Stone Soup

“A rich man’s soup – and all from a few stones. It seemed like magic!”

Stone Soup by Marcia Brown

Besides the Teeny Tiny Woman, the other childhood story my parents frequently read to us was Stone Soup.

It’s a folktale of far reaching import…

In the French and Hungarian stories, a soldier who has been through many trials is returning home. On his way he passes a village. He is hungry, but has no food and carries an empty pot. The villagers, wary of soldiers and tired of war are unwilling to feed him. But their curiosity is piqued when he makes a fire, fills his pot with water, drops a stone into the pot and begins to heat up the water. Continue reading Stone Soup

Being bookish

“All the suspects in a classic murder mystery have secrets, and to keep them they lie, dissemble, evade the interrogations of the investigator. Everyone seems guilty because everyone has something to hide. For most of them, though, the secret is not murder.This is the trick on which detective fiction turns.”

The Suspicions of Mister Whicher or The Murder at Road Hill House by Kate Summerscale

ReadingBonjour à tous! ça fait trop longtemps!

Il fait intéressant pour vous: The word ‘clue’ comes from ‘clew’, meaning a ball of thread or wool. It came to mean ‘that which points the way’ from the Greek myth in which Theseus uses a ball of wool, given to him by Ariadne, to find his way out of the Minotaur’s labyrinth.

The plot of the ‘who-done-it’ – one of my fave genres – is a kind of knot. The story can only end satisfactorily with a denouement, an unknotting. Continue reading Being bookish

An evening with the 60’s glamour set, now octogenarians and not a bit less interesting!

“I got completely lost — it’s real difficult, isn’t it? Everything’s got the word ‘Kensington’ in it — Kensington Park Road, Kensington Gardens, Kensington bloody Park Gardens…”

Notting Hill script by Richard Curtis

On Saturday Hubby and I went to an 80th birthday party – the third of a series of parties for our most glamorous friend MMM. MMM is a woman of many stories: “That reminds me about the time I met Nixon – before he became president, mind… Then, he was more interested in mini-skirted girls and Champagne than in politics. But he never took advantage!” she explained in her Southern drawl.

We’ve heard the Nixon story a number of times and we never get tired of it. But it’s really the storyteller who captivates me – the accent, the intonation, the minuscule details remembered and the absolute delight on the face of the storyteller. Continue reading An evening with the 60’s glamour set, now octogenarians and not a bit less interesting!

January writer’s block: stalking me like a monster

“He was the crazy one who had painted himself black and defeated the world. She was the book thief without the words. Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like rain.”

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

never give upI knew this day would come. It’s been lying in wait, holding on for just a Tuesday like this one to pounce – writers block! One writer described it as the bogeyman waiting in the mirror. I’m looking into the mirror now, and all I see is little old me, defenceless. January is one of those months – regenerative, scary and disappointing all wrapped into 31 cold, short days. It holds so much promise, but who can carry all that pressure without occasionally stumbling at the awesome weight of the load? Continue reading January writer’s block: stalking me like a monster

Bitter sweet musings on a rainy evening in London

“It was a shock to me to turn from the wonderful smoky beauty of a sunset over London, with its lurid lights and inky shadows and all the marvellous tints that come on foul clouds even as on foul water, and to realise all the grim sternness of my own cold stone building, with its wealth of breathing misery, and my own desolate heart to endure it all.”

Dracula by Bram Stoker

How is it possible to love your family so much and yet be ready to let them go back to their home, far far away after just three and a half weeks … and then the minute they leave, immediately wish you could have them back? Continue reading Bitter sweet musings on a rainy evening in London