Mary's musings

Mary Hoffman, author of over 90 children's books, including the Stravaganza series and Amazing Grace, has begun a web journal which will be updated roughly once a week. You can read more on

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Where have all the flowers gone?

It's Remembrance Sunday today and we observed the silence in the kitchen, stopping in the middle of preparing for a family birthday lunch. I know I was thinking of the sixty British service-people dead in the last year, as well as the fallen of 14-18 and 39-45. And within a few hours it was sixty-four.

I've been astonished by the virulently negative response to an item on the Today programme about white poppies. "Now I know the meaning of poppycock," blustered one e-mail from some Colonel Blimp in Tunbridge Wells. My response was to order 20 from the Peace Pledge Union website and we all wore them at the birthday meal out in Oxford last night.

That was a happy occasion, at which ten of us celebrated Stevie's big birthday and Bex's 27th. It was a very good meal at Oxford's best Italian. And this in spite of three of us having the worst colds we can remember, including the birthday "boy."

I am planning a week of complete withdrawal freom public life - cancelling Italian, swimming and a nice party in London, in order to a/ really shake the cold off and b/ do the necessary work on the novel.

I read The Blood Stone by Jamila Gavin because we were to be "in conversation" about our historical novels set in Venice at the IBBY conference on Saturday; Odin's Queen by Susan Price and half of Maddigan's Fantasia by Margaret Mahy. I saw Torchwood, episode four, about the Cyberwoman, and found it really frightening!

I've just heard on the radio Guy Browning's spoof of Donald Rumsfeld's letters applying for new jobs. Yes, it was funny but I think we have been wrong to find him funny in a sort of cuddly uncle way. I don't think those sixty-four families are laughing.


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