Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The Month of November

Reading Dr. Zhivago as part of a group read. Then starting a new novel The Garden of the Finzi-Continis by Giorgio Bassani- which was also a translation!
Films watched Man on Wire and Gran Torino. Loved them both.

A stressful journey to friends in Sevenoaks where we managed to take the wrong road not once but twice and arrived appallingly late. Thank goodness we were staying the night.
Peppermint cold walks around Honor Oak and Forest Hill.
Meeting dear printmaking friends at The National Cafe.
Drinks and a meal at The Old Vic.
Enjoying being in a new part of London with different places to explore. Mooching in Shoreditch. Shopping at Caravan, eating in Albion cafe and then wandering to Spitalfields. Catching the first scent of mulled wine and then spying Pret's turkey and stuffing sandwiches.
Remembrence day service with Mama and Papa Warmth. Walking through the field of soldiers, hearing the chimes of Big Ben and feeling the boom of the guns as the two minute silence is observed.
Catching a stinky cold.
Eid Mubarak and that means a day off. A leisurely morning and then meeting friends for lunch.
Rekindling my love for Browns. A good Friday night meet up.
A visit to Gaugin at Tate Modern. I liked it but I didn't love Gaugin as much as I'd presumed I would.

Still life with peonies

Starting the Christmas shopping - in making Christmas cards, shopping on the high street, at Cockpit Arts and on the internet. Buying my Persephone Secret Santa - well living in london i had to go to the shop and then for a cupcake at Beas.
Finding this winter's dress, a cosy shrug like cardigan from Topshop and new winter pj's.
Finally spending my Space Nk gift voucher from my old job on Annick Goutal Grand Amour.
A little spend in Topshop on their make up. Especially loving 'Grunge' nail varnish. Continuing the varnish theme. Liking Chanel Rose Confidentiel

Beginning Christmas preparations. We're hosting the Warmth family Christmas gathering on the 27th December. Cook books open..... I want to bake cupcakes galore.

And then the snow came...

Monday, 29 November 2010

Seasonal Roar

"Imagine a morning in late November. A coming of winter morning... Consider the kitchen of a spreading old house in a country town. A great black stove is its main feature; but there is also a big round table and a fireplace with two rocking chairs placed in front of it. Just today the fireplace commenced its seasonal roar...
It's always the same: a morning arrives in November, and my friend, as though officially inaugurating the Christmas time of year that exhilarates her imagination and fuels the blaze of her heart, announces: 'It's fruitcake weather! Fetch our buggy. Help me find my hat.' Truman Capote A Christmas Memory


Friday, 26 November 2010

I can be alone

I'm not sure if always being with Twin when growing up meant that I wasn't used to being alone. I know as a young adult that I didn't need to have much time by myself. We change though. Now I need time to be just me, alone. I need silence too. I think when I first read this poem I couldn't understand it, and didn't think I would ever understand it, but now I do.

I can be alone,
I know how to be alone.

There is a tacit understanding between my pencils
and the trees outside;
between the rain
and my luminous hair.

The tea is boiling:
my golden zone,
my pure burning amber.

I can be alone,
I know how to be alone.
By tea-light
I write.

Nina Cassian
(Tr from Romanian by
Eva Feiler and nina Cassian)


How about you?

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Refuge and Shelter

"The garden is the place I go to for refuge and shelter, not the house..... out there blessings crowd round me at every step - it is there that I am sorry for the unkindness in me, for those selfish thoughts that are so much worse than they feel, it is there that all my sins and silliness are forgiven, there that I feel protected and at home, and every flower and weed is a friend and every tree a lover. When I have been vexed I run out to them for comfort, and when angry without just cause, it is there that I find absolution.' Elizabeth von Arnim Elizabeth and her English Garden


Where do you go for refuge and shelter?

Friday, 19 November 2010


We've just had the Ofsted telephone call so I shall disappear for a few days. I shall make sure I find time to remember this poem, another one mother sent me, each day.


Next day
the angel of tranquility was with us.
Great golden wings were spread above.
And in their tender shadows
the glory of the hunble things
of daily life shone forth.

