Monday, 10 October 2011

I bought a hat

I bought a hat yesterday. On a train. I was on my way from London to Lockerbie when I thought: I'm going to need a warm hat soon. So I went on line, viewed a few faux fur sites and ended up buying a hat made to look like wolf. In London, people were strolling round in shorts and t shirts yesterday. I spent Saturday with old friends in Wye, in Kent, talking about making new friends - we are all nearing our 70's. Shared interests is part of the answer, I suppose, and perhaps a bit more: education, previous employment, the sort of people your parents were and wanted you to be. At my mother's on Sunday, the conversation turned to education - my nephew, his wife and their two young children were there. Kent still has grammar schools, which are apparently fiendishly hard to get into, so people (such as my nephew and his wife) invest in private primary education to help them do that. We all sat round, uttering platitudes about doing what one can and what one thinks best, but how children can turn out in quite unexpected ways. History is full of duffers and bounders who turned up trumps in the end - and vice versa. There was a ring on the doorbell and there stood C with a bunch of michaelmas daisies from her garden, a gift sent to my mother from the church harvest festival display. It turned out that C spent some of the war at Craigieburn in Moffat, because she had relations living elsewhere in the town. Moffat is extraordinary in that way: so many people I know turn out to have spent holidays, or parts of their lives here. Speaking of education: I was sent for comment a new translation of Anton Chekhov's Lady with a Lapdog; I commend the story to anyone who has either never read it or hasn't read it for some time. I remember now that I used to take Turgenev's Huntsman's Notebooks and a collection of Chekhov short stories away with me every summer to read. Re-reading The Lady with the Lapdog made me suddenly yearn to be back in Russia.

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