Saturday, October 31, 2009

Glorious Greco - the epitome of cool in the sixties.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Two TV Treats

On the face of it Jane Austen’s Emma and Alan Ball’s True Blood are worlds apart but both are highly watchable and brilliantly acted and produced. It was a foregone conclusion that I would watch the latest production of Emma - just finished on BBC1- and this was the best I have seen. The eponymous heroine played by Romola Garai looked strangely familiar and I discovered some years earlier she had been the horrid little girl who caused all the trouble in the film Atonement.

I always wait anxiously for the scene on Box hill when Emma makes fun of Miss Bates and earns Mr Knightley’s disapproval.

‘Badly done Emma! Badly done!’

This is quite painful for me as it takes me back to when, aged 19, I had a row with my sister, lost my temper and earned the same reaction from MTL and when we split I believed it was because I too had ‘badly done.’ I recognise Emma’s mortification only too well.

Romola is totally believable in the part and it was fascinating to see the range of expressions flit across her face. Jonny Lee Miller is convincing as Mr Knightley; he is not tall but had a towering presence and the romance was just as pleasing as the one in Pride and Prejudice – if a little more subtle.

Less predictable was my appreciation of True Blood with some graphic sex scenes and – of all things vampires but – rather like The Sopranos, one is drawn in at the first scene and perfect casting makes the series unmissable for me. The heroine Anna Paquin has a lovely gap- toothed innocence – faintly familiar as she played the little girl in Jane Campion’s film The Piano. Some time ago I was asked who I would like to play me if my book ever was made into a film and Anna Paquin would be my dream choice.

The vampire hero – Stephen Moyer is new to me and I can’t take my eyes off him when he is on screen. Every member of the cast makes this a memorable production but a particular joy is Rutina Wesley – a black actress with attitude. I look forward to seeing more of her. The series continues on Wednesday 10pm on Channel 4.

Emma is finished but is bound to be out on DVD before long. It’s a pleasure to see new actors raising the plate and Brad Pitt and George Clooney should look to their laurels.

See photos below

Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller in Emma

Rutina Wesley and Anna Paquin photo John P Johnson HBO

Stephen Moyer Photo Jaimie Trueblood HBO

Anna Paquin photo John P Johnson HBO
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Things looking Rosier

The coffee morning was a success. After coffee and biscuits we gave Margaret her Golden Wedding cards and the voucher for a session at the beauty salon. Then Margaret produced a bottle of rose and chocolate orange segments and in spite of eschewing biscuits earlier we now all tucked in with gusto.

Somehow we started reminiscing about our children - when young treading - the boards. My little boys were aged 5 and 3 when I was assisting my friend to produce and direct a play at Tonbridge School. It had a very large cast and was a sort of upstairs downstairs with a kitchen staff below and an aristocratic family above, who had two tiny children. The producer knew my children by sight and said they, with their golden hair and blue eyes would be perfect. Knowing my boys - as I was with them 24/7 - I said it was them or me. No way could I work on the play and be responsible for the boys at the same time.

After much thought she said I should continue working on the play – taking rehearsals etc and she would depute Lee – a lovely lady who didn’t have children of her own to look after the boys. After the first rehearsal everybody oooohed and aaahed about these angelic little boys. Unfortunately they only had a few lines such as the elder one saying:

‘Dwedfully boring!’ and the younger echoing:’ Dwedfully boring!’ and there was lots of hanging around backstage when they got up to mischief.

The next rehearsal the producer asked me if I could look after them as they were driving Lee potty. I repeated my stipulation and had a few sharp words with the boys.

It was a difficult time for everybody but as soon as the play was open to the public the boys became two little hams and rose to the occasion. They developed perfect timing and would pause to allow the audience to laugh and coo over them. Then the young varmints would race off stage and come to tell me:

‘.Mum we got APPLAUSE!’

In the end I was very proud of them. Did your children tread the boards and did they behave impeccably?

Below is the Valiant Soldier at Roadwater where we had roast beef on Sunday. The berried trees are in the pretty car park.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sun's Back.

It's Sunday and The Valiant Soldier beckons. I have a problem; looking in my diary to see what's in store I found Dec 10th 10.30 am Louise.
The only Louise I recall was my # 1 son's first girl friend at Uni. And she was unforgettable. I've tried all the usual suspects - hair , teeth, hygienist, surgery,feet, eyes,friends - no dice - so I fear i'm going to have to give Louise a miss. If you're out there - Im truly sorry.

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The last of the artefacts

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Something for the week end?

Jacques Brel 1929-1978

This takes me back to Paris in the sixties.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Flippin’ Friday – already!

Busy today – I have to tidy the kitchen - its Sheila’s day to clean it and after -I’m seeing the girls. I bumped into Margaret in the town and she was very down; her house chain has broken and they are back to square one with most of the stuff packed. This week-end is their Golden Wedding so we ( the girls ) have decided to give Margaret a much needed treat with massage , beauty, whatever. It was Joy’s idea she remembered we had done the same when she was having radio-therapy and said it gave her such a boost. I hope it does the same for Margaret.

L'homme est ne libre, et partout il est dans les fers.

Man is born free, and everywhere is in chains

Jean -Jacques Rousseau 1712-1778

I thought you might like to see some of the artefacts – if that’s the right word – that make the cottage at Fremington so pretty. See below – I hope.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Small Carp and a Large Black Bream.

Things weren’t quite the same this time. Yes the welcoming tray with a variety of teas, coffee and a cake were there as usual but the loo in one of the bathrooms wouldn’t flush and it obviously hadn’t been reported. The owner arranged a plumber and by Monday evening it was fixed. Then we found the kitchen pedal bin didn’t work, the blind on the top landing was stuck and outside the door the box for papers and bottles had been left full and too heavy for us to move it to its usual spot outside the garden gate to be collected. We left it there and brought our own bottles home.

