Saturday, March 15, 2008

Random ramblings

I recall from 30 years ago that pregnancy and giving birth temporarily turn the brain to mush but I hadn't realised that becoming a grandmother would have the same effect! I've been trying to catch up on the national and world news that I've been too preoccupied to follow but all thoughts seem to lead to babies and Baby Amelia in particular. Wasn't there a budget this week and did the world keep on turning?

I have decided that the only way to get the grey cells working again is to think aloud and perhaps clear my head of all the distractions it is still harbouring. I can't promise that it won't all be babyish.

Rambling#1 Mother/daughter days.
My poor girl had a pretty awful pregnancy with sickness right up to the 37th week, plus SIJ dysfunction for many months. However, all of these miseries vanished in the two weeks before the baby's arrival and she was positively blooming when I went to keep her company in the run-up
to the big day. We had a week of long talks, longish walks, cooking, shopping and we even fitted in a trip to the hairdresser. We haven't had such a special time together for several years.
When we arrived home from our shopping spree in the West End, I discovered this unusual memento of the day from a certain store frequented by our MPs. I really don't know how it ended up
in my bag and hope that accidentally making off with a shelf tag doesn't count as shoplifting! I'm sure all the free publicity that store has had recently will more than offset the cost of replacing this little item.

Rambling#2 Time on my hands
Being away from my PC left me with lots of time to read. I got through two books and almost finished a third, a stark reminder of how long I usually spend on reading and writing blog posts. Oh but I did miss all of you! And anyway (in justification) the books I read were all recommendations from my top blog spots. My first book was Gilead by Marilynne Robinson and it produced the same profound response in me that D describes in her excellent review. It is certainly a book that I'll be returning to again and again.

My second book was inspired by J's beautiful posts about sea glass. I happened upon a copy of Anita Shreve's Sea Glass in a charity shop the day before I left for London and packed it in preference to my toothbrush (only joking!). I love Anita Shreve's deceptively simple writing style; her characters are so vividly drawn that I feel their fears, uncertainties, joy and pain. As I got towards the end of the book, I kept putting off turning the pages in the same way that I used to put off packing my children's bags when they were going back to boarding school. It probably wasn't the best choice of book for such an emotionally charged week but I am so glad that I have read it and I'll never look at a piece of sea glass in the same way again.

My third book, not yet finished because I am back in front of the PC, is The Lambs of London by Peter Ackroyd. I have read and been disturbed by several of his books such as Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem, The House of Doctor Dee and Hawksmoor, and I have admired and enjoyed several of his biographies. I haven't yet decided about this book which is not a true biography of the Lamb siblings and yet cannot be read as pure fiction. I've been thinking about writing a post on 'faction', derivatives and adaptations and this might well feature in it.

I realise that I have not mentioned babies for several paragraphs. Perhaps I'm cured? I am just off to share our news with half the village now, so perhaps not.


  1. Lovely ramblings, M. Glad you enjoyed Sea Glass so much. And you have beaten me to it with the Lambs of London (it went on my TBR pile earlier this year after I'd been musing about Mary Lamb and her extraordinary life, but it hasn't reached anywhere near the top yet!). Very much look forward to hearing what you thought of it. Pregnancy and the immediate post-natal period are pretty solid mitigating factors in getting off a charge of shoplifting, I believe (I narrowly escaped testing this theory when I pushed a pram distractedly right out of M&S two weeks after I'd had #1, completely forgetting that I'd laid a couple of romper-suits across the cover - luckily I came to my senses just in time and dashed purposefully back in again and paid for them - it was amazing that no alarm bells went off!). I'm not sure that the same applies to immediate pre- and post-grandmotherhood, however!

    We all missed you heaps, M - it's good to have you back and I'm sure none of us will mind a bit if babies feature in any or indeed ALL posts henceforth!

  2. Thank you, J. It is good to be back although I do have the next visit planned!
    You don't think they'll let me off stealing the precious price tag, then? I'll opt for a custodial sentence so that I can catch up on a bit more reading.

  3. Cured! Of what? Being the happiest person in the world. I don't think so.

  4. It doesn't wear off then, e?

    It's only the fixed grin and boring everyone to bits that I'm worried about. I'll keep the rest.

  5. Ignore the uninitiated and grin and brag to your heart's content.

  6. I think the JL ticket just shows that it's possible to acquire stuff from the MPs' favourite store and that no-one will notice - until a journalist in pursuit of a story ...

    Never mind M; if they clap you in irons in the Tower, we'll send food parcels. Or books.

    (As a caller to Any Answers said yesterday - if you're on benefits it's assumed that Argos is good enough for the basic essentials required to furnish a home. But Argos wouldn't quite cut the mustard for all those hardworking, dedicated representatives of the people, would it?)

    Glad you enjoyed both books; we must discuss. I am reliably assured that it is possible to be a smitten grandma and still have time to read.

  7. Hi D, I've got a book recommendation for you, one I had forgotten about but I'm sure you will enjoy: Thomas Merton's 'The Way of Chuang Tzu'. It's a beautiful read.

  8. Welcome back! You have been missed. (And that baby is beautiful so why wouldn't your brain turn to mush? LOL)

  9. What an excellent post! Gilead is one of the best books I've ever read, so I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'll be interested in your thoughts on The Lambs of London, as it's one I'd like to read. And I think you're perfectly right to be a smitten grandmother!! I look forward to hearing about the adventures of Amelia Catherine.

  10. Thank you, Logophile. I have some new pictures of Amelia but I'm trying to practise a little self-restraint, at least for a day or two!
    I'm afraid 'The Lalmbs of London' isn't holding my attention in the way that 'Gilead' and 'Sea Glass' did and I keep wandering off into other books. I'll try to get through it in the next day or so and I'll say a few words about it.


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