Wednesday, 7 February 2018

balmy january, freezing february, melodious birdsong, cruellest month?, educated by tara westover, eight goldfinches!























Brrr! Pretty chilly these past few days.

Sometimes the views are gorgeous and the light can be full of spring and hope but the cold really gets to you.

All the worse because the balmy days of late January made me think that we'd got through winter and, hey presto, it was all birdsong and budding trees.

I always forget freezing February.

Though I have to admit that the lengthening days do make you feel like the world is waking up in spite of everything. There is, in fact, a lot of melodious birdsong accompanying amorous skirmishes, with flappings of wings, plumage boldly defined and luminescent.

TS Eliot thought April the cruellest month but I can't help feeling that the first days of February can have their sadistic moments.

Read a terrific review of a new memoir on Sunday. Educated by Tara Westover (Hutchinson, £14.99) is written by a woman who recently graduated with a PhD in intellectual history from the University of Cambridge, despite having had no formal education up to the age of seventeen. Brought up in a survivalist family in a 'jagged little patch of Idaho', she, as Helen Davies writes in the Sunday Times:

'...showed the most remarkable resilience in the face of extreme poverty, rigid religious beliefs, violence and family betrayals. It is a beautifully written account of how she grasps the sheer enormity of the world - and struggles to find her own place within it. The result is a memoir that is fit to stand alongside classics by the likes of Jeanette Winterson and Lorna Sage, Andrea Ashworth and Patricia Lockwood.'

Wow!

Of course, the Sunday Times piece is behind the paywall... So, here's an open review from Kirkus.

Returning to birds, a better tally than last year during the Big Garden Birdwatch, including eight goldfinches! Eight! Not that I think of the BGB as a competitive sport or anything...

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