Reasons why I am going quiet for a week. STOP CELEBRATING, YOU MEANO.

Tomorrow I'm travelling oop North to the Lake District - more specifically, Grasmere - and I'm staying for a week.  For those of you not British, the Lake District is a district of England.  With lakes.  Here's a bit of it.

Grasmere Lake.

Why are you going there, I hear those of you ask who know VERY WELL what a pagan I am when it comes to Nature, Nice Scenery and Putting One Foot in Front of the Other.

I'm going because, in Grasmere, there is a shop selling gingerbread to die for William Wordsworth's home, a place of deep literary value which I must visit.  So I have persuaded The Husband that it is of the utmost importance that we stay in a holiday apartment ten minutes from the gingerbread shop Dove Cottage, William Wordsworth's home.

(Or should I say 'ex' home, as Willie-boy is of course very dead and therefore busy DEcomposing.)

The first thing I am going to do when we get there tomorrow is to find out what the opening hours of the gingerbread shop Dove Cottage are so that I can be there waiting, drooling with saliva literary zeal and poetic anticipation.

The inspiration for Wordsworth's famous poem which goes:
I wandered, hungry, through the vale,
Dead bored of daffodils and stuff.
I went and bought some gingerbread
Of which one piece is not enough.

The Husband and I are travelling up by train tomorrow.  But I have started reading a book tonight which I think is going to make me Very Poor Company as a Fellow Passenger.  It's called 'The Slap'.  I bought it because I thought it was a book for Ladies of a Certain Age about cosmetics.  As you know, I've had some struggles in this area recently.  But it turns out it's a great story about a guy who slaps a friend's little boy at a barbecue causing RAMIFICATIONS.  The book started off with some very naughty words which were a bit of a shock on the first page, but I have settled in to it very nicely and I think it's going to be a 'sorry-dear-I-AM-listening-REALLY-I-am' kind of book.  Has anyone else read it?

Everyone says it's a book which 'divides' people, and I am hoping this is a metaphorical expression and doesn't mean that I am going to get up from my seat on the train and find that half of me falls to the right and half of me falls to the left.  This would presumably up the stakes in terms of providing excitement for my husband's journey, but perhaps not the kind of excitement he's looking for, and certainly not BEFORE the holiday we've paid through the nose for.

I was reading the book in the garden while trying to brown the tops of my arms.  A while ago, my arms got very brown from the middle of my upper arms downwards because I was at a school sports day wearing a short sleeved T-shirt and forgot my sun cream.  It has been SO embarrassing, going around looking I'd randomly dipped my arms in gravy up to a certain point, above which they are as pasty as a nun's torso.

So today while reading the book I lathered all the already-tanned-thanks bits of my arms with suncream and then sat in the sun for two hours with my sleeves rolled up trying to even things out a bit.  It has been partly successful.  I'm still two-tone, but, hey, I'm going oop North where nobody knows me and anyway according to the weather forecast I'll be wearing my fleece, a scarf and a plastic mac.

Secretly, Fran was pleased that the bikini option wasn't needed.  There was really no need
to go scaring fellow holidaymakers anyway.

I'll let you know what I think of 'The Slap'.  Great name for a book and it's got a fabulous cover as you can see above.  I'm pleased about this, because at least the Husband has got something interesting to look at while I ignore him for three hours on the train.

See you in a week or so, peoples.  I am being taken to a sheepdog trials as part of the holiday - a veiled attempt by the Husband to teach me how to behave, I suspect.


  1. Have fun, remember Swallow an Amazon was a local literary masterpiece and cookery book for the broad minded.

  2. Safe journey, Fran. Have a great time.

  3. I haven't read The Slap but it looks interesting, and I am going now to put it on my to read list. As for the holiday you are taking, it sounds absolutely wonderful!! Am going to put it on my to visit list!

