Friday, 3 April 2020

Recent Reading

This has happened before - I read a book about something I don't know much about and then by co-incidence the next book is about the same subject. Very weird.

The River Thames is at the heart of both these books


Fiction..........A Stranger City
The library have catalogued this as crime but I think that's wrong as it turns out there is no crime involved in the main story line. This book has also won prizes - so normally I would avoid reading. All in all I'm not sure how I came to  request it from the library!
It's a book set in London around the river Thames and at the present time after the Brexit vote but in this version immigrants are sent on trains to prison ships on the river to await deportation.
When a dead body of an unknown woman is found caught in the chains of HMS Belfast, a policeman, a documentary film maker and an Irish nurse all respond to the death in different ways.
The book shows how people in London can disappear, how relationships change and move on and how home isn't always a physical place.
 

Non Fiction................Mudlarking
Totally different but also has the River Thames as the main theme. Lara Maiklem has been scouring the banks of the Thames for 15 years looking for objects lost there in the last 2,000 years.
In this book she describes all the places along the Thames that have access at low tide and what she has found in each place. Then she finds the history of how many of the artifacts were made and even sometimes who they belonged to.
I found it fascinating as some of her common finds are the same as we turned up in the garden as a child. The house we lived in dated back to the C16 and had once had derelict cottages in the back garden and we were always finding "treasures" left there from before the time of bin-men. Countless clay pipes and pieces of blue and white china and buttons were common finds. I'm regretting the things once found, kept for a while and then lost like a tiny dolls cup, codswallop marbles and a very old dice.We never discovered anything of any importance or value in our Haughley garden unlike Lara who has had some very special finds that have ended up in museums.
Mudlarking on the River Thames has been going on for hundreds of years, once it was children who scrapped a living from finding and selling pieces of coal. Now you need a permit and have to report anything of value.
The inside front and back end-papers show drawings of items another Mudlarker had found.





Many thanks for comments over the last couple of days.
Back Tomorrow
Sue







27 comments:

  1. I heard LM being interviewed on TV about her book. I should love to have an afternoon mudlarking with an expert (apparently you can pay - a lot- for a day's licence & guide) It fascinates me that the river continues to yield its treasures from centuries of London inhabitants. Thanks for the review. When our library opens again I shall check this out...

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    1. I like the idea of searching but not getting covered in mud or slipping on the weed covered steps!

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  2. The Mudlarking book sounds absolutely fascinating.
    xx

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  3. I've had this book recommended to me, and after reading your precis, have just gone and treated myself. A birthday present from me, to me - those are always good ones!

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  4. Replies
    1. I'm sure you will enjoy it, Ive done the pressie to me from me this year too as we wont be going out . I shall write about them when they arrive and after my birthday as I will be good and not open them before!

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  5. Is Lara the same lady who makes youtube videos about mudlarking? Looks like a fascinating hobby.

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    1. Probably, I don't watch a lot of youtube so not sure

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  6. My late father used to restore vintage Land Rovers and we once had one with a Mudlark group logo on the side. Took me a while to learn what mudlarking was, but it's a fascinating thing indeed. Sadly, you can't just do it, as you say, you must hold a permit.

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    1. The author said there are special days when other people can go and then it gets really crowded

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  7. I used to have lots of little pieces of china, clay pipes and blue poison bottles and also the codswallop bottles and loose marbles from them when I lived in Manchester. My then husband used to go over the road from our house on some land that was just starting to be developed and he found all sorts of interesting things. I should have kept a small selection of them.

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    1. It was finding bits of china at his Nanna's house that turned son into an Archaeologist, he would have loved it at his Grandmas house but by then new houses had been built all over the garden where we found all the "treasures".

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  8. I really need to attend a Bookaholics Anonymous group - have done the same as BB, ordered Mudlarking for my birthday gift.

    A friend who lives right on the outskirts of the village, found a tiny dolls cup (just over a quarter of an inch diameter) the roots of a plant had wrapped around the handle. I was impressed that she had spotted it at all.

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  9. The Mudlarking book sounds interesting. I would love to be able to find such old items like that. I enjoyed your reviews.

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  10. Mudlarking is one of indulgences on YOuTube there are several people who video their search and finds. Its fascinating "sloW" TV and such a relief from so much TV that is "shouting" whether in a drama/soap or the way they do the introducing in those talent shows. A book would be lovely to browse!

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  11. Thanks Sue. One of the Jewelry appraisers on the British Antiques Roadshow is a mud larker so I find it intriguing. Doubt I will find the book to borrow though in my isolated area of Canada.

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  12. The things look the stuff I used to find in my garden at my previous house where the garden had been used for the household rubbish for years. I haven't done any digging here so wouldn't know about this one but I suspect somewhere there is the rubbish dump which would render up the same sort of things.

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  13. Since our libraries are closed, I went to their EBook program and found the Mudlark book. It said it would be available in 3 weeks. So I got on the wait list. Hopefully it will come sooner. That kind of history is fascinating to me. Thanks for the recommend.

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  14. I have been watching various mudlarking programs on Youtube. The best is Nicola White, who researches her finds in detail. The other I like is called Si-finds, more digging, less history but the guy is charming and enthusiastic in a deadpan british way. Both will come up on a youtube search Highly recommend!

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  15. I have never heard of mudlarking before - it sounds fascinating, although (like you) I don't think I would appreciate getting covered in mud!

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  16. I've heard good reports of Mudlarking. Will look out for that when the library re-opens.

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  17. What wonderful books. I think I would really enjoy Mudlarking.

    God bless.

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  18. I just looked for the Mudlarking book through our library. I will be able to request it when the libraries reopen. Found it curious that they changed the title for the American edition to Mudlark.

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