A short post today - it is almost time for the Grand National - never miss it. My father adored the National and the Derby and watched them avidly. Both were on his Bucket List to go to before he died but of course he never did - we never had a car, he never learned to drive and the thought of going all that way by train was outside the realms of possibility. I always watch them in his memory. Never have a bet though - I am not that daft. I did once draw the winner in the staff sweepstake when I was teaching but that is as far as my betting goes.
So today's post is just to sing the praises of this month 's Book Group choice. It is sheer delight and has me laughing out every now and then. It is 'My Father's Glory and my Mother's Castle' by Marcel Pagnol. It is translated from the French and was published in 1989. I am enjoying every word of it - written from a child's point of view I don't think it has lost anything in translation. Do give it a go and if you have already read it do please let me know what you think of it. It is both wildly amusing and at the same time poignant.
Have a good week end.
My Dad was the same, loved watching the Grand National and I never miss it now- well not quite true, I think I missed it once in the last 50 years and that was when Aldaniti won it, but every other one since I think 1961 I've watched, and on rare occasions chosen the winner, so I am logging off shortly to watch. Let them all come safely home.
I knew you would love that book. Much more fun than the Three Musketeers.
We always had a tiny flutter and listened to it on the radio. I watched it on TV possibly back in 1953 or there abouts. That year there were many fallers - I hated that and haven't watched it since.
The book sounds delightful and I will look out for it.
Both books were made into thoroughly enjoyable films. - in French, with subtitles.
A lovely story in the Grand national too, with Rachael Blackmore winning. It used to mark the coming of summer - the Boat Race, the Grand National and then the Cup Final, but now with so much sport they seem to have lost some of their glamour.
I've always found the Grand National a sickening example of animal cruelty and find it amazing that people who consider themselves animal lovers are happily willing to watch and support something that often ends in horses getting broken legs and being shot. Not amused.
Thank you for mentioning Canal Boat Diaries in the previous post. I was able to watch some of that on YouTube and enjoyed it.
Today you are reminding me how fond my mother was of the Grand National and how much she wanted me to watch the movie "National Velvet" when I was a little girl. My mother was an accomplished horseback rider. She learned to ride horses when she was in her 20s, after her mother died in the 1930s. I have a photo of my mother as she is being carried over a jump by a beautiful horse.
I think that some of my ancestors on my mother's side lived in Yorkshire in the 1800s. I can't be sure. Others lived in Islington, Northumberland, and Dorset up until that same time. There is also an ancestor on my father's side who came from somewhere in England to the U.S. in the 1800s.
And thank you for the book suggestion.
or even the Count of Monte Christo.
I enjoy your blog so much...none of the panned questions that some answer, and thankfully, no political agenda. Thank you...keep writing.
Love watching the Ky. Derby...
I never miss the National either. I have watched it ever since I was very young. When I was 10 I stopped buying the Beano and the Dandy and had Horse & Hound instead! The Aintree and Cheltenham meetings are the highlights of my racing year.
My grandparents took mum and her brothers and sisters to watch the Derby one year. Mum said all she could see was the jockey's caps go by!
Glad you are enjoying that book so much. It's great to have a good book to read.
I just finished a great book for my book club's first in person meeting (in over a year!) later this month: This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger. It's beautifully written, kind of like a Depression-era Huckleberry Finn.
There's nothing like a good book!
I haven't read this and it sounds great. Thanks for the recommendation!
I'm with Derek Faulkner - the Grand National is a horrendously punishing race for horses and I can't understand why anyone who has the slightest respect for animals would want to watch it. Derek's words "sickening cruelty" say it all.
I've been reading your blog for quite some time Pat but I won't be reading it again. I'm surprised and disappointed that you advocate animal cruelty.
I have requested "My Father's Glory...." from the library and it should come quite quickly as no one else has booked it. I will let you know what I think of it.
My library didn't have "My Father's Glory..." so I requested the one they do have from that author - it will be fun to see how I like it!
I made a note, Weave, and will report.
I just had a short walk today, but it was enough to see some nice things!
Just for ducks, you might enjoy reading "French Impressions" by John S. Little. If nothing else, it will bring some smiles.
Don't know why computers insist their way of spelling is correct. Author's name was correct as: L-I-T-T-E-L-L.
Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources are wonderful too. Pagnol was a great writer.
Thank you for the book recommendation. I am still reading (and will be for a long time) Barack Obama‘s latest book.
I read today that one horse in the Grand National yesterday, "The Long Mile", broke it's leg in the race and had to be put down, It's owner, trainer and jockey sent it to it's premature death so that people could enjoy that "thrilling race" - THERE CAN BE NO EXCUSES FOR THAT.
Thanks for the Marcel Pagnol recommendation. I couldn't find this particular book online but did find Manon & Florette (loved the movies) and a few others in English online. Just a few pages in and already enjoying the writing and sense of place.
Derek - I do agree - I knew one horse had died bcause as the cameras went back to the jump there was a black cover over the edge of the course.
Thanks for the recommendation Gail. Sadly my computer often thinks it knows more than me.
am I had completely forgotten National Velvet - my friend and I were horse mad in our childhood and used to ride over to see her grandparents on our bikes rising up and down in the saddle pretending we were on horses.
On the subject of cruelty to horses - everyone must make up their own mind. To some extent I do agree to see these magnificent creatures treated in this way. I don't watch any other horse racing but I have watched The National - with my father as a child and ever since. I am sorry you feel as you do Jan - but not to read me again is your choice.
Thanks everyone for your comments - hope you al manage to get hold of the book I recommended.
I have only ever bet on the Grand National once and that was to put a 'ten pound to win' bet on Aldaniti out of my £100 birthday money. Of course it and Bob Champion won and I got my ten pounds back plus an extra £100 ... if only I'd been brave (or daft) enough to put the lot on eh!!
I stopped watching it soon after and have never watched even part of it since. It is just so horrendously cruel to the horses and some are lost every year. Even the years when there are no fatalities on the course some of the horses are destroyed afterwards due to injuries they just can't or won't be treated for.
Imagine if instead of horses being shot for getting themselves injured, you thought of them as dogs being pushed passed their capabilities and then being shot for daring to get injured or for their injuries to cost too much in vets bills. The whole thing just makes me so very sad.
Pagnol wrote Jean De Florette and Manon des Sources - they were made into the most beautiful films if ever you get a chance to watch them do. Truly fabulous.
The grand national brings back memories of childhood - and Red Rum - it seemed then to be a bigger event in the national psyche than perhaps it is now.
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