due to some last minute Decisions regarding not-feeling-well-at-all we Took a Train from Victoria Station last night (bought a refreshing cup of tea from the man on the trolley who made his way from First Class to the front carriage: milk-no-sugar-please-gosh-no-no-biscuit-thanks-ever-so-much) and some hours later………..arrived at the Coast.
the seaside air cures all.
and after a blissful full night’s sleep for the first time in *sighs* Five Days (not fun), we are slowly feeling better. a few sniffles. the tiny bit of dispirited-ness is Lifting, at last.
as dusk fell on the town of Whitstable we walked with lovely William (he lives not far off the beach road and just a short walk from the Railway Station – long enough to have a proper conversation while the Samsonite was wheeled ahead and the bags of groceries fitted nearly in the crook of one’s arm) – and everything started to fall into place again.
especially when – as you can see – the First thing we saw as we took a Stroll Down the High Street this morning – was a BOOKSHOP.
as befitting a british bookshop – Brian – one of the owners – who was there on the till (cash register for our American friends – and we did have a lovely chat) – there was a Large Selection (well-curated) of vintage finds, local authors and a whole shelf full of Mr. Maugham.
the Trouble with Mr. Maugham is that his famous book “Cakes & Ale” is actually a Satire (which the British do very well – but it is usually prefaced by the word Biting and it most certainly would be Here) – of, well, Whitstable.
our friend Karyn from A Penguin A Week has the full exposition of the controversy here.
but that does not deter the good folks of Whitstable for re-claiming its prodigal son in the upcoming Literary Festival (oh dear, we would LOVED to have stayed for this but we are needed – hopefully – back in the USA by then to start a new “gig”).
Especially sad to miss this as we’d be Thrilled to see Miss Selina Hastings do her talk on Mr. Maugham and his somewhat turbulent love life and literary leanings.
gosh! Ms. Lynn Barber is Also speaking at the Literary Festival – about her new book (*makes_note_with_pencil* of new book title)
now back to Oxford Books (so named because tis on Oxford Street, Whitstable, you see)
always so splendid to see a shelf of Mr. H. E. Bates
and some very teamgloria style Books for (be-bobbed and brave and british) Girls.
what did we Buy?
Something we have bought too many times to count in secondhand bookshops before – as we like to read it in cafes and then give to friends (often young people who are in need of poetry as it happens).
for more about the Mersey Sound and the poets Mr. McGough, Henri and Patten – there’s a lovely piece here from G. Cordon who knows his stuff.
Then – after lunch (a simple yet nourishing meal at the Whitstable Coffee Company where we shamelessly eavesdropped on two friends of an uncertain age having a gossip because it was fascinating and useful for future novels) – we took a blustery turn by the seafront to blow the cobwebs from the brain and tousle the freshly washed hair.
and a turn down the high street.
now – don’t you find small towns always have such interesting Libraries?
Whitstable’s is a tiny bit disappointingly modern (but re-worked for the community so we shan’t complain – but we had hoped for Mullioned Windows and there were none – hence no photographs).
but this gave us Pause.
thanks to mr. google(.co.uk) – we are able to share with you some details about Joan’s life – as it was glorious and she deserves remembrance.
Joan Cavender, who has died aged 93, was known to her many friends in Whitstable, Kent, as an ardent socialist and a person of endless optimism about the possibility of creating a just and more equal world. For many years, Joan ran the Whitstable bookshop, Pirie and Cavender, a career she took up in 1949 after the sudden death of her husband. Her strong views about literature were not always sympathetic to all the tastes of her customers.
A very important part of Joan’s generous social and political vision was an interest in worldwide politics, and it was this that drew her, after her retirement, to go and work as a volunteer teacher in the Gambia. At an age when many people might have been pleased to turn away from the responsibilities of full-time work, Joan entered with enthusiasm into the teaching of office skills to Gambian women. She described these years as among the happiest in her life. In this setting, Joan’s politics of limitless concern for every individual expressed itself in her commitment to her students.
When Joan returned to Britain, she refused, with characteristic determination, to accept more conventional meanings of retirement. A passionate supporter of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, she went to work at the movement’s London office as an assistant to Bruce Kent. In this context she found another focus for her political convictions, in particular the idea that ordinary human beings could, by their determined actions, correct injustice and prejudice. To turn one’s back on the possibilities of the political was, for Joan, never an option, and until her final illness she maintained that constant interest in politics which she had acquired in the 1930s.
moment of silence for Joan. thank you.
and here we are again.
with a view from the Herne Bay Suite overlooking the Essex Street Pleasure Gardens (and next door’s washing/laundry on the line).
time to sip some tea and catch up with Correspondence from Abroad.
there’s a fish supper this evening and another early night after some diverting television program(mes) on the BBC and tomorrow a fresh start with more photographs of morning coffee cups in the garden as the dew melts into the newly laid down turf.
the seaside is good for the soul.
especially when one was rather Under the Weather and Confused about the Future.