Autumn this year has been slow to come I think, but as you can see by my picture we are now well into it. Some trees have already lost their leaves, but many still have green in them. It's cool but not cold. My hens aren't at the jumper-wearing stage quite yet!
It's been quite a tricky few months, birds-wise. Ruby's moulting and so is very down in the dumps. Her new feathers are coming through nicely, but she's still got a bit to go. Agnes is huge now and I'm very proud of her. Tilly's suddenly grown at last too, and her back is finally covered in feathers (she's still bald underneath). We had some drama with her a few weeks ago: she had peritonitis and a prolapse - fortunately I spotted it more or less as it happened so we were able to get a vet out (I was home alone and there was no one around to take me) and he sorted her out. She's recovered now, which is a big relief. And Charlotte, our oldest hen, is very well. We've been doing a lot of work in the garden (transplanting a neighbour's hedge) and she was my shadow for the entire process - I would dig up soil and she would scratch at it, which was very helpful as she was loosening it. An excellent bird! And the budgies are well, too. Trotwood's been under the weather but seems a bit better now. Best news of all - we have a new budgie, who I've called Bram. We've had him a while now, and I hoped he would bond with Oliver, who is very solitary and fairly unsociable. For weeks Oliver wouldn't play with him, but finally they have bonded and are constantly together now. It's wonderful to see because, though Oliver seemed fine, he would never play or join in with Trot or Pepys. Now they're firmly best friends! As for Pepys - I love her, but as ever she's a troublemaker.
As for reading - I did finish the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril Challenge, which is a first for me! I read four novels:
- The Shining by Stephen King.
- Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.
- The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins.
- Dracula by Bram Stoker.
- The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe.
- The Premature Burial by Edgar Allan Poe.
- The Signal Man by Charles Dickens.
- The Lifted Veil by George Eliot.
- The Death of Olivier Becaille by Émile Zola.
Looking ahead, November plans this year are fairly simply: I'm still reading Clarissa, and I'm on about page 900 and there's 1,500. I think, I hope, I can read 100 pages today and perhaps I'll finish it all by the end of next weekend. I still love it as much as I did the last time I read it, but it is tough.
I'll also finish Chaucer's complete works this month. I'm planning a post for Tuesday or Wednesday summing up as best I can The Canterbury Tales, and I've already made a very small start on the final piece of the project - his 'Short Poems', which are only about 30 pages (but takes time). I haven't got the happy feeling of the end of a project - I'm enjoying it and settled into it, so I'll be sad to finish, but as I've said before I have the re-reading process to look forward to! My dilemma is what next? Since I've been book-blogging I've always had a 'complete' or 'major' works challenge. For a good six months now I thought I'd decided on Thomas Hardy, but I'm not sure now. I might, but I've been mulling other ideas: should I try and finish reading Dostoyevsky's novels? I thought of Zola as well, but I decided against it because the remaining titles I have are in the translation I hate, so while I am keen to read them it isn't going to be fun. I have even considered Christopher Marlowe - I have all of his plays. But that's quite a risk as I've not yet read Marlowe. Still it would be a worthy option. All would be challenging, interesting, and worth doing. I don't know yet! I'm quite drawn to Marlowe - reading his plays in order of publication, learning about him. I think it could be fun, but as I say it's a risky project! I might be better sticking with Thomas Hardy.
Aside from that - I'm thinking mainly of reading short works this month as I'm reading Clarissa. I will certainly be reading Eminent Victorians by Lytton Strachey for the Bloomsbury Group section of Fanda's Literary Movements Challenge, and an essay by Virginia Woolf - 'The Pastons and Chaucer' from The Common Reader to round up Chaucer. For the Deal Me In Challenge this week I've got Le Morte d'Arthur by Alfred Tennyson too. Later in the month I'm thinking of reading some of Terence's plays - The Girl from Andros, The Mother-in-Law and The Self-Tormentor. Finally I would love to re-read Emma by Jane Austen and The Professor by Charlotte Brontë. But we'll see - I'm very focused on Clarissa and Chaucer at present!
Now I've got a few things to do, but I shall soon be reading some more of Clarissa. Furthermore Downton Abbey is on tonight, so it's a good start to the month!
Happy November, everyone!