Saturday, 27 December 2008

Christmas Books

Just a brief update first, on the pollution of our beautiful river on Christmas Day. Our neighbour by the river spoke to the Environmental Agency inspector yesterday morning and they know the area upstream where this took place and their investigations are ongoing. She was told she will "read all about it on the front page of the Carmarthen Journal in due course". He intimated that the book would be thrown at the culprit as this was "the worst case of pollution he had seen in his 30 year career". I hope he has to sell up to pay the fine.

Meanwhile, I had some splendid books this Christmas, although one of them was a present from me, to me - intended for a present from my son, but he bought me something else. It is a looooooooong poem - "Dart" by Alice Oswald. I seem to remember hearing it on Radio 4 a year or so ago, and as we used to camp beside the West Dart many years ago on Dartmoor, and fell asleep to its gurgles and glugs and shifting pebbles, I just HAD to have this book. Interspersed with the poem are short bits of prose, and the history of events on the moor, and people of the moor, woven into it:

at Staverton Ford, John Edmunds being washed away, 1840:

. . . . . all day my voice is being washed away
out of a lapse in my throat
like after rain
little trails of soil-creep
loosen into streams

if I shout out
if I shout in,
I am only as wide
as a word's aperture

but listen! if you listen
I will move you a few known sounds
in a constant irregular pattern:
flocks of foxgloves spectating slightly bending . . .

o I wish I was slammicking home
in wet clothes, shrammed with cold and bivvering but

this is my voice
under the spickety leaves,
under the knee-knappered trees
rustling in its cubby-holes

and rolling me round, like a container
upturned and sounding through

and the silence pouring into what's left maybe eighty seconds

From Alice Oswald's epic poem, "Dart". . .

I love the dialect words - my dad (a Devon man) always used "shrammed" and I still do too. I love "slammicking home".
"Slammick/slummick/slommick" is untidy, sluggish. A very omnomatapaeic word . . .

Next is a wonderful New Forest local-produce recipe book which my friend Gay saw at the New Forest Show, and knew it was just "up my street" as we used to say. It has some lovely recipes in it. Think . . . Raspberry and Amoretti Ice Cream Torte, think . . . Carrot and Cumin Soup, think . . . Pumpkin Chutney. I think I am going to be returning to this again and again.

Lastly, this one came from the just-before-Christmas car boot sale. The moment I read the title, I knew it was one for me. Who would DREAM of calling a book "Delightsome Land" in this day and age - it sounds very much of its period (1945). It has charming illustrations (as seen below) and the most wonderful (Yorkshire) dialect speech - "All them brassened browls have been taught by their mallywallops of mothers to behave like that," said Hannah, seceptically. "Doant daddle. We can't stay here all neet. Put t'lile bowdykite doon and coom alang." (The bowdykite was apparently the little gypsy baby . . .) I guess you know why it came home with me now!



Tea with Willow said...

I'm so glad something is being done about the pollution issue BB - just a terrible shame it happened in the first place, isn't it.

Your books are wonderful - I am intrigued by the poem, having read a little snippet! I have received a really lovely present from OH - a 1929 edition of Thomas Hardy's 'Tess', it's in beautiful condition ... I feel so lucky to have it.

Hope you enjoy the rest of the holidays.

Willow x

Arlene Grimm said...

I got several books and dvds to enjoy this next week. My DH got me the Sarah Jane Adventures so I started watching them last night. We had seen some of the shows on sci fi but now I can see them all in order!! Hope your sweet girl is feeling better today.

Bovey Belle said...

Willow - I am envious - I would love an older edition of Tess. Mine is practically brand new after eldest daughter managed to leave my much-loved, much-read, much-annotated copy on the school bus a few years ago . . . The poem is for sale on Amazon by the way . . . not that I want to lead you astray or anything!

Arlene - I've not heard of the Sarah Jane adventures, but I hope you enjoy them in proper sequence. My sweet girl seems to be recovering now and her boyfriend has just arrived, so she is ecstatic now!

Cheryl said...

You have some wonderful books will get a lot of pleasure I know reading them.....don't you just love books?

What a terrible thing, such a beautiful river suffering such devastating pollution. I agree with you anyone that does these terrible things should pay on a grand scale.......

Hope your New Year will be a happy and healthy one.......

nancy said...

Glad to hear that Tam is better.
the Yorkshire dialect is absolutely priceless. Love it.

Arlene Grimm said...

Jennie...I am a complete nerd. The Sarah Jane adventures are on BBC and they follow Sarah Jane Smith, one of Dr Who's companions from the Tom Baker days. She is still fighting that Tam is better..those boyfriends do have some use!!! Happy new Year.