Having found my bearings (just about, as the wealth of information is so detailed and sprawling) in the new job, I was delighted to find that the old haunts of which I used to frequent (pubs, supermarkets, the local chippy comically named The cod’s Scallops) – handily near the Open University campus – have been supplemented with a new cafe, so having arrived stupidly early for one my shifts, I can sit back with a book, a coffee and a generous bacon cob and watch the world go by.
I always like to see a place wake up, the bleary eyed people (not me, I’m already on my second coffee), the workers, school children, the build-up of traffic and general early morning chaos. From my vantage point looking out onto the main road I can take it all in and feel slightly smug that I beat the rush, even if rolling out of bed early is a challenge for the moment.
As you have probably noticed I haven’t been visiting your blogs much of late and now due to my workload, I will probably only be able to visit once a week but will endeavour to be around more. I am also writing blog posts on my breaks at work so I can keep some form of regular posting going. Continue reading “To Start the Day”
Fridays are different. Every other day of the week, the Colonel and his ailing wife fight a constant battle against poverty and monotony, scraping together the dregs of their savings for the food and medicine that keeps them alive. But on Fridays the postman comes – and that sets a fleeting wave of hope rushing through the Colonel’s ageing heart.
For fifteen years he’s watched the mail launch come into harbour, hoping he’ll be handed an envelope containing the army pension promised to him all those years ago. Whilst he waits for the cheque, his hopes are pinned on his prize bird and the upcoming cockfighting season. But until then the bird – like the Colonel and his wife – must somehow be fed. . .
No one writes like Márquez either, so after years away from his works – apologies for such an oversight in my reading schedule – even one of his minor tales feels like a privilege to read. This succinct story is packed full of melancholy, humanity and wonderful writing, each line seem precisely weighted for maximum enjoyment.
Waiting plays a big part throughout these pages, life is staid and conventional, poised but never moving on whilst all around ages towards the inevitable. Will that pension ever arrive to allow living to progress again? The limbo is palpable.
The unfair nature of so many circumstances in the novella are nothing new, especially those who despite fighting in wars are the first to be forgotten when it comes to what they are owed – even though they are afforded respect. Márquez, however, adds to this with his sense of the bigger picture, from the inane bureaucracy of governments, the sense or lack of loyalty from neighbours, to the sheer brutal chances of life choices. Continue reading “No One Writes to the Colonel – Gabriel García Márquez”
Oh yes I did! I’ve only gone and added another job to my tally, and this , my third and final form of employment, is at the open university.
Celebrating its fiftieth year, the OU is all about getting people the education (and degrees) they wish for. A lot of focus goes on the part-time learners who are also earners, courses are all online and reach outside the UK to a further 157 countries.
You can find out all about the ‘deets’ elsewhere online, and if you ring up about anything, you may just be speaking to me as I will be the guy that sets you up on the course you need, offering up the best options and generally knowing stuff. In the meantime if you fancy taking a gander at the free courses on offer and seeing what its all about, head here and learn stuff gratis.
It’s always great to find a job that involves something you enjoy, and with this one I will be offering services of which will benefit everyone. Education is the key to a lot of the world’s problems so it is a fine state of affairs to help people better themselves and go home having done something worthwhile, which is a rare position to be in.
The sights and sounds of the morning fresh
Are subsumed within your deep, black depths
For a time nothing else matters but that scalding, fresh kick
A jump-start towards the obstacles ahead.
An effervescent explosion of ideas begins
Soon lost to the diminishing aftermath
To be forgotten evermore
Just as soon as the banal everyday acts crowd in.
Yet in that diminutive, personal oasis of time
where calm battles a raging heart and mind
I find my contentment in this swirling juxtaposition
And reflect on just how flawless life can be.
Although the summer has had a less than stellar start, with plenty of wind and rain, there is always something to warm the heart and in this instance, aside from being back in the Motherland, its reacquainting myself with those books that didn’t make the journey to Ph with me but were stored carefully away for my return.
A fine selection of eclectic works I am sure you will agree, and just as many were lurking out of shot so there will be some surprises too. It’s an exciting time and with the weekend here I am looking forward to plunging into something either new to me or nostalgic, and most importantly not yet reviewed.
It’s always a shame to have to report a bookshop closing its doors for the last time but sadly its happened again, this time to my favourite second hand bookshop in Nottingham, Jermy & Westerman which ceased to be the last weekend.
I wonder if my continued support would have helped, had I not been abroad for the last year and a half, which in turn fuels my need to support the remaining bookshops when I have some spare Sterling. A noble excuse for being a book junkie but the mutual enablement is pitched perfectly.
Despite being a small book space with only two floors and a few rooms there were always plenty of good books on offer over a variety of subjects. In fact being a regular I noticed there was a regular turn over of stock, to cater to the needs of the obsessive. Continue reading “Jermy & Westerman”