Spring is in two days time, less as it is evening here. And yet, yet it snows. Late afternoon it began to really come down. All last night it snowed - huge flakes that melted before they even hit the ground, but this afternoon it began to look dusty: not a real covering, just... dusty. Grey merging with the brown of the earth. Now it's white outside, and a weather warning is in place. I've been watching the daffodils at the front of the house for weeks - during the last frost I thought they'd died, but these past few days they looked hopeful, I could see the yellow. They're hardy, though, I suppose they'll survive this.
And, meanwhile, after a difficult (and expensive) week I've finished On the Black Hill by Bruce Chatwin. It's a landmark one for me - I don't believe any book has spent a longer period on my TBR pile. In the Lower Sixth, why I don't know, we studied the opening of this novel (I think we may have been comparing it with something else - if you finished your A' Levels in 2000, perhaps you remember?) and I bought it not long after. But I didn't read it until thirteen years later. Shame on me, because I loved it. It tells the lives of twins Lewis and Benjamin Jomes, and the novel consists of continuous flashbacks, these snapshots of time, events (key or otherwise) that have shaped Lewis and Benjamin throughout their lives throughout the twentieth century. It is timeless, though, almost. It was one of those "deceptively simple" books, no flowery descriptions: eighty years were covered in a mere 262 pages, and it was about everything and nothing. No real plot, simply the development of the characters, their relationships and their lives, and life on the farm (it's set on the Welsh borders). Truly wonderful book, and it was Chatwin's first, I believe (published 1982). Very much looking forward to read more by him!
Last week I also read The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy, and I read it in the worst possible setting: in someone's bedroom at a party. Before you think I'm horrifically anti-social, I didn't know anyone there - my boyfriend was playing, so the music was loud, the drink was flowing, and every few minutes someone came in the bedroom to get a coat or something from their bag. Fortunately no one expects anything from the roadie, so I was left to read it, but I wasn't able to get into it at all. I suspect it's better than I give it credit, but I'm in no rush to re-read it. I seem to have a funny relationship with Thomas Hardy: I believe I am a fan, yet of the four books I have read (Jude the Obscure, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Far From the Madding Crowd, and now The Mayor of Casterbridge, I've loved two and been indifferent to two). Hopefully The Return of the Native will be one I love, for that is coming soon!
This week: finally I will read Midnight's Children by Rushdie. I've been putting this one off for nearly two years, but I'm ready for it now. I've read two pages, and I think I may like it, although it seems a tad laboured. We will see! This week, Wednesday, is also Vernal Equinox, which is exciting, I have plans for a 18th Century themed month for April (as ever, I'm late in announcing it - I shall do that in the next few days), and... And something else budgie-related, but I shall post this tomorrow (no, I don't have a new budgie: no plans to get a fourth). I'm also coming to the end of spring cleaning the paperwork (this has been quite a task!), so things are certainly moving forward. I am so looking forward to spring now! Plus, I'm glad to have things to post about because I feel I've neglected this blog a little. Maybe it doesn't appear that way, but writing isn't coming easily. Tumblring, however, is - so if you're on there let me know!