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Friday, 28 February 2014

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litlove

Oh this was hilarious! It's been the week from hell, so thank you for making me actually laugh at the end of it! That thuggish Mister Puss - they are all talk, aren't they? Mine is just the same.

And those dolls you made for your daughter are absolutely adorable! I am quite useless at craft of any kind and hugely impressed by people with skill.

Helen

Oh good, I wasn't sure that the funniness of it came over in my story... I am still bemused over Mister Puss. Normally he slays without a second thought, even really enormous rats and (once) a crow. And he has been known to attack dogs (albeit from the other side of a fence). But this rat... Perhaps it was a witch disguised as a rat and she whispered something scary to him.

Thanks, that's kind! But they really are not very good at all, and believe me litlove they took me hours and hours to make, I just have no aptitude for it at all, unlike my aunt.

Harriet Devine

Oh goodness -- I am terrified of rats, and I wouldn't trust my dear little Mimi to be able to cope with one like this. As for picking one up, even in leather gardening gloves -- hooray for K! Love the cat hiding in the sofa. And your little dolls are cute.

Helen

I don't think I'd have dared pick up a rat either, Harriet, but K claims he has a special grip which can subdue any animal and it certainly works on rats. I blame reading 'Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH' at an impressionable age for my fondness for rats. Children's books really do shape your world.

Desperate reader

Very, very funny. I don't think Mr Puss is willing to let it go that you didn't let him have at the rat first time round.

Helen

I reckon you're right, Hayley. I have the feeling that he's a grudge-bearer. My future holds many Pointed Looks scowled from beneath ginger brows.

Helen

...Although fairness compels me to add that he did display a sense of artistry in providing a good ending to the tale.

Jenny @ Reading the End

Oh heavens, what a saga! I'm glad it had a happy ending, more or less, and hopefully the rat will have gotten the point and not try to come back in. An old apartment of mine once had mice (plural) (and no cat to hunt them down), and I found it utterly demoralizing.

Alex

All I can say is that you have a great deal more courage than I have and I'm not sure gin would have bee sufficient. By the way The Bears want to know if you take commissions and if you do would you make models of them to show off to all their friends?

Lori

Oh this is very funny! I think that rat was setting it's sights on taking up residence. But really, that would be distressing to find a rat making itself at home. I do hope Mister Puss won't be too snooty to you for long! Those dolls are cute too.

Stefanie

Those are adorable dolls! And OMG I am going to be laughing all afternoon over the story of Rat!

Helen

Oh Jenny, I do feel for you. We used to have mouse friends here, they were so sweet and pretty strolling about that we thought that we could all live in harmony together. But the mice totally took the mickey, had babies like crazy and found the chocolate stash. That's when Mister Puss came to join the household... sorry, mouse friends. I still feel bad about that. I do feel your pain at non-cat alternatives.

Alex, the courage was all K's! I am most certainly not taking commissions, although it's sweet of you to ask, my nerves couldn't stand the strain. But if you send me your postal address something may find its way to you... I'm not promising anything though!

Lori, too right it would be distressing! :) Mister Puss is far too venal and greedy to be standoffish for long. At the moment he's cuddled up beside me on his (MY) favourite blanket with a big red scratch on his nose from some dodge night-time activity and a winsome expression on the rest of his face.

Thanks Stefanie! You know, as dusk falls each day I look out into the garden expecting to see Rat twirling his whiskers and draped in the contents of my jewellery box. As yet, I have been disappointed...

Martina

Your story made me smile constantly! You have a wonderful way to tell it. I love that the rat actually watched television... And Mr. Puss is just gorgeous - a wonderful photo.
And off-topic: thanks again for recommending John Carey on Rachel's blog. I can't put it down - but it's quite scary also to see what moved intellectuals in those years. That exceeds snobbishness, those Nietzsche and Darwin-influences... Thanks a lot for telling me!
Best to you and all who live with you and visit you ;-), Martina

Helen

Hello Martina, thank you so much for your visit and lovely comment!

I have to say, I was quite upset when I read John Carey book as an undergraduate because I had really idolised all these people and I was shocked. I am not sure that I'd agree now with everything he writes, but maybe I would? I think it's a very interesting book anyway. Hmmm - now I'd like to reread it. But I hope it doesn't disillusion you.

Very best wishes to you too!

Martina

Thanks, dear Helen, for the link! The book is disillusioning, no question, but really interesting and written in a way I can accept ("Mrs. Woolf and the Servants" made me a little mad...) Even if it's full of ugly news for me, it's also an interesting sociological study of the time I enjoy so much to read about. So it's like an added piece in a private mosaique for me. And that makes me happy!
And - I enjoy discovering your writing here! It's always amazing to find a new lovely blog.
Have a wonderful spring day! Martina

Helen

Oh, now I'm curious as to why 'Mrs Woolf and the Servants' made you mad!

I've visited your blog but unfortunately I don't know any German, so I'm sorry I haven't commented. It's very nice to meet you again though.

Have a happy weekend, I hope the beautiful weather continues!

Martina

Just shortly about Alison Light: she seems so biased, so decided to "dethrone" Virginia Woolf, to show her in an honest, but quite unflattering way. There were passages which made me think: do I really want to know that about her? Do you really have to make this public? I know she was a human being like every one of us - but she cannot defend herself anymore, so maybe some things should be put to rest.
I also thought this book might have been the idea of a publisher who wanted to shed a new light on an already wellknown and goodselling figure.
What I really liked, though, was the thourough background information on the conditions servants lived; how they grew up, what happened after "retirement" etc.
Why I liked John Carey a lot more: he seems impartial and a lot less prejudiced and helps so to develop an own view of the situation.
Today, both go back to my school library. As I don't have the selfextending bookshelves of your dream study(;-)), I have to rely on interlibrary-loan...
Thanks for the recommendations and the lovely conversation!

Helen

Yes, you're right,I think it's good to step back and wonder whether writers and artists really 'deserve' to have their lives stripped bare like that. At what point does it cross over into voyeurism? How far does it add to our understanding of their work? It's hard to say in some cases.

I felt that Alison Light was mainly sympathetic but I don't think I read her book as carefully as you have done. But after what you have written here, I find myself wishing that she had not singled out Woolf in this way but instead had studied relationships between 'master' and servant more generally, perhaps among a group of writers of that time. And yes, I did find the details of servants' living conditions fascinating too.

Thank you for such a thought-provoking discussion!

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