Findings, Kathleen Jamie [book review]


“Findings” is a book of observations journal entries short stories…err, none of those really. Or, perhaps all of them. (such insightful comment here at BTFWYG!)  However you might choose to label it, I would argue that it is a very enjoyable book and worth the very modest investment of time it takes to read. Jamie’s writing is both well crafted and also very natural, which is not surprising when you learn (from the dust jacket) that she is a poet, amongst other things.

But what’s it about? Well, having pondered that for a while, I conclude that, for me, it’s  about the world around us. I was going to say the ‘natural world’ but actually that would suggest a distinction that I don’t think Jamie would recognise and would, in fact, miss the point entirely. These are explorations of the world just as it is, with humans and the things we have made as an integral part. It is fair to say that Jamie has a very keen eye for nature and it might be worth reading this book even if you despair completely about humans and just want to read about birds, fishes, rivers and hills…which is what I thought it was about before I started reading.

Really this is a book about the interesting things you can see and the ideas that can emerge if you take the time to “stop and look around once in a while”, as Ferris famously said. Dare I suggest it is about reflecting on the good things that happen in life?

My favourite chapter is probably about the salmon…but I don’t know how to explain why without spoiling it. Can I instead suggest that if any of my rambling piques your interest, why not see if you can find a copy too?

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A good looking book about old BMXs

Here’s another post based on something I had stashed in the “Catch” notes app on my phone.  Again the main subject involves bicycles, this time gorgeous old BMXs, but again the real interest is something else…and I think ypu’d call it nostalgia. 

Looking at the pictures in the book (well, in the review of the book!) and reading the names of the bikes triggers all sorts of memories for me, this was how bikes got into my life.

I never actually had a ‘named’ BMX like a Mongoose or a Redline or a Haro.  Not even a Raleigh Burner!  But I remember drooling over any picture I came across and when the Ready Brek ‘win a Mongoose’ advert appeared on telly it was the most exciting that had happened in my young life; or at least my nostalgic memory is that it felt that way.

Needless to say I didn’t win a bike and soon went back to cornflakes, or whatever cereal we ate before.  But perhaps that was for the best as instead my Dad helped me buy a frame and components and we built a ‘custom’ BMX which was surprisingly good despite being mostly from the budget bin!

I was never any good at freestyle tricks but I could pull a mean wheelie and loved to ride around the Suffolk countryside looking for natural jumps.  Most enduringly though I think this is where I got the bug for speccing components and building bikes myself.  In fact, thinking about it, my current mountain bike bears a strong similarity to that white BMX my Dad and I built…


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Bikes, Culture, Life…not bad coverage for a first post

“We did not succeed in carrying out our programme in its entirety, for the reason that human performance lags ever behind human intention.  It is easy to say and believe at three o’clock in the afternoon that: ‘We will rise at five, breakfast lightly at half past, and
start away at six.’  ‘Then we shall be well on our way before the heat of the day sets in,’ remarks one.”
Three Men On The Bummel, Jerome K. Jerome.

Yup, my performance does indeed lag behind my intention…luckily I had this quote noted down ready to make an easy first post once I got this blog started.

If you haven’t read the book, why not make it your intention?

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