Saturday 28 January 2017

Future predictions?

While watching (as much as I could stand) of Mr Trump's inauguration day speech my mind wandered back to the very brilliant Back to the Future 2.
The person who made this excellent mash-up, and many other people (glanced through Google images just now) have obviously thought the same thing as the director back in 1985.

Did Zemeckis have a premonition?

Wikipedia images

Saturday 21 January 2017

Things of absolutely no consequence

But with a certain weird satisfaction.
Anyone who has followed this blog may have come across various posts on the subject of our kettle.
Bought in a vide-grenier (car-boot sale) about ten years ago it has continuously been a functional and heart-warming object in our kitchen.
The original knob dropped off soon after we acquired it and then followed a procession of different objects to act as replacements: a brass curtain finial, a lead policeman, a metal greyhound, corks and so on. The latest, an ancient lead sheep, has been tied on about four times with the wire from a Blanquette (champagne-like substance from this region) cork, but the cork eventually perishes, or the wire snaps.
Mark is still insisting that the sheep is good and that the wire has to be recycled from the cork chosen for the job, rather than using a longer piece from a roll of wire. I told you this post was of little or no consequence . . . but I felt like writing about something small, cosy and homely when such unknown and unbelievable enormities are currently filling our Guardian screen startup page.


                                               tools for the job

                                    satisfied craftsman


                                             Sheep reigns again

Monday 16 January 2017

He's behind you . . .

Oh, no he's not . . . yes he is! etc.

I've never overly loved pantomime but for the last few years we've been going to an off-beat, eccentric production in the small Southern French town of Chalabre, and gradually getting involved in it - a few musical numbers, a few more, Mark doing all the music, and this year, me playing a character in a loose adaptation (very clever and poignant one) of Alice in Wonderland.
I've never acted before, sung on stage yes, but learning lines and saying them in the right order and knowing enough of the other person's lines to not come in at the wrong place is . . . challenging for the old memory banks.
It was a wonderful process to see all the scenery and costumes coming together, especially as this is a no-budget production: everyone finding and making what they can. This year for the first time the panto was put on in the little theatre of the village, not the large attic space in the house of one of the actors, which was good but odd though - less intimate, a more serious, slightly less magical feel to the proceedings.
The play was acted by both French and English folk, and was watched by both French and English folk, and, although the majority of the parol was in English, it didn't seem to matter at all - such is the power of visual silliness!
The director/writer (Pete Newbury) is suggesting that this could be the last panto he puts on (TONS of work) but I hope his script-writing brain starts chugging away before too long, and in time for another festive highlight to this drab part of the year . . .

Me on the right as the White Queen (cockney)






Thursday 12 January 2017

Minor discoveries

So small that no one else would be remotely interested, except our dogs and maybe the other members of my family.
For about three years we have been making the short drive up to the 'runnies field' not runny as in something custard-like, as in an extension of 'walkies'. Our dogs - greyhounds - need to run, even if only after each other and finding a safe space to do this was a tad challenging. We now have a 'menu' of runnies fields where farmers don't seem to mind dogs hurtling over their pastures, and roads are far enough away (these dogs don't seem to notice any form of vehicle, even if bearing down on them).
So, the minor discovery . . .
Where we park at the most visited field, there is a stone arch with various weather-mangled signs reading 'keep out' and 'beware, mines' etc, attached to the surrounding trees. As I've never seen anyone on this piece of land and an arch (naturally) invites one to step through . . . we did so.
Nothing happened; we didn't get blown up, or fall into a shaft (depending on the mine) but we (I) -dogs not being overly interested in views - did see the familiar landscape from a whole new visual perspective.
I've only observed the river Aude from standing on the banks and looking left or right along its length; now it was visible as if from a plane coming in to land, or almost resembled a lake banked by winter plane trees.



We walked all around the odd hillock of land which appeared to be a cross between a place of leisure (now abandoned) and a storage place for building materials - small piles of marble off-cuts, tiles, posts, and most odd, a large granite sarcophagus complete with massive carved cross.
It was faintly creepy - the whole place. I turned a few times half-expecting a David Lynch film crew, me an unwitting 'extra'.


Saturday 7 January 2017

Things of unexpected beauty

An ancient bottle of Blanc de blancs provence wine from our friends' new house's wine cellar.
I asked if I could have it - not to drink as it would probably be somewhat less than quaffable by now, but just to add to our collection of many other peculiar objects. It now graces our mantle-piece, a slightly ethereal glowing object enrobed in dust from many decades. I particularly like the delicate rusted wire and 1970s? typeface.
The previous house-owners had left about a hundred bottles of white, red and rosé, sadly most of it undrinkable, but there were a few bouvable gems such as a couple of good Bordeaux wines that were meant to be stored and some 'marc' - battery-acid strength grappa-type stuff, but most of it should have been drunk within the first few years of storage. Odd as they were 'vignerons' - wine growers . . .

Friday 6 January 2017

Once more into the box dear friends . . .

That odd time of year - after all the tinsely, twinkly stuff, now faced with a balding Christmas tree, drifts of needles and the dawning of a new year.
This morning I took the cards down and disrobed the tree, bringing out the cardboard box where all the decorations live throughout the year in the attic, apart from a brief couple of weeks. Sentimental - me . . . nah! Yes, actually. It's not so much the tree and all the bits, it's the memories of each Christmas, the buying of the tree, the gentle arguing about the best way of keeping it upright and then the searching for the ceremonial box with its bizarre and not-at-all Interiors Magazine collection of baubles and hand-made things.
A friend of ours over the road (hello Lisa) has a little extra family ceremony each December - the kids (now grown up) still go out with her and choose a new dec for the tree. I thought that was rather touching so we did the same. Our choice, the same as one of her kids - a small, glittery seal pup (nicely eccentric) in photo below - also in the picture, another old favourite: a 50s pink bauble from Mark's mother's old collection and a small festive cardboard house which was made by a friend's (hello Kim and Ella) daughter in the UK (now 25? or so).
I would never want to dispatch these oddities in favour of a themed 'this year's' colour or something else more tasteful; Christmas wouldn't be quite the same.

Sunday 1 January 2017

Happy, productive and positive New Year

Yes, 2016 had its moments . . . some of which are coming to further fruition (rather mildewed fruition): a neon-haired, totally-unsuitable person takes office in the USA, and an unclear, Europe, or no-Europe, and 'how long will any possible process take' thing for the UK.
New Year's resolutions . . . they never really work but I'll try for: being more in the moment - making each day count, less procrastination, and encouraging us to making a guilt free house  - less, 'Oh, no you didn't break another teapot,' or 'well, it was you who had the car key last'. This stuff is wearing and unnecessary; we all make mistakes, break things and lose things. I believe there are people somewhere on the planet who don't have a word for blame - 'oh, the teapot broke' or 'okay, let's all have a look for the car key', I don't know where they are, these people but I salut them and wish them also a happy and contented New Year.
So, today, after a small and contained party last evening, I'm briefly alone, the men folk and dogs out on a hike; the sun is shining like a mad thing, there are chickens gathering on all the window sills as in Hitchcock's masterpiece, and I'm feeling good - cue, who was that song by, must check youtube/Spotify . . . No, I will curb the urge and finish the list of jobs, happy 2017 phone calls, and then get back to Chapter 5 in my latest writing project.

Image for the first day of 2017: a small, well-looked after, bright blue, perky boat. May we all feel as sea-worthy/river-worthy for the majority of the coming months.