Thursday, 27 September 2007
Summing up last week
Another week when there hasn't been much opportunity to write anything here, and not much reading to speak of either. A train journey to Leeds gave me the chance to mull over the first of the Forsyte Saga, A Man of Property, so that I am nearly ready to write about it, while the journey home was spent reading the Interlude between the first and second books. It focused on my favourite character and, although it was a re-read and I knew the outcome, I found it very moving.
The train journeys were noisy but uneventful. My first "proper" trip since June, it should help to prepare me for the imminent venture to London and Devon, and to the vicissitudes of monthly travel until next summer. As ever, I've enjoyed a longer period at home, and begun to think wistfully of self-employment and ways and means for never setting foot in London again. But as the Devon trips to visit elderly parents will continue indefinitely (DV), I may as well resign myself to the joys of the Tube, hot, crowded and sticky even in winter, and the long evenings in a hotel when suddenly reading doesn't seem like the most engaging pastime in the world, and going out to eat an insurmountable chore.
And then there is the packing, of course - doleful dogs skulking at my feet while I pile clothes, papers and laptop into the suitcase, and the dreadful decision: what shall I take to read? Four hours each way London, Devon another 3 hours there and back, 1 night in a hotel, 3 nights with the parents, who go to bed Very Early; there's WiFi on the London trains but I can't work for the whole journey. How many books is that? My room in Devon has an emergency collection: C.P. Snow, Arthur Ransome, Raymond Chandler, all of which can be drawn on in need, and there are a couple of oddments in the desk drawer at work. There are two more books in the Forsyte Saga in the volume I'm reading, so that's a definite, especially as it's good, slow reading. But I'll need something lighter, especially for the Devon train on Friday evening - that one's always a horror, full of people attached to little machines which make noises like canned wasps, so concentration is impossible (I plan to remember my own canned-wasp-machine but, as I won't turn it up in case of disturbing someone else, it's remarkably ineffective against intrusive insects).
The real agony over travel book choice is, what if I don't like one of them? This is a good argument for not taking library books away with you as you can't abandon them if you really hate them. However, we must look on the bright side (why, I've always wondered? it's not in my nature, I am essentially lugubrious): a walk to Charing Cross Road and the Murder One bookshop is not out of the question, and I have discovered that Persephone Books, discoverers of forgotten gems, has its bookshop serendipitously situated between the office and the dentist. Mustn't forget that the journey home has to be undertaken, too!