The Great Books of the World – Part 6

 

“To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man. ”
Mahatma Gandhi

 

I always thought that an unhappy childhood gives a writer ideal material. I learned better after reading Gerald Durrell’s remark:

“If I had the craft of Merlin, I would give every child the gift of my childhood.”

Durrell’s blissfully happy childhood not only provided him with wonderful material for several bestselling books but started him on his life path to a career as a famous naturalist, zoologist, and conservationist. The saga begins in England, in the early 1930s. After the death of his father, Durrell’s unconventional family with their income reduced to a widow’s pension only, moves to the sunny Greek island of Corfu as life there is much more affordable. Rural Corfu is heaven for an animal-loving ten-year-old boy like Gerry, teeming with exotic birds and various animals ranging from toads, tortoises, scorpions, geckos to porpoises, and a pigeon named Quasimodo. His family, mother, sister, and two brothers are less than thrilled when Gerry starts filling the fridge with his zoological specimens.

In the ‘Speech for the Defence’ that prefaces this witty and beguiling volume of reminiscences, the author reveals that he had intended to write a straightforward natural history of Corfu. ‘But’, he confesses, ‘I made a grave mistake by introducing my family into the book in the first few pages.’ Readers will be glad for his error. Warmly humorous, replete with intriguing natural history, and delighting in the merry eccentricities of the Durrell household,  My Family and Other Animals is a splendid trip in very good company.

Danilia, a village in Corfu where The Durrells television series was filmed

 

GERALD  DURRELL 

7 January 1925  – 30 January 1995

Gerald Malcolm Durrell was born in Jamshedpur, India. His father, Lawrence Samuel Durrell was an Anglo-Indian in the sense that his origin was English by descent but he was brought up in India. He studied at the prestigious Thomson Civil Engineering. As an engineer, he was very successful, later becoming the Chief Engineer of the famous Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.  When he set up his own company in Sakci, the industrial boomtown of Jamshedpur, his contracts as a contractor included Tata Iron and Steel Works. Like many Englishmen who lived in India for generations, he socialised with Indians of all conventions and castes. On one occasion he gave up his membership at his club when his proposal to include an Oxford-educated Indian doctor who had saved his son’s life, was turned down. When he died from overwork suddenly at 43, the family’s life changed dramatically. His widow, Louisa, returned with her children to England. Looking for a less expensive cost of living, she resettled in Corfu.

Images of Jubilee Park in Jamshedpur, formerly Sakchi

Statue of J.N. Tata, founder of Tata Group and Jamshedpur

Beautiful landscape outside Jamshedpur

Lawrence and Louisa Durrell, the parents of Gerald

 

 

The exotic nature of Corfu was greatly inspirational to young Gerry. He was tutored at home by the friends of his brother, Lawrence. At that time, Theodore Stephanides, a friend of one of his tutors, in his own words: “he strolled into my life, tweed-suited, trilby-hatted, his walking stick with its tiny net on the end, a sort of walking hirsute encyclopedia.” The effect of Theodore’s erudition on a budding naturalist of ten was enormous. He became one of Durrell’s greatest friends and mentors, his ideas having a lasting impression on the young naturalist. Together they examined Corfu’s fauna which he stored in numerous places around the house.

The family lived in Corfu until 1939, and then came back to England just before the outbreak of war.

Theodore Stephanides

The publication of My Family and Other Animals in 1956, made Durrell a notable author and brought him public recognition as a naturalist. After several unsuccessful attempts, he found a piece of land in Jersey and the island authorities’ permission to build a Zoo. It was going to be devoted to conservation and saving endangered animals. The proceeds from the book allowed Durrell to travel to various places in the world and bring those in danger of extinction to his Zoo. He founded the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust there, and it is still in operation now, under prestigious directorship.

Jersey, one of the islands in the English Channel between Britain and France

Jersey Zoo

 

Here is an extract from My Family and Other Animals:

.THE  SPEECH FOR THE DEFENCE

This is a story of a five-year sojourn that I and my family made on the Greek island of Corfu. It was originally intended to be a mildly nostalgic account of the natural history of the island, but I made a grave mistake by introducing my family into the book in the first pages. Having got themselves on paper, they then proceeded to establish themselves and invite various friends to share the chapters. It was only with the greatest difficulty, and by exercising considerable cunning, that I managed to retain a few pages here and there which I could devote exclusively to animals.

The Durrells as depicted in the television series

I have attempted to draw an accurate and unexaggerated picture of my family in the following pages; they appear as I saw them. To explain some of their more curious ways, however, I feel that I should state that at the time we were in Corfu the family were quite young: Larry, the eldest, was twenty-three; Leslie was nineteen; Margo eighteen; while I was the youngest, being of the tender and impressionable age of ten. We have never been very certain of my mother’s age, for the simple reason that she can never remember her date of birth; all I can say is that she is was old enough to have four children. My mother also insists that I explain that she is a widow for, as she penetratingly observed,  you never know what people might think.

In order to compress five years of incident, observation, and pleasant living into something a little less lengthy than the Encyclopedia Britannica, I have been forced to telescope, prune, and graft, so that there is little left of the original continuity of events.

It is doubtful if this would have been written without the help and enthusiasm of the following people. I mention this so that blame can be laid in the right quarter. My grateful thanks, then, to:

Dr Theodore Stephanides. With typical generosity, he allowed me to make use of material from his unpublished work on Corfu, and supplied me with a number of dreadful puns, some of which I have never used.

My family. They, after all, unconsciously provided a lot of the material and helped considerably during the writing of the book by arguing ferociously and rarely agreeing about any incident on which I consulted them.

My wife, who pleased me by laughing uproariously when reading the manuscript, only to inform me that was my spelling that amused her.

Sophie, my secretary, who was responsible for the introduction of commas and the ruthless eradication of the split infinitive.

I should like to pay special tribute to my mother, to whom this book is dedicated. Like a gentle, enthusiastic, and understanding Noah, she has steered her vessel full of strange progeny through the stormy sea of life with great skill, always faced with the possibility of mutiny, always surrounded by the dangerous shoals of overdraft and extravagance, never being sure that her navigation would be approved by the crew, but certain that she would be blamed for anything that went wrong. That she survived the voyage is a miracle, but survive it she did, and, moreover, with her reason more or less intact. As my brother Larry rightly points out, we can be proud of the way we have brought her up; she is a credit to us.”

Durrell dedicated his life to the conservation of wildlife. Over his lifetime he wrote thirty-seven books, went on dozens of animal collecting trips, and presented numerous TV shows. He was awarded the OBE in 1982. Told with immense warmth, charm, and humour My Family and Other Animals is a wonderful account of a rare, magical childhood.

 

 

JAMES HERRIOT

3 October 1916 – 23 February 1995

James Alfred Wight and his wife Joan

The other author I would like to introduce today is a delight to read because of his humour and unusual adventures. His real name was James Alfred Wight and he was a veterinary surgeon in Thirsk, Yorkshire, England.

Countryside around Thirsk

Another reason why I have written about him is that his life personified resilience and perseverance. Seventeen publishers rejected his book as “not suitable for adults or children”, and only a chance meeting with an animal-loving agent resulted in his books being published. Now since James Herriot’s books were first published, they have sold millions of copies and delighted generations of readers. Charming, moving, and funny, ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL is a heart-warming, story of determination, love, and friendship from Britain’s best-loved author.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The  Lord God made them all.

Cecil Frances Alexander
1818  –  1895

.Just out of Glasgow Veterinary College, to the young James Herriot 1930s Yorkshire seemed to offer an idyllic place of rural life in a changing world. Jobs were scarce, and when James was offered the position of a veterinary assistant in the veterinary practice of Siegfried Farnon and his young brother, Tristan, he could hardly believe his luck.

In his first year there, he had to deal with the erratic brothers, the farmers whose language was incomprehensible, the semi-feral cattle, and an overweight Pekingese called Tricki Woo, and Nugent, a piglet, and hundreds of other animals, but now and here, I would like you to read the hilarious story of those two. You will want to read all James’ books after, guaranteed.

 

Extract from James Herriot’s book All Creatures Great and Small:

“Will there be a lot of people there?” I asked, shuffling my feet.

Siegfried struck himself on the forehead with his open hand. “Of course, there’ll be a lot of people. What d’you think? Did you expect it would be just you and Tricki? The cream of the county will be there in full regalia but my guess is that there will be no more honoured guest than Uncle Herriot. Why? Because Mrs. Pumphrey invited the others, but Tricki invited you.”

“OK, OK,” I groaned. “I don’t fancy it.”

Before leaving, Siegfried turned round and his expression was grave. “And remember for Pete’s sake don’t write (acceptance letter) to Mrs. Pumphrey. Address your letter to Tricki himself, or you’re sunk.”

Mrs Pumphry’s home as shown in the television series

I presented myself at Mrs. Pumphrey home on the night of February 5th. A maid led me into the hall and I could see Mrs. Pumphrey at the entrance to the ballroom receiving her guests and beyond an elegant throng standing around with drinks. There was a well-bred clamour, a general atmosphere of wealth. Mrs. Pumphrey was smiling sweetly as she shook hands with the couple in front of me but when she saw me her face became radiant. “Oh Mr Herriot, how nice of you to come. Tricki was so delighted to have your letter – in fact, we really must go in and see him now.” She led me across the hall. “He’s in the morning-room,” she whispered. “Between ourselves, he finds these affairs rather a bore, but he’ll be simply furious if I don’t take you in for a moment.”

Tricki was curled up in an armchair by the side of a bright fire. When he saw me he jumped on the back of the chair barking in delight, his huge, laughing mouth bisecting his face. I was trying to fend off his attempts to lick my face when I caught sight of two large food bowls on the carpet. One contained about a pound of chopped chicken, the other a mass of crumbled cake.

“Mrs. Pumphrey!” I thundered, pointing at the bowls. The poor woman put her hand to her mouth and shrank away from me.

“Oh do forgive me,” she wailed, her face a picture of guilt.  “It is just a special treat because he is alone tonight. And the weather is cold too.” She clasped her hands and looked at me abjectly.

“I will forgive you,” I said sternly, “if you will remove half the chicken and all the cake.”

Fluttering like a little girl caught in naughtiness, she did as I said.  I parted regretfully from the little peke. It had been a long day I was sleepy from the hours in the biting cold. This room with its fire and soft lighting looked more inviting than the noisy glitter of the ballroom and I would have preferred to curl up here with Tricki on my knee for an hour or two.

Mrs. Pumphrey became brisk. “Now you must come and meet some of my friends.” We went into the ballroom where light blazed down from three cut-glass chandeliers and was reflected dazzlingly from the cream and gold, many-mirrored walls. We moved  from group to group as Mrs. Pumphrey introduced me and I squirmed in embarrassment as I heard myself described as ‘Tricki’s dear kind uncle.’ But either they were people of superb self-control or they were familiar with their hostess’s blind spot because the information was received with complete gravity.

Along one wall a five-piece orchestra was tuning up; white-jacketed waiters hurried among the guests with trays of food and drinks. Mrs. Pumphrey stopped one of the waiters.

“Francois, some champagne for this gentleman.”

“Yes, Madame.” The waiter proffered his tray.

“No, no, no, not those. One of the big glasses.”

Francois hurried away and returned with something like a soup plate with a stem. It was brimming with champagne,

“Francois.”

“Yes, Madame?”

“This is Mr Herriot. I want you to take a good look at him.”

The waiter turned a pair of sad, spaniel eyes on me and drank me in for a few moments.

“I want you to look after him. See that his glass is full and that he has plenty to eat.”

“Certainly, Madame.” He bowed and moved away.

I buried my face in the ice-cold champagne and when I looked up, there was Francois holding out a tray of smoked salmon sandwiches.

