All Things Wise and Wonderful

 

 

Had my doubts when picking this up such along time after reading the others however I loved it; gentleness coupled with reserved mode of story-telling had me in its grips right from the get-go. The inclusion of RAF training and the birth of his son in this volume were absolutely lovely.

4* – All Creatures Great and Small (1972)
4* – All Things Bright and Beautiful (1973)

4* – All Things Wise and Wonderful (1977)
4* – The Lord God Made Them All (1981)
4* – James Herriot’s Dog Stories (1986)
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Henry by Elizabeth Yandell

 

bookshelves: hardback, one-penny-wonder, published-1976, gardening, summer-2014, autobiography-memoir, kent, nonfiction, britain-england

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Sylvester
Read from August 05 to 22, 2014

 

This book originally comes from Cromwell Bookshop (S A Maher) 67a Pears Road, Hounslow, MX TW3 1SS. The original receipt is still within the pages.

Illustrated by Faith Jaques

God gave us memory
in Springtime
that we might have roses
in December
Kent 1894 Jersey 1973

Opening: I was one year old when I fell for Henry. Thereafter I was his devoted slave. It was on record and a standing joke,that when I became aware of him as a person, as distinct from all others who prodded my middle in passing, I squirmed right round in my bassinet and pitched out over the hood.

The magic of childhood clung to Henry as scraps of eggshell cling to newly hatched chicks. Magic waked with him; all around him. A pied piper. Spinner of the most enchanting fairy stories and animal tales.

Love stories that feature gypsies (and pirates too, of course, when I can get my handies on them), thanks Sylvester. Henry is a breath of fresh Kentish air from start to finish and fully recommended to anyone who wants a change of pace and/or some time out glimpsing into a world gone by. A short yet rich read. Four gypsy caravans.

On Silbury Hill by Adam Thorpe

bookshelves: summer-2014, published-2014, nonfiction, ancient-history, britain-england, wiltshire, archaeology, autobiography-memoir, bullies

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from August 16 to 22, 2014

 

BOTW

Description: Silbury Hill in Wiltshire – together with Stonehenge, Avebury and the remains of numerous barrows – forms part of a Neolithic landscape about which very little is known or understood.

Adam Thorpe describes his book as ‘”a marble cake of different soils. Memoir, data, theory, streaks of poetry, swirls of fiction” – but he is not alone in having been drawn to explore the meaning of the largest prehistoric mound in Europe. Artists and archaeologists as well as various cults and neo-pagan traditions have focussed on the blank canvas that the hill presents as a way of exploring our complicated relationship with the past and the people who lived there.

“An estimated million hours spent on construction rather than herding or cooking or stitching must have had a point, but we don’t get it. Is conjecture a species of fiction? To muddy the difference further, Silbury insisted on being called ‘she’. I obeyed, not out of New Age winsomeness but from the influence of country dialect, in which neuter pronouns are as alien as robot leaf blowers.”

This chalkland memoir told in fragments and snapshots, takes a circular route around the hill, a monument which we can no longer climb, and celebrates the urge to stand and wonder.Abridged, directed and produced by Jill Waters. A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

Episode 1: The base of Silbury Hill covers five acres of Wiltshire turf which have not seen sunlight for 4,300 years. Adam Thorpe has known her since he was 13yrs old.

Episode 2: A target of bullying, the author was grateful for the soothing mysteries of the landscape.

Episode 3: What can archaeology really tell us? Face-to-face with Neolithic man.

Episode 4: The author meets a pair of enthusiastic Wiccan drummers.

Episode 5: All Hallow’s Eve 2013 – Silbury and the stone circle at Avebury, shadows and rituals.


YES! This is the sort of offering I like to see as a book of the week, however I prefer less whimsy, reminiscing and affectation mixed in with my non-fic.

Please note, the hill is not open to the public nowadays.

Three crop circles, just.

Cold Blood: Adventures with Reptiles and Amphibians

bookshelves: radio-4, summer-2014, nonfiction, britain-england, autobiography-memoir, published-2014, nature, newtome-author

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from July 30 to August 01, 2014

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04ch156

Description: As a boy, Richard Kerridge found refuge in the wilderness of suburban England whose reptilian inhabitants were wondrously untameable. His often troubled and turbulent relationship with his father formed the backdrop to his adventures with neighbourhood friends as they scoured local parks and streams for newts, frogs, toads, lizards, and the ultimate prize – snakes.

What might it be like to be cold blooded, to sleep through the winter, to shed your skin, and taste wafting chemicals on your tongue? Do toads feel a sense of danger as the wheels of a car approach ? What exactly is an ‘alien’ species?

