"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Monday, July 28, 2008

Brideshead Revisited Revisited

Yesterdays' deluge struck the Lodge, where the Chap was, with force. Only a few sprinkles here on the Big Lake. Watched Mad Men last night. Twice.

A cool, pleasant morning. On our morning walk, we smelled wood smoke from a nearby chimney. And sometimes, wafting through the trees, was the aroma of whatever people had for breakfast...mostly bacon and eggs! It was such a Monday morning--no walkers, joggers, or other dogs. Rush hour consisteed of three cars on our road, headed out on weekday errands. We walked around the Point, which we haven't done lately, then backtracked and marched up the hill to the point of the Point.

Along the way home, I paid especial attention to the various names of the local residents, remembering the Sign Board Wars of Road Association meetings long past. Some people think it déclassé to post surnames on trees along the road. Others protested that it's the only way people can find these camps, cottages, and houses tucked well off the roadway, down along the shore.

Our place was here before the vast majority of the other places, and I wondered what kind of markers existed when it and the two neighbouring compounds formed one vast property, long ago, back in the late 19th/very early 20th century. Back when the gents toiled at their banks and shipping offices and factories down in Boston and Lowell, and the women and children and servants spent their entire summers on the lake. And the gents would take the train up at the end of the week...and return to the city after the weekend.

It occurs to me that the Chap and I are carrying on this tradition, in our own fashion. Only I've got pups in place of children, no cook or maid, the train no longer runs along the river valley to the tip of the Bay, and my straw hat is nothing like as grand or decorated as the ladies' summer hats in the old family photos!

By the time we were back at the cottage again, the weather--and we three--were all warm enough to take a dip. The air temperature and the water temperature are exactly the same, 72 degrees. Ruth went in first, then me, then Jewel. I grabbed the bar of Ivory soap (99 and 44/100ths% pure!) and bathed.

For elevenses we three ate fat, sweet blueberries right off the big bush growing at the edge of the water. The girls scarfed down the ones within reach of a dog's snout.

Then we all sat at the sunny end of the dock for a while, I with my mug of tea, and watched a sailboat head up the Bay. And some ducks. And we kept an eye on nearby docks and floats. Our next door neighbours' children and grandchildren are in residence, and the teens and twenty-somethings were sunbathing and a horde of them took the boat out. The renters (three-weekers) at the compound next to the compound next to ours were reading the newspaper (the Globe or the Times?) have houseguests, and the guests have a gorgeous, languid black and white borzoi which excited my girls' interest not a little.

I'd hoped the walk and swim would wear out Ruth and Jewel enough that I could achieve lots of undisturbed writing time. When we first came in, I feared it had energised them--oh, the racing about and jumping on and off dog nests, and expectant faces. "What a fun morning, what are we doing next?" I ignored them. They settled down for some intense chewing and now are gently napping.

Mission accomplished!

I need to work because yesterday I did nothing but read. I was finishing up one of my all-time favourite works, Brideshead Revisited. I used to read it about once a year, then cut down to once a decade or so. My first close encounter with Waugh came with my college course on The Modern English Novel. My copy has several uderlinings in it--all personal, none academic--favourite lines and especially the names of Oxford pubs and places I frequented.

The catalyst for this re-read was the new film. I've no desire to watch it. I'm dismayed by the casting, the preview footage I've seen, and the running time. Two hours? The 1981 11-episode television production by Granada TV is far and away the finest screen adaptation of any novel--ever! I had far rather watch it again. And probably shall in the not-too-distant future.

Off to my office now, for an afternoon of heavy writing on the laptop.

Office pictured here:

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