The male half of the household has departed for overnight male bonding in a tent, complete with fishing rods.
I already have my fish - the Haigh's chocolate one, which will be a gift for my husband on Sunday, from the Easter Bunny.
The Year 12 student and I are happily at home: she is back at the books today after a few days off; I've planted out all the pots ( hollyhocks, aquilegias,windflowers,salvias) I've accumulated over the last couple of weeks. I'm also washing everything in every dirty clothes hamper while this hot ugly wind keeps up to dry it all today.
The kids and I took the train into the city yesterday so they could visit their favourite shops and I could buy them a bit of stuff: Minotaur, (S said: "Mum! don't look over on that shelf - that's gay anime." OK then) magnation, Melbourne Central, Retrostar ( I sat on the couch so long while they were looking around a young staff member came to check I wasn't a homeless person who'd moved in) (also re Retrostar - is it mainly for wealthy Eastern suburbs kids who are too scared to go into op-shops? not cheap is it?). We went up to L'uccello and I bought more fancy eggs for my little collection and a couple of cards.
We were exhausted by the time we got on the train to come home - there were so many people in town, the crowds were awful and it was too hot for Autumn. Gritty in the city. Being there with the fashion police (S) who is offended by the way people her age dress wore me down too - I hate all the ugly bum-cheek baring cut-off denim shorts too, but I don't mutter about it in an undertone. All.day.long. Moving on.
Now : the book review! - A difficult young man.
I read The cardboard crown by Martin Boyd, first novel in the Langton quartet, last year.
It was the story of the marriage and infidelities of the narrator’s – Guy Langton’s - grandparents, Alice and Austin Langton and some of their children – it is set in about 1890.
This, second in the series, jumps to the story of Guy's troubled brother, Dominic, who from childhood is “different” - passsionate, problematic, impetuous, a bit dangerous - to himself, mainly.
When I read this book thirty years ago I thought Dominic was a marvellously romantic misunderstood figure: as an adult and mother of teens I felt complete compassion for his parents and less patience with Dominic. I wonder if this is actually a portrait of someone with Asperger’s syndrome, written decades before this was widely recognized or spoken about? The question the narrator keeps asking himself is : was Dominic mad?
It is a dreamlike tale, like something from a couple of hundred years ago rather than a century. I kept picturing the paintings of Rupert Bunny and other painters of the era ( it is set 1903-13 approx). I loved the descriptions of the Australian bush round Harkaway and of the grandmother’s mansion on the beach in Brighton, or the aunts and cousins who live in Toorak. There is also a very thought provoking and heartfelt sequence about the division of the spoils when the grandmother dies and the sad loss of a central family home and subsequent squabbling over property and money. There is wonderful sly humour in this book – I particularly liked Boyd’s descriptions of “pickled boys”: middle aged men who’ve never intellectually gone beyond the age of 15 or so. Gold.
Now I can go back to the Romans. Loving them.