Friday, 1 April 2016


It's finally spring! It's getting a little warmer, still with some very cold, even frosty nights. I'm really exciting about letting the budgies out into the aviary, but after a winter of almost relentless wind and rain the aviary roof badly needs repairing before that can happen. I'm hoping for a warm spring and summer, the winter has done damage, some worryingly expensive, some not too bad. The chickens are of course enjoying the sun, the only sad news I have is Charlotte, the original and final Brontë hen, is really showing her age. She's still very bright and enthusiastic, but she only hobbles now and has to be more or less supervised when she's out - this is another reason I'm hoping for warm weather, as it's still rather chilly she's indoors. She's doing well, considering. On the odd day it's been bright and sunny she's gone outside to sit on the patio and she still likes sunbathing as much as she ever did. It's sad, but for an ex-battery hen she's had a good life. Such is the life of battery hens, had she not have been rescued by Homes 4 Hens she would have been slaughtered in June 2013. But she's still here three years later, perhaps not going strong, but she's happy and well-loved, and she's being very well looked after by us and her vet. I think she's readjusted to her more limited life and there are no signs that she's depressed. 

My reading plans for April are pretty plentiful! The big one is that this month I'll finish The Metamorphoses read-along with Cleo: I started it in the first week of January (my first post was 13th January), this weekend I'll finish Books XIII and XIV, which I'll post about next week, then the following week will be Book XV, the final section. Fifteen weeks! And what is even crazier, we (along with Jean several others) will be starting a read-along of Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene: I'll most likely be doing my first post around the 27th. A while away yet. The schedule, though, if anyone would like to join, is:

Book I: 25th April - 1st May
Book II: 2nd May - 8th May
Book III: 9th May - 15th May
Book IV: 16th May - 22nd May
Book V: 23rd May - 29th May
Book VI: 30th May - 5th June
Mutability: 6th June - 12th June

The strange thing is, despite finding the whole thing a miserable experience when I first read it, I'm actually looking forward to this! I'm hoping a year of reading Chaucer in Middle English might help a little. Finger's crossed, anyway! I have enthusiasm if nothing else!

Other April plans: I'll be reading A Laodicean by Thomas Hardy (I'm now into his 1880s novels), and I'm very intrigued - I'd never heard of it until I looked up a list of Hardy novels. Also, time for  more re-reads - the first, Émile Zola's The Joy of Life (just because), the second - Between the Acts by Virginia Woolf (for the #WoolfAlong Challenge), and the third - I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, partly because I would like to read it again, and partly because it'll fit nicely into the 12 Month Classics Challenge for April's 'A classic you've seen the movie of'. The final novel I'm very set on reading is Phineas Finn by Anthony Trollope. It's become my nemesis, it is this that stops me reading the Palliser series! I will read it this month, and I'm determined it will be my book of choice for Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon (23rd April) if I don't read it before.

As for plays - I had very high hopes of reading a lot of Shakespeare this month as April will be the 400th anniversary of his death, but I just don't have the time. I feel very bad about this! I will be reading Henry V this month, but I have to acknowledge I would have done anyway. Instead I think, on 23rd April as well as joining in with the readathon I'll be marking this anniversary on my Tumblr. So, then, my non-Shakespeare plays for the month: MedeaHeracleidae, and Hecuba by Euripides. June is my decided month for plays - with about 200 pages a week of The Faerie Queene I doubt I'll have time for anything longer!

And the final April read - Chapters 3 - 5 of The Pickwick Papers. Will we learn the name of the stranger?! :)

So there are the reading plans. In the next couple of weeks I'll be blogging about things already read in the last week of March - Wealth by Aristophanes, The Voyage of Argo by Apollonius of Rhodes, Maurice by E. M. Forster, and finally (finally) Johnson's A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland and Boswell's A Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides. I've been meaning to read these for years and at long last, yesterday evening, I finished!

One final word - I've re-jigged my Classic Club list. The first thing is simply that I've re-arranged it, and secondly I've removed a good few titles I have no enthusiasm for and added a lot more titles (I know have 350 titles on my list), most of which are either from books recently purchased, or books I've recently learned about (I know I'm not the only one who does this so I don't feel too bad!). There are a great many plays, how many I'm not sure but I'm thinking around the 120 mark. The other 230 or so titles are novels mainly, some biographies, diaries, and autobiographies, and a couple of non-fiction. Just thought I'd mention it.

There, then, are my plans! That, gardening, and a little spring cleaning!

Happy April, everyone!


  1. i surmise from your various lists that you like to keep busy! i don't think i'd live long enough to read all those(but one neve rknows, does one...). i have a feeling of kinship with charlotte, being retired and a bit creaky...

    1. Ah yes, I keep myself busy :)

      Yes, Charlotte is indeed creaky poor thing.

      And I wish the sun would come out, we're all huddled next to radiators here!

  2. You're awesome! I can only look at your goals and laugh and enjoy and be glad that I don't have such intimidating plans. Or do I? ;-)

    That April 23rd read-a-thon looks so tempting! I doubt I'll be able to participate, but it would be lovely if I could. I should use it to read Framley Parsonage, which I seem to forget about with regularity. :-Z Although I'm looking forward to April, if I get through it unfrazzled by my reading pace, it will be a miracle!

    All the best with your reading! :-)

    1. Thank you! I hope you can join the readathon, though to be honest I've not done too well in past years. I couldn't do a full 24 hour stretch, but I'm hoping for a good 12 or even 15. No more than that! 12 is pushing it, really... :)

  3. Happy April! That last photo looks nearly perfectly like a representation of our weather today - snow in the morning followed by sun and milder temperatures to wipe it all away. Must be April.

    I'd completely forgotten that April was the anniversary of Shakespeare's death. I should really make an effort to read another of his plays this month then.

    Good luck with all your many plans!

    1. I wish I could read some more Shakespeare this month - am hoping to squeeze The Merry Wives of Windsor in at some point though as it fits in with reading the Henriad... :)

      Wow, you have snow?! It's very mild here, but the rain hasn't stopped since Saturday! It's not heavy, but it's certainly persistent!

    2. It's all gone, now, but yes, we had snow yesterday. I'm in the NE part of Ohio, and our spring weather has a knack for being all over the place - warm and sunny one day, cold and rainy/snowy the next (or sometimes both in one day). At least in April the end of cold winter weather is in sight!

    3. We went from temperatures around 4 C a couple of weeks ago to 22 C last week. Just crazy! It's cooled down a little now to about 16 C which is more normal, but still warmer than usual. I think that it's going to be a blistering summer here in the Pacific Northwest.

    4. And here it still rains! Had to get the hair dryer on the hens yesterday - they've had enough of rain and persisted in digging. Oh for some sun! :)


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