Posted 31 July 2010on:
I went on an unplanned stroll down memory lane. Yesterday I cleared out my paperwork! Big deal, you’ll think; well it is for me. I don’t open my post – only stuff that looks interesting – everything else waits in a quiet corner. So now I feel virtuous ‘cos four months of filing has been done, in real files as well as the wpb. Then I thought why not collate the notes and writings from my class – that shouldn’t take too long except I spent ages reading and admiring the rest of the group’s work – I was privileged to be with some serious talent. I also found reams of old poetry that brought back mixed memories – they need tidying and/or destroying.
As part of my crusade on paper, this morning I dug out from a deep old storage box, a pile of older battered crinkled notebooks. Between pages and pages of poetry and prose scribblings was so much else: Menus and recipes and related shopping lists. Plans for my children’s engagements and weddings, costs, guestlists, possible venues, flowers, music, more menus, music, etc. Recommended book lists and reviews. Doodles. Quotes from books and my own one-liners. Words I didn’t know their meanings, meaning to look them up. Numbers, lots of them – telephone numbers without names and what could the others be? Pictures of my babies… and Goren! Flight details, times, airports, costs, lists of hotels, itineraries. Home shopping lists and to-do lists and moving costs; not for this one but from spring 2004. (Yes this one is still gonna happen – the house will go on the market this week. Wish me luck)!
The next part of my journey shocked me (slightly). Those who have been around the block with me here will remember At Home With The Goren’s. That blog is long gone and the stories I first drafted in word – all deleted. In my hands I held chapters written, I think, in my lunchbreak, on a train or a plane or a cafe. What was I thinking then? Was I pleasing a particular audience? What was it with those two? I cringed as I read. Puerile and pathetic; the characters, the content and the quality of writing. I’m not sorry the blog is lost to posterity. However, thanks to dear Val she had the bright idea to invite anyone to contribute to her new blog After Major Case and in a moment of sentimentality I resurrected them. What was I thinking? Again! The couple have since matured (and the writer); they have a son Robert, Bobby is out of work and anything can happen.
As for all the notebooks – I kept the photos, pulled out the recipes, one-liners and a few poems – the rest, including mrsbg, are now languishing atop my recycling box awaiting an uncertain, but i’m sure a more useful future.
So wassup? My last post said I was going to Israel with mother and we did – it was a fabulous trip. Jamie joined us for a long weekend; he bunked at Jon and Bridgitte’s whilst ma and I stayed in an apartment in Herzliya two minutes from the Marina. There was a massive pool and the little ones had a lot of fun. It worked out brilliantly and friends were coincidentally staying in the same place and mother and I also met up with other friends who live there. Not sure when my next trip will be, the summer months are way too hot for this English rose, but hot off the press, they’re all coming to stay at the end of September for about ten days. Can’t wait to see my little ones again – I miss them so much – thank goodness for webcams and skype!
Rachel and I are still planning our trip to the big apple in October – flights are booked – wooo hooo. I am so excited. I’ve never been and it really is the only place on my wish list at the moment. I’ll never say no to other places, but right now I am fixated on going there. I’ve been researching accommodation – the choice is endless and I so want to get it right, but the prices are unbelievable. Coincidentally my boss is going in a few weeks and we were checking out the same hotels – they are half the price in August compared to the dates we’re going. I also checked to see if it was a public holiday or something, but no, and it’s not Chelsea’s wedding! Still searching – all recommendations welcome.
What else? Oh yes, Bon Jovi at the O2… cool. No, HOT!!!! He was fantastic, but boy I could hardly move the next day. It hurts to confess, this old hen is past being a rock chick. More on music… got blown away seeing (sadly only on tv) the awesome and talented Carole King and James Taylor at the Troubador’s 50th anniversary, although Jamie bought me the DVD & CD. They’ve been doing a sell-out tour in the States – it would be awesome if they brought it to London. Some music is timeless – Tapestry – 1971 – still listening.
