Thursday, January 24, 2013

Snow Flowers

Ah, the wonders of the Kindle!  I finished the Cazalet quartet of novels by Elizabeth Jane Howard and spotted her autobiography, "Slipstream".  No sooner spotted than downloaded, and within seconds I am reading it.  I will never get used to the magical way in which this revolutionises access to books.  The facility with which you can pursue a train of thought, or follow a whim!  And books on Kindle seem very reasonably priced.

"Slipstream" itself was a revelation.  Of course, one expects writers to draw on their own experience, but large sections of  the Cazalet novels are identical to Howard's own life - and what a life!  Did people really have serial affairs in this manner?  Or perhaps they still do... When asked to organise a literary festival, Howard was able to draw on an astonishing back-catalogue of lovers. 

I have to say that the parody of "Slipstream,"  published in "The Guardian," is also very entertaining.  She does focus on name-dropping, although she had the names to drop.

After the first fall of snow, we had a brilliantly sunny day, so we revisited the arboretum. It was bitterly cold.  Every trunk was outlined in white, giving a curiously dramatic effect.  There was an intermittent crackling as ice fell from the foliage of the thicker trees.

Approaching a fine stand of trees, we saw a flickering and realised that the branches were alive with a huge flock of siskins, a species which we last saw feeding on thistleheads in the Whinlatter Forest.

We were amazed by the Chinese witch hazel.  Every golden tuft now bore its crust of snow, dampening the strong perfume.

I added this little panel to my lace sampler.  It is Mrs Montague's pattern, which Barbara Walker says was used to knit stockings for Elizabeth 1.  Franklin reminded us that the actual stockings can be seen in Hatfield House.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love my Kindle, and the ease with which I can buy books, as there are no bookshops anywhere near us, so we have to rely on what the supermarkets and charity shops sell for "real" books!
Unfortunately we haven't had blue skies to go with the snowy landscapes .....