November 3rd, 2010

The Electricians: Day 1

The electricians came and tore out all our lovely- expensive- laminate flooring.  Carl had done such a good job putting it down they had to call in a joiner to help them. Once they've laid their cables they'll put it all back- but they warn us it'll never look the same. 

They've been very thoughtful, very solicitous. Ailz was touched to see how, after gutting our bedroom and moving our stuff all over the place, they had very carefully laid out her shoes in a row. 

The Towers Of Trebizond: Rose Macaulay

When I was at theological college we took a retreat en masse at Walsingham- and because it was a silent retreat we had a book read to us at mealtimes. The book that was chosen- and read with great expression and comic timing- by our chaplain- John Armson- was The Towers of Trebizond. It was the funniest thing I'd ever heard- funnier than Tony Hancock, funnier than Round the Horne, funnier than Songs For Swinging Sellers.

It presents as rambling and effortless and naive, but, of course, you can only achieve that effect through art and experience. Picasso said he'd spent a lifetime learning to paint like a child, and Macaulay might have said she'd spent a lifetime learning to write like an artless young woman. It's an extraordinarily vivacious book to have been written by a person in their seventies.

It is also terribly sad. To be funny and sad at the same time- in the same voice-  is something only the very best writers can do.

The Electricians: Day 2

Today the electricians were mainly gouging channels in the walls of downstairs rooms, so we retreated upstairs and lay on the bed with a pile of library books. 

We bought lunch at the chip shop. By one of those coincidences that probably isn't, Peter came strolling by. He seemed remarkably cheerful for someone who has been told he is about to be slung out of the country- and talked with confidence about deferring his University education until next year. He seems to believe he can launch an entirely new asylum claim on the basis of some new evidence that has emerged- and perhaps he can.