Even more amazing was that I bought the book on Saturday, and finished it at 1am this morning; read in three sittings. Not a particularly happy topic though, as it was the autobiography of Austrian Natascha Kampusch, titled 3,096 Days. She was kidnapped at the age of 10, by Wolfgang Priklopil, and forced to live in a tiny cellar room just a few kilometres from her original home. Her kidnap ended around 8 years later, when she managed to escape. The story is fascinating on a whole number of levels, such as how a human being manages to cope under unbelievable pressure, which Kampusch outlines clearly. Kampusch's common sense is legion as well, despite all that she has been through; I was amazed by her presence of mind, and the practical no nonsense way in which she writes her story. Also of interest is her life prior and post the kidnap. The former she remembers a surprising amount of for an 8-year old, and even more so rationalised on a very mature level. With the latter it goes to show how incredibly stupid and unsympathetic the public can be, in terms of how some people have treated her. Overall an incredible survival story.
I'm back to audiobooks now, and listening to Harry Harrison's Planet of the Damned (iTunes link). Not a patch on the Stainless Steel Rat stories, but c'est la vie.
In other news...
A so-so quiet weekend. The good weather forecast for Saturday didn't arrive in Fleet, so we stayed home.
The forecast for Sunday was more accurate, and first we went to the local Harvester for lunch (where we felt in good company, with a mixture of screaming and "well behaved" kids). Amélie was fine to begin with, but her patience deteriorated, probably not helped by (1) being stuck in a high chair for over an hour, and (2) The Harvester disappearing with her food (which we'd asked them to warm up) for over 15 minutes. From there we went to the National Trust's Basildon Park. It's about 45 minutes from Fleet, and was OK. The house was in good condition, well decorated, and interesting inside. But I tend to prefer the outside, and Basildon Park doesn't have much in the way of gardens or interesting external features. There were some walks apparently, but not of the type that are navigable with a pram. Even so it was good just to get out in the sun. I should have rated all the National Trust properties we've visited, as they've all melded into one mental mess of old houses and gardens.
A photo of Lu and Amélie outside the house. The rest are here.