Wednesday 14 December 2016

Empire of the Sun

Crawling out from beneath the covers of a sick bed I reached for a book. Any book.
Someone had discarded a copy of Empire of the Sun,J G Ballard's winner of the Guardian Fiction Prize 1984.

A serious undertaking but I didn't have the  energy to go rummaging for anything else.

According to the author the book draws on his experiences in Shanghai, China during the Second World War, and in the Lunghua C,A,C, (Civilian Assembly centre) where he was interned from 1942-1945

This is no light read but I did try to skim read the early chapters, ignoring detail, until somewhere along the skim..... I fell into the text.

As well as his passion for aircraft, the main protagonist Jamie Graham is curious about just about everything.  And placed in an extreme situation, where the safe, structured world he known is falling apart, survival depends upon exactly that- attention to detail.

The fear and emotion in such a crisis would cripple most people, certainly it would floor me, but Jamie manages to transcend his fear and focus on the minutiae of his new existence. Restless, eccentric, considered unhinged by both fellow prisoners and guards, the boy's vigilance, resilience and adaptability are inspirational.

My recent discomforts were certainly booted down to the end of the misery-chain by this big read.

A challenging read
An informative read
And a reminder of the importance of curiosity.

Wednesday 7 December 2016


Attended launch of Baubles-short story collection in Camden. Hearing the stories read aloud was great. You can follow the Bridgehouse blog at and sample the stories from now to Christmas.

It had been over 40 years since I was in London. Visited the Globe on arrival, a lively tour delivered by entertaining actors. Walked along the Embankment and saw London Bridge in the distance, the Shard and London Eye.
A quick visit to the National Gallery, and the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Walked through Harrod's accessory department... depressingly expensive!
Oxford Street lit up for Christmas, windows animated with puppets and seasonal characters.
221b Baker Street- a Must -See for me.Adore Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock! Was hoping for a sighting of the great detective.Bought a deerstalker hat of course.
The Wallace Collection tucked away behind Oxford St and a great location for tasty lunch served in a beautiful court yard.
Stayed at Leonard's Hotel close to Marble arch, secluded and peaceful haven.
My partner dipped his hand in the lake water at the Lido and, though a seasoned Forty Foot all- year- round swimmer, he marvelled at the cold water of the Serpentine lake at Hyde Park.
Imbibed English cider at The Duck and The dog.
No evening shows for us.....but very sore feet.
Missed loads of tourist attractions.
Too much to see in the Great Metropolis.
Need to re-visit and maybe catch sighting of that elusive deerstalker ......

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Letting Go

The older I get
the more I know
what I don't know

And when I've said
that doesn't help

And done
I can do

And finally

of saying
or doing

Then I know
I'm getting

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2016