Saturday, August 1, 2015

It's August. Walk. Read. Eat Tomatoes.

How did that happen? I'm not one to rave about the pleasures of summer, but this one is going pretty fast. The tomatoes are already ripe at the farmer's market. Our one air conditioner is roaring day and night, which annoys me, but not as much as heat and humidity.

It's too hot to go out voluntarily for most of the day. I've starting taking walks early in the morning, when it's hot but not disgustingly hot. Along the Commonwealth Avenue mall, the sprinklers are on at that hour, and it helps. 

We still love our sunset walks along the Charles; we just go later in the evening. Last night was pretty perfect, I have to admit, with a balmy breeze, cooler than usual. We sat on a dock with a small crowd of picnickers watching the sky turn from gold to dark blue. I put my feet over the side as others were doing... only to find that the water was closer than I thought. My sandals got soaked but it was refreshing. I walked 7 miles in them yesterday: both for errands and gentle, head-clearing strolls.

My husband just told me that, in Iran, the heat index is 165 degrees Fahrenheit. That is the internal temperature of a properly roasted chicken. Those poor souls. Let's hope it never happens here.

This summer I'm reading Barbara Pym novels (paperbacks from the library) after a friend got me addicted by lending me Some Tame Gazelle. I find them engrossing and relaxing. I've always admired their floral covers, which remind me of Liberty prints, and I like to see them lying around, and knowing what's inside them, finally. And there are lots of titles, which makes me feel happy and... rich, in a way. I love knowing I'm not about to run out of good things to read. 

The Pym novels I've read so far are mostly about sensible, single English ladies who are active in their churches and lead quiet, even dull lives where very little happens. But these characters describe what does happen — conversations with friends, church events, dinner parties, Portuguese lessons, little dramas involving clergy — with so much humor and intelligence that it's highly entertaining. They are vaguely set in the 1950s and 'early 60s, but they are timeless. The one I'm reading now, A Glass of Blessings, is about an attractive, bored, married church-goer who is NOT not having affairs with two men who are interested in her — her best friend's husband and cousin. So far, anyhow... but I feel no need to worry about her.

Harris's osmotic reading pleases me very much — as he is well aware.
We won't be discussing it together, since only Possum can talk to me that way, 
but it's the thought that counts.

Harris is spending his summer "reading" (go here for an explanation) my newly acquired biography of Wallace Clement Sabine, who lived in our building with his wife and daughters at the turn of the 20th century. My copy of this privately printed memorial book is inscribed by his wife to Miss Edna Carter, a Harvard physicist. I like the fact that it's back in this house for the first time since it was published in 1933. 

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