This is one of those stream-of-consciousness updates. You have been warned.
Just been mowing the lawn. Often while I do that Elf is simultaneously vacuuming inside. Then comes the delicate point that I, covered in grass clippings, want to come in to the now spotless house. I brush myself down throughly but still feel that wherever I go I am going to leave a trail of grassiness. (Feel obliged to note that I also vacuum sometimes though I am generally more of a sweeper).
Michael likes to form clubs at school. He likes to do his own thing, and will almost never be found joining in something started by others. But he is always happy to have followers, and the latest crazy scheme is Chlorophyll Club. He and others collect plants, grass (and sometimes small insects) and crush them into a mush. I found a list of members in his schoolbag. He is President and Leader. A girl named Madison is responsible for “Waste Removal”. The last organisation he founded was Ice Club, back in winter.
Marcus currently has all his medals around his neck and just announced to the visiting neighbours “I’m a bro with some blingggg” with an appropriate homeboy hand signal. The boys have been watching a terrible cartoon lately with a character voiced by B Grade celebrity and rapper Flavor Flav, and have picked up a few things. Flav is currently doing a stretch for domestic violence, but I suppose you can’t go pulling a cartoon off air on that basis. Unsurprisingly, his character ‘Father Time’ finds plenty of opportunities to say “Yeaaaaaaaaaah booooooooooooy”.
Marcus scored a new medal today, coming 2nd at a chess tournament. This is the first one he’s attended as an individual, not representing the school. The more seriously chessy kids played in a 2-day tournament, but there was a 1-day alternative and that’s what we went for. While he played I read a fantastic book.
Hilary Mantel just won her second booker prize, for Bring Up The Bodies. It's more or less a sequel to the first prizewinner, Wolf Hall, which is what I am reading now. It's fantastic - an historical novel set in Tudor England, full of bloody treachery, cunning and pragmatism. The main character is Thomas Cromwell, who usually gets written up as a bit of a rotter. In A Man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt he is a bloodthirsty rat-cunning survivor. The hero of that play is Sir Thomas More, but Mantel is not a fan.
I read an interview with Mantel which I found on Longreads.com. She has had a very difficult and sometimes tragic life, and you have to be happy for her finding success. She said that for a long time it was out of fashion to write historical novels about famous women, you had to write about the ordinary woman in the sixteenth century or in Rome or whatever.
But she stuck with what was plausible—she couldn’t stand maudlin feminist mythmaking. “There was a time when, truffling around historical fiction for women, I seemed to come across nothing but ordinary women who happened to have a brilliant knowledge of herbs,” she says.So - I'll do a proper review when I have finished it.