Tag Archives: relaxation

What books are you taking on holiday

Well, its that time of year when I need to pick what to take on holiday in the way of books. In fact, I put it that way – ‘take’ rather than ‘take to read’ on the grounds that most of the tomes will return unopened.  Sometimes, they don’t interest me. Others I just don’t get round too. But there is an interesting class of literature that gets packed in the caravan firmly with the intention of never seeing the light of day until we return. And what are these unwanted travelling companions? Usually books that I feel I should read. That means either high literature – dusty Victorian volumes that forced humanity to invent television – or some worthy works from work. The later consist of either textbooks from student days or the tatty efforts picked up in charity stalls for a song which unfortunately never gets sung. In the end, I tend to over estimate the time I will spend reading and my rate of eye scanning. Moreover, I certainly over estimate my ‘stickability’ to soldier through page upon page, classic or not, fully aware that my only motivation is feel good at reaching the last one.

Bearing in mind life and memory is finite and that my mental stamina for the great works left me in my teens – what will I take on holiday? More’s the point what will I actually read on holiday? Whilst, I think about that – let me know your summer reading list …..


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Discovering times gone by

This afternoon, I did something terribly old fashioned. I just sat in the garden reading a book with a sun hat on. Old fashioned because everyone else seems to be doing something. In fact, it seems positively sinful to sit at home and enjoy the sun’s warmth. Actually, I was reading the witty an enjoyable ‘The Perfect Summer’ by Juliet Nicolson. Its a social history of the summer of 1911; the last beautiful season before the Great War. No wonder then it is subtitled – dancing into the Shadow. However, despite the growing storm clouds, there was something appealing about those years. In particular, the less pressured life when personal news came through the letter box and world tidings via the newspaper. No social websites, emails, mobile phones and satellite TV for them.

Of course there is much from that age that we would not tolerate for a minute today. Yet their pace of life with its weekly routine must beat our 24/7 obsession. Their seasons must have the pleasure of reacquaintance ship that our unbroken desire for the fruits of the globe dulls. Their joy at a perfect summer must have been greater than ours faced as it is with a constant stream of days that all seem the same in their rapidity of passing. So maybe we should,from time to time, bring some of the peace of nearly one hundred years ago back to our living of these frenetic times. Hopefully then we too will rediscover a perfect summer by visiting times gone just by being still.


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