Sunday, February 17, 2013
Books and War Talk
I keep finding bags and boxes of books outside the charity shop next door. I take Olga out for her morning walk and they're sitting on the sidewalk, completely unprotected from the elements and from pilfering passersby. One morning I brought a box home because it was beginning to rain and I didn't want them to get destroyed; I brought another bag home this morning because it's Sunday and the shop doesn't even open until tomorrow.
Will I pilfer them? Absolutely. It's my fee. But if this bag is anything like that previous box, there won't be anything worth keeping. Self-help and John Grisham -- there are a lot of questionable books out there.
Dave and I had Chris and Linda, our neighbors, over for drinks yesterday evening. I'd anticipated an hour or two, a few cocktails. Well, we wound up talking for four hours, working our way through a round of tonics and three bottles of wine. Thank goodness we had some yummy cheese puffs that Dave made with pate a choux, as well as some cheese and crackers and olives -- because that became dinner.
Chris is a funny character. No matter what the topic of conversation, he winds up talking about World War II. I guess the English, particularly Englishmen of a certain age (Chris is 70), are understandably fascinated by that period, as England was so frequently a direct target of Axis bombs and then endured years of post-war rationing. Chris said he holds his parents' generation in great regard for their sacrifice -- it's that "greatest generation" mentality we hear about in the USA. I pointed out -- cynically, perhaps -- that World War II would have been filled with its own ambiguities and atrocities if it were as saturated with media coverage as today's conflicts. We always think of World War II as a righteous war with clearly drawn lines of good and evil, but goodness knows both sides killed their share of innocent civilians. War is never clean, and rarely righteous, though I agree war against Hitler made more sense than any conflict since.
Yesterday seemed a bit spring-like. The temperature was moderate, and people were out in the cafes and enjoying the sunny afternoon. One of our amaryllis bulbs is sending up a new bud, though the other three are still dormant.
(Photo: Near Clapham Junction, last week.)