Waiting with our coffee, we shared a small table with another cancer patient. She has already had both breasts removed, and is in the midst of chemotherapy before starting her own course of RT. She had had her blood test at 12:00 but has to wait until 4:00pm for her next treatment, so was bored with the place and happy to talk. She was eating a chocolate bar and works by refilling the various food slot machines, including the ones in Addenbrooke's, but didn't expect to back as a user of them. A young teenage girl was wheeled by with a drip and nasogastric tube in place, reminding us all of how fortunate we have been to have enjoyed relatively long healthy lives, and how unfortunate are some fellow creatures.
|Nimue and Merlin by E. Fortescue-Brickdale|
I am reading the wonderful modern version of the Thomas Malory King Arthur legends, The Once and Future King, which is a revelation and pleasure to take my mind away from myself into the mythical land of neverwas. White was such a deep scholar, his use of multiple words from ancient English is overwhelming, and I have begun to read it with the computer switched on to look up meanings, and am pencilling them in the margins, for future reference. Almost every page has a new word, and they're all wonderful: kerns were peasant foot soldiers; Nimue was the ancient name for the Lady of the Lake and keeper of the sword. I know little of these Arthurian legends, but they are wonderful stories. The first part of the book, The Sword in the Stone, strongly reminded me of some features in Harry Potter, and it is interesting that J.K. Rowling described White as "her spiritual ancestor".
Although legend, it is surprising how much overlaps even present day life. "England's difficulty is Ireland's opportunity", as Merlyn says. How truely prophetic of the current impasse in extricating ourselves from Europe! Ireland seems to be the one difficulty that cannot be overcome. How cursed we are to have taken Ireland, and left a land divided. Now we must reap that which are ancestors have sown.