Although it’s Monday morning here it’s still the weekend in some parts of the world. The past two weeks have been busier than usual. Mr. Penguin has been housesitting a friend’s house the past six weeks and that means the care of our five animals has been busier than usual. Vet appointments, three cats using a litter box that needs cleaning four or five times a day. Feeding and exercising the dogs. I did get a book read though. A friend of mine started the Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. I had started it when it first came out but got distracted by something and put it back on the shelf. Since I’m trying to read books I own I thought it was a good time to start again, finish it and move it on.
Generally, I enjoyed this book. For those who haven’t read it (though I think everyone I know is ahead of me on this book) it begins with Harold hearing from a work colleague of 20 years ago telling him she is dying of cancer and wants him to know. There is a commitment he feels towards her though we don’t know that story until the end. He walks out the door to post a letter he wrote back to her and decides to keep walking. He plans to walk the length of England to visit her because he gets it in his head if he achieves this task she will not die. The book is about his walk, the people he meets and more than that, the reflection of his life since childhood. During his long days of walking he is confronted with the way he lived his life, the things he felt he didn’t achieve, his relationships with his son and his wife, Maureen. There is a secondary storyline of Maureen. Since Harold left so suddenly she is now confronted by her aloneness and thoughts of her marriage. As she faces her own demons she begins to come out of her self imposed shell and you can see where this might be going.
There are revelations along the way that help us understand these two dysfunctional people. I enjoyed the book for the most part. I did think it was too long though. There were a couple of story lines I thought were unnecessary. As he walks he gains fame in the British press and hangers on start surrounding him on his walk. I found this section tedious and annoying, as I felt this section wasn’t as well developed as the rest of the story between him, Maureen and Queenie, the woman he was hoping to meet up with at the end. A young boy is thrown in the mix as well as a dog and a man who follows along as part of a group of strangers, trying to take notes of the excursion dressed in a gorilla suit. I found that was just annoying.
I am happy I can finally move this book off my shelves and move on.
I might add the past few weeks had me seeing several films. Tea with the Dames featuring Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright and Eileen Atkins was a brilliant film. They spend a pleasant afternoon talking about their lives, their careers and their families. Some great clips of their career history are also included.
Lost in Paris is a pleasant Belgium produced film with a Paris setting. It is filmed in the tradition of some of the old silent films of early history including those of Charlie Chaplin. The actors are almost caricatures and I loved it. Charming, quirky, with a fun story line and some very good humour.
Last night I saw The Bookshop. I found it a film that passed the evening pleasantly enough but not earth shattering. Bill Nighy is in it and that’s what made me want to see it. The story was a bit of a non event, predictable and I even figured out the ending. However having said that, the young actress who plays her child assistant in the film who works in the bookshop is worth the ticket price. She was charming and the scenery was gorgeous. I wouldn’t drive cross country in heavy traffic to see this movie, but if you’re home alone, tired of having five animals sitting on you every chance they get and need a bit of respite it was pleasant enough.
I rounded out the week with some time out at Cornelian Bay, which is a dog park and sports oval on the River Derwent in Hobart. The dogs had a great time for the afternoon. Then when the cold settled in that night Odie got to sleep in his new warm jumper once the heating was turned off for the night. Hopefully Mr. Penguin will be home in a few days and things will return to a bit of normalcy.