In case you can’t tell from the dearth of posts, I’ve been busy over the past week or so. Busy doing what? I hear you cry. Well, let me tell you.
1. I’ve been reading. Reading, reading, reading. I’m in the middle of two books at the moment; Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein, which is the fantastic follow up to the brilliant Code Name Verity, and The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton, which is gripping but ridiculously long. I have just finished Ostrich Boys by Keith Gray for a school book club, which is a lovely novel about friendships amongst teenage boys. All of this reading, coupled with the plays I’m teaching at school, has made me feel rather overwhelmed with words. I’ll have to choose something mindless once I eventually reach the end of The Luminaries; perhaps the final volume in the Hunger Games series, as I’ll be in the mood after watching the latest film instalment this weekend.
2. I’ve been watching films! I adored Philomena, which gets the blend of laugh-out-loud comedy and throat-closing emotion perfectly right in its exploration of a cynical journalist’s fight to discover the truth about an elderly Irish woman’s stolen child. I also loved Now, Voyager, which is one of the films in a Bette Davis DVD box set I treated myself to. I keep meaning to watch more classics of cinema, and this hit the spot nicely. The costumes! The melodrama! The cigarette smoke! What’s not to love?
3. I’ve been planning days out for when I don’t have to spend my weekends marking. Top of my list is the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow, which I’ve been meaning to visit since it was renovated. Next up is seeing Osterley House decorated for Christmas. I have only ever seen the outside, and I can imagine it must be gorgeous behind the stately exterior. I am also desperate to go to Nunhead Cemetery. It’s one of the string of cemeteries opened at the same time as my beloved Highgate, and I can think of no better place to spend a wintry afternoon than a dilapidated Victorian burial ground.
4. I’ve been walking in the countryside. The landscape is so beautiful here at the moment; the lanes are canopied in russet and gold, and the fields shimmer softly in the hazy late afternoon sunshine. When I lived in London, I never really understood the poetic descriptions of Autumn I read about in novels; woodsmoke, berries, harvests and so on didn’t apply to the concrete bound suburbs, where everything looked pretty barren all year round. Living in the country really does give you an appreciation and an understanding of how the natural world changes with each season, and I am loving our misty mornings, smoky evenings and the ever changing pallette of colours outside my window. Ode to Autumn indeed.