The rain came pouring down late yesterday morning, not long after Dave's sister and her husband arrived on our doorstep, toting their heavy suitcases and wrestling with jet lag. We managed to get to the local pub, with the aid of four umbrellas, and there we caught up on all the family news. I suppose rain really is the most appropriate weather with which to greet any visitor to England.
Chris and Gary are visiting for their 25th wedding anniversary, and in a few days they'll set out on a cruise around the British Isles. They'll go to various ports in England, France, Scotland and Ireland. Apparently Virgin Atlantic even gave them a free bottle of champagne on their flight, which is pretty darn impressive in this era of airline belt-tightening.
After lunch, they went home with Dave and I set out on an ambitious walk to Homebase. If I ever decide again to walk to Homebase in the rain, please stop me, OK? It was pretty darn miserable. By the time I arrived, the lower half of my body looked like it had been through a carwash. I did get there, though, and I picked up a bag of peanuts for the birds (which was my goal), and then I went to Waterstones book shop to try to buy the first book in Karl Ove Knausgaard's autobiographical series. I've been reading about these books, collectively called "My Struggle," for years, and I haven't read any of them, so I thought I'd take the plunge. A multivolume autobiography sounds tedious and self-indulgent to me, but everyone says it's brilliant -- and I suppose it's no more self-indulgent than a blog.
Anyway, I had to order the Knausgaard book because it was out of stock, but I picked up a couple of others -- Derek Jarman's "Modern Nature," in which he writes about his life and his garden on the English coast in the years before he died of AIDS in 1994, and "I'm Your Man," a biography of Leonard Cohen.
Not that I am lacking for anything to read. I still have stacks of books I haven't gotten to yet. Book stores are dangerous places. It was great to go in and hold the books, though, and have a little chat with the guy at the counter about Leonard Cohen -- all experiences I miss when I order from Amazon.
Back at home we watched a bit of John Mulaney's stand-up show in which he compared Donald Trump (without ever naming him, which was clever) to a horse running loose in a hospital. It's a brilliant joke. The show, "Kid Gorgeous," is on Netflix and if you haven't seen it, it's worth watching. I'm normally not a huge fan of standup but I got a kick out of it:
"This guy being the president, it's like there's a horse loose in a hospital. I think eventually everything's going to be OK, but I have no idea what's going to happen next. And neither do any of you, and neither do your parents, because there's a horse loose in the hospital. That's never happened before! No one knows what the horse is going to do next, least of all the horse. He's never been in the hospital before, he's just as confused as you are."
(Photo: Wild geranium leaves on Hampstead Heath, Saturday.)
I've read Derek Jarman's journals for years and paid two visits to his coastal garden. The Knausgaard volumes were fascinating even when they seemed boring and self-indulgent because he talked about the parts of daily life usually left out of autobiographies.
I've been reading here for a few years, never able to post, so here goes again.
I visited Derek Jarman's beach house at Dungeness a few years ago. That would be a great area for you, Dave and perhaps Olga to visit if you could book dog friendly accommodation in the nearby town of Rye. Rye is itself a charming place - rich in history.
Virgin Atlantic is not spoiled yet, Best flight I have had since the olden days. Nice that you had enough umbrellas for all. You are truly an ambitious reader, part of the job I suppose, and keeps you in a comfortable position for Olga to curl up next to. Certainly is autumnal, changing leaves and rain- smoke here still terrible, send rain, please.
I think those books by Knausgaard are available from my library as audio books. If I ever get over my obsession with listening to Mormon Stories I may try listening to one.
Yes, a great metaphor for the guy in the White House.
it's rare that I read anything but fiction. right now slogging through the Outlander books. send some of that London rain down here.
I'm pretty sure every horse that reads this quote is going to feel really bad being likened to Trump. I'm glad you're getting all that rain, and while it's not fun for walking it's great for the garden.
I hope the sun comes out for your guests before they head off on that cruise! That show sounds hilarious. I will have to look for it. I know exactly what you mean about bookstores. I don't get to experience one very often because there are none close by but when I do get to one, I never leave without at least two books and usually four or five. Very dangerous indeed.
We could use a day or two of good English rain here.
I've always resisted Knausgaard because it sort of irritates me that he gets so much acclaim for writing what for women would be derogatorily called "confessional." That being said, I am engrossed in his quartet of seasonal memoirs. I have read Autumn and am now reading Winter -- I find them strangely addictive and mesmerizing -- so much so that I actually bought a ticket to hear him read here in Los Angeles next month. Perhaps I'll begin "The Struggle" soon and we can have an online book group.
I gave up on Knausgaard but your enthusiasm gave me the idea that maybe I should try the English translation instead of the German one.
I love visiting bookshops and browsing through books but I know from my own experience as a bookseller during the 1980s and 1990s that the people working there have no time to browse or even read - and I cannot imagine things have improved. I never ever read less books in my life than during those years but I loved checking out the new titles with the sales reps and ordering what I wanted!
Those wild geranium leaves look just like our geranium plant leaves, the ones we paid good money to have put in with the other landscaping thirty years ago when we built this house! Maybe your wild ones just escaped somebody's garden?? If not, it's the butterfly bushes all over again -- we pay through the nose to buy what grows in England like weeds, ha ha
About the horse in the hospital. It would find the floors treacherous, very slippery. Easy for the horse to lose its footing. Anything could happen then as it struggles to get up, who knows what and who might be maimed in the process. It might even be a fatal slip for the horse...
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