Fictional crush challenge – day 3

10 days, 10 fictional crushes
Post an image of a fictional character who has been or still is your crush. No names or explanations needed. TV, movie, book, comic, cartoon characters are valid.

Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) in To Kill a Mockingbird. I will never forget when I first read the book in the summer of 1985 when I was 15 and we were on holiday in Ireland. I found it in a Dublin bookstore and bought it and read it because as a Gregory Peck fan I knew that he had won an Oscar for the movie adaptation. I hadn’t seen the movie yet, so only had very rudimentary information about the story (this was in the days before the internet after all). It’s the only book I can recall reading instantly again. When I say instantly I really do mean instantly. I read the last sentence and then immediately turned to the first page and started reading it all over again. It’s been an absolute favourite book of mine ever since and I completely love the character of Atticus Finch, in a daddy crush kind of way. I didn’t see the movie itself until a few years later and yes, Peck was indeed the perfect embodiment of Atticus.

Grab six books

This morning before I started work I saw on Twitter that Dawn French had joined in on a Twitter hashtag called #grabsixbooks and that Jennifer Saunders had answered with her six books.

I only know a few of the books / authors the ladies mentioned but it was fun seeing their choices. I haven’t really looked at many other responses to that hashtag on Twitter yet, but thought it was fun anyway and this evening decided to pick some books as well. This is just a first gut-reaction, if I had to grab six books right at this moment it would be these…

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I’m sure after I post I’ll suddenly think of others. I haven’t read the Audrey Hepburn book yet (been meaning to for a long time) but it does symbolize my love for actors and for her, so she’s in.

Yesterday my brother showed me a picture he had found of me at 17 years of age, looking up from reading a magazine, and I thought it fit well with this post…

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He said to me with amusement, “This is still so like you today!”, which basically translates to a person who likes to sit on the couch and read. The medium is more often a laptop now than a magazine or book but he’s got a point. Showed the picture to Mr Esther and he laughingly agreed.

Speaking of laughing and reading, just spent some time reading and laughing about Guylty’s post comparing Richard Armitage to Dutch breakfast sprinkles. I could totally eat a sandwich with dark chocolate sprinkles while sitting on the couch and reading one of the #grabsixbooks books above.

2020-05-18 22_09_16-RA As Breakfast Sprinkles _ Guylty Pleasure

Picture source: screenshot taken from Guylty’s post

I’m not a huge Lucas fan, but it is Lucas sprinkles all the way for me!

Anyway, back to the topic: if you’re so inclined, I’d love to know in the comments or in a post of your own what your #grabsixbooks would be.

The Littlest Angel

The new Mach’ was challenge is to do something with a children’s book. Immediately I thought of The Littlest Angel, a children’s book I have owned from when I was 6 years old. My The Slipper and the Rose book also came to mind, but I think I got that one a little later. So, The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell it is. It’s become a little tattered over the years and as a child I even traced over the letters in the word “Angel” on the cover.

Angel 01

I know I’ve had this children’s book from when I was 6 years old because the book has an inscription for me written by my mother.

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Only looking at it now do I realize that the illustrator is named Sergio Leone! I don’t think it’s the Sergio Leone, the director of those famous Westerns. I’ve been trying to research it online for a bit but all I can find to connect the two Sergios is this blog post about a ‘same name syndrome’. That author also thinks these are two different men.

Anyway, The Littlest Angel used to be a favourite book of mine, otherwise I wouldn’t have kept it so carefully all these years. However, I don’t think I’ve actually read it since my childhood! It has moved with me from Israel where it was gifted to me, to three addresses in Germany, to five addresses in The Netherlands. Well, maybe four, I don’t think I took it with me to boarding school in The Netherlands. Recently, we set up new bookshelves in our living room and many of “my” books were transferred from the large shelves to the new ones. The Littlest Angel moved to the top shelf on the left, bottom of the pile, and it was the first time I had actually held the book and looked into it in years!

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The book is a very Christian Christmas story (not that I remember noticing that at the time) and is about a little angel, 4 and a half years old, who presents himself at the gates of heaven.

Angel 03

I’m not sure I can post all the pictures I took of this book (you know, copyright and all) but the story is about this little angel not quite fitting in. His whistle is too loud and disturbs the “Patriarch prophets”, he sings off-key thus disturbing the ethereal sound of the celestial choirs, he has trouble flying with his tiny wings and he can’t keep his little halo in check: “However, owing to the regrettable fact that he always forgot to move his wings, the Littlest Angel always fell head over halo!”. I used to love the images of paths in between the clouds and the little angel chasing after his halo.

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The Littlest Angel needs a little disciplining and he dawdles a bit on his way to the angel he has to speak with…

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He gets to the Understanding Angel, immediately feels at ease, and tells the Understanding Angel that he’s a little bored and longs for a box he used to have under his bed which contains his earthly treasures. It is brought to him and he is happy. Then the time comes that the Christ Child is to be born and each angel has to pick a gift to give the Child. The Littlest Angel tries to figure out what to do.

