Saturday, May 31, 2008

The 2nd Canadian Book Challenge, Eh?

I've just joined The 2nd Canadian Book Challenge, Eh? You may remember that I joined the 1st challenge, but was late in finding out about it, and left because I knew I couldn't complete it. This time it is for a full year, and I'm coming on board right at the start. I've decided to read just Canadian nonfiction: autobiographies, biographies, essays, letters, etc. I've begun my list on the sidebar. These are the books I presently own. I'll add more as I choose them.

Here are the rules.

Starting July 1st, 2008 and running to July 1st, 2009, I challenge you to read (and write about) 13 Canadian books (by Canadians and/or about Canadians).

Friday, May 30, 2008

Today's picture/Cat and bird

This isn't a very good shot, but it illustrates one of the reasons we keep our cats indoors. I have read horrible stats on how many songbirds are killed by domestic cats. The other reason we keep them in is just the opposite. Over the years, two of our cats were killed by coyotes and two by fishers. Raya was perfectly happy sitting on the windowsill chattering away. And when they miss hunting outdoors, they can take care of the indoor mice. Tom found a dead one in the bathroom when he got up yesterday morning.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Today's pictures/First views of baby robins

The mother had been away, and flew into the nearby lilac just as I was taking the photos. You may click on them to get a better look. I was standing up on the railing. :<)

Today's Short Story by Agatha Christie

For my second installment in the Anything Agatha Challenge, I chose a short story, The Tuesday Night Club, from:

The Tuesday Club Murders, 1932

Collected in:
Miss Marple
The Complete Short Stories
G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1985

Miss Marple's nephew is visiting, and has a little party at her home. A conversation begins about unsolved murders, and the participants decide to meet each Tuesday evening.

It is to meet each week, and each member in turn has to propound a problem. Some mystery of which they have personal knowledge, and to which, of course, they know the answer. Let me see, how many are we? One, two, three, four, five. We ought really to be six.
"You have forgotten me, dear," said Miss Marple, smiling brightly.

This sets the stage for the main idea, and for the way Jane Marple is looked upon. She is simply a quiet old lady, sitting amongst the 'important' people: a retired Scotland Yard commissioner, an artist, a solicitor, a clergyman, and the nephew, a writer. They do not expect her to be a full participant in the weekly discussions. The reader knows that Miss Marple will solve the murder using her observations of daily life in her small village. This particular mystery involves a group of people who eat the same meal, and yet only one dies. I liked the story very much, and I plan to come back to these short stories during the months ahead.

Today's poem - Seven Caveats in May by Maxine Kumin

In a comment on the post about the bear and the bird feeders, Beth mentioned a Maxine Kumin poem. It is just wonderful, and so perfectly suited to our situation, except for the fact that Ben and Sadie slept through the whole episode.

Seven Caveats in May

When the dog whines at 5 a.m., do not
make your first mistake and let him out.
When he starts to bark in a furious tom-tom rhythm
and you can just discern a shadowy feinting

taking place under the distant hemlocks
do not seize the small sledge from the worktable and fly
out there in your nightgown and unlaced high
tops preparing to whack this, the ninth of its kind

in the last four weeks, over the head
before it can quill your canine.
But it's not a porcupine: it's a big, black, angry
bear. Now your dog has put him up a tree

and plans to keep him there, a perfect
piece of work by any hound. Do not
run back and grab the manure fork
thinking you can keep the prongs

between you and the elevated bear long
enough to dart in and corral your critter.
Isn't it true bears come down slower
than they go up? Half an hour later do not

give up, go in the house and call the cops.
The dispatcher regrets having to report
there's no patrol car at this time, the state
police are covering. No doubt the nearest

trooper, wearing his Smoky Bear Stetson
is forty miles up the highway.
When your closest neighbor, big burly Smitty
worms his way into his jeans and roars up

your dirt road in his four-wheel diesel truck
strides over the slash pile and hauls your hound back
(by now, you've thrown something on
over your not-quite-diaphanous nightgown)

do not forget to thank him with a sixpack.
Do not fail to take your feeders in on April One
despite the arriving birds' insistent clamor
and do not put them out again

until the first of December.

