Ah, Pleasant May!

Ah, Pleasant May!  For those of you not familiar with Christian Rosetti’s poetry (like me; I had to look it up), the title is from her poem, “May,” and what better way to herald this spring month than with poetry!


© Classical Carousel

This May is beginning in a very different way from previous Mays, as we are still in self-isolation because of the coronavirus and I hear it will be at least another 2 weeks.  For my area, its doesn’t seem sensible.  We haven’t had many cases comparatively and our mean age of death has been 86 years old with many of the deaths occurring in nursing homes, so while that’s definitely tragic, there doesn’t seem to be much spread in the community.  People here have been very good at limiting contact, staying 2 meters away from each other and I still only know of one person who tested positive and my daughter and her roommate had to be quarantined with her for two weeks; neither my daughter or her roommate came down with it.  So while we are under a government mandated self-isolation, curiously in the last three to four weeks I’ve noticed that there are many more cars on the road compared to the first two weeks of self isolation, and stores that were closed are gradually starting to open again.  I feel that people independently are deciding enough is enough and are slowly moving ahead.  While we definitely need to figure out how to best protect those who are old or with compromised health, we can’t stay isolated forever and people are beginning to be negatively affected in other ways.  As long as we act sensibly let’s hope for a positive re-emergence!

Heirloom Tomatoes

© Classical Carousel

I’ve been doing lots of gardening, cleaning, biking (Mudpuddle, you’d be proud of me!), working, some reading and taxes ……. well, I’m really struggling with taxes but am getting them done slowly.  Honestly, when I wake up to a sunny morning, the last thing I want to do is sit at my desk and work.  So I’ve been clearing out my three overgrown garden plots, working a little, helping some friends with some cleaning, and reading probably more books than I should but less than I’d like.  I finished The Wind in the Willows and what a wonderful read it was!  Grahame draws you right into their world and you want to visit with Ratty and Mole and be lulled to sleep in their hole by the riverbank.  I’m also reading a children’s book called Shadow Hawk which gives a great snapshot of Ancient Egyptian history when the Hyksos had invaded the kingdom, and also The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot.  In spite of uncomfortable Thomas Hardy vibes, I’m really starting to enjoy it although not yet as much as Middlemarch (one of my favourites) or Daniel Deronda.

Gardening Help

© Classical Carousel


And what do I have planned for this month?  Just going with the flow.  More gardening and reading, of course, and whatever else pops up.  My reading is beginning to get more structured.  I believe Kim, Jean and I are going to read The Mysteries of Udolpho during the summer.  I’m going to need to prepare myself for some high drama and probably lots of laughter in places where I’m not sure I’m supposed to laugh.  It should be fun though.  And Reese and I are discussing possibly tackling The Decameron in September, probably a very suitable read for the times, complete with a plague and some self-isolation although mainly focussed on stories.  I’m looking forward to it.  And Jean and I have been discussing a read of The Golden Bough.  It looks like a dense and intellectual read and I have a feeling I’m not going to agree with Frazer but the “conversation” will be interesting nevertheless.  If anyone else would like to join in with any of these reads, just let me know!

Apple Blossom

© Classical Carousel


So what is happening in your part of the world and what plans do you have for the coming month?  I’d love to hear about them!

Cherry Blossoms on the Farm

© Classical Carousel

Other May Posts:

May ~ Hail, Bounteous May!

May ~ Rain, Rain, Go Away …


26 thoughts on “Ah, Pleasant May!

  1. Things I love: 1) MAY 2) The Mysteries of Udolpho (it really is very funny, and not on purpose, but also rather LUSH in its descriptions which I adore if no one else does) 3) that last picture up there – wow! 4) seeing a post on your blog for I like your person. 🙂

    • Lol! I like you too, Jillian, and your thoughtful and unique responses! 💕 I’m really looking forward to The Mysteries of Udolpho and I’m glad to hear that you liked it! It’s just the sort of read I’m feeling like right now. And in spite of the rain today, May is turning out to be a rather lovely month! Take care!

  2. *sigh* You’ve reminded me I’ve yet to start my taxes. I’m taking advantage of this year’s extended deadline, lol!

