I went to the doctor’s surgery this evening to collect the second half of an antibiotic prescription, and while I was waiting I looked through the books for sale in aid of Artability, a local initiative to provide art classes for the housebound etc. As well as a packet of pills I came home with two new treasures, Laurence Hills original 1977 classic “Organic Gardening”, and ” The Secret Life of Bees”, not an apiarist’s manual, but fiction I read from beginning to end at the tea table, as usual and mentioned above, a book I should have read five years ago.
It is one of those classic southern novels about growing up in racist S Carolina in the early 1960s. Shades of Carson McCullers, Harper Lee, Alice Walker etc – you can tell what books she read as a youngster- but very good nevertheless. You feel the heat, the beauty of strong black women, the awkwardness of adolescence , and the creativity of bee keeping. Honey drips in a soothing way, healing the violence of grim anger shown by the racists and the nasty father.
The book by LH makes you realise that all the big industry of grow your own organic vegs. go back to him, highly readable and scientific in a very commonsense and informative way . Inspired me to relayer my two newest compost heaps with some more poultry manure and organise a new pile of stable droppings from horsekeeping friends.
Unpleasant parents were given a great outing in this week’s series of book discussion programmes on BBC this week. Jeanette Winterson, who is one of the most intelligent women writing today, recounted a hilarious black comic tale about her notoriously monstrous adoptive mother. Uncharacteristically this lady read her a novel when she was a child, – normally it was only the Bible which was read aloud every evening. But for some reason she read Jane Eyre to the little girl. – “But it was only years later when I read the book myself that I discovered she had rewritten the end and changed the entire outcome of the story, making Jane marry St John Rivers, and go off to India as a missionary. ” As Jeanette said, a new twist of post modern deconstruction!
The character of Mrs Winterson is so sadly true to life of the genuine fundamentalist. never letting the facts get in the way of ABSURD BELIEF. Old Gaddafi still holding out in Libya, claiming blithely “My people love me,” as he slaughters them by the thousand. Our neighbour, the DDD, or DDDD, (Debo, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire) was on the same programme on BBC this evening. I’d heard most of her funny stories but the one about Eveleyn Waugh sending her a completely blank book, whcih she actually produced for the camera, is still very amusing. She has a strong sense of self, and of humour. Whenever David has visited people really ill in hospital from the estate, the only other constant visitor was usually DDDD.
I love the British national health service with a passion. I have a friend in California who broke her hip during a walk in the park last month. A big friendly dog leaped up, put his paws on her shoulders and knocked her over onto a pile of concrete. Strangers, (not the dog owner) carried her to her car, drove her home, from where she had to call an ambulance by dialling 911. She chose her own destination hospital. – the ambulance crew didn’t mind, but demanded $100 before they loaded her onto the vehicle, – in agony of course. This can be every day life in the USA.
Julia and I had one of her exciting coffees in the little house in the allotment and I felt it should have a more radical edgey title than just our little house in the allotment. It’s a cafe philosophique, a feminist space, a free-thinking cabin – a dear little shamba hut for tea and sympathy. Jane found a sunflower clock for £2. I now know when it’s time to go home, but am not sure if this is altogether an asset. Listening for the church clock once an hour had its own rather monastic and medieval charm.
Great programme with Jamie Oliver on about setting up his dream school. I was tickled to see David Starkey installed and quickly uninstalled as history teacher. – very abusive to the kids. When he taught me Tudor History as a supervisor at Cambridge he was equally un-charming. He had the novel idea, which he may have trimmed in recent years, that Henry V lll was in fact gay, and had a passion for the Duke of Suffolk, Charles Brandon, which was why he was so furious he eloped with his sister Mary. I think H8, like Gaddafi, was a homicidal maniac, probably enhanced by syphilis.
Hey ho , something elese which antibiotics can deal with today!