My three personal picks:
The Word Is Murder – Horowitz
The Sparsholt Affair – Hollinghurst
Why We Sleep – Walker
At present I am doing at least 63 jobs to keep the wolves from the door. One of these is helping out a Garden Historian friend who has a business called HaHaHopscotch, which helps bring the past alive for children through the re-creation of past childhood games. Last weekend we participated in the St George’s Festival in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens organised by the Vauxhall Trust.
Children were gathered together and had various races and games: (wooden) egg and spoon, three – legged race, tug of war, sack race, wheelbarrow race, hoop and stick , battlecock and shuttledore and others. The children were all great – enthusiastic and well behaved and came in a variety of ages and heights. Although discipline is a bit harder when you don’t know their names, children do seem to get along really well when they don’t know each other, and older ones are very kind and caring with younger ones. As can be seen from the photo, this Mum who grew up in Burundi was a whizz with a hoop and stick. A fine time was had by all.
Details can be found here: HAHAHOPSCOTCH
Right – got that out of the way.
It has to be to its upmost credit that the production at the Donmar Warehouse held my attention for three hours as I was very, very tired. I think a lot of that has to do with the intimacy of the venue where you can pretty much touch the actors, or feel as if you can even in the Circle, and a superb cast. Take the first scene. I happily watched it but only got hold of a little bit of plot exposition and character relations plus a few witticisms, whilst remaining lost on about 80% of the conversation between the two friends talking in a coffee house.
I better add here that
Despite having a keen interest in this play with its North Yorkshire setting (I grew up not far from York), I have never seen or read it. My expectations were high as the reviews had been glowing, and I had taken part in one of the Donmar’s Open Workshops on it the morning of the day I had seen it
– and a big plug here for the Workshop which was excellent and a huge thank you to Lynette Linton for running it with such infectious enthusiasm –
but I have to say ultimately I was left slightly disappointed, without quite
(Probably best to skip/skim read the second paragraph)
My favourite film, in the sense that it is the film closest to my heart and affects me on a personal level like no other, is Ingmar Bergman’s Fanny and Alexander.
Scandinavian 19th century drama has fascinated me since I studied Drama at university, and my love of it led me into the theatre and film world of Bergman. In my twenties I had a tendency
I know I could set the cat amongst the pigeons with the above photo having added lettuce and lemon, but I could not find a photo I could use with just the fingers and bread. I could have gone out and bought the ingredients for a photo shoot in my kitchen….but it’s cold outside. (Shame on me for not having any already in the freezer and this being north-east London I only have wholegrain bread)
I’m still riding high on my new job which is working backstage on
Let’s make it clear.
I do not watch Strictly every week. I do not record it and watch it over Monday and Tuesday evenings. I do not spend Tuesday and Wednesday mornings reading Heidi Stephens’s “Strictly As It Happened“ blog in the Guardian. I do not watch It Takes Two up to four times a week. I do not think about it as I am going to sleep or in my yoga class on a Monday evening. I do not go to the toilet in the middle of the night and get back into bed thinking about it.
Right. Just wanted to be clear.
So this week was hard. Tears over Jonnie whom I have secretly wanted to win but knew he wouldn’t. He has been a gentleman and a gentle man. Laid back, reserved but at ease with himself, and rather than showing an ambition to win as you would expect from an athlete, just wanting to learn and get a bit better each week. And he got to Blackpool and what an exit. His final thank you to the judges for treating him as an equal to all the other contestants was so moving. I don’t use the word of people very much, but he is an inspirational man. And when the gorgeous livewire Oti (who will partner me when I go on Strictly) said being with him had been life changing, who would doubt that. Seeing his surgeon who amputated his leg, and his friend from school who had pushed him in his wheelchair (because as Jonnie said, he – his friend – needed someone to be his friend) dancing in front of them were great moments. How they must have felt watching him dance is hard to imagine. I am so going to miss watching him.
So who are we left with?
Professional dancer Alexandra Burke. Not the brightest light in the house. She can stop the tears and telling us it was the hardest dance yet. I’m hoping people will get bored with her as she’s only had one score out of the 30’s since the beginning. And there’s no warmth between her and Gorka, the most beautiful man in the world.
Debbie McGee. Well on age I think she is amazing but she is a trained ballerina. But I love her with Giovanni (“Deb-eh”). They seem genuinely to adore each other, but sadly no romance. I struggled with the Spice Girl episode which frankly was a bit weird. Tess did say Geri had sent her a message but we never heard what the message was…pause for thought…
Joe McFadden. I thought he was a bit vacant but I have really grown to like him. He is a bit like a big puppy and comes across as genuine. I love it when they are all waiting to hear who is through to the following week and everyone looks like they are about to mount the scaffold except Joe who just can’t hold back a grin at the camera.
Gemma Atkinson. She’s Northern so a superstar by default. Prejudices aside she never has make-up in the VT’s which is sweet and I think she is the real dark horse. She’s a grafter. I’d like her to win. And she and Aljaz are hilarious together.
Davood Ghadami. Now he really annoyed me at the beginning as I thought he was full of himself but as time has gone on I have realised he is just very serious – nay intense – and now he has not only lightened up but is proving himself a grand dancer. I did have a problem with his James Bond shirt in Blackpool, though Tess and the judges obviously didn’t.
Mollie King. Not the greatest dancer but she’s had a really hard time to fight on psychologically after two dance-offs. I like the fact she’s so attractive and admits to finding it hard to be sexy in the Latin numbers. She and AJ are like Von Trapp siblings.
Susan Calman. Oh Susan we all love you. Well most of us. You and Kevin are a match made in heaven. Part of me thinks it should have been you and not Jonnie. What does Saturday hold for us to see???
Yes Aston’s gone but he’s setting up a dance school which is brilliant.
Yes we need to talk about Shirley. I like her but her scoring is a bit odd. Once you have Craig’s you can generally work out Darcey’s and Bruno’s. But she does throw in quite a few from leftfield. There’s a lot of pressure on her and I don’t think she’s comfortable in the role yet. She needs to do another series.
Some of my favourite bits that spring to mind:
“It’s hard for the man”
Eammon Holmes and son in every week till Ruth was out
Claudia’s and Tess’s dresses
Darcey’s earrings and Shirley’s glasses
Celebrities who get motion sickness spinning
“I’ve got a friend for life.”
I’d probably enjoy Strictly if I ever watched it.