Maxine Kumin

You may listen to the author reciting it on A Prairie Home Companion, here. Scroll down to segment 3.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Garden notes/I should have known better

The old Beatles' song is what I'm singing this morning. I should remember that Memorial Day last frost means the real Memorial Day, not the invented one to give us a three day weekend. We had a frost last night, and though Tom covered, the squash is in bad shape. We have a few more plants so we'll be okay. I think the cukes are alright. But still, but still, I should have known better.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Garden Notes/Memorial Day planting

Memorial Day is our last frost date, and is the traditional day for putting in the garden, i.e. the frost sensitive plants like beans and corn. There is something so right about that. As we remember those who have died, we plant.

We spent all day Monday outdoors, and what a joy it was for mind and body and soul. It was cloudy and a bit buggy, but a good day for gardening. The vegetable garden is now all set. Yesterday, we planted the yellow beans, cucumbers, and two hills of zucchini. I think we're going to put another hill along the fence.

We planted corn in a little spot that got torn up from a repair in the water line.

This is our lettuce garden in an old planter that was here when we bought our place. We've tried various plants over the years, but lettuce seems to work best in the shallow, somewhat rocky soil.

We're going to do something different along the fence on the road side. See how it is sandy and weedy between the road and the garden there? It looks scraggly and really detracts from the flowers so I think I'll have just bushes/small trees along the fence with grass underneath and between. Already there is a William Baffin rose tree, a tree hydrangea, a honeysuckle, and a brand new WB rose. We might put a lilac in there, and that should do it. We'll dig up the daylilies and move them where they will stand out, and their loveliness can be better appreciated. That area gets dug up every year by the plow and never really comes back looking good so I'm hoping this plan will make the whole fence area look nicer.

Tom edged the terrace garden, and I weeded and added cocoa shell mulch. Oh, how I love that stuff. It is a bit pricier than bark mulches, but I think it is so much prettier as well as having a great smell. And it makes the soil lovely and rich, just as compost does.

Can you see what bad shape our front door is in after years and years of jumping, scratching dogs? :<) Well, we have a scheme. We bought a new storm/screen door, and are going to do something whimsical, and give ourselves what we call a Tomie dePaola door; using his famous colors, purple and aqua/turquoise. I'll post photos when it is done.

The robin's eggs have hatched. Tom peeked in and saw them when the mother wasn't on the nest. She is pretty used to us now, and doesn't fly away everytime we go outdoors. Yesterday, I put some lettuce, parsley, and basil transplants into the terrace planters, and she just watched me. Continuing with the human mother connection; she rarely sits down these days.

Rhubarb Crunch

Rhubarb Crunch

3 cups diced rhubarb
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour

1 cup sugar
1 cup oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup butter

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.

In a large mixing bowl combine rhubarb, 1 cup sugar, and 3 tablespoons flour. Stir well and spread evenly into baking dish. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine 1 cup sugar, oats, and 1 1/2 cups flour. Stir well and then cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle mixture over rhubarb layer.

Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

This is indeed crunchy, and perfectly wonderful.

Today's poem - To a Song Sparrow Nesting Outside My Window by Elizabeth Yates

To a Song Sparrow Nesting Outside My Window
by Elizabeth Yates

I have a little house,
its roof is snug and tight,
its windows frame wide views
of mutable delight.

Your house is roofed with sky
and sheltered by a tree,
I work with words
and you in minstrelsy.

With gifts we grace
the world we share,
making of songs
a way of prayer.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday Stroll/May 25

Here is what I saw on today's Sunday Stroll.

The dear, fragrant, old-fashioned honeysuckle are just beginning to open.

The spinach is coming up nicely. I need to thin it tomorrow.

I love 'volunteers,' that is, flowers that pop up where I haven't planted them. This is the very first of all my mountain bluets, also called perennial cornflowers, to blossom, and it is in-between two of the granite steps into the kitchen.

