Tuesday, 26 July 2011

birthday in Fife

 A friend of mine moved to a wee place in Fife a couple of years ago.  I often visit, and this was a special visit being my birthday in full sunshine!  My friend has been looking for a lochan, where apparently you can swim, for some time, and on this day we decided to set out to find it, having first agreed to turn back if the walk seemed too long or boring!  It was about 6.30 when we set off. 
 My sister phoned me from America while we were contemplating the view and local cows! it seemed surreal to speak to someone across the world on a small device, standing in the middle of nowhere, but it was great to speak to her and she doesnt sound at all American! 

 Eventually we arrived at an old steading, where you either turned back because you thought you might be going into someone's farm, or you carried on along the track because there were sounds of splashing and laughter up ahead. Obviously we followed the splashing and laughter.

 and were greeted by this amazing lochan, the local reservoir - fishing by serious men in boats, young boys with nets, people swimming, dogs swimming, a lovely place to hang out, the sun still warm pouring a golden light on everything.

we got back to the house about 9.30, time for a beer and the quickest thing we could find to eat, happy!
a lovely end to the day - until i spotted the sunset
a lovely end to a beautiful day.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

July! and some books

July started with a hop skip and a jump into sunny warm days!  it is less so now but at least we had a good few days to gather in some vitamin D and defence against the winter.
I spent the whole weekend sitting in the sun reading 'A Week In December' by Sebastian Faulks. I wrote:

So as usual with Sebastian Faulks it was a 'good read', with a wide variety of characters, i guess in order to encompass today's LondonI didnt quite understand a lot of the ins and outs of financial stuff but got the gist of it. 
I had struggled with the hedge fund man, his character was used to describe what happened to cause the crash and the states of mind it entailed; struggled as well with the idea that they just get off free - although i knew that - the book brought it more into focus.  whether i can imagine it or not, there are people  who can laugh at others' catastrophes - even be the deliberate cause and laugh.  

I also struggled with the would-be-terrorist character, not that i dont know they exist and why to an extent, but i just didnt want that particular character to go through with it, it almost seemed too unreal that he would, i suppose a device to show how easy it could be.  

I thought how the hedge fund world was so opposite to the would-be-terrorist world.  It could be seen to be the peak of  rampant capitalism and godlessness that seems to be part of the cause of terrorism.  In another light they were the same; unshakable belief in what they were doing even though it caused catastrophes for 100's, 1000's of people - all  justified by themselves. This seemed to be a strong theme.  God and Mammon.  Make of it what you will, Faulks opens it for a good look.

The failed writer a character who the more you learned about as the book goes on the more you dislike him, even though you know his horridness is all due to bitter disappointment.  It seems to give him a strange bravery - misguided, but he is not a completely damned character in the end.
The lawyer who doesnt have much work or money, but loves reading; his character starts off dull and closed off and grey, but unfolds into one of the nicest people in the book as he and the young tube driver gradually fall in love and have an affect on each other.

The wife of the new politician preparing for her huge dinner party; she sees a heirarchy in her circle, well competition she calls it, but heirarchy is also relevant; who 'matters' most, what are the things which count - money, not being fat, being beautiful, having interesting/successful kids, house - interior.. anyway she wants to be 'in there', although she knows she is not near the 'top' - husband's job, an MP, considered quite low on the pecking order.

The pickle magnate and his wife protrayed quite sweetly but i am not sure how realistically, might be a bit patronizing - might not.
There are of course many more characters, and a rich plot even if some of it was over my head.

Next book started is 'The Circle Of Reason' by Amitav Ghosh.  I have had this book on my shelf for some time, collecting his books as i come across them in charity shops.  It is an early book of his, so it will be interesting.  I have read the more recent novels.  I love his writing and his research is extensive so I learn something as well.

The book I finished before was Kieren Desai 'The Inheritance Of Loss'.  another brilliant writer, brilliant book.
running out of steam so now.