Vaccination under way in Cheltenham!

Despite doom laden news reports of vaccine batches not materialising, my husband, David, had his first jab of the Pfizer BioNTech Covid 19 just before the sun rose yesterday at 8.05 am (it rises at about 8.15 at the moment). Hurrah. A momentous day.

Heavenly hellebores

The night before promised a heavy frost so with David still subject to unpredictable amounts of double vision, we’d booked him a taxi – it would have been the ultimate irony to have fallen on an icy pavement and broken a limb in his eagerness to get vaccinated! There was no frost, though he was glad of the taxi as the driver knew exactly where to go which wasn’t quite where my husband thought he should go.! Cars arrived from the hills with inches of snow on the roof and out poured elderly relatives. Through put was efficient and fast, including a 15 minute socially distanced rest after being jabbed, but all worked smoothly and no one seemed to be waiting too long in the cold looking for their lift home. Elsewhere in the complex of buildings –  for part of a fire station had been converted for vaccinating – fire engines stood poised for action. (One bonus of the lockdown – you hardly ever hear a fire engine now.) Reinvigorated, David walked happily home. Twenty four hours later and all is still well.

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey (pub Arrow Books, 2009)

To calm agitation from computer challenges, I’ve been giving myself free rein to read more. I’m loving re-reading Josephine Tey’s ‘The Daughter of Time’ which for those of you who don’t know it concerns what are probably the most productive ruminations and research ever performed by anyone in a hospital bed  – fiction or non fiction. If you are sure the princes in the tower were killed by Richard III, read this book and be prepared to think again and even throw over Shakespeare’s sloppily researched judgment on a monarch who, to borrow the sort of in depth analysis of ‘1066 and All That’, may well have in fact been a rather  ‘good king’. Once I’ve finished this little book of just over 200 pages  I think I must re-re-read it immediately as there’s so much to take in. Josephine Tey (who I’ve blogged about previously somewhere but can’t yet find – how useful is it when I include a photo of book covers!!!) died in 1952 (the year I was born) and left her entire estate to the National Trust. In recent years Nicola Upson has written a series of crime books with Josephine Tey as a semi-fictional character in them and over the last few weeks I’ve been working my way through her oeuvre.  I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read so far, though I find Upson a bit too wordy, which is odd as Josephine Tey herself tended to be succinct. But  perhaps that’s me at the moment.

Patchwork. A Life Among Clothes by Claire Wilcox (pub. Bloomsbury 2020)

Before Christmas I’d also treated myself  to Patchwork. A Life Amongst Clothes by Claire Wilcox, Senior Curator of Fashion at the V & A which I thought I would love as the fly leaf says the book “deftly stitches together the story of her own life lived and through clothes”.  The darting dragonfly approach to topics –  flitting and iridescent, touching but not dwelling on – left me exhausted, on edge and never quite able to picture the writer behind the teasing, perhaps too teasing, hide and seek writing style. As I say, perhaps that’s me. I think the book had me emulating the dragonfly writing as I dipped in and out. I shall go through it again and see if a calmer approach yields what my dartings in and out missed.

In general, terrible to relate, it’s crime writing that gets me off to sleep! I draw the obvious psychological conclusions about myseslf.

Post Script: My husband bought me a bottle of Blue Grass Eau de Parfum for Christmas (upon very precise instruction from me of course). I love it and memories of summers 50 years ago have come flooding back. It’ s seems a bit different from what I remembered when first sprayed on but after settling down on the skin or when it rises from deep impregnations within the coils of my cashmere scarf, it hits the spot. With just the two of us, I spray in on more than liberally, several times a day and just wallow in the comfort it gives! Joy, joy, joy!


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  1. Posted January 10, 2021 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    My history teacher recommended “The Daughter of Time” when I was about 12. I love it, and I’ve been a Ricardian ever since.

    I read something somewhere recently that pointed out that Macbeth was a genuine historical character, too, and that nothing at all in The Scottish Play bears any resemblance at all to actually historical events. But “Richard III” is an early work, and the other is very late, when Shakespeare was a master of his craft, and has always been considered a Tragedy and not a History. I suspect that all the History plays should be renamed!

    As to crime writing – doesn’t Peter Wimsey point out to Harriet that in her writing, she presents for her readers a place in which they can believe that evil will never triumph?

