It comes to something when the most excitement you experience over a month is the purchase of a new Hoover – but the carpet was looking a little like the floor of the Care Home in which my beloved Mum ended her days. Crumb-bestrewn. In my defence it must be said that I do not have either a Dining Room or space for a table in my microscopic kitchen, so I eat perched on my sitting room sofa in front of a small folding table – from which vantage point I can view “ANTIQUES ROADSHOW” or “CORONATION STREET” or whatever takes my fancy while I shovel in food – paying more attention to the telly than the eating process (as you do) resulting in the creation of Crumb City. My excellent cleaner, Keef, does a brilliant job destroying this with his Heavy Duty HENRY – but Keef only comes once a fortnight and Things Build Up. Which is why I have a non-heavy-duty, light-weight thingy I use for spot-cleaning. This useful tool died a week ago. Well, it was certainly dead by the time Jim had disembowelled it to try to find the source of its problems (the main symptom of which was that it no longer worked when switched on and powered-up) and declared it beyond the help of Hobbit-Care. This might have been because he wasn’t sure how to re-assemble it but either way a new hoover-purchase was indicated.
I found just what I wanted in Curry’s Sale, took it from its display point and heaved it over to a salesperson who looked at it and then spent some time on his keyboard only to tell me that the Computer Said No. And it said No because this particular, sale-price model, was no longer in stock in ANY of Curry’s outlets. And not expected to be in stock again until next March, if then. So why put it on display, I politely asked? “We have to,” he said.
There is no arguing with logic, so I chose another one which he obligingly carried to the car for me, and I have to say it performs its duties quite satisfactorily, so that is the end of the exciting news for this month.
I lie, of course. I am also, now, the proud possessor of one of those ‘Lifeline’ things you hang round your neck in case you fall and break your back in the shower. In the event of such a catastrophe you just press the little button and all the staff from the local Age-Concern come tearing round to help you, together with the local cops and an ambulance.. Or something. The nice chap who fitted it all up for me said “This is a valuable tool which we hope you never have to use.” Too right.
So all that was a bit exciting too – not quite as exciting as the purchase of the hoover, but close. Anyway, those of us with (or without) Polymyalgia cannot be too careful – apparently the condition can make you dizzy. That’s if you have it – which in my case is still Not Proven.
In the meantime I am taking vast doses of Vitamin D – which appears to be helping. I will keep you posted on this one.
I would say my trip to London for a reunion lunch with old BBC colleagues was excitement – except it was more pure terror. Think about it. A journey from the South-Coast to North London (King’s Cross, to be precise) involving a drive to the station and the worry of parking, a train journey to Victoria, a tube trip to King’s Cross and a taxi-ride to the venue in temperatures forecast to be in the 30’s with the usual unreliable train-services…. OMG.
Well, terrorised I might have been at the prospect of all this – but in fact completely needlessly. Plenty of parking, no problems with any trains, obliging taxi-driver who knew where the venue was, and, best of all, THE ROTUNDA is a wonderful brasserie/bar place right on Regents’ Canal. With a marvellous greensward (good word, ‘greensward’ doncher think?) leading to the water’s edge, some lovely shade and a gentle breeze. That this oasis was in the middle of London was hard to believe. And as we all sat there, chatting, drinking, eating and laughing – a flotilla of swans, plus their cygnets, gave us a float-by. A great time was had by all, although, sadly the sticks outnumbered the people (some needing two) and there was one wheelchair amongst us – but it all goes to prove there is Life After the BBC and Grow Old Along With Me – The Best Is Yet To Be!
Another excitement is my Writers’ Group, CHALK CIRCLE, launching its Anthology of “Microfiction” on line and in paper-back. To be called “STRATA” it contains short tales (each no more than 300 words) embodying “slices through the human landscape”. Each of us has contributed two pieces – so ten in all, and illustrations will be by JOHN VERNON LORD (of “THE GIANT JAM-SANDWICH” fame). So that will be happening in September and if you want to know how to access our stuff, details will follow, so Watch This Space and remember, You Heard It Here First!
