Friday, 23 August 2013

Holiday reads

The Cantal in summer is lovely and green, despite the heat. In July and early August temperatures were in the 30's (C) , but the day before we arrived a couple of weeks ago, there was a severe storm, with extremely heavy rain, which filled up streams, rivers and waterfalls. The time we've been here has been mostly hot  and sunny, with a bit of coolness in the early mornings and late evenings, and we have spent our days mostly cycling (my OH) or swimming in the nearest open-air pool (me) or walking (both of us). We have had a day out on a coach trip to the river Lot, which included a very civilised lunch on a boat meandering slowly down the river and back again, with local French people, attended the village Kermesse, visited a local vide-grenier ( like a car-boot sale) Some of the time I have spent sitting on the balcony, reading, especially in the afternoon when the sun has moved round and there is some shade.
 I read Alexander McCall Smith's Trains and Lovers: The Hearts Journey very quickly, as it's a fairly light read. Four people on a railway journey all tell their own very  different stories about how love came into their lives.
I regret to say I abandoned Elanor Dymott's Every Contact Leaves a Trace for another read, as it seemed to be rather slow-paced and I did not feel very sympathetic towards the narrator. The writing lyrical, but I couldn't work up any feelings for the characters.
Jeanette Winterson's The Daylight Gate is a retelling of the story of the Lancashire witches, and is published by Hammer, some of whose horror films I've watched in the distant past. I've also read Harrison Ainsworth's novel The Lancashire Witches, published originally in 1848 and still in print, probably because witches and similar tales of the supernatural seem to have an everlasting appeal to human nature. I enjoyed Jeannette Winterson's version of the tale: her writing is strong with very vivid descriptions of the place and characters are also very clearly drawn. It would definitely make a walk on Pendle Hill in Lancashire a very chilling experience, even on a sunny day.

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