Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Things I learned this holiday

1. Rococo's Sea Salt Chocolate wafers are the best. I intend to eschew all other chocolates from now on.

2. You haven't heard poetry until you've heard a seven year old reading The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. To a seven year old this is a story and so she reads it as a story, with the paranthesised sections in a whispered aside and the exclamation marks emphasised! It shakes the whole thing up and you hear the heart of it in a way you never did before.

3. Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa is very funny. Better than the first film.

4. I can no longer eat bread sauce without getting heartburn. I'll be sticking to the Rococo chocolate from now on.

5. Grace Paley is a writer I want to read. Her short story, The Loudest Voice, is the best thing in the Everyman Book of Christmas Stories.

6. I go mad if I'm not allowed to write at least a few words every other day. Less than that and I become a misanthropic misery.

7. World Monopoly is a piece of cake to play but how did they settle on which cities to group together? In the old London Monopoly you knew the rough parts of town were cheap to buy (pre-Islington revival, obviously). And £15million seems an awful lot of money to start out with.

8. I have some really good friends. People who stay calm and compassionate under fire, who give of their time generously, whose stamina and whose talent is humbling and a joy.

So... what did you learn?


Douglas Bruton said...

I learned stuff too:

1. You can rise above the catastrophe of having your oven die on you late on Christmas Eve... cos you have neighbours who will kindly cook your ham and your turkey for you.

2. The best part of xmas by far by far by far is having your family close to you... and they were, all my boys home.

3. Dara O'Brien (Mock The Week) is one of the funniest stand-ups today... laughed so hard I cried.

4. Learned how important it is to back up work... when the Fiction Workhouse somehow lost everything... at least briefly... and not such a catastrophe really.

5. Learned the importance of where your birthday falls if you are to be successful at basketball, football or hockey in America/Canada (from Malcolm Gladwell's new book 'Outliers')... and can now blame being born in May for having been at a sporting disadvantage at school!

6. Samuel Barber's Adagio for strings and Rachmaninoff'spiano concerto No. 3 have a 'tingle factor' acoording to scientists and both have a physical effect on the brain and so on the body. The 'tingle factor' correlates to activity in the brain linked to such basic brain functions as emotion and arousal, normally triggered by food and sex!! (bet that boosts the sales of said music recordings!!)

7. Eminem and Dr Dre, on the other hand, is music used to torture inmates of Guantanamo Bay!!

8. Learned why butttons on men's and women's clothes are on different sides... seek the answer and you will find it too.

9. And organic milk might be healthier for you after all... higher levels of beneficial fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins.

10. And learned how to make Marley the rabbit stamp his foot on the floor just like Thumper in 'Bambi' (my middle son and his girlfriend brought their pet rabbit to stay for christmas... and though I am not one for pets, I was quite taken with Marley... now, if you can just stop it pooping everywhere and peeing and chewing cables and carpets, it would be the perfect pet!!)

Happy New Year, Sarah.

Best always


Sarah Hilary said...

Love your number ten, Douglas. (Re organic milk, apparently at this time of year there's no such thing since it's too cold for the cows to be out in the organic fields...)

Here's a wonderful 2009.

Bob Jacobs said...

Grace Paley. I waited a long time to get my hands on a copy of her collected stories. It was worth the wait.

Things I learned this holiday: Grace Paley died in 2007. No-one told me. How can that happen?


Sarah Hilary said...

Another vote for Paley! Thanks, Bob, and Happy New Year.

Shameless said...

Wow. You learned good stuff.

I learned that Classic Monopoly takes six hours to play with the family and that we HAD margarita mix!

Happy New Year!

Sarah Hilary said...

Classic Monopoly sucks my will to live, Kev. Glad you had the drinks to help you survive. Happy New Year!

MG said...

I learned to make a very sweet margarita - with lime juice cordial, gomme, and cranberry juice as well as the usual/

It's like a tequila cosmopolitan...

Little else of consequence...

Like the sound of the Sea Salt wafers though. Save one for me?

Sarah Hilary said...

Hi, MG! I'm afraid the Sea Salt Wafers are long gone, but I will save one from the next box for you. We should meet up. Burford?