Sunday, 26 October 2008
When I was in Form 1 or 2 at Ryebank (and between 8 and 10) spelling bs (or spelling bees) were part of the teaching regime. I remember to this day standing opposite Joan Rigby (far and away the brainiest girl in the class, and probably the school, at the time) and having to think of a word for her to spell. If she couldn't spell it (and provided I could) the team I was in would win. I chose the insect 'bee'. Joan couldn't spell it. I could. I've wondered about that to this day.
Oddly the bain of my spelling difficulties over the years has been 'across'. A word I spelt as accross until about a year ago. Apart from that my spelling used not to be too bad. Nowadays I have considerable problems with many words; often they are very simple words. I think that it all stems from the fact that I can't conceptualise; that I have no ability to see images in my mind. I give daily thanks for computer spillchuckers.
As for braces, David ( a friend who recently involuntarily lost a lot of weight after a gallbladder removal) had to wear them just to prevent his trousers falling down. I don't use them any more for my evening dress trousers because my waist has grown into them (and a bit more) . They are still out there if you look carefully enough. But sock suspenders - I think not!
Saturday, 25 October 2008
Thursday, 23 October 2008
Unfortunately the combination of the poor light and the flatness of the view made photography well nigh impossible. However I did get a photo of the cliffs on the other side of the Bay as the waves and spray climbed up them.
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
Anyway this afternoon I decided to copy the postings done so far on books onto a new blog. This, with the startling innovative and creative thought that people associate with me, I have decided to call Eagleton Book Notes.
And there will rest my future book blogging. However, given that I shall be leaving Lewis on 27 October and be settling back into my New Zealand life, I wouldn't hold your breath for new postings for a little while.
It is supposed to be a comedy. It didn't amuse me. It seemed to me to be a parody. But of what or whom I had no idea and it made me wish that I had a better knowledge of English literature. I came across a paragraph which started "Dawn crept over the Downs like a sinister white animal, followed by the snarling cries of a wind eating its way between the black boughs of the thorns." I have never liked Thomas Hardy and it was at that moment that I thought perhaps I had discovered at least one of those whom Stella Gibbons was mocking.
I was fascinated by the ludicrousness of the whole book: its plot, its setting, its characters, its language and its prose. I couldn't see why I should continue reading it and yet I couldn't put it down. Surely there must be a twist in the tale's tail. But no. Instead we end up with the ending of a romantic novella.
We are told that "The action of the story takes place in the near future." As it was written in 1930 and 1946 is in the story's past it is difficult to even approximate a time. However as air taxis are a commonplace it is nearer our time. But as mail appears to be delivered the next day it is presumably set some time ago! Ah. 'Tis full of puzzlement. And sukebind.
And one must not forget the parrot. You did read CJ's posting, didn't you?Quotes:
There was a son [a Sussex man] who was easy on the eye but slow on the uptake. [A current Sussex saying is 'Strong in the arm but thick in t' head']
'Who's "she"? The cat's mother?' [A saying of Mum's from my youth. Had she read Cold Comfort Farm I wonder.]
Nature is all very well in her place but must not be allowed to make things untidy. [A quote for Helen and CJ in particular.]
..a philosophic treatise.....not to explain the Universe but to reconcile man to its inexplicability. [That's one for me - I never did have an enquiring mind.]
She liked Victorian novels. They were the only kind of novel you could read while you were eating an apple.
I think we ought to dine out... to celebrate the inauguration of my career as a parasite.
Yes. I enjoyed this book. But I'm still not really sure why.
Monday, 20 October 2008
I set traps before I departed for New Zealand but never a mouse was caught and never a mouse sullied the shed.
This year I've been watching the mice in the garden running hither and thither and decided that I had better take pre-emptive action before the one or two signs in the shed turned into a show of confidence and defiance. So last night I set the traps. This morning I found the first victim. I've now found and plugged in the electronic deterrent. Hopefully the first victim will also be the last.
Sunday, 19 October 2008
Thursday, 16 October 2008
I started off enjoying the story, briefly, because I thought I had an idea where it was going. Wrong. The narrator of the story has striven (at the time of the narration) to be called a 'great' butler and is a self-satisfied, emotionless and, I thought, very unfeeling, uncaring and unpleasant person. I was sure, however, that Ishiguro did not intend him to be. Or did he? Now I'm not really sure.
