April 25th, 2017


My sister and brother-in-law passed through a downpour yesterday afternoon on a journey from South London to Aylesford but all we got was a light sprinkling. Once again the extreme weather seems to have brushed against our skirts then hurried on by.

This morning we have cold air, blue sky, bright sunshine- everything you could possibly ask of an English April.

Re-reading Villette

I have fallen into the habit of re-reading favourite novels last thing at night in bed.  I began with The Brothers Karamazov and I'm now over half way through Villette. There's no need to hurry. I know the story. I can saunter slowly and take pleasure in my surroundings.

Villette is much less dramatic than Jane Eyre- which is why it's never shared the earlier book's popularity- but it has greater subtlety, its people are wonderfully complex and alive and the world of the romantic imagination- of angels and devils and wild, wild weather- rages and storms against the very thin walls of custom and civility that they've built for their protection. Lucy Snowe- impassioned, repressed, independent, floating free of class and caste- is my very favourite fictional character.