Wednesday, 15 July 2009
A Stroke of Luck
Earlier today, I found myself doubly at a loss. My wristwatch had mysteriously disappeared, and I don't feel right with a naked wrist. And, on top of that, I'd run out of reading matter, having finished with the excellent Norman Stone and not having another book with me. So, trusting that they sell verything (except books), I took myself to Argos - a much improved store these days - and within minutes I was out again with a watch that had set me back the barely believable sum of £4.98 (full price)! It seems to be a perfectly good watch - I mean, what can go wrong with Quartz? It either works or it doesn't. This left the book situation to deal with, so, on the off chance, I popped into Oxfam. I was just about to give up and leave the shop bookless when I glanced at Q on the fiction shelves - and there was a book I've been looking for ever since I first read it in a library copy years ago: The Yellow Sofa, a wonderfully truthful, ironic, serio-comic novella by the great Portuguese novelist Eca De Queiroz. It's in a Caracanet edition, one of a series of titles under the heading Aspects of Portugal, published under the auspices of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. I never even knew this edition existed. That, I think, classifies as a stroke of luck. Now, what's the time....?