Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday 14th August

~ Delicious caramel flavour cough mixture can't stop me coughing at 6 am.  I come downstairs and cough freely on the sofa for a while, and wish I had the energy and the will to keep my eyes open and do something more constructive (didn't I used to blog at this hour? Those were the days...).  I fall asleep and don't wake up until 8.30. So then, it being Sunday and I being poorly (-ish), I allow myself a day on the sofa to answer an e-mail to a friend and read the second half of Atonement.  I feel too desultory to write, but finish the book, then write the e-mail and take Molly for a walk, so that's not too bad. I certainly found Atonement a gripping read, I don't mind that he's wordy and allusive and uses a lot of adjectives and changes of pace and style, but I did feel a bit toyed with and cheated at the end.  Actually that reminded me of the end of Villette, I wonder if anyone else has noticed that?

Not sure what the beautiful thing was there, maybe lazing on the sofa with a book.

~ We keep the curtains open until last thing at this time of year, often don't close the back ones at all.  Sitting where I am now, it's almost dark, and I look out on the open timbers of the lean-to barn.  The familiar form of a blackbird sweeps up and lands on them, silhouetted against the last light in the sky, its tail and head cocked upward, I imagine rather than hear its jagged call.

~ Mexican orange, second flowering.  They smell delicious.


the polish chick said...

were you being sarcastic about the delicious aspect of the cough mixture? because i have never met one deserving of that adjective. repugnant, maybe. vile, certainly. but delicious? never.

those all night coughing fits are awful and i never manage to do anything constructive on those nights. just play online mahjong until it knocks me out.

hope you feel better soon. the orange is lovely.

christopher said...

My deceased wife and I would call days like that a "lump" day, where we were not much more than lumps. We found them delicious so long as we were not so ill and miserable as all that. You sound as if you rather enjoyed things.

Most often though, when my allergies or colds and flu are involved, I am far too miserable to care about things or enjoy them.

Lucy said...

Thanks both.

PC - well I hadn't before but in fact this cough mixture really is rather nice! It's caramel with only the faintest trace of anything menthol- or eucalyptus-like, and it's actually quite effective as such things go. Mind you as a kid there was one called Venos (I think) which I kind of quite liked, it had something of tonic wine about it...

Christopher - well, it was a bit lumpen. This kind of unwellness is annoying because it's not bad enough for me to take to my bed completely, but I feel too crap really to do anything properly. Not to worry, this too shall pass...

Plutarch said...

I nearly always feel cheated by Ian McEwan. The plots seem too often to show through the flesh. Too clever. Sometimes we are right to decry cleverness. The ending of Atonement is artificial, so cunningly researched, and unconvincing in its outcome. The ending of Saturday is despicable! The thing is I suppose that IM is still worth some criticism.
As a cougher I can sympathise. Summer colds are the worst.
Word verification is "surefuzz". One of the best recent deiscoveries.

Jean said...

Mexiacn orange. Very pretty. Hope you feel better.

earlybird said...

I agree about the ending of Atonement... in fact I have decided that I am not spending money on another Ian McEwan book (having put Solar in the recycling bin). I think the start to Enduring Love is one of the great beginnings. But he simply can't end his books. There are other authors to read.

I'm ashamed to say I've never read Villette... and perhaps I never will now if you say you felt cheated at the end of that too!

Lucy said...


I hadn't actually read any Ian McEwan since some of the very early short stories when I was much younger - I didn't really like him, found him clever but cold and rather repellent, and perhaps a bit misogynistic. I read this mostly because someone lent and strongly recommended it to me. Also I've got the film on a borrowed DVD lying around and thought perhaps it would be best to read the book first.

The more I think about it the more I feel the ending was an unsatisfactory cop-out, that kind of post-modern layering, irony and general cleverbuggery can just be laziness I reckon. And that there were quite a lot on inconsistencies and flaws in it. I suppose I only feel this cross about it because he did succeed in persuading me to care for long enough.

The ending of Villette doesn't disappoint in the same way; she just uses that same device of saying 'I'll leave those that want to to construct X happy end' which she lays before you, and which of course is what you're hoping for, but then you know to construe that the happy end isn't the true one. But it's about truth not trickery, the truth that some are born to sweet delight and others endless night and all the wishful thinking and consolation of stories with happy ends doesn't make it otherwise. It still maintains its internal reality and integrity, rather than just unravelling it to laugh in its readers' gullible faces, as I feel Atonement does. Mind you, Villette's a long and miserable book so I'm not sure I'd urge you to read it!

So I probably won't read any more IM either, as you say, EB, there are plenty of other things to read. But while I was reading it I was sure I was reading something good. Mind you, I quite often think that until I've taken a bit of time to digest and reflect, and acknowledge my dissatisfactions, rather than just meekly accepting, well that's what the author wanted so it must be right. I use the word author with conscious irony.

Then I watched that weird Poliakoff film 'Glorious 39' and now I'm thoroughly over-sated with the early WW2 period!