Wednesday, July 28, 2021


Summer weather continues. We seem to have had some rain last night, totally unnoticed by me but I am sure appreciated by the plants on my doorstep.


Helen’s husband David is going back to Greece tomorrow night with two of his sons. They are back from Kirkmichael, and came together to walk around the garden with me this morning. The bench is still there.


That’s absolutely all I have to say. Tamar, you ask if I ever read fantasy. Not on the whole. Lewis Carroll of course, My husband and I read aloud at bedtime – I read to him; I was incapable of staying awake if I was the listener, and sometimes indeed managed to fall asleep while reading. This usually just resulted in my reading nonsense and my husband would thump me and I would pull myself together and read on. But once I woke in the middle of the night to find the light on and my spectacles on my nose and the book in my hand.


In the course of all this – and we got through a good deal, in nearly 60 years – we read the first of the Harry Potter books. I should say before proceeding that I am a t’riffic JK Rowling fan. I thoroughly approve of her stance on gender politics. I am devoted to Cameron Strike. But I was disappointed by Harry Potter. I was expecting a whole new fantasy world, like the Alice books or even Winnie the Pooh. What happens is more an ordinary (extremely skilful and well-told) school story with magic stuck on.


Archie reads fantasy and tells me all about it.



  1. Fantasy - I wonder what you would make of something like Diana Wynne Jones's "The Year of the Griffin"? (Just a thought should you - horrendous thought - ever run out of other reading matter.)

    1. I love Diana Wynn Jones!! The Dark Lord of Derkholm is delightful. Also Deep Secret. Actually all of them.

  2. =Tamar4:51 PM

    What might make Diana Wynne Jones's wonderful books more intriguing to Jean is that DWJ built some very erudite allusions into most of them, things I would never have caught if not told about them. Yet they are also generally enjoyable. I spent several months working out some of the sneaky/clever details in Dark Lord of Derkholm. She wrote them to be interesting to herself (Oxford grad) as well as to her sons.

  3. Suzette Haden Elgin wrote fantasy, but was a linguist and poet besides. Wikipedia has some interesting facts about her accomplishments. She used her knowledge of linguistics when she wrote fantasy like The Ozark Trilogy, and non-fiction such as her "Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense" series. These were written in the 1970s and 1980s.
    I've read some DWJ but couldn't say how they compare. Let's assume I missed ALL the erudite references! but hers is a name I remember, so clearly I enjoyed the novels.

  4. HI Jean, you obviously do not know any trans people. It saddens me that you follow That Rowling persons ideas without being knowledgeable in the subject. My life partner is a trans woman who knew she was in the wrong, male, body at a very early age. This is the same idea as being gay. Not a choice and by being one means your life is generally much harder. Nothing a person would choose for fun or just to be contrary. The "which Bathroom to use issue" is real and is a problem. Please think a little bit more about this. Up until now I had thought you were quite well educated and forward thinking. Sincerely, Jenni from Seattle