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.

 

Long Day; Thirsting for Henry Tilney

It’s been a long day walking around Prague. Finally back in the hotel, self finds herself thirsting for Henry Tilney. A wine bar across the street says:

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Henry Tilney, p. 246:

  • If the effect of his behaviour does not justify him with you, we had better not seek after the cause.

The wisdom of a 23-year-old man! He is so kind to our heroine.

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Stay tuned.

“the man she likes”: Northanger Abbey, p. 231

Self flopped into bed at 2 and did not wake up until almost six. Sooo tired! Nevertheless, at some point, she WILL go downstairs, she WILL take the tram, she WILL inquire of passersby regarding restaurants serving “traditional” Czech food. Either that or she will go to the grocery store next door which sells the most amazing, huge, sweet cherries she has ever tasted in her whole life and buy more cherries!

Now to Northanger Abbey: Catherine Morland, Eleanor Tilney and Henry Tilney are in the drawing room, discussing Isabella Thorpe.

“But perhaps,” observed Catherine, “though she has behaved so ill by our family, she may behave better by yours. Now she has finally got the man she likes, she may be constant.”

How candid Catherine Morland is! How artless. Henry Tilney listens without once giving away his true opinion of Ms. Thorpe. For the nth time, self really loves Henry Tilney, because his manners are so exquisite.

Stay tuned.

Moving Towards a Climax: Northanger Abbey, p. 172

The Tilney family, Catherine Morland in tow, is on its way to Northanger Abbey from Bath, “a journey of thirty miles” with four horses going at a “sober pace.”

For Catherine, the “bustle of going was not pleasant . . . The clock struck ten while the trunks were carrying down . . .”

The means of conveyance is a chaise-and-four, “a heavy and troublesome business.”

(How self adores all these details about traveling, back in the day!)

At the halfway point of the journey, General Tilney urges Catherine to move to Henry Tilney’s curricle, which follows behind. Catherine is at first shocked at the impropriety but is happy to acquiesce because “to be driven by” Henry, “next to being dancing with him, was certainly the greatest happiness in the world.”

Stay tuned.

 

John Thorpe and Catherine Morland, pp. 137 – 138

There are books self picks up while traveling that she calmly gives away at the end of her trip. But self will keep her paperback copies of Persuasion and Northanger Abbey forever (Even though Persuasion fell short of her expectations, it is still so Jane!).

John Thorpe is such a lazy suitor. And for a girl who’s the youngest of this group, who’s never had a suitor before, Catherine Morland isn’t doing too badly:

John: But I say, Miss Morland, I shall come and pay my respects at Fullerton before it is long, if not disagreeable.

Catherine: Pray do. My mother and father will be very glad to see you.

John: And I hope — I hope, Miss Morland, you will not be sorry to see me.

Catherine: Oh dear, not at all. There are very few people I am sorry to see. Company is always cheerful.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Dear, Sweet Catherine!

A woman especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.

Northanger Abbey, p. 122

Self loves this book. Loves, loves, loves it.

She hardly remembers anything from the first time she read it, it’s a good thing she decided to read it again. Catherine’s innocence, her enthusiasm for the “horrible” — who would have expected such an entertaining tale to be spun from this?

Catherine confides in her new BFF Eleanor Tilney that she is very much looking forward to the arrival of “something very shocking indeed” (p. 123) and that “it is more horrible than anything we have met with yet . . . it is to be uncommonly dreadful. I shall expect murder and everything of the kind.” (p. 124)

Eleanor assumes that Catherine is talking about a “riot.”

Eleanor: Have the goodness to satisfy me as to this dreadful riot.

Catherine: Riot — What riot?

Henry hastens to explain: “Miss Morland has been talking of nothing more dreadful than a new publication which is shortly to come out . . .”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Lovely London

Self was supposed to go on an Old Parish Maps walk of Clerkenwall but she bailed because she wanted to take things slow today, after that loooong train journey from Cornwall yesterday.

She had an early breakfast, then set off walking. Soon, she found herself in front of the British Library, but instead of going in, she went next door, to St. Pancras/Renaissance Hotel, and inquired at reception if they could ring her son’s room.

He did not pick up, probably because he’s just arrived in London. She told the receptionist to let son know that his mother had stopped by. Then, she twirled and waltzed out without waiting for a response from the receptionist.

She wandered on Leigh Street and found North Sea Fish was closed. She walked down Marchmont Street and stopped at a cafĂ© for very yummy hot banana bread with yogurt. Topped that off with red bean gelato. Picked up a couple of flyers from LSE (London School of Economics, Dear Departed Sister’s alma mater), returned to Russell Square (one side of which was sprouting police cars, she wonders why) and resumed reading Northanger Abbey.

UGH, the horrible stress inflicted on poor Catherine Morland (so far, self’s favorite Jane Austen heroine — yes, a better heroine than Emma or Anne Elliot) by manipulative Thorpe sibs Isabella and John! In the latest situation, they have conveniently dismissed Miss Eleanor Tilney (sister of that elusive love interest Henry Tilney) without checking first with Catherine whether she intended to keep her appointment with Eleanor. Catherine, on learning of the Thorpes’s horrible presumptuousness, goes running full tilt after Eleanor (and why should she not? Henry Tilney is quite a fetching man! Self too would go running if someone told her that Timothy Olyphant or Nikolaj Coster-Waldau were just around the corner!).

p. 111:

Thorpe would have darted after her, but Morland withheld him. “Let her go, let her go, if she will go.”

“She is as obstinate as — “

Thorpe never finished the simile, for it could hardly have been a proper one.

lol

Morland refers to Catherine’s older brother, James. And a wonderful older brother he is, too. He’s in love with Isabella Thorpe, who’s a ninny. If not for that, he would be self’s third-favorite Jane Austen suitor, after Mr. Knightley and Henry Tilney. He most certainly is self’s favorite Jane Austen brother.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

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