Archive for the ‘My World’ Category

Hi everyone. Remember me?!

Such a long blog hiatus I am having. Not intentional, I assure you. I write posts in my head quite frequently, usually while I’m driving or standing in my greenhouse potting up seedlings, far from a keyboard.

Life is super-extra-stupidly busy for me at present, mostly in a good way, though I am definitely missing having reading-writing time. Not to worry (she says optimistically) – things will eventually settle down.

I’m not reading at anything like my preferred rate at present, but a few books have been niggling away, demanding mention. Which is all they shall get here at present – a bare bones mention, so like-minded readers can perhaps do a bit of follow-up on their own.

At the Top of the Mule Track by Carola Matthews, 1971. In the late 1960s, British teacher and writer Carola Matthews was spending half her year in England with her parents, and half her year in Greece, mostly on a remote island. This book is not a travelogue (as I had assumed it to be when I picked it up a few weeks ago at a used book store in 100 Mile House, B.C.) but rather a personal memoir incorporating philosophy, societal observation and self examination in roughly equal proportions. I enjoyed it immensely. The author’s tone is frequently wry and mostly unemotional, but it works so well in her context, which is looking around at her Greek neighbours, and back on her own life-so-far and in particular at her struggles with completing her previous book, The Mad Pomegranate Tree (“An Image of Modern Greece”), published in 1968 to some acclaim.

Oops! Look at the time! I had hoped to include a few more titles, but that shall have to wait till later. I need to fly out the door shortly, so will leave it at just the one. For now.

Cheers! Hope you are all having a good spring wherever you are.

 

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Hey there!

Yup, I’m still alive and reasonably well.

All of December and about a third of January seem to have rolled on by without me present in this particular venue, and I guess all I can say is, “Whew! Life!”

An utter avalanche of kind-of-unplanned-for paperwork landed in my lap that last week in November, and then I got sick with a virulent virus (I’m much better now), and just Plain Old Stuff kept cropping up. Christmas whooshed past. We got the tree up on December 24th (and it’s still up though not for much longer as it is starting to drop needles and become a fire hazard over there in the corner of the living room), but we didn’t actually have our family Christmas dinner till January 6, because my daughter-living-at-home was also ill, my husband worked through the holidays, and we told our living-elsewhere son to stay far away from the House of Plague until we weren’t quite so collectively contagious. So now I’m feeling more human, and things are starting to get under a bit of control, and I yearn to return to the blog. Which I shall do properly soonish, I hope.

In the meantime, I’ve been reading mostly old favourites. Pretty well every single D.E. Stevenson I own, plus the whole Megan Whalen Turner Eddis-Attolia quintet-so-far (the sixth and last book is due out in March – sob! – can’t believe it will be over), plus various other old friends. R.A. MacAvoy, Rumer Godden, Margery Sharp, some literary garden writers. This and that, mostly easy reading. Nothing too demanding.

I did read a new-to-me book, a reissue of the 1962 novel Four Days by John Buell (thank you for that, Brian Busby), and it was an intense little experience pushing the #10 end of the rating. I will write about it in the very near future.

Also Colin Thubron’s 1987 travelling-in-China book, Behind the Wall, which was absolutely excellent.

Great experiences with two writers I suspect I am in no way done with.

I sometimes wonder if I’m running out of writers to discover, and then another obscure door opens and off I wander into another dusty corridor lined with shelves full of delectable things by people I’d not yet heard of. And thank goodness for that! I will never run out of things to read, will I?

Here’s hoping you all have had a marvelous holiday season, and that 2019 is good to you!

 

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We were out visiting yesterday, and we stopped on the one-lane country bridge at Alexis Creek, B.C. to look down at the turquoise blue water of the rushing Chilcotin River. We do live in a lovely part of the world!

September 26, 2018 ~ Chilcotin River at Alexis Creek, B.C.

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Hello, hello!

Can this be true?! My last post was on May 29th?

Oh, dear. How did that happen?

Life has been exceedingly busy, mostly in positive ways with a dash of challenge thrown in to keep me humble. In stolen moments here and there I’ve been reading some lovely things, and I really must write about them.

Soon.

But not tonight.

And probably not tomorrow night, either. Maybe on Sunday. So far that day is looking free. Tomorrow (Thursday) I need to be in town all day, ditto Friday, and Saturday is my niece’s wedding, so no prizes for guessing that nothing will happen blog-wise till I find myself at home and alone, or as alone as one can be with four others drifting in and out at unpredictable hours.

