Saturday, 11 July 2020

Books

There are so many things I really should be doing but currently I can't seem put my mind to them - they can wait. Thank goodness for my pile of new books which are offering such a great source of relaxation and escapism. 
Although published last year, I have only just read The Salt Path by Raynor Winn - a great read full of love and pathos. This is her first book, I enjoyed her writing, and am now looking forward to her follow up book 'The Wild' due out this September. The Salt Path begins in Minehead, a Somerset seaside town, and a place where we stayed last Autumn. The path runs all around the South West coast for 630 miles until it finishes in Poole, Dorset. Whilst reading The Salt Path, I recognised many of the small rocky coves and fine sandy beaches, quaint towns and pretty villages that the couple pass through whilst on their journey. I had forgotten just how much of the SW coast we have actually visited. Our visits to that area have always been happy, relaxed holiday occasions, unlike those of Raynor and her husband Moth, who are dragging themselves along the pathway in the depths of despair, seeking a solution to their profound problems, but ultimately, in doing so, find themselves. 
The Dutch House by Anne Patchett, was the next book on my pile, but when I went to find it, the book had disappeared, but was found in the hands of my husband. He was finding it a page turner, but fortunately he is a much quicker reader than I am, so I waited patiently for him to finish.
Fall in love with the Dutch House, you will want to visit it or maybe even live in it. Interestingly my vision of the property, both its situation and its architecture was completely different to that of my husband. Don't you just love this painting of Maeve? one of the main characters, and the daughter of the owner of the Dutch House. Her piercing blue eyes stare straight out at you from beneath her long, thick, black, glossy hair?
Why does the Dutch House hold such a pivotal role for both Maeve and her younger brother Danny throughout their entire lives, and will a resolution ever be found?
☆☆☆☆☆☆

PS - for anyone living in the UK - did you watch the wildlife programme on BBC2 - 10th July called The Fens - a Wild Year. The programme explores the vast patchwork of ancient wetlands and fertile farmland that make up the fens of East Anglia. You can get it on BBC iplayer catchup, it is one of the most beautifully filmed wildlife programmes I have seen. Whooper swans fly in from Iceland each winter, there has been a re-emergence of Cranes, wild ponies roam the Fens from Poland, and there are Asian water buffalo in the water meadows. Apart from the scenery and the diversity of animal/bird life, there are some really interesting human stories too.
Felicity Irons - one of the last full-time rush weavers in the country.

55 comments:

  1. Can't wait to read The Salt Path - especially as I know the Southwest Path so well from my childhood - at least my section around Torbay! I always take a walk when visiting home - AND I WANT TO COME SO BADLY RIGHT NOW!
    The Dutch House sounds mysterious, glad you both enjoyed.
    Can't get the documentary online clips to open over here, but have just read the Daily Mail.com article and love the photos there. Perhaps we'll see the program at a later time on our TV - I know I will enjoy it.
    Happy weekend - stifling heat here last couple of days, and it will continue every day in the coming week.
    Our love XX

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    1. Do get the book Mary, and I am sure that you too will want to read the follow up book.
      I did realise that people who were not in the UK would be unable to access The Fens, but I am so pleased that you did manage to see a review of it in the Daily Mail along with more images.
      We both really enjoy The Dutch House - a great read - it was the book of the year in The Times, Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Times Literary Supplement, Washington Post, Irish Times, Herald and Good Housekeeping.
      The weather is pleasant here, sunny, blue skies and plenty of fluffy clouds floating by.

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  2. I read The Salt Path in Dutch translation, impressive, and recently bought Raynor Winn's sequel to that ~The Wild Silence~, also in translation.

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    1. I was interested that you have already got The Wild Silence - it will not be available here until 3rd September.

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  3. "The Dutch House" sounds like a perfect gift for my friend Anne, Rosemary, for me it sounds a bit gloomy.
    "The Salt Path" maybe is more to my taste - they say it contains dry humour, beside all things breaking up - so I might give it a try - I write it into my "To read list", but as I have staples of books here waiting for a read there will some time gone by.

    The Dutch novelists I have now to read for my studies are also no firework of laughter and joy (well - that leaden sky...) - so I need something light-hearted, as Elizabeth v. Arnims very light lovely novels, or Henry Fielding's Tom Jones or Laurence Stern's Tristram Shandy - or an overdose of E.F. Benson....

