Tuesday, May 11, 2010

In the Woodshed

The potting shed (to be exact) is a good place to be. There is a very interesting and somewhat soothing smell to a potting shed and a warmth that cannot be manufactured in any other way. I called it the woodshed because I was reminded of Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons. Now this novel is very, very funny and indeed satirical because it parodied a lot of famous novelists who write about the countryside - especially the Brontës of whom I am not that fond. Gibbons orphaned hero, Flora, chose to be looked after by the Starkadder family who lived on the isolated Cold Comfort Farm, near Howling. It was her Aunt, Ada Doom who was said to have been driven insane by something nasty she saw in the woodshed as a child. I would also be drawn to Dr Müdel, the psychoanalyst - called in by Flora to attend cousin Judith, who has an unhealthy relationship with her own son, Seth. There are many objects in the woodshed and on the outside, the cows, Graceless, Aimless, Feckless and Pointless. Gibbons good natured critique of rurally-based novels reminds one that it might feel good to be in isolation in the woodshed but not to outstay your welcome.