Books 2010

Books 2009

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Friday, 26 March 2010


The first of our daffodils are out here in the garden, but their gold will be shrouded in white if the weather forecast is correct as heavy snow is due!

I didn't see any wild ones in flower in the canton of Geneva this week, but the primroses were magnificent, turning the ground yellow in large swathes, even at CERN. Lots of lovely wood violets providing a pinky-purple contrast. With temperatures of 20C on Wednesday lunchtime and the Black Kites circling overhead I felt that spring was indeed sprung. Of course this morning we awoke to heavy rain and 6C! Just returned home to London and a mixture of rain and sunshine.

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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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