Sunday Salon

Not much reading here today as D and I are off out with the family this afternoon.

This morning I’ll be reading more from Griff Rhys Jones’s memoir Semi-Detached, which is coming on nicely. I’m now up to the part where Griff is in his final year at school. I loved his description of cricket that I read yesterday.

I hate and abhor cricket. I loathe cricket. I abominate cricket. There is only one thing more boring than the abysmal English habit of watching a game of cricket and that is an afternoon playing the wretched game. It is sport for the indolently paralysed. Only three people out of twenty two are engaged in any proper activity. The rest simply sit and wait their turn.

The excruciating tedium of ‘fielding’ – standing about, like a man in a queue with nothing to read, in case a sequence of repetitive events, ponderously unfolding in front of you, should suddenly require your direct intervention … (page 179)

Football is a game. Tiddly-winks is a game. A sack race involves energy and fun. Cricket is like a cucumber sandwich: indulged in for reasons of tradition, despite being totally eclipsed by every other alternative on offer. (page 181)

I can well imagine that fielding would be much more pleasurable if one could read at the same time. One of my fond memories of childhood is going with my parents to watch cricket, but then I did used to lie in the grass making daisy chains.

I’d like to finish reading Hearts and Minds by Amanda Craig this evening, if I have time before I fall asleep. I have very mixed ideas about it right now, varying from liking it to wishing I’d never bothered to pick it up. It’s a tough read – from a subject point of view, that is. This is by no means a ‘comfy’ read, more of a rollercoaster to batter and bruise. But I must finish it before writing about it properly.

Coming up next week I’m looking forward to reading one of these books:

At the moment it’s King Arthur’s Bones that is calling out to me. It’s five interlinked mysteries from Michael Jecks, Susanna Gregory, Bernard Knight, Ian Morson and Philip Gooden.

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.