SUBTITLE CORNER; Apparently, “Interest rates are likely to rise this year and taxis are likely to follow them….” And, as far as the weather goes “If the odd thumpetty shower Mrs. you, it will remain sonny..” Good to know.
THE ONGOING SAGA OF JUDE ET JIM – GERIATRIC LOVE-BIRDS;
Jude et Jim have resumed their cultural pursuits with a visit to their favourite Out-Of-Town Private Cinema to see “THE HAPPY PRINCE” – the five-star-rated biopic of OSCAR WILDE’S final years. “A superstar on the skids” as one reviewer described it.
The Director is RUPERT EVERETT, the Screenplay is by RUPERT EVERETT and the starring role of OSCAR WILDE is taken by RUPERT EVERETT, so without doubt this little-known tale was close to Mr.Everett’s heart. And he does do it justice. “It proves a film can be both bleak and warm-spirited as befits its mighty subject.” (David Edelstein)
What can one say? This is a marvellous, heart-breaking, touching story of the decline and death of a literary genius, and starts in the room in Paris in which he died (of which apparently he said “Either this wallpaper goes or I do..”) and weaves to and fro and back and forth through the scenes in his past life, visiting ghosts and shadows while dwelling also in the present-day, in an artfully-constructed manner, capturing the decline and fall of a hugely gifted man. This is a true tragedy, in the exact sense of the word – the tale of a heroic figure, of nobility and stature, brought down by his own flaws and errors.
Oscar Wilde leaves prison feeling moderately optimistic about the future, and contemplating returning to his long-suffering wife, Constance – absolutely certain the awful Alfred, Lord Douglas (‘Bosie’) was now left behind – never to be revisited. But, as he always said “I can resist anything except temptation” the temptation of Bosie proves stronger than he had believed and he falls back into his lover’s arms – as a result of which Constance, who is now sick herself – actually with Multiple Sclerosis (although the film hints at syphillis, contracted from Oscar) withdraws his allowance. Bosie’s promises of money from his family prove as insubstantial as his affections and a future of boozy destitution is now all that is on offer. Throughout this he is supported by his two loyal friends, ROBBIE ROSS his Literary Editor and REGGIE TURNER a writer – who are present at his deathbed. He immerses himself in the Parisian, artistic demi-monde world where he still finds admiration and the moment when he sings “The Boy I Love Is Up In The Gallery” to a Montmartre audience of drunken revellers bring tears to the eyes, with its doubles-entendres” and its sense of wasted and lost love. Well, it brought tears to Jude’s eyes anyway.
Oscar Wilde actually died of cerebral meningitis – whether this was brought on by syphillis or not, no-one knows. Jude googled this to discover the precise cause of his death is still something of a mystery.
This film is a masterpiece. Rupert Everettt’s performance is stupendous in its tenderness, its egotism its sadness and its brilliance.
BOSIE, is played by COLIN MORGAN; CONSTANCE by EMILY WATSON; REGGIE TURNER by COLIN FIRTH and ROBBIE ROSS by EDWIN THOMAS. The PRODUCER is SEBASTIEN DELLOY and the CINEMATOGRAPHY by JOHN CONROY.
Apart from all this, Jude’s other excitement was a £50 gift from Uncle Ernie which went on treating Jim to Avocado & Prawns followed by a Pizza Marinare in the local Italian, while Jude had Parma Ham and Melon followed by a thoroughly healthy. Brown Rice Risotto. No, she didn’t think you could use Brown Rice for risotto either, but they manage to do it here. Luvly Jubbly.
TIPS FOR OVER-SEVENTY-YEAR-OLDS; “For pains in the leg and the bum and the knee – try lashings and lashings of Vitamin D..” (Anon.)