If we were having coffee: The Rest of Us Just Live Here

If we were having coffee is a chatty feature by Part-Time Monster. Read the other posts in the link-up here.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I had a lovely bank holiday weekend. My friend came to visit, so we had a great time catching up. The weather wasn’t bad on Saturday, so we had a walk around Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. Finding free activities in London is one of my 15 goals for the end of the year, so this is August’s free find.

Peter Pan statue

Peter Pan statue, Kensington Gardens

We also went for afternoon tea at BB Bakery, and everyone agreed it was the best afternoon tea they’d had. (I had only ever been to one at a garden centre before, but I don’t feel like it counted because there was no cake stand, and obviously you need a cake stand for afternoon tea.)

Afternoon Tea, BB Bakery

The prettiest plates you ever did see.

We also visited the Harry Potter studios, as she had never been. For me, it was my fourth visit, and I thought it was about time to treat myself to something from the shop. I came away with this awesome Pygmy Puff T-shirt and a beautiful limited edition of Philosopher’s Stone: clothbound, with the original cover in the middle, foil, a ribbon marker and glittery edges. (A book lover’s dream.) I’m accidentally creating a bit of a collection.

However, it has to be the last Harry Potter book for a while, as I’m trying to work on a smaller budget in preparation for a potential move, when rent will leap up. Fortunately, this week has been one of the quietest for a while, and it’s not unwelcome.

If we were having coffee, I might suggest that you are interrupting my reading of Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb. Reading more fantasy recently, I realise that the amount of world-building that has to go on leads to lots of description, which in the past I might not have had patience for, but which now really immerses me in the books. They are quite long – or at least, they’re taking me a while as I only really read on the train – so luckily I still have a book and a half to enjoy of this trilogy, not to mention about ten more books set in the same world.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here

However, I might take a break to read The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness. I went to one of his promo events at Waterstones Piccadilly on Thursday, and it sounds like a brilliant read. It’s a story from the point of view of the character who isn’t the hero of the story, as saving the day is obviously meant for cool indie kids called Finn. The reading was really funny, and Patrick Ness was brilliant in the conversation afterwards, so I’m looking forward to this.

Thursday was also the day that he set up a donation page for Save the Children, after feeling helpless about the hundreds of thousands of refugees escaping the war in Syria. He said he’d match £10,000 of donations, and this target was reached quickly. John Green stepped in to say he would match another 10k, then Jojo Moyes, Hank Green and Rainbow Rowell amongst many others got involved with various pledges, and he’s now raised almost half a million pounds. The book industry isn’t generally one in which there’s lots of money, but there is a lot of heart, and it was lovely to see so many people making such pledges. If you’d like to donate, the page is here.

I can offer so little of value on this situation that I’m still not sure if I should even mention it, but it’s been so much on my mind this week that I couldn’t say nothing. It still amazes me that a minority of people can think that it’s nothing to do with us because of our sheer dumb luck not to have been born there. It’s unbelievable to think that I can be wandering around a park, indulging my Harry Potter obsession, or even just sitting at my desk, while people leave everything they’ve ever known behind to start long, punishing journeys to who knows where or what kind of life. Watching the news, it is impossible not to feel the helplessness that drove these authors to do what they could. Perhaps Ness felt a little bit like that character in his novel, wondering when the hero would turn up; yet just look at what he achieved. What a relief to see governments stepping up more this week, as this will be a massive situation to process, and we’re only just beginning.

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