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16 July 2009


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The window is lovely, I'd never seen the Lawrence one, either.
I love a bit of Thomas Hardy. My all-time favourite, one I've re-read many times, is The Trumpet Major. Not as morose as some of the others.
I hope your picture makes you feel at home in your new house.

I was introduced to Thomas Hardy at school, because our set book for 'O' level English Literature was 'The Woodlanders'. Unlike many of my classmates, I loved the book, and went on to read many more of his novels. I think I have most of them. Ultimately, I tired of the daft way his leading characters behaved and the impending tragedy underlying most of the stories, but I loved his writing style.

You're right - I haven't read his poetry. I'm not much of a poetry fan, but the first few lines of 'Beeny Cliff' are quite lovely, so I might have to look into that!

This is lovely - and made me long to go there! There are also lots of links with Katherine Mansfield in Cornwall - the short time she spent with the Lawrences at Zennor. She hated it! She told friends there was nothing but wind and rain and stones! Her husband John Murry was a friend of the Hardys and often visited T.H.

Rattling On: in my teens and twenties, I embarked on a marathon Thomas Hardy read-in; worked my my through all the novels and the poems. (But didn't manage The Dynasts . . . ) And I agree, some of the lesser-known novels are a delight.

Jay: the poems are well worth reading, especially for someone with your love of the natural world.

Kathleen: thank you. Always happy to hear of any Katherine Mansfield connections and so glad you mentioned Zennor. I have many happy memories of the Tinners' Arms, which we always visited when we were in Cornwall in the 1970s and 1980s. Seem to recall that the villagers had give Lawrence and Frieda a hard time, Frieda being German, and there was much mutual loathing and contempt. Stunning landscape, however, wind, rain and stones, notwithstanding!

And a small Tinners' Arms anecdote; when we first went there c1976, the owners used to serve a splendid ploughman's lunch on old, scrubbed wooden platters. By the 1980s, standard pub crockery had replaced the wooden platters, all of which had been stolen by tourists . . .

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Thought for life

  • The House of Breath, William Goyen
    We are the carriers of lives and legends - who knows the unseen frescoes on the private walls of the skull?

Thinking about . . .

  • Daniel Klein, Travels with Epicurus
    I too listen to music more and more. Throughout my life, music has stirred me more than any other art form, and now, in old age, I find myself listening to it almost every evening, usually alone, for hours at a time.
  • Julia Blackburn, Thin Paths
    I began writing because I liked to write things down. I learnt foreign languages because they seemed to enter my head by a process of osmosis.
  • Joan Bakewell, Stop the Clocks
    I live contentedly alone. It's better that way and I am often thoughtful about what has been and what might have been. There are many like me.
  • Patti Smith, M Train
    Oh to be reborn within the pages of a book.
  • Patti Smith, M Train
    Why is it that we lose the things we love, and things cavalier cling to us and will be the measure of our worth after we’re gone?
  • Judith Kerr, Observer Magazine, 22 November 2015
    I don't believe in God. I find it much easier to believe in ancestors. I like to imagine they are pointing us in the right direction.

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