... to see that I haven't posted here for almost a month. Life has been busy - in a good way - and I've done little reading, though that's certainly not due to any lack of interest in current books.
On a trip to Suffolk last week I took Eleanor Farjeon's The Little Bookroom which was a gift from a kind friend. It is quite delightful and has kept me fully absorbed, even on flights*. It's a collection of Miss Farjeon's stories chosen by herself and illustrated by the wonderful Edward Ardizzone, and what I love about it - apart from the typically expressive drawings and the imaginative trajectory of the tales - is the tone and the spirit of the book: it's fun and uplifting, light and brisk and breezy, and the stories have a joy to them which draws me back like a magnet.
While away we went to Sutton Hoo, the Anglo-Saxon royal burial site. Although the grave goods themselves are now in The British Museum, there's an informative exhibition to see, the burial mounds themselves to view, and you can tour a few of the rooms in the home of Mrs. Edith Pretty, the landowner at whose instigation the dig took place. On the back of this visit I bought The Dig by John Preston, a novel about the excavation which I have long had on my wish list, and which a friend who was with us at the site warmly recommended. Here's the blurb:
"Summer, 1939. While Britain is busy preparing for war, on farmland around Sutton Hoo House in sleepy Suffolk Mrs. Pretty has asked local archaeologist Basil Brown to excavate the enormous earth mounds on her land. And what Basil finds proves earth-shattering. His discovery brings an invasion of academics and busybodies from London. Each wants to run the dig and no one wants Basil or Mrs. Pretty around. Peggy, newly married to her university teacher, surprises everyone by making the first discovery of fabulous treasure, but away from the dig her world is falling to pieces. Why is her husband behaving so coldly towards her? While the clouds of war thicken and jealousy vies with ambition to muddy everything below, a battle for the right to unearth an invader from another age begins in earnest ..."
Now that I've been to Sutton Hoo and learned, in situ, more of its story, this sounds even more appealing.
*The Edinburgh/Norwich run is in small, propeller-driven planes, where on the outward journey at least, Mr. C. and I constituted half the passengers.