Sunday, 15 April 2012

Hobbling through the Bluebell Woods - and re-reading

I did manage half an hour's slow and painful walk in the Arundel woods.  There was a cold wind, and we didn't see a single butterfly, but the bluebells are coming out.  Soon they will be a carpet.  Sadly I did not make it to the field service group on Saturday or to the meeting today.  I can't drive at the moment, and El Capitano is away stewarding the Brighton Marathon, or he would have driven me.

So I am in intensive training for the Couch Potato Marathon - and at this rate will be pretty hard to beat.

Just re-read "Quartet in Autumn" by Barbara Pym.  The quartet are four office workers, two who retire during the course of the book, and two who will retire.  Its the first time I've read it as a retiree myself.  She captures well, and with a very light touch, how, as retirement approaches, you find yourself becoming a part of the past.  The world is going on without you.

Quartet is funny and sad in just the right way.  Spoiler alert...!  Although given that this not a thriller...  Marcia's oddity and unpleasantness are wonderfully captured, as is the way her mind is starting to go haywire - you see how strange her actions are, but how they make perfect sense to her.

And the saga of the alien milk bottle is brilliant.

Barbara Pym gives Marcia a happy and peaceful death, even though it takes place in hospital. But...  well, let it speak for itself:  "The young doctor bent over Marcia. He didn't like the look of her at all - indeed she was the kind of patient one didn't like the look of at the best of times."

And the book ends on a note of hope for our heroine Letty who sees how much life might still be holding out to her.

And, speaking as one who is loving retirement, I think that is the perfect way to end it.

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