The Blue and the Grey.

When I was so much younger than now I used to play in a concert band. I played clarinet and, my favourite instrument then and now, saxophone. My Mum said it was a good way of letting us get out in supervised surroundings whilst also keeping us out of trouble. We spent at least 6 hours a week practising and often another 2 hours at a concert. Summer weekends passed in a haze of fetes and garden parties while the pleasures of a bi-annual band swap in Germany taught us that teenagers the world over are the same.

One of my favourite pieces was a collection of American Civil war songs called 'The Blue and the Grey'. With classics such as Marching through Georgia, Aura Lee (Yes, the boys thought that was rude, but I never got the joke. Boys can be so infantile sometimes) and the Yellow Rose of Texas it was a real good toe tapping collection and made me happy. We used to joke that the only thing missing was the cannon fire.

Then one July night we played for the Mersey River Festival's opening night. They put us out on a dock in the middle of the water. Then the fireworks started. I can honestly say that I have never been more frightened and excited in my life. OK, I know what the music sounds like with cannon fire now, and I don't need that experience again. It didn't put me off, though and the American Civil War remains one of my favourite periods in History.

But the Blue and the Grey of my title isn't just that. No sirree. Yesterday and today I have made sure that blue (ish purple) and grey will feature in my life for some time to come. See here, see here.

(imagine a group of lavender bushes here)
These are lavender bushes waiting for the rain to stop and my streaming cold to let up so that I can plant them in my bare front yard. This summer I will love to walk past my wall and brush my hand over clouds of perfectly blue-lilac flowers. Can't you hear the droning bees and see the butterflies as they hover over the intoxicating scent? And imagine the children passing by to school getting a lungful of God's own aromatherapy? In January as we wait for snow (This week? Next week? Sometime? Never?) planning the glories of my garden holds an enchantment that actually doing the sodding thing never gives.

(imagine six perfect Persephone books here)
And these little grey wonders are mine. A late Christmas/early Valentines present to myself; six months worth of Persephone treasure to read and inwardly digest like finest ambrosia. A little parcel of thoughts, hopes and dreams every month until July. And then, I might do it again!

I have placed an order for six books, the top six on my Persephone list, and I will so enjoy getting the post. I have had a bad couple of weeks reading wise, I've been very slow and not inclined to open a book. Then yesterday I took my book du jour, 'Mercy' by Jodie Picoult and read half of it in the day. Bingo! Bitten by the bug again. Perhaps I'd just not been reading the right stuff. I have got tired of all the frothy Chick Lit books. I cleared a whole load off my shelves. I will never read them, I hate the ones about career women agonising over their biological clocks and sleeping around, it just seems so trite. I really would rather find a book about what I am, a happy if haphazard domesticated soul, happily married and with nothing to worry about apart from the children, house and job (in that order probably) So I search on for books that I will enjoy and that will be more than just words, words, words. Perhaps the mistake was watching Shakespeare (Branagh's Hamlet) and realising that ..... well, good stuff is good stuff, innit?

and... apologies for the bareness of the post. My photos uploaded to the puter but won't move over to my post. Typical, innit?


  1. Aargh - photoless agonies, because I need to find out if The Home Maker was one of your top 6. Because I adored it. Best thing I've read in ages.

  2. I'd like to know what your top six is too. I really need to order some but am agonising over it!

    I know what you mean about chick lit. It's fine in its place but sometimes, well, you like something a bit more meaty!

  3. It's so good to see you back again, I've missed you and I've left you an award on my blog.
    I love 'Miss pettigrew lives for the day' in Persephone books. I too want 'The home maker' and have it on my amazon wish list.

  4. i read persephone books too and wondered which ones you had read as it is always nice to have a recommendation. I received 'the priory' for christmas but haven't read it yet as had a pile of books to work through. I am with you as I find the chick lit stuff does not have enough substance and I read it too quickly. just read the bone garden by gerritson - quite enjoyed it and an easy read and now onto the stolen moon by alice sebold (lazy bones author). would you recommend jodi picoult? I have never read her stuff.

  5. P.S.
    One book I love is Mary Stewart's 'Thornyhold'. I don't know if you've read it, but it is about a woman who inherits a house which once belonged to her aunt who was thought of as a witch. I just love the descriptions given of the house and of the herb garden, and the main character getting the house and garden back in order. It is one of those books you could probably finish in one sitting curled up with a good cup of coffee.
    Well worth a read if you haven't already.


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