I’m enjoying a lazy time down in Somerset, now that work has finished for Christmas, and was supposed to be getting down to lots of reading. But somehow I am a bit bored with everything I’m reading, so have reverted to an old reliable (which just happens to fill in one of the few gaps in my Century of Books from the first half of the year – 1932): The Provincial Lady Goes Further. It is my favourite of the Provincial Lady series (as well as being the first one I read), and I laugh aloud to myself despite having read it about a dozen times… particularly, for some reason, at this paragraph:
Door flies open and Pamela Pringle, of whom I have now given up all hope, rushes in, kisses everybody, falls over little dog – which has mysteriously appeared out of the blue and vanishes again after being fallen over – and says Oh do we all know on another, and isn’t she a frightfully bad hostess but she simply could not get away from Amédé, who really is a Pet. (Just as I have decided that Amédé is another little dog, it turns out that he is a Hairdresser.)
Yesterday some of my extended family came over to go to a football match. Well, obviously I didn’t go (I mean, come on) and Our Vicar’s Wife also didn’t fancy it, so we took a trip to see the new Paddington film instead. There were quite a few other mother-and-child(ren) groups there, but I think we were conclusively the oldest. And it was good fun! A little different from the books, but Sally Hawkins and Hugh Bonneville are dependably great, and CGI Paddington was a wonder.
We got to Yeovil very early, so we did a bit of last-min Christmas shopping, and (since we were there) popped into Oxfam to have a look at the books. And – lo and behold – I managed to snare a copy of E. Nesbit’s The Lark! I went on an online hunt for it after reading Scott’s enthusiastic review, because I am always drawn to any novel with spinsters or boarding houses, and this one has both, but the only available copies were prohibitively expensive. Obviously buying books online is great, and it would be a foolish lie to claim I don’t do it, but there’s nothing quite like a serendipitous find in person, is there? (I’ve borrowed the photo from Scott’s blog, as it’s the same edition I bought and I can’t remember where my camera is…)
Also, have you seen that Mystery in White by J. Jefferson Farjeon has become a Christmas bestseller? It’s a British Library Crime Classics reprint of a 1930s murder mystery, and it sounds glorious (Harriet reviewed it for Shiny New Books, fyi). I haven’t actually read any of the BL reprints yet, but it’s exciting that they’re doing so well – and I think the cover designer has to be thanked in a large part (as well, of course, as the people selecting the books).
Christmas is always a time when I watch a lot more TV than usual. Partly because my parents tend to have it on in the evening, partly because of Christmas specials and the like, and perhaps mostly because it’s the only time I really see a TV guide. I’m excited about The Day We Sang (by Victoria Wood, with Imelda Staunton – what a wonderful combination!) and Esio Trot (Roald Dahl; Judi Dench!) not to mention the Christmas special (and final) of delightfully-silly-but-touching Miranda. And let’s not forget the final episode of Radio 4 comedy Cabin Pressure, that my friend Malie successfully got me into this year.
Speaking of Imelda, I’m going to go and see her in Gypsy next April, which is exciting. My other booked tickets for theatre next year include the musical Once and the play Peter Pan Goes Wrong, a Christmas version of the incredibly funny The Play That Goes Wrong, which I saw in Malvern and has now transferred to London.