Testing, testing, one-two-three. Is thing thing on? Oh, hello! It's me, ol' Jorthy, here to blow off the dust and remove the cobwebs. I feel I should explain my unintentional mini-blog break: there's been no good reason, but lots of tiny ones that all added up to prevent me from sitting down and yakking away to you all. And then, because I'd left it so long, I got a wee bit embarassed, as all my news seemed old and suddenly irrelevant.
So, in a nutshell, here's what I've been doing: attending the most relaxed and gorgeous country wedding of all time (well, my time), an engagement party for my sister, loads of bike riding in preparation for our upcoming biking holiday, sewing jimjams and dresses for Grumbles, starting kinder (!) for Grumbles (yes, I cried the first time I dropped her off), swimming in this incredible heat and much planning and prep for Grumble's winter wardrobe. Oh, and I've organised a knitting club.
Plus reading! Lots and lots of reading. Here's a brief rundown:
The Shifting Fog by Kate Morton: Excellent mystery/love story/coming of age tale, slowly eked out of the memories of Grace Bradley, a now old lady who holds the key to the remarkable events of summer 1924, in which she was a maid to one of two sisters, who both loved the same man.
Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks: I recently read Birdsong, and was absolutely rivited by the quality of writing. Some of his depictions of life in the World War 1 trenches actually had me putting down the book and taking deep breaths before I could continue. I was expecting more of the same from Charlotte, but alas, no. Did the same man even write the two books? It's not a bad story (young woman goes over to occupied France to aid the Resistance whilst pursuing her love), but it feels like it was written on autopilot, and that so much more could have been made of the material. Pity.
Good Evening, Mrs. Craven: The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes, and London War Notes 1939 - 1945 by Mollie Panter-Downes: I got Mrs Craven from a bookshop recently, and scoffed it down in one indulgent sitting. Incredible tales of what life must have been like during wartime Britian, written by one of the masters of the short story. I immediately started hunting for London War Notes, which are a collection of essays Ms Panter-Downes wrote fortnightly during the war for the New Yorker magazine. Boy, is that book hard to find. I ended up buying it from amazon.co.uk, but it was worth it. Fascinating to read her thoughts, from the latest political situations to her cool assessment of foodstuffs available. Very highly recommended, especially together.