Monday, 4 May 2015

Bluebells at Chartwell and never giving up

Ploughing through Wild (A Journey from Lost to Found) by Cheryl Strayed  - a memoir of her epic trek along the Pacific Crest Trail. At the moment, am more taken by the epigraphs at the start of each section than the narrative.... in particular the most recent 'Never never never give up'. Winston Churchill.
Coincidentally visit Chartwell in leafy Kent, his country house, where the bluebell woods are more captivating than the crowded, slightly faded rooms. It is a National Trust property on a Bank Holiday Sunday after all - what do I expect.
In the meantime, Cheryl in Wild is hobbling along 1,100 miles of the west coast of America, alone. It's a good read but has the feel of a book written long after the event (in 2012 - the trek was in 1995).  (Is this fictionalised autobiography, like Siegfried Sassoon? Memoirs of a Foxhunting Man etc written in the late 20s, long after the events he describes.)
Though in Wild at the end, an encounter with two very creepy and possibly predatory men on a fishing expedition made me truly frightened for her - and was I jolted out of my scepticism. And her memories of her mother (who died a quick and terrible death from cancer) are very moving.
But not, somehow, a book to return to.

Reading and watching

  • Foot by Foot to Santiago de Compostela/Judy Foot
  • The Testament of Mary with Fiona Shaw at the Barbican
  • The Testament of Mary/Colm Toibin
  • Schwanengesang/Schubert - Tony Spence
  • Journals/Robert Falcon Scott
  • Fugitive Pieces/Ann Michaels
  • Unless/Carol Shields
  • Faust/Royal Opera House
  • The Art of Travel/Alain de Botton
  • Mad Men Series 6
  • A Week at The Airport/Alain de Botton
  • The Railway Man/Eric Lomax
  • Bright Lights, Big City/Jay McInerney
  • Stones of Venice/John Ruskin
  • The Sea, the Sea/Iris Murdoch
  • Childe Harold/Lord Byron
  • All The Pretty Horses/Cormac McCarthy
  • Extreme Rambling/Mark Thomas
  • Story of my Life/Jay McInerney
  • Venice Observed/Mary McCarthy