And look what we 'planted' today! Some friends came over for supper, and afterwards we had a fun game. I love badminton.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Bear-y interesting :<)

I opened the bedroom curtains this morning, and here's what I saw. The bird feeder holder bent over, and both feeders completely empty. Although there are no tracks, this means a bear visited last night. I'm amazed the dogs didn't bark, but they must have been sound asleep. Tom called our visitor "polite" because he or she didn't do any damage. I had written last month that I was going to take down the feeders, and I did. But then I felt badly because there weren't so many birds right around the house, so I took a chance and put them up again. We did indeed have a lot of visitors; a dozen bluejays came everyday, along with mourning doves, juncos, a rose breasted grosbeak. But now, they'll have to go back into the woods for their summer food, and we won't put up the feeders until fall when those rascally bears have gone to their dens.

This is what we didn't see.

A black bear with her cub. Photograph by Norbert Rosing. More bear information here, if you are interested.

Book winner

The winner of the Persephone book, A House In The Country is:

Photo is of the inside of Tom's hat from which I drew the winning name. :<) Thank you all for leaving a comment, and I'll do this again, when I've finished a book I don't need to keep.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Today's picture/Roy G Biv

Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet. Beautiful!

Book Report/Meet Me At The Butterfly Tree

Meet Me At The Butterfly Tree
A Fairhope Memoir
by Mary Lois Timbes and Robert E. Bell
nonfiction, 2001, 2005
finished, 5/23/08

My first book for the Southern Reading Challenge was written by a woman whose blog I enjoy, Mary Lois.

This is the kind of book every little town needs. It is about Fairhope, Alabama, and is history, memoir, and biography all in one. The book begins with letters between Mary Lois Timbes, and Robert E. Bell, who authored a fictional version of Fairhope called The Butterfly Tree. Each of them lived in the town for part of their lives, and the letters are reminiscences of people and places and activities. His last letter ends with the words, "Let's do work on a book," but sadly he died before this could happen. In addition to including his letters, Mary Lois has interspersed a few of his memories among the chapters of the book.

Fairhope was founded in the late nineteenth century as a Utopian community by the proponents of Henry George's Single Tax economic idea. Over time it developed into a place which welcomed intellectuals, artists, and folks that probably wouldn't 'fit' into a more traditional town. A visionary named Marietta Johnson, who had been a teacher in Minnesota, came to Fairhope and began a new kind of school, The Organic School, which was progressive and radical for its time. No dress code, no tests, learning through living. Now, this is commonplace, and familiar to most of us. In my little area there is a Montessori School, and a couple others which are located on farms, where children get to experience much that would not be taught in a public school setting. The author was lucky enough to have had her education at The Organic School, where children loved to go, and couldn't wait to get back to after vacations.

I understand how an influx of people can change a place. In the 1960s an alternative college was started in my part of the world, and many of those graduates stayed in the area, bringing a new energy, and art, and social activism. The people in Mary Lois' book are gone now, but their influence, their personalities, their work still resounds today in the town of Fairhope, Alabama. If you think you'd like to make a change in your life, and move to such a place, the author is selling her house. And if you can't move to Fairhope, you may read this fine book and learn about a fascinating, surprising, and wonderful place. I so enjoyed my visit there.

Name Your Homeplace Contest

As part of her Southern Reading Challenge, Maggie is having a Name Your Homeplace Contest. I'm not sure if my entry will count because my homeplace has a name already: Windy Poplars Farm. When I was a girl, one of my favorite books was Anne of Windy Poplars, from the Anne of Green Gables series. Our farm has a lot of poplars, and it is indeed windy up on this hill. Almost every day there is a breeze. After twenty-seven years, the name still delights me.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mama Robin update

Can you see the bedraggled state of the mama robin's nest? You may click on the photo for a closer view. I'm not sure if any eggs have hatched yet. Again, I am struck with a human comparison; this time, a mother's house. Before the kids arrive, our homes are fairly organized and tidy. After they come, nothing is in its place. There is a kind of chaos until the last one leaves the 'nest.' And even afterwards, when a child, now adult, comes to visit. My girl was here for a while today, doing some laundry and using the treadmill. When she left, let's see, there was an open cheese package on the cutting board, my desk pen was on a kitchen windowsill, half a glass of water on the counter, and a stray sock on the laundry room floor. And it warms my heart.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Quote du jour/Mrs. C.W. Earle

Half the interest of a garden is the constant exercise of the imagination.
Mrs. C.W. Earle, Pot-Pourri From A Surrey Garden (1897)

