books i've been reading, films, holidays

Action Susie, Canyonista

Grand Canyon

Generally, I like to stay at home with a nice cup of tea and my laptop, attempting to think literary thoughts while watching Gilmore Girls reruns.  But once in a while I like to sleep in a tent, build a campfire, and locate a hill to yomp up (or down: down is nice) – and since my sister T likes to do that sort of thing too, off we went.  Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon (plus a little Las Vegas on the side for, erm, sleeping in, mostly).  2 small Welsh ladies with great big backpacks.  109°F.  Rucksack-eating squirrels.  Thunderstorms and tent floods.  Possibly my summer holiday this year involved more lizards, pit latrines, heat exhaustion and Barry Manilow than the average, but – I’ve hiked the Grand Canyon.  Lifetime ambition achieved.  Blimey.

Sincerely, it’s taken me so long to update because it’s hard to stop myself evangelising: the extraordinary, almost dusty-seeming night sky in canyon; the sobering effect of being in a place where humans are so plainly ill-equipped interlopers; the sense of pushing yourself absolutely to the edge of what you think you’re capable of.  It makes it sound like torture, but it was the best holiday ever.

Of course, I maintained my usual devastating commitment to style while I did it.  Mhmm.  Foxy, no?

Action Sus!

book_mini All the Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy, because it seemed appropriately sweaty and knackered.  Stupendous – plus my copy is now shredded mess of unpeeling pages, which I’ll forever remember reading at Phantom Ranch, ankle-deep in the creek, as the mule train passed in pink cowboy hats and sunburn.  Now I’m back to rain and Blighty, it’s Josephine Tey’s The Franchise Affair (I literally woke myself up with wanting to reread it), which is even more well-written than I remembered.

pencil_mini I am PLANNING.  Please give me a gold star, because I’m usually repulsively lazy when it comes to this bit – but what I have in mind needs to be a lovely tightly-knotted unfurlable thing. I’m already ridiculously excited about it all.  It’s like Heathers with ice-cream.  And, um, fewer murders.  OK, it’s not at all like Heathers.  ICE-CREAM, though!  Evil ice-cream.  Oh yes.

rocrastination_mini Lying on the floor while my back decides to conk out; having a glorious time eating fry-ups with my writing group and plotting Italian shenanigans; loving District 9.


13 thoughts on “Action Susie, Canyonista”

  1. It was lots of fun!! Although I disagree about down being nice – my knees hurt.
    Love The Franchise Affair – Josephine Tey is brilliant.

  2. I think ‘down’ became nice in my memory just because of how not-nice ‘up’ felt after 6 hours or so.

    Josephine Tey IS brilliant. There’s this very dry humour running underneath, and such acute observations of little things, like the secretary with the daily Peter Pan collar who he didn’t recognise without it. Which is what the whole book is about, really. So clever.

  3. I discovered Josephine Tey about 3 years ago – how did I miss out??? Franchise Affair is fab but my personal favourite is The Daughter of Time – I re-read it when stranded on the sofa with plastered leg and it suited my mood perfectly!

    Grand Canyon looks fab, but I am officially a wimp – I don’t do excessive heat or pit latrines. I shall stick to enjoying others’ adventures vicariously from the comfort of my home…..

  4. How did you miss JT, Nicky? I also read the Daughter of Time while laid up with a leg in plaster – highly appropriate! I love the descriptions – her writing is full of little observations or turns of phrase which really stay with me, and even influence the way I think about things sometimes.

  5. Hi Susie! An American here to say so glad to hear that the Arizona heat didn’t melt you. It’s SO impressive that you got up and down that canyon – I’m from that wretchedly hot state and only ever gotten about a tenth of a way down the Grand Canyon before whimpering and turning back. Next time you’re in the states I hope you come to New York! Marion has given me a peek at the super secret idea, but I want to see more!

  6. Hey Rachel! I reckon one tenth of the way down is still pretty impressive: they don’t call it ‘Grand’ for nothing. Next time I will definitely aim for the civilised climes of NYC, though: not sure I can cope with being that far from a coffee shop again anytime soon. (And ooh, am dying to tell you more about the super secret idea – it’s growing into something rather fab, I think!)

    Hooray for Tey – though Nicky, we are all boggling at you not having read any until recently. Did you ever track down To Love And Be Wise? Think that’s the only one I’ve still never read. And YES to what Jess said, about those little observations that are so memorable and so ‘true’-seeming that you forget that she thought them first, and not you at all.

  7. I do indeed have a copy of ‘To love and be wise’ which is fab, as you’d expect really. Like ‘The Franchise Affair’ it has that wonderful timewarp quality, as the central problem really couldn’t survive the internet.

    Wonderful though the web is in many ways, there’s a lot to be said for a bit of mystery and intrigue in life. Now we can look information up so easily, are we losing the challenge of working things out for ourselves?

  8. i think it is amazing that u have that ability to luv the city life and the life of outdoors so that is amazing not many ppl have that

  9. I think I’m just lucky! I’m sure lots of people would love to get out from their ordinary lives every now and then and breathe a bit of fresh uncitified air, with no telly or mobiles or anything we take for granted for a few days. (Or maybe most people would hate that, and I’m just weird…:P)

  10. i hope im not annoying you i can just imagine how awkward it feels to be annoyed by someone =] i have 2 older brothers blech lol

  11. The Lara Croft look does suit you, dear Susie. Now you need two massive guns, and the habit of making lots of endangered animals even more endangered.

  12. Hi Mary – not annoying at all, always nice to have new faces on the blog (though it helps if I don’t manage to crash the whole website so I can’t reply to people, duh!).

    Rarg – so long as no Angelina impersonation is required, I’m in. LEMME SHOOT AT THE BEAR, OOH!

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