Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Fourteen degrees below zero . . .

. . . was the temperature outside our back door yesterday morning. Yesterday I wore a thermal vest, a cotton t-shirt, a woollen jumper, a cashmere cardigan and a big Swedish sweater, a hat, and a scarf and that was INDOORS. Outside I look like an extra for DOCTOR ZHIVAGO. Ordinary activities take so much longer. The school run which normally takes 15-20 minutes takes an hour if I have to walk instead, slowed down by icy pavements. Of course I know this is nothing compared with winters in Canada and Sweden and North America, but it so rarely happens here that we haven't invested either personally or as a country in the equipment to deal with it.
We were only completely cut-off for two days, then the trains started running. But we've only had one postal delivery in a week, still no milk. We're lucky to have such good neighbours. Last week shortly after my husband had sadly poured the last of the milk into his tea, one of our friends rang to offer us a pint. About an hour later the door bell rang and it was our next door neighbour with a bottle of milk and another neighbour had left one on the doorstep.
Still, this is meant to be a blog about reading, so I'll tell you that I've finished THE NINE TAILORS, which I read slowly and with relish, only skipping the tedious stuff about the cypher. Like so many of the best crime novels it is about so much more than a crime and that's why it can be read again and again. I love the depiction of the Fenland community with its wonderful church and splendid vicar. It has one of the best endings in crime fiction, and all in all has been great comfort reading. Otherwise my reading time has been devoted to the first draft of a friend's novel and the latest edition of CADS (Crime and Detective Stories) the periodical that I've mentioned before. We've watched an entertaining film noir, THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW, directed by Fritz Lang and starring Edward G Robinson as a mild-mannered academic whose life goes suddenly and horrifically awry - and several episodes of HOMICIDE. We've reached the last series, alas.
Now I'm hovering on the brink (so to speak) of THE DRAINING LAKE by Arnaldar Indridason - I very much enjoyed VOICES - or maybe another Dorothy L Sawyers.
And by the way that chocolate cake made without eggs and with cooking oil (a mixture of sunflower oil and rapeseed oil because that was what I happened to have) instead of butter turned out absolutely fine. More like a pudding than a cake, perhaps, but it all got eaten, no problem.

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