Sunday, February 10, 2013

thrush book exercise

Yes, Lucy, it was a thrush. And here it is caught by the powerful zoom of my compact camera about 30 metres away. You suppose a mistal thrush.  It has been singing on most days since the day in January when I supposed it (quite wrongly) to be a fieldfare. A couple of years ago  I saw a small flock  of fieldfares spread across the grass of The Grove, and I can see the difference. Apart from that they are not solitary birds at this time of year and a fieldfare would as you say not behave in this solitary manner, certainly not day after day.

This afternoon I read Neil MacGregor's Shakespeare's Restless World taken from his Radio 4 Series and based on objects surviving from the Poet's time. It is  a richly detailed account of the way people lived and thought as for example how they feared witches and assassination plots much as we fear terrorists today. But this afternoon's experience as I hold the book in my hand is that it is a solid beautiful object, made of sheets of paper cut and  bound together, encased in board and with a wrap-round cover. I love its smell. And much as I appreciate the convenience of my Kindle, it strikes me that nothing, but nothing can replace the solid feel of this book. The texture of the paper, the quality of the print, and the illustrations which fall in just the right place so not  to dominate the text as they might in a coffee table book but support it and come into view just at the right time. Long may there be books, real books.

Some people swim, some jog. My exercise is gardening. There is something to show for the expense of energy  as there is the other day when I shift barrow loads of compost to the beds which I have dug ready for sowing. Thanks to the rain I am behind with the vegetable plot and not as fit as I will be when all the beds are dug and the compost spread. Now to think about seeds.


Lucy said...

Could even be a song thrush, I'm not great at telling the difference. It's early for them but then I heard blackbirds the other day and it's early for them too.

You put one to shame with your digging, but I just can't get enthusiastic about getting wet and dirty and trying to shift waterlogged soil - the rain just won't let up. New broad bean seeds, pink ones, arrived the other day too...

Roderick Robinson said...

I have attempted to deracinate books as you know taking them as far away from book worship (yours is a fine example) as is possible. Revelling in reading classics (eg The Iliad) in the scruffiest possible paperback version. The argument, not necessarily transferable, is that I am then reading the book for its central rather than its ancillary features. I couldn't resist ascribing this philosophy to Chris Day in Risen On Wings and I apologise for indirectly causing you pain when you read this passage.

However this comment is not about books but about the infinitive verb I use in the first sentence above. No doubt unjustifiably. But how about this sentence (or something similar) which appeared in the online version of the French sports newspaper L'Equipe following the French rugby team's defeat on Saturday by Wales: "L'équipe francaise était d'abord abattu et puis déracinée..." Hard to turn that one into a mental image.