I also got blown away by a television two-part drama written by Kay Mellor, based on her mother’s revelation that she’d had an affair when Kay was a baby. It’s called A Passionate Woman and received mixed reviews – I liked it. It also introduced us to a beautiful and talented young actor called Theo James. I shall be keeping an eye out for him and wish him a glittering career.
Trying to remember what books I’ve read since I last posted; I recall raving about Suite Francaise – since then I had the opportunity to hear her biographer, together with the Cambridge professor who translates Irene Nemirovsky’s writing, and Irene’s daughter (who is now 80). After the talk hoards of people queued for book signing; my friends and I had a coffee while we waited and then joined the end of the line – in my limited french we exchanged a few words and as I was the last one they signed the books to me personally, which was rather nice.
What have I been reading? I loved the first two of the Stieg Larssson Millenium books – the third sits teasingly on my bookshelf, but it is 700 pages long and I haven’t found time to dive in. They are such thumping good yarns; I’ve bought them for friends who also can’t put them down.
Am in the middle of Andrea Levy’s Small Island which is brilliantly well written – more of that when I finish it.
A quick read by the pool was Alexander McCall Smith’s latest in his No.1 Lady Detective Agency series of books set in Botswana – they never disappoint, but don’t expect too much – just easy reading filled with wisdom and insight.
What else? A return to Yann Martel’s Life of Pi. I loved it first time round – loved it even more the second. The first outing I was totally raving about his surreal adventures at sea and the fact it was so original; the second time I found myself more absorbed by Pi’s fascination and search for religion. The ending is clever, very clever. There are some beautiful lines and descriptions. If you’ve not had the chance, this is one I heartily recommend.
Couldn’t put down Marcus Zusak’s Book Thief. Set in Munich during the war the story of a German family harbouring a young Jewish man – the story is narrated by Death yet it is not in the least morbid. It is written in an unusual format where the contents of each chapter are listed at the beginning so you know what to expect. Another one I recommend.
The Ghost by Robert Harris – a political genre loosely (or not so) based on Blair – it had some great reviews and I hear the film is good, but not seen it yet. I should ‘cos I believe it stars the cute Pierce Brosnan and cuter Ewan McGregor. The book is 400 pages long; I didn’t find much to excite me until p.300. The timing was good – I was on a flight. The last 100 pages were pageturners; at the very last line it dawned on me that we never knew the name of the ‘ghost’ – of course we were never meant to. Friends who enjoyed it more than I didn’t notice my observation – they all went “Oh yes!” – still worth giving it an airing.
I’ve tried to read other books by Marina Lewycka, but gave up not even halfway. I completed the task with A Short Story of Tractors in Ukranian. Not sure what to make of the book – think it may be a little like Marmite – you either love it or hate it. It has been labelled comedy, when in fact it isn’t at all and nor was that the author’s intention. There are a few smart one-liners and it was poignant in parts. It’s about two distant sisters (in more ways than one) whose recently widowed, 80+ year old father is about to marry a buxom blonde Ukrainian in her 30’s. The father is writing a book about, yes, tractors in the Ukraine; he is an intellectual man, when he’s not being stupid. Some skipped those sections, but I actually found them enlightening as you saw the progress (and not) of communism in Eastern Europe. You can imagine the rest about him and his trophy – or read the book.
Finally Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis I & II. She is a graphic novelist living in France and her cartoon book is autobiographical. The title is the old name for Tehran. It was different. I found the pages hard on my eyes. It has been made into a film and I caught it this week on the television. Having recently read the book, it was exactly the same but animated so I switched off. I think I was less enthusiastic than my friends – I did not like the format (think Maus) but she is a graphic novelist so obviously this would be the way she would tell her story. Her story encompasses her life from childhood in Tehran, to being a student in Austria, back to Tehran and more studies and marriage, then divorce all with the backdrop of the different regimes and rules and regulations and war. It left me cold – I forced myself to read it – the story is true and heartbreaking and I wanted so much to sympathise and empathise; I’m sure I would have done if it was conventionally told .
Sorry I’ve been gone so long – I may be back (don’t hold your breath) 🙂