Monthly Archives: January 2006


Change of direction today. Elder son was ill so I’ve been running his greengrocer shop. This is an enjoyable job but hard work; a 10 hour day on my feet with lots of lifting and carrying and no breaks. But the customers are lovely and we swap recipes and talk about the best varieties of potato for mashing or roasting.

So no time to read today, but younger son and I went to the cinema yesterday to see ‘Everything is Illuminated’. Elijah Wood played a young American whose grandparents had been refugees from the Ukraine in search of a woman who had helped his grandfather escape. Very good. Skilfully interspersed humour and darkness, which could easily have jarred against each other.

Anything but cutting edge

Today I’ve been relabelling music on iTunes, as it seems to randomly put the artist or the composer first, so I can’t always find what I want (well, I can but not quickly and I’m impatient). I’m uneasy to notice I’ve got two albums categorised (not by me) as Folk. Said albums are Tom Lehrer and the Singing Postman which do not shame me entirely to admit to (at least, not as much as actual folk music would), though most people’s memories of 60s music are slightly different. When I added the SP CD, it would not afterwards eject itself from the computer. I was extremely embarrassed at the prospect of taking it to the repair shop and asking for help; even in Norfolk few people seem to admit to playing Hev Yew Gotta Loight Bor? and Dew Yer Far Keep a Dickie in public and I feared a polite reception would be followed by hysterical laughter after I slunk out of the shop. Luckily after a couple of hours it whirred loudly and spat out the divine Postie.

Rereading ‘The Big Sleep’. Can’t resist, have to read through it every year or two. Love hard-boiled fiction and Philip Marlowe is too adorable, much nicer personality than Sam Spade. And the description of the younger daughter – ‘she was twenty or so, small and delicately put together, but she looked durable’ – is one of my favourite lines ever. But it’s just as well the film was black and white, not even Humphrey Bogart could have carried off a powder blue suit and navy shirt.

Where’s winter?

The whole of England was threatened with dreadful weather this winter. So when snow fell a few weeks back, I was not too bothered by having no time to build a snowman, I thought there would be plenty of opportunity to come. Our drive has a field on one side and a bank with a hedge the other, so if the snow is blown across the field it hits the barrier and drops, several feet deep and we have to dig our way out, all 100 yards or so. In the meantime we walk the couple of kilometres into town for food. It’s the best thing about living at the edge of a countryish village, you’re not remote enough to be really cut off but, with fields in each direction round the garden, you feel as if you are.

Well, it’s not the end of January yet, so there’s still time I suppose. But weeks of ice and blizzards are increasingly unlikely. Lucky I didn’t get around to hauling the sledge out from the back of the shed. But the year doesn’t feel right if I haven’t made a snowman.

I’m reading ‘The Apologist’ by Jay Rayner. Only up to Chapter 6 but seems promising. Narrator is a restaurant critic, victim of harsh review kills himself by turning on the bread oven and shutting himself in – he goes to apologise to the widow and gets hooked on the headiness of absolution.