Books 2010

Books 2009

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Wednesday, 21 May 2008


Here is a further information about herons:
The scene is dreadful and poignant but we get to know that scientists think that herons are clever birds.

My walk to work takes me along the Water of Leith, the small river/overgrown stream which runs through the heart of Edinburgh down to the sea at Leith. Heron sightings are, reflecting Lindsay's own experiences, not uncommon, but last year I saw something much more unusual. Passing over the bridge at Canonmills, which carries a busy road and is hemmed in by Victorian tenements, I looked over the parapet at the water and saw a large splash, too big for a fish. I stopped and looked more closely, and about ten yards upstream an otter surfaced, rolled over and swam away under my feet through the bridge. A sight I shall never forget.

Why are herons less rare in UK nowdays? Do you think it is because of climate change?
One particular spring, I saw a wild heron several times while travelling by train through the countryside. I guess it was the same bird as he was in the same pond and in the same place each time I saw him. Being able to see a wild animal for real is always a treat, especially when you don't expect it.
Man-made cranes may be quite elegant - and they are indeed - I prefer lively cranes though; they are much less damaging in a landscape... see what I mean... Your association of ideas - and pictures - is brilliant though.

Kawabata is such a story teller and he is so good at describing feelings and relationships. I'd say his technique is to suggest more than to describe openly but he is so subtle and sharp. And he knows mankind so well. His prose is really appealing. I have read several novels of his but not "Thousand cranes". Maybe I should have a go with this book, given that I plan to visit a Hokusai exhibition soon.

I find it rather funny to see you mention a wrench here - I haven't read the book though - as I have been dreaming of owning one for several days, given that I was needing it... until the plumber visited.

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  • Nothing is of greater consolation to the author of a novel than the disovery of readings he had not conceived but which are then prompted by his readers. (Umberto Eco, Reflections on The Name of the Rose)
  • ... relatively few persons in London ... can afford the luxury of one or more servants. No fewer than 3,700,000 have no servants at all, and of the half million that have servants 227,000 have only one. (The Times, 6 June 1895)
  • Standing among savage scenery, the hotel offers stupendous revelations. There is a French widow in every bedroom, affording delightful prospects. (Tyrolean inn brochure, according to Gerard Hoffnung)
  • (A doctor is at an elderly relative's deathbed) "The old sawbones, eh?" he bellowed ... "Just in the nick, perhaps. Haul the old girl back by the short hairs, if you ask me. Devilish smart at his work ... Always take a fence with more confidence when I know he's out with us."
  • Too often, when a man of Monty Godkin's mental powers is plunged in thought, nothing happens at all. The machinery just whirs for a while, and that is the end of it. (P G Wodehouse, Heavy Weather)
  • ...the breed that take their pleasures as Saint Laurence took his grid (Kipling, The Five nations)

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