In today’s Miscellany…

  • A visit from the Fairy Hobmother
  • A funny nearly literary moment from my Dorset holiday
  • And the latest book arrivals at Gaskell Towers.
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Firstly, I had a lovely surprise e-mail whilst I was on holiday. It was from the Fairy Hobmother who granted my wish when I commented on my friend Ali’s blog.  I asked for some new knives – and this lovely new set arrived within days. Thank you very much Fairy Hobmother!

Actually the Fairy Hobmother is a nice chap called David at Appliances Online, and he travels around blogs in the UK granting wishes.  What a nice job to have!

If any of you have any kitchen related wishes, do leave a comment below, because he might then visit you too …

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I spent last week on holiday in Dorset, based at West Bay – the harbour of Bridport, a little town ten miles east of Lyme Regis.

Juliet and I walked the famous Cobb at Lyme (right) – immortalised in Austen’s Persuasion and Fowles’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman. We also went fossil hunting at Charmouth, remembering the Victorian pioneer Mary Anning who featured in Tracy Chevalier’s Remarkable Creatures.

Notably missing from my Dorset literary canon was Thomas Hardy of course, and on our last day on the way back from sandcastle-building at Weymouth, I saw a sign to the ‘Hardy Monument’.

A couple of miles up the winding country road to the hilltop, and we reached this…  It was shrouded in scaffolding and the site was completely closed – a shame as the view from the top would have been marvellous.

When we got home, I looked it up on Wikipedia – and discovered that I’d got the wrong Hardy!

The Hardy Monument was erected in memory of Vice Admiral Sir Thomas Hardy – he of ‘Kiss me Hardy,’ reputedly said by Nelson as he lay dying at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Oh Well…

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And finally, a selection of the latest additions to my TBR piles.

    • Doc by Mary Doria Russell. Given my current love of westerns, I couldn’t resist ordering this one from the US once I read Teresa’s post at Shelf Love on Russell and her new novel about Doc Holliday.
    • Sherry Cracker Gets Normal by D J Connell – an oddball comedy that sounds really fun.
    • The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman. When this was first published I remember reading some positive comments on various blogs, so I picked up the paperback.
    • It Had to Be You by David Nobbs. Any new novel by septuagenarian Nobbs is cause for celebration, and this tale of one man and the five women in his life sounds no exception.
    • The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield with an eleven year old tomboy heroine called Swan Lake – she sounds adorable.
    • Other People’s Money by Justin Cartwright. This is my bookseller friend Nicki’s Booker shortlist tip.
    • Wait For Me!: Memoirs of the Youngest Mitford Sister by Deborah Devonshire – new out in paperback.
    • Damned Busters (Angry Robot) by Matthew Hughes. I couldn’t resist this Faustian comic fantasy with unlikely superheroes!
    • … and finally The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell – in a signed, numbered edition of the paperback given to the first 500 subscribers to a new quarterly books magazine called We love this book. The mag is rather good too – you may be able to pick up a free copy in indie/specialist bookshops.
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