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    1. I am sorry that I have given you the impression that The Dutch House sounds a bit gloomy - that was not my intention.
      The Dutch House is not a Dutch novel, it is a story that takes place in Pennsylvania and the writer, Ann Patchett, is an acclaimed American author.

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    2. Thank you, Rosemary - of course I read some of Ann Patchett's books, and I had looked 'The Dutch House' up in "Goodreads", and "The Guardian", both praised it - but I got the impression from that reviews that the story is not the merriest one.
      Funny incident: in my favourite bookshop there stood the German version: the same beautiful cover and the German title, "Das Holländerhaus" ( which shows why I always prefer to read the original: it is not wrong, but it is also not right: re-translated it means "The House of the Dutch (people)".

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  4. The Dutch House is now on my list as is a visit to iPlayer. Thank you. I too enjoyed/ empathised with the Salt Path. An excellent although at times harrowing read. I look forward to her new one. B x

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    1. I do hope that you enjoy The Dutch House Barbara - I shall watch The Fens again as it is exquisitely beautiful, but also very inspiring.

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  5. I live the strange fenlands. I stayed on the Cambridgeshire fens once and there were rumours of witches still living there. My favourite drama series (comedy with substance) was set in the fictitious Mardle Fen. I must see that program on catch-up.

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    1. Do watch it Tom - I thought that it was a stunning wildlife programme.

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  6. Dearest Rosemary,
    Well, reading has always been one of my favorites and this winter I do hope to finally start reading again. We have been way too busy during our consulting years and constantly writing training manuals and now by publishing our updated version. Need cataract surgery first.
    Our veranda is a blissful spot for reading and being transformed into other worlds.
    Your first photo has not shown on my sidebar for a while... don't know why?
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Dear Mariette - I can well imagine just how lovely it is sit on your veranda in the sunshine with a good book.
      Not sure just why the photo is not showing on your sidebar anymore.
      Take care.

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    2. Dear Rosemary, not in the sunshine...https://mariettesbacktobasics.blogspot.com/2012/09/our-veranda.html
      📚

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  7. Dear Rosemary,
    Thank You, Thank You. There is nothing I like better than receiving a book recommendation from a good friend. Both books have been ordered from Amazon. Your recommendations came at just the right time. Evenings are long and there is plenty of shade under the old apple trees.

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    1. Dear Gina - I do hope that you enjoy them both. Books can be such a great diversion and distraction especially when so much current news from around the world is still fraught.
      I will imagine you sitting beneath your old apple trees reading whilst shielding yourself from the sun.

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  8. Hello Rosemary, I had no idea that rush weaving was in danger. I hope that Ms. Irons has some pupils. Revivals of crafts are never the same as when passed down by a master. I wish I could see that nature documentary, but it does not seem likely, especially as I have no internet video services. I just read a description of The Fens, saying how much of the wetlands has disappeared, and the same thing is happening in the U.S. at a frightening pace. The huge salts marshes of the Carolinas are disappearing, and the famous Everglades of Florida is endangered, although they are working on restoring it.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - there are many small craftspeople doing rush work, but Felicity Irons is the last full time one, who not only weaves, but also cuts and prepares her own rushes in exactly the same way as the Anglo Saxons did.

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  9. I loved the Salt Path, and particularly because I know some of the places on the route so well. Your second book looks worth a read too, I might investigate. Havent seen the tv program you mention but will seek it out, wild ponies from Poland sound too good to miss!

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    1. Do watch the programme, I thought it was both wonderful and inspiring.

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  10. Loved Raynor Winn's book - and I've put The Dutch House on my must-read list now. Thank you. Yes, I enjoyed the Fenland programme. I think it's one of a series, I've set them to record.

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    1. Yes, you are right. There was one on Pembrokeshire and next week one is on Yorkshire. However, I thought that the Fenland one was quite exceptional especially from a photography point of view.
      Hope that you enjoy The Dutch House.

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  11. Not having a TV I'll not see the programme on the Fens. I'll just have to make do with the real thing!

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    1. Whenever you visit The Fens you always show it off beautifully.

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  12. I actually watched it this afternoon! I love nature and wildlife programmes; Spring, Autumn and Winterwatch, David Attenborough's wildlife programmes, Countryfile etc. I'm currently reading Northanger Abbey. I love the south coast as we lived in Weymouth and then in Taunton, so we often went to Minehead and the towns and little fishing villages around the coast. Best, Jane x

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    1. I hope that you enjoyed the programme Jane. There is a further Wild Year film next week about North Yorkshire - the uplands and the dales.