    The Wind and the Willows is a great story! I think I read it when I was little, but I mostly remember it through the animated adaptation.

    Love all the pictures, as usual <3

    • I worked on them today so I feel much better!

      Oh, you should read it again! It’s just wonderful. After all those intellectual books you’re reading, you might need an escape, lol!

      Thanks, Marian!

  3. Such pretty flowers! It’s looking like spring around here too, although more days than not still colder than I would like. 🙁 And will probably jump straight from “chilly” to “hot” by the end of the month.

    I’m finally starting to get back into my reading groove after a slow March/April, and I have to say your reading plans sound exciting! I was kinda thinking of a Lord of the Rings reread for myself this summer (assuming I get through my current pile of books), but Mysteries of Udolpho is tempting – IF the library has resumed physical book lending by then – they’ve released a 4-phase plan, and phase 1 is remaining virtual only, through at least the end of May. (It makes sense as many of the library users, and some of the staff, are a very vulnerable population. And we’ve had at least a decent amount of community spread.) Or else I could cave and read digitally… I might be more serious about wanting to join in for The Decameron in September, though. I read selections in college and found it very amusing. Unfortunately, my current copy is NOT the entire book, but that’s one I might want my own copy of anyways.

    Get those taxes done so you can properly enjoy your gardening and reading! 🙂

    • Yes, I’m trying to figure out what to plant in my garden. Usually when I plant for cooler weather, the weather goes directly from cold to hot and everything bolts. So I’m trying to wait this cooler weather out.

      Oh, I’d love to re-read The Lord of the Rings but I’m booked solid. I used to try to read it every summer but haven’t for a long while. That would be great if you could join us. We’re going to be reading Udolpho June-August so hopefully you could get a copy by then.

      Oh my goodness, thank you soooo much for that last sentence. That’s exactly what I needed. I saw it and got to work and actually got two months done! How liberating! I’m halfway through!

      • Alas, my library only has a digital copy of Udolpho, and I don’t think I can read something that long digitally! Though I suppose that means at least I could get a hold of it, regardless of when they reopen their doors… I’m not sure that I want to buy a copy though – completely out of shelf space – so…decisions, decisions.

        • Rats! Could you start with it digitally and then change? Since we’re not beginning the read until June things must be close to opening up by then. We’re starting to open things up this coming week. I hope you’re not too far behind …

          • Starting digitally is a possibility; I’m also considering that maybe I just break down and buy a copy (especially since I’m planning to order a book for a gift soon anyways!). The libraries around us are all making independent decisions (some are already open for curbside pickup, some not until later this month or early next), and my state’s interlibrary loan system won’t be available until ALL the member libraries have reopened… 🙁 I’m thinking I’ll see what this week brings as far as announcements, and maybe make a decision then.

          • We’re supposed to be opening up on Tuesday but I can’t see any message on their site that my library system is opening up. I do hope you buy a copy. I can’t wait to get started!

  4. i have an abridged Fraser, most of which i’ve read; it was kind of interesting but boring if that makes any sense… actually i had the same reaction to the Decameron; the various stories seemed variations on a theme (don’t let me discourage you, tho…) i took a shower today while bike riding, more or less involuntarily… then i did some of the grocery shopping at Safeway: one-way aisles, masks about half and half, but people did seem to evade each other in a way… it was very nice seeing your comment on my blog; much appreciated… glorious photos

    • I don’t expect much from The Golden Bough. I read today that even Frazer himself downplayed its significance. The Decameron, however, I do hope is entertaining. I expect some of it to be silly but that’s okay, I’m up for it.

      One-way aisles! I haven’t seen that here but it makes sense. I’ve seen more masks in the last two weeks. It will be interesting to see what happens when areas start to open up again.

      I finally put your blog on my blog roll (on my old blog since I can’t figure out how to put one on here without a plug-in) so it’s popping up now. I still have to go into another browser to comment on Blogspot blogs which is frustrating but I will do it for my blog friends! Take care, Mudpuddle!

