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About Heather

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  1. Is there for honest Poverty That hings his head, an’ a’ that; The coward-slave, we pass him by, We dare be poor for a’ that! For a’ that, an’ a’ that. Our toils obscure an’ a’ that, The rank is but the guinea’s stamp, The Man’s the gowd for a’ that. What though on hamely fare we dine, Wear hoddin grey, an’ a that; Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine; A Man’s a Man for a’ that: For a’ that, and a’ that, Their tinsel show, an’ a’ that; The honest man, tho’ e’er sae poor, Is king o’ men for a’ that. Ye see yon birkie ca’d a lord, Wha
  2. I love books that are difficult to read because of the language. I read a lot of old books. I don't like books that are difficult to read because you can't make out what's going on, or the author keeps skipping back 50 years just as something seems about to happen at last. I don't like books with a message that challenges me, because I suffer from depression and when I read things that make me feel worse than I already do I start feeling my fingernails slipping. Thank goodness, poetry doesn't affect me that way. The Waste Land is pretty grim, but I have no trouble readi
  3. In the uncertain hour before the morning Near the ending of interminable night At the recurrent end of the unending After the dark dove with the flickering tongue Had passed below the horizon of his homing While the dead leaves still rattled on like tin Over the asphalt where no other sound was Between three districts whence the smoke arose I met one walking, loitering and hurried As if blown towards me like the metal leaves Before the urban dawn wind unresisting. And as I fixed upon the down-turned face That pointed scrutiny with which we challenge The first-met stra
  4. It is, isn't it - or even with three. It looks as though jfp has gone again. These tiny loiterers on the barley's beard, And happy units of a numerous herd Of playfellows, the laughing Summer brings, Mocking the sunshine in their glittering wings, How merrily they creep, and run, and fly! No kin they bear to labour's drudgery, Smoothing the velvet of the pale hedge-rose; And where they fly for dinner no one knows-- The dew-drops feed them not--they love the shine Of noon, whose sun may bring them golden wine. All day they're playing in their Sunday dress-- Til
  5. I found the Everyman version of the diary in a charity shop. It's very good. Which biography did you read? Do you recommend it?
  6. Thank you, everyone. Viccie, I have read the Thomas Creevey papers, but your other suggestions look fascinating, though I agree 22 volumes is too much. Pepys' Diary is long enough! Luna, Gentleman Jack sounds good. I wouldn't be squeamish about that, but I might about The Heroin Diaries. I hate seeing people in dramas pretending to shoot up, and I don't think I'd like reading about it either. Sounds like one to get from the library, if possible. The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady I have from when it was first published. It's not something to read as a diary of curre
  7. Another excellent diary is 'To War with Whittaker' by Hermione, Countess of Ranfurly - Whittaker being her husband's valet. I wish I could remember the title or author of a diary, or possibly autobiography, about the childhood of a half-Scots, half-Russian girl before the Russian Revolution. She had a wonderful, highly priviledged childhood (decorating Easter eggs with real gold leaf!), but is able with hindsight to recognise the hard life the servants had. I think the family escaped to Scotland when the revolution started. Can anyone name it?
  8. Thank you very much for all suggestions. I have read some of these, such as Anne Frank, the Mass Observation ones and 'Nella Last's Peace'. My list was just what I could call to mind on the spur of the moment. However, the others are new to me and I will certainly look for them. Nancy Mitford's books are so good that I would expect her to write good letters. Another wartime diary I have read, with an English author who was married to a German involved in the plot to kill Hitler, was 'The Past is Myself', by Christabel Bielenberg. She and Marie Vassiltchikov probably knew each oth
  9. I love diaries, especially historic ones - they give a real insight into the period. Letters are good, too. Among my favourites are: Samuel Pepys (of course) Parson Woodforde (1759-1803) Francis Kilvert (1870-79) Jane Austen's letters The Wynne Diaries, from the time of the Napoleonic war 'Few Eggs and No Oranges', the wartime diaries of Vere Hodgson 'Housewife, 49', the wartime diaries of Nella Last. (Dates are diary dates, not birth and death.) They need to be readable, of course. I couldn't manage 'The Pastern Letters'. Can any
  10. Yay! thank you, Tagesmann. I'm delighted.
  11. I love the little pond to mark at spring When frogs and toads are croaking round its brink When blackbirds yellow bills gin first to sing And green woodpecker rotten trees to clink I love to see the cattle muse & drink And water crinkle to the rude March wind While two ash dotterels flourish on its brink Bearing key bunches children run to find And water buttercups they're forced to leave behind. John Clare - 'I love the little pond to mark at spring'
  12. The commentators in that link seem to think such names as '-shire' was a kind of censorship. It strikes me it was just a literary convention. Nowadays the convention is to make up a place name such as Borsetshire, even though we all know there is no such county in England, but then it was different. The original writer on the link suggests it was because readers were so unused to novels that they might not be able to tell fact from fiction, and the commentators expressed surprise. Does anyone remember the fuss over 'The Da Vinci Code'? Any number of readers assumed it must be true
  13. Come down, O maid, from yonder mountain height: What pleasure lives in height (the shepherd sang), In height and cold, the splendour of the hills? But cease to move so near the Heavens, and cease To glide a sunbeam by the blasted Pine, To sit a star upon the sparkling spire; And come, for Love is of the valley, come, For Love is of the valley, come thou down And find him; by the happy threshold, he, Or hand in hand with Plenty in the maize, Or red with spirted purple of the vats, Or foxlike in the vine; nor cares to walk
  14. Have you got a Kindle, or something else? On my Kindle, I switch it on and it immediately opens at exactly where I was last. One reason they can't give you a page number is because you can change the print size, which is a huge advantage. I love old books and found a copy of 'The Daisy Chain' by Charlotte M. Yonge in a charity shop. I was thoroughly gripped by the story before I realised that the tiny print was giving me headaches! It was a shame, because it was a beautiful book, but I gave it to another charity shop and downloaded it to my Kindle instead. My father suf
  15. I agree. When Dickens started 'Pickwick Papers' I don't suppose he was thinking of it being published as a book at all. It's just a collection of episodes, with a happy ending for everyone stuck in at the end. Better to read it when you already know and love Dickens.
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