Thursday, 3 January 2013

Some odds and ends of news

While I struggle to write a round-up post for 2012, here's some news for US readers - Thomas at My Porch has been culling books (I'm astounded and filled with envy at such resolve!) and has two Whipples to give away, The Priory and Because of the Lockwoods. You can read his reviews of both books on his site.

Thomas describes himself as "banking" obscure and unloved books, a statement which fills me with warmth and fellow feeling -- I can't describe the pleasure I have when I fall in love with some book that everyone else has overlooked, or when I read about one on someone else's blog and have to scour the internet to find a copy. I don't have much hope of finding the next Persephone - I realise that my taste is idiosyncratic and that anyway my especial favourites already have a loyal readership. However it delights me that recent editions of, for instance, the books of Stella Gibbons, Noel Streatfeild and Angela Thirkell may be finding new readers.

Since this is the traditional time of year for making resolutions, I thought it might be an appropriate moment to mention that this is an excellent time to finally get round to subscribing to those literary societies you've been meaning to join for ages, since many of them have membership years which run from January. If you need a reminder of societies in the UK, there's a useful list of them at the Alliance of Literary Societies. It might also be a good moment to tell you that, rather by accident, I have become the new editor of the journal of the Angela Thirkell Society, so I'm afraid you'll just have to make allowances if I keep banging on about her books.  I'm going to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Barbara Pym's birth by joining that society, taking part in the reading week hosted by Thomas and Amanda, and -- I hope -- going to the ALS meeting in Oxford which will be hosted by the Barbara Pym Society in June.

While I'm telling you things, I'd better add that I shall be joining the ranks of the unemployed in May, since the funding for my job has been axed. Despite having known that it was likely to happen sooner or later, it still managed to be something of a blow - at 58, the prospect of job-hunting is rather daunting, and one of the reasons I had stayed for a long time in an interesting but poorly paid job was that it allowed me freedom to work from home in recent years, making it easier to visit elderly parents at the other end of the country, or to be here when my husband goes through one of the bad patches which can leave him pretty much immobilised. So I'm planning to freelance as  a copyeditor, proofreader and typesetter (work which I've been doing in my spare time for years), but also to develop a more creative role as well. As a result, time for blogging may become a bit limited over the coming months -- I'd like to do more in the garden, too, after nearly 20 years of being unavailable just when most needs doing. Generally by the time I get out there each year the weeds are waist height and my motivation shrivels!

Finally, since it's the start of the year I think we're due for another gratuitous dog picture. Well, we'd better have two, actually, or else Senior Dog will be miffed, which is outrageous, really, since if you so much as try to take a sneaky pic with a phone she is instantly sitting two feet in front of you with a cheesy grin, so it's impossible to get arty shots, or even, as yesterday, an appealing picture of them lying back to back in front of the fire, maximising warmth. In these two my son was experimenting with a new camera last year and both dogs had got rather bored, although Princess Sniffy (aka The Bolter) knows that cameras only exist so that she can be admired by more people. (Yes, I know she's a plain little whippet-y lurcher, but she thinks it's the face that launched a thousand ships, hence the Garbo-esque expression...). Senior Dog is just lying there thinking, "I'm eighty-two, you know...".

 Senior Dog...

...and The Bolter


26 comments:

  1. Good luck with the changes in your life. I'm so sorry your job was axed, that's a real blow, I sincerely hope the freelancing thing works out for you.

    I'm going to be one of the new readers of Angela Thirkell I think. I'm not far into High Rising but I already love it to bits.

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    1. Thanks, Cath, I'm hoping so too. Glad you are liking High Rising so far - it's such fun.

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  2. I hope your new working life is a success. It sounds as though you've had time to plan for it although I'm sure the news is still a shock. I've been a Pym fan for years but haven't read much Thirkell. I have the new Virago reprints so I hope to do something about that this year. I have similar trouble trying to get photos of my cats. One's shy & would rather curl around my legs whenever she sees the camera, the other loves to pose.

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    1. I'm glad I don't have to choose between Pym and Thirkell because I love both so.

      Thinking back to when we had cats, I can only remember one decent photo of any of them, and that was a back view.

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  3. It sounds as though 2013 will be a year for changes - sorry about the job and good luck with the freelancing. Congrats on the editorship - if you write much more about Angela Thirkell I can see I'll have to read at least one of her books :)

    Great photos of your dogs! They look so soulful. Trying to get a photo of a cat is just as difficult - all the ones we've had walk towards you as soon as they see the camera - you have to catch them unawares.

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    1. Margaret, I think I managed to find one Thirkell in the entire Northumbrian library catalogue. Perhaps they'll stock the new editions though, I must have a look.

      I can remember some very nice pictures of your cats on your blog, I always admire them :-)

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  4. While I understand how much of a blow it must have been to have the loss of your job from May onwards confirmed, I like how you see it as a chance for re-organising your life with different work and with room for more creativity in it.
    All the best for you and yours!
    Both dogs are beautiful!

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    1. I do like the thought of being more creative though whether I can make any money from it remains to be seen. It feels worth trying, at any rate.

      Senior Dog, Molly, would like you to know that those ears are the softest and silkiest you could ever stroke. The Bolter just looked smug :-)

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  5. I wish you the very best of luck with your freelancing, etc., and I'm so glad that in part thanks to you I've discovered Angela Thirkell at last.

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    1. Thanks, Karen - I was delighted that you liked her books, and said so!

      Your two dogs are gorgeous too, and enviably elegant, with those lovely black coats.

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  7. Ooh - If you're going to be in Oxford in June - we should organise a get together with some local bloggers perhaps ...

    Sorry to hear about your job - I hope the freelancing fills the gap enough for you, good luck with it. Being in my early 50s, I'm hoping my present job will take me up to retirement (fingers crossed)...

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  8. Ooh - if you're going to be in Oxford, we should try to get together ...

    Sorry to hear about the job - I hope the freelancing fills the gap enough and let's you do what you want to do - good luck.

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    1. Sorry - it froze on me the first time, so I re-did the comment!

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    2. That sounds like a great idea, Annabel! Let's start planning.

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  9. Sorry to hear about your job. Mine may end at the end of May as well. Fingers crossed it doesn't. Thanks for the shout out.

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    1. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you, Thomas. I've had to warn the dogs that the supply of smoked pigs ears may dry up if I can't get enough work...

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  10. Sorry to hear about your job, I hope that the freelancing works for you

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    1. Thanks, Karoline! No doubt I'll be posting updates here from time to time.

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  11. Best of luck from me too. Sometimes, an unwelcome change of job can open up wonderful new opportunities and I do hope that is the case for you.

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  12. Haven't visited many blogs for a while, so trying to catch up now - sorry to hear about your job situation, and best of luck with freelancing.

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    1. Thank you, too, Simon - like you I haven't done much blog visiting recently (or posting). Divesting myself of the job I've been doing for so long is being hideously time-consuming :-(

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  13. Wow, I'm sorry I'm late to this news. I'm sad you are losing a job you enjoyed, though happy you have some options already ahead for you. I really hope you find something closer to home, wouldn't that be a dream too come true :-)

    Fingers crossed for you. Your dogs are beautiful, too. Hugs to you, and I hope the letting go gets easier as the work winds down, and something new is around the corner for you.

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    1. Thanks, Susan - on a purely personal level I was lucky to have a job I enjoyed for so long, and I did get several trips to Canada out of it :-)

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  14. I'm sorry to hear your job has been terminated, it's a very tough time to find employment.

    What are your rates for copy-editing & proof-reading? I sometimes employ people with those skills. Do you have a work-related website I could visit?

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