Friday, July 31, 2020

All is more or less well, the ribs somewhat subdued. I have even knit a bit – those long, long rows seem even longer now that I’ve lost my place in the MKAL. I have circumnavigated the Gardens most days, thanks to either Helen or C.


Bonnie, thank you thank you for the link to Amazon’s “Suitable Boy” for the Kindle. Why couldn’t I find that for myself? I bought it at once and replaced the physical volume on the shelf and am very much enjoying my re-reading. I don’t see how a six-part television series can come anywhere near doing justice to it. It is a book about India, and independence, and Partition. A husband for Lata is but a fraction of it.


Amit – who sounds to me like an autobiographical character, i.e. a spokesman for Vikram Seth himself – explains at one point how novel-writing is like Indian classical music: “First you take one note and explore it for a while, then another to discover its possibilities, then perhaps you get to the dominant, and pause for a bit, and it’s only gradually that the phrases begin to form and the tabla joins in with the beat…and then the more brilliant improvisations and diversions begin, with the main theme returning from time to time, and finally it all speeds up and the excitement increases to a climax.”


That certainly is something like the program here.




Tamar, thank you for the notion of the wandering team of improvers who go from one website to another. They have infested Mindful Chef, who have been sending me food boxes for the last couple of years. I may have to drop them altogether, if I can figure out how to do it.


Tomorrow I am going to Helen’s house to see her garden and perhaps have my hair washed and cut. (What with the rules changing from day to day, and Scotland being different from England, it's impossible to know what is allowed.) I look more and more like a German philosopher. Helen and Rachel and Alexander (James, a passionate gardener, disdains vegetables) – have all brought in a fine potato harvest which they don’t want. How can you not want freshly-dug potatoes? Steamed! Butter! Salt! Pepper! Maybe I can bring three or four back home with me tomorrow.


  1. Anonymous6:40 PM

    Not sure about internet improvers, but my Mother always said when you saw "improved recipe" on a grocery item it tasted worse!


  2. =Tamar6:59 PM

    Or "New And Improved" on anything.

  3. I always suspect that when you see "new and improved" it stands for "Had to find something for the work experience nippers to do."

  4. Anonymous7:30 PM

    A friend who worked in potato crisp development once told me that the main problem for her was that the "improvers" wanted to change everything (because they can?)but the core buyers liked whatever it was exactly as it had been....

  5. I had a good chuckle imagining your hair as a German philosopher.
    I was desperate for a haircut before the shops opened in New York City. We had been staying at home and avoiding any place that might harbor the virus but I threw caution to the wind and made an appointment as soon as they opened. I had to wait on the street until my appointment time and then get my temperature checked and sign a waiver. The place was almost empty with plastic separating the seats. My stylist said they all had to get tested every two weeks and sanitize everything in between clients. We all wore face masks. I hope your experience is as reassuring.
    I love your description of Vikram Seth's writing. I will re read A Suitable Boy as soon as I finish The Invisible Bridge, by Julie Orringer. It is quite good.

  6. Gardeners not wanting their freshly dug potatoes? Heresy! I have newly picked cauliflower and potatoes and will make aloo gobi tonight to accompany a bit of grilled lamb.

  7. Is it just that they have too many potatoes? If not I agree that it is heresy to not want them. I was so disappointed when some critter destroyed mine earlier this year.

  8. Anonymous10:25 AM

    I love potatoes, but never think of thm as actually being "vegetables". I grew up thinking of as a "starch", which may be even less appetizing than "vegetables". But puts them in a somewhat different category. Does James like cheese? Maybe he would like them with some melted cheddar. It is always interesting to me when people dislike whole categories of food. Chloe

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