“Mrs Bantry was dreaming. Her sweet peas had just taken a First at the flower show. The vicar, dressed in cassock and surplice, was giving out the prizes in church. His wife wandered past, dressed in a bathing-suit, but as is the blessed habit of dreams this fact did not arouse the disapproval of the parish in the way it would assuredly have done in real life…
“Mrs Bantry was enjoying her dream a good deal. She usually did enjoy those early-morning dreams that were terminated by the arrival of early-morning tea. Somewhere in her inner consciousness was an awareness of the usual early-morning noises of the household. The rattle of the curtain-rings on the stairs as the housemaid drew them, the noises of the second housemaid’s dustpan and brush in the passage outside. In the distance the heavy noise of the front-door bolt being drawn back.
“Another day was beginning. In the meantime she must extract as much pleasure as possible from the flower show – for already its dream-like quality was becoming apparent…” (The Body in the Library)
So much like the early mornings in Jelly Towers, give or take the odd housemaid.Continue reading →
“It was a dark, black mask and I thought it looked OK, it looked like the Lone Ranger,” says Donald Trump.
ActorLaddie looks up from his book. “Surely the Lone Ranger wore his mask over the eyes? And anyway, why on Earth are you watching Donald Trump?”
“I’m not – I’m watching Sarah Cooper. I went onto YouTube to check some face-mask stuff and I got side-tracked. Wanna watch?”
ActorLaddie joins me at the table and together we watch Sarah Cooper lip-syncing to Donald Trump talking about masks. Then one of our old favourites: Trump talking about injecting disinfectant. Then – oh, there’s a new one! Trump talking about ‘acing’ the Montreal Cognitive test.Continue reading →
It’s threatening to be a day of hiding under the duvet and reading about people doing stuff, rather than actually getting up and doing stuff myself.
Specifically, I’m about to tackle a Guardian article Shelf isolation: stylish reads to keep your spirits up. This is by way of window-shopping really: my actual reading in lock-down has stalled at Harry Potter. I do love a good school story. I hated school, mind, but I have memories of a blissful week in bed with some childhood disease, working my way through a pile of June and Schoolfriend annuals bequeathed by my slightly older cousin.
So, now, essentially, I’m hiding in Hogwarts: back on the school stories but with the added resonance of being books I read aloud to YoungLochinvar and the InfantPhenomenon in happier times.Continue reading →
If ever a plumber was needed
in the town,
the people said, “Send for
And if ever a class of mixed infants is in need of winning over, I would also recommend sending for Mrs Plug.Continue reading →
“At the age of twenty seven, copper-haired Maggie Hope had already foiled a plot to assassinate Churchill and blow up St Paul’s, saved Princess Elizabeth from being kidnapped, rescued a captured pilot from Berlin, taught at a school for Special Agents in Scotland and prevented First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt from being implicated in a lesbian murder scandal which would surely have led to America refusing to join in the War.”
I think it’s the gritty realism of the Maggie Hope novels that most appeals to me.
Mrs B has seen me coming; is already standing in the porch, in fact, with last month’s library books neatly bagged up.
“How did you enjoy them?” I ask.
“Very good. I’ve given this one five stars.”
“It’s all right to listen, Miss Sugarsprinkles. It’s not at all rude.”
“Are you sure, Mrs Jellywoman?”
“Quite sure, Miss Sugarsprinkles. Please don’t worry.”
“I’ll just wash up the paint-pots, then.”
“Please do.” Continue reading →
“He’s is going to be studying Macbeth for the literature exam,” Fred’s mum says, as I pack away my highlighters. I’ve started tutoring Fred, who is resitting his English GCSE next month. It’s a learning experience for us both.
And on the subject of Family Planning, did you know that Marie Stopes disinherited her son because he married someone whom she considered to have ‘inferior traits’, namely poor eyesight? You did? I only heard the other day, whilst listening to an old In Our Time. It had passed me by completely, Marie Stopes being a eugenicist. Another hero bites the dust.