Monday, October 11, 2010

where does time go?

i can't believe it - the second week of my holidays has flown by and it's back to work tomorrow... it's been one of the most relaxing times i've had for a loooong time - and there were no family crises to have to deal with (which is rare these days)... i've enjoyed some beautiful spring weather which meant the courtyard door was open most of the time for me old girl and boy, who both loved being able to get outside whenever they chose - sad i have to leave them tomorrow... oooh, not only is it back to work tomorrow, i've just checked the weekend roster and i'm also working next saturday - now that's enough to depress anyone - roll on retirement!!!!!


i've shared some lovely times with friends over the past couple of weeks - i caught up with larry the librarian for an afternoon, and steph and pete came for dinner... i had lunch with irene in the city - we found an indian restaurant where a lot of indian people were eating (always a good sign) and had a tasty curry... sailor lily called in and we shared (as she put it) "one of lifes greatest taste trifectas - olives, dips and wine"... i did some cooking and tried out a new recipe because i've got friends coming on friday night for dinner - i'll be making vegan stroganoff - it's a recipe i hadn't tried before and i wanted to make sure it was worth the time spent cooking it - which is minimal luckily, because i'll be making it after work!!! - it also needed to be tasty - it is, it's delicious (although i did alter the recipe a wee bit)  - and rather than pasta i might serve it on jacket potatoes, or perhaps roasted garlic with rosemary potatoes, along with a salad and crusty bread... yum!!!!

i didn't watch any of the dvds i'd brought home (and they're all reserved so i'll just have to take them back to work and perhaps watch them some other time!) - nor did i do much reading - far out, where did the time go? it just wasn't long enough - my, to have 4 weeks off would certainly be 'luxurious' - but that would mean going the whole year without any time off - an impossibility these days!!! perhaps i need to check out the 48-52 option - is it available to 'part-time' (30-hour per week) staff? or maybe what i really need to do is sit down and work out what the minimum amount is that i need to survive and implement that budget and cut down my hours... hmmm, food for thought!!

i was determined to read at least one book by the end of the holidays - and i succeeded in this endeavour - finally, yesterday i finished "the journal of dora damage" by belinda starling (and recommended by lily)...

now, i have to admit to almost giving up on this book - i just couldn't get into it to start with... i'd pick it up, read a few pages, put it down, pick it up and put it down... i was about to put it in the 'return to work unread' pile and choose another book, but decided to pick it up just once more - i'm glad i did because once i gave it my total concentration i just couldn't put it down!!!

it's an historical novel set it victorian london in the mid-1800s where squalor and poverty are part of peoples lives and womyn nothing but chattels ... dora's husband peter, a bookbinder, is suffering from the typical illnesses of the trade - bad lungs, rheumatoid arthritis - consequently the business is in huge debt and the family (dora, peter and lucinda, their epileptic daughter) are in danger of losing everything (not that they had much anyway!!!)

dora, having helped with the business over the years, 'takes over the reins' and searches for more clientele... as her artistic and binding talents become recognised and highly sought after, she finds herself unwittingly drawn into the shady world of affluent, aristocratic men by binding their highly illegal pornographic volumes (a very risky business, especially for a womon)... she is provided with all manner of luxurious bindings - the softest leathers, silks and satins - for these explicit tomes... one of her major customers, an 'eminent' physician, also supplies her with laudenum for her husband - another shackle that binds her to these rich and powerful men, but becomes an addiction which eventually kills peter...

she realises her peril and the untenable position she has been put in when provided with a binding material she can't quite identify - but she soon delves deeper and discovers this unusual 'hide' is the skin of a female slave... it was time to extricate herself from this murky existence, but in refusing to bind anymore of these 'aristocratic obscenities' she discovers how entangled in their grotesque world she has become, how much power they really had and how many powerful men they controlled...

america was gearing up for the civil war at this time, and we 'meet' the abolitionist movement in london in the form of the "ladies' society for the assistance of fugitives from slavery" who talk dora into taking on an escaped slave named din to work in the bindery... a 'progressive' movement? you'll have to read the book to find out because that's all i'm telling you of the story...





so, after procrastinating i am really pleased i persevered and finished this book... sadly there will be no other books by belinda starling, who died not long after finishing this, her first novel, in 2006 - she was admitted to hospital for an operation to remove a cyst from her bile duct, but following complications she died of septic shock at the age of 34...





now i should get off my arse and get down the street - ooooh, i am so not looking forward to tomorrow - my time's far better spent with my family - we're all so much happier and healthier when i'm home!!!! i can already feel a headache coming on - although i suspect that's to do with the wind and hayfever or sinus problems rather than my impending return to work (but perhaps that could be considered an allergy)... best i stock up on ibuprofen and pseudoephedrine!!!

2 comments:

Sailor Lily said...

I am so glad you stuck with reading 'Dora'. there were so many elements I thought would resonate with your interest in politics, history, herstory and the suffragette movement. And at the end of theday it's also really well written. I felt shock to learn at the book's end of the author's death at such a young age.
Have you read any Sara Waters? I suspect you'd like 'Fingersmith' very much.


hope the fur family coped Ok without you today.
lily

Proud Womon said...

was sad to read of the young author's death... would love to have read what she could have done with a 2nd novel..

have read 'tipping the velvet' which i loved - don't know why i haven't read more of her?! but will have to check out 'fingersmith' (just read about it on sarah waters website)!!!!

another recommendation, thank you...

and yes, shadow and allie had coped - but were very happy to have me home!!!