We’ve had a really busy Summer catching up with family and friends. We firstly spent some time in Devon and Dorset. Catching up with Family and seeing the wonderful graduate show at Arts University Bournemouth where my brother in law David displayed his excellent architectural and interactive model of Docklands. We thought that this would be a great model for display for a museum such as the Museum of London. David also showed us around the campus and this is a really nice university as it offers creative courses only (right up our street of course) and so valuable today. We saw lots of the modelling exhibits, photography, make up including prosthetics, illustration, animations, graphic design, costume and textile design. We put up some of the photos of these on our Instagram feed. Which you can access here
Later on we visited Poole to go to the first and original Lush shop Also we had a lovely dinner at Pizza Express. It poured with rain though so we couldn’t wander around much as we forgot an umbrella! We did however park in an interesting car park that named each level from a list of bizarre animals. We were on level C which was Camel parking!
We also paid a visit to Lyme Regis and bought a few fossils. It was absolutely baking the day we went and I caught a bit of heatstroke so we didn’t actually go fossil hunting like we had intended but maybe next time. We also bought some flour from their working watermill to make some bread with. We had a tour of this last time we went to Lyme and it was really interesting, would recommend it if you are in that part of the country.
In Lyme we visited blank”>Cafe Aroma for lunch which is excellent and has loads of Veggie and Gluten free options. If you are intending to visit this area (and are interested in fossils) then read Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier. This is an excellent book that explores the life of Mary Anning and the early history of fossil hunting. Before I read this, I knew next to nothing about Mary Anning but was really enthused to learn more about her life after reading this book and think it is especially great that she was one of the pioneers of fossil and dinosaur discovery, as she found the first complete specimens of Plesiosaur and Ichthyosaur and a rare Pterosaur! I have loved dinosaurs since a child visiting the Natural History Museum and have a few as ornaments in the house!
Whilst on holiday I was able to catch up on my holiday reading stack. I have a varied Summer reading list to say the least of it! I first read Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase which seemed appropriate as it was set in Cornwall! I also read The Stepmother: A gripping psychological thriller with a killer twist which is a great read and subverts stories such as Snow White, Bluebeard and Rebecca.
Before my holiday I read Claire McGowan’s Paula MacGuire detective books start with The Lost (Paula Maguire 1) (Paula Mcguire 1) McGowan’s books are set in a (post Friday Agreement) Northern Ireland border town. This was a part of history that I didn’t know an awful lot about but do remember as a child living under terrorism but not at all to the extent that people in Northern Ireland did. I visited Manchester in 1997, (a year after the Arndale Centre bomb) and remember a vast section of the Arndale centre being boarded up inside. McGowan has created one of the most realistic and interesting female characters in crime fiction. I learnt more about the troubles from her books than I have before and she also effectively explores the enduring emotional impact that all of the long complicated history of incidents, politics and religion has on its’ population.
Back at home I read the captivating Nelly Dean by Alison Case. This is a reworking of Wuthering Heights from the point of view of the original narrator housekeeper, Nelly Dean. She narrates this tale once again to Mr Lockwood but from her own point of view of her life. This makes an interesting revisionist assessment of Hindley especially as he is painted as an outright villain in the original. Heathcliff and Cathy are seen in a different light, Cathy especially as a manipulative tease and a selfish and spoiled brat essentially and Heathcliff as a sap blinded by his love and devotion for her. Of course this goes against the normal understanding of the text but is interesting it develops fully the character of Nelly from just a simple servant in the original to a fully formed woman. Nelly has a complicated history and relationship with the Earnshaws and a juicy secret is revealed at the end to further complicate this complex reinterpretation of a classic text.
I have also been reading Benjamin Markovits You Don’t Have To Live Like This which is a story about Robert Jones a flailing academic who is brought in by an old university friend Robert Jones (a Wall street guy) to help regenerate Detroit and make it an attractive place for investors to buy into. This is an epic novel examining the historical and current web of relationships between the characters but also the extreme complexity of urban regeneration when it is handled largely by people from outside the area coming in and making sweeping changes without real knowledge of the communities that they are working with.
I am currently reading a few excellent books that are due out in September that I can’t wait to update you on! Plus, I am also currently reading a number of ARCs that are to be published later on in the year so I will report on these when I am allowed to! Hopefully you’ve had a fun Summer too and enjoyed yourself whether you had micro-adventures near home or went away.