A twisted fairy tale part Snow White, part Sleeping Beauty with women at the forefront of the tale. Sleeping Beauty is awoken by a kiss from the Soldier Queen- the prince is redundant and the dwarfs aren’t to be taken seriously. On her awakening we find that Sleeping Beauty put a counter-spell on the old woman, ensuring that she can never sleep.
A brilliant BBC radio dramatization narrated by Dame Penelope Wilton with Neil Gaiman himself as The Home Secretary.
“I hope that in the year to come, you make mistakes. Glorious, amazing mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.
Found an article in a National Newspaper a month or so ago. We are familiar with the war poets such as Rupert Brooke and Wilfred Owen, but I was interested to read about other writers that saw active service.
Tolkien: served as a lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers and saw action at the Battle of the Somme. He was hospitalised with trench fever.
CS Lewis: saw action in the trenches arriving in 1917 aged 19. He took German prisoners and was wounded by a shell blast.
AA Milne: Winnie- the- Pooh creator. The famous bear was named after a real bear that had once been the mascot of a Canadian Infantry that Milne joined up to in 1915. He was injured at the Battle of the Somme.
Ernest Hemingway: was wounded by mortar fire as an ambulance driver on the Italian Front, where he fell in love with a nurse.
We tend to forget our famous writers have lives apart from their books, so I was really interested to read about these classic authors in the Great War.
Stumbled across this guy on a walk at the weekend. So had to do another Goblin Market post…!
So without further parleying, If you will not sell me any Of your fruits though much and many, Give me back my silver penny I toss’d you for a fee.”— They began to scratch their pates, No longer wagging, purring, But visibly demurring, Grunting and snarling. One call’d her proud, Cross-grain’d, uncivil; Their tones wax’d loud, Their looks were evil. Lashing their tails They trod and hustled her, Elbow’d and jostled her, Claw’d with their nails, Barking, mewing, hissing, mocking, Tore her gown and soil’d her stocking, Twitch’d her hair out by the roots, Stamp’d upon her tender feet, Held her hands and squeez’d their fruits Against her mouth to make her eat…’
‘The robin flew from his swinging spray of ivy on to the top of the wall and he opened his beak and sang a loud, lovely trill, merely to show off. Nothing in the world is quite as adorably lovely as a robin when he shows off—and they are nearly always doing it.’
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Chapter 8. “The Robin Who Showed the Way.
An autumn walk around Bateman’s gardens and this engaging robin reminded me of Frances HodgsonBurnett’s The Secret Garden. A childhood favourite book.
Spent a couple of days tramping around the Peak District National Park, specifically Dovedale, a valley in the Peak District- owned by the National Trust. The valley was cut by the River Dove and runs for just over 3 miles between Milldale in the north and a wooded ravine near Thorpe Cloud and Bunster Hill in the south.
The beautiful countryside got me thinking about literature connections to the area- any great poets or writers. There was no one that wrote particularly about the area, however a few very famous writers had passed through, lived or stayed in the area:
Daniel Defoe (1661 – 1731)- passed through.
Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784)- visited.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 – 1778)- visited.
Charlotte Bronte (1816 – 1855)- visited, (around the time she was writing Jane Eyre).
D.H.Lawrence (1885 – 1930)- lived.
George Eliot (1819 – 1880)- visited.
So although the area hasn’t produced a Wordsworth or Coleridge, it still has some literary history.
A large and conspicuous waterbird, the cormorant has an almost primitive appearance with its long neck making it appear reptilian. It is often seen standing with its wings held out to dry. Regarded by some as black, sinister and greedy, cormorants are supreme fishers which can bring them into conflict with anglers and they have been persecuted in the past. The UK holds internationally important wintering numbers.
The Common Cormorant or shag Lays eggs inside a paper bag. The reason you will see no doubt It is to keep the lightning out. But what these unobservant birds Have never noticed is that herds Of wandering bears may come with buns And steal the bags to hold the crumbs.
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:
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.
For me there is nowhere like India- the vibrant culture, the amazing Himalayas, arid Rajasthan and the idyllic beaches of Goa. I absolutely love it and today is Indian Independence day – fifty three years of Indian Independence.
Which got me thinking beyond my Indian travels to my favourite books with an Indian setting. Here they are: