Tears were streaming: "Eventually we reached the bay, spread out the rugs on the sand, arranged the food, placed the battalion of wine-bottles in the sTears were streaming: "Eventually we reached the bay, spread out the rugs on the sand, arranged the food, placed the battalion of wine-bottles in the shallows to keep cool, and the great moment had arrived. Amid much cheering Mother removed her housecoat and stood revealed in all her glory, clad in the bathing-costume which made her look, as Larry pointed out, like a sort of marine Albert Memorial. Roger behaved very well until he saw Mother wade into the shallow water in a slow and dignified manner. He then got terribly excited. He seemed to be under the impression that the bathing-costume was some sort of sea monster that had enveloped Mother and was now about to carry her out to sea. Barking wildly, he flung himself to the rescue, grabbed one of the frills dangling so plentifully round the edge of the costume, and tugged with all his strength in order to pull Mother back to safety. Mother, who had just remarked that she thought the water a little cold, suddenly found herself being pulled backwards. With a squeak of dismay she lost her footing and sat down heavily in two feet of water, while Roger tugged so hard that a large section of the frill gave way. Elated by the fact that the enemy appeared to be disintegrating, Roger, growling encouragement to Mother, set to work to remove the rest of the offending monster from her person. We writhed on the sand, helpless with laughter, while Mother sat gasping in the shallows, making desperate attempts to regain her feet, beat Roger off, and retain at least a portion of her costume. Unfortunately, owing to the extreme thickness of the material from which the costume was constructed, the air was trapped inside; the effect of the water made it inflate like a balloon, and trying to keep the airship of frills and tucks under control added to Mother's difficulties. In the end it was Theodore who shooed Roger away and helped Mother to her feet. Eventually, after we had partaken of a glass of wine to celebrate and recover from what Larry referred to as Perseus's rescue of Andromeda, we went in to swim, and Mother sat discreetly in the shallows, while Roger crouched nearby, growling ominously at the costume as it bulged and fluttered round Mother's waist" (153-4)....more
I think a book that tells the history of the United States of America through stamps should be far far more controversial and far far less a monumentI think a book that tells the history of the United States of America through stamps should be far far more controversial and far far less a monument to a glossed-over Fairy Tale of American Superiority. The real history/biography/controversy and the use of stamps to document it would have been a thousand times more interesting and, quite frankly, more factual. Even if stamps were, at the time of their issue, propagandist tools and deeply immersed in the current administration/postmastership, looking back on them now should lend a clearer perspective than was presented in this book; and some of those stories were begging to be told, were positively rending their hair in frustration at being disregarded. (Case in point: Betsy Ross--I think we can all now agree she did not design the first flag, was possibly even only one of many who even sewed the first flag, yet there she is on a stamp. Can we not disregard myth for a minute and discuss instead the very real and very intriguing constructs that have made their way into our mythology and why? Is that not far more interesting instead of, as the Betsy Ross myth is, a blatant falsehood, propagated by a self-serving grandson?) Not only that, but there are some truly fine stamps that far better reflect the generosity of spirit and diplomatic heart of this country that would have done well to have been added here, if that's the kind of the thing the authors were going for--the diplomatic relations series, for instance, instead of an apparently heartfelt and entirely unironic ode to Manifest Destiny. But the pictures were pretty pretty....more
"The rest of the performance was just a lot of that moon-June-balloon stuff--a load of old mulch, really--and I found myself wishing they had chosen a"The rest of the performance was just a lot of that moon-June-balloon stuff--a load of old mulch, really--and I found myself wishing they had chosen a more exciting scene from the play, one of those involving toxicology, for instance, which are the only really decent parts of Romeo and Juliet. "We had been made to listen to the play in its entirety on one of Father's compulsory Thursday wireless nights, during which I had formed the opinion that while Shakespeare was good with words, he knew beans about poisons. "The difference between poisons and narcotics seems to have escaped him, and he was in an utter muddle when it came to those vegetable and mineral irritants that act upon the brain and spinal cord. "In spite of all the wordy hocus-pocus about gathering herbs by moonlight, Juliet's symptoms indicated the use of nothing more mystifying than plain old hydrocyanic acid administered in drinking water. "For ever and ever, Amen" (127-8).
"I recognized the melody before the first three notes had floated from the piano. It was 'Für Elise,' by Beethoven--Larry B, as I liked to call him, just to get Feely's goat" (176)....more
"At present I'm Ophelia--and such a sensible Ophelia! I keep Hamlet amused all the time, and pet him and scold him and make him wrap up his throat whe"At present I'm Ophelia--and such a sensible Ophelia! I keep Hamlet amused all the time, and pet him and scold him and make him wrap up his throat when he has a cold. I've entirely cured him of being melancholy. The king and queen are both dead--an accident at sea; no funeral necessary--so Hamlet and I are ruling in Denmark without any bother. We have the kingdom working beautifully. He takes care of the governing, and I look after the charities. I have just founded some first class orphan asylums. If you or any of the other trustees would like to visit them, I shall be pleased to show you through. I think you might find a great many helpful suggestions" (68-9)....more
My city, perfectly: "There's something about that tunnel that leads to downtown. It's glorious at night. Just glorious. You start on one side of the moMy city, perfectly: "There's something about that tunnel that leads to downtown. It's glorious at night. Just glorious. You start on one side of the mountain, and it's dark, and the radio is loud. As you enter the tunnel, the wind gets sucked away, and you squint from the lights overhead. When you adjust to the lights, you can see the other side in the distance just as the sound of the radio fades to nothing because the waves just can't reach. Then, you're in the middle of the tunnel, and everything becomes a calm dream. As you see the opening get closer, you just can't get there fast enough. And finally, just when you think you'll never get there, you see the opening right in front of you. And the radio comes back even louder than you remember it. And the wind is waiting. And you fly out of the tunnel onto the bridge. And there it is. The city. A million lights and buildings and everything seems as exciting as the first time you saw it. It really is a grand entrance" (191-2)....more