Saturday, 2 January 2021

Happy New Year! Anyone else holding off from buying a new diary? Let's just say that I'm not exactly having any difficulty keeping track of my social engagements/walks in the park. The V&A obligingly e-mailed yesterday to cancel next week's birthday outing to their handbag exhibition and invited me to make a new booking - but when? Were there any highlights of 2020? Oh, the years when I was spoiled for choice and couldn't decide! But looking back from the doldrums of Tier 4 at the heady freedom of summer and autumn in Tier 2, I should have been clapping on the doorstep for all those in the arts who went the extra mile to give us a bit of the old normal. Mrs Miniver's Rose-Bowl Award goes to the Bridge Theatre for a most inventive Christmas Carol and for the best-designed social distancing in a public space I've experienced all year. We don't normally have a music award and Mrs M has cloth ears but the Royal Philharmonic reduced me to tears of gratitude for being out at a live performance at this lovely concert. I'm splitting the visual arts prize between the National Gallery - I wasn't quite first in the door, but I was there on the first day! - and the V&A whose exquisite kimono exhibition would have been a winner any year. Not forgetting Feast and Fast at the Fitzwilliam, Cambridge - what a day that was, gilded peacock pies and a train ride out of London! Rather to my surprise, I see that I've been to the cinema 13 times, but that was a flurry at the start of the year. I think I'll give the cinema rose-bowl to London Film Festival for going ahead and to Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci for Supernova. But I don't know what's happened to my reading mojo this year. So much time ... so little to show for it. Hilary Mantel still gathering dust. No improving classics challenges. Some book-group stinkers (My Sister, the Serial Killer - more flat-pack literature from our creative writing schools). But I enjoyed Elizabeth Goudge's The White Witch - a good, old-fashioned historical novel that reminded me how much I loved her books in my teens; Dinner with Edward (Isabel Vincent)made me long for an Edward of my own and if he were still alive, he'd be the ideal vulnerable friend with whom to bubble with his perfect Martinis and apricot soufflés - an immensely cheering book if you're getting very tired of your own cooking! I enjoyed The Binding, rather to my surprise as I don't do fantasy but maybe this was the year for it; in the British Library women writers series, I couldn't resist Tea is so Intoxicating - wonderful title, but the book proved rather feeble (and there wasn't even much cake!). I'm appalled that I didn't even manage a book a week which isn't like me - but have binge-watched whole TV series in a single afternoon. But , hey, I bought my first bunch of daffodils yesterday - even if they do look slightly odd paired with the red roses that have lasted since before Christmas. I spotted several clumps of primroses the other day, though oddly no snowdrops yet. And on Lockdown Day 276 - I finally got around to clearing that cupboard. One hour to do the job; but I had thought about it very hard indeed for at least two years. Hope you are all well and hope that normal service will one day be resumed when I have something to write about!

12 comments:

Lucille said...

Happy New Year Mary. I seized on one of your recommendations and have Dinner with Edward in my trolley along with Wintering, on the strength of its ubiquity. Have you read it? I’m having cold feet about it. I’m back with the sourdough and jigsaws. It’s going to be a long winter.

Mary said...

Happy New Year, Lucille. No, I haven't read Wintering - I do love the cover, but I've had it with slow living and hibernation! I've resisted sourdough as I'd only eat it!
Hope you enjoy Dinner with Edward - vicarious eating without the calories!

Vronni's Style Meanderings said...

Happy New Year, Mary!

Your cultural activities for 2020 are most impressive!

I've done the Mary Quant exhibition and a Eric Ravilious exhibition at my local museum; a few NT properties and gardens and some non NT gardens; a couple of movies and a NT production of a Shakespeare whose title escapes me now. But I have read plenty!
xxx

Mary said...

Happy New Year, Vronni - yes, the NT deserve a special award for being the first to open their sparkling clean loos after lockdown!
And they're still open, even in Tier 4. I owe them my first sighting of primroses, too.

Cosy Books said...

Happy New Year, Mary!
We won't see daffodils or primroses here for months but one of my lemon trees is full of ripe fruit and another was full of aromatic blossoms recently. Would a lemon for a daffodil be a fair trade?

Mary said...

That would be a very acceptable swap, Darlene - and I'll throw in a robin as well. Of course, you know I'd manage to kill off the lemon tree within a couple of weeks! I've given up accepting cuttings from friends as it's too shaming.
Happy new year again!

Pam said...

Oh, I have some snowdrops flowering in my Edinburgh garden. It probably depends on the variety. I've just read "Girl, Woman, Other" because it was our book group read and it was much better than I expected. (I mean, it won the Booker so it was obviously going to have merits, but I don't always exactly love Booker winners...) Happy New Year, or maybe As Happy As Possible In The Circs New Year.

Mary said...

Thanks, Pam - and it's my birthday today too! Not the most exciting one I've ever spent! Girl, Woman, Other didn't appeal to me - but you're the second person this week who has said it was better than expected, so maybe I should give it a try - like you, I'm wary of Booker winners. Of course, this meant that I was the last person to read Wolf Hall- but there's always an exception!
Happy New Year to you, too - how I'd love a stroll around Edinburgh, just for a change!

Lucille said...

Happy Birthday to you on the 6th - also my mum’s birthday. Dinner with Edward is appetising but I did pull up short when I heard that he’d taken over the cooking from Paula because she’d slogged away for 50 something years feeding the troops and then he swanned in with his apron on and a tea towel over his shoulder to show her how it should really be done. I mean I might be making that attitude up but it is a thing.

Mary said...

Thanks, Lucille - the most sedate birthday ever! Yes, that is a very male style of cooking - 50 years of mince and potatoes or whatever and then in he swans with soufflés and cocktail shaker! Still, I'd be happy right now with anything I hadn't cooked myself.

Pam said...

Oh, happy belated birthday too. We had a wander round Edinburgh yesterday and it was fairly empty. And closed. I'd like to go to Sissinghurst!

Mary said...

Oh, I haven't been to Sissinghurst for years - that would be a real treat!