A Dance to the Music of Time: Spring

SpringTimeMelancholyAnthony Powell’s brilliant twelve-novel sequence chronicles the lives of over three hundred characters, and is a unique evocation of life in twentieth-century England. It is unrivalled for its scope, its humour and the enormous pleasure it has given to generations.

These first three novels in the sequence follow Nicholas Jenkins, Kenneth Widmerpool and others, as they negotiate the intellectual, cultural and social hurdles which stand between them and the ‘Acceptance World’.

This first omnibus contains the books A Question of Upbringing, A Buyer’s Market, and The Acceptance World; and is a thoroughly captivating start to a series that promises to yield so much in the way of pleasurable reading.

Straight away it grabbed me, with its meditations on life which, those of which only become evident as one reminisces of times past.  This is where the reader’s journey begins, with the narrator Nicholas Jenkins recalling thoughts of times long ago;  his coming of age in which he is almost a passive character in all matters.

As we are led through this life with the aid of rich writing, characters frequently disappear and reappear in unexpected combinations and when least expected.  This continual turnover keeps the books fresh and by the end I appreciated so many characters due to Powell’s perfect observances on the idiosyncracies of his fellow humans.

The central idea of the series is that life is a cycle of stages played out through a web of interconnections where people and places come together and split apart in a dance through life which only becomes clear as we progress further through this ceremony. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on 24/10/2016 in Fiction, Modern Classics


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A Steady Trip

With plenty of photos of both bays filling my SD card, it was the smaller features that began to fascinate more as time went on.  It was pleasant that I could choose to go from a fun fair and noisy amusements at one end of the south bay to peaceful climbs above and around the Spa Complex, a regular holder of musical events and sometimes featured on the small screen to boot.


Out of season holidaying may make the walks satisfyingly peaceful but one thing that is never out of view for long is those treasured bits of cheap colourful plastic that are part of so many memories and pretty much everyone’s first lesson in architecture.


From looking through the blog comments, I am given to understand that there are a few literature fans amongst you so I snapped this, I walked by the graveyard five times before remembering it was there, typically. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on 20/10/2016 in Travel


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Booked Out

After redeeming a Waterstones stamp card and claiming back all my amassed points, this book haul was cheap for its size, the entirety of which set me back a paltry £17.98, of which most was spent in second-hand bookshops.


First off was a trip to the charity shops where I found a my first Virago – a publisher beloved by so many on here – and then a second, bookended by yet more recommendations and at the price it would have been silly not to.


Visiting the wonderfully named Mrs Lofthouse’s Second Hand Book Emporium, I expected great things, but the above collection is sadly all I found, the fiction section in particular was deeply lacking in-depth to my mind.  I wanted to pick up more but there was little else of note and thus came away with quality instead of quantity. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on 14/10/2016 in Essays, Fiction, Lists/Ephemera, Travel


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South Bay, Rainy Day

After an overcast start and a forecast saying not much chance of rain, I walked out to the furthest point of Scarborough’s south bay, which was typically was when the deluge struck.  Normally this wouldn’t be a problem but being stuck on the side of a cliff on paths of slaloming sinuously into repeated chicanes, it becomes somewhat more problematic getting anywhere in a hurry.


Hot footing it back to the town centre I hid in various bookstores (of which more in another post) before finally exiting out into a bright and sunny day.  It’s great to be here out of season with less crowds and an actual view of where you are going but balancing that is the habit the locals have of crossing my walking line at an angle to get to their destinations, which is no bother as I adjust accordingly…but when their decisive diagonal becomes a gentle arc back across my path and ends up aiming at the side of the street they just came from; well it’s a bit much and plenty of tutting has been bandied about of late, that’ll show ’em!


The sea front of this bay is much more commercial with the harbour fair and amusement arcades, accompanied with that cacophonous symphony universal to such places, that doesn’t seem to have changed since I was a child.  Mingling with this is the smell of the sea air, chips and friend onions not to mention candyfloss which is a heady and classic mix of magic to the olfactory senses. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on 12/10/2016 in Travel


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North Bay, Sunny Day

It seems my photo snapping skills have regressed somewhat since the last time I had cause to be snap happy so apologies in advance, it may be time for a better camera that can ‘do’ the long shots better.


This first one is the view from my window, which shouldn’t have been my window but timing my stay for the quiet season meant an unexpected upgrade to a double room still with free breakfast.  There is something melancholy about an empty stadium, I like it.


Attempting to catch all of the north side in the few remaining house before the sun went down, I high tailed it right around the bay, which was a pleasant walk with just the right amount of breeze.

ChaletTakeAPhoto?A few colourful chalets, ideally I would have liked to get a photo closer up but surfers are still using them and my voyeuristic tendencies aren’t that invasive as of yet. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on 10/10/2016 in Travel


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Fair Game

The other day this blogger went to the Goose Fair in order to take some photos to link up loosely with the last post on Sunnyside, sadly my efforts were rubbish (they even turned out worse than Tremors 4 did) so I have abandoned the idea, despite copious amount of notes and such, instead have a photo of a prize I won on Hook-a- Duck and my latest read.


Now I am off on holiday to Scarborough for the week so owing to time, I won’t be around WordPress much, although I hope to visit today.  I aim to post a few posts and keep up with comments and such though as time permits, so please excuse my absence from your blogs, I will be back soon enough with photos, thoughts and probably accosted by a particularly tenacious seagull, which I shall keep as a pet and call it Stegull.



Posted by on 08/10/2016 in Blogging, Travel


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I Remember Sunnyside: The Rise and Fall of a Magical Era – Mike Filey

sunnysideupFirst published in 1982, I Remember Sunnyside is a mine of golden memories, bringing back to life an earlier Toronto, only hints of which remain today.

Like the city itself, Sunnyside was an ever-changing landscape from its heady opening days in the early 1920s to its final sad demolition in the 1950s. The book captures the spirit of the best of times a magical era which can only be recaptured in memory and photographs. It also presents the reality of a newer Toronto where change, although necessary, is sometimes regrettable.

In a bid to further inspire me to words, Resa recommended this book  which had already grabbed my imagination before it even arrived and although it didn’t pull me in quite as much as I had convinced myself it would, it was nonetheless still a quirky, interesting, immersive and speedy read.

Mostly my pre-reading thoughts were inspired by such literary mainstays as Joseph Heller’s thoughts on Coney Island, Stephen King’s Joyland as well as, to a lesser extent the feeling of exploring Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus. Films such as The Lost Boys and The Warriors played a part with their atmospheres as well.

Establishing a fundamentally, albeit mostly American idea of what to expect, I feel the fond imagery of these amusement parks is established in the romantic landscape these days as something of a golden age. It is hard to imagine people speaking so eloquently today about their experiences at Alton Towers or Disneyland as this:

…as I thought of the days of Sunnyside when all things seemed possible and the late afternoon sun lit up the summits of the rollercoaster and you felt you were somehow at the source of things, a warm and tattered tent of life, convinced that something wonderful was going to happen within the next few minutes…

It’s a fond feeling of nostalgia to those who lived it and a love transmitted down to those readers who never got to experience such times and instead got the sanitised parks of later years.  It’s an evocative adventure to put ourselves back there, a place of charm and excitement, it makes me think of those long ago nostalgic days of rides and shows sadly gone in this modern age of queueing for hours to get 30 seconds of ‘thrill’. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on 28/09/2016 in History, Memoir, Photography


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