Books, life the universe

Friday, 17 September 2010


This week I have read Stella Gibbons Cold Comfort Farm. Everyone has been telling me for years that it is good but I never got around to reading it. I love Flora Poste - she's an absolute gem of a fictional character as is Aunt Ada Doom - 'something nasty in the woodshed'. The names for the characters are pretty good as well; the cows, Graceless, Aimless,Feckless and Pointless and the bull Big Business not to speak of Seth and Reuben - the sons and Amos- the father - the hell fire and damnation preacher. How Flora manages to change everything on the farm and many of the people is brilliant. If you haven't read it then you're in for a treat.

I've also read George and Weedon Grossmith's Diary of a Nobody and I love Mr Pooter. His staunch principles, his loyalty to his employer and his love for his wife and son even when they annoy him are marvellous. Yes he gets irritated by some not very important things but often he tears up his letters of complaint and doesn't post them. When given more compensation for his ruined handkerchiefs than the handkerchiefs cost new he is scrupulous about returning the amount he isn't entitled to - which to me sums him up. An absolutely marvellous book and I really should have read it years ago.


NAM said...

There are just so many memorables in 'Cold Comfort Farm' - along with the ones you've just mentioned I always cherish brother Ampleforth conducting the choir (at the Church of the Quivering Brethren) with a poker "to put us in mind o' the hell fire". I also find myself dropping into Starkadder occasionally: "I mun cletter the dishes", and "Curses, like rookses, comes home to bosomses and barnses" (hope I've got those right, going on memory). A brilliant book!

Jilly said...

You're right it is a brilliant book and I should have listened to you years ago about it :-(

NAM said...

But it's one that you have to come to of yoour own volition, I think - not because someone else says so. You've probably enjoyed it much better this way!

Incidentally, I rather regret not reading when I had the chance (in the book collection formerly at the museum) some of the books Flora finds in the farmhouse - 'Macaria, or Altars of Sacrifice' was definitely there. The books are now kept the other side of London :-(

Jilly said...

I wondered while I was reading whether the book actually existed and hadn't got around to checking. I thought it might have been made up by Stella Gibbons! Perhaps it's available as a free e-book?

NAM said...

You're right, of course, it is - and looks like a complete yell!

"The town-clock was on the last stroke of twelve, the solitary candle measured but two inches from its socket, and, as the summer wind rushed through the half-closed shutters, the melted tallow dripped slowly into the brightly-burnished brazen candlestick. The flickering light fell upon grim battalions of figures marshalled on the long blue-lined pages of a ledger, and flashed fitfully on the face of the accountant as he bent over his work."

Jilly said...

I've just looked for it and downloaded a sample on the basis of your quote - definitely worth reading!