Jaffareadstoo is delighted to welcome you all back to our Summer Picnic 2021
Pull up a deck chair Summertime is here again
☼ I'm delighted to welcome author Carol Cooper to our Summer picnic ☼
☼Welcome back to Jaffareadstoo, Carol. What favourite foods are you bringing to our summer picnic?
I’m bringing cucumber sandwiches with the crusts trimmed off, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, cherries, and grapes. As a nod to my Middle Eastern roots, there’ll also be homemade tabbouleh which, if you’re not familiar with it, is a delightfully refreshing salad made mainly from parsley and mint. I hope we’ll still have room for a cream tea to top it off.
☼What would you like to drink? We have white wine spritzers, locally brewed beer, traditional Pimms, sparkling elderflower cordial, or a thermos of tea or coffee.
Pimms, please. It goes with everything and I’m confident that it will supply the rest of our five-a-day.
☼Where shall we sit, by the pool, in the garden, in the countryside or somewhere hot?
Travelling to hotter climes is likely to be off the agenda for a while, so let’s go to a beautiful place in the countryside.
☼Do we have a wicker hamper, tablecloth and cutlery, or is everything in a supermarket carrier bag?
We most certainly have a hamper, as well as a flowery tablecloth for the picnic and a waterproof blanket to sit on, and possibly even to doze off on afterwards.
☼Do you have favourite place to have a summer picnic?
Absolutely! It’s Grantchester Meadows, not far from the orchard where Rupert Brooke used to write. On a warm day, it’s harder to find a quiet spot but it’s worth the effort. I hope you don’t mind the Red Poll cattle grazing there in the summer, to say nothing of people diving into the river to cool down. It’s not just youngsters, either. I brought an old school friend here (like me, she’s of a certain age) and it wasn’t long before she threw off her skirt and jumped into the water.
☼Which of your literary heroes (alive or dead) are joining us on the picnic today?
Mark Twain and Agatha Christie would make perfect picnic guests. Can’t you just see them in their sun hats? I fear Twain might be disappointed by the size of the Cam compared with the mighty Mississippi River, but he’d be terrific company. Agatha Christie would be full of surprises, and not just in her fiction.
☼Which summer read are you bringing with you today?
With such entertaining company, I might not have time to read, but the book would have to be The Collected Poems of Rupert Brooke.
This edition 2019
☼What is your earliest summer memory?
I was about three years old and we were living in Cairo. My rubber ring deflated when I was in the deep end of the pool at the Gezira Sporting Club, and a stranger jumped in fully clothed to save me. I haven’t trusted inflatables since.
☼Do you have a summer music playlist ? And if so will you share with us a favourite song or piece of music that makes you feel happy?
My summer playlist has to include Pink Floyd’s “Grantchester Meadows”. I also love upbeat tunes like The Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Summer in the City”, and The Drifters classic “Under the Boardwalk”.
☼What can you tell us about your current book or WIP?
My latest novel The Girls from Alexandria was inspired by growing up in Egypt, and honed by my experience as a doctor. Raised in a cosmopolitan world that no longer exists, Egyptian-born Nadia is now 70 and living in London, muddling along with a failing brain that baffles the medics. On a now urgent quest for her missing sister, Nadia delves into childhood memories that go back to the 1950s and 1960s. From a life filled with vibrant characters and punctuated by turning points in history, Nadia re-lives events only half-understood at the time. The comfortable society in which she came of age, she comes to realize, hid darker undercurrents that could explain what happened to her sister 50 years ago.
Memories are fragile when you are 70 years old. I can’t afford to lose any more of them, not when remembering the past might help with the here and now.
Nadia needs help. Help getting out of her hospital bed. Help taking her pills. One thing she doesn’t need help with is remembering her sister. But she does need help finding her.
Alone and abandoned in a London hospital, 70-year-old Nadia is facing the rest of her life spent in a care home unless she can contact her sister Simone… who’s been missing for 50 years.
Despite being told she’s confused, and not quite understanding how wi-fi works, Nadia is determined to find Simone. So with only cryptic postcards and her own jumbled memories to go on, Nadia must race against her own fading faculties and find her sister before she herself is forgotten.
Set against the glamorous backdrop of 20th century Alexandria, Carol Cooper’s third novel is equal parts contemporary mystery and historical fiction: a coming of age story about family, identity, and homeland.
Carol, where can we follow you on social media?
Twitter handle: @drcarolcooper
Facebook page: Carol Cooper’s novels
Instagram handle: @drcarolcooper
Blog/web url: Blog – Pills & Pillow-Talk
Thank you very much to Jo and JaffaReadsToo for inviting me to share a relaxing summer day with you today.
Thank you for sharing your summer picnic with us today
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