One of the things about posting views on a book is that it does make one think back to what one has read. I'm sure that Ishiguro was trying to get far more issues across to his readers than I have managed to assimilate. But as I review the pages I fail to see those issues. The last pages talk of the evening being the best part of the working day (actually and metaphorically) hence making the best of the remains of the day. But if that is the message then........
I would add that the narration prose is wonderfully evocative of how one might expect a butler in a great house to communicate in the earlier and middle part of the twentieth century. How does anyone who has not lived through that era - in fact was not born in this Country - do that? But then the last four words of the book contain a split infinitive! Oh dear.
Would I rush to read another of his books (which I have on the shelf)? Not really.
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
I thought that the title, however, was brilliant and worth a mention for itself alone.
It did make me wonder whether in an analogy with the question as to whether a falling tree makes a sound in a forest where there is no one to hear it, if God does exist and doesn't believe in athiests do they exist?
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
One thing which has impressed me recently is the Royal Navy's website which is informative and interesting.
Monday, 13 October 2008
Sunday, 12 October 2008
'What about the film?' I hear you ask. Hmm. It has Rachel Weisz in it which is a good start; and Ralph Fiennes. Bill Nighy as a serious player in a gripping suspense thriller after his role in Love Actually and sundry other similar roles somehow didn't ring true. In fact I found the film oddly disjointed and unbelievable and wasn't even impressed by the acting. Although based on a spy thriller by John Le Carré one got the impression that the film's makers were trying to get a campaigning point across to the audience. Whether they were or not it didn't to my mind succeed in doing either that nor, frankly, much else. I always think of Le Carré as being a weaver of subtle plots. There was surprise in this film but no subtlety.
I'm glad I've seen it. But it won't be on the agenda for a second viewing.
Saturday, 11 October 2008
From the blogger's perspective it is a memory jogger, a diary of books read and something to be re-visited.
I wish that I had kept up the index book I started when I was about 18 of the books that I had read. It was not a diary as such only a simple a list. How fascinating it would be, for example to know what I thought when I read War and Peace (twice, two separate translations! I think I favoured the Penguin Classics translated by Rosemary Edmunds, the Heron Books one, I seem to recall anglicised the names which felt inappropriate), Crime and Punishment (did I really understand it then, would I now?), London Bridge is Falling Down by David Lodge (read in 1971 it is the only book against which I placed a quote: 'Literature is mostly about having sex, and not much about having children. Life is the other way round.'), the whole Strangers and Brothers series by C P Snow (which I have re-read twice since), lots of Somerset Maugham (I devoured his books avidly but cannot remember a single emotion that they elicited from me), every C S Forester book published (a story teller par excellence) and so many more.
In fact when I see how many Russian novels alone I have read and forgotten about it makes me appreciate just how many books proper readers must get through. Then there are the books about which neither the author, the title nor the subject bring back any recollections whatsoever: Myself a Mandarin by Austin Coates or The Twelfth Mile by E G Perrault to name but two.
Ah yes, what if?
"What if? Big Lou's answer came quickly: One did not engage in such idle speculation in Arbroath. 'No point thinking about that,' she said 'It didn't happen'." The World According to Bertie.
Friday, 10 October 2008
Thursday, 9 October 2008
QuotesNot for the first time , Agatha wondered about British Rail's use of the word 'terminate'. One just expected the train to blow apart. Why not just sat 'stops here'?'If you want to make your mark on the village, Mrs Raisin, you could try becoming popular.' Agatha looked at him in amazement. Fame, money and power were surely the only things needed to make one's mark on the world. 'It comes slowly,' he said 'All you have to do is start to like people. If they like you back, that is a bonus.'
Wednesday, 8 October 2008
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
Quotes:People who do that [decide that Edinburgh is too small for them and move to London] often then discover that London is too big for them, much to the amusement of those who stayed behind in Edinburgh in the belief that it was just the right size for them.Money, education - these give you freedom, but they can take you away from your roots, your place.We are here [in life] and by and large we seem to have a need to continue. In that case, the real question to be addressed is: how are we going to make the experience of being here as fulfilling, as good as possible?...the English are half mad when they think nobody's looking.Unhappiness in childhood was worse than the unhappiness one encountered in later life; it was so complete, so seemingly without end.What if? Big Lou's answer came quickly: One did not engage in such idle speculation in Arbroath. 'No point thinking about that,' she said 'It didn't happen'....for most of us nothing very much happens; that is our life.But was it better, he wondered, to be trapped [in a marriage] with a Porsche or not trapped without a Porsche?Do you remember his book-distressing service for the nouveau riche? [CJ that would be a really good idea for you.]