Goblin Market

By Christina Rossetti.

Goblin Market (published in 1862) is a narrative poem which tells the story of Laura and Lizzie who are tempted with fruit by goblin merchants. It is one of my favourite poems generally and my favourite Rossetti poem in particular.

Evening by evening 
Among the brookside rushes, 
Laura bow’d her head to hear, 
Lizzie veil’d her blushes: 
Crouching close together 
In the cooling weather, 
With clasping arms and cautioning lips, 
With tingling cheeks and finger tips. 
“Lie close,” Laura said, 
Pricking up her golden head: 
“We must not look at goblin men, 
We must not buy their fruits: 
Who knows upon what soil they fed 
Their hungry thirsty roots?” 
“Come buy,” call the goblins 
Hobbling down the glen. 

“Oh,” cried Lizzie, “Laura, Laura,
You should not peep at goblin men.”
Lizzie cover’d up her eyes,
Cover’d close lest they should look;
Laura rear’d her glossy head,
And whisper’d like the restless brook:
“Look, Lizzie, look, Lizzie,
Down the glen tramp little men.
One hauls a basket,
One bears a plate,
One lugs a golden dish
Of many pounds weight.
How fair the vine must grow
Whose grapes are so luscious;
How warm the wind must blow
Through those fruit bushes.”
“No,” said Lizzie, “No, no, no;
Their offers should not charm us,
Their evil gifts would harm us.”
She thrust a dimpled finger
In each ear, shut eyes and ran:
Curious Laura chose to linger
Wondering at each merchant man.
One had a cat’s face,
One whisk’d a tail,
One tramp’d at a rat’s pace,
One crawl’d like a snail,
One like a wombat prowl’d obtuse and furry,
One like a ratel tumbled hurry skurry.
She heard a voice like voice of doves
Cooing all together:
They sounded kind and full of loves
In the pleasant weather.

… (extract)

It’s a fairytale world of temptation and mystery, exploring themes of temptation, sacrifice and salvation.

Ancient themes magically visited in beautiful lyrical language.

Rural villages. Northiam, East Sussex.

Today we did a rural village walk. Our route around the village of Northiam was taken from East Sussex Walks. In and around the rural villages by Sandy Hernu (ISBN 1857700597)

Our three and a half mile walk was quintessentially English on this late summer day.

An unexpected point of interest was Queen Elizabeth’s Oak. The remains of this huge oak tree is where Queen Elizabeth I chose to sit beneath and rest on her journey to the nearby town of Rye on August 11th 1573. She was served a meal under its branches brought from a nearby house. She then changed her shoes , leaving behind the original green damask ones as a momento of her visit. Apparently they still exist.

Afternoon Tea.

Last week (10th- 16th August) was Afternoon Tea Week. I’m a bit late with this post, but couldn’t let the occasion pass completely.

Afternoon Tea is a tea-related ritual, introduced in Britain in the early 1840s. It evolved as a little meal to stem the hunger and anticipation of an evening meal at 8pm.

The tradition of afternoon tea made its way into English literature around a decade after the brew made its way into British drawing rooms in the early seventeenth century. I love this quote from C.S. Lewis:

And of course don’t forget the sandwiches, scones and cake. Especially the cake…

We as a family made a lot of cake over the lockdown period. It was something to do and something to share from a social distance and became quite special to us all.

Here are my two favourite Afternoon Tea pictures from the unprecedented times of 2020.

Crime Dagger Awards.

Crime Writer’s Association (CWA) Dagger Awards

The 2020 shortlists for the Crime Writer’s Association (CWA) Dagger Awards have been revealed. The Daggers celebrate the best in the many different areas of crime fiction.

The winners will be announced on October 22nd.

