Sunday, 30 September 2012

Room at the Top

I'm watching Room at the Top with the fabulous Maxine Peake. Better I thought than Simone Signoret in the 1959 classic, though she won an Oscar for it. I think I found the classic Penguin edition on my dad's bookshelf around 1970. He did read some good books! Funny how a young girl like Susan can be totally 'in love' (whatever that means.....') and not notice that her lover is not in love with her. I guess we have all been there. We think we can make them fit the story. Poor Susan doesn't even understand a good story when he tells it to her, which is rather a good ploy to discourage our empathy for her. And Joe isn't quite the angry young man of the Braine novel, in fact he's a bit soft, but Matthew Mcnulty matches Laurence Harvey in a sort of new mannish way. It's Maxine that makes it though; watch it for her tough, tender, bittersweet rendition of a more mature but poignant and hapless love.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Richard Brautigan

I thought I was off the wall with my  love of Richard Brautigan novels. As a nineteen year old art student I read them in the seventies but no one ever seemed to have heard of him. Simple, beautiful, deeply meaningful novels and poems, a Beat but never quite on the record. More zen than The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, he apparently did have a huge following in the US.  and a smaller niche one over here - someone nicked my collection of his books before the decade ended.Now Jarvis Cocker has caught up with his fan base and his daughter Ianthe in 'Messy Isn't It?' The Life and Times of Richard Brautigan on Radio 4. Unfortunately iPlayer is baaad at keeping content for more than a week so  I listened at 11.30 before the programme disappears into the ether. As a bonus I found a great archive and discovered plenty of 'out of prints' on Amazon. I have been recommending for the past forty years so hope that there will now be a revival.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Wells Next the Sea

Last day of coasteering we spent in Wells Next the Sea and we'll definitely be back. Perfect seaside, wide sandy bay, pretty beach huts, and sand dunes to nestle in. The geography of this coast with its sand bars and shingle spits is fascinating and dangerous. The coast from Cromer to Hunstanton is backed by creeks and salt marshes, everywhere are avid bird/ seal/ dophin watchers. We saw one seal from Blakeney Point while we ate our cod & chips!  On the horizon Sheringham wind farm; I like it but why has it been funded and built by Norway and not team GB?
Inland, fields of apricot gold barley and stands of dark Scots pine. Very quiet and quite beautiful.

Saturday, 15 September 2012


Tomorrow I walk in beautiful Wendover Woods for The Altzheimer's Society. This week we spent a lovely Autumn day in Southwold where John Betjeman wrote a poem to his friend Mary Wilson wife of the former Prime Minister. The linking article enlightened  and the poem she wrote to mark his passing from Altzheimer's moved me.

"My love you have stumbled slowly
On the quiet way to death
And you lie where the wind blows strongly
With a salty spray on its breath
For this men of the island bore you
Down paths where the branches meet
And the only sounds were the crunching grind
Of the gravel beneath their feet
And the sighing slide of the ebbing tide
On the beach where the breakers meet."

Along the length of the pier are dedications of the sort you often see on seaside benches and which I always read feeling something akin to affection. Now in her nineties Mary lives quietly in Westminster where I suspect she still writes poetry...


Friday, 14 September 2012

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...

Just back from a little trip up the east coast - Suffolk and Norfolk. Big seas then big skies. Called in at Snape. I love the old Maltings. Which do you prefer? No prizes for guessing my favourite. And then to Thorpeness, a place so close to Sizewell that I had always shied away. It was however an amazing find, a gem. Its creator is by turns called an eccentric and a philantropist. It started to rain just as we reached the boating lake which was a disappointment, but I think we will be back.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Beautiful broad beans, lush lettuces

The Indian Summer continues and all the veggies that crashed early in the year are on top form. Sunshine in March, a heatwave in April followed by an unremittingly cold, wet May & June meant no beetroot or radishes but broad beans and lettuce have been excellent and we are now on the second crop; I am also trying for late beetroot on a second sowing. The lettuce is so sweet we are eating daily - and don't they look pretty?
Partied last night and met lots of old friends - how we change, and yet stay the same. And how time passes if we don't grasp it - seize the day!

Thursday, 6 September 2012


Glued to Parade's End on BBC2, mostly looking at Adelaide Clemens pretty face and perfect hair. The best cut ever. Have to watch PE though to see from all angles and the fab movement. Wish I was 19 again and had half the nous I have today (at 19 I had none whatsoever.) Talented and dogged - and, well, gorgeous.
Still haven't found out who her hairdresser is but this is the pic my hairdresser is looking at! And here is another fascinating interview. 

Monday, 3 September 2012

A Royal Affair

Today was a clear blue sky day with the fresh hint of Autumn in the air. The garden was full of boys having a last crazy Play-In before school on Wednesday. Joyful. First September in 28 years without school for me : the beautiful weather contributed to a sense of muted elation. New (part-time, I can lunch too!) job starts at the end of the month and feeling excited. 
Evenings are drawing in and tonight we have a beautiful gibbous moon, flame red, and by nine o'clock the sky is black. So last night we cosied in at the Rex watching A Royal Affair starring the gorgeous Mads Mikkelsen and Alicia Vikander. Big shame the seats were not full as it is not to be missed. My heart skipped many beats and I will now be trawling through films I have overlooked featuring 'Denmark's sexiest man' while awaiting his next release The Hunt, though that might take some sitting through, given the subject matter.