I will try not to be too boring about the awful heat we've had to put up with in Melbourne of late. Tis all better now which is why I can bear to touch a computer again. When the temperature goes over 40 all I can manage is to loll upon the floor in a darkened room and wait. In those conditions I hate the sensation of any one part of my own body touching any other, and as for sitting on chairs or sofas or lying on the bed, why it is exactly like being made into a Beef Wellington. The chickens didn't appreciate the weather either. I wanted to take them to the pool this afternoon, they'd have been quite safely enclosed and I'm sure they would have adored it - all those crumbs of chips and sausage roll scattered over the buffalo grass, and loads of dirty puddles on concrete for them to drink out of. A concrete-lined puddle of greasy water is which the cat food bowls have been washed is the sweetest ambrosiacal nectar to them so imagine how much they would relish the warm and faintly clouded water that rolls off the limbs of teenagers queuing up to do bombs off the low diving board.
Yesterday and today I read The Pursuit of Love and then Love in a Cold Climate which I last read when I was about fifteen and a terrible bourgeois prig, as well as not liking the sex jokes I disapproved of the way neither Nancy Mitford nor any of her characters seemed to be ashamed of being members of the upper classes. But no novel could possibly have been more suitable for a reader in need of expertly administered coolness. This time, the only thing that I did not find delightful was the description of the stiflingly hot Hons' Cupboard. Now I want to find, buy if I can, and read a collection of essays edited by Mitford called Noblesse Oblige which I understand is about U and non-U: if I made a list of my favourite topics (doing this would probably be quite a fun thing to do, if utterly useless otherwise) U would have a very good shot at getting into my top one hundred I'm quite certain.
Speaking of wanted books (is there ever anything else to talk about? other than shoes and animals etc) some days ago Dorian said, out of the blue, "if you really want that Mansfield Park book you should just buy it" but I did not buy it, and now someone from Portugal has nabbed it instead. According to their ebay buying history this person has spent about eight thousand dollars on rare and antiquarian books in the past month and a half. It wouldn't surprise me in the least to find out this is how the owners of Spanish shoe manufacturing concerns play ducks and drakes with their profits. Also, I've still not managed to get that Bayard book with the title which is so embarrassing to have to tell to the bookshop salesperson. I tried five bookshops this week and four of them didn't have it. The fifth one was closed. Readings have it of course but Readings is six hundred miles away from here and petrol is currently $16.50 a litre. A return train ticket into town now costs $10.20 which is an unmitigated outrage. I will order the book from Readings by post.
MORAL: Don't look on ebay, and never, ever read the LRB.
Also, I have formed another new years' resolution: to cut down on intensifiers.