Month: December 2015

Snowflake | edge of evening


Just a quick hello from these days in between. I love them, stripped of expectation & obligation as they are. We’ve been embracing muddy walks, long hours in the kitchen and playing new games (Rat-a-Tat Cat has won all our hearts). Then there comes a point in the afternoon — around 3 — when it’s already starting to grow darker & we close the blinds and put on a movie. We watched Short Circuit the other day & I realised that it was probably twenty-five years since I last saw it. The boys giggled like crazy & the Pip-Pop keeps asking to watch the robot film again. Today it’s The Minions & I can hear the laughter from below. I want to watch, but I want to read more. So usually I sneak upstairs & settle down with a book. And here I am: the sound of wind & rain against the windows, my coffee already growing cold & Anna Karenina waiting for me on the bed. I hope that your between-days are just as cosy.

A Christmas Card by Paul Theroux | edge of evening

We love: A Christmas Card

Whenever I see light feathers of snow moving slowly down a window to make a white pillow on the sill, and hear the thin moan of wind through casement cracks in a room where a fireplace is singing with flames, I remember the Christmas when I was nine, and our house at Indian Willows.  The Christmas Card by Paul Theroux We’re all home — from work & school — and it feels so good to be free of any obligations other than those we choose. No swimming, no ballet, no football, no rushing; just coffees with new neighbours & with old friends, cooking all of the delicious things that have become part of our family Christmas, and generally being in. Though the weather’s still mild, it’s turned wet & windy, and the winter solstice seems like the perfect time to stay close to home and close to one another. And, at long last, I bring you a Christmassy read. I saw A Christmas Card in the Oxfam bookshop last week and picked it up, inspired by Kerry’s reading …

Delve truthfully into the darkest depth

The point is what we tell ourselves about motherhood and child-rearing. If we keep talking about it in an idyllic way, like in many handbooks on motherhood, we will continue to feel alone and guilty when we brush up against the frustrating aspects of being a mother. The task of a woman writer today is not to stop at the pleasures of the pregnant body, of birth, of bringing up children, but to delve truthfully into the darkest depth.Elena Ferrante interviewed in the Financial Times, 11 December 2015 I read the new interview with Elena Ferrante the day after I finished her first novel, Troubling Love. And within it I found the answer to something that had puzzled me about her Neapolitan tetralogy, namely, how I can love her writing so passionately at the level of feeling and yet find little to admire at the sentence-level. This, I think, is the answer, A page is well written when the labour and pleasure of truthful narration supplant any other concern, including a concern with formal elegance. I belong to …

The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers | edge of evening

The Yellow Birds

The war tried to kill us in the spring. As grass greened the plains of Nineveh and the weather warmed, we patrolled the low-slung hills beyond the cities and towns. We moved over them and through the tall grass on faith, kneading paths into the windswept growth like pioneers. While we slept, the war rubbed its thousand ribs against the ground in prayer. When we pressed onward through exhaustion, its eyes were white and open in the dark. While we ate, the war fasted, fed by its own deprivation. It made love and gave birth and spread through fire. Then, in summer, the war tried to kill us as the heat blanched all color from the plains. The sun pressed into our skin, and the war sent its citizens rustling into the shade of white buildings. It cast a white shade on everything, like a veil over our eyes. It tried to kill us every day, but it had not succeeded. Not that our safety was preordained. We were not destined to survive. The fact …

Mog's Christmas Calamity by Judith Kerr | edge of evening

We love: Christmas 2015

It’s that time of the year when life starts clipping along at an alarming rate. We enjoyed the Pip-Pop’s ‘big 3’ weekend & have now reached a hitherto unknown shore in our parenting lives: for the first time, our three-year-old is also our youngest. We’re beyond nappies and now, after the grand dismantling that took place on Sunday, beyond cots too. So, birthday over, it’s now all about Christmas. And I mean all about Christmas. The school Christmas Fair (the one I once took a two-day-old baby to!) is tomorrow. One child is singing at the Christmas market by the Cathedral this lunchtime. Another is practising his songs at pre-school for a slot at a nearby village church’s Christmas Fair next week. The school Christmas plays are next week. An innkeeper’s costume has been sourced from the lovely lady at the charity shop who spends all year turning old curtains into bespoke nativity costumes. The child who auditioned for a ‘big’ part and came home in tears because she’s Donkey number 3 has been consoled and is ready to make donkey ears over …