Please Bee Patient

Recent Readings

It's the last weekend of July and I haven't made any soup since the 8th. The spouse, younger offspring and I have been on holiday. We went to a Balearic island for a week and thoroughly enjoyed the uninterrupted sunshine. Although we've been at home for the last week, I'm afraid I just haven't felt like making soup. Please be patient with me.

Recently I have been reading and re-reading books, always on the look out for any mentions of bees and honey. A few years ago a friend gave me a copy of Miss Garnet's Angel by Salley Vickers. It didn't absorb me when I first read it, but it did the second time around. There are two stories: Julia Garnet's visit to Venice and Tobias' journey to Media accompanied by the angel Raphael. The lines below are from a scene where the Julia Garnet is sitting quietly in St Mark's Basilica. She is admiring then mildly coveting a woman's hat:

Julia Garnet found she wanted just such a hat too. But surely this was not what the silence was for? Designing a wardrobe! Gently, like dripping honey, the quiet filled her pores, comforting as the dreamless sleeps she had fallen prey to
The silence of the basilica is described as "honey-combed." Later on Miss Garnet's landlady fetches her a tall bees-wax candle, which is ochre in colour. 

In the story running parallel to Miss Garnet's adventures in Venice, Tobias recounts how while walking through the valleys of the Tigris nomads offer him and his companion dates and soured asses' milk laced with honey. On reaching his destination, he marries his kinswoman Sara. The ceremonial meal includes barley cakes and honey.

A book I started a few months, but only finished while on holiday was Kathleen Jamie's Findings. I found much of it very restful. The chapter entitled Sabbath opens with the impact of cairns on the headland of Orkney made on the narrator. The headland is covered with cairns, some shaped like old-fashioned beehives.

In preparation for my book group's next meeting I read Claire Tomalin's Charles Dickens: A Life. The only novel by Dickens that I have read is Nicholas Nickleby - and that was many years ago -, so I cannot claim a detailed knowledge of his work. That said, I found this biography interesting and very easy to read. At the age of ten Dickens travels alone from Rochester to London and a parting gift from his teacher is a copy of Oliver Goldsmith's The Bee.

That's it for now. I'll be back at work tomorrow and back into my routine.



  1. Have bee-n patient for the last few weeks....on foot of your explanation I will continue to bee patient although it does bee hard when I do bee expecting your soup recipe every Sunday.


  2. Thanks, MH. Or would you prefer the soubriquet I gave you? Millie?


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