Monday, June 29, 2009

Special Deliveries

This morning R was weeding by the front door. He discovered a clump of boxwood branches had been bitten right off leaving a gaping hole the size of a dinner plate. There, tucked inside was a nest of new baby bunnies.
Then, on my way to work I checked the mailbox. More bundles of joy and they're almost the same colour as the bunnies! It's been a rainy sort of day...a grey day all around.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Second Hand Books

There's a second hand bookshop in a town nearby called Pickwick Books. It's my favourite sort as the gentleman that owns it has a fondness for classics and English authors. I found this copy of The Making of a Marchioness there last Fall.
The book was written in 1901, my copy doesn't have a date of publication but it must be quite close to that time.
There's a name inside the cover, Megan Evans, and it's written in fountain pen. I wonder if the lady herself has ticked off the titles of the books printed on the back page. Pencil was used so perhaps it's titles she hoped to read one day. Fountain pen would have been a firm commitment. There's more than one story to be had in a second hand book and I like being the keeper of that until it's someones else's turn.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Making Do

Lately, there has been an issue with stacked books. R and I have been out searching for a new bookcase but haven't been able to find one that seems just right.
While I was cleaning the house yesterday I remembered that The Heiress used to have a bookcase for her Disney paraphernalia. The white shelving no longer belonged in her grown-up bedroom. A massive print of Audrey Hepburn has taken over that space. Hmmmm, I wondered...
The Heiress had told me the night before that she had a 'free day' and would appreciate sleeping in - for a very long time! It was 9:30 am and I realized that I would never be able to carry the shelving up from the basement by myself. There was only one thing to do. "Sweetheart, are you awake by any chance?". After explaining in a pleading voice The Heiress very politely replied "Such dilemmas". She really did, no swearing or anything! Now I have room for my new Persephones when they arrive next week. And not to worry, The Heiress promptly went back to her room and fell fast asleep.

Monday, June 22, 2009

When the Wind Blows

Meet Jim and Hilda Bloggs. They are the characters through which Raymond Briggs tells the story of the impact of nuclear war. They could be anyone's grandparents.
The story starts off in colourful detail. Jim, having lived through The Blitz, hears that war could once again be rearing it's ugly head. He's picked up some leaflets from the library on how to prepare for "The Bomb". Hilda worries about Jim ruining the paintwork and what will happen to their milk order. And no way is she using anything other than a toilet for the bathroom!
This war will be different from the one he remembers. As with many things, the memories of World War II become a little less frightening with the passing of time. Sleeping in a Morrison shelter was fun and wasn't it nice to hear Vera Lynn singing. Spitfires and Hurricanes in the blue skies over cornfields, those were the days.
The airplanes that will come this time have even more sinister cargo on board.
This is where you start to feel quite sick for these two characters. With the turning of a page you see only white and know that the worst has happened, The Bomb has been dropped. There is no longer very much colour in the illustrations and we watch these two lovely people struggle to maintain life as normal while being affected by radiation sickness. The stiff upper lip and all that, ever present until the end. Even writing about this story brings tears to my eyes and I will never forget it. For Raymond Briggs to take you from smiling to tears in less than an hour in comic book form shows how talented he is. An amazing piece of work.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

For Father's Day, R thought he would like to go for a bike ride with The Heiress. It was the wee hours of the morning when she got in but that didn't stop R from going into her room quite early and announcing his plans. The Heiress is a good sport and within half an hour she was ready to go. Off they went with their bikes on the back of the van for an afternoon of touring the boardwalk. I plugged in the kettle, gathered some reading material and had a blissful afternoon under the pergola. Best of all, the Dad's in the neighbourhood were taking a day off from the lawn mowers, leaf blowers and weed whackers so it was fairly quiet. Hooray!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Saturday Silliness

We wondered what Deacon would think of one of those singing cards. This is what happened.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rain Soaked Roses

I'm not far enough into Saplings yet to give any sort of a review other than it's really growing on me. So I thought that I would share a picture of our rambling rose bush, so full of rainwater it's almost touching the ground. R has just come in from walking Deacon and had me in stitches! Around here we have a 'junk pick-up', a couple of times a year the city will collect large items for the scrap heap. R told me that he had spied through some plastic wrap, a print featuring a mouse eyeing up a piece of fruit, sitting at the bottom of someones driveway. He thought to himself "Darlene loves mice, perhaps I could bring this home". R pulled back the plastic for a closer look and decided that the mouse had the look, not so much Beatrix Potter as Quentin Tarantino. The print stayed put. I thanked him for that.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Thank You Danielle!

