18 August 2014

Books, Brydon, Beer, and a Bee

With the turmoil of the flood behind us, and a slight demand that he take a day off from work, my husband and I took the train into Toronto this past Saturday.  The weather has been ridiculously cool for August and the skies more grey than sunny lately - much more like an English summer than the 'fry an egg on the sidewalk' heat we're used to.  Suits me just fine.


First stop was BMV Books, of course.  During my last visit I picked up a copy of Laura Talbot's The Gentlewoman and then had a discussion with myself about whether or not I really needed another Virago about a woman, a country house, servant issues...etc, and then put the book back.  Such an idiot!  Walking straight over to the 'T' section the book was no longer there but it did inspire me to have stronger convictions about my next book finds.  These Shire Library books (above) are perfect for my fifteen minute breaks at work with their abundance of period detail and London porn; the slightly hidden book is called Debutantes and The London Season.  No shortage of material for daydreams and during slow times at the library I can practice my curtsey.


Fleur Fisher wrote recently about a Margaret Kennedy Reading Week in October.  The post caught my eye but I confess that not having the slightest knowledge about Kennedy's writing style, or anything else, it quickly slipped my mind.  Then I spied these two books!  The Constant Nymph is supposed to be her masterpiece but the synopsis of Together and Apart sounds incredibly appealing...

'It is 1936, and in British society the decision to divorce still constitutes a major disgrace - an alternative to be considered only in cases of scandalous adultery.  But Betsy Canning decides almost unconsciously to leave her husband.
  Thirty-seven-year-old Betsy is married to Alec, a famous West End lyricist.  They have all the comforts of British middle-class life between the wars.  But Betsy is tired: the three children, their servants, their homes in Hampstead and Wales, the circle of Alec's theatrical friends - all make eternal demands upon her.'

I would be willing to put up with an eternal demand or two for that sort of life!  So that's me joining in for the reading week and learning a bit about Margaret Kennedy.  And then last but not least is...


The poor thing on the cover looks so miserable I was tempted to fetch her a tissue but grabbed a Black-Eyed Susan instead.  As I wrote earlier, our 'English' summer is swiftly coming to an end and with temperatures hovering around a chilly 13C in the evening it's time to sort out some autumnal reading.  East Lynne has had some fairly stellar reviews so hopefully it fits the bill nicely.  Once again with the theme of divorce and scandal, but in this case during the Victorian era, October is shaping up to be filled with all sorts of anguish and despair.

Tucking my new books into my long-suffering husband's backpack we walked to Yorkville in search of a pub we found on the internet called The Oxley.


The interior was cosy and the food - so delicious.  I couldn't resist trying the kedgeree while sipping a mimosa.  Go ahead and laugh but the dish is mentioned every now and then on Downton Abbey and it's just not something you see very often - or ever - on menus in Toronto; so needs must!  From the warm welcome when we walked in, to the offer of some ice for the bee sting on my cheek (honestly, I did nothing to deserve such an offence) to the friendly and knowledgeable servers, it was such a delightful place to lunch that we can't wait to go back!

Black clouds were forming overhead and rain had started to fall.  Luckily for us we had a quick five-minute walk to the cinema to see The Trip to Italy starring Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan.  The first show had sold out, our showing was packed and there were throngs of people waiting to get into the next show.  I can only imagine the miserable weather had everyone thinking the Amalfi coast on screen would lift their spirits...and it did.

11 comments:

  1. If it's any consolation, the real English summer has turned pretty autumnal.

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    1. All I can think of is pots of steaming hot tea with toast and marmalade....and pumpkin pie! Do you get many whiffs of wood smoke there in London, Mary? We're a few minutes from farm country and I just love it when the air is crisp and someone is burning leaves.

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  2. Looks like you're all ready for some cosy autumn reading. Definitely feeling autumnal here now too--very chilly this morning--brrr! xx

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    1. So looking forward to a chunky read, Kristina! And the chilly weather means it's back to the sock drawer, of which you have plenty!

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  3. I hope I can find that Laura Talbot book.

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  4. Margaret Kennedy, another writer I need to look into. Thank you. I envy your weather right now, it's been hot and humid here. Definitely ready for fall! I am seeing the Steve Coogan movie this weekend, can't wait as I loved the first one! A couple of hours on the Amalfi coast sounds good to me!

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    1. Oh Sunday, make sure you eat something before heading to the cinema - the food is to die for! There is a particular scene featuring some ravioli...
      Simon T wrote that Together and Apart was the most 1930s book he had ever read. Quite sure that would appeal to you as well!

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  5. I am so pleased that you will be reading Margaret Kennedy Darlene, and I am sure that the two of you will get along.

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    1. Hooray! If you didn't stop by here and see my new books then I was going to send you a note. I couldn't believe my eyes when I spotted the date on your Kennedy badge - what timing! Thanks so much, Jane, it's going to be a lot of fun!

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  6. So glad you have discovered Shire Books. I don't have a blog of my own, but I've been singing their praises for more than ten years and now have around 300 of them myself - I'm a real Shire fan! They are my first port of call when I want to research a new subject. They are well-researched, well-written, well-illustrated and represent value for money, too.
    Margaret P

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