Evidence that one's learning can continue even while one is enjoying a weekend's mini-break
Lesson 1. Don't ever say to your horticulturally-minded husband in a botanical garden, 'Hey, look, that lily plant is broken.' The chances are, despite what he KNOWS about how lily pollen can stain, he will more or less climb INTO the bush to help out the stricken stems.
|Fran's husband was regretting only bringing one sweater for the weekend away.|
Lesson 2. A book soaked in beer is not as pleasant to read as a book not soaked in beer.
I'm reading 'The Help' by Kathryn Stockett for the second time in preparation for teaching it to A level English Lit students in September. I recommend you read it, although preferably a beer-free version. We were in a lovely Cotswold pub and my husband went off to fetch some drinks. I got my book out to read it. Then, when he came back, one of us - I won't say who because it'll only embarrass him - oops, too late! - knocked over his glass of beer and it soaked pages 173-279. These pages are now yellowed and smell of Cotswold Real Ale which is just about as far from 1960s Mississippi as my thighs are from winning any 'Miss Special K of the Year' competitions. Bourbon or perhaps Jack Daniels would have been more appropriate, although I still prefer pages to smell of pages than of stale alcohol. But maybe I'm just fussy.
Lesson 3. If I ever run a bed & breakfast establishment, I am going to put toffees in the rooms.
I was as excited by these free toffees as a flea on a fresh cat. We were in the Red Room at Staddlestones B & B in Chipping Campden which I can't recommend highly enough - here's the link if you love toffees - and when I saw the bowl of toffees and fudge I kept saying, 'There are toffees! Look! There are toffees!' until my husband suggested I stopped hanging out of the window to yell this at poor unsuspecting passers-by and got my bags unpacked.
There's a Red Room in 'Jane Eyre' where Jane is locked up for a night for 'misbehaving'. Here's what had happened in there:
Mr. Reed had been dead nine years: it was in this chamber he
breathed his last; here he lay in state; hence his coffin was borne
by the undertaker's men; and, since that day, a sense of dreary
consecration had guarded it from frequent intrusion.
... and in a fab example of Gothic overload, this is how Jane begins to feel ... unsurprisingly
Daylight began to forsake the red-room; it was past four o'clock,
and the beclouded afternoon was tending to drear twilight. I heard
the rain still beating continuously on the staircase window, and the
wind howling in the grove behind the hall; I grew by degrees cold as
a stone, and then my courage sank.
The story continues ...
THEN I NOTICED THERE WAS A BOWL
OF TOFFEES AND I KNEW EVERYTHING WOULD BE OKAY. I SAT AND
STUFFED MY FACE AND THOUGHT, 'SOD MRS REED AND HER VILE
SPAWN OF SATAN OFFSPRING. AS LONG AS I'VE GOT TOFFEES, I COULDN'T CARE LESS
WHO DIED IN HERE OR HOW BECLOUDED THE AFTERNOON IS. NOM NOM
|'Mwah hah hah!' thought Charlotte. 'Austen would NEVER have come up with the toffee scene!'|