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Lazy Sunday, lunch mysteries and book group prep


A lovely lie-in today, which was great - always good to snuggle up under the duvet on a cold winter morning. In fact we were so lazy that we were only just in time to eat breakfast before we had to think about lunch. And today we decided to give ourselves a treat and go out for a pub lunch - although this did prove rather more complicated than expected. Our first choice, The Seahorse at Shalford, has according to a nifty piece of web research by Lord H been taken over by aliens and is apparently not as good as it once was. Ruddy shame, eh. Why does this always happen? Just when you think you've found a pub you like which does decent food, the people running it up and leave. Sigh ...

I suggested our second choice of The Stag at Eashing, but apparently the same fate has overtaken that one too. Is there a conspiracy, I ask? The plot thickens, Carruthers ... We scoured our brains for somewhere else to go, and eventually came up with The Cyder House at Shackleford, as I visited it a couple of years back with work people, and it seemed pretty good then. So we rolled up at 12noon, as we like to eat early and leave. Crowds aren't us, you know. Anyway, it was fine though personally I could have done with the roast lamb being better cooked and more abundant, but the veg and pudding were top-notch. Mmm ... The only thing about it (apart from the staff being incredibly young - do their mothers know they're out??...) was that the waiter we had at the start had a disconcerting habit of walking away from our table and shouting the last word I'd spoken to him in a jolly tone to the bar staff. So when he said lunch (my lamb and Lord H's sausages) would take about 15 minutes to cook, I joked about the need to catch the pig - at which point, he strolled away, saying "pig!" delightedly. Then when I commented that the glass he'd brought Lord H's beer in was quite sweet (and believe me it was), he walked away, and yelled "sweet!" at the man behind the bar. I was actually wondering if I could make him say a whole sentence, word by word, if I played my cards right, but then he disappeared and didn't come back. Perhaps the manager decided to strangle the poor lad? Or is this some strange game they play with off-worlders in Shackleford parts? Ah, it's a mystery indeed.

And, talking of off-worlders, I was rather started yesterday evening when I was doing my 20 minute meditation session in the bedroom and Lord H popped his head around the door to say that dinner would be "twenty-five of your earth minutes" before disappearing again. I think his cover is indeed blown, and I do wonder what 25 minutes translates out to on Lord H planet. Naturally enough, I am too polite to ask. Is he planning a trip home by shuttlecraft at some stage? Best get the gravity-enhanced cheese out of the freezer once more then.

While I'm on the subject of meditation, here's today's poem:

Meditation 33

What will you do
when the door

is finally opened?
You with your arms full

of necklaces, rings,
fine linen,

goats’ hair cloth,
purple thread and spices.

Where will you hide yourself
and who on earth

can reach you?

For the rest of the day, I've been putting together some notes for the upcoming University Book Group discussion on Tania Hershman's The White Road and Other Stories. I've really enjoyed preparing for that - it seems a long time (well, about 20 years or so, if you're asking) since I've made notes on a book and it's great. I've got a bio of Tania, some quotes either from the author or from reviewers, a brief explanation of flash fiction (as I'm not sure the group will have come across that or not) and a list of eight questions based on issues or text from the stories throughout the collection. An interesting mix of science, religion, motherhood, the weather and racial awareness. Amongst other things. So hopefully there should be something there for everyone. I've taken into account the fact that some of the group may not be able to get hold of the book before we meet on 19 January as the UK 2nd edition is still going through the reprinting process - and in that scenario (probable), I trust I've given them enough to chew on so they'll want to get hold of it afterwards anyway. We small press authors have to stick together, you know ...

Tonight, I'm hoping to watch the Thunderbirds programmes (Scott was my first love after all ...) and then there's the latest Sarah Waters Victoriana-lesbiana-extravaganza, Affinity, on, which we obviously can't miss. Not that I think Affinity is her best book at all, but I'm sure it'll be worth a viewing.

This week's haiku:

In winter bleakness
haiku fragments haunt my head.
They fail to warm me.

Today's nice things:

1. A lie-in
2. Lunch out - eventually
3. Poetry
4. Book Group prep
5. Haikus
6. TV.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website - the scourge of waiters everywhere