A peaceful day

Phillipians 4:4-8

For with Thee is the fountain of life; in Thy light shall we see light. Psalm 36:9

Making lists

Posted by Jeanne

Charlotte Mason lists can be about anything you see in nature. Whilst visiting the Armitt last year, I saw lists of rocks, fungi and insects as well as the ubiquitous birds and flower lists that were kept by all students.

During our current Indonesian holiday, I've been keeping a list of the wonderful tropic fruit we've seen and tasted. Oh my, it's been a yummy research project. The P.N.E.U. student lists always included the English and Latin names of the species, but for my list, I've chosen instead to include the English and Bahasa Indonesia names. I can always add the Latin names when I'm back home if I'm keen.

Keeping lists is a bit addictive. Miss Mason does nothing by chance, and I suspect that this is one reason why she advocated such pastimes. Keeping lists makes you more observant. Can I add another fruit to my list today? Another bird? Another wildflower? Can I identify what I see? Can I buy a field guide...or find a clever person to help?

Somebody on Facebook recently said that a timeline kept badly is better than a great one never kept at all. I love that sentiment, and I think it applies to so many of Charlotte's methods. If we always wait to do things perfectly, if we are always searching for the perfect notebook, or putting something off until our child is the right age or can draw better or has neater handwriting, we run the risk of never starting, and missing the benefits completely.

Keeping lists is terrific fun. I encourage to to pick a subject and start your list today. Come back and tell me if you do.




Who lives in your tree?

Posted by Jeanne

It is only recently that I heard about observing one tree during the course of a full day to learn who and what called its branches home. I wonder if you've done it? It is a delightful way to spend a day.

My family and I are currently spending a relaxing couple of weeks in Indonesia, and the past few days have found me happily ensconced on my recliner by the pool, cold water, sunscreen, sunglasses and a delicious pile of books on a table by my side. At the end of my garden is a tall coconut palm. If you look at the photo above, you'll see my view. It's a hard life, isn't it?

My tree is home to such a myriad of creatures - butterflies, brown, yellow, black and white. Without a field guide I can't even begin to identify them, but there are just so many, and to see them gives me great pleasure. Kupu kupu, they're called in Bahasa Indonesia -such a pretty name, I always think.

Early in the morning a shy long-tailed macaque scampers warily up the trunk to hide in my tree's canopy, whilst later as the sun rises higher, a family of delightful squirrels gambol together, their tails flat along the fronds behind them, not held high like their European cousins do, but behaving in the same cheeky fashion. Maybe it's because we don't have squirrels at home in Australia that I always derive such pleasure from their friendly, amusing antics, but I always delight in seeing them, wherever I see them in the world.

Tiny house geckos, called ciacak locally because of their noisy scolding call, and sun skinks, small and large, defy gravity, running straight up my palm tree's vertical trunk to hide. I understand how geckos grip vertical surfaces, but how does the sleekly plump skink manage this remarkable feat? With ease, it seems. It is said here that if a gecko calls while you're speaking, you're telling the truth.

Birds call my palm tree home as well - sweet pied fantails - our 'rusty-wheel' wake-up call, cheeky yellow-vented bulbuls, spotted doves, Pacific swallows, scaly-breasted munias with their slow, regular cheep cheep cheep, and their white-headed munia cousins. Swiftlets with their comically ungainly flight never land, but soar overhead. Whenever my feathered friends feel warm, they swoop down from their refuge to cool themselves in our pool, regarding it as their own giant birdbath, as I sit quietly by, hardly daring to breathe for fear of frightening them away.

I'm grateful to Charlotte Mason for gifting me, later in life, this gift of observation. Our children, learning from their early years have this strength naturally, but for me it was learned, and so I appreciate it all the more. Teaching our children to 'fully see' truly is a gift. Careful, intentional observation - it's a life long skill with its own rewards.

By degrees the children will learn discriminatingly every feature of the landscapes with which they are familiar; and think what a delightful possession for old age and middle life is a series of pictures imaged, feature by feature, in the sunny glow of the child's mind! The miserable thing about the childish recollections of most persons is that they are blurred, distorted, incomplete, no more pleasant to look upon than a fractured cup or a torn garment; and the reason is, not that the old scenes are forgotten, but that they were never fully seen. At the time, there was no more than a hazy impression that such and such objects were present, and naturally, after a lapse of years those features can rarely be recalled of which the child was not cognisant when he saw them before him.

