Monday, August 14, 2006

notes like these, beans, hydrangers

Murray Bail is the author of a novel called Eucalyptus, which I read a couple of years ago. It is set in his native Australa. It's about a man who promised his daughter's hand in marriage to anyone who could name all the varieties of eucalyptus on his estate. There are about 90 in all. It is an an odd and beautiful fairy tale, well written and intriguing. I am pleasantly surprised to find, this afternoon in Hall's bookshop, the published notebooks of Murray Bail, and even more pleasantly surprised that they consist of notes similar to those which appear in this log. One example, taken at random will suffice: "In a bus or tube I am torn between the necessity to read and knowing that I would become "more observant" if I looked round.

Picking beans in gentle, misty rain, I smell growing plants, damp leaves and the hanging pods and I don't mind if the water trickles down my sleeve.

The hydrangers, which a few weeks ago were bright blue clouds of flowers, have faded to a range of pale colours, pink and fawn and predominantly that pale green colour, called-eau-de nil. The colours reminds me of the silk scarves and handkerchiefs which old ladies used to have about their persons.

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