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  13. I hope the Fenland programme comes here. We both enjoyed The Salt Path and I didn't know she had a second book but have just put it on hold at the Library (for when it comes out). I also requested the Dutch House.

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  14. Really like the cover artwork for the Salt Path and I suspect I've walked most of it over the decades. I will look out for it. Makes you want to pick it up immediately you see it. By contrast I'd walk straight past The Dutch House which only highlights everyone's different graphic art tastes, like music. Nearly watched The Fens but didn't. Kicking myself now as what I did watch in it's place was instantly forgettable.

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    1. Do you not use iPlayer catchup on your computer? I have a TV that gives me catchup but before that I could always get things on the computer.

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    2. Don't like using iPlayer as it's not compatible with some of the other devices I have on my computer and tries to dominate or interfere with them. I already have an HD film watcher and several other graphic based items on it and they all tend to want top billing.

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  15. Funny I bought the Salt Path too last week, haven't read it yet, have some more to read first. The Dutch House I have never heard of, sounds interesting.

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    1. The action for the Dutch House actually takes place in Pennsylvania, USA. You must get the follow up book to The Salt Path if you enjoy it.

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  16. I read the Salt Path a while ago with my local library book group and found it very interesting. I'm sorry that we haven't been able to meet and our libraries are still closed as I enjoyed the social aspect of the group as well as being introduced to a variety of novels and non fiction. Mr P and I watched the programme on the Fens and found it fascinating as those old flat boats used among the rushes are similar to ones in the Italian wetlands of Largo Fibreno. I've written about the area on my blog. That's a beautiful picture of Felicity Irons gathering rushes. Very atmospheric as was the television programme.

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    1. I found the film about The Fens scenically very beautiful, and I also enjoyed finding out about some of the really interesting people who live there too.
      Are you intending to read the follow up book to The Salt Path?

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    2. Yes, I shall pre-order it as it'll be another good read.

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  17. They look interesting and I'm not a great book reader but if I do start on a novel then nothing ever gets done!
    Take care.

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    1. I must admit that I am letting things slid currently, but there will plenty of time during the winter months to catch up if necessary.

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  18. When I was working full time, all my reading tended to be academic journal articles or reference books. With forced retirement and self isolation, I am open to novels again. Many thanks.

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    1. If you get the books then I really do hope that you enjoy them. My husband was a professor, he is probably much the same as you, but he enjoyed both books. Currently, however, I notice that he his busily reading a Chemistry book!

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  19. Dear Rosemary - I’ve heard the reputation of The Salt Path. Reading a story containing the places where you have visited would enhance your interests and pleasure in reading as a traveler in history no matter how different the situation. I wish I could see the wildlife programs on BBC2. I guess it’d be like the nature programs I see on NHK BS1 here. BTW, you must be realizing New Blogger is constantly changing. I looked for the missing HTML icon to make a backup and found at the same place with the Old Blogger. Take care.

    Yoko

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    1. Dear Yoko - You are right, knowing so many places along the 630 mile journey vividly brought much of the coastal path and villages etc back to me.
      I think that they are still playing about with New Blogger, so many other people keep saying the same thing. Most people would have been perfectly happy if they had left it alone.

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  20. The Salt Path has been highly recommended by so many people that I am putting it on my list right away, along with The Dutch House. The photo of the rush weaver is full of drama. I'm wondering if she is the same weaver featured in Country Living UK awhile ago.

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    1. You are correct Lorrie, Felicity Irons was featured in Country Living sometime last year. She is an extraordinary women, very strong, very tanned, and very lean. She collects her annual rush crop during an intensive two-month summer stint, working up to 14 hours a day. The rest of the year is spent turning her harvest into mats, chairs, tableware, basketry, shoes and hats.

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  21. I am not that interested in reading books but I think I should start that habit of reading .very nice blog . Take care

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    1. Thank you Shilpa - do give a book that particularly interests you a try, it is such a great form of relaxation and escapism.

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  22. Rush weaving is a new term for me.

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    1. She makes mats, baskets, hats, and various other craftsmanship things with the rushes.

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  23. Rosemary's family is a living book. We can read this book post by post in this blog.

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