Have had a lovely review from Irene for Thorn in the Flesh which she's kindly put on Amazon and which I reproduce below:
"Another winner from Anne Brooke. Thorn in the Flesh demonstrates once again Brooke's versatility and literary dexterity as she takes us through the complex, disturbed world of Kate Harris, traumatised by violence and haunted by the past. Don't expect a comfortable read, but do expect a gripping one. Thoroughly recommended."
Thanks, Irene - much appreciated!
For today, Lord H and I have made the most of the glorious sunshine - gazing at birds at The Weir Wood Reserve. This included watching two sets of great crested grebes perform their mating dance - a wonderful and very balletic sight indeed - and gazing open-mouthed at the aerial dynamics of little terns (a first for us). What incredibly graceful birds they are too. Ooh, and we spotted an orange tip butterfly - another first! And very beautiful it was.
After that, we visited Nymans National Trust Gardens - which were lovely, but damned hot, Carruthers. Two-and-a-half miles of walking almost defeated me, I fear. I was also nabbed by the room stewards again, double dammit, who insisted on telling me everything about the family who used to live there when I'd actually only asked if that was Queen Mary in the photographs (it was). Anyway, I now know that the Messel family were terribly terribly posh, and terribly terribly polite and never under any circumstances raised their voices above a whisper. My response (which wasn't appreciated) was to say that was probably because they had servants so didn't need to, as well as having no drama in their lives. The room steward became somewhat snippety after that, so I left before I was overcome with the giggles. Really though, I can't imagine anything worse than being trapped at the dining table with a family of whisperers. It all sounds very suspicious to me - though Lord H did look rather misty-eyed at the thought ...
Back home, I have started the final technical edit to Maloney's Law and am also giving it a final read-through as I go. The technical editor, Nancy, is a whizz on commas and US styling and I am obeying her every command. As well as acting on the very helpful suggestions she has on non-technical matters - thanks, Nancy! I must also admit that I'm really bloody enjoying it too. Maloney rocks - I love him. And his story. If I can say that myself at all. Actually I think I even love this book more than I do A Dangerous Man and, hell, that's saying something.
And I've now finished Philip Gross's poetry collection, Mappa Mundi. Some truly wonderful and punchy poems in there but, in truth, for me it just doesn't work as a collection. The main theme is the relationship of people and things - and in my view he lets the "things" get in the way of the people a lot of the time. Worse, he lets them get in the way of the poem. So you read some of the work, and it's as if you've been beaten to death by a list of objects which have no emotional significance or which have lost it somewhere. This is such a shame as he's usually such a bloody good poet, and I've been so looking forward to reading this one. I think it would have been a lot better - and the truly shit-hot poems could have shone more easily - if it had either been cut in terms of the number of poems or there'd been some judicious editing of stuff. The overall feeling it's left me with is exhaustion. Not what I was expecting at all.
Anyway, I will ease my fevered brow tonight by watching "Midsomer Murders" whilst drinking cocoa. That should do the trick.
And here's this week's haiku - as promised yesterday:
In the singing tree
nightingales quiver. Twilight
drifts through deep music.
Today's nice things:
1. Irene's review of Thorn
2. Weir Woods and Nymans
3. The Maloney edit.