Reading progress update: I've read 22%.

A Month In The Country - J.L. Carr, Penelope Fitzgerald

The marvellous thing was coming into this haven of calm water and, for a season, not having to worry my head with anything but uncovering their wall-painting for them. And, afterwards, perhaps I could make a new start, forget what the War and the rows with Vinny had done to me and begin where I’d left off. This is what I need, I thought – a new start and, afterwards, maybe I won’t be a casualty anymore.

Well, we live by hope.

There was a second window in the loft; I’d noticed it the previous evening. It had some sack-cloth tacked across, so I’d supposed that it must cover some sort of opening. Now I pulled it away.

Over the years I suppose that I must have grubbed around scores, maybe hundreds of churches, but do you know, that tug revealed the most extraordinary sight of all. There, almost scraping my nose, was a baluster, a hulking big Anglo-Saxon baluster. And I began laughing. Although I’d never seen one before, I recognized it immediately from good old Bannister-Fletcher, our bible in Miss Witherpen’s English Architecture class. ‘Draw a baluster’ she used to chide. ‘Go on, never mind fiddling about with fancy Corinthian capitals – draw an English baluster.’ (I still can.)

And now here was one – a crude tub of stone with a pair of double hoops top and bottom. ‘Go on – draw a baluster!’ If I’d been Joseph Conrad I’d have gone into a peroration about the lost land of youth. My first real-life baluster! And for a few weeks, to all intent and purpose, I owned it: it was my baluster. So I stroked its belly – once for Bannister, once for Fletcher and once for the Workmen of the World long dead, and those, like me, still quick. 

Another book that's been lingering on my TBR for ages, but that oddly got put off by having watched the film (Colin Firth/Kenneth Branagh). I am surprised and glad to say that the book so far is much better than the film. I am not sure why, but the film seemed to lack something. The book on the other hand is written in a tone that is much lighter that what I remember the film to have been.