August 5th, 2016

(no subject)

I've been so busy sorting out this and that (and catching up on things!) that I forgot to blog. In this case, no news meant enough paid work. Paid work is a wonderful thing.

I've just come from a fill-in teaching. The teacher who took care of my Wednesday class when I was in hospital needed me to take his class today. It's rather nice to be able to return the favour.

This is a reading class, more about sharing literature than anything else. I love being a temporary teacher of this class, because I get to match stories with poems and encourage people to talk about them all, and it's a bright class, language-aware and thoughtful.

I've been thinking about Mr Polly recently, and how HG Wells was quite different to his contemporaries than he is to his current readers, so I chose "The Magic Shop" as my short story. The poems were Robert Service's "The Joy of Little Things" and Emily Dickinson's "I think I was enchanted." They worked perfectly together. The class reacted to every emotional shift in the story and gave a wonderful "Ah" at the end of the Service.

I had a lovely time with them, and it was a real treat to hear the reading aloud. This group of readers is a lot more effective in their reading skills than some writers I know. And the difference a good reader makes to a story or poem! I think I need to practise my own skills, just to make sure. This is another reason I love teaching: it keeps me aware of my own skills base and helps me stay on track.

Tomorrow is a quiet day, unless I can get to a booklaunch. I really want to go to the booklaunch and it's a mere half mile away, but I did a lot of walking outside on Wednesday and today to get to teaching, and if I do too much tomorrow I won't be up to Sunday, and Sunday will be amazing and fun, but long. There's a certain irony in me not being able to get to the launch, given the theme of the anthology (which I'll talk about another day), but I've asked around to see if anyone can give me a lift, so I still live in hopes of irony not controlling the day.

If I sound as if I'm only half here, it's because Lucy Sussex was talking about Stella Gibbons the other day and my mind is in her particular storybook England. Twenty years ago, the only work of hers I could get hold of was Cold Comfort Farm, so I've not read much else, but Lucy was reading other books and I wondered if that meant other books were now available. I checked the library, and lo, other books are in print. This means my reading today and tomorrow is Westwood, Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm and Nightingale Wood. I tried to get a Mitford or two to match the mood (for more twisted moments, I suspect) but couldn't. I'm on the waiting list for Walton's Mitford-influenced series, instead. My TV doesn't quite match my reading, for I have finally obtained Season Five of Game of Thrones.

I need a nice cup of tea and a good bok for the next hour, I think. Nightingale Wood and I are about to endure a close encounter.