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Showing posts from September, 2019

On the road . . .

Travelodge - Retford Markham Moor

Off on my travels for a day or two, this time to visit the Jorvik Vikin Centre in York which I did yesterday. I’ve always wanted to. Interesting experience, and the whatever you call them - animatronic’ figures were novel, semi-lifelike humans and animals moving – slightly, doing various things and ‘talking to each’ other – sitting outside reproductions of what their houses must have looked like were useful to covey they kind of life they will have led. Can’t say I learned much, but that wasn’t the point. If I want to learn shite like that, I’ll simply renew my subscription to Look And Learn (not to be mocked - bet I know more about how tyres are made - from the collection of sap from the rubber tree to fitting them to your Ford Consul! - than you do, so take your mockery . . .

It’s also good to get up and about. I was on the point of using the phrase ‘on the road’ but it does sound a little portentous, implying I’ve got a stash of dexies in the glove …

Rose Tremain's The Colour: less than the sum of its - many - parts

I’ve just finished reading a novel which I didn’t much enjoy, but which I forced myself to finish because I wanted to leave a review of it on GoodReads. I haven’t posted here for while, so just to keep the pot simmering, here it is. OK, that might be cheating but . . .

Whether you intend to read Rose Tremain’s 2003 novel The Colour and have come here searching the views of others, or whether you have, like me, logged on to submit your own rating and review, you will be struck that far more readers who have finished reading the novel — I shall be unkind and describe that as ‘ploughed their way through the novel’ — thought it very good and thoroughly enjoyed it.

It was also a hit with many of the critics: the blurb on the back of my paperback version quotes Britain’s Daily Telegraph as describing Ms Tremain as ‘one of the finest writers in English’, and the Britain’s Independent gushes ‘a fabulous work, bravely imaginative, deeply moving, surprising, invigorating and satisfying’.

The New Y…

You do realise, of course, that reading this blog marks you out as — well, how do I put this without being too effusive? — a little more refined, a cut above the rabble and someone whose intellect and lively mind one can only admire. Elite? Yes, and then some

Over the years like many, many people the world over, I had bought ‘the Sunday papers’. Being — apparently — less intellectually and politically developed than my peers I suspect I regarded doing so as an aspect of being grown-up. It’s what ‘grown-ups’ around me did. Or perhaps I’m being too hard on myself. Anyway until I was in my mid-30s I spent several hours reading them like every other good middle-class chap.

Then one Sunday lunchtime sitting in a pub in Birmingham with my girlfriend, a pint of cider, The Sunday Times and The Observer the penny dropped. I suppose I might even call it ‘an epiphany’ if that didn’t sound too daft and if it had a more religious dimension to it, but it didn’t. It was quite straightforward in fact. I had just finished
reading some ‘important’ news story or other, written at length and taking up the best part of two broadsheet pages, when it occurred to me that I had not learnt a single new fact. Not one. Everything I had read I was already familiar with…