Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Untold Stories.

I managed to finish Untold Stories by Alan Bennett. I am quite proud of the achievement as the book runs around 650 pages and it has taken me less than a week, during which time I have also been reading the endless stream of magazines I seem compelled to purchase.

I was quite surprised at the prominence that the book received at my local Border’s (even though, inexplicably, it appeared in New Fiction) as it is a very English book with very English memories and complaints.

Rather to my glee, Bennett, in the pages of diary extracts, comes over as quite a grumpy man. It’s good to know we share some attributes. I doubt I’d put up with a woman living rough in a van in my driveway for fifteen years as he did. Even after reading the book, I’m not quite sure why he allowed her to do so. I see that he would probably always prefer to avoid conflict, but still it can’t have made him too popular with his neighbors, though I suppose they forgot about it after a year or two and it just became part of everyday life, rather as the trains that pass slowly nearby have become part of mine.

I enjoyed the book and found myself made a little homesick by his descriptions of visits to ancient churches to look at the windows and the memorials. I was a church collector in that way myself for a while though, shockingly, during my last trip to England I passed near to Romney Marsh without visiting St. Mary in the Marsh. When I lived nearby in Ashford, I would visit regularly during the summer and sit quietly in one of the old box family pews.

There are some pretty churches here in the US, but few that have the same sense of history within, and none that were in existence at the time of King Canute as was the Church of St. Clements in Old Romney.

But Bennett has distracted me from some domestic tasks over the past few days; notably, cutting the grass. I don’t mind too much as the dandelions, of which there truly is a golden host, are such a cheery yellow though I suspect that I will be battling them with some form of weed killer within a few weeks. It’s a battle I am destined to lose.

On the subject of the yard, I have a pair of crows nesting and while they are likely to be eyed suspiciously by my neighbor, I find them interesting to watch. Yesterday, for example, I watched them chase a squirrel away from the tree in which they are nesting. They harried it until it fled across the creek at which time their mission appeared to be accomplished. I was surprised to learn that a squirrel might, on rare occasions, eat bird eggs. I am a fact richer today thanks to my crow neighbors.


Donald said...

ιστοριες που δεν εχουν ειπωθει...