Charlotte Mason Home Education p47-8

Observing a tree in Bali has been a joyful experience, but you don't need to be in Indonesia to do this study. Pick a day, pick a tree, pack a picnic and just observe. What can you see? Do birds visit your tree at different times of the day? Is it a refuge for lizards or mammals of some kind, or can you just see insects? Do birds visit? Or ants? Is there moss growing? Or ferns? When I observe trees in my garden at home, I don't see monkeys or squirrels, but I do see birds. I see that the magpie sings there early in the morning; the musk parrots visit in the warmth of the sun; the corollas and cockatoos rest there on their way home to roost on the riverbank at sunset.

What do you see when you observe your tree? Go and look, and then be sure to come back and tell me about it. Right now, I'm off for a swim.



Open tabs

Posted by Jeanne

I wonder if you leave lots of tabs open on your iPad like I do. I realise that it's a bad habit - my beloved tells me so, and I often have two or three copies of the same page open just because I can't find it amidst all the stacked tabs. But it mostly works for me.

I leave tabs open for lots of reasons - because I access a page a lot, or because I want to read the article, but I don't necessarily want to keep it forever, or possibly because I have already read it, and I like what I've read, and know I want to access the page again. Now I know a lot of you pin these latter things in Pinterest, or use some other sort of file storage app, but I find that once things are neatly stored like that, I never look at them again. What I need is a way to file things away so I can find and use them easily when I want them again. Which is sort of how I use my blog - as a sort of scrapbook of my life. I hope you don't mind that.

What types of tabs do you leave open? I wonder what we could learn about a person by perusing their open pages?  Quite a lot I suspect.  Here are mine. I've already shared many of them on FaceBook, so you may have already seen them, and if you have, I'm sorry.  If you feel like linking to some of yours in the comments, I think it would be fun to have a look. You show me yours; I'll show you mine as they say.  Heh.

Moving right along...

One Pan Chicken Burrito Bowls

I marked this recipe for a one pan Mexican flavoured chicken and rice dish as soon as I saw it. I loved the way that it used mostly ingredients that I always have on hand, but it's just that little bit different.  I made it the other night and served it with coriander and avocado and sour cream, and it was an absolute hit with all the family.  This is definitely a recipe that I will be making as often as I can buy cans of black beans...not so easy in our area of rural Victoria. Y.U.M.M.Y.

Indigo Knitted Tank Top

Don't you love this plain knitted top?  It looks so smart and comfy and I have a bit of a thing for indigo.  It's knitted in simple stocking stitch, too. This might just be my next project on my return from Indonesia.

AmblesideOnline Forum

I guess it won't come a a surprise to find this page open on my iPad.  Actually, there were three copies of it open this morning, but I closed two. Do you love the forum as much as I do?

AfterThoughts Blog

Are you an Afterthinker?  Brandy is a good friend of mine, and her CM homeschooling blog is one of my absolute favourites.  You'll mostly find an AfterThoughts tab open so that I can keep up with her latest pearls of wisdom.

Double Choc Cookies

Jemimah made this recipe the other days, and its definitely a keeper.  Next time we're going to add a bit more cocoa to make the biscuits a bit darker, but otherwise they're great just as is - chewy on the inside, crunchy on the outside.  Morishly delicious.

Psalm Tunes

This new-to-me website is super great.  It contains the tunes for four psalters' worth of psalm tunes, including the two that we use in our church, The Book of Psalms for Singing, and The Book of Psalms for Worship.  If you've ever wanted to sing the psalms, but didn't know the tunes, well now you do.  Many of the tunes will be known to those of you who still sing traditional hymns, so you'll be able to sing from the Bible's hymnbook right away.  I love this website, because I love singing the psalms, and hope you will too.

Miyazaki's 50 Favourite Classic Children's Books

Oh my, I love this list.  I had already been introduced to Diana Wynne Jones' Howl's Moving Castle through Hayao Miyazaki's film, and the rest of his choices look just as great.  Many of my childhood friends are here, and I've a mind to read the rest of his choices now.  What do you think?

Reformation Study Bible

Have any of you purchased this Bible?  It looks pretty good to me, but I haven't quite decided, and I'd love your opinions.  Our church has just announced its intention to move from the old NIV to the ESB, and I'm thinking this edition might be a good option for us all.  Maybe I'll buy a copy for hubby for Father's Day (which isn't until September in Australia, but will come soon enough).  What do you think?

In Defense of Physical Books

I shared this article on Facie too.  It's just a nice read for those of you who love books.  I'm guessing that's most of you!