GOLD DAGGER

Claire Askew: What You Pay For (Hodder & Stoughton) 9781473673113

Lou Berney: November Road (Harper Fiction) 9780008309336

John Fairfax: Forced Confessions (Little, Brown) 9781408711606

Mick Herron: Joe Country (John Murray) 9781473657489

Abir Mukherjee: Death in the East (Harvill Secker) 9781784708535

Michael Robotham: Good Girl, Bad Girl (Sphere) 9780751573435

IAN FLEMING STEEL DAGGER

Lou Berney: November Road (Harper Fiction) 9780008309336

Tom Chatfield: This is Gomorrah (Hodder & Stoughton) 9781473681392

AA Dhand: One Way Out (Bantam Press) 9780552176538

Eva Dolan: Between Two Evils (Raven Books) 9781408886410

David Koepp: Cold Storage (HQ) 9780008334543

Alex North: The Whisper Man (Michael Joseph) 9781405935999

JOHN CREASEY (NEW BLOOD) DAGGER

Steph Cha: Your House Will Pay (Faber & Faber) 9780571348213

Samantha Downing: My Lovely Wife (Michael Joseph) 9781405939300

Philippa East: Little White Lies (HQ) 9780008344016

Robin Morgan-Bentley: The Wreckage (Trapeze) 9781409194170

Trevor Wood: The Man on the Street (Quercus Fiction) 9781787478367

SAPERE BOOKS HISTORICAL DAGGER

Alis Hawkins: In Two Minds (The Dome Press) 9781912534180

Philip Kerr: Metropolis (Quercus Fiction) 9781787473225

SG MacLean: The Bear Pit (Quercus Fiction) 9781787473614

Abir Mukherjee: Death in the East (Harvill Secker) 9781784708535

Alex Reeve: The Anarchists’ Club (Raven Books) 9781526604194

Ovidia Yu: The Paper Bark Tree Mystery (Constable) 9781472125248

CRIME FICTION IN TRANSLATION DAGGER

Marion Brunet: Summer of Reckoning, translated by Katherine Gregor (Bitter Lemon Press) 9781912242269

Hannelore Cayre: The Godmother, translated by Stephanie Smee (Old Street Publishing) 9781910400968

E Ferrari: Like Flies from Afar, translated by Adrian Nathan West (Canongate Books) 9781786896964

Jorge Galán: November, translated by Jason Wilson (Constable) 9781472125354

Sergio Olguín: The Fragility of Bodies, translated by Miranda France (Bitter Lemon Press) 9781912242191

Antti Tuomainen: Little Siberia, translated by David Hackston(Orenda Books) 9781912374519

ALCS GOLD DAGGER FOR NON-FICTION

Casey Cep: Furious Hours (William Heinemann) 9781785150739

Peter Everett: Corrupt Bodies (Icon Books) 9781785785955

Caroline Goode: Honour: Achieving Justice for BanazMahmod (Oneworld Publications) 9781786075451

Sean O’Connor: The Fatal Passion of Alma Rattenbury(Simon & Schuster) 9781471132728

Adam Sisman: The Professor and the Parson: A Story of Desire, Deceit and Defrocking (Profile Books) 9781788162128

Susannah Stapleton: The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective (Picador) 9781509867325

Battle of Bosworth.

‘Early in the morning men prepare their souls and their equipment for the forthcoming battle. Sounds of stone on blades and murmured Latin prayers are soon drowned out by the din of the drums calling the men to muster.’

On the 22nd August 1485 Henry Tudor brought a small rebel army to face the much larger Royal army of King Richard III.

The Battle of Bosworth heralded the dawn of the Tudor Age. England would never be the same again. The Church of England was founded and the British Empire was born.

‘Why, our battalion trebles that account:
Besides, the king’s name is a tower of strength,
Which they upon the adverse party want.
Up with my tent there! Valiant gentlemen,
Let us survey the vantage of the field
Call for some men of sound direction
Let’s want no discipline, make no delay,
For, lords, to-morrow is a busy day.

William Shakespeare. Richard III Act V, Scene 3 Bosworth Field.

---

Brushed up on my Battle of Bosworth today at: https://www.bosworthbattlefield.org.uk/

Down to Earth by Monty Don

Reading Down to Earth was a journey back to my childhood. A nostalgic trip down memory lane being in the garden with my dad, also a horticultural by trade. Working with the seasons, preparing and working the ground, planting and harvesting. Learning to live with nature, not against it.

‘… all good gardens are as much about the people that make them as the plants growing in them.’ 

Monty Don. 

Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic: A Comedian’s Guide to Life on the Spectrum by Michael McCreary

Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic: A Comedian’s Guide to Life on the Spectrum by Michael McCreary

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I had never heard of Michael McCreary- and I didn’t know a lot about Autism. I feel I learnt a lot during the course of this book and will also now look out for Michael McCreary’s comedy.



View all my reviews

On this day in history

Three hundred and one years ago today, 25 April 1719, Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe- the novel about a man stranded on a tropical desert island-was published.

Desert island risks: Robinson Crusoe at 300