It was like that all the evening. Francois seemed always to be at my elbow, filling up the enormous glass or pushing dainties at me. I found it delightful; the salty snacks brought on a thirst which I quenched with deep draughts of champagne, then I had more snacks which made me thirsty again and Francois would unfailingly pop up with the magnum.

It was the first time I had had the opportunity of drinking champagne by the pint and it was a rewarding experience. I was quickly aware of the glorious lightness, a heightening of the perception. I stopped being overawed by this new world and began to enjoy it.  I danced with everybody in sight – sleek young beauties, elderly dowagers, and twice with a giggling Mrs. Pumphrey.

Or I just talked. And it was a witty talk; I repeatedly amazed myself by my lightning shafts. Once I caught sight of myself in a mirror – a distinguished figure, glass in hand, the hired suit hanging on me with quiet grace. It took my breath away.

Eating, drinking, talking, dancing, the evening winged past. When it was time to go and I had my coat on and was shaking hands with Mrs. Pumphrey in the hall, Francois appeared again with a bowl of hot soup. He seemed to be worried lest I grow faint on the journey home. After the soup, Mrs. Pumphrey said: “And now you must come and say good night to Tricki. He’ll never forgive you if you don’t.”

It had been a few hours of luxury and light and I carried the memory back with me to Skeldale House. I got into bed, switched off the light and lay back looking back into the darkness. Snatches of music still tinkled about in my head and I was beginning to swim back to the ballroom when the phone rang.

“This is Atkinson of Beck Cottage,” a faraway voice said. “I ‘ave a sow ‘ere what can’t get pigged.* She’s been on all night. Will you come?” I looked at the clock as I put down the receiver. It was 2 am. And at Beck Cottage, one of the most primitive small-holdings in the district. It wasn’t fair.

I groped my way down the long garden to the garage. It was only two miles out to Beck Cottage. It lay in a hollow and in winter the place was a sea of mud. I left my car and squelched through the blackness to the door of the house. My knock was unanswered and I moved across to the cluster of buildings opposite and opened the half door into the byre. The warm, sweet bovine smell met me as I peered towards a light showing dimly at the far end where a figure was standing. I went inside past the shadowy row of cows standing side by side with broken wooden partitions between them and past the mounds of manure piled behind them. Mr Atkinson didn’t believe in mucking out too often.

Stumbling over the broken floor, splashing through pools of urine, I arrived at the end where a pen had been made by closing off a corner with a gate. I could just make out the form of a pig, pale in the gloom, lying on her side. ‘

I had to edit at this point to get to the poignant end. After a very difficult delivery, Herriot leaves a contented mother pig with her eight piglets suckling with abandon. Great satisfaction.

“Yes, I was back and it was all right. I drove through the mud and up the hill where I had to get out to open a gate and the wind, with the cold, clean smell of the frosty grass in it, caught at my face. I stood for a while looking across the dark fields, thinking of the night which was ending now. My mind went back to my schooldays and an old gentleman talking to the class about careers. He said: ” If you decide to become a veterinary surgeon you will never grow rich but you will have a life of endless interest and variety.”

I laughed aloud in the darkness and as I got into the car I was still chuckling. That old chap certainly wasn’t kidding. Variety. That was it – variety.”

* I have a sow here what can’t deliver piglets by herself.

And this is how I imagine Nugent the piglet would look!

I hope that you have laughed as much as I have. See you next week. The post will be about subject matter that you would not have guessed in a million years. Curious?