Isn't that the truth! And look when it was written - not 1997, but 1897. Amazing, and how wonderful that some things really, really do not change. I walk around my garden, and I see things no one else can see. Though the daylilies are just leaves, I see the flowers. Where someone else sees grass, I see a new garden. A row in the vegetable garden is bare, but I see the annual, "cutting garden" flowers there. My imagination is always working, even in the winter. Happily, this book is available, and I'm going to buy it. I wish I could have found a picture of Mrs. Earle, but the book cover will have to do.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Book Report/A House In The Country

A House In The Country
by Jocelyn Playfair
fiction, 1944
finished, 5/20/08

I felt the presence of two of my favorite authors as I read A House in the Country: D.E. Stevenson, and E.M. Delafield. There was Stevenson's description and warmth, and there was Delafield's wit and ironic humor. But the book itself wasn't as well-written or as good a story as books by them. It is set during the Second World War at a country house which no longer has servants, but does take paying guests. The guests have all been touched by the war in one way or another, and are not people who might naturally be together in peacetime. The main character, the lady of the house, is Cressida Chance, a woman alone with a young son. (Not until page 150, does the reader get an explanation of Cressida's past; too long, I thought.) She is much beloved, and is a kind of earth mother; wise, helpful, compassionate, energetic, and stalwart. She deals with the shortages and other domestic problems of war with aplomb. This is a strong woman, who wears trousers (not all that common in those years), and does good solid work, taking care of all these people. She is a deep thinker and very intelligent. Her aunt is appalled that Cressida actually likes living without help, and Cressida tells her:

I'm quite determined never to have any more servants. I feel I've only discovered how to live since the servant question's stopped being a question. I could never again bear anyone else messing about in my kitchen! I feel I'm free for the first time in my life.

My first Persephone book, and a satisfying read it was, sometimes. I felt the beginning of the book was much better than the rest. I think I got "the message" but at times I felt as if I were attending a lecture I didn't sign up for. I liked all the details of domestic life, but I found my mind wandering during the long interior monologues about the world. I suspect that these opinions are worthy, and worthwhile as an historical document of what some people were thinking during the war, but as a story, it didn't work so well for me. There seemed to be types of people, rather than full dimensional people, except for the main character. I wanted more; more interchange, more description, and less philosophy. A little goes a long way in a book of fiction, and there was just too much for me in this book. I am glad I read it, and I particularly liked the ending sentiment, but for the most part it just did not hold up as a great piece of writing. I think it could have been half as long and told the story, such as it was, just as well.

I will warn those who like to come to a book fresh, to wait and read the Preface after finishing the book. I don't know why these usually well-written pieces aren't included after the story.

This isn't a book I plan to keep, so I'm going to offer it as a giveaway. Don't be put off by my opinion. You may love it! If you'd like it, please leave a comment, and I'll have a drawing on Saturday.

Quote du jour/Gilbert Keith Chesterton

A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.
Gilbert Keith Chesterton

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday Stroll/May 18

I've been meaning to participate in Aisling's Sunday Stroll for a while now, and finally I remembered on the right day. I think it is a delightful idea, as well as having a lovely name. Not a walk or a jog but a leisurely stroll on one's land, keeping an eye out for what's growing.

The first bleeding heart.

I am so pleased because Tom's mother gave us a bunch of forget-me-nots last summer, and they not only came up, but are blooming.

There are still a few daffodils in bloom, though many have faded. I always feel a sadness when the first flowers of the season go by.

The shallots are doing great!

Violets are everywhere. How I love them. These were the flowers I held on our wedding day, bought at a flower stall in South Kensington.

The crab apples are in bloom.

Every day is a Sunday Stroll for the chickens.

Book Report/At Bertram's Hotel

At Bertram's Hotel
by Agatha Christie
unabridged audio read by Rosemary Leach
mystery, 1965
finished, 5/16/08

When you step through the door into Bertram's Hotel in Mayfair, London, you go back in time to an England which perhaps never existed, and yet it is the England that older people feel comfortable in. The perfect butler serves afternoon tea with real muffins (quite a big deal is made of the muffins) which even a Scotland Yard detective says is the best tea he has had in a long, long time. The perfect housemaid is just like those who worked in the 'big houses' of the very wealthy, complete with her little cap. The chairs are homey and comfortable, and the seats are high, making it easy for older people to get in and out of. The print on the breakfast menu is big enough that one doesn't need to put on reading glasses. The clientele is made up of these older, respectable people, and of Americans, for this is also an England which Americans love and think of as the 'real' England.

