Feels odd to be hanging around. I’ve changed the sheets and done the laundry, watered the garden and cut some flowers. Done some shopping. K and I even went out for lunch. Here’s what’s up.
- The rug that went off to get mended has come back and it is really beautiful. It really is beautiful, but it’s also familiar. It reminds me of when I was little and also of when the kids were little. It keeps surprising me, too, when I catch sight of it. (K does not like it. It offends his sensibilities that it doesn’t cover the whole floor, and some furniture — gasp — is half on and half off. Hmmm.)
- I’d take a picture of it, but I can’t because the camera is on another continent. This is really bothering me. I also wanted to take a picture of the man who was eating his lunch on the median strip, leaning up against the sign that said “No sitting on median.” Ha.
- K is planning all kinds of ways to check up on the girls, including calling the place where they are working to ask if they are okay, but telling whoever answers the phone not to tell the girls that he called. (I wondered what would happen if they themselves answer the phone, which seems at least possible.) Anyway, I am glad for once that it is not me who’s being the crazy stalker parent.
- I’m reading Ian Fleming’s From Russia with Love, which is interesting as a sort of time capsule of 1958. I’m having trouble finishing it, though, because I sense that things are about to go badly. But here’s an interesting quote. It’s the opinion of the Head of the Intelligence Department of the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Americans have the biggest and richest service among our enemies. Technically, in such matters as radio and weapons and equipment, they are the best. But they have no understanding for the work. They get enthusiastic about some Balkan spy who says he has a secret army in the Ukraine. They load him with money with which to buy boots for this army. Of course he goes at once to Paris and spends the money on women. Americans try to do everything with money. Good spies will not work for money alone — only bad ones, of which the Americans have several divisions.
- And here’s another thing I read, from the Dower House, that I liked a lot. Molly, the heroine, has gone for a job interview with a writer. He needs her to do some secretarial things. When she arrives at his house he’s just in the middle of reading Vanity Fair to his wife, and they ask her to wait, apologizing. Molly answers,
‘I love to be read to, and you were at my favorite part.’
. . . Mr Latham looked inquiringly at Molly.
‘When Becky goes to Sir Pitt Crawley’s as a governess.’
‘And why do you think that is?’
‘Because I’m entirely on her side. Later, you don’t like her.’
‘Yes, the novel without a hero also lacks an adequate heroine.’
I think she’s right, actually. I haven’t read Vanity Fair for 30 years, but I think it does matter that there’s a point at which you really do like Becky Sharpe. Later, as Molly says, you don’t like her.
Okay. That’s all for today.