67 thoughts on “The Great Books of the World – Part 6

  1. Both James Herriot and Gerald Durrell have been in our syllabus!
    I don’t agree at all that an unhappy childhood gives a writer material to write. No one deserves an unhappy childhood.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What an incredible coincidence, Joanna! We had an excerpt from Gerald Durrell’s book in the eighth grade and James Herriot’s just last year! They were small excerpts but I got around to reading the books!
    I don’t agree that a bad childhood is necessary to write well but it definitely provides inspiration like a good childhood does.
    It truly is incredible how well detailed and beautifully they write accounts inspired by animals. James Herriot’s as you say is marked by a strong touch of humour, it made for a wonderful read!
    It’s amazing that you have a sow!! I’ve never seen one in real life but the pigs I have seen in movies or cartoons look really nice and cute!
    I have next to no idea what you’re going to write about next week. It seems to me as though you’ve written on a mighty lot of topics already but I’ll still go for a wild guess. Is it Aliens or Mummies?😂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you for your comment. You are absolutely right, no child should have an unhappy childhood, but the reality is different. I am surprised that you didn’t say how lovely were animals, Mahatma’s quote, or Herriots humour. One should look at the bigger picture, not only from one’s limited perspective. But you will learn this in time; at 15 life revolves in a small circle. I am delighted that your school has such an excellent syllabus.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Not just school, but all of India has the same textbook. I was triggered by your opinion on unhappy childhoods. I loved the Mahatma Gandhi quote you put. I’m usually turned off by anything related to school studies, therefore I didn’t comment on it. And many of your posts are related to academics only. Not that I don’t like studying; I do, but I feel like I have had enough of it offline to be reading more about it online. I’m also curious about how you got so many pictures of these people and places. It surely requires a lot of effort even if it’s available on Google.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Oh, Dear D, what you didn’t know is that I have a crystal ball, only joking! I don’t have a sow, it was just to illustrate Herriot’s story. If you have the book, look up the unedited version, quite horrific but with a happy ending. Next week? It has to be my favourite country, but what subject, that is the question? As I wrote before – it is all about pleasant anticipation! Thank you for being so early up.

    Joanna

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Sorry to interfere here but I don’t see how all of India has the same textbook. Textbooks used at school often vary according to the syllabus followed. There’s CBSE and state boards, each of which has textbooks that are atleast slightly different.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, my bad. I actually thought you had one 😂 I read the ebook versions of most books. I must have read an abridged version as I don’t remember anything horrid.
    Looking forward to it! My pleasure, Joanna!

    Like

  8. The CBSE one is the most common of all, and I am talking about that. And the English textbook is mostly same as far as I know, because it is a compulsory subject in CBSE Class 10 Board exams.

    I didn’t know you were from India. I have checked out you blog before and I love your theme.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Thank you for your explanation, but I was hoping that I provide many unknown details and write differently to the stiff school text. Anything worthwhile in life requires a lot of effort – even if it sounds like an obvious statement. How I get the pictures is a trade secret!

    Joanna

    Liked by 2 people

  10. This is one thing here that disappointed me, D, that you read ebook versions! What about the incomparable smell of freshly
    published book, the feeling of the volume in your hands, the beauty of books in your library…
    Sad beyond any words!

    Joanna

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I agree Joanna! I’m not a huge fan of course but they are good alternatives when book stores and libraries don’t have them.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you for the clarification.
    I’m glad you liked the theme. Thank you very much!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. One day in the future you will no doubt, have your own library, as Seneca’s “If you have a library and a garden, you have everything.”
    As I am onto classics, it is a shame that even good schools don’t teach Latin, because then you will know, D, that there is no plural only
    singular, an alternative with two solutions, either this or that.

    Joanna

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Hello Joanna,
    It is always with the same joy that I discover your articles, and this morning not only I discovered two great authors but also two universes linked to nature and human nature;)
    Durell and his family, what a story, this family adventure in Corfu is the basis of an experience which contributes to the emergence of a consciousness, giving birth to both the author and the naturalist.
    I love when people have the chance to become what they just need to be, and when that fate can be read in the hands of childhood.
    When Durell was a child, like all children he was in the present moment, he observed what was going on around him, collecting discoveries and experiences, unwittingly writing the book of his life.
    I don’t know the other author either, there are some very funny passages, the farmers that we don’t understand (we have the same !!!), or that of the spoiled dog, I love it. cake !!!
    Your article is beautifully illustrated, and it allows me to discover English literature and your sublime green campaigns and the happiness of your passions of which you are an excellent ambassador!
    Bisous Joanna 🥰💐🌹🌟

    Liked by 4 people

  15. Dear Corinne, my soulmate, I am so grateful to you for always writing such heart-touching reviews. Your expressions, in words,
    reads as if it was poetry; to say it warms my heart is a massive understatement.
    By the way, the last couple of times I couldn’t get on your blog site, why?

