Sunday Salon – Today’s Reading

Today I’ve been reading Semi-Detached by Griff Rhys Jones (a book I borrowed from the library). This is his memoir of his childhood and adolescence and I’m enjoying reading it. I had a look at what people have written about it on Amazon and found it has some very disparaging comments. I completely disagree – this is not boring or dull, and not at all a ‘celebrity’ memoir. I’ll leave writing about it until I’ve finished it, apart from this little bit about swimming and diving in his local swimming pool. I can identify so much with his account of the diving boards. The diving boards were made up of a lower board and a high dive. And it was scary on the high board. It was best to jump off it first before attempting a dive. Griff describes the experience of his first jump, that ‘sinking, sick-making descent’:

I must have stood there taking counsel and advice for ten minutes before I finally went off for the first time, in a sudden fit of bravado: still talking, without anybody having the chance to advise me, I stepped straight off the edge and fell … arrgh: my internal organs apparently losing their adhesion to my lower abdomen.

I bobbed up quickly and swam frantically, over-energised, to the side and went straight back up. (page 80)

That was me too! I loved it, but how times have changed. My last experience in a swimming pool last year at Center Parcs in Nottingham was terrifying when I went down the flume. It was a rapid descent and I was pushed along by people behind me, ending up underwater, certain that I was going to be drowned and hating the whole thing.

My other reading this morning was The Widow’s Tale by Mick Jackson, a book I received from the publishers via LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers’ Program. This a gentle account of a newly-widowed woman who is coming to terms with her husband’s death after 40 years of marriage. It’s about her thoughts and feelings as she flees  from her London home to rent a cottage in a small Norfolk village.  I have my doubts about the narrator’s voice – at times it comes across as male rather than female, but I’m waiting until I’ve finished it to pass judgement.

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