One of the many guests is Miss Jane Marple, who is in London on a sort of sentimental journey. She revisits the beloved places of her childhood. She is nostalgic, yet practical. She is sad an old house is gone, yet recognizes that 'progress' must happen. Her delight in life comes from her interest in people and their actions. Her observations are interspersed among narrative chapters about what is going on. If a reader came to this book fresh, not having heard of Miss Marple, I'm not sure he would know she was the main character. I haven't read enough Miss Marple stories to know if this is the rule, or if At Bertram's Hotel is unusual in this aspect. I found myself wanting to see her more, read more of her thoughts, and hear more conversations between her and Chief-Inspector, Davy. I wonder if his type of policeman is common in the stories. He listened to Miss Marple, respected her opinions, and didn't look at her as a meddling old woman. I did find myself irritated at a small point. Amongst the other policemen, he is known as "Father" because he is older and more experienced. That was fine in those circumstances, but I found it annoying when he was referred to in this way when he is with other people. This broke the rhythm of the narrative for me. Perhaps, it wouldn't have been as noticeable in a print version, but in the audio it stood out.

The story of Bertram's and its guests was very interesting. I liked the way it slowly unfolded, letting the reader get accustomed to how it differed from other hotels. As you might expect, appearances can be deceiving, and all is not what it seems. Outside the hotel, there are frequent robberies taking place, and even inside, a clergyman goes missing.

This was my first book in the Anything Agatha Challenge, and I look forward to reading more about Miss Marple. I'll be interested to see if there is a sort of timelessness about her. I began with a late book and I wonder if the early ones mention events that set them in certain decades. This book had a few mentions of the Beatles, and long hair so the reader knew we were in 1960s London, though at Bertram's Hotel, visitors can easily forget that fact, and may live for a while in an older day.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Country Rhubarb Dessert

The rhubarb is ready to eat! Conventional gardening wisdom says to pull out the stalks, but I always use these scissors.

Because we are going to travel a couple hours this afternoon to see our friends' daughter dance in her last high school recital, we're having this "dessert" as our early supper with cold glasses of milk.

Country Rhubarb Dessert

This recipe is quite like one I posted last year, Rhubarb Bars, but the amounts of ingredients are a bit different, as is the size of the pan.

1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar

2 eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

Blend flour and softened butter until like coarse crumbs. Add confectioners' sugar. Press into greased 7x11 pan. Bake at 350° for about 5 minutes.

Beat eggs. Gradually add the 1 1/4 cup sugar and vanilla. Beat until very light and fluffy; 5 minutes on high with electric mixer. At low speed, add flour, baking powder, and salt. Fold in rhubarb with spatula. Pour over baked crust. Spread evenly.

Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes until light brown and top feels dry. Serve cooled, with whipped cream and strawberries, if desired. This very delicious dish has a nice crunch to the crust with the soft rhubarb inside.

Today's pictures/Lookin' Up

Friday, May 16, 2008

Book Passage/Life Is Meals

245 years ago today.


Life is Meals
A Food Lover's Book of Days
by James and Kay Salter

Boswell Meets Johnson

On this spring evening in 1763, James Boswell had just finished tea at a bookshop near Covent Garden when Samuel Johnson, the most famous literary figure of London, whom Boswell had been eager to meet, arrived unexpectedly. Boswell, nervously remembering Johnson's reputed prejudice against the Scots and hoping to deflect it, lightly apologized. "Mr. Johnson, I do indeed come from Scotland, but I cannot help it."

"That, sir," replied Johnson, "I find, is what a great many of your countrymen cannot help."

Others might have been flattened, but Boswell persevered, and on that day and many that followed, they took meals, tea, and stronger drink together. As different temperamentally as men could be and despite more than thirty years' difference in age, they nevertheless forged a friendship that carried them both into immortality.

Over the next two decades they walked, talked, and often raised a glass together. Johnson held forth on the subject of drink, saying of claret that it was so weak "a man would be drowned by it before it made him drunk....Claret is the liquor for boys, port for men, but he who aspires to be a hero must drink brandy."

