Book review Where shall we run to? A memoir by Alan Garner

Where shall we run to? came to my attention on Twitter. I requested it from the library. Although we rarely listen to spoken word programmes on the radio apart from the news, we had recently heard a programme about Alan Garner, in which he talked about his interest in archaeology.

Where shall we run to? A memoir is written in the voice of a youngster from Cheshire. There are many amusing anecdotes from his war-time schooldays. The author’s unusual education due to illness led him to become a writer.

Both Hubby and I read and enjoyed this excellent book (in the hardback edition). I was particularly interested to read it as I am working on my own memoir of my early life. A long time ago we visited Alderley Edge, which is a place of great importance in Alan Garner’s writing.

Where shall we run to? A memoir is available as hardback, paperback and an audio version is read by Robert Powell.


Paint chip challenge 52 Silence

From Lynda Kruschke’s post, where the whole challenge, colours and her poem may be seen:

Our theme is Silence. Seems appropriate for a relatively quiet holiday season.

The words and phrases you have to work with are sprig of mintsmoke signaldragonflyblack catfaded denimdust devil, and prickly pear. My challenge to you is to pick just one of these words, the one that most symbolizes silence for you, and write four tercets with a clear rhyme scheme. Or you could choose to write a triolet.

I learned from the link above that the rhyming scheme of a triolet is ABaAabAB, where upper case letters denote repeated lines. Lower case letters denote a rhyme matching the line represented by the same upper case letter.

A sprig of mint took me back to my childhood. For the sake of the challenge I have made my mother silent, but it would have been very unusual for her not to have thanked me.


My mother sent me out to pick a sprig of mint
From the corner of the garden near the shed.
Our garden had clay soil and stones* of flint.
My mother sent me out to pick a sprig of mint.
I noticed in her thankful eyes a glint,
When she took it from me; not a word she said.
My mother sent me out to pick a sprig of mint
From the corner of the garden near the shed.

* For readers in the US our British stones are what you call rocks. 🙂

Two more books I read in October 2020

The Foundling by Stacey Halls

I chose The Foundling on BorrowBox partly because the cover reminded me of that of The Muse, which I had read and enjoyed. It is a historical novel aimed at an adult readership. Set in London in Georgian times against a backdrop of people struggling for existence and the wealthy, the meeting of  these two worlds led to some interesting scenes in this book. There were many unexpected twists and turns. My only disappointment was that I I have to wait to borrow the author’s earlier book, The Familiars.



The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey

I recently became the owner of some books I had lived alongside as I was growing up. The Franchise Affair published in 1948 was one I remembered reading and enjoying in my late teens. I couldn’t remember anything else about it, so I reread it. Having been written in the early years following WWII, it described life in England at that time as the background to an unusual mystery. During WWII a National Day of Prayer* had been called. One of the characters in The Franchise Affair was a great believer in the power of intercessory prayer. That perhaps surprised me more now than it would have done the first time I read it as the culture of Britain has changed during the intervening years. The way the story unfolded shocked me when I was younger. The legal background was well-researched and I had to consult a dictionary for one of the technical terms.

Two highly recommended books.

* Today is the first day of the second national lockdown in England during the Covid-19 pandemic. The three most senior bishops of the Church of England have written to the clergy expressing their desire for this to be a month of prayer.