This was our third visit in a year so we have grown used to near perfection. Later when we read the visitor’s book it appeared the cottage was in the process of being sold so maybe that accounts for it. It didn’t help that the ‘flu jab had left me with painful arms and fingers and a general feeling of malaise. Then I dropped my glasses and the lens fell out. Enough of the carp!

We had four glorious sunny days and three not too bad. We had a trip to Bideford where a sweet girl in Spec Savers offered to replace my lens even though they weren’t their frames. It was at my own risk as they are quite fragile. She was successful and wouldn’t accept any payment so I’m going to seriously consider SS – at least for reading glasses and sun glasses.

As for the large black bream; after the second recommendation for the Wayfarer’s Inn at Instow we gave it a whirl and were not disappointed – delicious fresh fish and raspberry pavlova. I didn’t feel up to doing long walks but about ¾ of a mile from the cottage would get out of the car and walk home.

See photos below.
View from the bridge - Bideford.

the Wayfarer Inn - Instow

That bream looks happy to me.
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Monday, October 19, 2009


Not quite firing on all cylinders – I blame the ‘flu jab – but it’s just the two of us – visitors gone and a peaceful time to recuperate. Incidentally our French son, who has just left and been a brick as usual, foolishly asked his daughter what she would like him to bring back for her and she wanted an Exmoor pony having seen them on the moor when she was here. I think my poor kids must have had a hard life – no choices - but that’s how it was.

One bit of news that lifted my spirits was that Jimmy is back and Honey’s tumour has shrunk and I’m going to have a special tincture tonight to celebrate. Years ago our son’s FIL gave me some of his eau de vie and when I raved about it promised to make me some. Apparently it has been sitting in our son’s wine cellar for years but at last he has delivered it. Your bonny wee health Jimmy and Honey!

Checking on the house and garden MTL was puzzled to see one of our stone frogs in front of the garage when they are normally on one of the terraces in the front garden. Bending down to pick it up it jumped about 10’ and gave him a fright. We never normally see frogs here. He is not exactly a nature boy – whilst on holiday we were just getting out of the car to have lunch at Instow and – camera at the ready I spotted a butterfly on one of the plants on the sand hills.

Pat (whispering): Darling don’t make a noise I want to catch this butterfly.

Car door slams.

Pat: Bugger!

Turns round to glare at MTL and sees little old lady.

Pat: Sorry!

MTL: You frightened that little old lady!

Actually she gave me a conspiratorial grin and the butterfly came back.

PS The eau de vie – made from cherries - nearly blew my socks off.

PPS. I’m really enjoying a thriller by our own Rashbre. The Triangle is an excellent read.

PPPS. I’ve already had Blogger trouble today and – feeling delicate am not going to attempt links but Jimmy, Honey and Rashbre are all on my side bar. Take a look.

Don’t miss the rest of this post below.

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Isn't Nature just the best designer?

That butterfly!

Our lunch place, complete with look alike Marilyn

I love sandhills - they remind me of when - aged 16, I left home to nurse children at the Royal Manchester Children's Convalescent Home at Lytham St Annes - now no more. The children came from the slums of Manchester and for three
weeks breathed fresh sea air, ate nourishing food and were given loving care. Who knows what some of them went back to?

In draft this script was with the pictures above but Blogger had other ideas. I have full confidence that my highly intelligent readers will sort it.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Still some colour.

It's taken a while but at last the hibiscus is blooming well. Dead heading is fun; you just tap smartly the bud you can see above the flower and it drops off .

The gorgeous penstemon has just appeared from a stem Margaret gave me but the white one Joy gave is a healthy looking bush with no flower as yet.

The autumnal looking one is a plant the nursery was getting rid of because it was on its last legs. Kevin may know the name.

The streptocarpi are descendants of one a dear lady neighbour gave me when we first came. Any of those leaves if stuck in compost will make a healthy plant.

Back in just over a week DV. Keep the faith.

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Sam is back with a dazzling love poem that only she could have written. Take a look.I can't get the link to go to the right page but click on Sam on my side board and you'll be there.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Mid –week Mumbles.

‘Flu jab time. A reminder in case it’s applicable. We had ours yesterday – it’s worked for the last few years. It isn’t for swine ‘flu – just the ordinary common or garden. If you do have it don’t forget to sit quietly for ten minutes afterwards. I once ignored this and felt quite off for the rest of the day.

There was more in the local paper about the making of ‘Lorna Doone’ and the original article said:

“The Doone gang will be represented by 12 men of over 6’in height who have come with the company from London and some farmers from the Exford and Oare districts.

They have been engaged during the present week or so in growing suitable beards to enable them to invest their film roles with the requisite picturesqueness. Captain D Cole of Exford is mounting those of the company who are taking riding parts”.

The riding scenes were certainly authentic and quite thrilling. The harvest scene, which Joy found quite moving, was shot in a wheat field at Oareford which had been left uncut for the film. When Basil Dean – the producer was having difficulty getting sheep to graze in a particular field he was told:

‘Bain’t grazing ground!’

When the locals saw the film at the Regal they had two grumbles: the Doone gang rode so fast no-one could identify their friends and Lorna should have been a black-haired beauty, not a blonde. I was right incidentally - Victoria Hopper with the screechy singing voice, was married to the producer. And there was the lovely black- haired Margaret Lockwood at the beginning of her dazzling career.

We are off to Fremington on Saturday and the day we return our French son arrives which will be lovely. On Friday I’m having a treat - facial, neck and shoulders massage and a head massage which I find blissful. The facial isn’t ideal just before going away as it can bring out impurities but I can always keep my head down.

The Cottage awaits - Fremington

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