I knew it would happen - the new adaptation of Bleak House (which I have mixed feelings about - two much flashy camera work. I enjoyed it, but it seems to be trying too hard. Fabulous cast, though, apart from Esther, who has a weird tiny mouth and seems incapable of smiling properly. And Johnny Vegas's cat! Its every appearance made me laugh) has put me in a Dickens reading mood. I was re-reading Wives and Daughters, so I thought I had enough 19th century fiction to be going on with, but apparently only Dickens will do. So I'm reading Dombey and Son for the first time since I was about 14, and enjoying it very much. Yeah, he's long-winded and sentimental, but he's very funny, and if you give in to the melodrama and sentimentalism, it works wonderfully (I can do without the ten page descriptions of locations, I will admit). There are few things funnier than Dickens at his most madly funny, something I was surprised by when I first read him, aged about 13 or so. I didn't think he'd be so gloriously surreal. And I submitted to the melodrama with a vengeance when I fell madly in love with Sydney Carton at the age of 15 (so doomed! So noble! So perfect for an angsty teenage girl!).
And I love reading my family editions of Dickens's novels - they all belonged to my great-grandmother and are gorgeous Edwardian editions. And apparently a few years later my grandfather and great-uncle felt the need to claim them for their collective own, because in each one you can find a very neat little "Harry and Piers Murphy" written in little-boy writing from about 1917. Which I find enormously charming, for some reason.
Also, Patsington and I left the house at about seven. We tried to get Fatso McPuffinstuff (aka Ju Ju) to come inside rather than leave her out all evening in the cold, but she wouldn't come in.
AND YET! When we arrived home at midnight, who was curled up on the landing in a veritable sphere of fluff?
Ju Ju. How did she do it? WHO KNOWS? Our bedroom window was open a crack, but surely not enough for Fatso McP to fit her vast bulk through it? Considering that last night she sat on our windowsill for, like, half an hour shouting for someone to open the bigger window and let her in, and all.