Apart from the links I've also shared above, I also find that I have multiple copies of Amazon.com and Abebooks.com open.  One never knows when one might have an urgent need to look up a book or check on an order or something, does one?  I also have a link to my blog.  I like to check whether any of you are talking to me.  I'm needy like that.

So there you have it.  My innermost secrets.  What links do you keep open on your iPad or desktop or laptop?  Do share!


International Harry Potter Day

Posted by Jeanne

Come on in...if you know the password...

You knew May 2nd was International Harry Potter Day, I guess? I didn't, but Jemimah sure did, and she decided to throw a family party.

Well, it blew me away. Her attention to detail was just incredible, and she planned such a wonderful day of eating, drinking, reading and movie watching. And laughing, and spending time together. Which was really the best bit of all. For those of you who are Harry Potter fans, here is a whole album of photos to show you every little bit. There rest of you might like to skim quickly through to see how much work she put in.

I have never been to such an intricately orchestrated party in my life before. It was truly magical. I love you, Jemimah. xx


Special study: local eucalypts

Posted by Jeanne

A visitor to the Australian bush could be forgiven for thinking that all he could see was a whole lot of gum trees, or eucalypts. He may even be right. Eucalypts, after all, dominate our forests, and to uneducated eyes, our Aussie bush is superficially monotonous. Most eucalyptus trees are single stemmed, thin and tall. They are wispy and scraggly. They have thin tapering adult leaves bunched at the ends of the otherwise bare branches. The leave are generally grey-green, and hang vertically. They are leathery, a similar colour on both sides, and smell of...er...eucalyptus oil.

Let's have a look at what happens, though, if you 'zoom-in' a little and have a closer look at the trunks of those trees:

Do they all look the same now?

These photos show some of the eucalypts that grow in the Regional Park that Jemimah and I visit most weeks. Here you will find eucalypts with thin smooth bark, trees shedding their bark in ribbons, rough, thick, scaly bark, and still others with thick, deeply furrowed, almost black bark.  They are certainly not all the same, are they?

Identifying eucalypts is difficult in Australia mainly because there are so many of them.  There are more than 800 recognised eucalypt species, and over 100 of these occur naturally in our state of Victoria.  All are botanically similar, and yet each is also very different from the other.  Not only the bark, but the buds, flowers, fruits, juvenile leaf shape and position, adult leaf shape and position, and number of stems all differ between species, as will growth habit and size.  The challenge is spotting the differences, classifying them, and then making an identification. Yup.

Jemimah has chosen to identify the eucalyptus trees in this local forest as her 'Special Study' for this term. Each week she has been choosing a different tree, observing its growth habits, the positioning and shape of its leaves, the feel of the bark.  She has been making bark rubbings, sketching leaves, noticing size, shape, vein pattern, and noting whether they are opposite or alternate, and so on.  Later in the year, she hopes to note flower colour and buds.Since the buds are so distinctive, we plan on these letting us know if her initial identification has been correct.

So far, she thinks she has identified the following species:

Red Ironbark,  Eucalyptus tricarpa
Yellow Gum, E. leucoxylon
Grey Box, E. microcarpa
Red Box, E. polyanthemos
Red Stringybark, E. macrorhyncha

I'll let you know later in the year whether she was right, and if she finds more.

(Form) IIB... are expected to do a great deal of out-of-door work in which they are assisted by The Changing Year, admirable month by month studies of what is to be seen out-of-doors. They keep records and drawings in a Nature Note Book and make special studies of their own for the particular season with drawings and notes.

The studies of Form III for one term enable children to ––"Make a rough sketch of a section of ditch or hedge or sea-shore and put in the names of the plants you would expect to find." "Write notes with drawings of the special study you have made this term," "What do you understand by calyx, corolla, stamen, pistil? In what ways are flowers fertilised?" "How would you find the Pole Star? Mention six other stars and say in what constellations they occur." "How would you distinguish between Early, Decorated and Perpendicular Gothic? Give drawings." Questions like these, it will be seen, cover a good deal of field work, and the study of some half dozen carefully selected books on natural history, botany, architecture and astronomy, the principle being that children shall observe and chronicle, but shall not depend upon their own unassisted observation.
The study of natural history and botany with bird lists and plant lists continues throughout school life, while other branches of science are taken term by term. 
Charlotte Mason, Towards a Philosophy of Education p 219-20

We don't know much about Special Studies in Charlotte Mason's schools, except that they did them.  The PNEU programmes mention them regularly, saying something like this:  "For out-of-door work take some special study. " Often an accompanying book will give ideas, and we notice from the quote above, that Miss Mason expected that the students would not depend upon their own unassisted observations too much.  Given the struggles Jemimah has had in identifying the eucalypts, I get what she means, here.  The observation is valuable in and of itself, but we will not definitely depend upon her results unless we can find so 'expert' who can corroborate her findings. And that is not me.  Ahem.

