Monday, April 30, 2007

Apology for absence

[Posted 30 April 2007]

Also in today's blog

An exciting parcel from Bibliophile
A new-to-me cookery writer

I'm sorry Bookworm has been offline since Monday, 9 April. The reason : having caught a cough which wouldn't clear up, unexpectedly I was whipped into hospital with pneumonia.

The first time I had pneumonia was in January 1936 while a pupil at Stafford House, the junior section of Norwich High School.

While I was in bed, recovering, the death of King George V was announced on the wireless, as the radio was called in those days.

Both my mother and our landlady – we were living in furnished rooms in a house in Mount Pleasant not far from the school – shed a few tears, a display of emotion much less usual in The Thirties than today when people often weep and wail in public.

Being stuck in bed for about a month in 1936 was boring.

Spending 12 nights in Guernsey's Princess Elizabeth Hospital – opened by H M The Queen in 1948 - was far more interesting. Indeed there was never a dull moment. Both the staff and my fellow patients included some fascinating people and, to my delight, I was lent the most interesting novel I've read in a long time. This morning I shall be ordering my own copy from one of St Peter Port's bookshops.

More about this book tomorrow.

A parcel from Bibliophile

On Saturday morning, a parcel post van delivered four biographies ordered from Bibliophile. They are -

Patrick O'Brian : The Making of a Novelist by Nikolai Tolstoy [Century 2004]

Clarice Cliff by Lynn Knight [Bloomsbury 2005]

Gwen John : A Life by Sue Roe [Vintage 2002]

Nigella Lawson :The Unauthorised Biography by Gilly Smith [André Deutsch 2005]

Three are hardbacks, all are in immaculate condition. Cost, inc. postage, £28. Excellent value. New, they would have cost me £55.98.

My interest in Clarice Cliff "one of the most prominent ceramic designers of the twentieth century" goes back to the early Sixties when my small son's push-chair was often parked outside antique and junk shops. One of my favourite dealers frequently tried to persuade me to buy pieces by Clarice Cliff, and an excellent investment they would have been. But my collecting budget was limited and I had fallen in love with antique needlework tools. Though often tempted, I rarely bought anything else.

A new-to-me cookery writer

While I was in hospital, my eye was caught by some photographs of food illustrating an article headed "Making sun while Hay shines" on the Food & Drink page of The Telegraph Weekend for Saturday April 21.

It began - "Australian cookery writer Donna Hay bucks the celebrity-chef trend. Unlike Nigella, Gordon and Jamie, she doesn't do television. She doesn't have a restaurant and her photograph is hardly ever seen, even in her Donna Hay magazine. Her writing style is mininmalist in the extreme, entirely devoid of reminiscence or description. Yet Hay is the bestselling non-fiction writer in Australia and has a growing following worldwide. She has published more than a dozen books and her magazine is exported around the world, with a circulation of almost 100,000. What's remarkable is that it's her cooking rather than her personality that has made her an international phenomenon."

My thanks to Telegraph columnist Xanthe Clay for introducing me to Donna Hay. Can't wait to try out Hay's Peaches in Prosciutto and Salmon Carpaccio with Campari Dressing.


At 30 April, 2007, Blogger Liz Fielding said...

I'm so sorry to hear you've been poorly, Anne, you've been missed. I have no doubt that you made the most of your stay in hospital, however. Lots of food for inspirational thought.

My own new cookery discovery is Claudia Roden, although I had to wait until her v. expensive "Arabesque" was on sale reduced by my bookclub.

Take care


At 30 April, 2007, Anonymous jill mansell said...

I was wondering if you were ill. Very glad to hear that you're now recovered.
Can't wait to hear about the interesting book you read whilst in hospital!
All best
Jill Mansell

At 30 April, 2007, Blogger Sheila said...

Glad you are feeling better, Anne.
Regards Sheila Riley

At 30 April, 2007, Anonymous Julie Cohen said...

I'm very sorry you have not been well and hope you've now made a full recovery. And I'm glad you were able to see the bright side about your hospital stay. What a gift it is never to be bored with one's fellow humans.

At 30 April, 2007, Blogger Trish said...

Very sorry to hear you were ill Anne! I think it's safe to say that a lot of people were worried it might have been illness when your blog was so very quiet...

But glad to see you back!

At 30 April, 2007, Anonymous Anne said...

Welcome back Anne - as you are a part of my daily routine, I have missed your insights into new books that I might read.

As an Australian who has known about Donna Hay for years, I am pleased that you have discovered her cookery style. I am not much of a cook, but my sister is fantastic. One of her favourite Australian cooks is Bill Granger who is more of the personality type but if you get a chance look him up. He has a regular coloumn in the Sydney Morning Herald and is you enter the search site at you will see a number of his recipes.

Look after yourself Anne

At 01 May, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So pleased you are back at your desk, Anne. I was starting to worry when your blog didn't appear.

I'm afraid Donna Hay is a bit too minimalist for me. As another Australian, I've been familiar with her work for quite a few years. I'm afraid I prefer my cookery writers to add a little bit of anecdote to their recipes. Past favourites have been Jane Grigson & Josceline Dimblebey, and on television I like my cookery experts to be just a little bit over the top such as the Two Fat Ladies and Nigella Lawson.
At the moment Australia has an ABC TV cooking series "The Cook & the Chef" which is just the right blend of personality & information.
Good to hear from you once more.

At 01 May, 2007, Anonymous elsa said...

Am so relieved you are back.

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