Saturday, 5 February 2011

New words; buying books; mind maps

I learned two new words yesterday evening: leche-vitrine (windowlicking) is French for window shopping; llavero (Spanish) is the shorter male companion of a tall woman, think the Speaker and Mrs Bercow, President Sarkozy and Carla or Bernie Ecclestone and his former wife. It is derived from the word for a key, and literally means 'keyman', because the man's head as they walk side by side is at the level of the keys notionally hanging from the lady's belt. Talking of Amazons, I just ordered a friend's book, to be published in the US in early March. Delivery date was given as sometime in May. I reported this to the author who wondered if they are using a sailing boat. The explanation may be simpler and less romantic: I had clicked on the 'free super saver' delivery option. I am also waiting for the arrival via Amazon of The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy, a thinly disguised memoir posing as a novel. I identified with the young heroine when I was in my late teens or early twenties. In those days, the early 1960's an avocado was a pretty rare and exotic vegetable, let alone the protagonist in the novel's chaotic (and then, to me, attractive) bohemian lifestyle. I am more enamoured of order now. As preparation for the discussion I volunteered to lead at St Dunstan's on Thursday (the day before yesterday), I cleared my mind by making three mind maps. One was of four interlocking circles labeled Moscow, Paris, Rome, London, the places where events took place or people were born, then lived in exile. Another one attempted to make sense of my theme with lots of lines connecting people. On the third, I divided a piece of paper into two sections headed 'Church and State' and 'Christianity'. Under these headings, sometimes across the central dividing line I wrote: icons, Russia, Art, individual, education, C.of E, family, Orthodoxy, murder, letters, places, Jews, exile, memory, poetry, saints, friends, and spies. At the bottom I wrote a remembered line from The Leopard: 'Sometimes, things must change in order that they remain the same'

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