It seems that generally Miss Mason's students did a special study for a full term, and we have followed this plan.  Jemimah has studied wildflowers, exotic garden flowers, English park trees, insects in our garden.  She has followed six garden trees throughout a year. One term she studied pumpkins and the gourd family, Cucurbitaceae, and another, carrots and the carrot family, Apiaceae.  Overseas, she has studied local birds, mammals, flowers and butterflies in detail.

It seems that Miss Mason's students had some part in choosing their own special study, although during some terms they are asked to choose flowers or trees or twigs.  For the most part I have done the same.  I have provided the general topic; she has decided what to do within that.

Special Studies is  delightful, because the child gets to know a subject in detail. Although Jemimah will only be studying eucalypts for a term, her increased knowledge is also proving handy during our bush walks, and we look at her identified species as special friends - Look Mum, there's a Red Ironbark over there!  I'm sure that we will always look at our Australian bush with different eyes after learning to really see what is there.  The benefits of Special Studies are evident.  It is nice that they are good fun as well, isn't it?


Knowing Samuel Pepys

Posted by Jeanne

(L)et them get the spirit of history into them by reading, at least, one old Chronicle written by a man who saw and knew something of what he wrote about, and did not get it at second-hand. These old books are easier and pleasanter reading than most modern works on history, because the writers know little of the 'dignity of history'; they purl along pleasantly as a forest brook, tell you 'all about it,' stir your heart with the story of a great event, amuse you with pageants and shows, make you intimate with the great people, and friendly with the lowly. They are just the right thing for the children whose eager souls want to get at the living people behind the words of the history book, caring nothing at all about progress, or statutes, or about anything but the persons, for whose action history is, to the child's mind, no more than a convenient stage. A child who has been carried through a single old chronicler in this way has a better foundation for all historical training than if he knew all the dates and names and facts that ever were crammed for examination.
Charlotte Mason, Home Education p282

On Saturday afternoon, Jemimah, her daddy and I went to see the new movie, Cinderella. We'd heard good reports, and the film more than lived up to the hype. I'd recommend it, if you get a chance to go. There are lots of lovely moments, but a highlight for Jemimah and me was when we realised that the book the grown Ella was reading aloud to her father was none other than our very good friend, Samuel Pepys. Mr Pepys has a very distinctive voice, and Jemimah and I both recognised his style immediately. It was a joyful and very satisfying homeschooling moment for us both.

Samuel Pepys caused me a little bit of grief when I realised his diary was scheduled in AO8. His story is so important, his writing style is so captivating - straightforward, lively and chatty, he is a pleasure to get to know, and you can't help but like him. But...our friend Samuel was not always an upstanding citizen. He drank too much, and he was rather an unpleasant, violent drunk. He frittered away his money on frivolous pursuits. He was a womaniser. Although he loved his wife, he fell hard and often for barmaids, actresses, duchesses, maids, and the wives of his friends. He is also remarkably frank about his own faults and weaknesses, and he records his dalliances in agonisingly embarrassing detail. In fact, Samuel Pepys was so explicit, that the first unabridged version of his diaries wasn't published until the 1970s (so you needn't worry about Cinderella - I'm sure her version was quite clean). My concern was how I could introduce my daughter to this charming rogue, and how much I really wanted her to know about him.

Pepys was born in London in 1633, and he kept his diaries for ten years through some of the most fascinating years of English history. He was involved in the Restoration of Charles II, he was an eye witness to the Plague, the Great Fire of London, and the execution of great men including Charles I. Concerned about the frankness of his writing, AmblesideOnline choose to read only a very short excerpt of the diary, covering the Great Fire and the Plague, but although these events were undoubtedly important, I feel that the major value in reading Pepys is learning about the minor events of his everyday life in 1660s London - the food he eats, the books he buys (he was a bibliophile, and I love reading the titles he purchases and his 'book reviews'), the fashions of his wife’s clothes (what were the ‘patches’ that the women wear on their cheeks?), the games they play, his dealings with his servants, his impressions on the plays he attends, the renovations of his house. I wanted more of Samuel Pepys than just a few pages.

