Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Not a bad day. Ferrante, Duolingo, 10 stitches added to the Dathan hap, an outing with Greek Helen to Waitrose. What does that leave undone?

We had elaborate roadworks hereabout recently. Helen secured for me an excellent parking place. I didn’t dare move the car while it was all going on, for fear of not being able to park when I got back. And I haven’t moved it since. Maybe I should give the car up, when the expensive times of year come rolling back? It has to be taxed, of course; and the annual fee for parking in Drummond Place is not inconsiderable; and it would need to pass its MOT test which is never entirely cheap.

But I did enjoy being taken to Waitrose. If Helen would go on doing that from time to time...


Kirsten: The Warden is the first of the Barchester novels. I skipped it, in my recent re-reading. After “Barchester Towers” the order of the others doesn’t matter. Old friends pop in and out. Except that the last two – “The Small House at Allington” and “The Last Chronicle of Barset” really need to be read consecutively. Well, you might as well read them all consecutively: Barchester Towers, Doctor Thorne, Framley Parsonage, then the final two just mentioned. You’re in for a treat.

Chloe: I heard a clip from the Queen’s “annus horribilis” speech while I was cooking lunch that day, and was surprised that she said “horr-ih-bilis”. I (with my classics degree) would have gone for “horr-ee-bilis” as many do to this day. But I looked it up on the spot, and – not surprisingly – HM was right. That “i” is short. “horr-ih-bilis”.

Tamar: I’m sure you’re right that anniversaries in general are lowering. Darkness doesn’t help. As for Prince Andrew, I don’t think he does much waving and ribbon-cutting. Princess Anne is your man for that. The press continues extremely hostile. I fear that that interview will have done him – and perhaps the whole royal family – a lot of damage.

Shandy and Jenny: (comments, Sunday) Degrees of separation are interesting indeed. Helen was at Somerville -- when, I couldn't tell you. When in Palermo in January, '18, Archie and I did a day of "Cooking with the Duchess". I got to sit next to the Duke at lunch -- Giuseppe di Lampedusa's adopted son. (I'm afraid I was much more interested in him than in cookery.) That puts me two degrees? -- would you say -- from the author, and the same number from Burt Lancaster because of the Gattopardo movie.


  1. Perhaps you could do a calculation of Uber or Taxi fares for the spots you want to go vs. the taxes, parking, etc. When my father had to give up driving because of macular degeneration he was quite despondent until he saw how nice it was to be picked up and dropped off with never a worry about a parking spot.
    I do think anniversaries can be lowering, even when we are hardly aware of them. I woke up in a very low mood several mornings this past week, unsure why, when I realized it was the anniversary of my mother's death. Those types of anniversaries in November never help, do they?

  2. and those of us with birthdays in mid november... ugh and its a month before christmas and a week usually before thanksgiving - always lost in the shuffle. and this year it was not observed as i moved on Wednesday last week and the very first day in new house fell from a hole in the yard (landlord had not filled in) and hit my head on the concrete driveway. not an auspicious start.

  3. A belated thank you for the recommendation of Barchester Towers. I was grinning with the first page - Omicron Pie, indeed:)!

  4. Anonymous2:42 AM

    Whoops, I had two years of Latin and it took till the end of the day (while watching the first episode of The Crown in fact) for it to pop into my head that you were gently correcting, me Jean that it is annus, not annis. I read your blog very early in the morning and my only excuse is brain fog. Thanks for the correction, Jean. Chloe