Sunday, 16 November 2014

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

I have just finished reading this book and it is one of those books that once you start reading you've entered a parallel universe, you're in your own world and at the same time you're in the book and the characters are part of your own life and you find yourself having conversations with them, especially when you're on your own walking in the woods with the dog. If by now you think I'm daft and haven't a clue what I'm on about, all I can say is, you have never enjoyed a good read. My advice would be: read this book!
I noticed Julie recommended it a while back in her post making tracks and as I trust her judgment completely I ordered the book at my local book shop as well the sequel 'The love song of Miss Queenie Hennessy'. Now that I have finished Harold's pilgrimage I have Miss Queenie's reply to look forward to!





 This book touched a nerve, many nerves in fact. I realise I'm not as old as the main characters Harold and Maureen (pensioners) but there are many threads we seem to have in common; for instance not always saying what you want to, but instead saying awful, hurtful things to spite your loved ones. How sometimes what you want to say is too big for words, so you stay silent and the other person has no idea how much you want to share, but just cannot manage. Being able to listen to other people without judging, which is a quality you're either born with (in my case, nope) or you have to acquire over the years (I should hope so!); hearing without second-guessing, just being open to the other person's story and not wanting to interject with your own worrisome tales.....seeing the other person at a certain moment in time and not projecting your own hang-ups, really looking. Loving the person you are married to, wanting to grow old together, despite everything that didn't go according to plan, whatever that was. Learn to forgive yourself, forgiving others will then be a piece of cake. Accepting who and what you are and life is a gift for you to unwrap each and every day, and some days are just so much more boring than others and that family holidays are a compromise, as is spending time all by yourself..... that unexpected gatherings can turn out to be just what you needed and curling up on the sofa with a cup of earl grey and a good book with the dog at your feet turns out to be the best afternoon in ages. In short, living usually isn't about the ideas we might have, it's about the connections we make, with others and with ourselves and of the many ways there are of making such a connection.....
Of course I also loved the fact that there was a dog somewhere along the trail.....




I haven't managed to get quite as much stitching done as I would have liked having been otherwise occupied, however I do have something to show: these two pieces I've been basting with endless rows of running stitch; I like to makes squares with the stitches running horizontally and vertically, which is particularly visible on the back and to me very much echoes the landscape we happen to live in.  





p.s. next time I phone my parents, I hope I remember to mention how good it is to hear their voice 

20 comments:

Patty said...

I loved that book. It changed a small part of my heart. So happy
to see it 'has legs'!

Marti said...

Have not read this book although from how you responded to it by your very fine writing here Saskia, I will read it. You connect so deeply here with what you have written. Equally your cloth, another way of sharing, of communicating, stitching front and back, mapping your landscape, The front, the bigger view, the back, the small details, like life, that are so needed to make up the whole.

Mo Crow said...

it was such a surprising book, am happy to hear there is a sequel!

Suzanna said...

Thank you for this recommendation, Saskia...I definitely must read it. Your stitching looks so good...makes me think of ancient manuscripts full of secret wonders...

jude said...

remembering to say these things, yes,

Julie S said...

A SEQUEL???!! I didn't think there was anything left to say but I am ready for it nevertheless. This book is what makes me walk although I am in the preposterous position of getting on a plane to do so.

Julie S said...

PS the pic on the bottom, what a cloth.

Nancy said...

J. will go to the library for me to check on this book. It sound like one I will like, a lot. The dog drawing is so charming and old fashioned! This cloth speaks. The bitty slices of color are a wonderful addition. And a smidge of lace too. I have some crocheted trim...I'll add a piece to your package.

Dana said...

I just loved Harold Fry...I'm glad to hear that he has touched others as much. Your writing is lovely.

Ms. said...

hey Hi--what an enriched post and thanks so much. I've been catching you on face book and sometimes at other blogs we share but now I'm a follower here too.

Michelle

Debbie said...

I didn't realise there was a sequel, I must get it. I love what you have written here Saskia things we all struggle with I think to try and become better people.
And I love the work but then I love all your work, such beautiful subtle colourings, prints and stitchings to make beautiful thoughtful pieces.

Saskia van Herwaarden said...

aha, so there are more Harold Fry afficionados out there! of course there are......and for those of you who are going to get reading, have fun and keep the box of tissues within reach......the delightful illustrations are by Andrew Davidson, I forgot to mention him.

thank you Julie for leading us to this pilgrim's trail

welcome Michelle, I am glad you found me here; I have your blog on my blogroll as well

p.s. the last pic of my work is a folded-over one, maybe I should display them like this, I really like being able to see back and front at the same time!

Liz Ackert said...

First things first ... keep those great "back shots" coming ... and I kinda like the idea to let them show.

As for Harold Fry ... I'm halfway into it and absolutely hooked. But sadly the US edition does not have the wonderful illustrations and cover art that you have pictured here.

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

the last photograph...
totally Satisfying. I look and
nod softly. yes.

Saskia van Herwaarden said...

what a shame Liz, part of the fun is working out what the illustration refers to in each chapter; will continue to expose the back sides.....

thx Grace

Clive Hicks-Jenkins said...

These are beautiful. BEAUTIFUL!

Saskia van Herwaarden said...

welcome Clive, and thank you.....I do hope you are referring to the cloth pieces as they are mine, the illustrations are by Andrew Davidson!

Clive Hicks-Jenkins said...

I did indeed mean the stitched cloth works, which are lovely.

Saskia van Herwaarden said...

Clive: thank you yet again!

Liz Ackert said...

I finished The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and re-read your comments ... how perfectly you captured the life-lessons ... thankfully it's never too late to find our way to our best selves