Thursday, July 01, 2010

Thursday 1 July

~  We have to wait at the temporary traffic lights at Quessoy.  A huge tipper truck, a blue rectangle with a broad yellow stripe down it, is pouring its load of molten macadam onto the road.  The hot tarry smell of it pours into the car through the open windows.

Wolf Hall, finished.  Oh, I am going to miss Thomas Cromwell.  Sometimes I'm not sure he could really have been so utterly likeable, but that's part of the wonder of it, that she makes you believe he was, malgré tout.  And there will be a sequel.

~  I seem to have collected quite a lot of bugs.  Hoverflies aren't really too difficult, they stay quite still.  The really quick and tricky little buggers are these things,

humming-bird hawkmoths.  Quite frequent,flying day and evening.  In the heatwave of 2003, we had convolvulus hawkmoths, a handspan across, counting their tongues, and painted like something on a Japanese ceramic.  I've not seen them here since.  Perhaps if this weather keeps up... unfortunately, the weather the lizards and hawkmoths like is also the weather of hornets and ant invasions.


Rouchswalwe said...

Fascinating! I am missing my little office moth, Graf Wilhelm Otto von Mottenstein. These hawkmoths might have scared him, though. They look like creatures from those old Mothzilla flicks.

Julia said...

I totally fell in love with Thomas Cromwell when I was reading Wolf Hall. I kept reminding myself of Hans Holbein's portrait but Cromwell was so completely likeable that even the painting couldn't crush my enthusiasm.

Plus he taught me about memory palaces. I'll never forget him now ;-).

Zhoen said...

I have never heard of humming-bird hawkmoths. What a great name for such a wee creature.

Fire Bird said...

oh, oh humming bird hawk moths! how fantastic. We once had one in the front yard at the old house. It came to visit the isotoma (sp?) and L momentarily thought it was a humming bird!! I am stunned by your photograph. I don't know much about shutter speeds but that must be fats!!

Fire Bird said...

that's *fast*

Jean said...

I keep looking at Wolf Hall and wondering if I would like it.

Lucy said...


R - lovely name for your moth friend!

Julia - I was curious about the memory palace, but haven't found out any more. I loved the dialogue so much, just wished I could join in...

Z - they really are very bird-like, very engaging.

FB - I have to confess I know little about shutter speeds either, this was done on 'intelligent auto', which seems to grow more intelligent as I get used to it. It's still quite blurry, if the light had been stronger it might have been clearer. I figure that if I tried to mess about with custom settings, tripods etc most likely the subject would have disappeared before I got them sorted out, so I take my chance!

Jean - well now, I don't know. I thought of you at one point because its written in that narrative present tense which I remembered you saying usually irritated you so much you often won't even start a book which uses it. I tend to agree that's a bit trite, but on the other hand it's become so prevalent now I'm not sure how many novels one would find without it.

It has one or two other devices which I'm not sure whether I find intriguing or distracting, notably that the 'he' in the narrative is always Cromwell, unless otherwise stated, I suppose to emphasise its subjectivity, that the POV, the inner voice, is always and entirely his and no one else's.

I wasn't instantly attracted to the subject matter; I like good historical fiction but that period is not a favourite, I'm inclined to think it's been so flogged to death by books, films and TV that we're really all a bit Tudored out! However, when it came to it and someone put the book in my hand and I opened it, that didn't matter a bit, I was so instantly grabbed by it. And it made me reflect a bit more closely on why we're so stuck on that time, the emergence of recognisable humanism and individual expression, conscience and subjectivity, coupled with a still alien brutality and disregard for individual suffering.

And it confirmed what I think Schama said, that, largely thanks to Robert Bolt I suppose, the English have let Thomas More off the hook too lightly for the sadist and fanatic that he was. I still felt sick when he got his come-uppance though.

Enough for now, don't know if anyone even reads this bit anyway!