Friday, 26 March 2021

Old ladies and all that


(Repeat under breath: I will not beat myself up about pile of unreviewed books). I finished Leonora Carrington's book 'The Hearing Trumpet back in January, and what a fabulous surreal experience it was. Back before crimbo Monkey and I had watched this video attached to a Guardian article (that you find when you randomly browse the book pages) and she sounded such an amazing person her name was immediately added to the 'must read' list. I naturally mostly forgot about it, and then Monkey bought me The Hearing Trumpet. 
There is an elderly lady called Marion Leatherby, and she has a friend called Carmella, and some cats. Carmella buys her an antique hearing trumpet, because she suffers from declining hearing, and, using it, she discovers that her son is planning on putting her in a home. The home however, when she gets there, is not all she anticipated. Lots of weird shit happens, someone dies (kind of by accident), management are in denial, Carmella arrives with a plan that involves a hunger strike by residents:

" 'This is a kind of mutiny, and if you are discovered by the authorities they might turn machine guns on you. An armoured car would be most adequate, or even a small tank, although there may be some difficulties in getting these. You would be obliged to ask the collaboration of the army. I am not sure if they lend out tanks, although they might have an old one. In any case the meeting should take place with the greatest secrecy. If you can get people to come hooded it would be better, because then they would not be recognised unless captured and tortured.'
Carmella went through this advice several times, then took her leave with a few final instructions, such as putting snipers in the trees around the bee pond, installing secret radio stations and a series of outposts with tom-toms which would relay coded messages.
After Carmella's stimulating visit I was feeling quite excited and happy. It was not long before I met Georgina, to whom I immediately communicated our plans, omitting some of the less practical ones such as the tanks, the snake oil, the secret radio stations and the snipers. I emphasised the hunger strike as not only desirable but urgently necessary." (p.114)

I think this gives you an accurate view of the style of the book. I was enjoying it and anticipating some kind of fairly straightforward but essentially cathartic denouement, however it went down an even more utterly surreal track that involved some strange rituals and the end of the world as we know it. I am not sure even how to classify this book, but who doesn't enjoy a story of a bunch of elderly ladies coming into their rightful power and place in the world. 

In other news I have reached the end of the hiragana chapters in Human Japanese, and sat this morning, while Monkey was making kanji cards, and made hiragana cards so I can practice and get more confident.

We find that the little flies we have in the kitchen are not fruit flies but fungus gnats. Tish bought some drosera capensis (that will eat the little buggers), while I ordered some sticky fly traps and some diatomaceous earth powder, which is a natural means of killing all sorts of nasties. We are definitely going to have a fly free kitchen this summer.

Stay safe. Be kind. See you tomorrow (or later, I might try and review another one).

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