Track The Butterfly


We took a mid-morning break in the patio where I admired the plantings, and Jackie watered a few she spotted looking a little thirsty. For a while I watched what I think was a Meadow Brown butterfly flitting from cosmos to bidens. This creature, and a bee that took its place on the cosmos when it wandered off, may be tracked by accessing the gallery as above.

Elsewhere, a smaller bee weighed down the tiny lobelias it preferred, while one sustained by the white everlasting sweet pea looked a little inebriated.

It was not until page 218 that I found a train ticket from London to Haddenham dated 8th March 2008 in my copy of David Lodge’s ‘Deaf Sentence’. Regular readers will realise that this signifies I have read the book before. I have absolutely no recollection of doing so. I finished it for the second time this afternoon. Will I remember it in another ten years? I rather doubt it.

Lodge has written much fiction, literary criticism, and a number of essays on the art of writing. He is skilled and this novel is well crafted. The blurb on the inside of the jacket tells us that ‘Deaf Sentence’ is ‘funny and moving by turns, being a brilliant account of one man’s effort to come to terms with deafness and death, ageing and mortality, the comedy and tragedy of human life’.

Many contemporary issues are introduced into the melting pot. There are what feels like obligatory sexual passages. The writing appears effortless; even slick. Tragic the story is. I did not find it funny, but then, I am not a fan of sick humour. It seems at times as if the reader is being lectured on, for example, the effects of hearing loss; vocabulary; and linguistics. Apart from some rather boring sections the book does hold the attention. Others may like it enough to retain memories of it.




  1. Nice review. I should try my hand at reviewing. I tend to like historical novels of the US. Right now, I am reading (please don’t take offense) Killing England, a historical novel about the American Revolution and how colonial America broke away from Great Britain in its struggle for independence. The list of characters on both sides of the Atlantic is fascinating. George III was a rather prolific producer of children, wasn’t he. History is always interesting and ours here in America is so new compared to Europe. By the way, nice flowers, as always.

  2. Yay. I get to comment first! Writing a humorous passage while in a serious situation is very difficult. I agree; readers seldom find it funny. But writers do it anyway, hoping it would enhance some flavor to the story. By the way, the flowers are beautiful, indeed. Thank you.

      1. Early drafts of my book were very light-hearted but successive edits removed many of the jokes and the publishers killed off any remaining, saying the material was too serious to be conveyed in that manner. Even though they realised humour gets one through the tough times they also realised it comes across differently on the page, so that you sometimes lose your reader.

        1. Perhaps your editors were right. I didn’t think jokes about mis-hearing fitted with the serious isolation of deafness. Mind you, when the American President mis-speaks, is that a spin-doctor’s joke?

  3. You two do have an amazing amount of wonderful hanging baskets, Derrick! Absolutely gorgeous flowers everywhere. 🙂

  4. Love the colours, Derrick. And what is it with butterflies? There were 6 cabbage whites dancing round one another in our little patch, Britain Acres, the other day; it was wonderful! I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read of David Lodge’s – though I’ve not read ‘Deaf Sentence’. ‘Second from last in the sack race’ and its sequel, ‘Pratt of the Argus’, are hilarious, and poignant.

    1. I enjoyed ‘Out of the Shelter’ years ago, but this is the only one I’ve tried since. We have loads of whites flitting about, too. Thanks a lot, Mike

  5. I’m looking forward to starting the book you sent me 🙂 I haven’t dared to look into it yet in case I am tempted to not finish the one I’m currently reading…….. The colour in your photos is wonderful – I spent a few minutes enjoying each one biggified. Such a tonic on these chilly winter mornings!

  6. I’m so sorry, Derrick but I absolutely hooted when you realised that you had read the book before but had absolutely no recollection of doing so. The march of Anno Domini is solid and true and irresistible more’s the pity for our wits. But if vibrant colours are stimuli I don’t think there’s much chance of you and Jackie succumbing to any more than occasional cerebral lapses living and working that glorious kaleidoscopic garden of delights (and flutterbies and bees)

    1. You were meant to hoot, Osyth 🙂 I often forget what I’ve read, but usually something comes back during the re-reading. Not with that one, though. Thanks very much

  7. Wonderful to see you hanging baskets looking so full of blooms and fresh.. Watering becomes almost a full time job.. 🙂 with our dry spell this summer.. I perhaps should take a few pictures of ours and post on my garden blog.. I really must get back into the swing of that blog soon..
    Wonderful to see your flowers.. My cosmos have only just started to bud. But the hanging baskets which I set myself are coming along a treat..
    Happy reading dear Derrick Sometimes I find I enjoy books second time around, 🙂 as I often forget the bits in-between the beginning and ending. 😀
    Take care..

  8. Any day I see butterflies is a great day! 🙂 They are so beautiful and cheery and fun to watch! 🙂 OH! You have my favorite colour featured in your flower photos today! 🙂

    Thank you for sharing about the book. I enjoy hearing about what people reading and if they liked what they read. I’m always on the lookout for my next books to read. 🙂 I have a few books I reread once every year.

    Enjoy your garden and your books, Derrick! Happy Day to you and Jackie!!! 🙂
    HUGS, too!!! 🙂

  9. Your discovery of the train ticket on page 218 sounds much more interesting than your description of ‘Deaf Sentence’. The Dr Watson in me sprang to full alert at the singular discovery but you wandered off like a nonchalant bee determined not to create any excitement.

  10. I have had a habit of slipping mementos or bits of stuff I find interesting between the pages of a book. I regularly make interesting discoveries.

    I have noticed an abundance of butterflies in the garden this year.

  11. ‘Deafness is comic, as blindness is tragic,’ writes David Lodge!!

    Kisses to Jackie !! Have a nice weekend!!!!!

  12. I have never read anything by David Lodge, and after reading your review, I am not inclined to. But that garden sure is lovely.

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