R has just come in with the mail and a small tub of Haagen-Daz ice cream. The real treat was finding this bookmark from Danielle! She kindly offered five bookmarks for a draw on her blog, A Work in Progress, and I was so lucky as to have won this one. The artwork is entitled 'Reading on the Rocks' by John George Brown and just so happens to be set on a resort island in New Brunswick. Perfect for a Canadian like me! Kristina and I are reading the next book in our Across the Pond book club for two starting tomorrow. It's a Persephone title, Saplings, and as I opened it tonight I noticed that it was missing the bookmark they usually come with. Great timing Danielle, thank you so very much, I love it!


R and I took Deacon to Woofstock yesterday. It's held in Toronto and if you peek just to the left of the skyscrapers you can see the CN Tower.
This event is the largest outdoor festival for dogs in North America and an estimated 140,000 people show up each year. We saw dogs of all shapes and sizes but the puppies were the cutest.
Some even came dressed to impress, you never know who you may meet. Do dogs have to get their roots touched up?
A fashion show was the spot to be to catch what's new in dog fashion for the upcoming year. There were booths of all kinds featuring gourmet dog food, treats for the allergic dog, doggy day spas, fashion wear, computerized dog tags, portrait studios and even Dyson pet hair vacuums. It was a fantastic day out but I do wish that we could rewind lunchtime. You see, you should never give your dog sausage and then drive with him for almost an hour. Let's just say that it was a good thing it was warm enough to have the windows down.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Home to Roost

Deborah Devonshire is the most excellent of women and it's official, I adore her. I love that she is elegant but will get her hands dirty, that she is a lady yet will be in on the joke, that she lives with opulence but is practical (she wears the same overcoat pictured on the covers of her last two books). That she loves animals and has owned a border collie or two endears her to me beyond measure. Home to Roost is the perfect read to snuggle up with and put a smile on your face. Ms Debo, as Alan Bennett calls her in the introduction, has the most fantastic sense of wit and it runs throughout her writing. Arising out of the enthusiasm of these new rural dwellers, I confidently expect the ones we know will soon by joined by Save the Rat Society, the Protection of Maiden Aunts in the Country Association, Family Planning for Rabbits (this will need a large staff), the Barbed Wire Heritage Group...
Lady Aberdeen scattered autumn leaves on her tablecloth. (They look like potato crisps but never mind, they were a change from ferns and carnations).
When I missed the Dowager Duchess by one hour at Hatchard's in May, the sales assistant said to check with them on my next visit. She apparently stops by the shop to sign books a few times a year. In Home to Roost, Deborah writes that she always wonders if anyone will show up at these events to purchase a book or want to meet her and is surprised that many people do. She can not be oblivious to her charms, perhaps it is the etiquette of humility, but I would gladly meet with this sublime Duchess any day. By my estimation 'Ms Debo' is 89 years old, I hope that she is around for many more years to write many more books. She is a gem.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Ethel & Ernest

Thanks to Book Psmith for posting about this delightful book. You just know it's going to be charming by the illustration on the cover.
The story is told, and illustrated, by Raymond Briggs. We learn how his parents met in 1928, were married, struggled to have a child, endured WWII and see Raymond through school.
All too quickly Ethel & Ernest go through the stages of family life. Their son, Raymond, does such a wonderful job of taking us along for the ride. This book will make you smile and then feel sad when it comes to an end. At a mere 103 pages, you can read it while you drink a pot of tea, I highly recommend it. Thanks Book Psmith!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Favourite Things

This is a sampler that hangs in my hallway. It features some of my favourite things, like teapots and ...
and bunnies and ...
bee skeps. If I ever find a sampler that features books and chocolate then I may just have to make that one too! What would your sampler have on it?