Each cup became a chalice
each chair a chariot
and on the radio they played
the music of the spheres.

Mercedes Ciaraso


I hope the angel of tranquility is with you today too.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Inward Music

One of reasons I'm really enjoying reading Dr. Zhivago is the theme of life and faith that runs though it. I haven't read many Russian novels but, of those I have, these themes seem to run through each of them. The questions of life which characters think and talk about provokes me. I like being reminded of my faith when reading. They're not always the best passages to put on a blog - sometimes too long. But I'm going to have a try.

'... what has for centuries has raised man above beast is... an inward music: the irrestible power of unarmed truth... It has always been assumed that the most important things in the Gospels are the ethical teaching and commandments. But for me the most important thing is the fact that Christ speaks in parables taken from daily life, that he explains the truth in terms of everyday reality. The idea which underlies this is that communities between mortals is immortal, and that the whole of life is symbolic because the whole of it has meaning.'

'Lara was not religious. She did not believe in ritual. But sometimes, to enable her to bear her life, she needed the accompaniment of an inward music and she could not always compose it for herself. That music was God's word of life and it was to weep over it she went to church.'


Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Dr. Zhivago

I'm joining in with the group read at Nonsuch Books.

I've seen the film many times but this is my first time of reading Dr. Zhivago. As ever when it's this way round I'm trying to make sense of the book with film thoughts often clouding in. The first time this happened was on reading

'Her [Lara] dark hair was scattered...'
but no this is Lara Antipov

Suddenly reading

'he owned an enormous estate in the Urals, near Yuryatin;'
'Yuryatin' a word which ones hears so much in the film and to suddenly see the word leap off the page sends shiver through me.
My main thought is from having read JoAnn's post on translation I'm wondering if I should be carrying the new hardback version around. Especially as I love collecting passages I feel I'm so missing out. I'm now reading it thinking "I wonder how this was translated in the new version?" At least I have a great reason to re buy (especially as I don't like the front cover but that's a whole other story) and re read Dr. Zhivago.

As this is the beginning of Dr. Zhivago group read I thought I'd end this post with.

"All these people were there, together, in this one place. But some of them had never known each other, while others failed to recognise each other now. And there were things about them which were never to be known for certain, while others were only to await another opportunity in order to reveal themselves." Boris Pasternak Dr.Zhivago (Tr.Max Hayward & Manya Harari)

How is this passage in your translation?

Monday, 15 November 2010

Favourite words.

I'd been mulling a post about favourite word. You've probably noticed from my comments that I use the words



and 'lovely' an awful lot.


I'd thought that perhaps I should add another favourite word and had thought it would be



Then I read this post and my ideas seemed especially tame... So I visited Save the Words to see what they suggested.

Would this be a good word to use with our current coalition government?

Please imagine


who to you embodies a snollygoster.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Beautiful Things

'The world' she thought ' is certainly full of beautiful things, if only I could come across them.'
E.M. Forster A Room with a View

To help Lucy Honeychurch out, because it's a Friday in November and because we haven't had any flowers for a while....

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Visiting the Library

'When I got to the library I came to a standstill, - ah, the dear room, what happy times I have spent rummaging amongst the books, making plans for my garden, building castles in the air, writing, dreaming, doing nothing.' Elizabeth von Arnim Elizabeth and her Enchanted Garden

I don't think it usually matters what our jobs are but my thoughts for this post came from my job. You may know that I am a teacher. One of things I love about my new job is the link we have with our local library. Every Tuesday at 9.15am 29 four and five year olds in E1 London walk crocodile style to our local library. Once there we browse the books and gradually more and more of the children hopefully have library cards to start a career of borrowing books from a library.

Their library is different to Elizabeth's personal one but I hope that they begin 'building castles in the air' there.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Peppermint Cold


"... out for a walk together one late afternoon when the sun was hanging, a dark-red ball, in a sky which seemed hazed with bonfire smoke. The air was peppermint cold.." Mollie Panter-Downes One Fine Day


And then home for tea and crumpets.

