We're all back in the UK now but I thought I'd post for a few days how things went. There are also some lovely photos coming in from the others which we'll upload onto the website as soon as we can.
"So, the first proper day after we all travelled in has just ended and the house is quiet. Today's books have been Sue's choice, The Book Thief, and Angela's, Dark Matter. We were off and running very quickly with agreement that these were German characters but living understandable lives - children playing football, scrumping for apples and getting into fights. Hans Hubermann's humanity was the rock that held the family together for all Rosa's aggressive dominance. Various characters were subtly unveiled - the Mayor's wife who wanted someone to care for after losing her son in the First World War, the Hubermanns' next door neighbour for whom Leisel ended up being a reader. And then there was Rosa who only gruffly conceded her love for Leisel and determination that Max wasn't going to be saved just to die further down the road.
As the rain continued to persist down outside we broke for coffee and picked up on Book Thief again quite easily. Dark Matter, too, provided more 'meat' than I had expected and we digressed into life in the Arctic circle with Angela and Peter sharing experiences of days where the sun didn't dip below the horizon but simply gently bounced back into the sky or, more worryingly, stripping off to dig a trench because keeping clothes on would mean any sweat would freeze on the skin and gradually kill you. (There were some technicalities in here that escaped me but the gist is close to the truth.)
Kaye's boeuf bourgignon and pesto & courgette pasta had gone down well the evening before and lunch on Sunday was an impressive spread of left overs plus cheeses, cold meats and salad with crunchy French baguettes.
Although the rain continued to pour, four hardy souls ventured out and visited the American cemetery above Omaha beach (where the rain mercifully stopped) for a thoughtful and sombre half hour. Then down to the beach itself with a picture opportunity next to Les Braves sculpture before hastily jumping back into the car for the drive home.
This evening we've devoured chicken legs in a mushroom sauce and a vegetarian lasagne, lingering round the dining table long after the food had been cleared. Back in the now toasty living room, the conversation took a turn into the politics of education but without becoming too heated. (What a civilized bunch we are!) And back to books, with references and recommendations flying thick and fast."