Saturday, May 01, 2021


A disappointing day – all my own fault. There was a piece in the Times this morning about re-reading Shirley Jackson’s “We Have Always lived in the Castle”, her last book. I have read it, it’s there on my Kindle, but not recently, so I re-read it myself. The Times writer was too kind – it’s good, all right, but it’s about madness: depressing and unsettling. I feel I’ve thrown the day away.


Rachel rang up, and amidst other fragments of conversation, recommended in glowing terms Clare Chambers’ “Small Pleasures”. Sort of Barbara-Pym-like, Rachel said.


We have now embarked upon the month in which both of her new grandchildren are expected. So far she has four granddaughters. We already know that one of the new ones will be a girl. The other remains a mystery.


C. came. Today is the day when our most-recently-cancelled cruise was scheduled to depart. The weather is grey and chilly (one might even say, cold) and serious rain is forecast for Monday. Our newly-scheduled cruise sets sail four weeks from today – maybe we’ll be lucky, and get the weather too. 2457 steps today – no hope for 3000.


No knitting, again. I sat there feeling cross at myself, and decided to try to cast on some two-colour brioche to see if it would be possible for cruise knitting. But got no further than winding the two skeins of yarn. On the other hand, that's done, and they were quite big skeins.


Comment: Jenny (yesterday). Good question! Sometimes I ask it of myself. But the essential answer is that I love Italian, and love Italy, and my very fond of my tutor, and articles about how to look after oneself in old age often recommend language-learning to stave off dementia. And maybe I will wake up one day miraculously rejuvenated, and Archie and I can go to Syracuse.


  1. If you wake up one day miraculously rejuvenated (as I hope you do!) I'm going to start learning Italian. I loved my one long-ago trip to Italy and found that my Spanish helped a bit, but knowing Italian would make it even more fun. What stops me is not the language but the 15 hours on an airplane. Sigh.

  2. More than enough reasons to study Italian!

  3. =Tamar8:06 PM

    Good for you! Winding the skeins is a big part of getting started.
    Too bad about the book. I'd recommend my favorites but I suspect they are too fluffy for your taste. I mostly read comic YA and fantasy.

  4. Have you read any Jasper Fforde? His books are silly and fun, full of wordplay love of words and books. The more you know of literature, the more references and jokes you'll appreciate.

  5. Anonymous10:24 AM

    As languages go, Italian is relatively easy and so fun when spoken, so I imagine the joy you get makes it worth it. In contrast, an Ethiopian taxi driver once informed me there were more than 400 letters/sounds in their alphabet so he found English rather easy. At least I Think that's what he said. Four hundred is quite a lot. Chloe

  6. Anonymous2:33 PM

    I think those are all great reasons to learn Italian!
    I too would like to start on Italian.
    Are lilacs blooming yet?
    Lisa RR