Tuesday, 15 January 2013

My Mad Fat Teenage Diary

Interviewed in 2004 Anne Marie Duff said of Shameless 'It was really odd, but at the beginning, we didn't see that it was a comedy. We thought it was quite a gritty drama. Hearing it aloud changed our opinion. At the first read-through, we didn't know if it was OK to find it funny. These people are incredibly resourceful... not in a conventional way, but they are imaginative and loving. They're like animals in the way they protect their own. It doesn't matter how crazy and dark something is as long as there's some love behind it.' 

Watching the first episode of My Mad Fat Teenage Diary I felt the same. Some reviewers loved it (Sam Wollaston for The Guardian), some hated or just didn't get it (Arifa Akbar in The Independent). These 21st century dramas - include Gavin & Stacey in the mix - are so much more than comedy in that they reflect life, real not reality, with all the ups and downs. In all of them the protagonists, heroes or antiheroes, make the best of it; they grin and bear it; crack a joke even if it is on them. And this was exactly what Rae, played with incredible maturity and insightful expression by newcomer Sharon Rooney, did. Absolutely not to be missed! Having read the book reviews on Amazon I have to admit to being intrigued to find out more about the real Rae Earle - I just pressed click to order the book and there is a great interview here! And a nice one with Sharon Rooney at screenterrier blogspot and some  interesting follow up stuff is here
Also really pleased to see that Anne Marie is returning to Shameless for the last episode, though somewhat relieved that it has all ended after an epic decade of writing! and like everyone else, hoping for a glimpse of James McAvoy - I predict he will appear in the final moments!

Monday, 14 January 2013

Wild Places

In The Wild Places Robert Macfarlane writes of a man who spent years - like twenty - studying how sand moves. Today the snow blew in and as I walked I saw how it patterned every surface uniquely. Snow on beech hedges and on holly leaves, snow on laurel and broken grass piercing fresh snow. I watched snow falling on cedars, given special meaning as it is a favourite book, film and audio read of mine, watched snow melting on the tips of hawthorn and felt soft clumps fall from tall pines and brush my shoulder. I was keeping a close eye on the snow because our new Pekin trio arrived at the weekend and they have gone free range for the first time. Finding their way around the garden and in and out of their house was tricky enough before the world turned white. Luckily we  were offered a young cockerel who the hens rely on completely as a compass and guide. It is really funny to watch as the little hens almost fall over themselves to stay as close to him as possible. The snow fell steadily from early morning until late afternoon and tonight sound is muffled by it. Perfect peace.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

A River Runs Through It

Happy New Year! and time to catch up with this neglected blog. Many times I've thought to write but the words got no further than my imagination so there is a bit of catching up to do!
The Autumn was gently eventful with some beautiful days both early and late on. Pics here of the rope swing Ted rigged up on the moor for the boys - at the place he used to play at their age - so sweet!  Lingering nearby this past month has been a lone Egret, blown off course but fishing hapily in the Bulbourne. Also pics of the boys in the park, which has been flooded for months. We find it really exciting to wade slowly through the grassy pools with Scout dashing madly hither and thither.
Driving home from mid Wales in November we were diverted many times as the Severn and Wye were in full spate. Devastating for the local population but an awesome beauty in the roiling, red waters and the power of a landscape transformed by nature. In many places the alders, willows and hazels looked prettily at home in the watery meadows and the vistas, empty of vehicles and people were tranquil. A lttle scary to drive over a bridge as the river ran through it and a henhouse floated by - but the frisson of some essential life force impressed itself on my consciousness. The Wild!

The start of December brought a flurry of snow and a hoar frost that lasted almost a week. Our eight year old Pekin cockerel having pegged out I was worried for our one remaining also aged hen. She moulted dramatically on his demise and looked dreadful. The plumage has now regrown a distinctive, mottled grey and we managed to find a little black hen to keep her company - and warm! This little one is very chatty, runs up to me every time I step out of the door and sits on the porch   tapping on the glass for attention. The not very good picture is of the very old hen and a little robin that also lives in the garden and enjoys a fair share of the mealworms I treat my bantams to! I am hoping to pick up a couple more pekins next week - white wheatens so hope they all settle in together. Meanwhile it is marmalade time again - I had to look out my old recipe here and you can too! Happy New Year!