Surely reading is one of life's greatest pleasures?
I am steadily working my way through a pile of books. They have been gathering dust and they are Quite Cross as a result. To the extent that I've heard dim mutterings about people who buy books and never read them whenever I walk past the shelf they've all been sitting on these past two or three years. Badgerlands, The Sparrowhawk's Lament, Meadowlands, H Is For Hawk, Inglorious, The Cuckoo, The Green Road Into The Trees, Where Do Camels Come From, as well as Robert Ryan's excellent Dr Watson series. I've distributed them around the house now so there is one to hand whenever I feel like reading and the grumbling has settled to the extent I now fancy I can hear a purr of pleasure in its place.
While reading is a delicious thing to do, offering escape, learning, excitement and many other things, and while all these books are excellent reads, the pleasure derived from looking for, and finding, and brining home, old books is something else.
It started with M giving me the Dean of Rochester's book of roses for valentines. It was a rediscovery of an old pleasure, because when I was a teenager I spent hours and hours in a wonderful old bookshop in the Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells revelling in the ancient tomes that covered acre upon acre of the shelves in the old building. I wonder if it's still there.
As a result, I have old, old copies of works by Disraeli, Shelley, Shakespeare, Wilkie Collins, Chaucer, Keats, Wordsworth and others. I like to look at them, take them down from the shelf and open them and consider the other hands who have likewise held them down through the years and what the readers felt when they settled down to read them.
Yesterday, I added to them. A new old book, the first one in twenty years. It's an 1889 edition of Richard Jefferies The Open Air, a treatise on nature. I have dipped in and it is wonderful. The chap who sold it to me had lovingly wrapped it in bubble wrap and brown paper and thus it arrived, neat and tidy and protected, like a sacred trust passed on. I shall treasure it and take the responsibility seriously.
I am going a tad Jane Austen this week- as well as appreciating old books and spending time in the day reading (with Amy's gorgeous hand-crocheted scarf around my shoulders for extra warmth and comfort), I've been painting. Efforts offered for your perusal above. I'm not a very tidy or painstaking painter: I prefer to sweep colours about. I also like pen and ink drawings and have been doing a few of Dorset's ancient manor houses taken from a book written by a friend of the family. I've also been knitting (a blanket for cold knees when on the sofa) I fear am in danger of soon finding a piano with which to break into song by candlelight after supper and (more worryingly) swooning when my husband comes home from work.
The keen eyed among you will have noticed the Swarovski's. Uber expensive and tiny weeny bins they may be (they fit in the palm of your hand and are as light as a feather), but my goodness they are sharp. I've adopted a slightly devil-may-care attitude this week and the new bins are the result :o)
Have you done anything devil-may-care recently?