Monday, December 07, 2009

the best sort of weekend

Current work: French duo book 2 (finished revisions, yay! - well, muted yay until I hear my ed's reactions)
Listening to: Joe Bonamassa, The Ballad of John Henry (pinched from DH – like the first half very much as his voice is v like Paul Rodgers and guitar playing like Gary Moore at his best – good bit of blues)
Reading: Jane Jackson, Heart of Stone (another of her fantastic Cornish romances - see below).

Finished the revisions on Friday night so I had no guilt all weekend – just a lot of fun :o)

Fabulous weekend with my best uni friends. Lots of talking, lots of playing board games, lots of drinking wine, lots of laughing, bit of reminiscing… just the perfect sort of weekend. (And much needed after the recent family stuff.)

Oh, all right. Lots of eating, too. I made veggie soup for lunch on Saturday, followed by a bacon, avocado and mozzarella salad in a lime vinaigrette, served on a bed of rocket (this is ALL diet food, note – and we’ll gloss over the chocolate biscuits mid-afternoon). Dinner was ‘early Christmas dinner’, i.e. roast turkey with sausages wrapped in bacon, roast sweet and ordinary potatoes, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and swede, followed by strawberry cheesecake and home-made strawberry ice cream. Oh, and then a selection of crackers with Cornish cheddar, Brie and French goats’ cheese; followed by decaf French vanilla coffee. (We’ll gloss over the amaretti biscuits and the Belgian truffles dipped in flaked chocolate that accompanied the coffee and with which I have been tormenting my Medical author mates.) And Sunday was chicken Dijon with jacket potatoes and lots of veg, followed by lemon roulade and more nice vanilla coffee (note to self, buy more next Monday when in town for car service).

Almost forgot about the entertainment. Daughter did us proud with a guitar recital. And son just has this lovely dry humour and a great sense of comic timing, so he had us in stitches – is a v good double act with his dad. Dog just pattered about and couldn’t decide who he wanted to sit with, so flitted from one person to the next (carrying the inner tube from a large roll of wrapping paper – the things that make him happy). Oh, and the silly Santa pressies. Mrs Santa sorts them all except her own – and Best Friend Santa brought her some proper vanilla pods and saffron - wonderful :o)

Sunday evening, after everyone had gone home, I finished writing the Christmas cards and parcelling up things that need to be posted.

I had planned to have an early night, but then I went back to Jane's book (and I started again from the beginning, because I'd been distracted when I started reading it). DH moaned so I had to turn the light off before I wanted to (admittedly, this was pretty late) but the first half is fantastic and I know the second half is going to be even better. There's a really unusual set-up in that the heroine is a single parent AND the owner of a quarry – Jane gets the social difficulties of these factors in Victorian England off to a tee. The hero is scarred (both physically and in his past) and is such a lovely character – you really feel for him, and understand why he won’t let people close. Then there’s the community, and Jane does this so well: the sheer warmth of people juxtaposed with social snobbery and righteousness (i.e. very rounded, realistic secondaries), plus the pressures of being a parent in the Victorian age, the fear of sickness (scarlet fever - am so glad we live in the present age), and the heartbreak of being unable to produce an heir. Add in greedy entrepreneurs, the same kind of male attitude that had me steaming mad as a student while reading George Moore’s ‘Esther Waters’ (I really, REALLY want Philip to get his comeuppance in this book), and … it’s just great and I'm going to have another (cough) early night tonight so I can finish it.

I adore Jane’s books because they’re so well rounded. Sarah Govier is a really strong heroine and easy to warm to, and the same is true of James Crago, the hero. Sarah’s little boy, Jory, is a real scene-stealer. And I loved learning so much about granite and gunpowder – her research doesn’t show because she weaves it in so well, but I know she's meticulous about details (and they're fascinating) so I tend to look for them. Highly recommended (and you can go and read a bit for yourself over on Jane's website).

Plan for today is book car in for its first service, write lots of French book 2, and go to post office on way home from afternoon school run. And also write up the blogs that are due this week. Eep. Where is the time going?


Caroline Storer said...

Glad you had a great weekend. Friends are the best for cheering you up when life is throwing curve balls! Take care. Caroline x

Lacey Devlin said...

Where is the time going? I refuse to put up my Christmas decorations on protest :P Actually you reminded me that I need to put my car in for a service too so thanks for that :D. I think my memory's going if I don't write it down it just trickles out never to be seen again :P

Jan Jones said...

Wonderful, Kate. Sounds like exactly the sort of weekend you needed. And am very pleased that you are back to reading again!

Kate Hardy said...

Caroline - they certainly are, and these two have been my friends for a quarter of a century. (They remember me when I was a teenager! Scary...!)

Kate Hardy said...

Lacey - nah, you're a busy woman. Writing things down means you don't have to waste energy remembering things...

Kate Hardy said...

Jan - thanks. (And you know what's next on my TBR, don't you???)