Wednesday 30 June 2021

I'm enjoying the epic Hemingway series on BBC4, especially the contributions from Edna O'Brien whose beautiful voice I could listen to all day. She makes me wants to read the books again.

Tuesday 29 June 2021

Spent a happy rainy afternoon today in the tiny Jermyn Street Theatre (where the seats are actually comfortable!) watching this very engaging play about Amy Johnson, about whom I realise I knew absolutely nothing other than that she was a flyer and died in mysterious circumstances. Who knew she worked in ladies'knickers in Peter Jones? Silks and satins! After my boring summer in knickers in British Home Stores many years ago - stretch cotton and saucy messages - I felt quite a bond. And I once had a flying lesson!

Thursday 17 June 2021

I'm so looking forward to tomorrow and not only because it'll be my first ballet performance in more than a year ... but the thought of lovely air-conditioning at the Royal Festival Hall! For the first few days post-lockdown, I went everywhere - and rather wore myself out! You'd think it all had to be accomplished in a week! The Alice exhibition at the V&A was enormous fun, worth going for the Mad Hatter's tea table alone - and who wouldn't enjoy virtually tumbling down the rabbit hole - even if I did turn out to be completely rubbish at catching hedgehogs and hurling them through croquet hoops.
And Hockney's The Arrival of Spring: Normandy, 2020 was a joyous reminder that pandemic or not, life goes on and lovely things happen. But then came those days and days of biblical downpours - and the realisation that I wouldn't make it as far as the bus stop without getting soaked to the skin. And lethargy set in ... Still, that didn't last and here I am back again and moaning that I'm too hot! I spent a lovely afternoon here sitting under a tree with my book, watching the dragonflies and a family of six tireless ducklings swimming round and round -
And I've discovered a new-to-me ice cream stand on the river (outside Riverside Studios) which is very good indeed, if not quite as good as Gelupo. Marmalade and sour dough highly recommended, but not quite hitting the heights of Gelupo's pear and blackberry crumble. I am rather appalled at how much financial support I have given to the ice cream industry this week and wonder if Boris might consider a Slurp Up to Help Out initiative. Still, I felt I deserved ice-cream after a sunny afternoon on a very uncomfortable chair with Samuel Beckett. I've always been timid about dipping my toe into Beckett, assuming that he's 'difficult' but I saw Lisa Dwan some years ago in a shattering adaptation of this book - one of the best performances I've ever seen on stage - and she's the renowned Beckett interpreter, mentored by the famous Billie Whitelaw ... so this was my chance. Happy Days seemed almost topical, Dwan - who is six months pregnant - gave a virtuoso performance as Winnie, incarcerated up to her waist in a sand dune - and if I rose only partly to the occasion, it was only because I was too damn hot (and those chairs!). Didn't flag for a second though at The Father, which I knew would be good - but this wasn't just good, it was heart-wrenchingly terrifying as the audience is drawn into Anthony Hopkins's confusion, never quite knowing what is really happening, what happened in the past and what is a figment of Alzheimer's. Word of warning, though - if this is close to home, it could be very distressing. What a terrific run of post-lockdown films we're getting - and what a shame that, apart from a good socially-distanced turn-out for In the Heights, the audiences, at least in my experience, have been out-numbered by front of house staff.

Friday 4 June 2021

London was buzzing last night. Warm. balmy evening - lots of people out and about - everybody in a sunny mood. It was our first night out in the West End since before Christmas - no point when everything was closed - and it felt quite exciting seeing the city lights again and just being out! In the Heights turned out to be a perfect summer movie. It's no West Side Story - the storyline is feeble - and to be honest, it's a good half hour too long: our interest was flagging by the end. But we wanted something lively and colourful and energetic and it hit the spot. How do you juggle popcorn, mask and a beer though????