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In the end he decides to gift his little box to the Christ Child but he also starts to feel embarrassed and inadequate because his gift isn’t as beautiful and glorious as all the other gifts. Oh wonder of wonders, the Hand of God in the end decides to pick that little brown box as the main gift for the Christ Child. It contains ordinary, child treasures, such as “a butterfly with golden wings, captured one bright summer on the hills above Jerusalem, and a sky-blue egg from a bird’s nest in the olive tree that stood to shade at his mother’s kitchen door.” Seeing that I was living right outside Jerusalem at the time I read this book, in a village in the Jerusalem hills, and there were indeed more than enough olive trees to be found, I could completely picture all of this in my mind’s eye.

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The little box gets lifted up into the heavens, it starts to glow, and ends up being the Star of Bethlehem, shining over Jesus’  crib.

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At the end of the book, you  can really see how tattered it’s becoming. It is, however, still in one piece, so that’s something!

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While I did remember large chunks of the story, I didn’t remember the end part. Maybe even then I thought the whole box as a Star of Bethlehem thing was a little far-fetched and tended to skip that part? What I mostly remember is that I liked it being about a little bit of a naughty angel who did his own thing and I liked the image of what life in heaven, up there on the clouds, must be like. I also had this image in my head of these angels sliding down to earth on a rainbow slide to paint the flowers and then later watering the plants with little watering cans from the skies, thus making it rain on earth. That must have been from another angel book, though, which I think I must now go in search of. My mum was always into angels, so has all kinds of angels throughout her house (like the ones in the pictures below). My kids even call her “Oma Engel”  (Grandma Angel), so it’s no wonder I had all these angel books growing up.

How fun that this Mach’ was challenge made me travel down memory lane and read that book again for the first time in 37-40 years or so! Thank you Herba and Die Pö.

The arts can lift your spirits

I’m just realizing that right now I am blogging daily, I am on a seven-day-streak today! I am surprised at myself but don’t get used to it, I fully expect that any day now I’ll be going down some rabbit hole again and will be disappearing off the face of the blogging-earth again for days on end… Oh, and a little fun fact: yesterday’s post was number 666 on this blog. 😈666Anyway, those were just little points of order, now on to what I actually came on here to blog about.

All this Corona news can be overwhelming: the rapid rise in cases, the people dying, hospitals that can’t cope with the amount of sick people needing care and then there’s all the information thrown out there to keep track of. We have limited our news intake to 2-3 times a day instead of 24/7 because we also need to keep our sanity and we don’t believe any “tips” on Twitter or Instagram – if I want to know something I go to our National Institute for Public Health for information. We stay informed, we do what we can and then we try to keep sane as well by doing nice things.

In addition to the pressures of corona, I have also been working a lot, it has become almost stressful. So, I’m taking a little breather today, just doing the absolutely necessary stuff, blogging in between, and taking the afternoon off. Luckily there are lovely things happening to keep spirits up. Yesterday, for instance, The National Theatre in the UK announced they will be streaming plays on YouTube. It’s free but I will be making a donation because the arts really are so important and I’m so pleased that they’re doing this. I am especially excited that from April 9th they’ll be showing Jane Eyre. I saw that play a few years ago in Leeds and loved it. It will be a different cast from when I saw it but I’m already excited to watch it again!

Jane Eyre (12a)

Patrick Stewart is reading a Shakespeare sonnet a day over on his Twitter account. The one he read on day two was especially heartwarming, maybe because of the twinkling in his eyes. He’s up to 5 or 6 now as I type this, scroll through his account for a look-see.

Sam Neill’s Twitter is heartwarming during the best of times and even more so now. I saw this today and it made me smile from ear to ear. Not just the delivery, I love the gentleness in his face too.

And it looks like my plans for the weekend are taking shape as well. Drunk Austen is doing a Jane Austen con online this weekend. There are some great events scheduled, I think I just may pop in! 🙂

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And to end it all on a smile, here’s Lin-Manuel Miranda doing a David Bowie from Labyrinth bit.

This makes me think that I’d love to see Hamilton on live streaming theatre somewhere, I always hear it’s amazing.

Now THIS was the hottest day!

Yesterday I blogged about what I did on the hottest day ever in The Netherlands, but today was even hotter. This was on the news this evening:

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First time ever that 40°C was measured in The Netherlands, we were in the 36-37°C region. Lucky I was inside at the office all day, where temps were OK, same went for Mr Esther; 15 year old spud stayed in the house all day, cooling off with a fan, and 18 year old spud went swimming with friends. He says he used sunscreen but he looks red to me… I guess this is good training for when we go to Spain in 10 days time.