Cold in Kathu

Greetings from Kathu in the remote Northern Cape. Just a quick post to say I’m still around but am recovering from a 13-hour drive yesterday from Cape Town to Kathu with a cold. Think of a typical man with a cold and you’ll get the idea. Lots of feeling sorry for myself, slightly muddled thinking and some anxiety about driving all that way in a slightly impaired state.

I’m still getting used to moving from this …

windmill beach

… to this in the space of a week.

on the road

It’s hard to convey the dry dustiness that is the Northern Cape in a picture. The first picture is of Windmill beach in Simonstown where we went to celebrate my cousin’s 50-something birthday. Nice, relaxing time away. This week I’m at a remote military battle school testing the mental health of 300-odd soldiers. If ever I needed some motivation to look for a better job!

But what I did want to blog about is the Booker longlist. I’m sure you’ve seen the longlist and have your thoughts on it. Is the Booker still relevant? Who do you want to win? I’m rooting for Hilary Mantel with Wolf Hall (although haven’t read it) but would be interested to hear more about the other contenders. Not sure that I want to read another Coetzee right now when there are so many other good books that I haven’t read. I think Samantha Harvey’s The Wilderness (about a man with Alzheimer’s) should be interesting.

On the subject of men growing old and dying (how did we get onto that – oh yes, men and their colds) I also want to read SA author Anne Landsman’s The Rowing Lesson, which won the Sunday Times fiction award.

I’ll be around a bit in the next few days but also a bit distracted with mental health matters. Have a good week.

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10 Responses to Cold in Kathu

  1. litlove says:

    Oh poor you! So sorry to hear about the cold; they are supposed to be negligible illnesses but they really screw up your quality of life. And you have all my sympathy for a 13-hour drive – that sounds horrendous even in full health! Hope the week turns out to have its moments of real interest.

  2. I’m rooting for either Wolf Hall which is waiting my bedside table or AS Byatt’s The Children’s Book, which was superb. I rather desperately do not want JM Coetzee to win – he’s got enough awards.

  3. That first photo is beautiful. Feel better!

  4. doctordi says:

    Man flu! Oh no! Hope you’re feeling better, Pete – dry dustiness may be good for getting over it, so perhaps the change of scenery will prove positive!

    I am now officially freaking out about all the roads pointing to Hilary Mantel all of a sudden… how have I been so ignorant of her work for so long, only to have her land so squarely in my lap like a sign from the literary gods?! It’s crazy!

  5. Emily Barton says:

    That first photo looks gorgeous! Hope the cold is better, and you’ve reminded me that I’ve been wanting to write a blog post on book awards for ages.

  6. sandyphd says:

    I have not read the Booker longlist and was clicking madly throughout your post, hoping for a link (don’t worry, I understand, you have the man flu, afterall). I will be looking for it. Thanks for mentioning this and the suggestions you did offer.

    And yes, it looks like you might be suffering from the lucious landscape blues. Missing your beautiful coast.

    Hope you feel better soon!

  7. seachanges says:

    man and flu – manflu… yes, we understand all about that. As far as the booker is concerned I’ve decided to wait reading any of them until they come out in paperback: last time I bought a hard back book I felt miserable because it was too much hauling it around in my work bag on trains and I desperately wanted to continue reading it (it was Sieg Larsson’s second book). I’ve sworn not to buy any more hardbacks if I can help it… Yes, I’d love to read the Hilary Mantel, but also Anita Brookner and one or two others still only available as hardbacks.

  8. […] top? An essay by Hilary Mantel. It was starting to feel a little weird. Then I dropped in to read Couchtrip and found Pete, too, discussing Mantel and the Man Booker Prize long list, on which Wolf Hall […]

  9. Pete says:

    Litlove – Thanks. It’s good to be back. The drive was exhausting (not as bad as yours though by the sound of it) and I had a cold the entire time. Now if I could just have a few days’ holiday I would have a chance to recover completely.

    Charlotte – I’m interested to read both Mantel and Byatt and I completly agree re JMC.

    Lilian – Thanks, I have to remind myself that I’m actually feeling better since it’s so easy to get the manflu blues!

    DoctorDi – I was also thinking dry and dusty would clear it up but no. Scenery was indeed interesting though, and I’m sure in a week or two I will forget all the hassles. Will be over to read your post on Hilary M soon.

  10. Pete says:

    Emily – Thanks. And would be interested to read your thoughts on the subject.

    Sandy – Sorry, will try to be more link-friendly next time! Thanks for the good wishes. If enough people wish me, I must get better, right?

    Seachanges – I’m the same. Paperbacks for me (and that’s mainly about the cost). It’s been ages since I read an Anita Brookner. Will have to remedy that.

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