Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fairy tales, being poor, and Oranges

If I was to take George MacDonald literally I would suspect that the fairies had left the building this week. I’ve either not slept at all or slept too much, been to hot or too cold, undercooked or burnt things, and been unable to settle down to reading anything very much. I’ve been working my way through George MacDonald’s ‘The Complete Fairy Tales’ – on the traditional fairy time line; what should have taken a few hours has inexplicably taken days.

Arthur Rackham
I don’t know if my inability to concentrate on anything very much book wise has been influenced by the number of short story collections I have stacked up waiting to be read at the moment. It’s mostly been the Fairy Tales, but there have been forays into Robert Aickman’s ‘The Wine-Dark Sea’ and I really want to be reading some John O’Hara shorts that are currently laying in a seductive manner by my bed. That and there are a bundle of novels and novellas I can’t wait to get to including Trollope’s Palliser series, and should I order a handful of the Stella Gibbons print on demands from Vintage?

Truthfully I can’t afford to buy anything at the moment and when I can the first thing on the list will be work shoes (sensible black ones with nothing fun or frivolous about them) and although at £9.99 a throw the Vintage reprints are cheaper than a lot of print on demands they’re still not especially cheap and there are so many tempting titles. The dilemma is this – it seems the Nevil Shute’s that started out as pod’s were so popular that they quite quickly made it onto the main list (Is this what happened with the Somerset Maugham’s as well I wonder?) Should this happen for Gibbons it will mean more of the really very pretty covers (if I didn’t care about the covers I’d probably have an e reader so it does matter) and most likely slightly lower prices – both good things. But if people like me don’t buy the books now...

Going back to the fairies and the kitchen – the kitchen has been strange recently. Again if I took MacDonald literally I would be blaming the little folk and certainly cultivating better domestic habits. My freezer is weird (what follows is gripping edge of the seat stuff) I’ve been slowly emptying it with a view to a defrost since the spring so now it’s mostly full of approximately a half hundred weight of Seville oranges, a brace of elderly grouse, and something that’s buried in perma frost. I don’t remember buying so many oranges and am beginning to suspect that they’re somehow multiplying. Irrationality born of late nights and lack of sleep you think? Well the hash browns I found last week tasted of orange, and more sinister the kippers I defrosted last night smelt of oranges. Kippers. Kippers can normally hold their own in the scent stakes. And really – there are a lot of oranges. Got to do something about the oranges.

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