Mike of ‘Perfect Plastering’, lived up to his company name as he completed the fitting of our new bath and tiling today. He has done an excellent job.
Jackie spent much of the day on one of her sororal lunches, whilst I had a brief visit from our friend Alison.
‘Walking In The Sea’, is, in my view, B. J. Haynes’s best novel to date. I was unable to put down my copy, and read this little book in two sittings. One reason, undoubtedly, was because it is quite short. The most compelling one, however, is that I wanted the mystery to unravel. I won’t spoil the story with details, but will simply say that the clear, spare, prose races along; that the dialogue is convincing; and that Barrie’s quirky humour strikes just the right balance.
The cover design is by the author’s granddaughter, Amber Cooke.
When I attempted to put this review on Amazon Books UK, I was prevented from doing so without buying a copy. Barrie’s generosity is such that I don’t need to purchase one. So here is what I would have posted on there.
Not to be outdone by those on yesterday’s Japanese maple, the raindrops sliding down the slender, pendulous, threads of our weeping birch have provided a bead curtain separating that tree’s bed from the South End of the garden.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s perky paprika pork and special fried rice.
Deer and Rabbits were anathema to Jackie at Castle Malwood Lodge. We had to place a protective screen around her temporary garden there – the one we are gradually transporting from Walkford. She is, however, rather partial to crows, which is why one of ours, normally occupying the rooftop chimney pot, is giving her a problem. This huge creature has, daily, clambered all over the planter pot that stands in front of her bird feeders. The hungry bird sits on the petunias, which it has crushed, pondering how to avail itself of the breakfast positioned for smaller relatives. Each day it has attempted to settle its outsize talons around the slender arched summit of the feeder. Each day, until today, it has slipped and flown off unsatisfied. Despite the rain it managed to empty the tray of berry-flavoured suet pellets beneath. In an unsuccessful attempt to keep it off the petunias Jackie had placed some small wooden stakes among flowers. Today it sent the feeding station lop-sided.
Like all predatory scavengers, this creature flies off as soon as one of us appears at the window.
Before Jackie drove me to New Milton for a visit to Norman’s via Waterloo, I prepared figures and documentation for posting to Philip Friede, my excellent accountant. Philip Fried & Co., of Hatton Garden is to be highly recommended.
On the up train (actually all trains to London, even if from the North, are labelled ‘up’), I finished reading ‘Victoria’s Park’ by B.J.Haynes. This is a very entertaining novel. Haynes is a natural story-teller whose writing flows. Full of humour, the book is about the potential fulfilment of an impossible dream. The characterisation is credible and simply expressed, with an interesting slant on contemporary local politics, and more technical knowledge about landfill than I possess. Published by Matador at £6.99 in a paperback that is properly bound with good quality paper that will not turn brown in a hurry, this is a snip. (ISBN 978 184875-511)
On the Jubilee Line train from Waterloo to Finchley Road, beginning with a question about Cicero’s Orations which I was reading, I enjoyed a conversation with a young (by my standards) gentleman. We both changed onto the Metropolitan Line and continued our talk for two more stops. Tom, originally from Liberia, had spent twenty years in England, and was now working towards setting up a prefabricated housing project to improve conditions in his home country. He had, incidentally, met a young woman who read with the aid of the light on her mobile phone. How beneficial, he thought, it would be to provide people with no electricity with such a facility. He is an intelligent and sensitive man who had been reading ‘Dare to Dream’, and he certainly does. May his dream become a possibility.
Norman provided a lunch of peppered steak, roast potatoes, and vegetables followed by a red fruits pie and custard. We shared a bottle of Languedoc reserve 2012.
Jackie collected me as usual at New Milton and showed me what she had been doing in the garden. This was a lot of planting and weeding. Although they are slightly droopy at the moment she has trained two clematises up the vacant side of the new arch. They are ‘Star of India’ and ‘Rouge Cardinal’. She has also bought and planted a Japanese hydrangea termed macrophylla.
The blackbird is incubating the eggs photographed yesterday.