Some days the connection works and some days it doesn’t. Yesterday I had a line out, but no line in. Today I have a line in (someone’s just rung me) but won’t know if I have a line out until I try and post this. Well, you have to admit that it makes life interesting, if only in the Confucian sense of the word. Mind you, yesterday’s situation meant that The Bears very nearly missed out on their Christmas present, which was supposed to be being delivered in the morning. They have had a new flat screen television set on which to watch their Harry Potter and Star Trek DVDs but when it didn’t arrive we were all getting very agitated and rang the delivery service to be annoyed only to discover that they had been trying to ring us all morning to ask if they could come in the afternoon. Anyway, all was well that ended well. Their present arrived after tea and I’m probably not going to see anything of them for the next few days as they watch their entire collection to see just how much better the films look on the latest technology. There are all sorts of interesting sounds coming out of the television room, which have nothing to do with the DVDs themselves and I suspect The Bears are having fun with the new remote control. I just hope they don’t blow the whole thing up before Christmas ever arrives or it will be tears before bedtime.
I made the mistake this morning of going into the City Centre to buy a few essentials to make sure we could get through the Christmas close down that paralyses the British scene from December 24th right through the New Year. It was chaos even though I went early. By the time I came away you simply couldn’t move in the streets. Disturbingly, though, many of the shops were very empty. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think it’s going to be a particularly good retail Christmas, at least not in Birmingham. The recession is biting harder this year than last and in the luxury market it’s really showing. Other than shopping for food, I shan’t be doing any more now and I definitely won’t be going into town anymore. I don’t like crowds at the best of times.
On the reading front, I’ve almost finished my re-read of The Secret River and although it does bear a second read I’m more convinced than I was before that the second in the trilogy, The Lieutenant, is the better book. Perhaps it is because I’m interested in language, which is a central concern in the later novel, but I think it is more thoughtful and considered work. This means that I’m really looking forward to the third, which I understand is going to take up the story of William’s second son, Dick. Don’t you love it when you can see a writer growing in strength book by book?
I’m also reading the first of David Roberts’ mysteries featuring Lord Edward Corinth and Verity Browne, Sweet Poison. I don’t know where I heard about the series and I have to say that when this arrived from the library I took one look at it and thought, “ooh. I don’t think so”. Well, never judge a book by its cover. This may be a typical country house murder, but it’s well written and so far I’m very much enjoying it. I have a poisoned general who doesn’t seem to have eaten or drunk anything different from everyone else at the meal and a cast of suspects in the guise of the other dinner guests who are all pretty foul and thoroughly deserving of being locked up for a very long time. This almost certainly means that one of the nice servants will prove to be the villain. Further reports as I get more deeply embroiled – if, that is, BT will kindly allow me tell you about it!