Yet again it has been a while since I last posted and I feel like an update is more than overdue. I am currently most relieved that the weather has returned to something akin to its senses and is no longer so Siberian in its nature. The first week of snow felt like the longest week ever, with everyone cooped up in the house and everything cancelled, though the first of the pair of socks I was knitting for Dad's Christmas present made quite admirable progress. The post still hasn't caught up with itself which is infuriating as I am waiting for a lot of parcels, mainly Christmas related. Lately I've been finding the cold harder and harder to deal with and a trip to the doctor's on Wednesday confirmed what I feared, namely that I have Raynaud's Phenomenon/disease, a circulatory problem where insufficient blood gets to your extremities - in my case mainly my fingers are effected - meaning they feel the cold very badly and can be painful. My finger tips spent the week of the snow changing colour between white, red and blue, which was at the very least patriotic of them.
It is never pleasant to receive yet another diagnosis, especially when it is yet another condition for which nothing can be done, aside in this case from wearing gloves (what did the doctor think I was doing?!). Although I suppose it is good to know that I'm not just being a sook or a wuss: my body genuinely does find cold weather hard to deal with. Partly to "treat" this and partly to cheer myself up I have ordered some Malabrigo worsted to knit the Bird in Hand mittens by Kate Gilbert. I cannot think of warmer or softer mittens!
The good books have included Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol; although the story is a familiar one I couldn't remember whether I'd actually read the original book and having just finished it I recommend it heartily. Not only is it a great story exceptionally well told, it is also a superb portrait of Victorian London and a book that gets a great message across about Christmas. I would particularly recommend it to my fellow Christians, although it is not "a Christian book", it contains a lot of the spirit of what is best in our faith and speaks eloquently of the capacity for even the most calloused heart to change. For those who find the idea of Dickens daunting, I would add that this is a short novelette or short story, that moves at a fair pace and does not contain a lot of the slower more ponderous passages contained in many Victorian novels (mainly there for the purpose of stretching them to the prescriptive length required for the customary three volume novels of the time).
My other reading material lately has included The Deaf Sentence by David Lodge, the campus novel moving into retirement, a clever and engaging novel, and some more titles from Persephone books. Persephone is a company I cannot praise enough or recommend enough: their books never disappoint. This time I borrowed Operation Heartbreak by Duff Cooper from my mother's bookshelves, another comparatively short novel but well written, Cooper has the power to make you care about his characters and he writes from a perspective of authority on the period - during which he was a minister in Winston Churchill's government. He is writing of his generation, the generation George Orwell (in his novel Coming Up for Air) feared would be forgotten, a generation whose lives had been sandwiched between two world wars. Although this has not (yet) happened, the first war left a huge scar on the generation who fought in it and Operation Heartbreak provided an angle on this that I had never seen before. Now I have moved onto The Closed Door by Dorothy Whipple - more on that anon.
Lastly the unexpected parcel... I won a competition! Just a prize draw one, but the prize is enormous, the biggest parcel of knitting related goodies you ever saw! I took a photo of it (I'll try to get the photo onto here in the morning, for now it's on flickr). I'm still getting over the shock! Anyhow that is quite sufficient for now, I always get long winded when I get onto books! Hopefully next time some thoughts on 1 &2 Samuel and the life of king David, my recent Bible reading.