Wednesday 9 March 2022

It's a cross between Fatherland and The Handmaid's Tale - not as good as either, but I quite like a bit of 'what if' history and this was an undemanding page-turner that I've rattled through this week. I'm afraid I'd be consigned to Widowland, the run-down slum for unproductive middle-aged women - where the recalcitrant fellow inmates would appear to be rather good, bookish company.

Tuesday 8 March 2022

The crocuses (croci?) are looking splendid at Ham House. And at Kew Gardens on Sunday the magnolias against a blue sky had more 'wow' than the showy orchid festival. (Where I was sorely tempted to push a couple of preening, pouting Instagrammers into the pond! Wouldn't that have made a photo opportunity!) First chilly picnic of the year - if a sandwich and a hunk of fruit cake on a bench counts as a picnic. Kew Gardens Orangery serves the nastiest cup of lukewarm tea in London.

Saturday 5 March 2022

An evocatively lyrical paean to the countryside (Daily Mail) ... well, I can't say I wasn't warned! From the 'feather-footed through the plashy fen' school of literature, if you ask me! And the anachronisms ... frozen strawberries in a post-war Yorkshire cottage????? Pick-and-mix sweets? And I rather doubt that a 16-year-old miner's son would have been acquainted with a metal detector. Still, that's a nice picture of Robin Hood's bay on the cover.

Wednesday 2 March 2022

I seem to be in the minority but I was losing the will to live ... grown-up Enid Blyton or modern Agatha Christie, whatever, it's mind-numbingly tedious.