Tuesday, 20 January 2009
An open book
Just before Christmas Mr Roses and I made a deal; we agreed not to buy each other pressies and just spend some money on presents for the girls. A week before Christmas driving home from a Carol Service, I caved in - the thought of M not opening any presents from me was weighing too much on my mind. "It's no use I'm going to have to buy you a present, I just can't bear you not to have a pressie from me.' Mr Roses smiled (whilst Little Sister giggled knowingly in the back seat) and replied "That's okay, I've already got you something!". Three days later, after a trip to the shops I smile triumphantly and with a sigh of relief tell him, "I'm feeling better now, I've bought you some presents." To which Mr Roses replied. "SOME presents, I thought we would only be ONE present!" So it continued until on Christmas morning we both opened our presents, equal in number, and beamed at each other. This little ritual is nothing new. Every year we try and get each other to agree to no presents, we try hard to be responsible and sensible and each year we fail miserably! Living with Mr Roses is like living with the Master of Double Bluff - you have to think hard before believing him when he promises and i hate to admit it I have in the past resorted to asking the girls if Daddy has got me a present this year ...
He reads me like an open book. He must have known I was getting twitchy as the number of books beside the bed were dwindling and so my pressies were a pile of books to keep me happy. You probably all know just how much I love reading. I devour books and my love for books is only equalled by love of accumulating them. I sleep soundly knowing that it doesn't matter if I've just read the last line of a book if I've got a stash of new books ready and waiting.
Just before Christmas I found in a charity shop two books that I wanted to reread again for a very long time - Miss Mapp and Mapp and Lucia by E F Benson. I spent the holidays giggling and laughing and being transported to 1930s England, to the small village of Tilling, mixing with genteel society and the comings and goings of Mapp and Lucia. These are two of the funniest books I have read, and have left me yearning to revisit Rye (the town on which Tilling is based) again as soon as the sun starts shining again. One critic compared the books to a modern "Cranford", i think I would agree. So much so, that M and I have been watching the Mapp and Lucia TV series again on DVD - ooooh the costumes are delicious.
The book I am reading at the moment is "They were Sisters" by Dorothy Whipple. It is so very different to the Mapp and Lucia books and yet just as addictive. I can't wait to finish it and I have been staying up later and later each night to read more. It is gripping and harrowing and I will certainly read some more of her novels.
My other two Persephone books are The Runaway and The Children who lived in a barn - I'm looking forward to reading both of them. I haven't read a dud Persephone book yet.
When we were in Bath last year I saw this book in a bookshop there. Madresfield is the story of the country house and its family thought to be the inspiration behind Brideshead Revisited (another TV series we're wading through on DVD). I can't wait to read the history of Sissinghurst but think I will save it for the spring and hopefully tie it in with another visit to the house and gardens as they are wonderful.
And if that wasn't enough, Big Sister bought me the Nigella Christmas book which resulted in the best pavlova being devoured over the holidays and M bought me the fantastic Leon cookbook. Both of them have the most wonderful recipes and are jam packed with gorgeous photos.
So that's my pile of goodies. I can go to bed a happy girl, knowing that, thanks to the duplicitous Mr Roses, there are enough unread words just feet away to keep me going till Spring! What are you reading at the moment?