Many births, deaths and marriages later, I turned up.
I had a privileged, colonial upbringing. Good schools. Good manners. Good books. My English accent was corrected by my maternal grandmother. Summers were spent at the sea, winters in the game reserve.
Mother England I’m sure, was proud of her colonial child.
Ah, the colonial life (you might say) … wide open spaces, sun, land and opportunity!
“Xenophilius Lovegood,” he said, extending a hand to Harry. “My daughter and I live over the hill, so kind of the Weasleys to invite us. I think you know my Luna?” he added to Ron. “Yes” said Ron. “Isn’t she with you?” “She lingered in that charming little garden to say hello to the gnomes, such a glorious infestation! How few wizards realise just how much we can learn from the wise little gnomes — or, to give then their correct names, the Gernumbli gardensi.”
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K.Rowling
BBC Radio 4. Women’s hour. Good Friday 2017:
“Well, you see, my wife never liked my gnomes. To me they were family. I’d given them names even. They had personality. But the wife said to me one day, ‘Darling, it’s me or the gnomes.’ Simple as that. I love me wife, so the answer was simple. That’s when I heard about the Gnome Sanctuary.” Continue reading Yay for the little people
”The steamer Mongolia, belonging to the Peninsular and Oriental Company, built of iron, of two thousand eight hundred tons burden, and five hundred horse-power, was due at eleven o’clock a.m. on Wednesday, the 9th of October, at Suez. The Mongolia plied regularly between Brindisi and Bombay via the Suez Canal, and was one of the fastest steamers belonging to the company, always making more than ten knots an hour between Brindisi and Suez, and nine and a half between Suez and Bombay.”
Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
The year A.D. 2017. Month October. Any given day.
Banned from using the word ‘busy’, I’m left with ‘occupied’, ‘challenged’, ‘hectic’, ‘exacting’ … or perhaps the more positive, ‘full’, to describe my life. “It’s the new normal,” you say. “Same for you, then?” I reply.