Sunday, January 17, 2021


2735 steps so far today – not too bad. Only one circuit of the garden, but a certain amount of pottering around in the kitchen. And I’ve reached round 47 (of 50) of the borders of Gudrun’s hap. If I can do a bit more this evening, I might be able to finish the borders tomorrow. I’ve been doing better at post-blog evening knitting since embarking on my Dry January.


A propos of which:  (a) the man who delivered my Tesco order today expressed polite surprise that it contained no cider. (Oh, dear!) And (b) my sister and her husband are doing Dry January too, but have promised themselves a glass of champagne late on Wednesday afternoon, if all has gone well. Seems reasonable. We’re going to meet by Zoom tomorrow.


Scottish doctors have complained collectively about patchy and unreliable supplies of vaccine. They can’t assign appointments and send out letters if they don’t know whether they’ll have the stuff.




Despite the activities chronicled above, I spent much of today huddled over my iPad, and have finished the re-read of “Barchester Towers”. I enjoyed the passage you mention, Shandy, where ivy reappears – not so much ivy, indeed, as plants that rely on each other. Tropeolum speciosum climbing through rhododendrons, for instance, although Trollope doesn’t mention that one.


I’m not going to be able to say anything about Madeline Stanhope, I’m afraid, because I simply don’t believe in her. Off hand, I don’t think there’s another character anywhere in Trollope of whom that’s true. We never see her off-stage, talking to her family. I wouldn’t want to have missed her appearance at Mrs Proudie’s reception, early on. But even that doesn’t really help.


So I’m about to embark on Candia McWilliam’s “What to Look For in Winter”, as mentioned a couple of days ago. Sure enough, there it was in my Kindle archive.


  1. Once Trollope has decided on Madeline as a basilisk, all the men, including Arabin seem powerless to resist her. We never see her with her child until the very end and then we get a passage of old fashioned racism directed at the eight year old. However, Eleanor is constantly cooing over her infant, so it must be a deliberate ploy to make Madeline seem less than human - a basilisk in fact.

  2. All right, after all the back and forth about Trollope and his characters, I will embark upon rereading The Way We Live Now..