Friday, 29 July 2016


Can't give too much away, having seen a very early preview of Churchill - filming only finished four weeks ago -  except to say that I was completely riveted and expect a slew of Oscars next year. Brian Cox is Churchill, at odds with Monty and Eisenhower in the final countdown to D-Day; Miranda Richardson is excellent as Clemmie. It won't be in cinemas until the NewYear - but it's worth the wait.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016


It's amazing what you find on-line when you're looking for something else. I've been wanting to see this 1946 film for ages - it's one of my favourite Dorothy Whipples - but never tracked it down before. Original quest forgotten, I had the kettle on in a jiffy.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016



I'm completely engrossed by the nuances of moral compromise in occupied France...



But less so by Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan novels now that the focus has shifted away from Lila and 'the neighbourhood' and is more political. I've finished book 3 but I'm flagging, losing track of who's who and not sure I care enough to continue. Should I press on to discover the mystery of Lila's disappearance which is where it all began about 1200 pages ago? I feel disappointed with myself as a reader because I so loved the first book, don't really want to abandon these characters after living with them for so long - but maybe it's time to part. Has anybody else made it to the end?

No question of giving up on Bordeaux. I can't wait for the next one.

Pleaseexcusethedodgyspacingandifyou'reevertemptedtofiddlearoundinsideyourspacebar,allIcansayis,'Don't.'NormalservicewillberesumedwhenI'veboughtanewkeyboard.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

The River Thames and Kew Bridge with Brentford Eyot in the Foreground, JMW Turner

On my walk this afternoon I came across the house - now a pub - where JMW Turner lived with his uncle, a local butcher, during his childhood. This is where he began painting. I sat in the garden (so much for walking!) with a glass of cider and my book, looking over the weir and thinking of young JMW learning to paint.There is still a tiny artists' colony on the canal nearby.  Whenever I'm by the canal, I remember the Idle Women, who weren't idle at all, the 'land girls of the canals' who chugged up and down here during the war. Emma Smith told their story in Maidens' Trip, now a Persephone title - but this book is far better.

Sue has corrected me: Persephone republished not Maidens' Trip but another title by Emma Smith, The Far Cry. (Lingering unread for the past several years on my bookshelf-of-shame but one of these days I'll get round to it...)

Monday, 4 July 2016


Mustang is sweet and life-affirming and shocking and heart-breaking - and far and away the best film I have seen this year.

Thursday, 30 June 2016


Wandering through the City this afternoon, I went into a church that I'd never visited before ...
and thought, Wow!

And then I continued my walk, and went into another, and another ...

And wondered why, when I worked in the City many years ago, I was so much more familiar with its pubs than its churches.



              

There was some wonderfully kitsch glass, that reminded me of John Hinde postcards. And in the same church, St Sepulchre's, a wind orchestra was playing the music that always reminds me of 1960s teatimes and Desmond Morris and Zoo Time.

And then I walked a bit further and admired these snazzy stockings but you really must have gold shoes with pompoms to go with them.

One short walk. Eight churches, mostly Wren. One Henry Moore altar. Lots of history.

Best city in the world.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

              
As I entered the exhibition, I thought, 'Ooohh, this looks fabulous.' Missoni Art Colour ... doesn't it sound wonderful.

Alas, no. The gimmicky lighting design meant that as soon as you focused on something, the lights went out ... then they came on again, and you'd have a few seconds to look ... then off they went again. And yes, visitors are complaining about it, agreed the nice girl from the museum. But it's not supposed to be an exhibition, it's an installation, she said. I think possibly people might like to have that pointed out before they spend £9 to get in. Because this is all you get. That's it. What you see in this picture. That's the exhibition. Along with some knitted patchwork tapestries on the opposite wall.



I've loved pretty well every Fashion Museum exhibition that I've ever seen. But this one was scrappy and lazy. No labels. Well, you couldn't have seen them in the dark. You can ask to see a laminated sheet with the dates of the garments but it is written in the tiniest font that I have ever seen. I'd have struggled with it 30 years ago! The message was clearly, if you're so middle-aged and boring that you care about dates, well, have a squint at this and good luck ...

Barely worth the detour and definitely not worth a special trip. But the next exhibition is 1920s Jazz Age ... and that does sound good.

It wasn't a wasted afternoon. I did have to pass through Borough Market for the best salted caramel honeycomb doughnut on the planet.