Sunday, 8 April 2012


Lacking only an Easter egg...

It's five weeks since I last posted anything here, which wasn't my intention at all. But conferences, deadlines and year-ends simply took over, and no matter how much I wanted to be thinking about books, I could concentrate on little except comfort reading. Wolf Solent had to be abandoned, along with a question for the Classics Challenge which just seemed tailor-made when I saw it and to which I was dying to apply myself. Of course, it's month four of the challenge and I'm only on my second book, but I knew it might take me a while as it's slow reading.

My current reading links to my sojourn last week in Cambridge - I'm still dabbling my toes in the Fens, with Sybil Marshall's A Nest of Magpies, which is wonderfully absorbing, and then, to slow me down a little in my galloping consumption of both books, L.M. Boston's An Enemy at Green Knowe. We (second son and I) have now driven past the turn-off to Hemingford Grey, home of Lucy Boston, on six occasions, with no time for a detour, and I've had to content myself with looking at pictures on their website and Facebook (but to my delight, when I looked at the picture in this link, I immediately recognised the Chinese lantern from the book). And Sybil Marshall studied in the very pleasant surroundings of New Hall, Cambridge, not long after it was built, and where I've been admiring a particularly splendid Amelanchier lamarckii, a much better specimen than the one I came home to - although the blackbirds and sparrows seem to find the flowers on mine sufficiently delectable to be busily stripping it of them. I like reading related books, and would really rather not finish either, although I have a considerable pile of things waiting for me, including several new acquisitions, including Jude Morgan's The Secret Life of William Shakespeare, which I must read and review this week. Time will also have to be made to do lots of blog visiting, because I've really missed people.

Must go, got a simnel cake to rescue from the oven! I know it's rather late, but elder son isn't coming home until next weekend, when we're going to see the tremendous Spiers and Boden.


  1. Nice to see your update. Sorry you've been so horrendously busy but hope you've had a good Easter.

  2. Ditto - glad to see you back! I know just what you mean when you say that busy days just take over. Happens far too often! Enjoy the simmel cake and the music when you get to it :)

  3. Yes, very good to see you are back in blogland!
    I loved the Green Knowe books and I think I want to reread them (don't have them but I am sure I'll find them for my Kindle), and how I'd like to see where the author lived! Thank you for reminding me of her wonderful stories.
    And Happy Easter to you and your family!

  4. Hemingford Greys is on my list of 'one day' visits, mostly because of Green Knowe but also because Jill Paton Walsh says she used the fate of the house as a model for what happens to Dukes Denver in her latest Peter Wimsey book!

    And 'Divagations' - doesn't that immediately tell you that the speaker/writer is an Angela Thirkell fan? Does to me, anyway!

  5. Back when our son turned 16, we went to a city for a few days and stayed in a hotel with a library. Of course, I didn't have any chance to read, as you don't when you are on a short vacation, but I did pick up that book by Sybil Marshall and eyed it longingly. I honestly haven't thought of it until your mention. I didn't remember the name, but when I read it here, the fond feeling returned. I must try and find a copy. Thank you.

  6. Thank you all so much for your lovely welcome back! I can't stop smiling.

    Cath, thank you yes, nice quiet Easter reading.

    Melwyk, I've bought dear little eggs to decorate the cake, and I found the most wonderful marzipan, absolutely sumptuous.

    Librarian, I hope you can find Green Knowe on kindle - not here in the UK, sadly.

    Nicola, dare I hope that your comment implies a new Peter Wimsey? That would be a real pleasure! Divagations - well, I can't compete with Mrs Morland or Mrs Thirkell, but it does reflect my thought process nonetheless, so I've taken the liberty of borrowing it.

    Nan, I enjoyed the Sybil Marshall book very much (and have the two sequels to look forward to). I do think you would like it too. Although it doesn't pretend that nothing unpleasant can ever happen, it's very gentle and thoughtful.

  7. It sounds like you have been busy, and I've missed you here! I'm hoping you will put your post up shortly for OUaT6 :-) so I can see what you want to read!

    I hope you had a lovely Easter, and not too cold again there. are getting around these days! lol I"d love to see it and Oxford one day.
    I hope you get back to some reading too.

  8. In the foreword to 'The Attenbury Emeralds' Jill Paton Walsh (the latest PW I've heard of) mentions Hemingford Grey and connects it with Bredon Hall.
    I'm also very prone to divagating!

  9. Susan, this weekend, for definite! Easter was spent recovering so it didn't matter that it wasn't very warm :-)

    Nicola, I've got to read it, I like all Jill Paton Walsh's work very much, and I thought her handling of Thrones and Dominations (not quite sure of the title) was excellent.

  10. I just ordered the first two Sybil Marshall's from abebooks. Thanks again for the reminder.

  11. Oh, Sybil Marshall's books are lovely, and I have a biography of Lucy Boston, too ... seldom are these writers mentioned on blogs, lovely for them to be talked about again!
    Margaret P

  12. Galant, I love talking about authors who don't get mentioned often - there will be more to come on both on them.