In my earlier post I mentioned that I had two library books. I managed to finish reading both of them before the end of the month. I did not find another book to borrow from the library. Instead I decided to reread some books I have at home. I read An Alien at St Wilfred’s by Adrian Plass from cover to cover on the last day of October.
The two library books I borrowed are A Walk along the Wall by Hunter Davies and The Making of Swallows and Amazons by Sophie Neville. Both are non-fiction and relate to the 1970s.
Hunter Davies’ book has been republished several times. The issue I read had a new introduction and the appendix listing publications about Hadrian’s Wall had been brought up-to-date (about 10 years ago). I chose the book because I have visited a few locations along the wall and Lanercost Priory, which was built from stones originally used for the wall. Reading it gave me lots of background information. I hope to be able to explore more of the wall in future. The book is written in a conversational style by an author with an enquiring mind. While it deals with history, archaeology and geography, it is a story of a series of meetings with people who live(d) or worked along the wall. There is information about the landowning families of the counties of Northumberland and Cumbria. I found it fascinating.
Sophie Neville played the part of Titty Walker in the film of Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons in the early 1970s. The Making of Swallows and Amazons is a very readable book compiled from her diary, that of the actress, who played Susan Walker, photos from the time and the memories of others involved. An appendix includes information about what those involved in the film did subsequently. There are many black and white photos and some in colour. I am not sure whether I have watched the film of Swallows and Amazons on TV, but (as a child) I enjoyed the book and others by Arthur Ransome. I also enjoyed The Painted Garden most of Noel Streatfield’s books. It is the one about children making a film in Hollywood. Technology has advanced, so that all sorts of special effects can be achieved nowadays. In the 1970s there were many practical problems to be solved to achieve the desired effects. I could go on, but I recommend that you read this book for yourself!
An Alien at St Wilfred’s is fiction. I have read it before, probably more than once. I think it is my favourite of those books by Adrian Plass, which I have read. Superficially it is about a vicar and organist, who do not get on well together. But it is much more than that. It is very funny in a gentle way. Above all it is a hopeful book.