The pattern of my year to date, this has been. I do enjoy my solitude as a rule, but circumstances are working against me in this area of my life at present, so I’m having to adapt.

I did run away for five days last week, with the farm truck and camper, to attend a print-making workshop with Hans-Christian Behm at Island Mountain Arts in Wells, and what an astoundingly rewarding time that was. It brought home to me so very sharply how deeply satisfying it is to be amongst artists, with the conversations that ensue once everyone has settled into their groove, and the validation that those conversations give.

During the four evenings I was away, I ducked out of the many invitaions offered up to me of dinners and various other diversions after hours, and instead retreated to my house-on-wheels and made myself the simplest of meals, after which I read and read and read. Heaven.

I didn’t read anything overwhelmingly new-to-me and exciting, mostly some of the more sedate O. Douglas novels (Pink Sugar, Eliza for Common), and a disappointingly bland Ngaio Marsh I hadn’t read before – Hand in Glove – and a slightly obscure (and probably deservedly so) Rumer Godden – The Lady and the Unicorn. Also E.F. Benson’s very first novel, Dodo, 1893, which was a far, far different thing than the gloriously daft Lucia sequence of the 1920s and 30s. I then returned to Anna Buchan, with her autobiographical Unforgettable, Unforgotten, which is absolutely stellar and a must-read for any O. Douglas lover, as the originals of many of the characters and scenarios depicted in her books are described as they were in their first form.

Now I’m delving into Beverley Nichols, following him happily Down the Garden Path, and with that I will leave you for tonight, to read about a long-ago English garden, and perchance to dream about my somewhat neglected modern Canadian counterpart.

I do hope everyone is having a lovely summer! Wishing you all green thoughts in a green shade, which reference I am guessing many of you will “get”, and for those who don’t, the clues are Marvell and Perenyi.

Good-night, all!

 

 

 

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Parachuting in from my desperately overfull real world to touch base with you all, to say that yes, I am still here. Feathers (if I were a bird) ruffled, fur (if I were a cat) stroked backwards, the opposite of easy in my mind.

It’s been an eventful month, March 2018 has. Some good stuff, some blissfully funny, some simply bad, some desperately sad.

As regular readers of these posts know, early on in the month I crashed my car (bad!) but everyone involved came away mostly unscathed (good!) Which I think rather started things; it’s been roller-coastering ever since.

Subsequently we’ve all sorts of out of the ordinary things happening, too many to detail, but here are a few examples.

There’ve been a series of vet visits with a couple of our problem creatures: an elderly farm dog with a knack for raising the ire of the cow with the most accurate dog-bashing kick, and a stray cat who wandered in and won our hearts, to the extent that we have officially adopted him and set in process that whole thing where he’s being vet-inspected and neutered and vaccinated and then introduced properly to the rest of the very well-entrenched cat tribe. All seemed well, but then the poor fellow started up an infection from an old war wound, plus he developed a vaccine reaction, necessitating multiple extra veterinary visits, dollars being tossed about with wild abandon. No good deed goes unpunished, I guess – isn’t that how the story goes?

The very weather has been messing with us. It’s been unseasonably cold many days, and very snowy. But then one warm day last week some of that snow melted too fast, and our road washed out. (It’s now fixed.)

Another blip, as we almost ran out of firewood for our plant nursery greenhouses, when our usually reliable wood guy broke down one weekend and then fell ill with the flu the next. We’ve managed to forage a load ourselves to keep things going, but the stack is getting mighty small – a more than niggling worry. Tonight the forecast is for minus 14 degrees Celsius, which means one of us will be up in the wee hours, putting more of that precious wood on the stoves and tinkering with the fans.

Al of this stuff has turned out to be utterly trivial, though, as something truly awful has happened, putting all this day-to-day fussing and fretting into absolute perspective.

The phone rang several mornings ago, with my elderly mother-in-law on the line. My husband’s oldest sister had just died, very suddenly. She had been having some health issues with a lung condition, but it had seemed to be under control.

We’re all still in a state of shock, I think, trying to process the news. So very unexpected.

What fragile things our lives are. Take nothing for granted, it can change in a second.

Please go give your close-by dear ones a hug, and maybe call those far away.

Here’s hoping my next post will be an utterly mundane thing about books. Well, April is a whole new month, isn’t it?

