Friday, 30 November 2007

Busy, busy

I seem to have very busy seeng people and dashing about the last week or so and am struggling with Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, a reading group read, due to be discussed on Monday. Today like yesterday, has been a cake-baking day in preparation for the church Christmas fair tomorrow afternoon. Spending a wet afternoon in the kitchen with the oven on and putting in one cake after another is a pleasant way of spending a dark and dreary November day, so am feeling quite virtuous, even though I did finish the remains of the chocolate frosting all by myself. I've also made some papier roule earrings for the craft stall - hope they all sell.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Le Vaulmier and London

The visit to see how the house is getting on went well, and we saw the valley in winter, as there was snow in the Auvergne last Thursday - very beautiful but very hazardous as well. The week we were away went very quickly and now that the house is looking lighter and brighter, we can't wait to get in it, furnish it and start using it as our holiday home. But as it is still occupied by builders and has no kitchen or bathroom as yet, we will have to be patient a while longer.
I did manage to almost finsh Steph Penney's The tenderness of wolves while away. The frost and snow in the area enhanced reading about people trekking through the Canadian winter snows - it somehow seemed appropriate, although the little bit of snow we met quickly disappeared when the sun came out again.

To cheer ourselves up, we attended the Persephone lecture on Tuesday, given by Penelope Lively and held at the Art Workers Guild in Queens Square in London. The lecture was excellent, on the subject of "House and Home in fiction". The sheer number of authors and the houses or homes they described gives one a reading or re-reading list for the next few years. She also mentioned her own latest novel, Consequences, in which a cottage in Somerset is the setting for the first of the three relationships, that of Lorna and Max,which form the essence of the story and to which Ruth, Lorna's granddaughter, returns while searching for family history and finds a possible new beginning for herself. A thoroughly good read.
To make a day of it, we also visited the V & A, where we had lunch, and a look around some of the exhibits, as well as a quick dip into the British Museum before going on to the lecture.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Book buying and borrowing

The recently arrived Persephone Books catalogue and Biennial magazine cheered me up, as the books are such a delight to own, handle and read. As a collector of bookmarks, I love receiving another beautiful and distinctive item to add to the collection. Most of my others are much more mundane, but not as disastrous to a book as some of the items that turn up in library books returned by the reading public, though I personally never found either the kipper, bacon rasher or five pound note in a book. However much I like acquiring new books, there is only so much room in the house, so a trawl round the local public library is a good source of new reading matter - my last visit yielded Steph Penney's The Tenderness of Wolves, which is still in the waiting to be read pile and Tracy Chevalier's The lady and the Unicorn, , which is a reread for me and one which I will enjoy, and will probably take to France next week when we visit the house we have bought there to see how the building work is getting on. The builder has sent us some pictures of the house with work started on it, but nothing recently, so it will be nice to see it again and see how much progress has been made. It will be interesting to see the Auvergne in autumn, as we last saw it in early August, busy with walkers and other holiday makers.

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