I now know for sure that I am definitely on the mend, this is not the eye of the storm nor is it merely wishful thinking. For the past two weeks I have wanted nothing to do with words, the mere thought of them made me wince, curl up in a ball and wish the ground to open. Thursday morning I woke up feeling much more like myself. The only way I could describe it was as a relief to be once more in my own head. It was as if a cloud had shifted and a lightness taken over – God Bless antibiotics! I am still easily exhausted and in a certain amount of pain but I feel so much better, I can’t tell you. But today I knew for sure, fighting fitness is just around the corner.
I had to take the train into town this evening for a couple of hours out – nothing strenuous, just a good meal with excellent company and a much, much needed change of location (two days back at work does not count). But this wasn’t the glimmer of light, neither was the delight of putting on dress, boots and red lippy. No, it was the sudden excitement of getting to read on the journey in! To be able to pick a new book that I had not tackled before, a new story and a new world to delve into. I was planning to read Mary Hooper’s At The Sign Of The Sugared Plum but I didn’t feel in the mood for teen fiction. I wanted something more adult, but without the length (I am still a weakling don’t you know?!) So I picked up The Birds and other short stories by Daphne Du Maurier.
On the whole I really enjoy Du Maurier’s books; I love her lingering darkness and Cornish melancholy which is carved out through the dramatic South West landscape and weather. I wasn’t concerned by the slight predictability of Jamaica Inn, I loved Rebecca despite feeling wholly frustrated by the heroine (a great lesson in how to write a captivating story from the point of view of someone painfully weak), I was inspired through pure admiration for Honor Harris in the civil war tear jerker The King’s General , but will probably never finish her first work The Loving Spirit due to the excruciating dialogue. She is an easy read, beautifully painted without pretension and a healthy level of sinister. I have eight of her books still on my pile and I felt The Birds would be the perfect book to recuperate with.
It is only 40 pages long and is a short, sharp stab of intrigue. It is also terribly British in that the weather takes something of a centre stage to the building fear. The winter has suddenly arrived with the ominous easterly wind descending from the Arctic (similar to the bitter weather we are currently experiencing here in the Isles), making solid the ground over night and bringing warning of a ‘black winter’. The wind also brings clouds of birds, tens of thousands of them silently circling the sky, blackening the watery sunlight. Brief attacks on individuals have already been reported on the wireless but the tension is almost at breaking point, almost making reading unbearable. I can’t wait to discover what waits on the turn of the page – the train journey into the city isn’t that long so I am only 20 pages in!
So thank you once again Daphne Du Maurier for providing me with a very enjoyable text, for giving me a stepping stone back into feeling well, and for inspiring me to actually write again for the first time in a while. You have no idea how happy I am to feel on the mend, and even more so to be able to pick up a book again.