Letters from Iceland
I had two copies of Letters from Iceland. But I gave one to Robin and lent one to Herself, so now I have none. Robin and Herself conversed at lunchtime today on Soviet Tsarist insignia, General Brusiloff, Soviet insignia in Orkney in the 1940s, the possibility of Orcadian Soviet sympathisers at GCHQ, and old Russian churches in Novgorod – I do not have a note of which Novgorod – and arrived at Letters from Iceland, discovering their common possession of my copies.
Robin keeps his copy in his bed. Robin, he says, keeps lots of books in his bed. Some are in a stack, and some are disposed more casually at the foot of the bed, and so there is plenty of room for him to sleep among the books. He does not sleep on the books. If there were very soft old books made of leather he considers it would be possible to sleep on them, and then ‘when I sleep the knowledge would tickle my toes and travel up my body’.
They moved on to discuss the semicolon, the semicolon in text messaging, direct speech in narrative, the textual indication of irony, similarities between Byron’s abbreviations in his letters and modern txtspk, and bread and butter pudding.
K: Didn’t Borges say, “I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books”?
You know, the strawberry is not actually a berry. It’s an animal.
Coffee and a Cardamom Bun
Some people think it is odd behaviour to come all the way to Edinburgh for the weekend. But there are some things some people do not know.
When we left Peter’s Yard we went to Blackwell’s. After we extricated ourselves from there, Herself and I set out to look for jerseys and socks and spoons and radios. Robin accompanied us, sometimes standing up reading his new book among the jerseys, sometimes curling up on the floor by the glassware reading his book, sometimes demonstrating how many books could be fitted into the pockets of his jacket. In between the shops we saw glimpses of a demonstration and a counter-demonstration, but mostly of the police in dayglo jackets. We came home in a taxi and read books all afternoon.
U: Sounds like a lovely day. We had one too, playing divine music, paddling round Venice (the acqua is alta at the moment, though receding fast) and consuming delicious Italian food and wine. Ciao!
The Retreat to Moscow
Herself, at breakfast:
If I stay here much longer, I don’t know what will happen. Either I start learning the Cyrillic alphabet, or…