I've been holding off for a long time but have had this week marked as a reading watershed, back home after a visit to Cambridge, some outstanding reads finally finished, Booker selection back on the shelves and so now I'm definitely allowed some French Revolution.
Hilary Mantel's A Place of Greater Safety has been the most irresistible of temptations, but before opening I thought I'd just have a glimpse and a reconnaissance of a book that Erika had recommended and which has just arrived, Dancing to the Precipice - Lucie de la Tour du Pin and the French Revolution by Caroline Moorehead. Lucie a diarist and by all accounts a remarkable primary source for much that went on, observer, commentator and participant, happily for us (but perhaps not for her) in the right place at the right time as the heads rolled.
Much more about the book when I've made inroads but thus far I'm very impressed, and something that always appeals in books like this is the setting of the historical context with mention of other contemporaneous events. So Lucie's birth coincided with the opening of Beaumarchais's new play Les Deux Amis, the paper had a long article about the eclipse of the sun along with debate about the new smallpox inoculation, James Cook had discovered Australia and plotted the transit of Venus on the way back, harvests were bad and the economy was faltering.
So, whilst never forgetting what today's date has since come to signify, I thought what a jolly good idea, I'll thieve that and do 1976 for reasons soon to become apparent.
Living in London the year of the scorchio summer, the drought, night duty at Great Ormond Street and sitting out on the balconies feeding babies at 3am because it was too hot inside, nursing finals, tap dancing to Lullaby of Broadway, Brotherhood of Man won Eurovision (forget the song it was because they pulled those skirts off...errata...wrong, B of M kept their skirts on!) , the UK ended the Cod War with Iceland (2009, first find your cod) the first ever outbreak of Legionnaire's disease followed by the first known case of Ebola virus, Big Ben suffered metal fatigue and stopped chiming, the chimpanzee became an endangered species, Microsoft was officially registered as a company and on September 11th, the last fine Saturday, Bookhound and I plighted our troth.
Here we go again...he'd have got less for murder, he says it every year and heaven knows how many times I've been near to committing it, though I'm currently holding off because he hasn't finished landscaping the garden yet.
Thirty-three years ago today and please do note my 1976 pageboy haircut and the guipure lace Juliet cap and know also that the wedding gifts were acceptable in any brown and orange colour combination and we were especially pleased with the Ali Baba linen basket and the Russell Hobbs automatic kettle, both the height of domestic fashion. We had no need of cutlery because we had saved up our Green Shield stamps for that and twenty books had gained us a complete set.