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Amaryllis Is Away

This will be my last dispatch as the summer holidays beckon and whilst many of you will be off to The Country or another country, I will be heading for the Highlands: by day scaling the misty mountains, striding through the bracken and running with the deer; by night, lying under the stars or dazzling with my dancing…
We have just read Anne of Green Gables for T’s new adults reading children’s fiction. I was rather apprehensive at reading it so many years later as it was immortalised as one of my favourite books of childhood. But I need not have worried; it was as glorious as ever, funnier and a more melancholy interest in the middle-aged Marilla. Anyway, it probably explains my flights of fantasy. Certainly a trip to the Highlands sounds more exciting than a homecation… Lovely as it is where I live, there are obvious drawbacks to holidaying in the place one lives: cupboards displaying admonitory dust and unused and unusable objects that one now has time to clear out but absolutely no inclination – it’s meant to be a holiday!; cracks and peeling paint become alarmingly visible once one has time to pay attention; picking up all those books I have promised myself when I have time whilst guiltily trying to ignore the pile of proofs falling off the shelf… There is no place like home unless you are coming home from a villa in Verona or a cottage in Cornwall. But it is what it is and could be a lot worse and with sun, sea, sky and seagulls imagination can take you anywhere… (Strange that all the good things start with s or c – chocolate, coffee, cigarettes and cats).
I don’t know why people are so shocked at the disclosure that women in the BBC earn a great deal less than the men. From what I hear from my female friends, with a few notable exceptions, it is the same everywhere and as Jess Crispin explains in her book, Why I am Not a Feminist, nothing much has changed even when women are in charge. When I had to go to work at another Wsyrtdypmrd after my previous store closed, I was classed as two paygrades lower than my mostly male counterparts despite the fact that I had worked for the company for much longer, had more experience and knowledge and had even helped to train some of these now co-workers! Working part-time as many women are forced to do when they have children did and does not help the cause; shorter hours mistakenly taken to mean less work and rushing home to deal with fractious children taken as a snub to the outer office camaraderie and social politics.
I did promise to add to my summer reading list so here goes:
A Spot of Bother, Mark Haddon – not a new one just new to me and I really enjoyed it. It is actually a funny book which is quite unusual in itself as a recently retired man has a mid-life crisis.
The Party, Elizabeth Day – this is actually a hardback (sorry) but a very slim one and it is a very good holiday read as simmering affections and resentments come to a head at – a party!
Collected Stories
, Somerset Maugham – which I am actually listening to on Radio 4 extra but have read before and they are a wonderful stories about long ago times and places.
Heat Wave, Penelope Lively – actually I would re-read any Penelope Lively but this has all the drama of a hot summer to recommend it.

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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