Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts


    1. We booked a holiday! Oh my giddy aunt. We’re going to St. Ives for five days in August. It is stupidly expensive and long to get there by train, but who cares? We’re staying in a little flat in the center of town, and we won’t have to do anything all week but there’ll be plenty to do if we get bored. I plan to read and cook and sit in the sun. The Tate, the Barbara Hepworth Museum, and the seaside are all I want. Oh, and maybe some hikes.
    2. I’m still plugging away at JavaScript. I’m trying to do half an hour a day, but it’s hard and it makes me cry a lot (or, if not cry, at the very least wring my hands til my wrists feel loose). I wish it came more easily. This sounds, I know, ridiculously arrogant, but I am just not used to having to work hard at learning something. It fucks with my self-esteem no end.
    3. Saw my friend and former housemate Ollie on the weekend; we went to the National Portrait Gallery. I was especially interested in an exhibition showing photographic portraits of black migrants in England before the Windrush’s voyage in the 1940s. There were some from 1891, when an “African choir” came on tour to London and also visited Queen Victoria at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight; they looked so modern, staring straight out of the frame, the photographic techniques good enough by then to capture fine details of their clothing texture, skin and hair. There was another display case of smaller portraits, including some of a band of Pygmies who came to London in 1905, and one of an Ethiopian prince whose father committed suicide upon defeat by the British and who was brought back to England by a military commander called Tristram Speedy. He went to Rugby and to Sandhurst, but died of pleurisy at 18. Such curious, little-known lives.
    4. I bought a little chunky journal on Saturday, after bidding Ollie farewell but before getting the Tube back home. It’s grey with a flower pattern on the front, and only cost £3.99. It feels inviting, but unthreatening, and I like it very much. I’m hoping to re-establish the habit of journaling by hand. So far, it’s working.
    5. My novel carries on apace. I can’t say I write a thousand words a day, but I try to write a little bit most days. I’m slowly discovering what one of my characters is all about; he’s a surprisingly complicated chap, not entirely nice or passive. I’m also approaching a point at which I’m going to have to switch to writing about one of the other POV characters for a while. It stops me from getting bored or stuck in a rut.
    6. Now that the weather is sunny again, I am getting broody about dogs. There was a beautiful wrinkly brown shar pei in the park over the weekend which I literally couldn’t stop raving about. The Chaos asked me why I always have to like “the fugly ones”. It’s because they’re fugly. Fugly dogs are the most beautiful.

This will never NOT be perfect.


21 thoughts on “Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts

    • WAIL! That is SO upsetting. On the other hand, there is a tinge of guilty relief at knowing that there will be nothing I “ought” to be doing with my time, other than reading…

      • The building is still impressive from the outside, and the beach in front is glorious. Hepworth museum and many galleries in town though. There’s plenty to do in the area – don’t know about buses though.

      • I think St. Ives has a train station – we’re thinking of a day outing to Truro. (Neither of us drive! Or rather, I don’t, and the last time the Chaos did was about 1996. I gather it didn’t go well.)

      • Yes, that’s another option! I’ve a friend who’s a lay clerk at Truro Cathedral, though, so it’s possible we could see him.

  1. Yay for the holiday! And fugly dogs! Good work on the novel too! And the little JavaScript I had to learn once for a webpage for a class I took made me cry too.

    • I just need to apply myself, but I am very out of practice at applying myself, especially to the theory of something that doesn’t come naturally…

  2. St. Ives is wonderful. You’ll surely have a lovely time. My parents have a pug and he is the best creature ever. I look forward to learning more about your novel someday 🙂

    • It’s about claustrophobic university friendships, and suicide. (It’s not, however, very much like The Secret History. At least I don’t think so!)

      • Hmm… It’s actually kind of hard to say. There are three point-of-view characters, and each section goes forward in time a little bit. The first section ends v badly, the second section probably quite badly, the third section a bit more hopefully. I think!

      • Well I do get plenty of blue skies, so can’t complain on that front. But beach time is another story – can never get enough of that!

      • Beaches are a funny one for me – I’m terrified of ocean swimming (though I’ll happily paddle in the shallows), I don’t like crowds, and it’s nice to have a bit of shade, so in that sense they’re my worst nightmare! But British beaches tend to be cooler, and they’re the ones I have the most experience with – and I like them a lot.

      • Ha! I’m the opposite – I love ocean swimming (and snorkelling and surfing) and could lie in the sun all day! (You can keep the crowds though).

  3. What a lovely sounding trip…even if the Tate is closed. Gorgeous photo at the top of the post.

    My eldest son and his wife visited last summer, and every day, they would put pictures of pugs onto some of my dolls’ faces…as a joke (I collect dolls, some with no faces, and everyone pokes fun). The fun was mostly that I didn’t notice for a while, and when I did, they would crack up. I found another one a few weeks after they left! Crazy kids.

    Enjoy your trip, and thanks for sharing. Here’s MY BOOKISH THURSDAY POST

    • Did it make you think about getting pugs?! (The St. Ives photo at the top isn’t mine, btw – but I wish it were, and I expect I’ll be able to take a few nice ones when we’re there.)

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