Grandma Gertie always said there's not a savory dish that can't be made tastier by just a touch of tarragon.

Tsunami and Me

Tsunami and Me
too big to escape now....

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Newspaper Competition and Strawberry Cider

The war of the tabloids to pick up readership from the defunct Sunday News of the World is on. According to the Manchester Guardian, The People, Mail on Sunday, Sunday Express and Daily Star Sunday have launched aggressive campaigns with a mixture of extra marketing and price cutting to attract former NoW readers who on average purchase 2,670,000 copies weekly in June, making it Britain's largest-selling Sunday newspaper.

While readership of American Sunday papers diminish, Britain's remain faithful, per the following statistics:

Headline circulation of Sunday national newspapers – June 2011

News of the World: 2,667,428

Mail on Sunday: 1,927,791

Sunday Mirror: 1,087,796

Sunday Express: 539,478

The People: 474,549

Daily Star Sunday: 305,978

Sunday Time: 1,000,848

Sunday Telegraph: 474,722

The Observer: 288,928

Independent on Sunday: 151,229

As I read about the death of Amy Winehouse, the queues outside Buckingham Palace to peek at the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress, and a solid editorial on why university education should be accessible to all, I sipped a Brothers Cider at The Snug, a pub next door to my Lensfield Hotel. Its label reads:

"It has taken four brothers and 14 generations of cider makers to create this unique strawberry mixed pear cider, served at the Glastonbury Festival since 1995. Enjoy it chilled, over ice or in a muddy field."

I chose "over ice," no muddy field in immediate sight.

Later I checked into my room at Memorial Court, Clare College, and then dined at Old Court, with Laurence from France, Ken from the US, Andrea from Germany and Paul from Holland.

Classes start tomorrow, with Henry VIII, Napoleon, plenary lecture on War and Peace: Frederick the Great and Napoleon and evening lecture on War, Peace and British Secret Intelligence.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Literary Limbo

Memorial Court, Clare College, University of Cambridge

I can't blame neglecting my blog totally on daydreaming of Cambridge, but it's an easy scapegoat. Sure, I've been preparing for my second consecutive summer, this year in the history track. For the past several weeks I've been immersed in Tudor England, the Napoleonic wars and the Spanish Civil War. Hanging out with Henry VIII and Napoleon takes a lot of energy... pondering Picasso's Guernica can be draining, indeed.

June and July hold so many so many beginnings and endings...both of my weddings, the birthdays of each of my husbands, plus my own, and the anniversaries of the deaths of my late husband and of some dear friends. So to slog through these days without collapsing into total ennui, I've watched 18 episodes of The Grand, the British television series set in 1920s Manchester. Plus I've devoted a couple of nights each week to So You Think You Can Dance, wishing I were 16 once more, pirouetting with the Pavlovettes.

But now, after a few weeks of literary limbo, I've written and submitted some new stories.

My latest narrative essays:

How a Peace Corps Medical Officer aligned my nose with my toes.
Why marriage can be all fun and games, given a good deck of cards.
When you can't be 100% positive, maybe 85% will suffice.
What devoting a minute a day to practicing Spanish can do for your mental health.
Where to start when you're feeling paralyzed with fear.

Now I've got to get back to Harry Houdini's pesky rodent. That rabbit's been on my mind for weeks.