One of the joys in reading Susan Hill is all the different things she writes about. I find it delightful that she can go from PD James to Texas Hold'em poker in the blink of an eye.
This poker was quite a surprise to me!
I learned Texas Hold'em, teaching myself via an app, and then played a lot online. Too much. I had to stop, not because I was losing - I was breaking even overall and anyway, I never played for high stakes - but because it is very addictive and time-wasting. No, not 'wasting'. I enjoyed it, it was a mental challenge, and I was improving all the time. But time-consuming, certainly. I began to find myself playing every night until the early hours. Time to stop.And then she continues
But knowing the game has made re-reading Casino Royale much more exciting.She writes of Thomas Hardy
Hardy was a melancholic man, glass only a quarter full. He had no optimism, no hope for man or the universe. ... What a delineator of character he was. And people talk about Jane Austen.I loved Hardy when I was in college but I haven't read him since. I think the gloom may have been easier to take before I knew much of the world.
Soon after reading this sentence,
The cuckoo is driving me mad, from dawn, yet for several years he was barely heard here. I defy anyone to explain.we, too, had a bird return. The whip-poor-will is back! It has been gone from Windy Poplars Farm since the 1980s. They have been declining in the Northeast for decades, and the Audubon Society is trying to figure out how to bring them back. This is a most interesting article. The first night it was down the road, another night it was quite distant, but the past two nights and early mornings it has been close to the house. In other bird happenings, we have a red-eyed vireo for the first time. And the phoebe which has nested in the barn for years is gone, but at Margaret's house a phoebe came back to the very same nest it made last year on the porch. Susan Hill is right. Who knows? There is no real explanation about birds. Just magic.
She ends her May entry with a discussion of Gilbert White, my favorite writer whom I've never read. I've read snippets, I've read about him, but never sat down with his Natural History of Selborne. So I've finally bought a copy.
It is always a delight to read his Natural History of Selborne, at random or 'on this date' 250 years ago. He seems so close to us, with his weather and nature and gardening reports. So many things remain. He waits for the first hirundines, records when the swifts are very late, weighs the tortoise and seems to grow enough cucumbers to feed the county. He feels friendly to me as I read, cheerful, methodical, modest, inquisitive, a man in tune with the natural world around him as if it were part of him, ... White is useful, too, for correcting one's feeling that never was a July as hot as this, swallow so early, oak so late in leaf, winter so mild, tortoise so regular in its habits. The sun rises and sets and the moon waxes and wanes and the tides are high and then low and the Earth turns on its axis, for us as for Gilbert White. That is comforting.