Thursday, June 24, 2010

How have I only just discovered Jane Austen?

I was nosing through the "books for sale for 50p" section of the library a few weeks ago, and came across Jane Austen's Emma. Somehow I've come this far in life without having read any Jane Austen, so I decided it was time to remedy that.

I really enjoyed it - there were parts that I found so funny I had to read them out to John (who appreciated it, I'm sure), and scenarios that were as cringeworthy as any reality show or sitcom. I really loved the ramblings of Miss Bates, who appears to stop speaking only to breathe, and even then, only when she's in danger of keeling over.

I also loved Mr. Woodhouse, Emma's father, who verbalises the worst possible outcome of every situation. There were two scenes of his that cracked me up. The first is when his elder daughter is bringing her family to visit for two weeks, and he frets endlessly about the fact that two weeks isn't possibly going to be enough time and why would poor Isabella possibly not want to stay with him forever? The second part was when the assembled are discussing their thoughts on a painting that Emma has done, and Mr. Woodhouse says that he quite likes the artistry but could never possibly like the painting because the subject is seated outside, and all sorts of unfortunate things could befall one while outside!!

Too funny.

Speaking of horrible things that can befall one while outside, I was minding my own business putting the compost bin out tonight, and noticed that our gooseberry bush is a shadow of its former self. As in, half the leaves were gone and the branches stripped bare. Um, what? I checked it on Tuesday night and everything was fine. According to the interwebs, it's sawfly - little green caterpillars that nom their way through gooseberry plants. Lovely. As much as I hate spraying chemicals on things, the two suggestions were: pick them all off by hand (um, no) or NUKE the little buggers. One trip to B&Q later, for some food-safe insecticide, and they have been nuked. I felt a little bad, but they were eating MY gooseberries.  Or at least, eating the leaves on my gooseberry plant, preventing me from eating MY gooseberries.

In other news, this foxglove is not infested with anything (yet), and I thought it looked pretty. Agree?

While on my unscheduled trip to B&Q this evening for my bug-killer juice, I tuned into Bob Harris' weekly country music extravaganza on Radio 2. He had Brad Paisley singing songs from his new album, which John and I both really liked (and have now downloaded on iTunes). Between the Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, and Dixie Chicks, I think we now have sufficient country music to keep Stowmarket hoppin' for quite a while.

Quick musical plug: if anyone is anywhere near Stamford, Lincs, this Saturday evening, the Bach Choir is performing at St Martin's Church in Stamford at 6pm. We'll be done by 7, in plenty of time for you to watch the football!


Pav said...

oh my god i can't believe you only just discovered J.A.! You have so much enjoyable reading ahead of you now! I love Sense and Sensibility, and also Persuasion- which doesn't often get a lot of attention. Yay!

We have possums (different than an opossum) which destroty all plants. I tried puittimng cayenne pepper on our basil plant once (it seemed clever at the time) but they LOVED that and not even t he stalk was left in the morning. I gave up...

MavisandFrank said...

I randomly found your blog while searching for gooseberry references in JA's novels. I cant believe you've never read any before! I too am reading 'Emma' at the moment, and loving it. First time I read it was at school, and I think I missed most of the humour. You must read 'Persuasion' next, it's incredible. The letter Captain Wentworth writes to Anne at the end is unreal! I just made a Jane Austen themed treasury on Etsy. I wont put the link here because that's a bit spammy, but it's there if you want to have a look. Cheers, Ally