Books 2010

Books 2009

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Wednesday, 21 October 2009


The combination of range cookers and flammable building materials explains why houses, streets and sometimes towns were so susceptible to fire in earlier times. Honiton, not far from you, had to be substantially rebuilt I believe about five times during the eighteenth century. I am very glad to hear your own experience was less dramatic.

During my prolonged stay with my parents this summer the Aga had to be serviced - despite being a similar age to yours, it took a great deal less time than servicing the central heating boiler.

Poor old AGA. My grandmother was owning and using something like that too. For some reason, I tend to believe that such old things have a life and a soul of their own. I hope you didn't mistreat the old lady too badly.
Anyway, enjoy your vacation in Dorset, these last sunny moments are really precious. And I am quite amazed to see that there are still butterflies this time of the year, it must be a special northern breed.

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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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