Friday, 31 August 2012

The Month of August

Continued with watching the Olympics. A lot.
With the news that the window restorers were not starting meeting up with a dear friend for a mooch and then lunch at Cocomaya on the Kings Road.
Quiet, as in not doing much, noisy as in lots of banging, days around the house as the downstairs windows were restored.
Meeting dear print making friends for our annual visit to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. This time we discussed the Olympics as well as art and life.
A weekend of Olympics. Watching it on television, going to Potters Field to watch it on a big screen and the next day cheering the Women's marathon in the rain.
A lovely week of friends to lunch, visiting school friends and university friends in Sevenoaks, meeting friends for lunch out on the Southbank, pottering in the house, reading all sandwiched in between watching the Olympics.
Meeting a friend for Monday night tapas and rose at Jose. Then the next day meeting a dear friend for lunch at Mishkins a mooch through Covent Garden including Kate Spade and the Chanel pop up then to Laduree for macarons and tea.
Off to France to stay chez Mama and Papa Warmth. Drinking delightful wine, a Sunday mooch at a local brocante, a return visit to La Borne a favourite pottery place, the book town of La Charite, a paddle in La Loire as it was so hot. On to Amboise to view the chateau and Clos Luce where Leonardo de Vinci lived. An anniversary drive back through France - that included sat nav taking us along the Boulevard Peripherique.
Productive days around the house. Destroying the bamboo, clearing the pond and stripping the wallpaper in the front room. Interspersed with drinks at The Railway, learning alot more about Edward Munch at the Tate Modern and meeting The Brothers Warmth, plus wives, at PropStore for drinks and Wahaca for much needed food.
The final days of school holidays going into school for the morning to prepare for September.
Really feeling that autumn is coming - socks on!
And we finish the month of August at the Olympic Park cheering on the ParaOlympics.

Baking that Banana Bread again.
Reading Mrs Bridge by Evan S. Connell - oh the ending. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie, The Report by Jessica Francis Kane, A World of Love by Elizabeth Bowen, A Favourite of the Gods by Sybille Bedford.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

late August mornings

I'm eeking out summer. One last wear of my favourite white summer dress, enjoying Orange Fizz on my nails for maybe one more day, one last BBQ and a chilled glass of rose before the desire for red wine starts.

"These late August mornings smelt of autumn from day-break til the hour when the sun-baked earth allowed the cool breezes to drive back the then less heavy aroma of threshed wheat, open furrows, and reeking manure. A persistent dew clung sparkling to the skirts of hedgerows...
But the midday hours were free of the wisps of autumn mists... and the season showed every sign of going back to July. High in the sky the sun sucked up the dew...A succession of fine days followed calm, windless, and cloudless... days so divinely akin to each other that Vinca and Philippe, at peace, almost believed the year to be ending at its sweetest moment, softly held in check by an August that would last forever." Colette Ripening Seed

What are you doing to make August last forever? Or are you itching for September?

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

A World of Love by Elizabeth Bowen

As you know this blog has very few book reviews but having read a World of Love by Elizabeth Bowen my mind was a whirl of thoughts and so rather than keep these thoughts muddled in my mind I thought I'd scribble them here.

Picked up in a second hand bookshop, having heard Elizabeth Bowen's name mentioned on many blogs. From reading the back cover I thought I'd be reading letters of love, oh how wonderful a slim book of love letters. Nothing like it and probably one of the reasons why it took a second attempt to read it. The first time I was commuting and it was a slow forty page read until I decided this was a book to linger over, to let the words roll around inside me, a holiday book.
It is a holiday book, a summer holiday book. When the air around you is hot and stifling. It fits the claustrophobic feel of this book. Minutes, hours, days, months and years to fill. The scene with Lilia, Fred and the letters felt like the rain had come, the atmosphere calmed and all could begin again. But then as you hope a storm will clear the air - this one doesn't.
This book journeyed with me on holiday to rural France with temperatures of 37 degrees. I felt that my view was the French equivalent of this Irish landscape. Staying in a cool house with cool stone walls reminded me of Montefort. A place where everyone knows your movements, business and sometimes even thoughts yet somehow the walls are thick and hold secrets. I finished reading with the sound of two men manually transferring logs with a wheelbarrow in the strong late morning heat  seemed appropriate and fitting.

