Sunday 14 August 2011

An Interesting Week

First an apology.  I did mean to get round and visit this past week, but as I expect most of you are aware, we are living in interesting times in the UK at the moment and let me tell you it is truly the curse that Confucius said it was.  After what might be called 'a close encounter of the Hoodie kind' on Tuesday, I'm afraid my mind has been on things other than blogging.  In fact for most of the week there have been three bags by my front door, one full of necessary paperwork, one with a change of clothes and the third ready to throw The Bears into so that we could be out with the essentials at a moment's notice.  (Some of you don't know about The Bears, but those that do will understand - I am going nowhere without them!)  For the moment, things seem to have become more peaceful and I'm hoping that I will be able to unpack, but we all know about chickens and hatching and counting, so maybe I should wait awhile longer.

In the meantime, life has had to go on.  We had a very successful Music Summer School and I now know a lot more about the concerto than I did before.  Donna, I hope you're reading this and very glad that you chose to 'crawl out of the woodwork'.  I don't know of a book, but there is an excellent set of lectures published by The Teaching Company on the concerto.  I can't recommend them too highly.  In fact all their music series are superb.  They can be a bit pricey, but if you wait until they come round on sale you can often get a real bargain.

What has suffered this week has been the reading for the Literature Summer School.  I have managed to read The House on the Strand and do the background work on the historical novel in general (although I still have that to write up) but the other two books remain untouched and I absolutely must get down to them.  I did watch a really fascinating interview with Daphne du Maurier made for the BBC in the very early seventies, just after The House on the Strand  had been published.  Television has definitely changed!  She chain smoked throughout.  That wouldn't stand a chance of getting on screen these days.  What I found most interesting was that the only moment her eyes really sparkled was when she was asked how she felt about being the main breadwinner once her novels started selling.  "I loved it," she said.  "It gave one the power."  Very telling, especially in the light of the particular book we've been reading, which in many respects is about power and the way in which it is abused.  If any of you want to see the programme just put Daphne du Maurier BBC interview into google and it should be the first item that comes up.

Other than that it's been a relatively quiet week.  This afternoon I'm going to a garden party one of my goddaughters is organising to say goodbye to us all before she goes off on her gap year next week.  She's off to a remote area of Guyana to teach science and maths in a newly established school for girls of eleven to fourteen.  I am inordinately proud of her.  The Bears have a special invite and will be going in their Sunday best.  They say you should see a picture of them, so here they are looking as if butter wouldn't melt in their mouths.  Don't you believe it.

Have a good week.


  1. Annie, I'm glad to see this update - and to see the Bears, about whom I clearly don't know enough. :-) I can only imagine how stressful the past week or so has been. I hope you get all unpacked soon and that sanity prevails on all sides in the city as things get sorted. Also, I love that little anecdote about du Maurier.

  2. Hi Annie,

    Sorry to hear that you have had such a stressful week, you really don't want to know my thoughts about it all, I would probably get my site closed down if I committed my thoughts to print!!!

    I love the picture of the bears, although this is the first I have heard of them, the cute one in the middle of the back row, already looks as if he has had a close encounter of his own!!

    Funny you should mention Daphne du Maurier, as my mother-in-law and I were only having a conversation about her yesterday.

    You will probably remember that I am still on a book buying ban until my TBR pile is of reasonable proportions? ... Well, last week, in the charity shop where I volunteer, we had donated a box set of 9 of the greatest du Maurier books, all in immaculate condition and unread. Having dithered about buying them and trying to sneak them into the house, I left them behind. Mother-in-law, on hearing this said "get them and I'll split the cost with you". Hubbies face was a picture, but what could he say? So if they are still there this morning, I shall soon be the proud co-owner of these fantastic books!!!

    Have a great week, you must be so proud of your goddaughter.


  3. Rohan, I've unpacked the clothes, partly because with the Sumer School last week I didn't get any laundry done and I needed them! I'm leaving the documentation a bit longer.

    Yvonne, no one has ever called Pev Bear cute before. The tips of his ears have turned quite pink! Fortunately, the others are far too kind to twit him about it.
    In respect of book buying when you shouldn't what you need is Jolyon Bear (farthest to your right on the front row). He is our financial Bear and nothing is spent in this house without his say so. He gets VERY ratty if I go over budget. I am still hiding my head in shame and avoiding his gaze over a pair of trousers bought in the sales a fortnight ago. The fact that they had been £90 but had been reduced to £34 cuts no ice with him at all. He is the best deterrent to over spending that I know.
    In fact, it is because Gordon Brown didn't listen to Jolyon Bear that we are in the financial mess we are now. When the radio commentators said that Mr Brown's problem stemmed from the fact that he had not surrounded himself with cautious and analytical bears (as opposed to bulls in market terms) JB immediately offered his assistance but his generosity of spirit was ignored and now we are all faced with the consequences.
    I knew I should never have let The Bears loose on the blog again!

  4. Thank you, Annie. I shall watch for the sales with a keen eye :o) Best wishes for your literature summer school - I shall certainly look at the interview you mentioned. I love listening to/reading about/watching writers discuss their work. Happy page-turning.

  5. I'm very glad to hear you are okay! So sorry about the uncertainty and danger; it all sounds scary and difficult to live with. I do hope things stay permanently calm and you can fully unpack.

  6. Donna, the Teaching Company changes their sales list at the beginning of each month. Reading like mad at the moment. Why do I leave things to the last moment?

    Thanks Dorothy, I hadn't realised what it felt like to be truly frightened before. It is not pleasant.

  7. I didn't know about the bears! :)

    I'm glad all is OK with you. Even we had the police worried about rioting in the nearest town... and I live in Mid Wales! Thankfully, nothing came of it up here.

  8. Glad to hear you are well. It has been scary listening to the news reports and, no doubt, even scarier on the ground. I hope you get to unpack everything soon. The bears are very cute. the middle one in the back row looks as if it was taken by surprise :)

  9. Annie, I'm happy to hear things have calmed across the pond. We were very shocked and saddened. I bought "The House On The Strand" at a book sale and have been meaning to get to it, and now I surely will. I love everything I've read by Daphne du Maurier - a favorite author since I was a teen. (Although back then my sister had to correct my pronunciation of her name. I had been calling her "Daw-pheen". She corrected me in time to save me great embarrassment.)

  10. Glad to hear from you ... and glad in a way that the latest delay was not your health related. It sounded horrendous from our quiet downunder Aussie perspective. Then again after the people's protest truck convoy hits town today I may have a different viewpoint. They are promising a peaceful protest but we'll see.

    Anyhow, enjoy the rest of your summer.

  11. Oh dear, are you OK Annie?

  12. Hi Annie, I've been enjoying this site so thanks for all the interesting articles. I'm hoping that you are well and only busy right now. Hope the Summer School didn't take it out of you too much. Looking forward to your next update. Celia

  13. Ditto what Celia said ... missing your voice in cyberspace.

  14. Thank you both. I am having major problems with my eyes and can't used the computer more than a little. I'm seeing the consultant in a fortnight and hope things might then improve.


  15. All the best Annie, we'll be thinking of you

  16. Oh thanks for letting us know Annie ... I do hope you are able to resolve it. Eyes are important AND we miss you.

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