Friday, October 29, 2010

Dull Is Not The Right Word

Someone said on the phone yesterday ‘your life must be dull’.

Next door’s crabapple is ablaze with blossom. The southerly wind is blowing it like confetti across our lawn. A splendid sight.

The antique pansies that Anne planted over Labour Day weekend has its first bloom, a striking purple.

The large copper beech over the fence is in full glory – that sheen that is part of a deciduous cycle. It stands superb against a dull, grey sky.

Dorothy our cat is licking a clean-up of her stomach – such a fastidious process.

Last evening I shouted Anne and a friend Amy to a special Provencal meal at La Cloche. I would loved to have gone but it is so difficult. So they were my proxies. Anne has a very descriptive turn of phrase. When she got in I savoured the goat’s cheese tart entrée and the hare for the main. Mental taste-buds worked overtime.

I watched while they were out a DVD ‘Mr Smith Goes to Washington’. Made in 1939 it has a youthful James Stewart, the gangly, naive idealist plucked from obscurity to represent his state in the Senate. Capra directed. It’s dated but I enjoyed it for what it was – especially in the light of the Congressional elections very soon – the American dream.

The excellent black and white camera effects of the Lincoln memorial reminded me of our visit there. It was Veteran’s Day – the Viet Nam memorial wall was bedecked with wreaths and floral tributes. Lincoln’s statue and words were awe-inspiring – the American ideal at its best – while the Viet Nam one was sobering and saddening.

On that same trip I spent a day in Philadelphia. I was toured round the famous Independence Hall but what really struck me was the cracked Liberty Bell. A young Black woman national guide introduced it – I was one of a few adults in a large crowd of school kids. ‘Did the bell ring?’ she asked. A boy volunteered it couldn’t, it was cracked. Not so, she argued listing the occasions it had rung – when Lincoln freed the slaves, when Pearl Harbour happened, when Nelson Mandela visited. The crowd took up her refrain. I experienced the American dream first hand. It was very moving. To move on from there to negotiate over teacher exchanges was an emotional let-down. It remains a red-letter event in my memory-banks.

Wordsworth's right. Memory can provide satisfaction

Anne was out today. Oliver brought whitebait. Under my supervision he made the batter and then cooked them, only the second time he has done that. It was a challenge to both of us. He did a great job. We had a lovely lunch.

I finished ‘No Fretful Sleeper’. I’m still waiting to be convinced of Pearson’s overall importance but I’m pleased to have read the life. The last half involves people I know or have heard about. [Noeline Chapman was my first wife’s half-sister. I met Pearson once or twice at their house].

After dithering and in light of the biography I’ve decided to re-read Pearson's novel 'Coal Flat'. It’ll be interesting to see what I make of it at this removed stage of my life. It was a hard choice, the life of Katherine Mansfield waits impatient on the shelf.

‘Dull’ is not the right word.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Harvey, the KM bio is terribly good - it will make up for missing a meal at La Cloche or anything similar - I find myself fighting off events/invitations so I can stay home and read it... Hold off no longer.