Simon of the Stuck in a Book blog has been recommending The Red House Mystery forever. I’d never read it but seeing it currently on Amazon for 76p I snapped it up.

Also available: Dr. Thorndyke’s Case Book by R. Austin Freeman and a number of his other books. Has there ever been a better time for reissues of out of print books? I think bloggers can take some credit for this.
Kate Macdonald’s review of Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop. I’m a huge admirer of Evelyn Waugh, as anyone knows who reads my blog, and it’s nice to read such an appreciative review. My husband’s uncle, who wrote for The Telegraph, always said Scoop was the most accurate account he’d ever read of what journalism is really like.

I have a little gripe about the way a certain quote from this book is constantly misused. ‘Up to a point, Lord Copper’, is only funny if the statement being responded to is ridiculously untrue. Yet I hear journalists replying to a question by saying, ‘Well, up to a point, Lord Copper’, when what they mean is simply, ‘up to a point’. They think they’re being clever, are actually extremely ignorant and force me to yell at the radio or television. Tsk. Anyway, if you haven’t read the book, you’re in for a great treat.
Not my words but taken from advertisements of the 1920s. I love the blog Read, Seen, Heard for its wonderful images. Today, these superb advertisements for Steinway pianos. Scroll past the Gillette razors and enjoy!
Simon poses this interesting question today and I’ve been racking my brains over it. The first character who came to mind was Mr Farebrother, from my current re-reading of Middlemarch. He’s a clergyman whose behaviour is not always exemplary; he plays whist and billiards for money, for instance. But he is good, supporting a family of women and sacrificing his own wishes over Mary Garth, whom he’s in love with. Yet he’s amusing, good company, ‘a good fellow’ liked by all. I think anyone would be glad to meet him in real life. I’d rather know him than ‘good’ Dorothea, who would always be making one feel inferior and is so earnest that she has no sense of humour. Any more suggestions?

Spitalfields Life | In the midst of life I woke to find myself living in an old house beside Brick Lane in the East End of London

I've been following with interest and horror the plans by the Geffrye Museum to destroy the Marquis of Lansdowne pub. I think they were undone by that fateful comment about having 'no interest in the culture of the labouring classes'. The council has seen sense and here's a small victory for the people.
This one is from Cornflower. Fill the gaps with the titles of books you’ve read recently. I can never resist having a go, then finding it really hard.

I began the day by Housekeeping,

before breakfasting on Chocolate Wishes

and admiring Flowers on the Grass .

On my way to work I saw Celia’s House,

and walked by The Memory Garden

to avoid Dennis & Co.,

but I made sure to stop at China Court.

In the office, my boss said, Now You May Weep,

and sent me to research The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton.

At lunch with Royal Harry

I noticed The Two Mrs Abbotts

in The Town House,

greatly enjoying The Town in Bloom.

Then on the journey home, I contemplated Life, the Universe and Everything

because I have Great Expectations ,

and am drawn to Magnificent Obsession .

Settling down for the evening in Weatherley Terrace,

I studied How to be a Woman

by Glimpses of the Moon,

before saying goodnight, My Dear Charlotte.
If I had my own radio show, I’d play this.
The SY6: We Make Hay



I got it from Liberal England


Here's a little idea from Simon at Stuck in a Book.

1. The book I'm currently reading: on the Kindle, David Copperfield and Rewards & Fairies, both re-reads.
2. The last book I finished: Dickens by Claire Tomalin
3. The next book I want to read: Mourn not your Dead, Deborah Crombie
4. The last book I bought: the Claire Tomalin
5. The last book I was given: can’t remember!

On This Day

Jul. 3rd, 2011 10:10 am
When I have left the boat a short time the seats become intolerably hot. What luxury to bathe now! It is gloriously hot,—the first of this weather. I cannot get wet enough. I must let the water soak into me. When you come out, it is rapidly dried on you or absorbed into your body, and you want to go in again. I begin to inhabit the planet, and see how I may be naturalized at last.

From the blog of Henry David Thoreau, here. It’s pretty hot where I am, too.


This month's choice for the Cornflower Book Club is Evelyn Waugh's Decline and Fall. Someone has commented that it's an interesting insight into the English public school and penal systems. Oh dear. I thought it was an exploded myth that Americans (I'm assuming) don't get satire.