Boswell reminded him of their early drinking days together, saying that he used to have a headache afterward.

"Nay, Sir," replied Johnson. "It was not the wine that made your head ache, but the sense I put into it."

"What, Sir! Will sense make the head ache?"

"Yes, Sir," answered Johnson with a smile, "when it is not used to it."

Johnson occasionally gave up liquor altogether, explaining, "Abstinence is as easy to me as temperance would be difficult." At other times he indulged himself, saying, "Wine makes a man better pleased with himself. I do not say that it makes him more pleasing to others."

Seven years after Johnson's death in 1784, Boswell published his Life of Johnson, still considered perhaps the greatest biography ever written, the perfect match of subject and author.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Anything Agatha Challenge

I've read about this challenge for a while, but yesterday when I was at Geranium Cat's Bookshelf, I again saw that wonderful logo, and realized I really wanted to join Joy's challenge. It is exactly what it says, anything by Agatha Christie.

Read 10 of ANYTHING by AGATHA Christie (any combination)
January - December, 2008
(no list required - post 'em as you read 'em)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I think I heard about Clatterford from a preview on the Vicar of Dibley, A Holy Wholly Happy Ending. It sounded right up my alley (street) since it is set in a little English village, and was written by Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French. We thought we'd give it a try, wondering if it would be a sort of over-the-top comedy like Absolutely Fabulous. Well, it is, and then again, it isn't. There are some bizarre characters and situations, but there is also a deep humanity and kindness and intelligence. Most of the characters are women, members of the local Women's Institute. The name was Jam & Jerusalem in Britain, which I prefer rather than the village name. If you've seen Calendar Girls, you will have heard the Jerusalem song at the WI meetings. Saunders and French are in it, as is Joanna Lumley (see if you can spot her). Dawn French's character is a factory worker named Rosie, who occasionally hears the voice of "Margaret" - an evil personality who always puts Rosie down. Although this could have been played as humorous camp by the great Dawn French, it isn't. We care about Rosie, and feel badly when the mean woman comes out. She doesn't hear Margaret's voice in church, and wonders aloud to the vicar why he isn't called a "nutter" because he hears the voice of God. There is a great interchange between the two as they are kneeling alone in church, which will be understood by Anglicans or Episcopalians who miss the old words.

Rosie: God is the author of peace and lover of concord. It's gone now, oh!
Vicar: What?
Rosie: Concord. You think God's sad?

Tom says in Shakespeare, it is often the fool who speaks the truth, and that's what we get from Rosie.

There's a woman who is a kind of crossing guard. She carries around her stop sign looking for traffic. There's a woman who was the nurse at her husband's medical practice, but who, since her husband's death, has been replaced by her daughter-in-law who really isn't cut out for nursing. She reminds me a bit of Doc Martin, another show we love, who gives up surgery because he can't stand blood. There's a thirty-something hippie with a child, who just doesn't know what to do with her life. She will be a wind-power monitor if they build the wind station. Or she might 'take a course' and learn circus tricks. Yes, they sound eccentric, and they might be a bit more extreme than normal, but if you live in a smallish place, you see "characters" all around, and you see them accepted for who they are. I've known many in my lifetime.

Here is an exchange between Tip, a receptionist at the surgery, and the vicar.

Tip: [I was] raised by nuns in a cold convent in southern Ireland.
Vicar: It must have been dreadful.
Tip: No, it actually was lovely. I won't have a word said against them. But that won't win you the Booker Prize.

There have been occasional postings in the blog world (including me in comments) which bemoan the fact that stories about awful childhoods and horrible lives win book prizes, and rarely does something joyful or humorous get noticed in that way.

So there you are, my recommendation for one of the best Britcoms I've seen in a while. Mostly older women living an older life in a little English village. I couldn't be happier. Oh, and the icing on the cake is that the theme song is Ray Davies' Village Green Preservation Society sung by Kate Rusby, whose new cd, Awkward Annie, I've just bought at iTunes.

Quote du jour/George MacDonald

Work is not always required of a man. There is such a thing as sacred idleness, the cultivation of which is now fearfully neglected.
George MacDonald