Love in the Third Age

On Wednesday morning we had the second of our Coffee and Light Reading events. Mary Cavanagh lead a meaty, far-reaching (and slightly raunchy as far as I was concerned!) discussion on the theme of "Love in Old Age" (or "Love in the Third Age" as everyone quickly decided it should have been called). With a healthy attendance, and everyone esconced with coffee and cake, Mary began with Ovid's fable of Baucis and Philemon. Granted a wish by the gods to stay together forever (in return for hospitality granted to them by Baucis and Philemon), the couple are transformed at the end of their lives into an intertwined Oak and Linden tree at the entrance to their temple. If that was a beautiful start to proceedings, things become more sombre, with a reading from Cider with Rosie, and the death of an elderly couple a week after arriving in the workhouse. Mary did promise things would get happier - and we were treated to extracts from Ethel & Earnest, Raymond Brigg's biographical story of his parents. I'm a big fan of Mr Briggs, with When The Wind Blows making a big impression on me (about the time of Threads in the late 80s from memory) and the story of Ethel & Earnest is one which suits Briggs' imagery and humour (you could imagine Alan Bennett making it into a great television piece). We finished with something altogether more upbeat - and raunchier, with A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, and the horror that strikes the offspring of an 84 year old father when he declares his intention of marrying a 30-something Ukrainian immigrant. The choice of books, and the excellent contributions from those that attended resulted in a fascinating debate which then covered such subjects as theological definitions of love, the recent film Venus (with Peter O'Toole and Leslie Phillips which sounds fab), Alan Bennett, the practical aspects of sex in old age (I told you it got a bit raunchy), Somerset Maugham, and a very sweet story of a retired wife publishing saucy poetry which had obviously gone over her husband's head: (A first for the Mostly Books blog - hope this works! We were trying to set up a podcast, but 'new technology baffles booksellers' for the time being...) Thanks again to Mary for leading an excellent event, and to everyone who came and made it such a stimulating morning. Next Wednesday (at 10.30am) we welcome Chairman of the Romantic Novelists Association, Jenny Haddon - her theme is books and lovers, and we hope to get pulses seriously racing just 7 days before Valentine's Day...


  1. Jackie8:49 pm

    Hey - nice work - the YouTube link works! Very impressive!

  2. A most interesting discussion, and introduced me to some books I didn't know before. Thanks, everybody.