Ama Ata Aidoo story, February and spring flowers

Excellent reading and listening to fiction this week. Now that my sciatica has eased off, I’m back on my bike. yesterday’s cycle was slow because of my 3 week lay off but also because of the muddy conditions of the farm tracks along which I was cycling. On the bike ride, I listened to a very poignant short story by Ama Ata Aidoo, the Ghanaian writer whose work I had not come across. It was one of the Guardian short story podcasts and was read by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie whose novel Half of a Yellow Sun I greatly admired. The story is on the face of it a simple tale of a mother, her son and her estranged husband. The narrator (or observer as Adichie prefers to call her) is the village teacher. The story becomes more complex and more powerful as it unfolds. It’s one of the best stories I’ve heard for a long time – No Sweetness Here.

February in Scotland is always a mixed month – hints of spring and then a cold blast. Driving rain from the NE one day and warm (well relatively) sunshine the next. Ted Hughes’ poem February 17th represents the grim side of the month, while Carol Ann Duffy’s Chaucer’s Valentine represents the happier side. February is also the shortest month and for many people, this means that they get paid their monthly salary much quicker – a relief after what can be a long January.

The spring flowers have now started to appear in gardens and woods around here. The snowdrops – see 1st photo – are now in profusion in woods around Dunbar. More generally, there is the annual Snowdrop Festival in Scotland. Each year in this blog, I’ve quoted from Alice Oswald’s beautifully illustrated book of poems Weeds and Wild Flowers  – Snowdrop “Yes, she’s no more now than a drop of snow/ on a green stem – her name is now her calling”. Polyanthus and primroses and now showing through – see 2nd photo. Oswald writes of the primrose “bonny and blossoming / in a yellow dress that needs no fastening”. The daffodils are rising fast but no flowers as yet in my garden – watch this space.







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