Sunday, 24 April 2016
I was thrilled to wake to the sound of the predicted rain, meaning a day of reading book two of the Cazelet Chronicle. I set aside Love All because I simply could not wait to read Marking Time, both by Elizabeth Jane Howard.
It was hard to put down Love All as one of the characters is a garden designer of about my age. From Love All:
“[Gardeners] don’t come cheap, but if they’re good, they’ll make all the difference.” !!
I had been so absorbed recently in the first of the Cazelet Chronicle that I simply had to start the second book.
But wait….shortly after I settled in with Marking Time the sun came out. NOOO.Although plagued with gardening guilt, I did stay in to read the entire book, after thinking about which I would rather have done, weeding or reading, if it were my last day on earth. Just one sight from the kitchen window drew me briefly outside:
Within less than five minutes, I had returned to my book. Marking Time is set in the time of the London Blitz. If I believed in reincarnation (my favourite afterlife possibility), I would be convinced that I had lived during the Blitz because everything about that time resonates with me when I read a novel or see a film set during that era. I read up on it a bit more online whilst reading the novel and learned something new to me: German planes drifted off course while intending to bomb a Royal Air Force site and accidentally bombed civilian London. The next day, Churchill sent bombers to Berlin in retaliation. Germany then focused its bombing runs on English cities. In a perverse way, this actually helped the British war effort because it gave the Air Force time that it desperately needed to repair its severely damaged air fields and it took the brunt of Germany’s bombs away from what was left of English war planes.
“Beginning on September 7, 1940, and for a total of 57 consecutive nights, London was bombed. The decision to wage a massive bombing campaign against London and other English cities would prove to be one of the most fateful of the war. Up to that point, the Luftwaffe had targeted Royal Air Force airfields and support installations and had nearly destroyed the entire British air defense system. Switching to an all-out attack on British cities gave RAF Fighter Command a desperately needed break and the opportunity to rebuild damaged airfields, train new pilots and repair aircraft. “It was,” Churchill later wrote, “therefore with a sense of relief that Fighter Command felt the German attack turn on to London…”” (from The History Place)
For whatever reason, it particularly moves me to read about it. I recommend the series The 1940s House to get a feeling of what it was like to live in England during those years.
While I had me nose in a book, Allan was absent from the house and I could hear the lawnmower chugging along. Later, he showed me photos of the other big project he had accomplished:
He made cheese toasties to keep my strength up (fortified with some bacon jam given us yesterday by Our Kathleen).
We unpacked yesterday’s door prize of dog treats to give to Dave and Melissa, and gave our cats the two toys.I finished Marking Time and have made an interlibrary loan request for the third book, Confusion. Our day closed with two more episodes of Love in a Cold Climate, keeping with the historical English theme as it is set in the 1930s.
1995 (age 71):
April 24: Planted the 4 bags of red and yellow onion sets 4 rows east of path and the rest in rows in asparagus patch. In the fall till the asparagus bed and next year plant veggies in that area. Started planting the new begonia tubers in “window” boxes and pots. [The quotations are because they were window boxes not actually installed under windows.]
1997 (age 73):
April 24: From about 12:30-5:00. Planted strawberries. I thought I was done but just before I quit I found another tray so I guess I’ll plant them tomorrow. I also planted the pots of Gordon’s perennials from last fall into trays. Most of the dianthus were ok but some of the others didn’t make it though the winter. I am exhausted.
1998 (age 74):
April 24: cool—rain—hail I was going to put tomatoes but it was too cold so I started planting seeds in the kitchen. I mostly planted low annuals for my color bowls. I planted from noon to 8:30 with time out to eat. Tomorrow I should take the new trays to the greenhouse—there’s not room in shop until I pot up the begonias.