    Joanna

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Your posts always leave me thinking, how little I know. Thanks for sharing posts, week after every week, inspiring the ignorant minds such as mine.
    More power to you. It’s always a pleasure reading your posts.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Dear Ramya, you managed to make me laugh! I get inspiration from your morning quotes every morning, and here you are making such a funny comment, Cannot imagine anyone less ignorant, then you! But thank you for liking the post. I was inspired by Mahatma’s passionate statemen, much larger in his autobiography. I love him for this.

    Joanna

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Thank you again. Just wait, Ramya for the next week, it will take your breath away!

    Joanna

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Great post❤️ as always 👍

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Joanna… Another brilliant write-up. Your patience for writing these articles really impresses me. I am so looking forward to the next one… Very much waiting for my breath to be taken away! 😉🙏❤️💐

    Like

  21. Thank you, Beautiful Diana! You are always very gracious and I like the huge, colourfull adornments too. I don’t know if you live in India because if you do, it would be a double dose of pride and interest, Thank you for your kind comment. and I will strive every week to deserve such praise.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Thank you so much, Samreed. I do appreciate your generous comment.

    Joanna

    Like

  23. I am from India, Joanna. Currently settled in the Gulf.. 😊… You are most welcome always. Stay blessed! ❤️❤️💐

    Like

  24. What a great post Joanna!!👏 I always find myself completely indulged in your findings/writings, and it’s never boring. Thanks for sharing such a great post. I am so happy to be back and able to read your posts💖

    Thanks again for all the love and support you’ve shown me, dear friend. Can’t wait to catch up on more. Take good care😘

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Hopefully! And maybe an observatory too (even though that sounds quite ambitious).
    I agree! I happened to ask one of my teachers that, and she said most schools only teach what is ‘useful’ and apparently Latin isn’t because it isn’t a widespread or popularly used language today. I have heard of Latin being taught as a subject in quite a few schools in England. Is that true Joanna?

    Like

  26. Dear Karlien, you do know that the feeling is mutual? You had shown me so much kindness and help when I was not yet fully established. Thank you.
    I have to rapport (with regret) that I still haven’t mastered (no time) to draw the red hearts, otherwise, both you and Diana, and anyone who send me some would have a flurry of the red hearts

    Joanna.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Thank you, Diana, in that case, you will love it.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Nothing wrong with being ambitious for all forms of enlightenment. Yes, it is, Latin is obligatory in Private schools and in some good states too. There is an important reason; Latin is thought because it is a language of logic, useful when learning music and mathematics. Also, in most European languages words are derived from Latin and Greek, and an educated person would like to know where the words, say, like pollution, prescription or imbibed, and a thousand others came from and how are they ‘built’.
    I learn now, the same way with Hindu; Bhu means Earth, Jai means victory, with Hind – victory for India.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I had to rush off before I finished, apologies– what I wanted to demonstrate is that it works in a similar way in Hindu and Sanskrit:
    geography is Bhogol, from – Bho – earth, also Bhoomi, and Go is a circle.

    Thank you for your patience!

