This Weekend I Have Been …

… heading across the road to the beach with Briar. Dog ban notices have gone up on the far end of the promenade but not on our stretch, and so we are hoping she – and the other dogs we meet down there – are all legal this year.

… wonderfully engaged by an exploration of the themes explored in Lynn Knight’s ‘The Button Box.’ Women’s lives, the clothes they wear, social history and, of course, buttons. A talk, a conversation, and more questions thrown into the air than there could ever be time to answer. There was so much to think about it, and I’m eager to get back to the book that I’ve been dipping into for a while.

… learning so much about art and creativity in Russia at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century from Charlotte Hobson, author of ‘The Vanishing Futurist.’ It was clear that she knew and loved her subject, she showed a range of extraordinary images, and I left eager to read and learn more.

… taken to Battery Rocks by Briar. I hadn’t taken there for ages, not wanting to push her too much now she’s not as young as she was, but when we went across the road she turned left instead of heading down to the beach and made it clear where she wanted to go. She had no trouble with the rocks, she happily chased her tennis balls across the beach, retrieved them from the sea, and did a good bit of swimming.

… having a lovely time at the Stanhope Forbes exhibition at Penlee House. I saw paintings I loved in ‘real life’ for the first time, I learned more about the artist, and I realised there was much more to his work than I had realised. This really needs a post of its own so that I can share paintings and thoughts.

… walking in the park with Briar; just to very things up a bit.

… listening to romantic novelist Jean Burnett explaining how her reading inspired her to travel, how her subsequent memoir led to her being given the journals of a Cornish lady who had travelled to the Himalayas in the 19th century. That led to her editing the journals for publication; and though I have reservations about her work I am interested to look at the book, and I was glad to be reminded that I have a good number of Virago Travellers to read.

… captivated by  author and indigo expert Jenny Balfour Paul telling the story of forgotten adventurer Thomas Machell, whose illustrated journals she discovered in the British Library. Her book – ‘Deeper than Indigo’ – brings together his story, her uncovering of that story, and her travels to the places he visited. I had to buy a copy, and I have to say that it looks extraordinary.

… taking Briar out of town to visit Madron Well and run in the surrounding fields. There are lots of lovely places to take her around town, but she has always liked a ride in the car and a visit to somewhere she doesn’t get to go to quite so often.

… making slow but steady progress reading ‘War and Peace’ and knitting ‘Franziska.’

… realising it’s time I got back to writing about the books I’ve been reading.

It’s wonderful what you can do in when you take a couple of days off work to extend the weekend.

Thank you Penzance Literary Festival, thank you Penlee House – and thank you Briar!

18 thoughts on “This Weekend I Have Been …

  1. Oh how I envy you your Stanhope Forbes and the Penlee!!! The Vanishing Futurist and Deeper Than Indigo both sound great, as do your other reads. Pleased to see that W&P is coming along apace and Franziska looks amazing – what an interesting knit it must be. Definitely a weekend well spent 🙂

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    1. I hope that the Forbes will tour, and if not there is a book and I can definitely recommend the two you mention on the strength of their erudite and enthusiastic authors, Franziska is quite straightforward to knit, it’s just the amount of knitting that’s scary. I’ve finished the first of twelve balls of my main colour and that has encouraged me to think that I can get there and wear the finished thing when winter comes.

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      1. Happy to have an excuse to add another exhibition catalogue to my collection! And will definitely follow up on the other two. Re the knitting – remember that the journey is (hopefully) as enjoyable as the end result. Keep going, row by row, and you will have a beautiful garment in no time. 🙂

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  2. Sounds like you had a lovely weekend! I remember reading Jean Burnett, way back more than a decade ago! But that is all I remember…nothing else of her writing or her style! Strange..must not have been either impressed or disgruntled by her work! Hope you are enjoying War and Peace!


    1. I am enjoying War and Peace. I was drawn to the talk to learn about the local lady traveller for her sake, knowing nothing about Jean Burnett and now that I’ve seen her I give her great credit for what she’s done but I don’t think her books are for me.

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  3. I love the cover of The Vanishing Futurist; it’s so eye-catching. I recall seeing it advertised as part of a recent Royal Academy exhibition of Russian art from the revolution years. They must have been running a themed book group discussion to tie in with the event.


    1. I have yet to read more than the first few chapters of the book, but what I’ve read and what the author had to say and show gives me great confidence. I suspect it may bear the same relation to the Russian literature of the period that Louse Tredger’s ‘The Lodger’ bore to Dorothy Richardson’s life and word.

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  4. I must get to the button box book soon. As in get it, and then read it, TBR and NetGalley hugeness notwithstanding.

    I was in dear Cornwall this weekend! Up on the Roseland for a party, staying in St Austell. Lovely times, but it was hard to be on the line to Pz and not going all the way down! Not yet, anyway – back in October!


      1. Yes, indeed, though I didn’t get to see that much of it. But did glimpse the sea and the train journey in the latter part is still lovely. Can’t wait to be back down the far west in October, however. Lots planned already – Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens and the seals at Godrevy for two.


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