Saturday 27 September 2014

Films and actors at their best.

My opinion, bien sur. We watched Fargo . . . again, last night. It must be in my top five fave films, fairly near the top two. I don't think I want to see the TV series - no point, really. Why re-make something so perfect?
Above, the most beautifully acted and touching scene in the film: stark contrast to all the dark, dark humour that comes before.

Friday 26 September 2014

Random thoughts

This particular one is a well-visited thought, prompted by an email from a friend, well, her brother, but it made her think too . . . in a random way, this morning.

Have you ever wondered if rocks are actually soft and just tense up when we touch them?

Of course not - don't be daft . . . but, then who's to say. Ezra asked me the other day if plants feel pain when you prune them; I said, 'probably not in the way we do', but then maybe the air is actually filled with inaudible squeaks of botanical discomfort. Should I let the garden do its own thing? - leave nature to decide where to put plants, and what length/height they should be, etc.

Anyway, rock musing.
When driving down a certain stretch of motorway near Perpignan, Ezra and I have often commented on the rocks imprisoned in wire cages: effective barriers no doubt, but there's something tragic about it - all those pieces of flint and river 'galets' suddenly plucked from the soil and hoisted up, to watch for eternity (or, as long as the motorway continues to exist) millions of cars, and to be gradually tarnished with layers of exhaust deposits . . .  sob.
There is one stage worse however: when the cages are then covered with porridge-like concrete. Slow rock suffocation, no view, no air, no sound; even of a lone car zipping past in the wee small hours . . .
Think I need some tea.

Tuesday 23 September 2014

The annual horticultural show

Something I thought might have died out - but no! Alive and going very strong in my childhood town of Wimborne, Dorset, and I hope elsewhere.
My recent trip back coincided with the show so I decided to find out if things had changed much since I had included my Begonia Rex in the show, hoping its glossy leaves and happy disposition might have won me something (back in about 1975).
The years fell away as I entered the hall; nothing had changed, except me. The same curtains, winners' cups, cakes, jam, scary giant blooms and onions, each balanced lovingly on a white paper cardboard pedestal.
I did feel there had been perhaps less enthusiasm in the children's art section - sign of the times, perhaps - sound of old git sighing - me.
Here are a few of the splendiferous edibles and non-edibles on display.

Biggest marrow, longest runner bean, most perfect rose . . . 

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Further, further proof that the world is a mad and dangerous place

On a small domestic level - not talking about all the seriously large stuff going on . . .
During my trip back to the UK, I was overwhelmed in a chemist - so awful this particular shop that I can't recall its name - pink and black with scarily bright lighting. The assistant kept asking me if I wanted to smell Justin Bieber, or at least what he had claimed to be his invented smell. I only went in for a bottle of shampoo; did I look like someone who would want to smell a fragrance fabricated by a waining pop star's publicity team? Really!
Anyway, yes I was overwhelmed by many things: the choice of shampoo, the ton of tacky jewellery, the: have six of these and you can have a seventh quarter price off, and a copy of Prying Into Celebrity Bathrooms; but even more so by the sheer quantities of false eyelashes on sale.
The few (I assume) people who actually waste time gluing hairs onto themselves cannot be vast? Especially in the cute Trumpton-esque town of Wimborne. How many choices do you need?
Big, huge, long, short, Yeti, subtle, small - perhaps you don't possess eyelashes, in which case fair enough, but there were enough possibilities to cover anything: seduction, going shopping for groceries but looking lovely in case you happened to spot someone exciting behind the courgette display; Goth, vampire, Barbi, spaced out, clumped, with jewels/without, messed up ones - really, ones that looked like you had got lost in bed for three days after drinking eighty Tequila slammers and hadn't cleaned off your makeup. Mad.
I bought a small bottle of something for normal hair, (whatever that actually is) paid and escaped without learning what J.B smells like.

Friday 5 September 2014

Building No 43

Water containing construction in conversation with wheelie-bin.

There are many of these concrete water holders dotted about near the villages around here, sometimes decorated with an attractive azure-blue flush that comes from diluting the copper sulphate used to keep mildew at bay on the vines.
I hadn't seen one of these buildings attached to a house before as they usually seem to be on their own at the edge of fields rather than starring as a major part of a village. I wonder if the house owner had liked/minded/had no option about, the idea; the 'Marie' presumably said 'This Is What Is Going To Happen', and it did.
It's obviously serving as a useful shady place to stand and reflect on the notice board featuring, amongst other crucial news, which band will play at the village fete this year: Mission, Abyss, California, Motel, London, Liverpool, Lithium, Cocktail de Nuit, to name but a few; when it's time to start shooting things again, and the new hours for the bread van to pass.

Monday 1 September 2014

Back to school

How I used to hate those words back in the 1970s of my childhood; usually liberally plastered in the windows of W.H Smiths, in the hope of luring parents in to spend a lot of money on new pens, rulers, bags, etc. Nothing much has changed these days except the sheer scale of the luring. In France it may be worse: 'La Rentrée' seems to require new absolutely everything.
So, back to school, or in Ezra's case Lycée.
I can remember that heavy feeling of fear down in my stomach at the thought of walking through those gates again after the carefree days of yakking about music, hanging about in Muswell Hill and the occasional trip up to Oxford Street to dream of buying yellow hot-pants in Chelsea Girl, or sky -blue platform shoes in Stead and Simpson.
Ezra's place of learning is far more calm and civilised than mine was however, and other than trying his hardest to blend in and not be noticed by some of the alarmingly cool, I think there is little to fear; just some scary maths and French hyper-verbs that he will no doubt have forgotten over the freedom weeks.
My personal terrors to face on entering the Bounds Green secondary school were the scary bitch girls with their school uniform dresses hitched up to buttock level, dark mascara eyes and forbidden lipstick. Someone as uncool as me with my jumble sale shoes and unruly hair was always a good target for gibing, especially as I was deemed to have a Posh Accent. The new array of teachers were there to be tested by the most violent members of the class; a victory if one could be made to break down in tears: ahhh, happy days.
At a 'Vide Grenier' (car boot sale) the other day, I found a copy of a book I remember from my infants school, before the time of the jostling junior school and the afore-mentioned hell of the Secondary establishment. My 'infants' school was a far cry from the pictures in the ladybird book of Going to School, although I do remember the morning milk break and the class hamster. The playground certainly didn't resemble the smiling scene in this book and there was, without doubt, some early dealing going on, if only for sweets.

Here is the rather wonderful Preface to the book, first published 1959.

In this book are illustrated all the interesting and enjoyable activities which day-to-day make school such a happy experience, and with its help parents can ensure that their children will eagerly anticipate what lies ahead.