    • Mary Addison
      Posted January 10, 2021 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      Undoubtedly crime novels comfort and part of that comfort is certainly derived from the throwing over of evil.
      In these end days of a very unpresidential American president, here’s hoping good will triumph in reality too!

  2. Amara Bray
    Posted January 10, 2021 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    This makes me smile. Good nostalgic smells are so comforting!! I also love me a cozy mystery. My son wonders about me reading so many books where someone is killed! Oh well.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted January 10, 2021 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

      There’s nothing like a good page turning murder mystery at the end of the day to take your mind away from irritations of work or the drip, drip of un-done domestic duties.
      I wonder whether women read them more than men…

  3. ceci
    Posted January 15, 2021 at 12:15 am | Permalink

    I’m having trouble getting started with the first Nicola Upson Josephine Tey book – interesting that you mention them being wordy. I almost always finish books so I’m not giving up. Can’t recall if it was here or elsewhere that I read about one of the Imogene Quy series featuring patchwork quilting – I managed to find it as an inter-library loan as the local system didn’t have it and it was throughly entertaining. So a mixed bag reading-wise. Glad to hear your vaccine program is moving forward; we have high hopes for the end of the month for my husband and later in February for me. And hopefully no more political drama for a while!


    • Mary Addison
      Posted January 15, 2021 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      The few Nicola Upson novels I’ve read don’t really have the feel of Josephine Tey and I think Upson takes some licence with the use of Tey as a character in her books. I also think her editor should have been a bit more forceful about Upson’s text. But they kept me hooked so I had to finish them. Curiously, though I read 4 during the last month I can’t recall a thing about them now, which must say something!!!
      Yes, Rachel’s comment on my post for 24 November last year mentioned the Imogen Quy book threaded through with patchwork. I later realised I had read it but had completely blotted out the patchwork element, so I’m looking forward to re-reading that now.
      Posting a bit on crime novels later today – or tomorrow.
      Best wishes for Biden’s coming inauguration, may it all go well.

  4. Sally Coles
    Posted January 15, 2021 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Goodness, Mary, this piece is a real stroll down memory lane – Josephine Tey’s “The Daughter of Time” was a work much admired and promoted in our English Lit lessons by Miss Tilley! I do remember reading it at the time, so that must be probably 55 years or so ago…..but nothing of it has stayed in my memory, so your mention has prompted me to seek it out.

    And oh, Blue Grass! – I hadn’t even realised it was still available. When High Street shops are open again I’ll be tempted to look for a ‘Tester’ spray, for old times’ sake!

    Very glad that your husband has had a good vaccine experience: here’s hoping that we younger ones aren’t too far behind…stay safe and well x

    • Mary Addison
      Posted January 15, 2021 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      Well that’s fascinating. Now, I can’t think how I wasn’t aware of “The Daughter of Time” when you were. It took me another 54 years to come across it!!
      Ah, Miss Tilley, a portrait in scarcely suppressed pent up fury with all that agitated knuckle gnawing through which intermittent rays of near sunniness would occasionally (very occasionally) break – now looking back she seems more like a character from a book than real life – well they almost all did, didn’t they? I think I was utterly repressed from working out any notion of who I might be by at least half of them!! I wonder what happened to them all, though particularly Mrs Beswick (with whom I shared a birthday) who managed to be completely true to herself in what must have been quite a peculiar staffroom. Remember those red patent stilettoes and matching lipstick, peroxided hair in convoluted swirls (hairdressed every Thursday night for the weekend, it became progressively limp and more and more backcombed as the week progressed) and the way she shot out of the door the minute the school bell rang at 3.30pm and was in that nippy little sports car quicker than you could recite the 9 characteristics of living things, which of course we could as she was a brilliant Biology teacher. Well, one could go on…
      I don’t think you’ll find Blue Grass in a shop – you’ll have to go online .. but it is very cheap. My glorious waft of the past cost little more than £10 and it is rather glorious, so I’m using lots!
      Yes, it’s a week since David had his jab and no hint of ill effects.

      • Sally Coles
        Posted January 22, 2021 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

        Goodness, Mary, memories of Mrs Beswick, whose very existence I’d forgotten – thanks for that! Yes, probably the most “normal” of them all, and very much the exception in that staff room full of odd characters. She left to go on maternity leave, as I recall – and I’m not sure whether she ever returned to teaching – a loss to science education, for sure, if not.

        Amazing, the snippets of memory that trickle back, once prompted…xx

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