Forgive the F. Scott Fitzgerald title. I'm going through a phase of discovering old classics I've yet to read and downloading them to my Kindle, this blog post title being one of them.
Recently I've been gravitating towards Victorian chillers (my current favourite author in this genre is Laura Purcell) and Lucy Worsley's "A Very British Murder" on BBC4 last night, only served to feed my habit.
The infectiously enthusiastic Lucy looked at how murder infiltrated popular culture during the Victorian era. It was an absorbing documentary looking at the rise of the popular press and its role in our obsession with violent crime. Apparently, Charles Dickens would make a beeline for the police station on arrival in any new town or city, including New York, where he was given a tour of the Big Apple's underbelly by the New York Precinct. I was slightly creeped out by the re-telling of his particularly animated public readings of murders from his novels, but then when the narrative cut to people soaking up the atmosphere on one of many Jack the Ripper tours today, I recalled handing over money myself a few years ago to follow in the Ripper's footsteps and hear the all the gory details. I've since downloaded "The Moonstone" by Wilkie Collins (free on Kindle), considered one of the first examples of the modern detective novel and inspired by a real life country house murder. Thanks Lucy!
Anyway, the dichotomy in nature of beauty and ugliness is evident all around us. This "spring" weather has been ugly for sure - icy winds, ice in general...Spring weather?! Be damned! (I've clearly been reading too many books set in Victorian Britain). The weather has given me little motivation to do anything or go anywhere. (On the plus side, it has given me an excuse to purchase a pretty cool 1960s roll neck jumper online. Fingers crossed it lives up to the photographs).
The frost has already burnt the tips of the Magnolia tree flowers, on the cusp of their stunning, but all-too-fleeting Spring display, cutting them off in their prime.
The trees have also encouraged that most malevolent of birds, the Magpie. We have a pair nesting in the silver birch tree, terrorising their neighbours, the blackbirds. They may have a sinister reputation, but they are clever beings.
A friend witnessed one trying to build its nest whilst negotiating a rather tricky long twig. Try as it might, the Magpie couldn't make the twig fit into the nest with ease. So, it tossed it into the air, adding a little spin to make it rotate and, as it came back down vertically (the desired position), the Magpie grabbed it in its descent and wedged it into the nest. Success!
Take our local woodland for example. Arguments continue to rage on whether or not the recent clear felling represents woodland management or corporate greed. I usually try and capture Ridgehill Wood in all of its glory, but feeling fed up with the freezing temperatures, on Easter Monday, my photographs reflected my mood - dark and oppressive.
|Forestry Operation sign nearly destroyed by flying missiles.|
|Remnants of Forestry Operation barrier tape blowing in the breeze|