After much consideration, I decided on using this entertaining dramatisation of the diary adapted by Hattie Naylor, and produced by the BBC. It is over 12 hours long, and is contained on 11 CDs. This is not for purists – portions of the diary are read, but in between, the events are acted, and are imagined, not factually accurate. There is some bad language – Pepys was extraordinarily fond of the word t*rd for excrement, and uses it liberally to describe the product of both man and beast. There is also much womanising and typical Pepys behavior. Since I am listening to this production with Jemimah, I have not found the content too extreme, but he was a very naughty boy, and it still shows in this production.So far we have listened to four CDs and are enjoying it very much indeed.

In addition to the CDs, Jemimah is also dipping into this book, Voices from the World of Samuel Pepys by Jonathan Bastable. Using Pepys' diary as its main resource, the book also quotes from other first-hand accounts of the day to give us a well rounded account of 17th century London.

As Jemimah learns about Samuel Pepys this year, I hope that this era of history is brought vividly alive as she learns what living in London was like – church, theatre, coffee houses, taverns, books, fashion, music, politics and home-life. When she reads her dry outline of 17th century England, this is what I want to remember. Not lists of dates; real men and women, with real families and real lives. That's really what history is all about, isn't it? To me, this is the value of getting to know Samuel and Elizabeth Pepys.
The fatal mistake is in the notion that he must learn 'outlines,' or a baby edition of the history of England, or of Rome, just as he must cover the geography of the world. Let him, on the contrary, linger pleasantly over the history of a single man, a short period, until he thinks the thoughts of that man, is at home in the ways of that period. Though he is reading and thinking of the lifetime of a single man, he is really getting intimately acquainted with the history of a whole nation for a whole age. Let him spend a year of happy intimacy with Alfred, 'the truth-teller,' with the Conqueror, with Richard and Saladin, or with Henry V.––Shakespeare's Henry V.––and his victorious army. Let him know the great people and the common people, the ways of the court and of the crowd. Let him know what other nations were doing while we at home were doing thus and thus. If he come to think that the people of another age were truer, larger-hearted, simpler-minded than ourselves, that the people of some other land were, at one time, at any rate, better than we, why, so much the better for him.

Charlotte Mason, Home Education pp280-1

Here's part of the dramatisation telling about The Great Fire of London.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we both do.  Meet 'our' Mr Pepys.


Thinking thoughts

Posted by Jeanne

Hullo.  Are you well?  It's rather a while since we've had a chat, isn't it?  I've been thinking a few thoughts, recently.  Here are some of them.  If you're interested, that is.  You can just move onto the next blog in your reader if you're not.  I don't mind.  Really!

So if you're still here, here are some of the thinks I've been thunking:

:: For the last few weeks I've been hosting a decluttering thread on the AO Forum.  The project actually started for me around the new year, although it wasn't really a New Year's resolution; it just coincided with it.

My beloved and I had individually come to the conclusion that we were successfully storing too much stuff.  You wouldn't have necessarily seen it if you'd visited us - we both consider ourselves minimalists, and since the flood when we lost much of our furniture, out home is even more spare, but open any drawer or cupboard, and you would see what I meant.  Stuff.  Because we had the storage space, I think, we tended to just find homes for our new purchases without tossing the things they were replacing.  We had too much stationery, too many cleaning products, too many towels, sheets, pillows, duvets, shoes, winter jackets, pairs of jeans, T shirts, paint brushes, texta colours,  vases, computer cords, socks, Tupperware containers, jam jars, toiletry samples, mugs and toys.  There was nothing wrong with this stuff, only we just didn't need it, and we figured that instead of storing it in case we needed it 'one day', we should donate it in case somebody needed it right now.

So back there in January I started removing one shopping bag of stuff each weekday from our home. Five each week, sometimes more. Some was useless rubbish and went straight into the bin.  Jemimah's clothing went to friends at church for their kids.  The adult clothing along with the toys, bedding, towels and tea towels went to the local 'opp shop'. It didn't matter much where it went as long as it was out of our home!

We've overhauled wardrobes, craft cupboards, pantry, fridge and freezer, the games cupboard, the bathroom cabinets, the laundry cupboards, desk drawers, sports equipment, CD and DVD collections - practically everything except books.  I am decluttering, not getting rid of books.

