Sunday, 7 April 2013


Buds are budding, birds are building, and the cry of the scrap metal dealer is heard once again in the land. Isn't spring lovely?

While I was walking home from the shops this week, a plain white van pulled up beside me. Lost, I thought. But no. The driver said he had a memory foam mattress in the back. Ooo-er! Well, I'm not that kind of gal. He swiftly clarified things by telling me his company had over-ordered. Did I want to buy the mattress to save him taking it back to the warehouse? I declined. When I mentioned this at work, one of the ladies said she'd been in the hairdresser's and a man came in trying to sell a load of duvets. His company, too, had 'over-ordered'. Pardon me for being suspicious, but there's an awful lot of bedding been over-ordered around here lately.

Just before Easter I went with a couple of friends from the writers' group to a talk by author Gaynor Arnold. I really enjoyed Gaynor's first book, 'Girl in a Blue Dress', which was based around the life of Charles Dickens' wife. Gaynor's second novel has just been published, 'After Such Kindness'. Gaynor read two extracts from the book, which focuses on the relationship between Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell - the real Alice in Wonderland. 'After Such Kindness' is a fictional account of this unconventional friendship, which I think allowed Gaynor to explore the issues in a way she couldn't have done in a biography.

With so many abuse scandals in recent years, we're all on high alert for behaviour that might be defined as 'grooming'. In this context, it's hard not to feel dubious about the exact nature of the relationship between Lewis Carroll and Alice. But was it all genuinely innocent? I have borrowed the book from the library, and look forward to reading it for myself.

Next week sees a Big Birthday for me. Let's have a chocolate!


Wendy's Writing said...

Hi Joanne. My birthday is next Wednesday what day is yours? Are we twins? - oh no we can't be I am two years older! Have a wonderful birthday and enjoy your fifties - I love mine (after all fifty is the new thirty!)

Teresa Ashby said...

That's so weird, Joanne - a couple of years ago exactly the same thing happened to us - did we want to buy a mattress from the back of a van! We declined too!

Gaynor's books sound very interesting. I shall have a look.

Happy Birthday for next week - a great excuse for chocolate :-) x

joanne fox said...

Wendy, I'd love to be your twin! My big day is two days after yours. Still can't quite believe how old I am these days!

Teresa - thanks. Any excuse for chocolate is good.

Suzanne Ross Jones said...

That chap sounds decidedly dodgy. You did the right thing in declining his offer.

Very HAPPY BIRTHDAY for next week. Hope you have a fab time. I will eat chocolate in your honour. xxx

joanne fox said...

Suzanne, have a Twix on me. x

bazza said...

Hi Joanne. Congratulations on your big day. I will take a piece of Green & Black's to celebrate.
Big Birthdays are worse looking forward than they are in retrospect!
Click here for Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Joanna said...

What a strange experience with the mattress man! I haven't come across anything like this before.

Gaynor's books sound fantastic. I shall be having a good look.

Wishing you a very, very, happy special birthday and hope you celebrate it exactly how you want to. A friend of mine wanted to be whisked out of the country to somewhere gorgeous when she turned fifty. But her husband organised the church fete for the same weekend as her birthday and thought she'd enjoy helping with that more. She disappeared to Provence in a red mist. xxx

joanne fox said...

Hello Bazza. Nice to see you, as I noted that you were taking a blogging break. Go mad - have two pieces of G&B's.

Joanna - neither had I! Husband's - they're not always on our wavelength, are they.

Old Kitty said...

Who are these van drivers selling over ordered bedding!?!? LOL!! And more so - who on earth would buy any on the spot!??!


Yes Alice and Mr Carroll!! You know I'm firmly in the "it was all innocent" camp because the alternative is just too grim to contemplate from the creator of the Mad Hatter Tea Party, Jobberwocky and the Snark!!!

21 again next week!?!? Awwww lovely Joanne!!! May you inundated with chocolate and champers and but no bedding from white van men! Unless you want to of course! LOL!!


~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

I'm like you, and am skeptical of anything being sold out of the back of a truck with that kind of story.

I hope your birthday is filled with lots of chocolate!! :-)

joanne fox said...

Thank you, Old Kitty. I want to be in the innocent camp myself, because I loved the Alice books. But when you begin to question any situation, things often become less clear cut. Who knows for certain, really, except the people who were there at the tme?

Kim, thank you. Have a choccie yourself!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

That book will be a fascinating read - it's a shame that our innocence has been largely spoiled these days. Have a wonderful birthday!

Dream it, then do it said...

Happy birthday for next week, Joanne.
Never been offered a dodgy duvet. there must be a short story in there somewhere.

joanne fox said...

Rosemary, you're right - we live in cynical times.

Keith, I've been trying to think what that story would be, but not come up with anything. You have it if you want it!

Laraine Eddington said...

I wish you the happiest of birthdays Joanne! I'm ahead of you by 4 years, so I'm going to consider you a youngster.

I'm passing through England for a couple days on my way back from Italy in September!

joanne fox said...

Laraine, if you are anywhere in central England I'll buy you coffee!

suzy doodling said...

Happy Birthday Joanne, we have the same in our area - a man with a limp calls regularly with over-ordered beds. I agree with Kitty, best not to think of the worst side.

joanne fox said...

Oops, I deleted my own comment by accident!

Suzie, I can't imagine where all these beds are coming from. There seems to be a glut.

Sharon Bradshaw said...

Happy Birthday, Jo.

I hope you have a wonderful day and lots of chocolate too, of course. I expect Harvey and Norman will enjoy helping you eat it.

I hope too that you have one of Jenny Colgan's magical cakes from the Cupcake Cafe.

Isn't it lovely to see daffodils in the garden at long last? I'm so pleased that I planted tubs at the front door with primroses. They hid under the snow until it was warm enough to come out. Sounds a bit like me over the last few weeks trying to keep warm!

Thanks for telling us about Gaynor's book. It's definitely one to put on the list to read.

Sharon x

joanne fox said...

Thank you Sharon. Lovely to see you here. The daffs have come out all of a sudden - a very uplifting sight. x

penandpaints said...

Happy Birthday, Joanne!

joanne fox said...

Many thanks, P and P! x

Laraine Eddington said...

Darn! I'll be south of London- East Grinstead

joanne fox said...

Laraine - practically a foreign country then! Maybe another time. x