Hallowe’en has been and gone and whilst most of the population settled for a couple of home carved pumpkins and the odd moth-eaten cobweb, the Ecclestone siblings did things their way. For one night only, their multi-million London homes were transformed into haunted castles. No hacking away at squash and pumpkins and labouring up ladders for them. Apparently there are companies whose raison d’etre is to fulfil the every wish of a spoilt 3 year old and her equally spoilt mother. There were enough pumpkins to keep the borough’s homeless in soup for a few weeks but maybe at the stroke of midnight, the glitz and glamour disappeared in a puff of smoke leaving a soup kitchen in its wake…
Everything becomes sullied by the prospect of gold-making. The consumer Christmas comes earlier and grows bigger each year: we are already bulging at the seams with ‘Christmas’ books following a mountain of boxes that arrived on November 1st. Last year I read about the introduction of Christmas Eve presents for children, presumably because the little darlings are finding it too traumatic to wait one more day for their presents!! So a box of a new pair of pyjamas, hot chocolate, books etc is suggested as the ideal gift to help ensure that the little treasures can make it happily through the long night and be in the best frame of mind possible to get down to the real business on Christmas Day. Of course, there is now the problem of the eve before Christmas Eve and, meanwhile, the verb ‘to wait’ is increasingly unfamiliar to children under 10. [T writes – obviously books make excellent presents at all times of year]
Yesterday we had our crime book group. I’m not going to tell you what we were reading because we had the best fun pulling it to pieces and one of our members tweeted that it was the worse book he had ever read… Yet this a book that created a bidding war among publishers and has rave reviews on the inside cover from newspapers and individuals. We mused over why the really, really bad books become such bestsellers generating their authors fame, films and fabulous fortunes whilst really, really good books are often unheard of other than by the discerning few.
It seems as if cats are finally getting the recognition they deserve from publishers… Philip Pullman obviously considers them one of the highest specimens in the animal kingdom: Will’s daemon is a cat; Pantalaimon finally settles as a pine-marten (sort of cat); Lord Asriel has a snow leopard. The Japanese are obsessed with them and we have two new novels on the table featuring cats plus several feline art books. And T and I both have cats so enough said!