Birthday biographies

October is always my favourite month, but I especially adored it this year because it was a Big Birthday and therefore meant a big o’ knees-up was due.

Yorkshire Dales birthday bash...and some very silly costumes

Yorkshire Dales birthday bash…and some very silly costumes

30 friends and family converged on a converted schoolhouse bunkbarn in the Yorkshire Dales for an Old Skool Bunkhouse Bash, complete with ‘old skool’ costumes, 4 cakes and 198 pints of beer. Not everyone was able to take part in lots of booze and silliness, but thank you to all my friends for their best wishes, cards, presents and general friendship. You guys.

As well as the party, I also went to the theatre (twice!) to see an adaptation of Daphne Du Marier’s Rebecca and a National Theatre Encore screening of Hamlet starring old Benedict Cumberbatch. Both theatre trips were preceded by dinner, drinks and lots of cards and presents. And some of these were books of biography. (Hurrah!)

Tove JanssonFirst, the latest biography of Tove Jansson. I had read Boel Westin’s Tove Jansson: Life, Art, Words in January 2014 (and blogged about my journey through delight to disappointment as it progressed here) and knew that there was a new Tove book on the market, so was very excited to receive  Tuula Karjalainen‘s Tove Jansson: Work and Love from my good friend Stuck-In-A-Book, who followed this treat up with…

My Katherine Mansfield Project by Kirsty Gunn: a literary biography – sort of! SIaB loves KM, but (shush or he’ll hear) I’ve never read a word by her. Kirsty GunnThis might well be my perfect introduction to a new-to-me author, as it combines Kirsty Gunn’s autobiographical exploration of Mansfield’s (and her own) home town of Wellington, NZ, along with ‘the profound influence of Mansfield’s work on [Gunn’s] own creative journey’.

Can’t wait to get stuck in to both of these beautiful books. Thanks SIaB, and happy birthday for yesterday yourself!

Hazlenuts

Birthdays, books, beer and berries

Sorry these posts are a little few and far between at the moment – autumn is always a busy time of year (new school year, hedgerows to be harvested, and a big ol’ birthday to boot), but here are my musings from the last few weeks!

New books – the aforementioned birthday has provided me with a whole heap of delightful bookery to get my teeth into (sometime literally, often more metaphorically).

Birthday books and cards

Birthday books and cards

Most excitingly, and without even asking for it, I have a brand-new literary biography to linger over, in the shape of Philip Larkin: Life, Art and Love. Having dropped some not-so-subtle hints to my husband whilst in the Watermill at Aberfeldy, I have also been furnished with Leon’s Fast Vegetarian (and made my first dish, Sri Lankan pineapple curry, from this evening) and a translated Reeds in the Wind, a book I first heard about on our honeymoon to the homeland of its author. A treasure trove indeed.

The previous post mentioned The Hedgerow Handbook: have now managed to collect lots of nuts, sloes and hips which are awaiting transformation. The sloes are mid-fermentation in the gin, the hips are in the freezer, and the nuts are only half-shelled…it’s a tedious process, but well worth the marvellous autumn walks to collect them.

SSBBF stash

SSBBF stash

Two brilliant friends of ours also organised themselves an amazing birthday party this weekend: they hired a bunk barn, bought 10 barrels (and several bottles) of beer and cider, and invited 30 friends to celebrate their 30th with them.Now these are people who don’t mess about – they branded the whole thing as the SSBBF, with beer tankards, beer mats, and beer list to match! It was a great weekend of celebrating with friends and family from near and far.