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Friday, 9 November 2018

A Lull

Lull, quiescence, interlude, rest, respite, becalmed, breather, breathing space, repose, hush, pause.

Time to Smell the Roses

It has been a long time since I wrote my blog. Too long! I never intended to stop but life took over and sometimes something has to give. Sometimes it is good to pause.

While the blog has been on hold much has happened. We have moved from the city to the country where I have always felt that I belonged. We are creating a new garden which is very exciting and are able to take lovely, restorative walks from outside our front door. Our daughter has got married and one of our sons has moved abroad. We lost our lovely cat Lily aged 17, (I still can't bear to delete her photograph from this blog), but now have the joy of Maisie, who this time last year was a stray and living in a cardboard box.

In the midst of what has, at times, felt like an overwhelm, I have tried to create pockets of peace within the busyness. Which brings me to one of my great loves – books!

I think it was Philip Pullman who said “We need books, time and silence.” Wise words indeed.

Once a month, a green and white van stops right outside our cottage. It is packed full of treasure.

That treasure is, of course, books. There is something calming about a space filled with books, whether a library in any form or a bookshop. Inside that van the books are an extra insulation against the outside world, their spines straight and reassuring, their covers often works of art in themselves. And then there is the feel of the paper as you turn the page, the faintest scent of ink and the plethora of words – the promise of stories waiting to be discovered. I emerge from that van, my pile of books clutched close, more peaceful, more hopeful than when I had entered.

Alongside a cup of tea and a quiet space, a good book gives us permission to pause – maybe only for ten or twenty minutes – but that can be enough to restore us a little. This month I have been reading the wonderful Helen Dunmore’s House of Orphans. It is set in Finland at the turn of the last century and features Eeva whose life is caught up in the Russification of her country.

Here is a taste of the way language is used so beautifully to tell this story:-

She’d never liked this wild part of their grounds, but it was what he loved best. The boggy patches down by the stream, the smell of water peppermint, the little yellow irises that flowered there in late spring, the wild mallow and stray forget-me-nots and croaking frogs with their slippery billows of spawn. He would bend down and peer at the threads of life wriggling in the spawn, as tadpoles began to develop.

A few years ago I read In Praise of Slow by Carl Honore. House of Orphans is a book to be savoured and read slowly. Read too quickly and I will miss its nuances, its enriching qualities and those will inevitably ripple outwards into other areas of my life.

So, later on, when the darkness is encroaching and the fire is crackling in the grate, my grandmother’s bracket clock ticking steadily in the background, I shall make myself a cup of tea, take the time to pause and read a paragraph or two - slowly!

Thank-you so much for sparing your valuable time to visit my blog.

1 comment:

  1. I have just found your blog as a result of a referral from Jericho Writers. Everything you say about books and how we interact with them and the pleasure they bring, holds true. I think, no matter how good technology gets, it will never match the printed word on paper. We are so sorry for your loss, but welcoming Maisie to your fold must be so comforting and also like starting a whole new adventure, too.