Last week I realised that I am almost finished.  There are still a few things we need to use up slowly - I'm not tossing something that we use every day, even if we have enough to last us all year.  I just won't buy any more until it is gone.  The freezer is almost empty - we are just finishing up the few odd things at the back.  Why, oh why, did I buy so much kangaroo steak, and what am I going to do with it all?

Our home is working much better.  There are homes for everything, and space to put it all away.  We can see what is in the cupboard when we open the door.  It is sort of empowering to have done it, and we are all inspired to live more simply and to purchase less 'stuff'.  We really have absolutely all we need.

:: Which brings me onto the next thought I've been thinking.  It's related, so I've you're getting bored with simplifying, you might want to move onto the next blog - or at least to point three.

I've been thinking about capsule wardrobes.  I found out about them on FB, and the place that I've learnt most about them is at Un-Fancy. Caroline is much slimmer, younger, and all around more gorgeous than me, but we have almost identical tastes in clothes (except for the skimpy shorts), and I find her blog quite inspiring to look over.

I find the idea of a capsule wardrobe - a minimal wardrobe filled with clothing that you love to wear - intriguing, and I seriously considered making one for a couple of weeks. I've decided against it now, mainly because I actually have significantly fewer clothes than Caroline, and I can't see much point in buying many more, but I do like her ideas, and I have taken a good look at my wardrobe and where it does well and where I could improve it.  I even did a bit of clothes shopping on the weekend (I dislike clothes shopping immensely), and bought some new black jeans, a couple of long-sleeved T shirts and a gorgeous black alpaca cape, so I'm well set for winter.

If you want to know more about capsule wardrobes, here's Caroline's guide to them for you to read.

:: Facebook has been really getting me down lately, and I've been thunking thoughts about how I should best manage it.  I like FB - all of my best friends live inside my iPad, and as an extreme introvert, my online life constitutes a significant part of my social life - so I don't plan to leave it, but sometimes everything is so aggressive and unkind, and it makes me feel agitated and disgruntled.  It's not good feeling agitated before breakfast - sometimes I haven't even had a cup of coffee to calm me down.  Anyhow, I've been thinking about how to make my FB experience more uplifting.  I'd appreciate your ideas if you've thought these thunks before me.

:: In lieu of being online, I've been reading some great books.  I joined Silvia and some other ladies in a reading of Kazuo Ishiguro's new fantasy novel, The Buried Giant, and then got so wrapped up in the story that I finished it before some of the ladies had even started.  Sigh. Ishiguro's writing is gentle, poetic and peaceful, and I loved his portrait of abiding marital love into old age.

The ending, though.  Oh my.  What can I say? I'm haunted by it still now. Which is the sign of a good story-teller, I guess.

A quote from my commonplace book:

“But then again I wonder if what we feel in our hearts today isn't like these raindrops still falling on us from the soaked leaves above, even though the sky itself long stopped raining. I'm wondering if without our memories, there's nothing for it but for our love to fade and die.”

I bought my current book because it had such a beautiful cover, which is probably not the best reason, but has proved to be a good one in this case.  It's titled The Little Paris Bookshop, and it's a pure delight for both Francophiles and book lovers, or those who are both, like me.  Jean Perdu owns a book shop, or rather a book barge, which floats on the Seine.  It's called The Literary Apothecary, and Perdu acts as the pharmacist, dispensing books as prescriptions to treat the troubled souls of his customers.  Perdu has a cure, it seems for everyone...except himself.  For Perdu is suffering from a broken heart.

One day Jean Perdu discovers a letter from his lost love.  A letter written twenty one years ago, and which remains unopened.  The content of that letter inspire Jean to unmoor his book barge and set of for Provence to make things right. ..

This book is a pleasure to read. Okay, there is a bit of language and bad behaviour, but we're grown-ups right, and it doesn't seem gratuitous.  Apart from anything, its a book about books.  And Paris.  And other important stuff, like the redemptive power of love.  Much like The Buried Giant, I guess.

From the Commonplace:

“Books are more than doctors, of course. Some novels are loving, lifelong companions;some give you a clip around the ear; others are friends who wrap you in warm towels when you've got those autumn blues. And some...well, some are pink candy floss that tingles in your brain for three seconds and leaves a blissful voice. Like a short, torrid love affair.”
:: So these are some of my  thoughts.  I'm also thinking about:

 - Our holiday - only a little over three weeks to go now.
- Accreditation  - it is dominating my work thoughts.
- The AO Retreat in Indiana in July - are you coming?
- Why I used to be able to find enough to blog daily and sometimes now I struggle to write once a week.

What are you thunking about?

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