The Task Ahead Of Me

Back drive

A.P. Maintenance have done a grand job on the back drive. The section in the foreground, abutting the road, is to be concreted next weekend.

Clematis Montana

The clematis Montana is now spreading down the dead trunk.


More rhododendrons are in bloom.

Fly on tree peony

Yellow flowers, like those now appearing on tree peonies, attract insects, such as this iridescent-winged fly.

Today I finished reading ‘To Kill A Mocking Bird’, Harper Lee’s masterpiece from 1960. So many people have responded to yesterday’s post saying that it is one of their favourite books, and even more that it is on their reading list, that I will not give details here. Instead I will describe its impact. Set in 1935, this is a tale told through the eyes of a little girl from the ages of four to eight. It can be seen as an insightful piece of character building based on keen observation and a knowledge of what childhood was like. It also deals in a sensitive way with a profound social issue that was still relevant in 1960. For good measure there is a side-issue of a mystery beautifully solved at the end.

The writing is fluid. It has a gentle pace that picks up fast as the story unfolds. Characterisation and descriptions of small-town life are perfectly credible.

I did not want to put it down, and therefore consumed it in two sessions, one of several hours.

If it’s on your list, read it. If you intend to return to it, do so.

To Kill A Mocking Bird illustration

I probably won’t, because I’ll never manage to open many of my unread books. As I popped my Folio Society edition, that is enhanced by the fine pen and ink sketches of Aafke Brouwer, back onto it’s shelf, I was reminded of the task ahead of me.Bookshelf

The eight volumes on the left are some of my Heron Books set of the works of D.H. Lawrence from 1969, a reasonably produced cheap illustrated edition within the budget of a young family man. I have read most of them, which is more than can be said of the John le Carre quintet. I have read The Night Manager, but don’t remember much about it. ‘Our Game’, hasn’t even been removed from its cling film wrapping. The Aladdin I bought because of Errol le Cain’s illustrations. The next four I haven’t opened. I may have read ‘A Very Long Way From Here’, which I think was aimed at teenagers, although I was much older. Of the rest, only Doris Lessing’s ‘The Fifth Child’, and the two by Andrea Levy have been read. ‘Small Island’ describes the disappointing experience of early Jamaican immigrants to England; and ‘Fruit of the Lemon’, the, equally disillusioning  visit of a descendent to the island from which her family originated. If you like ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’, you will like these. Doris Leslie’s ‘Peridot Flight’ is part of my Auntie Ivy’s collection, given to me when she moved into a care home at the end of her life. Maybe I’ll read that before my days are over. Maybe I won’t.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious sausage casserole (recipe), mashed potato, with crisp carrots, cabbage, and runner beans, followed by profiteroles. I drank Alexis Lichine cute exceptionnelle, Bordeaux superieur 2013, and Jackie imbibed Hoegaarden Belgian beer best before 15.08.16.


  1. You taught me a new word: profiteroles.Half those books I haven’t read either. Perhaps if I had I may have stumbled across ” profiteroles” earlier! Loved the “best before” reference.

  2. There are so many excellent unread books out there and also an awful lot of rubbish – sometimes they get mixed up. I should arrange my books into a line of those waiting to be read – the thought scares me a little…..

  3. I probably won’t read To Kill a Mocking Bird again either, though I have read it several times when I was younger.
    The area of your driveway is bigger than my entire orchard! 🙂
    I’m waiting for sunrise; the sun’s promised to come back today. We’ve had rain for too too long.

  4. I have taken down the author of A Small Island. I have been wanting to read that. Four years ago, I limited my bookshelves, so if something comes in, something has to go out. I don’t keep all books and some of them go out quickly once read. All the unread books are stacked on the shelves in a particular place and get shelved or not (unless electronic) after reading, which happens with some speed. It’s always nice to get a look at someone else’s books, so I can see why you were eyeing that 10 inch piece of my American section. So glad you enjoyed Mockingbird. And that sausage casserole! It’s like pork burgundy!

  5. I think, I have to read the book when my English is better. I also think, I have to read more your articles :-).
    I like the picture with the fly :-). bilere

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