Monday, 9 June 2008

Hydrangea, caponata and books

This climbing hydrangea is over twenty years old. I had to cut it right back about fifteen years ago and move it temporarily to a flower bed for six months. I then replanted the trunk on a north-facing wall and it still survives brilliantly though, like the wisteria, it has to kept in check. Just the kind of healthy hearty shrub I approve of.

Gave a party last week. The caponata recipe I learnt in Sicily was popular with women and younger people, though older blokes were less keen, I suspect. There are plenty of versions of it on the net if you google. Main thing is it shouldn't be soggy. (Frying all those diced aubergines used up a lot of olive oil and time.)

Not much time for book blogging either. Here, briefly, are some I have enjoyed recently -
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Well-written, unusual and informative as I knew little about the Biafran War.
The Unfortunates by Laurie Graham. She's a witty writer and often chooses an unsympathetic main protagonist. Poppy Minkel, whose father dies on the Titanic at the beginning of the story, is snobbish, unmaternal, extremely rich and shallow but as she grows older you begin to respect her in a grudging sort of way.
The Eye of the Wind, autobiography of Peter Scott. More of a boys own book. He was a talented man but not a gifted writer
A Sensible Life by Mary Wesley. Interesting to re-read this in the light of the biography Wild Mary by Patrick Marnham. It struck me that she keeps her characters at a distance.
Diplomatic Baggage by Brigid Keenan. Again a re-read. I found this amusing, of course, and shall blog about it eventually.
Meanwhile back to the garden while this brilliant weather lasts.

10 comments:

Ms Mac said...

I love Hydrangea. I might see if I can do one in a pot for next year out on the balcony.

I quite enjoyed The Unfortunates. Poppy was a strange creature.

Susie Vereker said...

I don't know how cold your balcony is in the Village of the Damned, Ms Mac, but I bought two non-climbing small hydrangeas last autumn and they survived the winter here fine in pots close to the house wall.
The climbing one is called petiolaris, as I expect you know, and would be too vigorous for a balcony.

sablonneuse said...

Second book is on it's way so I'm looking forward to another day being a bookworm.

Susie Vereker said...

Great! Thank you, Sablonneuse

Juliet said...

I used to loathe hydrangea with a vengeance - ever since I was a child and there were some of those bluey/pinky ones in my garden, which for some reason I simply could not stand. And my mother would spray the skeleton heads silver for Christmas floral arrangements, which I hated even more! But then I acquired a pure white one in my White Garden at my previous abode and completely fell in love with it.

I feel I really should read one of your books - which one should I start with?

Susie Vereker said...

Juliet, that's encouraging. It doesn't really matter which novel you read first as they are not connected. Both are fairly light-hearted holiday reads with one or two more serious underlying themes which some (usually younger) readers don't pick up on at all. I don't mind about that, as long as people enjoy them. As my third novel will be set in Paris too (more on this when contract is signed), you could start with Pond Lane and then, if you fancy a change of scene, move on to Geneva and An Old-Fashioned Arrangement.

Juliet said...

Thanks Susie, I'll pop Pond Land in my next BookRabbit order!

Juliet said...

Oops, Pond LanE! (Typing with half an eye on the supper, that's the trouble!)

sablonneuse said...

It came today and I've finished it already.
In some ways I enjoyed "An Old Fashioned Arrangement" even more than "Pond Lane and Paris".
When Henri made his offer to Kim I was willing her to say 'yes' and your description of her deliberations were tantalizing. I won't say more as I wouldn't want to spoil the story for other readers. Looking forward to your next book!

Susie Vereker said...

So pleased you enjoyed An Old-Fashioned Arrangement, Sablonneuse. That's made my day.