Throughout I kept beginning the thought 'This could be a lovely quote to store for the blog' but these words were never very long - so often punctured by chance, a sour note or observation.

I shall read another Elizabeth Bowen but feel a rest from her is needed, especially if written with as much unsaid emotion as this. If these are my thoughts on this Elizabeth Bowen what would you recommend as my next read?

Friday, 24 August 2012

he met her eyes

Whilst on holiday we celebrated our third wedding anniversary. 

'"Who has brought into unity those who were sundered, and hast ordained for them an indissoluble bond of love" - how profound these words are, and how well they correspond to what one feels at this moment' thought Levin. 'Does she feel the same as I do?'
And, turning, he met her eyes.
And by the look in those eyes he concluded that she understood it as he did...
...she had almost no understanding of the words of the service and did not even listen during the betrothal. She was unable to hear and understand them: so strong was the one feeling that filled her soul and was growing stronger and stronger. That feeling was the joy of the complete fulfilment...' Leo Tolstoy Anna Karenina


Wednesday, 15 August 2012

a holiday

'In the radiance and the silence, she ran on the vast expanse of hard, smooth sand, beside herself with joy. Ah, when you only have a holiday once in a while, what a happiness it is! Each golden minute had to be held and perfected before it was let go.' Dorothy Whipple High Wages


The bags are packed, the car is piled high and we're off to France for our summer holiday.
See you soon x

Monday, 13 August 2012

Just as it promised

The end of last week we had perfect August days.

Just as it promised
The early morning sun entered between the curtains
And a slanting, saffron streak
Reached the sofa.

The sun's hot ochre 
Covered the near-by woods, the village houses,
Boris Pasternak Dr. Zhivago

This feels like the corner to laze with the early morning sun whilst reading...

Friday, 10 August 2012

faded penciled notes

One of the books I've enjoyed having the time to read this holiday is Mrs Bridge. But oh my the ending. This passage has been me this week enjoying preparing for aunt Violet and my parents for lunch today and then friends for supper this evening.

"...she went to the cupboard where the old recipe books were stored.... Mrs Bridge began looking through them, seeing pencil notations in her own handwriting, scarcely legible anymore. Her husband liked more pepper in this, no bay leaves in that - whatever he wanted and whatever he did not like was expertly registered in the margins, and as she turned through these recipes she thought how strangely intimate the faded penciled notes remained; they brought back many scenes, many sweet and private memories; they brought back youth." Evan S. Connell Mrs Bridge

My recipes books do have faded and splattered pencil notes in them, about who they've been cooked for, whether they were adapted, how they turned out. They do not have any comments about how Warmth likes his food though!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

clotted-cream clouds

"A lilac band of heat haze spread all along the horizon line, and out of this dim region a few upward-curling, clotted-cream clouds had half emerged, got caught in the pink sunset rays, and remained suspended, voluptuous-looking and completely motionless, all through dinner time." Julia Strachey Cheerful weather for the wedding

The drinks are poured, the candles are lit and any moment the food will be ready. 
Shall we sit and enjoy the sunset?

Monday, 6 August 2012

teasing complexity

Whilst on holiday I finally shared this blog with mother, Hello! Whilst chatting on the 'phone mums mentioned how much she was enjoying Rose Tremain's Music and Silence. I knew there were a couple of quotes not yet used from this book, stored in my old quote books. So as a way of welcoming a new reader and of putting the old quotes previously stored on paper.

"As they part, both men reflect upon all that might have been said... and yet was not said; and this knowledge of what so often exists in the silences between words both haunts them and makes them marvel at the teasing complexity of all human discourse." Rose Tremain Music & Silence


Friday, 3 August 2012

decanters, jugs, beakers and glasses

If ever an image and passage went together these two do.

'... down the path which led from the magna domus to the tennis court, a trolley with rubber wheels, also laden with decanters, jugs, beakers and glasses. Within the porcelain and pewter jugs were tea, milk and coffee, and within the Bohemian cut-glass decanters, beaded with pearls of moisture, was lemonade, fruit juice and skiwasser - this last a thirst-quenching drink made of water and raspberry syrup in equal measures, with the addition of a slice of lemon and a few grapes.' Giorgio Bassani The Garden of the Finzi-Continis

Shall we all just stop and meet at the tennis courts at 4pm for a skiwasser?