Posted in Books, Life and Family

Of Books, Brachets and Friendships Gone Bad

30 Sept 2020

Finished Howl’s Moving Castle (Diana Wynne Jones) and began The Once and Future King (T.H. White).

I like Diana Wynne Jones books. I haven’t read Howl’s Moving Castle before, but loved the Studio Ghibli animation when it came on TV some years ago. The book was entertaining too, and cozy. I liked the idea of hiding away in that castle, but wondered if the different doorways made it easier to assault than if it had only been accessible from one town.

I read The Once and Future King when still at school. It was enjoyable at first, then I started to struggle, so I don’t remember much about it. I bought it for Kindle when it came up as an Amazon deal, and now I’m reading it again, feeling amazingly happy. It reminds me of the old days when life was simple, by which I mean as a teenager I could sit and read while Mum slaved away in the kitchen — now it’s the other way around, heh. Anyway, I always had a special affection for The Sword in the Stone.

I’m just a few pages in, and already I’ve run into a shower of words I don’t know, most connected with falconry, though I doubt if it will stop there. The Wart is lost in a scary medieval forest at night, but has met a beautiful knight and his brachet. I knew what the brachet was before the Wart went behind a tree to look at it, but I’m not sure where I read the word before. In this same book, maybe, but there are other suspects such as the Dorothy Dunnett books.

I should be sleeping but am wide awake because at teatime I dropped off when the Coronavirus Update was in full swing. Woke and found myself firmly gripping a full mug of tea with one hand clamped over the top. Was enjoying the heat of it tucked against my ribs, but now it was cold. Just lucky I didn’t spill it everywhere while dozing!

Looked at the reporters who were asking questions of the Prime Minister and his advisers and wondered if they ever smiled. Mum turns the sound off when they come on… she used to listen, but quickly tired of them. In fact, they send her blood pressure up so she has to turn them off to calm down.

As I was saying, I should be sleeping now but instead am writing a diary entry cum blog post on my phone using a bluetooth keyboard. I love the keyboard because it makes me feel more in control. I can type at the speed of thought (!) and can go the extra mile. Dabbing things in via the phone’s virtual keyboard is so slow and difficult that I wilt at the idea of writing more than I have to.

My reading lamp’s bright LED lightbulb went phut a few nights ago so the room is pretty dim. There’s a funny little lamp that changes colour from pink through orange, green, blue, pink. It’s soothing, and last night I left it on when I went to sleep.

The phone app confuses me… I accidentally scribbled over my text and don’t know how to erase the marks. Shouldn’t have been possible! Why should anyone want or need to do that? Good grief.

I picked up my iPad a few minutes ago and found an email from a friend. She says she’s in a book club and they talk to each other in a chat app of some description. I wonder what books they have been reading? Maybe I could join one too, though it could be annoying if I’m in the mood to read The Once and Future King when they want me to read something else. I was in an informal book club years ago but it fell apart before we ever discussed anything because the leader began hissing like a steam kettle at another member for recommending light novels and romances. I read a couple anyway, as I reckoned if the other ladies liked them enough to recommend them, they could be worth trying. I can’t remember — don’t think they were my cup of tea but they weren’t awful.

I recommended Beverley Nichols’ garden books, especially Merry Hall. One of the members said she tried to get them at their library and they didn’t have them but they ordered them for her. The books were a success with her, so there was *that* positive outcome at least, before our wee book club drew its last gasping breath.

I was wondering why people fall out with each other. My family might get annoyed with each other at times, but we don’t start hating each other or trying to end relations. I wonder what are the factors that cause things to go bad when they don’t have to?

Perhaps someone starts bearing grudges and keeps putting the boot in, using a nasty tone while pretending it’s just humour, and in the end it’s more than flesh and blood can stand. Once I asked Mum if there were good reasons for ending friendships… I was still friends with A at the time so you can see my thoughts were already trending that way several years ago. She said the only reason you could possibly have for ending a friendship is boredom! Much later, A said something hurtful when I was trying to cheer her in a dark moment. Mum advised me not to object because I’d only sound huffy — but I think now that I should have stopped right there. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.


I live in the UK with two cats -- Samson and Delilah.

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