March Blether

I didn’t get to post a Blether for February and decided to post one for March a bit earlier so I could include this event:

During March there are some free, live, ‘Learning with Literature’ discussions hosted by Kylie at the Sweet Society. These events are free and held on a private off-Facebook site so you will need to register for them.

I’ll be talking with Kylie about the ways we can nourish the love of reading in our children; why our children need to be challenged and how we do this without overwhelming or crushing them; Mother Culture; literature with older children (without destroying the enjoyment of the book!) and if we have time, preparing our highschoolers for university.

Books Finished so Far in March

A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer – this book took my mind to Jane Austen’s Persuasion for some reason, and I think if you liked that you will also like this?? 🙂

Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery

Kilmeny of the Orchard by L. M. Montgomery – published in 1910, this was the author’s third book and followed Anne of Avonlea, which surprised me, as it is a much simpler and less developed story. There is also none of the trademark humour contained in the Anne books. Kilmeny is a fairly short book which I found very predictable. Eric Marshall is asked to fill in for a friend’s teaching job on Prince Edward Island and while there meets Kilmeny, a beautiful, sheltered, young mute girl. They fall in love, but Kilmeny won’t marry him because she can’t talk and that having a wife who couldn’t speak wouldn’t be fair to him…

Not one of Montgomery’s best but a sweet sort of story.

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton – her second book and definitely the best of the three that I’ve read so far.

Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larsen (2015) – the tragic story of Rosemary Kennedy, the intellectually disabled daughter of Joe and Rose Kennedy and the sister of Jack, Bobby and Ted Kennedy. Rosemary had a traumatic birth – a midwife forcibly pushed on Rosemary’s head for two hours to prevent her being born until the obstetrician arrived. He wouldn’t have earned his fee otherwise. At first Rosemary appeared normal but as time went on, she failed to reach her milestones. Overshadowed by her siblings who were highly competitive, articulate and smart, her parents went to great lengths to provide every opportunity they could for her to ‘catch up.’

This is such a tragic story on many levels. There was basically zero understanding of intellectual disability at the time and with the eugenics movement in full swing, the stigma of mental disability could ruin the family’s standing in society. Rosemary’s parents strove to hide her disability from the public. She was sent to numerous boarding schools but as she grew older his option closed and her father was concerned that Rosemary would do something to cause embarrassment and jeopordise their political ambitions.

In 1941 when Rosemary was twenty-three years old, her father secretly arranged for her to have a pre-frontal lobotomy, a procedure that had profound negative effects. She was institutionalised for the rest of her life and isolated from the rest of the family for decades.

Joe and Rose Kennedy were ambitious and driven. They master-planned their children’s lives and used their wealth and fame to provide them with opportunities. Unfortunately, Rosemary didn’t fit into these plans.

At the age of 73, Joe Kennedy had a massive stroke and lived the remaining eight years of his life in a similar state to that of his lobotomised daughter.

Landfall: A Channel Story by Nevil Shute (1940) – a review/thoughts to be posted later.

Books in Progress:

Look Back With Love by Dodie Smith – this is such a lovely memoir published when the author was in her late seventies. My lovely HB copy was published by Slightly Foxed and was a gift from my friend Cate. 🙂

Mary Queen of Scots: And the Murder of Lord Darnley by Alison Weir – an impressive amount of research has gone into this book. It gets going at a cracking pace and then hits a plateau after Lord Darnley’s murder as Weir investigates with a fine tooth comb EVERY particle of evidence. I’ve slowed down somewhat in my reading of this book but it is very interesting and oh my! what a miserable existence poor Mary had back then – traitors, ambitious Lords, agitating religious leaders. This book is a thorough and balanced look at Mary Queen of Scots and her times.

The Call of the Wild + Free : Reclaiming the Wonder in Your Child’s Education by Ainsley Arment – I’m just over half-way through this book. I might get shot down for saying this but while I agree with many of the ideas in this book, I think it contains quite a few contradictions. Anyhow, I’ll leave further comments until I finish the book.

A Philosophy of Education by Charlotte Mason – another re-reading of this articulate, inspiring and timeless book by an educational pioneer.

We want an education which shall nourish the mind while not neglecting either physical or vocational training; in short, we want a working philosophy of education.‘ Pg. 6

No Name by Wilkie Collins – I’ve just started this and I can already tell it’s going to be good!


My ongoing challenge of regularly reading poetry. This is an old favourite:

Uphill by Christina Rossetti (1858)

Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.

But is there for the night a resting-place?
A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
You cannot miss that inn.

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
They will not keep you standing at that door.

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
Of labour you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
Yea, beds for all who come.

I don’t usually share recipes but this is something I’ve been making lately:

Quinoa & Oat Wraps/Pancakes

Soak 1 and 1/4 dry quinoa in water overnight.

Drain & rinse & put in blender with a cup of water.
Add some garlic, herbs etc for taste.
Add 1/4 cup of oats to blender and blitz until mixture until smooth.

Pour into a non-stick frypan and when the top bubbles all over, turn and cook the other side.
These may be made pancake size or larger if you want to use them as wraps.

I’ve made these without adding oats but they hold together and taste nicer with the added oats.

15 thoughts on “March Blether

  1. Hello Carol. On my trip last week I stopped at a Little Free Street Library and found a copy of “Toolroom Trustee” by Nevil Shute. It is a vintage copy and I am keen to start it. Friends from a Patreon talked about liking his work and that’s how I recognised his name so I look forward to your review of “Landfall”. The Rosemary Kennedy book sounds very interesting but I think it would also disturb me – the way she was treated, even though it was seen as appropriate back then. So many books to read, I am always adding to my list. Cheers, Cate

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so excited for the upcoming “Learning with Literature” discussions hosted by Kylie at the Sweet Society! I have been wanting to attend one for a while now and I’m definitely going to sign up! Can’t wait to hear more about why our children need to be challenged and how we do this without overwhelming or crushing them!

    Liked by 1 person

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