    Joanna

    Like

  30. ❤😘

    I think I may have a solution for you, on your phone you could install Grammarly and use it as your keyboard… that way hopefully you will have emojis

    Like

  31. Dear Joanna, another brilliant post about 2 very different but amazing authors! Years ago whilst travelling on the train from Putney then from Barnes up to Vauxhall every morning to work, my wife and I read every book by Gerald Durrell. Both of us were transported to far-away places and probably laughed too much out-loud on the journey (I can still hear those tut-tuts from behind the morning newspapers). And later when living in St Albans watching the original ‘ACG&S’ on the television and subsequently reading every book by James Herriot. You certainly know how to ‘pull on the strings of my heart’, and you also appear to ‘read me like a book’. (Both you and Corinne have me hanging on your every word).
    We actually met Gerald Durrell, very briefly, on Jersey at his zoo there, and we have visited Herriot country a couple of times, but those experiences would take too long to write about here). Thank you for yet another wonderful post. Ashley 😘

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Thank you Joanna,
    It ‘s my pleasure to read you and to keep in touch with you !!
    My blog site was maybe out of order … I don’t know at all, it’s possible.
    I will be watching this very closely, and thank you very much for your comment.
    Joanna I wish you a great weekend

    Like

  33. Thank you very much Joanna,
    all strong
    Corinne

    Like

  34. Dear Ashley, you are right, Corinne, you and myself, are always ‘talking’ about something interesting, well, I cannot think of us discussing the price of potatoes. Thank you so much for injecting more ‘flesh’ in the post. You mention Durrell on Jersey, and Corinne mention Victor Hugo, he wrote Les Miserables there. If you would like more intellectual stimulation, I will surprise you next week.
    Thank you.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  35. I don’t know how to tell you this, Karlien, I hope you are sitting down, but I have in every room a landline and not a mobile
    anywhere. I could see if I could instruct Alexa. Do you have them in South Africa?
    Thank you for the suggestion!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Oh okay, kinda cool though… I believe only the most upper-class people in South Africa has it, it’s not been released to us yet.

    Wish I could help more.
    🤗😘Goodluck

    Like

  37. You do, Karlien, just by being your-self, nice there! Thank you!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  38. You write in length about things that I hardly know, many a times! I guess it’s okay to accept the ignorance. I am matured, yes. But there’s still a lot that I don’t know..

    Like

  39. Wow! Looking forward to it!

    Like

  40. Hi Joanna, you’ve done some great writing and shared some awesome photos here. Great job! And I love the Gandhi quote as well! 🌞

    Like

  41. Looking forward to it ❤

    Like

  42. You are most welcome Joanna😊

    Like

  43. Thank you Joanna for such a brilliant write up.I am so glad we are connected. I kind of agree that an unhappy childhood gives a writer ideal material. But ,after reading this I know better too now. Hats Off to you for taking time and sharing with us about these two wonderful authors .I am from India settled in THE STATES ,excited for the next week’s surprise .

    Deepika

    Like

  44. Good Morning, Deepika, or at least it might be. Here is 4 am. I am also very glad to meet you as your thoughtful logo sets you apart. And you write such a kind, lovely review. And you are Indian. Next week’s post is about a new (to me) discovery, and by researching about Him, I now, love this Genius, that’s all I am going to say, but it will be riveting.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Thank you, Deepika, and see you soon.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Dear D, a little PS here. I don’t know when you will come back to comments but just in a way of explanation: I had to rush off before I could finish the sentence bout the importance of knowing Latin, especially to European. I give an example of a prescription.
    It derives from Latin: pre – means this is a prefix – indicating that something must be done before the following thing.
    Scribo — writing.
    Together it says that you need a written note to obtain the medicine. I think it is good to know and makes you feel good.

    .I have to ask my Guru to translate the Hindu text from a wall of a temple for my next post. Knowledge is power.

    Joanna

    Like

  47. This first excerpt was great. It has a bit of flare and humor to it. Feels rather timeless. Again this was another author I was very familiar with. Both of them really. There styles feel more relevant to modern writing to me. Thanks for sharing your insights as always. Curious for next week now!

    Like

  48. I do believe that
    Nugent the Piglet
    would oink, snort, grunt
    if he indeed
    did absorb
    all those books
    all at once!

    Like

  49. What a lovely way to comment!! It has to be the first! Thank you so very much. I do like your Christmas Tree and Judy and the dog, both look so contented. There are reasons why you will like next week’s post. See you soon.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

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