How was your weekend?

Friday, 5 November 2010

I hear your name

This post started out being about my name. My two names written in the front cover of A Room With A View, the fact that after this holiday I shall get round to changing my name on my passport. And so this poem would be used. But.... it changed. Reading this poem in the light of the novel I could just imagine George saying Lucy's name over and over again.
So, this poem is for George and Lucy.


When did your name
change from a proper noun
to a charm?

Its three vowels
like jewels
on the thread of my breath.

Its consonants
brushing my mouth
like a kiss.

I love your name.
I say it again and again

I pray it
into the night
till its letters are light.

I hear your name
rhyming, rhyming,
rhyming with everything.

Carol Ann Duffy

Thursday, 4 November 2010

A Room With A View Memories

As we walked, observed, felt and smelt our way around Florence glimpses of the book came back to me. So here are my A Room With A View Moments from our trip.

I think they were more Eleanor Lavish, than the Miss Allens, even though there were two of them. Two American women living in Florence at the bar in our hotel. Struck up conversation with a couple by saying
"Can you answer a bet - are you on honeymoon?" After that they proceeded to give travel and restaurant advice.

Said honeymoon couple in our hotel.

Discussing Postcards in Piazza Santa Croce - just where Lucy dropped her postcards....

Mr. Eager would have been the character to over hear this comment and retell it countless times.
A British school girl half way around The Uffizi, I think on an art trip as they all had sketch books, saying to her friend as she looked at a Madonna painting.
"Who is this Madonna? Is she our Madonna? The Madonna?"
(We think she meant Madonna Louise Ceccione)

A huge thunderstorm with great cracks of thunder and lightening. Thankfully we were safe in our hotel room and not out in a carriage.

Seeing a couple sitting on Mackintosh squares.

Lazing in bed on the last morning hearing Puccini's Oh Mio bambino caro

Being in Florence with the man I love.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

I shall take a building

Visiting lots of churches, walking around a corner and finding another church made me think about this passage.

"So how am I to present Him - this invisible all pervasive catalyst? How am I to suggest to my reader... The extraordinary fact that for much of recorded time most people have been prepared to believe in the presidency over all things of an indefinable unassageable power?
I shall take a building. A building shaped like a cross, furnished neither for habitation nor defence. I shall multiply this building by a thousand, by ten thousand, by a hundred thousand. It may be as small as a single room; it may soar far into the sky. It may be old or it may be new; it may be plain or it may be rich; it may be stone or it may be of wood or it may be of brick or mud. This building is in the heart of cities and it is in the wild places of earth. It is on islands and in deserts and up on mountains. It is in Provence and Suffolk and Tuscany and Alsace and in Vermont and Bolicia and The Lebanon. The walls and furnishings ofthis building tell stories; they talk of kings and queens and angels and devils; they instruct and they threaten. They are intended to uplift and to terrify. They are an argument made manifest." Penelope Lively Moon Tigee

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


Florence, what a lovely lovely time we had.
Here are some of my memories.

With our Luxe guide to help discover the gems.

O ur hotel


so we had to visit

And then Santa Maria Novella Pharmacia .

We marvelled at

and our favourite museum was

a welcome simplicity after the ornateness of The Uffizi.

We licked a

every day.

We had to eat a slice of

Every night we started with a

and then to some delicious restaurants.

We drank lots of lovely

And finally we queued for our

to take the

back to

The end of a wonderful wonderful holiday.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Travels With My Aunt

I had a slight panic in the days leading up to Florence that I only had one book. As part of The Duty Free Shopping Experience we went to WHS Books. I found Graham Greene's Travels With My Aunt. It was perfect for this trip.

"I find it difficult myself to go away for a night without a rather heavy suitcase, for I am uneasy if I have not at least one change of suit and that entails also a change of shoes. A change of shirt, a change of underclothes and of socks are almost essential to me, and taking into consideration the vagaries of the English climate I like to take some woollens just in case." Graham Greene Travels With My Aunt

slightly overpacked