Simon has gone from snow in China to heat in Thailand this week. The extremes here are a little less dramatic and range from bitterly cold winds outside during the day to a warm bed inside at night. A hot water bottle does the trick, but I wouldn't mind some really warm air and sunshine and the sort of Thai green curry that Simon is always telling me about when he gets back.
I've just reread The Village in bed and it's absolutely wonderful night-time and frosty morning reading (I was so gripped, even though I know the story and my hands were freezing above the duvet, that I had to finish it before I got up this morning). It's a gimlet-eyed study in snobbery and class distinction which made me teeter on the edge of disbelief: how could anybody live with such circumscribed social rules, an immutable belief in their own superiority, and a dread of gossip that prevents them from behaving well? Yet I know this is drawn from life, that it still happens, and although I felt sorry for the Trevors because their lives are so sadly empty, I was angry that they and their kind can wreak such damage in others' lives simply because they believe that their way of life and their background entitle them to do so.
I'm also reading Family Secrets by Deborah Cohen which focuses on the idea of shame, privacy, and secrecy within families. It's fascinating to read this is tandem with such books as The Village which deal with the same subject but in a fictionalised form, and sobering to realise that while we might think we are more enlightened and shame-free than previous generations, we are still expected to (and do) feel shame, keep family secrets, and adhere to a social code we don't always agree with. It's a brave person who steps outside and beyond the accepted norm, and that's why books like The Village are just as important now as they were when they were written.
Serious stuff, but worth taking to your bed to think about.