Sunday, 30 March 2008

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Is it possible to love and hate a book in equal measure?
After raving at length, the Panther insisted I read The Road by Cormac McCarthy.
So, in spite of Terry Pratchett and because of Philip Pullman both at his behest, I picked up the volume.
Hopes weren't high, it has to be said. A "post apocalyptic fight for survival" doesn't fill me with the kind of glee a fresh Val McDirmid might.
But from the first page I was hooked. McCarthy's stark tale of a father and son's painful journey to the south coast of a scorched and ruined country is difficult to put down.
The reader is terrified for the pair - seemingly the only 'good' humans left in a world of feral canabalistic survivors - so pages turn fast rushing for news of their salvation.
On the way, McCarthy's economic writing has you there in the cold, wet, ashy wasteland, alert to danger and hunched against the inevitable agonies. Once the book has been put down, the images are still there behind the eyelids.
The writing is beautiful - capturing the doomed landscapes and the hope still alive in the face of the fear - but it isn't much fun. There's enough lightness to make it bearable - just.
Undeniably worthy of the Pulitzer and I'm glad I read it, but I'm sure I didn't enjoy a single minute of it.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Game for it

Boy One just asked if he could get a set of Ross Kemp in Afghanistan Lego for his birthday. Someone has missed a trick somewhere.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

a tale of two girls

Shannon Matthews is nine. She vanished on her way home from school two weeks ago in Dewsbury West Yorkshire.
Madeleine McCann is three. She vanished from a holiday apartment in Portugal last May.
Why is Maddie still earning page leads in national newspapers while poor Shannon is already relegated to a few paragraphs at the side of the page?
Is Kate McCann more distraught than Karen Matthews? Why does almost everyone in Europe know Maddie's face yet few of us are quite sure why Shannon's name rings a bell?
Are we so shallow that we care more that the missing child has the cuteness of todlerhood?
But surely we couldn't attach less worth to Shannon because her parents are divorced and they aren't as well-to-do as the McCanns?
None of the explanations are likely to put the papers - or the readers who like-it-or-not fuel demand for stories - in a particularly good light.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Mayhem in Millport

"Would you like a children's menu?"
Not an unusual question to be asked in a family friendly cafe, you'd think.
But you normally would anticipate hearing it long before you'd been there for a thirsty while trying to pick something hungry children will eat from an adult menu.
(yes, yes, I know in pre-Boys days I believed I'd feed my kids mini adult meals to develop their palates and widen their horizons. I didn't reckon on them having different ideas)
We should really have paid heed, but on a wet blustery Sunday in March there isn't much choice for lunch in Millport.
On its own the food, while basic, would have served its purpose, but it was the Fawlty-esque service that drove me to blog.
Panther was told his tea was just coming moments before he paid the bill.
I ordered a chicken salad and received a smoked salmon and prawn parcel starter sized.
The lady at the table next to us was told they had no tea or coffee - which might have accounted for Mr P's thirst if they had to nip to Tesco's in Largs for some PG tips.
At the other end of the room a confusion of soup was causing mayhem: too many, too few, to cold.
Meanwhile another forlorn complaint: "I didn't order this, but it'll do because I'm starving and we've been waiting ages."
So to the Beacon Cafe in Millport - well done on being open when few others were, but, really, do you think you'd have been better not bothering? It would have probably been more pleasant all round.
Further up the road the Ritz, fabulously unbothered by the urge to modernise and update, offered sunny efficient service, good coffee and cracking ice creams.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...