This has not been a good week. I think I can give you an idea of how bad it’s been when I tell you that, in the course of cleaning the flat today, I ate 7 snowballs. I don’t quite know why, and I was also very aware that I shouldn’t be doing it, but it didn’t stop me. I went to the Spar last night for milk and came out with a big bar of Orange Aero, a Halloween Screme Egg (reduced) and some spooky jaffa cake bars (also reduced). The jaffa cake bars were not remotely spooky, but the Screme Egg was green inside, if this helps you decide whether to have one next year or not.
I am turning over a new leaf as of tomorrow, as I would like to (as always) lose a stone by Christmas, or at least December 19th, our Christmas do which has taken rather an epic time to organise due to internal politics. If the lion and the lamb lay down together at Christmas (not in the Biblical sense, I imagine, apart from that obviously it was Biblical, it being in the Bible and all) then I think people should be able to… but I’ve never had to eat opposite anyone who put me off my food. Perhaps I ought to start, as it might help me lose weight.
My Titanic Lives book really took off and it’s another book I’m glad I read because it debunked a lot of the myths (the third class being locked downstairs, women and children ONLY – on one side of the ship anyway) though I found it curious that it didn’t mention the band playing until the epilogue, and nor does it mention Murdoch’s infamous shooting and subsequent suicide. It would have been nice to mention the latter if only to clear Murdoch’s name. I also felt it was very fair to Ismay, who I have always felt rather sorry for. The sinking of Titanic is romanticised as a huge tragedy but this book (which I hugely recommend) brings to life not only the society of 1912, the people on the ship and Titanic herself, but the true horror of the event. It was heartbreaking reading, but I do feel it’s important reading because that horror is sometimes forgotten in the romance of it. A university Darrn Sarrf had a ‘Titanic ball’ a while back and it was considered rather poor taste – I quite agree.
I am now on Nine Times in Ten, a book of rather odd but enjoyable stories by John Foster who I have not come across before. The blurb says that he draws on the work of Ernest Hemingway and Gabriel Garcia Marquez amongst others, and each story is slightly different. It’s a quirky little volume which I liked, and after Titanic Lives it was like washing down a tincture with a glass of fresh water. I read the book in two sittings, interrupted only by the necessities of housework. I think there’s a real talent to telling a good short story, and John Foster has it. Woody’s Mabs is told beautifully in the words of a young boy who makes a grisly discovery, while Keeping Up Appearances, charting the attempts of a man to get his inheritance, is both amusing and disturbing. Not all of them work – Obsession felt like it had been written in a hurry and The Wedding was a bit nondescript – but on the whole it’s a very readable collection, and I would like to read more by this author.
I’ve not got much else to report.
- I fell in love with a coat, had it delivered, and it was perfect apart from too short in the arms, so now I feel like Inspector Gadget.
- I drove to Bristol last week and I got followed all the way down the motorway by a car with only one working headlight. It was like being followed by General Woundwort from Watership Down.
- I have done 78% of my Christmas shopping but none of my Christmas-card writing. I have 81 on my list. I need to fall out with someone.
- Last night I saw someone I went to school with 24 years ago and blimey he has grown up (but one would hope so in 24 years). I fear that I blushed.
- My gerbil Eric has got tumours again. The vet gave me a free appointment to have a look at him, and a hug when I admitted that a second operation was not an option for the little fellow.
- I dreamt about going to a very old castle, and doing something simply unspeakable in the loo.
- A friend was telling me about his new girlfriend and saying how “nobody has a bad word to say about her”. This has set me thinking about all the bad words that one could say about me. I have come up with 3 so far. They’re not horrifically awful, but they’re not compliments. I am up too late worrying about this, so tomorrow there will be four: “grumpy”.