Wishing you all a peaceful and happy Easter (for those that celebrate it), and a kindly spring, as the days get longer and the warm time comes again. Except of course for those in the other hemisphere – best wishes for a gentle seasonal change where you are, too.

One foot after the other, keep stepping along.

 

 

 

 

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I’ve been mulling over whether I should say anything about what happened to me six mornings ago, or if it crosses the line into the dreaded “too much information”, but as a number of you are my “real life” friends, and others well into established cyber-friend territory, I think I’ll go ahead.

Friends, I had a brush with death the other day. It was that close. I thought it was over – I had enough time to formulate that thought, and was most surprised to find myself alive.

Without getting into too much detail, here’s the scoop. Icy road, shady corner, lost control of my car, spun into oncoming traffic, hit another car, the impact spun us both out of the way of an oncoming transport truck, with a whisker of room to spare.

Both cars were totalled, but both cars did what they were designed to do – passenger compartments remained intact though slightly compressed, seatbelts worked, airbags went off. We – the other driver and myself – walked away. Bruised and throughly shaken up, but alive and essentially well.

I haven’t actually seen the police report yet, but the gist of what I was told by a most soothing officer was that they were taking road conditions into account, that we were very, very lucky, and that I should go home and take it easy for a few days.

My insurance adjuster assures me that the other driver’s expenses will be taken care of – she was from out-of-country, visiting friends here. We shared an ambulance ride to town and she was beyond decent about being crashed into by a random stranger. One of those things, she said, very calmly.

I am very glad I didn’t kill her. (Understatement, in spades.)

It’s a rather surreal feeling, to realize that one has been given what amounts to a second chance. It was that close.

So here I am, feeling like I’m suddenly on the other side of something big. Which I guess I am, aren’t I?

Back to normal.

Life, precious life, goes on.

 

 

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Well, here we are again.

Is it just me, or did 2017 go past in a special kind of blur? I suspect a lot of us feel rather battered by the twelve months now drawing to a close. This year has been a challenging one in ways large and small for so many in our circle and beyond. That elusive “balance” which we strive for has been a hard thing to maintain, as the losses mount up and deep griefs are endured.

Personally speaking, I’m quietly joyful to be greeting the New Year tomorrow morning, though I suspect I will be in bed sleeping as the clock ticks over at midnight tonight. Which in itself will be a good thing, as sleep has often been elusive this past year, and starting 2018 well rested will surely be an auspicious thing!

I don’t generally do much in the way of making resolutions with the start of each new year, but it is nonetheless a time of reflection, and one tends to analyze what did and didn’t go as planned, and what one wishes one had done.

In relation to this blog, I do wish I had posted more often, as I genuinely miss the interaction with fellow readers of (mostly) older books. No promises, but instead a quiet “intention” to get on here more. Even if the posts are mere snippets, a sentence or two versus longer-winded essays, because I certainly do enjoy reading other people’s brief posts as much as I do their longer ones. And pictures are always a real pleasure to view, so I will try to share glimpses of my world a little more frequently.

Not sure if I can muster up a year-end book list to share – my reading year is also something of a blur! – but we’ll see what tomorrow brings, as I am likely to be enjoying a measure of solitude as my family will all be off elsewhere on New Year’s Day. They’ll be home in the evening, and that will be lovely, but earlier on there will be time for solitary reading and writing, and I may just have some thoughts to share.

I am reading my way into 2018 with an engaging bit of vintage literature, Elizabeth Bowen’s 1963 novel, The Little Girls.

I’m a Bowen neophyte, having sampled her on occasion but never quite being drawn in, but I’m well on my way with this one and enjoying it. It’s not nearly the nostalgically melancholic thing I thought it might be with its old-school-friends-meeting-after-many-years-apart theme; there’s instead a sardonic wryness going on which I am finding paradoxically appealing.

Shades of Rose Macaulay, perhaps? Another writer who must be tackled when the mood is just right, and when one has patience enough to slow down and savour the complexities of the writing. For so far I have been spending a fair bit of time re-reading sentences, as Bowen is a bit of a twisty writer, in a pleasurably artful sort of way.

I hope you have all been having a happy holiday season. Belated Merry Christmas to those of you who are of that faith and culture, and best wishes to everyone else at this time of contemplation and celebration as the year turns over with the Solstice. A full moon will be shining tonight, which seems a good omen for the year to come, lighting our way forward into the unknown.

Warm wishes from me to all of you, fellow readers. May 2018 bring you the best books and peaceful times to read them!

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