Global Dickens

Self spent the morning at the Charles Dickens Museum on 48 Doughty Street, checking out the house where Dickens and his wife spent probably the two happiest years of their marriage. The house offers fascinating glimpses of the man’s domestic life, and the audio tour is highly recommended. She came away with a small fridge magnet showing her favorite painting of Dickens: he sits in his study, surrounded by a cloud of his inventions.

She saw a very distressed copy of David Copperfield and read that this copy “travelled with Robert Falcon Scott and his men to Antarctica in 1910. When half of Scott’s men were stranded in an ice cave for 7 months, they read to each other every night for comfort and entertainment. After 60 nights they finished David Copperfield and, as one of the men wrote, they were very sorry to part with him.”

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Dickens also exists in manga form!

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

The Parson: Once Upon a River, p. 47

  • “Let the child, if there is a child — be all right,” he prayed. “And let it soon be spring.”

Love this book. Every single character, no matter how big or how small the role he/she plays, lives.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Feet and Legs

It’s been a while since self participated in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge. This week’s is FEET AND LEGS!

Here are some pictures from self’s current trip that relate to the theme:

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Socks from the V & A Gift Shop: Saw the Mary Quant Exhibit

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Cork, Ireland, May 2019: Her ballerina flats have gotten very tattered on this trip, she may have to discard!

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Paradiso, Cork, May 2019: She bought the Converse sneakers in London within days of her arrival. They have taken quite a beating since this picture was taken: scuffed and smudged everywhere.

Trips really do a number on her shoes.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Once Upon a River, by Diane Setterfield

Self decided to buy the hardcover yesterday, from London Review Bookshop. Then she toted it all over London, from Bloomsbury to Victoria Station to Waterloo Station to the National Theatre etc etc and, once back in Bedford Place, read until well past midnight.

Today, she’s toted it around further, from Bloomsbury to the Victoria & Albert (to see the Mary Quant exhibit — four stars!). That should prove how vested — how thoroughly enthralled — she is by this story’s beginning, about a hideously disfigured man stumbling into an inn on the Thames.

A midwife/nurse is summoned to treat him, and the nurse has to turn her back while the man is laid out on the table and all his clothes removed. When he is finally ready for examination, someone has discreetly preserved the nurse’s modesty by dropping a handkerchief over him.

The nurse “palpated bone, ligament, muscle, her eyes all the while diverted from his nakedness, as though her fingertips saw better than her eyes.”

Her white hands stood out against his darker skin.

“He is an out-of-doors man,” a grave-digger noted.

Truly masterful storytelling.

Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: Tim Dee

Landfill: Notes on Gull Watching and Trash Picking in the Anthropocene, p. 21:

  • Early morning Bristol. The bars, along the street where I live, recycle their glass empties of last night.

She knew nothing about Tim Dee before she began this book.

His writing is SO beautiful.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Back in London!

Prague was very pretty but people do not speak English there.

London is adorable because as usual there is traffic and the skies are grey.

It’s another Bank Holiday. OMG, so many of these! Can someone please explain what is going on?

The last thing she remembers doing in London was watching John Wick 3 at the Odeon on Tottenham (Five Stars!) and meeting Jennie for dinner at Chez Nous immediately after. Then walking with Jennie down Great Russell Street and pointing out the British Museum and the Antiquarian Bookseller and paying a very brief visit to the Bloomsbury Hotel (The lobby looks like most of the space is taken up by a bar. Or mebbe it’s always been that way and she’s just mis-remembering?)

In Paddington, she used an ATM to withdraw pounds. A message told her: PUT YOUR CASH AWAY QUICKLY.

Then, as if she needed another reminder, the PA system began to squawk: THERE ARE PICKPOCKETS HERE.

She dashed into an exit elevator like her pants were on fire. GOTTA GET OUT OF PADDINGTON I’M SURE I’M BEING STALKED BY SOMEONE WHO SAW ME USE THE ATM.

The taxi rank was beautiful: it snaked all the way back, looked like at least 50 taxis, each moving smartly forward evey few seconds. She wished she had the wherewithal to take a picture. But she was SO deathly afraid of pickpockets. Seriously, though, that is some serious taxi business going on at Paddington.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Gulls and Humans: LANDFILL, pp. 17 – 18

This is a gorgeous book. Stunning. A learning to see.

Self heard about it at last year’s Cambridge Literary Festival (which featured a number of panels on the environment)

pp. 17 – 18:

In my lifetime gulls have come toward us. Most other birds have gone in the opposite direction, but the gulls have bucked the trend. In part we made them do so; in part the birds elected to fly that way. And they continue to tell something of how the once-wild can share our present world. Calling them seagulls is wrong — that was one of the first things I learned as a novice bird-boy. They are as much inland among us as they are far out over the waves. Yet, in fact, this state of life for them is far from new. Over the past hundred years, human modernity has brought gulls ashore.

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This gull took off from the balcony of self’s room in Fowey Hall.

Stay tuned, dear blog reader. Stay tuned.

 

 

Motto For Life

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Beginning a new book deserves some kind of pause, a marker.

The new book would have been Diane Setterfield’s Once Upon a River if she had managed to snag a copy in Prague (Self has always got to be reading something; she feels bereft if she lets a day go by without having a book she can say she is “currently reading”).

Instead, she’s reading Tim Dee’s Landfill: Notes on Gull Watching and Trash Picking in the Anthropocene. So far, she’s only on p. 1 but she keeps getting distracted (last afternoon tea with Irene! A walk to the Spanish Synagogue for a concert).

She also likes the drawings that start each new chapter. The bookmark she’s using is a quote she copied from a restaurant in Fowey (Dear Fowey: What a special thing it is that she was able to attend this year’s Festival of Art and Literature!). It’s by, of all people, Ernest Hemingway, who she hasn’t read in AGES. But it is written like a prose poem. Don’t dear blog readers agree?

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Looking for Diane Setterfield in Prague

Diane Setterfield was the guest speaker at this year’s Fowey Festival of Arts & Literature which self also attended. Unfortunately, self arrived a few days after Setterfield’s event had taken place. Self was tempted to get a copy of Once Upon a River, Setterfield’s new novel, at Bookends of Fowey, but it was in hardback and, at that time, she still had a lot of traveling to do.

Today, in Prague, self walked from her hotel to the Globe Bookstore on Pstrossova 6, Prague 1. Regretfully they did not carry any of Setterfield’s books.

But, it was a beautiful day. Everyone seemed to be out upon the river.

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Vltava River, Prague: Sunday, 26 May 2019

It was a perfect day for a walk. Nice to see families out and about.

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Near Prague’s National Theatre: Sunday, 26 May 2019

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

The Sensible Mrs. Morland

Northanger Abbey, p. 273:

Mrs. Morland addresses Catherine’s seeming dejection after the abrupt end of her visit with the Tilneys:

“. . . you are fretting about General Tilney, and that is very simple of you; for ten to one whether you ever see him again. You should never fret about trifles.” After a short silence — “I hope, my Catherine, you are not getting out of humor with home because it is not so grand as Northanger. That would be turning your visit to an evil indeed. Wherever you are you should always be contented, but especially at home, because there you must spend the most of your time.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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