Saturday, 6 February 2016


My task for this afternoon was meant to be tidying my desk and, believe me, it would take all afternoon; there's going to be a nasty avalanche before long and there's some rather expensive art books teetering on the top of the pile. But despite my best intentions, I got distracted by this excellent drama about the summer of 1953 when Winston Churchill was incapacitated by a stroke - and not even his Cabinet could be allowed to know. There's a wonderful cast - Michael Gambon and Lindsay Duncan as Winston and Clementine - and some lovely scenes on location at Chartwell that made me want to visit again. I didn't realise until after I'd watched it that it is based on this novel by Jonathan Smith - who wrote Wilfred and Eileen, another true story, and Summer in February which I was meaning to read but didn't get around to. Well, that explained why I couldn't place the character of Millie Appleyard, the Labour-voting nurse who encouraged Churchill back to health (at least, sufficient health to postpone retirement for another 18 months). It was nagging at me why I'd never heard of her ... turns out she's a fictional character (Romola Garai with a slightly unconvincing working-class accent). The novel seems to have been published originally as The Churchill Secret KBO  - as in Keep Buggering On. I rather like that; but I can see why they changed it ... before the penny dropped I was thinking, 'Secret KBE????' Definitely recommended; on ITV in a few weeks' time.

As I was watching, I was nibbling on a bar of this chocolate. Did I say nibbling? Yes, me ...the person who hardly ever buys chocolate as I could demolish a bar of fruit and nut in minutes. Do I even believe that raw chocolate is a superfood ... sounds a bit too good to be true! But this 85% chocolate is so intense that I've managed to save half a bar until tomorrow ... I think this is a personal first!

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