Had a lovely time at home, soaking in the countryside, and am now back in my usual blogging spot of Oxford - specifically the desk of the back bedroom in Regent Street. While down in Somerset (or Zumm as I affectionately label it) I was able to offer my lovely Aunt Jacq. a cup of tea, for she also lives in Zumm, and she reciprocated with much more exciting gifts...
No, not my birthday of anything - she just saw them and thought of me. It pays to make your opinions known, doesn't it?! Well, you all know I love Virginia Woolf - and I'd ummmed and ahhhed over the Alan Bennett for a while, glad the choice was made for me.
Haven't used the mug yet, but a car journey too and from Bristol to see The Carbon Copy (the whole Clan together for a few hours at least!) allowed me to read The Uncommon Reader, and greatly did I enjoy it. Haven't read any Alan B before, though did see The History Boys film, and have vague recollections of Talking Heads being on in the car in my younger days. It was great fun - I'm sure everyone knows the plot by now. The Queen bumps into the local library van, and, out of politeness, borrows an Ivy Compton-Burnett. Love her or loathe her (ICB, that is), you have to acknowledge she's not a great one with which to start the long path of literacy:
'She's not a popular author, ma'am'.
'Why, I wonder? I made her a dame'.
Mr Hutchings refrained from saying that this wasn't necessarily the road to the public's heart.
As she pursues more and more books, with the help of kitchen boy Norman who becomes her constant aide, her royal duties start to suffer... This book, as well as being witty and just the right combination of absurd and plausible, also offers some genuine insights into the realm of reading, without being too truism-y. 'I think of literature,' she wrote, 'as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but cannot possibly reach'. Ever felt like that?!!
And just a final word about the sketch. Not a great one today, I'm afraid, so if you need a clue just think 'Bohemian Rhapsody'.