Kerridge has continued to ask these questions during a lifetime of fascinated study and countless expeditions.

Weaving startling nuggets of research (e.g. fewer than 5% of toads reach adulthood) with elements of history and folklore, the author has also created his personal emotional map of a lifelong relationship with these often unloved and overlooked creatures.

Read by Robert Powell.
Abridged, produced and directed by Jill Waters
A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4

Theme music is Serge Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf. Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

1/5 Eight-year-old Richard catches his first newt.

2/5 Toads – real and imaginary. The temptations of anthropomorphism.

3/5 Tensions at home are released by a lizard hunt.

4/5 The much maligned adder, and how to catch one.

5/5 Family memories, a Natterjack sings, and the ‘alien’ Camden Creature.

Richard Kerridge with Laura Rawlings at BBC Radio Bristol

Lovely. Four jumping frogs

Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder

 

Read by Danika Fairman

Description: In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell; shortly afterwards the two Germanies reunited and East Germany ceased to exist. In this book, Anna Funder tells extraordinary tales from the underbelly of the former East Germany, including the story of Miriam, who as a 16-year-old might have started World War III.

Read her two books the wrong way around. This non-fiction is superbly written, and she really does have stories that need relating to help us understand DDR because let’s face it, no matter how many time the history is read the subject remains hard to get one’s head around.

DDR was a paranoid place and awful things happened to ordinary people and Funder has pinned the subject matter smack, bang to the , erm, wall.

I mentioned that I read her books the wrong way around – ‘All that I Am’, a novel based on factual events, did not resound so well, maybe I am just a non-fiction kind of girl at heart.

Astounding read worth five checkpoint-charlies even though there are some flaws.

Surfy Googling yields some interesting piccies:

Alexanderplatz. We stayed in the Hotel up those stairs on the left, and that square was full of Christmas market. How it looks today:

I Am Spock by Leonard Nimoy

heh

Narrated by Nimoy; No! Narrated by Spock – oh hell! Both of them read this.

Description: I Am Spock is the second volume of actor and director Leonard Nimoy’s autobiography. The book was published in 1995, four years after the release of the last Star Trek motion picture starring the entire original cast, and covers the majority of Nimoy’s time with Star Trek in general and Mr. Spock in particular. The book’s title was a reference to the first volume of his autobiography, I Am Not Spock, which had been published in 1975. At that time Nimoy had sought to distance his own personality from that of the character of Spock, although he nonetheless remained proud of his time on the show. Negative fan reaction to the title gave Nimoy the idea for the title of the second volume.

Love the conversation going on here; the style unfolds the memoir beautifully. Quick encounter that took me back to those early years.

Diaries: The Python Years, 1969-1979

bookshelves: radio-4x, summer-2014, published-2006, amusing, epistolatory-diary-blog, autobiography-memoir, britain-scotland, nonfiction

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from July 12 to 18, 2014

He has such a lovely face.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00n46wt

Description: “Michael Palin is not just one of Britain’s foremost comedy character actors, he also talks a lot. Yap, yap, yap he goes, all day long and through the night . . . then, some nights, when everyone else has gone to bed, he goes home and writes up a diary.” –John Cleese
“For Palin it has been one hell of a ride, but he seems to have maintained equilibrium all along the way. . . . In sum, it’s tempting to call him a Renaissance Man. But that, as any Pythonite would be quick to tell you, would be silly.” –Jonathan Yardley, “The Washington Post Book World”
Michael Palin has kept a diary since he was newly married in the late 1960s, when he was beginning to make a name for himself as a TV scriptwriter, and Monty Python was just around the corner.
This volume of his diaries reveals how Python emerged and triumphed, how he, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, the two Terrys–Jones and Gilliam–and Eric Idle came together and changed the face of British comedy. But this is but only part of Palin’s story. Here too is his growing family, his home in a north London Victorian terrace, his solo effort as an actor,” ” and his writing endeavours (often in partnership with Terry Jones) that produce “Ripping Yarns” and even a pantomime.
Meanwhile, Monty Python refuses to go away: his account of the making of both “The Holy Grail” and the “Life of Brian” movies are page-turners, and the sometimes extraordinary goings-on of the many powerful personalities who coalesced to form the Python team makes for funny and riveting reading.

Episode 1: The Monty Python star recalls the influential comedy troupe’s huge success in the 70s and the making of their first film.

2/5 Recalling the Python team’s success in America and the start of their own solo projects.

3/5 The comic actor and travel writer reflects on his relationship with his ailing dad.

4/5 The comic actor shares his surreal experience of guest hosting a big American TV show.

5/5 The actor and writer recalls how the influential comedy group reconvened in 1977.