18 September 2011


It's a slippery kind of day. No, not the kind that slides around when you  try to grab it, the kind that makes you want to wear your furry slippers. The air suddenly has turned cool; it's rainy, and summer is definitely over. There's this lovely poem I found a few weeks ago:

September has come,
It is hers whose vitality leaps in the autumn
Whose nature prefers
Trees without leaves and a fire in the fire-place;
So I give her this month and the next
Though the whole of my year should be hers who has rendered already
So many of its days intolerable or perplexed
But so many more so happy;
Who has left a scent on my life and left my walls
Dancing over and over with her shadow,
Whose hair is twined in all my waterfalls
And all of London littered with remembered kisses.

-Louis MacNeice, "Autumn Journal"

"...hers whose vitality leaps in the autumn"- oh yes. I'm just a cold-blooded European, I suppose; you won't find me at my best in scorching, blistering summer heat. Fires in fire-places make me happy (in forests around me,  they don't- which is another reason summer is not my most favourite season around here).

Incidentally, I'm sorry I can't state a better reference for that poem  (MLA style, anyone?); I just pulled it off the web, someone else's blog, I think. But I first ran across it quoted in a Rosamunde Pilcher book. Yes,  I read Pilcher - so sue me. I know the high-brow-literature intelligentsia would turn up their noses at her, but she's actually a really excellent writer, with her intricate interweaving of so many interesting characters. And even though not everything and everyone ends happily every after, it generally ends satisfyingly ever after. The poem made me pull out her  novel "September" again, which is a sequel to the award-winning "Shell Seekers"; one of the characters from the first book is part of the ensemble cast of the second and gets something of a redemption in it.

My only quibble with Pilcher is that she lumps in Georgette Heyer with Barbara Cartland as scribblers of romantic claptrap that she in turn sneers at. How dare she? Heyer is the Grande Dame of the Regency  romance - she invented the genre, for crying out loud - and her meticulously researched historic fiction, romantic though it may be, bears practically no resemblance to Cartland's drivel. Incidentally, Heyer, who  was a contemporary to Agatha Christie, also wrote quite enjoyable whodunits; her husband, a solicitor, helped her with some of the plot details.

So now I want to read Heyer again. Off I go, padding upstairs in my  slippered feet, to find my copy of "Envious Casca" (I've got one, don't  I?) to add to the growing pile of books beside my bed which I've been  meaning to re-read.

Life, the Universe, and slipper days. Time to put the kettle on.


  1. Hello you! Since you're a fan of Heyer I couldn't resist poking my nose in to see if you've listened to The Convenient Marriage on audio book read by Richard Armitage. He reads it brilliantly - he does an excellent Rule and his Pelham is Just Right(IMO). I'm almost positive you'd love it. Our lovely library has it, of course.

  2. Hello you yourself! Haven't listened to that, as I'm not an audiobook person, but it sure sounds lovely- I'll pass on the suggestion to Anna, who loves audio.