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Amaryllis: On Holiday

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A couple of weeks ago, I decided to take a few days leave: the previous week had been beautiful, a real heat wave all the more welcome after endless gloom, so I was all set for a reading week on the beach with a few light household tasks thrown in.
Of course, as I, being a glass half empty sort of person should have predicted, things didn’t work out like that. First day home, I opened a kitchen cupboard and it basically screamed ‘clean me’. I had been trying to forget that at home for Easter, my daughter had tried to make hot cross buns with yeast 5 years out of date… Delving into the depths I discovered that practically all the other baking products, sugar, flour, etc were similarly extinct and once I had started ridding myself of all these unused and unnecessary items there was no stopping me. It was truly cathartic and the pleasing end result are cupboards housing just marmalade, jam and honey, beautiful to look at and providing all the necessary sustenance: marmalade for breakfast, jam for lunch and, of course, honey for tea!
Then the weather deteriorated so I thought I might as well decorate the bathroom so I did and the resulting whiteness and sparkle was also very pleasing if one doesn’t look at the floor – turns out that the non-drip gloss claim is a lie…
But it wasn’t all cleaning and decorating, I did get out and about and made some very happy discoveries. The first of these was the ‘Silver Screen’ presentations at the local cinema. Although obviously I’m far too young for such an epithet, I thought I would go along The Phantom Thread was showing which I very much wanted to see. Luckily they didn’t seem bothered with ages and amazingly the ticket price was only £3.00 with free tea and biscuits! Almost worth getting old for – almost…
My second discovery was a marvellous bluebell wood. I set off with my trusty OS map which proved less than helpful so I was forced to rely on the kindness of several strangers but eventually found myself in the most wonderful wood with carpets of bluebells under a green canopy infused with light. It was quite magical and I had it all to myself.
My birthday fell on the last day of my week so I set off for a day with my elder daughter. First stop was the Sony Photograph exhibition which was good, but actually not worth the hideously expensive ticket and the fact there was no reduction for students or holders of Art Passes! Then we decided to go to the cinema. Devoted readers will remember that last year at this time, I decided that K and I should see Elle and that she found it a rather unpleasant experience. So this year, I decided we should see Beast so we did and you can imagine how that went down.
My books of the month are both not easy to explain so readers will just have to take the Amaryllis word. The first is Kudos by Rachel Cusk and if anyone has read her recent novels, they will know that this is the third in a loose trilogy and this one returns to the character and format of her first, Outline. She is just a brilliant writer and there is so much to think about and discuss, as we did in a book group.
Similarly is Crudo by Olivia Laing which isn’t out until the end of June but is a novel centred on Kathy Acker and her sense of dislocation from an increasingly mad world, late 2017 being the reality.

About Amaryllis


Amaryllis is our bookshop blogger.


Her pen name is taken from Alice Thomas Ellis’ Other Side of the Fire, which is unfortunately and scandalously out of print. One of the funniest bits in the book is the bodice-ripper that one of the characters is writing and the female - who slays the men with one toss of her raven locks and one glance from her fiery green eyes as she strides among the glens, faithful wolfhound by her side - is Amaryllis! And the name just seemed to suit so here we are.

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