  4. You just enjoy the gingerbread - oops - the literary tours and sheepdog trials! And just think - we will probably all be wrapped in fleece and plastic macs too. Have a great time!

  5. Hey - I've been to Gramsmere (lovely place) and read The Slap a few months ago and really enjoyed it. I always knew I was a trend setter.

  6. Thanks a lot--you haven't even left for your vacation & already it's cost me $11.99. (I just bought THE SLAP on kindle.) Have fun--& try to keep my other costs down, please!

    Is your husband planning on entering you in the sheepdog trials or just watching them? As good as I assume you would be in following orders, I'd bet on the dogs!

  7. I like the sound of your book. My fingers often itch in the presence of certain children. There's a book called "Bitten, Kicked & Scratched" (not necessarily in that order) about a journalist who goes to learn about being a wild animal trainer. She applies the principles learned to her husband to get him to pick up his socks etc. Check your husband's luggage for a copy.

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  9. "as Willie-boy is of course very dead and therefore busy DEcomposing"

    Hahahahhaha! Loved that. Do tell about The Slap at book's end. And the sheepdog trials - although that does sound most fun, are you carrying a flask?

  10. Hope you have a terrific time.


  11. Have fun. I picked up "The Slap" in a bookshop but decided that it might be a bit harrowing. Not feeling strong enough to be harrowed right now, what with my mother in deepest gloom and my daughter about to marry a penniless and reticent actor. Let us know if there are jokes.

    I don't think you're going oop North at all - the Lake District is part of the
    Deep South to us. But it's raining in Edinburgh. I'll try to keep the rain here for you. After all, it's Festival time with us so of course it's wet.

  12. PS I really liked your poem. Says a lot, briefly.

  13. OOh, you do make me chuckle! Have Gingerbread!... erm... Fun! I'm sure it will be lovely.
    I fondly remember My Lake District Hell

  14. Three friends and I went camping in the Lake District when we were young. It rained all the time we were there (heavily). We still had a good time but everything was clarted with mud. You are indeed wise to choose a cottage.
    PS Save us a bit of that gingerbread :)

  15. Well it's a good thing you aren't going there simply for the gingerbread. That would be a bit daft, as you Brits say. I seriously think that going to Wordsworth's home sounds awesome, though. But then again I'm a nerd.

  16. It sounds like a great getaway! Having watched sheepdogs work for hours in France, I think I can say that there are lessons to be learned here...I'm not sure which of you would benefit the most. What I learned was that I didn't want to work around a very smart dog or a bunch of really dumb
    sheep. Perhaps, though, there's a book in there someplace.
    My best.

  17. I read it. I remember liking its structure with all the different voices but I don't recall loving the book.

  18. Oooh Grasmere .... I know it well, and you sure have chosen a purdy place to visit there missy! The only problem is, that everyone else will be wearing walking boots and wax jackets and sporting beards (including the ladies). So if I was you, I would choose somewhere nice to hang out ..... like a Gingerbread shop!

  19. I thought The Slap was a horrid book. Could not stand it. Nasty characters, all very self-absorbed and self-righteous. I am sorry I wasted money buying it, and chucked it out. I will never read another of his books.

  20. I was more interested in Beatrix Potter than Wordsworth I'm afraid... but I did have two little children in tow when I went to the Lakes.
    Not heard of your book so look forward to hearing about it. I'm reading The Help which I'm loving having decided The Line of Beauty was not for me. Most unusual to read two chapters then no more but I can't face it... is it really a literary classic? I feel you will know and advise whether I must return.

  21. I have to agree with persiflage about 'The Slap'- it got wonderful reviews but I hated it. I'm no prude but the language was offensive and repetitive and unnecessary. Unless he was trying to show that all the characters were horrible, abusive and misogynst, in which case, it worked well. Uugh.

  22. I agree with SPECCY. You probably couldn't have found more unlikable characters even if you wrote a book about Hitler. I read about 25%--couldn't go any further, which is very rare for me.


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