  5. From everything I’ve heard, the Golden Bough is *extremely* dodgy by modern standards. I plan to read it like Graves’ White Goddess — speculation that is entertaining, but mostly only informative as to what people thought 100 years ago. I’m excited to read it!

    The Decameron IS appropriate, but sadly I didn’t really like it. You have to *really* like naughty stories about priests!

    • It sounds like your expectation of The Golden Bough is exactly as Frazer explained it. It will certainly be interesting!

      You know, The Decameron SOUNDS like something I wouldn’t like, but honestly Ovid’s Metamorphoses was sort of sketchy as well and it was my favourite read of 2016 (or whatever year it was). Some of the stories were shocking but nevertheless his writing kind of drew me in. I’m hoping to have the same reaction to The Decameron. However, I hope they’re not ALL naughty stories about priests!

  6. Oh, good, I’ve got a copy of Udolpho, and it’s one of those books I keep feeling I should have read years ago. I shall be following you with interest, and hoping to keep up.

    Good luck with those taxes, I’ve been putting mine off, but it’s beginning to feel like a job that will be better viewed from the end, than the beginning. Maybe this is my week to get to grips with them, too.

    • Oh, that’s great, Cath! We’ll be glad to have you along. We’ve decided to start June 1st and take June, July AND August to read it to give us more time. It will be fun!

      I was able to do a good amount of taxes yesterday and hopefully today as well. Slow and steady wins the race! Good luck with yours!

  7. This Rossetti poem is new to me, but I have read a few others by her in poetry anthologies. The Goblin Market is wonderful if you like narrative poems.

    I kind of miss readalongs, and I have never actually done one on my blog (just on GoodReads), so I would like to try that. But this summer I want to stick to the books I already have planned. I want to get through Malory and Tocqueville this summer so I can’t really commit to anything else unless the book is short.

    • I will definitely read The Goblin Market, perhaps for this coming Halloween!

      Well, none of these books are short, lol! I know when you have a certain number of books you need to focus on and can’t add anymore. I feel like I’m almost at my limit, at least until November so I hope that no tempting read-alongs pop up. I really had fun with Malory so I hope you enjoy it. It was sort of a weird read in a good way.

  8. That’s a happy-looking pooch! Lovely pictures in general.

    I’m definitely up for the Decameron in September if you are. Let’s make it a plan! I do believe there are some naughty comic priest stories, but I don’t think that’s the whole of the book? Let’s hope not…anyway, the part that I read once before–I don’t think I even finished the first day–didn’t have any that I recall. (Though I sort of already know about the famous one–“putting the devil in hell”).

    The Golden Bough? Not, I trust, the twelve volume edition? I have a one volume abridgement I’ve dipped into but not read through–I might read that if you guys do it. Reading it like the White Goddess would be about right, though I remember The White Goddess, however crazed it is, as still being a pretty good read.

    The weather’s finally turning nice here, and it looks like yours is pretty spectacular. Enjoy!

    • My pooch is always happy. He’s a great dog! Thanks for the compliment!

      I’ll take a look at The Decameron in the next couple of weeks and see what I think for pacing and you can let me know as well. I did start it once and in spite of its size, I remember it being a relatively easy read.

      Ha, ha! I remember thinking, “who would be crazy enough to read The Golden Bough with us?,” then I thought, “Reese!” and here you are! 😉 Definitley the one volume abridged version. I would need to be hospitalized after 12 volumes of Frazer’s theories. 🤪 One volume will be quite enough. I am looking forward to it though. We’re starting today and trying to get through 2-3 chapters per week which I think is good pacing. So pick up that copy and let’s get started!

      The weather here has been great but a little on the cool side. Not too much rain though which is unusual but good. This weekend is supposed to be somewhat warmer.

  9. Well, alright then! I’ll be reading two of Plutarch’s lives a day plus a chapter of the Golden Bough. I’ll be so eddicated by the time this is done…

    I’ll take a look at the Decameron as well & see what a good schedule might be. But I ain’t starting that!

  10. Your photos are beautiful! I love poetry but have yet to read that poem by Christina Rossetti. So looking forward to Udolpho! 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Kim! Udolpho will be lots of fun! 🎉 I can’t make to experience the overly dramatic!

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