Showing posts from February, 2014


I just wanted to write a note on Em. I said a few posts ago that she'd been very ill, though she seemed to be on the mend. However, she died in the early hours of this morning. It was not a surprise, it's been a very difficult week with no certainties, until yesterday early evening when it became apparent that it was inevitable. 
It's hard right now to not think of these past few days. It's been so tiring, but because I am still so proud of my little hen I don't want to get into what happened, I just want to share two of my favourite pictures of her and soon, once the horribleness of this month has past I'll be left with these images, many many more like them, and all the fun memories we've all had, and the recent events will blur and fade off. It was, I should say, mercifully peaceful. 
I'm so proud of my pet. She was, as I've said, a good hen. They've all progressed very well since we rescued them in June. And I thought I should write some words…

Wordless Wednesday.

By request: my first editions of Le Rêve and La Debacle, Émile Zola's signature, and his carte de visite, which says, "Avec mes plus vifs remerciements".
More Wordless Wednesday here.

Hard Times - For These Times, by Charles Dickens.

"Bitzer," said Mr. Gradgrind, broken down, and miserably submissive to him, "have you a heart?" "The circulation, sir," returned Bitzer, smiling at the oddity of the question, "couldn’t be carried on without one. No man, sir, acquainted with the facts established by Harvey relating to the circulation of the blood, can doubt that I have a heart." Hard Times -For These Times was published on the 1st April 1854, 160 years ago (almost), and, incidentally, 156 years before Prime Minister David Cameron's speech in 2010 when he claimed, "We are progressive Conservatives". 
It is Dickens' shortest novel: my Penguin Popular Classics edition is a mere 268 pages. Unlike most of his other novels it is not set in London (it's set in the fictional Coketown, which bares resemblance to both Preston and Manchester), and it is comparable with Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South (also serialised in 'Household Words', and following H…


Emily's back home! She's much better after her paraffin treatment, and the blockage is much reduced. She still has a lump, and she'll need to stick with the paraffin for a few more days, but things are much more hopeful, infinitely more hopeful than last night.
Right now, she's asleep on my knee (as you can see by the picture she was having a wander about on the desk earlier), she's had some Ready Brek from the vet, then when she came home she had some mash, and some salad, and she's had a good drink of water. Obviously she's quite sleepy, but she's had her lunch with Anne and Charlotte, had some food by herself, and when she wakes up I'll take her out into the garden for half an hour. 
So, things are greatly improved! Last night was awful, so I could do with some sleep myself! But, yes, things are so much better. I think within the next week or so she'll be back to being on form!

Classics Spin, and other things.

It's really the other things I want to blog about, but I'll start with the spin - the number was 20, and I got Frenchman's Creek by Daphne du Maurier. I'll maybe start that next week.

It's been a vile week, hence my blog silence. I said a week ago things were stressful, but things have got worse. Emily, who I said was under the weather, is very ill now. Right now she's at the vets, and that alone brings tears to my eyes because she's ill, and she's by herself in a strange place and I hate to think she's upset. I suppose chances are she's asleep so these tears are unnecessary. It appears she has some kind of blockage, and she won't survive if it goes untreated. The medicines she's had today have a 50% chance of working, and if they don't work she'll need surgery, which only has a 30% chance of success. I'm trying to be positive about it, but I feel gloomy in general and a bit worn out by everything. So many big, horrible things…

The Classics Spin #5.

It's the fifth Classic Club spin, and I love a Classics Spin! It's the first one on this blog, but everyone knows the rules: list twenty books left on your list, and next Monday a number will be announced. 
Without futher ado:

Lawrence, D. H. - The RainbowStevenson, Robert Louis - Kidnapped Kundera, Milan - The Unbearable Lightness of Being Haggard, H. Rider - She Fowles, John - The French Lieutenant's Woman Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr - August 1914 Amis, Martin - London FieldsElliot, George - Adam Bede James, Henry - What Maise Knew Lawrence, D.H. - Sons and Lovers Du Maurier, Daphne - Jamaican Inn Hemingway, Ernest - A Farewell to Arms Blackmore , R. D. - Lorna Doone Graves, Robert - I, Claudius de Balzac, Honoré - Cousin Bette Goncharov, Ivan - Oblomov Rushdie, Salman - The Satanic Verses Cooper, James Fenimore - The Last of the Mohicans Trollope, Anthony - Is He Popenjoy? Du Maurier, Daphne - Frenchman's CreekThe ones I want the most - Adam Bede, Lorna Doone, and Is He P…


I'm glad to start by saying that it does at least feel like February. The year, so far, is not going at the break-neck speed of 2013. And the weather is about right - the wind is howling through the trees, rain lashing down, and Lord, it is cold! But, some good news - this week I saw the first snowdrops! Very very heartening. 
I have to be honest - January was not a good month. As I am quite superstitious, I did expect this, though that's not helping greatly! At the minute, though, I'm just working on keeping things calm and peaceful, and trying to isolate what is stressful rather than let it sit with me day in and day out. This is not an easy thing to do. But, as I say, I anticipated that it would be a difficult month, which is why from very early on I've been more looking forward to spring rather than feeling bad that 2014 has got off to such a difficult start, and I'm just trying to accept that this is meant to be so. 
As I mentioned, one of my New Year's reso…