Sunday, 21 December 2014

Out and about, bits and bobs, and suchlike

I'm enjoying a lazy time down in Somerset, now that work has finished for Christmas, and was supposed to be getting down to lots of reading. But somehow I am a bit bored with everything I'm reading, so have reverted to an old reliable (which just happens to fill in one of the few gaps in my Century of Books from the first half of the year - 1932): The Provincial Lady Goes Further. It is my favourite of the Provincial Lady series (as well as being the first one I read), and I laugh aloud to myself despite having read it about a dozen times... particularly, for some reason, at this paragraph:
Door flies open and Pamela Pringle, of whom I have now given up all hope, rushes in, kisses everybody, falls over little dog - which has mysteriously appeared out of the blue and vanishes again after being fallen over - and says Oh do we all know on another, and isn't she a frightfully bad hostess but she simply could not get away from Amédé, who really is a Pet. (Just as I have decided that Amédé is another little dog, it turns out that he is a Hairdresser.)
Yesterday some of my extended family came over to go to a football match. Well, obviously I didn't go (I mean, come on) and Our Vicar's Wife also didn't fancy it, so we took a trip to see the new Paddington film instead. There were quite a few other mother-and-child(ren) groups there, but I think we were conclusively the oldest. And it was good fun! A little different from the books, but Sally Hawkins and Hugh Bonneville are dependably great, and CGI Paddington was a wonder.

We got to Yeovil very early, so we did a bit of last-min Christmas shopping, and (since we were there) popped into Oxfam to have a look at the books. And - lo and behold - I managed to snare a copy of E. Nesbit's The Lark! I went on an online hunt for it after reading Scott's enthusiastic review, because I am always drawn to any novel with spinsters or boarding houses, and this one has both, but the only available copies were prohibitively expensive. Obviously buying books online is great, and it would be a foolish lie to claim I don't do it, but there's nothing quite like a serendipitous find in person, is there? (I've borrowed the photo from Scott's blog, as it's the same edition I bought and I can't remember where my camera is...)

Also, have you seen that Mystery in White by J. Jefferson Farjeon has become a Christmas bestseller? It's a British Library Crime Classics reprint of a 1930s murder mystery, and it sounds glorious (Harriet reviewed it for Shiny New Books, fyi). I haven't actually read any of the BL reprints yet, but it's exciting that they're doing so well - and I think the cover designer has to be thanked in a large part (as well, of course, as the people selecting the books).

Christmas is always a time when I watch a lot more TV than usual. Partly because my parents tend to have it on in the evening, partly because of Christmas specials and the like, and perhaps mostly because it's the only time I really see a TV guide. I'm excited about The Day We Sang (by Victoria Wood, with Imelda Staunton - what a wonderful combination!) and Esio Trot (Roald Dahl; Judi Dench!) not to mention the Christmas special (and final) of delightfully-silly-but-touching Miranda. And let's not forget the final episode of Radio 4 comedy Cabin Pressure, that my friend Malie successfully got me into this year.

Speaking of Imelda, I'm going to go and see her in Gypsy next April, which is exciting. My other booked tickets for theatre next year include the musical Once and the play Peter Pan Goes Wrong, a Christmas version of the incredibly funny The Play That Goes Wrong, which I saw in Malvern and has now transferred to London.

18 comments:

  1. I wonder when "50 books you must read but may not have heard about (in no particular order)" will be complete. Only 4 to go - but I note the most recent 4 have taken 18 months, and the 4 before that took 12 months - so maybe not any time soon

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    1. I'm dragging it out as long as I can! And I did use up all the ones I could think of from past years of reading in the early days...

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  2. Sometimes you just need to read something comfortable. I am currently lost in Dickens and marvelling that I haven't read him for so long! Well done on your book find and have a lovely Christmas with your family!

    (kaggsysbookishramblings)

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    1. Oo, lovely! Trollope was my plan for Christmas reading, but I haven't actually started Barchester Towers yet...

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  3. I love being able to order books on line, it's perfect for older books - but it's even better to find one that you want sitting on a shelf waiting for you.

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    1. It's definitely not a sadness, is it? :)

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  4. I regret not buying any of the British Library Crime Classics when I was in England - I saw them in lots of shops and didn't bite. What was wrong with me? I hope you continue having a lovely Christmas season!

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    1. What a shame, Anbolyn! That was, indeed, a mistake. I guess I haven't bought them yet because I feel they'll always be there waiting for me; I should get on it and make sure I buy them before they all disappear!

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  5. What a lovely find! I'm a bit jealous that you've already finished work, even though I love my job as much as you love yours, but my work has been winding down a bit so I've had more reading time than usual. Happy Christmas! We'll be watching Miranda, too, and a few other bits and bobs, mainly catching up with stuff we've recorded through the year but haven't got watched yet!

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    1. I'll be back on 29th, if that helps you, Liz! Only a few days holiday left, so I just have Mon-Weds off.

      I forgot to mention Mapp & Lucia in my litany of TV programmes to watch - I'm excited about that.

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    2. Enjoyed Miranda and cried at the end, even though I haven't watched all of her series and I'm not that engaged with the characters. But I cried, so ... We haven't watched Mapp and Lucia yet, but hopefully it'll be a highlight. And that did help; I've been working kind of half time and only back full time now in the end! Happy New Year!

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  6. How much was the rare book from OXFAM?

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  7. How much was the book?

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  8. OXFAM will take a "wish list"of authors and keep the books aside for you.takes the guess work out of book shopping.
    Cheryl

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  9. I'm so glad I found you this year. Your recommendations are exactly the sort of thing I most love to read.

    Have you read any Alison Uttley? Not her books for very young children, but her books on country life, and A Traveller in Time -- one of my favorite children's books. You might enjoy it too. Happy new year, Simon!

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  10. Nesbit!!! Oh I'm so happy for you. Let me know what it's like. I still have something spinstery here that's yours, and a Marshwiggle. Must hand over soon. On some dodgy street corner in the dark? You know how I love to make my life more mysterious than it is.

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