Monday, 9 January 2017

The Delight of The Mundane

I recently read a biography of Ted Hughes by the magisterial Professor Sir Jonathan Bate (OBE), previously more famous for his work on William Shakespeare. 

The New Statesman review is an excellent and thoughtful one. 

My purpose is not to review the biography, or to talk of my views on the behaviour of Ted towards Sylvia.  Suffice it to say that she HAUNTS this biography, and comes out of the story in a much better light than she does in an older biography devoted to her alone, published in Ted's lifetime, called  "Bitter Fame" 

Aside ---  On this point, a good link is  The first reviewer here comments on the relentless criticism of Sylvia that permeates that book.

Another Aside ---  And a historic link  A unique exchange of letters between the author of "Bitter Fame" (Anne Stevenson), Ted's sister Olwyn, and the poet and erstwhile "friend" of Sylvia, Al Alvarez, who appears in both biographies.

No, I'm actually commenting on how good it probably is NOT to be a poet, or anyone else tortured by artistic struggle (think Van Gogh, for example).

It's the everyday that keeps you grounded.  Good to bear that in mind, in the dark, dismal days of January.

Monday, 2 January 2017

A Post Festive Analysis

Here are some things I DIDN'T say

  • That dog is completely untrained

  • You are a completely selfish  *****

  • Don't keep going on about how the beef is overcooked

  • I am never doing Christmas again

  • I want to spend Christmas alone next year

  • The dog is a nervous wreck because it gets no consistency in the reactions to its whining and pawing

  • I want a divorce

So that was quite an achievement.


I met a complete stranger out on a walk on Boxing Day, and she burst into tears following our ritual greeting "Did you have a nice Christmas?"

We hugged.

After New Year's Eve, I told my husband that I am never going to do a New Year's Eve dinner party with the neighbours again, neither at theirs, (the next two years) or at ours (which would next be in 2019). 

Hubby has just read his Ladybird book.  Last year I gave him the Ladybird Book of the Shed.  This year I gave him the Ladybird book of Boxing Day.  He grudgingly admitted that it had been slightly amusing in places. 

Fortunately there is football on almost all the time over the festive period.