Family are the Friends you Choose

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Marthe Kiley-Worthington – appreciation

Marthe Kiley-Worthington

Marthe was looking to publish her memoir amd joined TSL through a mutual friend. If you don’t know Marthe, she is a force to be reckoned with – she’s an astute woman who has seen much there is to see and doesn’t tolerate anything less than 100%. Having said that, we had a bit of a struggle over how much editing her book required – she was looking for something more accessible than the current academic style, however, her natural style – influenced by living in countries with very different languages especially in her formative years, gave the book a special flavour – which I personally welcomed. However, various early readers suggested otherwise and so a compromise was achieved. Similarly, the cover underwent a change too.
The contents and Marthe’s incredible life journey were not altered (other than stylistic tweaks as mentioned above). As with many people I encounter, Marthe is a person who has stood by her principles and as a scientist – animal behaviourist – stuck with the evidence. She’s not scared to take on a challenge and it’s rather rewarding to see that what she had said so many years ago is now becoming more acceptable in terms of how man and animal live together. There’s still some way to go and current popular science no doubt disagrees with her conclusions but that is part of how society develops.
Family are the friends you choose is the account of how Marthe overcame cultural, social, gender, academic and professional hurdles to get where she has. Her journey shows how the highs and lows of personal and professional life intertwine. If that’s not to your taste, seeing how she lives with her horses, cattle and dogs might well be.

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Horses and donkeys

In days gone by, horses and donkeys were important for transport. Today in many rural settings, they can still be found performing similar functions whilst in more affluent areas, horses are a hobby and income earner through racing. They feature in fiction and non-fiction books alike. Here’s a sample of what horses featuring on covers by TSL authors:

Three books concern the Anglo-Boer or South African war on 1899-1902, two of which are non-fiction: British Military Chaplaincy and Religion in South Africa 1899-1902 and Practically Over. The third is a novel by Robberta Eaton Cheadle, A Ghost and His Gold.

Two others are children’s books – a working horse features in Towing Path Tales while The Amorous Adventures of Big Ben, a Shire horse, tells of a horse all alone in a field, his work done, finding love.

Family are the Friends you Choose is an autobiography by Marthe Kiley-Worthington who forms relationships with animals, and horses in particular, that are close to human. Ever heard of a horse in a kitchen and watching television?
Another autobiography is that by Ray Wooster, My 30’s and 40’s Childhood featuring his toy horse. Ray goes on to write about horses in his A Boy’s War Journal, a novel set in and post-World War 2 London.

Finally, John Samson’s A Donkey called Oddsock, a novel, set somewhere in Africa, tells of a donkey’s journey as he and his young master try to avoid being recruited as child soldiers.

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Green Eyes or Brown? #books #readingforpleasure

Some time ago, I saw mention that only 2% of the world’s population have green eyes. The majority have brown and 10% have blue.

Seeing this, I wondered how important it was for authors to specify their characters’ eye colour, so took a look through TSL’s books to see what authors have done. The result is below. Do you think it’s important to specify eye colour or should that be left to the reader’s imagination? Marthe Kylie-Worthington in Family are the Friends you Choose also questions authors focus on eyes.

The cat, Ginger, in Anna Ryland’s A Second Chance
Marla in Josie Arden’s Broken Ties of Time
Raphaela in The last rose of summer in This and That 2 by Josie Arden
Isabel in The Visit in Tea at the Opalaco by Jane Lockyer Willis
Fairytales and Oddities by Ezra Williams
Grey-green eyes feature in A Perfumed Holiday in Stuffed! by Johannes Kerkhoven
In a break from green eyes, brown eyes are mentioned in The Stillbirth Marriage in The Roots that gave Birth to Magical Blossoms by Amna Agib (Bit Nafisa)

Other books:
Doris Lessing’s lead character in The Summer before the Dark has brown eyes.

Thanks Pablo for the image

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Cows

For those who don’t know me, I love cows!

I think my love of cows goes back to my childhood (one of my grandfather‘s was a dairy farmer for a while) but that’s a story for another day (or couch). Cows are serene animals and their colouring and proportions just seem to fit no matter where they originate – although having said this, perusal of Beautiful Cows led to two exceptions: the Belgian Blue (disproportional) and the Charolais (too much like a sheep – another of my favourite animals).

Has anyone found the answer to this question by Bill Watterson “Who was the guy who first looked at a cow and said ‘I think I’ll drink whatever comes out of these when I squeeze ’em?” ?

Recently, I came across an article about  Cows going to Antarctica in 1933 – I wonder how they survived?

Cows and their relatives feature in numerous books. Some on my list, other than Beautiful Cows, already mentioned, include:

Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
The Secret Life of Cows by Rosamund Young
Bringing the rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema. Although this is a Nandi tale, it has an image of a Maasai – well known for their love of cows.
A Boy’s War Journal by Ray Wooster
The Celebration Husband by Maya Alexandri
The Lake Tanganyika Expedition 1914-1917: A primary source chronology by GWAA
and various by Laurens van der Post who was a dairy farmer for some time.

And although no mention in the book, The Moon is Toast, by Andrew Samson, cow corner is a fielding position in cricket. I think the link explains why the term does not feature in the diary of a cricket statistician.

I couldn’t resist this quote by Dorothy Sayers: “Facts are like cows. If you look them in the face long enough, they generally run away”, or perhaps they just got bored!

Since first writing this post, cows have been a major part of Marthe Kiley-Worthington’s Family are the Friends you Choose

The image of the cows is from the Milk Exibition which was at the Welcome Institute, April 2023.

Have you seen?