Wednesday, 10 October 2012
Am I sentimental?
There is something about the word 'sentimental' which brings out a reaction in people. For example - a lot of people dislike PreRaphaellite paintings because they seem to have a sentimental element. The same is true of poetry - sentimental poetry is frowned upon. Well I have had a surge of sentimentality over the last couple of days and I am not ashamed to admit it. I was born in a fenland village in Lincolnshire; a village where everybody knew everybody and where no event, however small, went unnoticed and untalked about. Well, over the last two days it has all come back to me with the reading of a fabulous book of short stories: Louis de Bernieres 'Notwithstanding.' If you haven't already done so, please do try and get hold of it. Of course, we all know he is a marvellous writer anyway (Captain Corelli's Mandolin among other books) but his turn of phrase in this book of short stories about the village of Notwithstanding is just superb. It has had me bursting out laughing time and time again as he describes events and people. An example, which I am sure will be so familiar to all 'doggy' people, comes in a story called 'All my Everlasting Love' when a boy is about to take his dog for a walk. At the appointed time he calls his dog, which de Bernieres says 'has been sighing pointedly since early morning' He says the dog 'sighed and waggled his eyebrows, affecting an air of suffering, but as soon as anybody went to the walking stick stand or fetched wellington boots, he would lift off vertically into the air bouncing straight up and down so rapidly that it was impossible to attach his lead.' He then goes on to say how they used to say 'walk', then began to spell it w-a-l-k, then called it 'promenade', then 'spaziergang', then 'paseo' and finally 'peripateion' with the dog a mere one linguistic step behind. Anyone who has ever had a dog can't help but recognise their dog in that. Well this sentimentality seems to have spilled over into all areas, because today was my hair appointment day in Ripon - a distance of about twenty miles. Coming home I took a different route, along a high country road between rolling landscape. Fields had been ploughed to a deep, rich brown; corn had been harvested and fields of golden stubble shone in the Autumn sunlight; the trees were beginning to turn and everywhere I looked the scenery was breath-taking. I was so overcome with it that I pulled into the side of the road and sat and looked at it for five minutes. Call me sentimental if you like, but the weather is set to break tomorrow and I wanted to fill my soul with this Autumn scene before I became soaked with rain again. Sitting with the car's windows open, the air was full of the sounds of crows, who have all begun to gather together again for winter. The stubble fields were full of them and any road kill (pheasants, squirrels, rabbits, hedgehogs - everywhere)was being quickly devoured. Robins'