Any other totally false impressions of English life to be found in literature? 'I didn't realise that in England rats and moles can talk', for instance?
10th December 1854

Weather warmer; snow softened. Saw a large flock of snow buntings (quite white against woods, at any rate), though it is quite warm. Snow-fleas in paths; first I have seen. Hear the small woodpecker’s whistle; not much else; only crows and partridges else, and chickadees. How quickly the snow feels the warmer wind! The crust which was so firm and rigid is now suddenly softened and there is much water in the road.

You can read The Blog of Henry David Thoreau every day here. We also have slightly warmer weather today. The snow has gone but there are still a few frozen lumps around.
A post today from Diamond Geezer (see link on left) about The Last Routemaster. OMG, it’s a 159! One of my childhood buses. Bet I could still take a virtual ride on it in my head.

And she got on another bus, the very same bus that had taken her daily to and from the school, the number seventeen, a number once endowed with proprietory delight, and still familiar beyond all other familarities...

From Jerusalem the Golden by Margaret Drabble. I wish someone would reprint it; the pages of my copy are almost too brown to read.
People who’ve read The Burry Man’s Day by Catriona McPherson may be interested to see a contemporary photo of a Burry Man. It’s here on today’s entry by Spitalfields Life. I find it quite terrifying.
If I want to comment on someone's Typepad blog, no problem. Up comes a box with all my details and off I go.
Blogger has always been more difficult. What I've done inthe past is select open ID, then Live Journal and the URL of my blog. No problem. Until now, when I keep getting this message:
The site you just came from seems to want to verify an identity that you, as [info]callmemadam, cannot provide .
Huh? Then I've tried using my Google account but I'm told my password is wrong. This is very frustrating. Anyone else had the same problem? Any solutions?
Like me, the writer of Liberal England watched the programme English Soul, about Steve Winwood. He points out a few things the programme makers missed. Steve Winwood will be in concert on Radio 2 tomorrow evening, Thursday. It's a date.

I'm really linking to the blog for a wonderful little film about London termini of the 1960s. You don't have to be a train buff (I'm not) to find this interesting. It lasts just under twenty minutes and has a *great* soundtrack.




Many thanks to Crying all the Way to the Chip Shop via Liberal England for all that mighty heart. This is a wonderful little production by British Transport Films, showing work and play on a day in London in 1962. Most people must have been unwitting participants but I recognised one of the women in the supermarket scene as quite a well known actress whose name I’ve forgotten. It reminds me of the old Look at Life films you always saw with a main feature way back when; full of optimism and all's right with the world.
There are some blogs, like Cornflower’s, which I look at every day and others which I visit occasionally. Someone who only posts about once a month would have to be very good indeed to keep me on their visitors’ list. Who knows what I’m missing out there? Here’s three current favourites.



Spitalfields Life. I’m sorry I didn’t come across this one before. The ‘gentle author’ is compiling a wonderful record of London life but also sharing a garden. What wonderful plants you can buy (and so cheap!) at the Columbia Road market. You can almost hear the centuries'-old cry, 'All a-growing and a-blowing!' Lovely photos.

Liberal England. You don't have to be a Liberal Democrat to enjoy this, because it's not just about politics. The writer likes cricket, black and white films and The Yardbirds, amongst other things. Eclectic, that’s what I like. Here’s a fun link from there, to the Daily Mail-o-matic

Read, Seen, Heard. Some fascinating images.


After polishing off another brilliant Robert Goddard (Borrowed Time), I'm now reading Good Harbor by Anita Diamant. This was recommended by a friend who said, 'She wrote The Red Tent, you know?' Nope, I didn't know; never heard of it or the author. It's not doing much for me as it seems too purpose-designed to push the buttons of reading women of a certain age. I do like the descriptions of the New England seascape and the real purpose of this post is to point out the madly topical connection (for me) between Kathleen's collection of day lilies and the lovely pictures of them which Nan is posting over on Letters from a Hill Farm. One day I really must see New England for myself.

Nothing to do with this but I have just heard a traffic reporter on the radio refer to 'Toe-sester'. Tsk!

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