Thursday, 28 May 2009

4 : 1

We've fallen into lotus eating. After a long, cool spring, we're now in a phoney summer, a drôle d'été, long, hot days, seamlessly spilling over into the next.

Yesterday evening, I met a couple of quite fabulous women at my church. They were from Kansas City and had been staying in and visiting Seattle, and had come to visit our church because they had heard that it was very friendly. Five of us had a lovely, womanly evening.

From Seattle, down a bit to Oregon, I met a man and his daughter from that State. I had to show them one of the trails. The man thought that Obambi was breathing fresh air into the country, but he said his parents thought he was ruining the country. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Carol Ann Duffy spoke at the Hay-on-Wye book festival today. In fact, she spoke to my other favourite poet, Gillian Clarke.

I started reading the Bill Bryson book about Shakespeare today, it has been in my 'to read' pile for over a year now, since Kevin finished it. Within two pages, food for thought. The picture of the Bard on which all other pictures are based, seems no-one actually knows whether it is he or not. It's like a Will Shakespeare avatar.

I have just finished reading the third of Pat Barker's First World War books, 'The Ghost Road'. I enjoyed the first, Regeneration, the second, 'The Eye in the Door' was even better, and the final one was a masterpiece. I have been stunned at the facile review comments on the front of two of the books saying they are 'anti-war'.
In this final book of the trilogy, Barker weaves the memory of one of the main characters through his present day (ie First World War)experiences. He was studying a group of islanders who were formerly part of a headhunting society. White missionaries have put an end to the practice because the population was being wiped out by it. And yet, the people, now that they were no longer allowed to make war, seemed to be lacking in energy, in motivation, they were dying slowly and fertility was inexplicably compromised.

The other main character, who get sent back to France for the fourth time, is offered a job in England that would mean he didn't have to go. He turns it down, but says to his friend, that in a few weeks he would be sitting in a trench, regretting that decision. Yet when the time comes that he is sitting in that trench, he is keenly aware that he is glad he came back.
Fabulous books.

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