2018, it's said, has been the worst year for hay fever, and I can personally attest that yes, this is the case. As I'm super sensitive (tree, flower, and weed pollen all has me sneezing) it's likely this will run into September for me (I've even known it to go right through October) but at least the end (might) be near. For that I am grateful: I'm not sleeping terribly well at present (which at least gives me a little more time to read, but I'd sooner the sleep to be honest!). 2018 has also been the hottest summer, and with hot sun comes fire and we've had one of those, and I also saw the heaviest rain I've ever seen in my life. It was a week ago now: I heard thunder for about an hour before the rain hit, and we saw the rain rolling down the forest over the tops of the trees before suddenly an absolute deluge of rain and hail with high winds. It lasted for less than five minutes but was enough to bring down several road signs and a few young trees. And all that water, sadly, and all the rain we've had since, hasn't been enough to save my garden. I've lost so much this year after the snow and then the heatwave. It's going to take a lot of rebuilding I'm afraid, which I'll have to start in the autumn (not trusting the rest of the summer!).

A combination of pouring rain or red hot temperatures means I've been indoors a great deal and I've spent the time reading. This is a good moment to mention the 2018 Reading Challenges: I have 22 titles left for the Deal Me In Challenge and 2 from my Ancient Greek and Romans. Other than that, the Back to the ClassicsEuropean Reading Challenge 2018Roof Beam Reader's Official TBR Pile ChallengeVictorian Reading Challenge, and #NewAuthors18 Reading Challenge - they're all complete. So I'm pleased to have my new Classics Club list, and for the spin I see I've drawn Battle of the Books by Jonathan Swift. I'm so glad #11 wasn't drawn: I completely forgot I'd put down A Simple Story by Elizabeth Inchbald for my #11 and I read it over the weekend. Other than Swift, I've got quite a pile of books by my bed which I'd love to read this month:

I've got Swift on there, The River Between by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o (I'm nearly finished it and am enjoying it), Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management (I've made a start and it's absolutely fascinating), Myths from MesopotamiaSunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon (which I stumbled upon a few days ago in a charity shop), Self-Help by Samuel Smiles, Rural Rides by William Cobett, The History of the English People 1000 - 1154, and Foxe's Book of Martyrs. Not on there is Book I of Rūmī's The Masnavi: I'm waiting for that to arrive and I'm really looking forward to it. As I don't tend to read non-fiction at night and as this may be a tad non-fiction heavy I may find myself reading some other fiction aside from what's listed (and not all of the non-fiction listed). I'm in the mood for something big - The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless perhaps, or bigger still - I'm also thinking of David Copperfield.

Other than that, there's no other news. Everyone's fine here - Pablo is proving himself to be an excellent and very clever little dog, the budgies are well, so is the parrot and so are the hens. Meg had a setback from which she seems to have recovered, and I'm afraid the two banished chickens remain banished but they're both fine, I saw them a few days ago (I do miss them). And I'm sneezing! I'm really looking forward to autumn now, but past years have taught me that August seems to be the last month where the year seems to stretch ahead: form September the year always seems to go as quickly as lightening. I'm not quite ready to think about 2019 yet...

Happy August, everyone 😊

View from my desk: it's a very gloomy  evening.


  1. i've never heard of Gibbon: look forward to that post... couldn't be any relation to Edward? no, he didn't have progeny, i don't think... his girl friend married someone else which reminds me if you haven't read "The Decline and Fall" i'd highly recommend it for the exemplary writing style if nothing else, although it is a fascinating work, i thought, anyhow...

    1. I've read a bit of Decline and Fall - a excerpt in Penguin Great Ideas. I really didn't get on too well with it, but it was a while ago. I'll re-read it and then think about reading more. :)

  2. If there is one thing I will remember about 2018 is the weather.
    I am in the path of rising temperatures that one only experiences in Dubai or Doha!
    The Dutch are wilting, the dikes are drying out and there is no end in sight.
    I've given up on beautiful plants and hanging baskets in the garden that I enjoyed in 2018.
    I have 2 lavender plants and 3 heuchera I try to keep alive.
    Books: I was so inspired by your CC list that I have plunged head-first into the classics.
    The Life of Samuel Johnson...did I bite off more than I can chew? This book is so long. At the moment I love the jibes and 'bon mots' that Johnson seems to scatter about him wherever he goes. But more than that I enjoy all the references to writers, historians, publishers, his literary circle...who I have very little knowledge of. I've made severval visits to Wikipedia to see who's who!
    I ordered Elizabeth Inchbald's book The Simple Story and discovered on an online bookstore here that Penguin English Library books ( ...the ones with the beautiful covers) ...were on sale. I bought 6!
    So my day is filled with books that are on there way....and many bottles of sparkling water to keep me hydrated!

    1. Sorry to hear your garden hasn't done too well either. It was beautiful last year, I can remember the pictures very well.

      It's raining here now, has been for a few days, but it is still so warm. It's oppressive, the air feels like lead.

      I enjoyed Life of Johnson. Did you get to the bit where they're talking about Clarissa?

      What other books did you buy? :)

    2. I’ve reached a point where I must put my French to the test.
      I know it will take me perhaps weeks to read thes books....but I wanted to join you reading your French French. Yesterday my books arrived. They are on your spin 18 list: Le Roman de la Rose, Pensées, Les Caractères, Les Fleurs du Mal. When I mentioned Fayette’s book...I remembered how beautiful it was in French. So, I’m going to start with Le Roman de la Rose. ‘Maintes gens disent que dans les songes il n’y a que fables et mensonges.” Clarissa....I remember an anecdote about the book lying on the chevet ofthe King of France’s brother. Also on pg 350 Kindle version the comparison between Henry Fielding and Samuel Richardson was very ‘acerbic’ !

    3. Sounds excellent! I hope you enjoy them :)

  3. Sounds like California...unbearable heat, dying green things, fires, rain. Never any rain. : (

    Ah, well. We've got another ten days of projected triple digits. Looking forward to fall.

    Anyway, Foxes is the only book I've read from your list. Hard to know what to believe is true, false, or elaborated; but nonetheless, still an intriguing work.

    1. I'm looking forward to Foxe - should be interesting.

      And your weather sounds horrible - I saw some pictures taken from space of California and the wild fires. As 2016-17 will be remembered for politics, 2018 will be remembered for the weather... I hope autumn is pleasant and normal!


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