Do you think, perhaps, that John Trevolta might be Cornish?

Well, he might …

That looks a lot like fudge to me.

(We’ve been amusing ourselves today attempting to recite lines from his films in our impeccable Cornish accents. This is what one is reduced to when it rains and rains and rains on holiday!)

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Prepare a yawn …

I’ve been tagged by Coffee Boy for a meme that you may have seen going around. I’m very bad at memes – nothing brings crashing home my fundamental dullness like being asked for 5 interesting facts about myself. I’ve got one of those pending. Very pending. And every time I think of something more or less interesting, I write it down on the proverbial back of an envelope. And then I lose it. There – that’s probably more interesting, in itself, than anything I’ve written down on the envelope so far.

So you see my problem. And it’s going to be made all the worse by the fact that Coffee Boy did a triumphal job with his version. Anyway – here goes. At least with this one, the questions are provided so that’s half the inspiration. That’s it – it’s a meme for the intellectually fatigued!

1. My uncle once: no – in fact, several times, was summoned to donate blood because he had some fancy rare blood group. In fact, he went on donating long after age should have precluded him because of it!

2. Never in my life: Kentucky Fried Chicken. Brrrrrr.

3. When I was five: I was very good at climbing trees and wanted to be an archaeologist. Lara Croft was totally based on me.

4. High School was: mostly in Scotland.

5. I will never forget: sorry – I wrote it down on the back of an envelope – it’s here somewhere …

6. I once met: Christopher Lee in a lift. I couldn’t prevent myself putting my hand up to my neck.

7. There’s this girl I know who: … hey that sounds like gossip and I’m officially the most discreet person in the world. I knew exactly where Johnny Depp was staying when they were filming The Libertine round here and I didn’t tell a soul! And I knew David Tennant was going to do Hamlet way before it was announced. Likewise, didn’t breathe a word.

8. Once, at a bar: I used to drink Scotch and coke. What was I thinking?

9. By noon, I’m usually: wondering why I didn’t have breakfast.

10. Last night: it rained and rained and rained.

11. If I only had: one super-power, it would be the ability to give malefactors immediate and irresistible diarrhoea. (Actually, the ability to spell diarrhoea without having to look it up would be a start.)

12. Next time I go to church: I’ll be thinking about my mum and wondering where she’s gone.

13. Terry Schiavo: is someone I just looked up on Wiki, but I don’t really have an opinion.

14. What worries me most: is being trapped by the foot by a giant clam, underwater.

15. When I turn my head left, I see: a door and a lot of paperwork patiently awaiting my attention.

16. When I turn my head right, I see: another door and, through it, my son, playing on Guitar Hero III.

17. You know I’m lying when: my voice goes all squeaky and I sound particularly reasonable.

18. What I miss most about the eighties: is my gravity defying hair do.

19. If I was a character in Shakespeare, I’d be: ‘a’ or maybe ‘k’.

20. By this time next year: my kids will be in Peru – perubably.

21. A better name for me would be: ‘Gazes Out Of The Window’ or ‘Shops At Primark’ or ‘Rarely Does Ironing’

22. I have a hard time understanding: what people mean when they say, ‘deceptively simple’. Does that mean it really is simple but it looks hard, or it really is hard but it looks simple?

23. If I ever go back to school, I’ll: be surprised by what a cold day it is in hell.

24. You know I like you if: I get all silly and giggly.

25. If I ever won an award, the first person I’d thank would be: my lucky stars – or maybe St Jude, patron saint of lost causes.

26. Darwin, Mozart, Slim Pickens & Geraldine Ferraro: what?

27. Take my advice, never: think to yourself, ‘Well, these shoes are bound to get more comfortable as I wear them’.

28. My ideal breakfast is: baguette, unsalted butter, Rose’s Lime Jelly Marmlade and Yorkshire tea – lots of it. 

29. A song I love, but do not have is: Rapper’s Delight, by the Sugar Hill Gang. More innocent days, my friends.

30. If you visit my hometown, I suggest: you buy an attractive bust of William Shakespeare. Every home should have one.

31. Tulips, character flaws, microchips & track stars: are you on drugs? Oh, I see. Tulip – Queen of the Night or those nice lily-flowered types with the pointy reflexed petals; character flaws – too many to list; microchips – salt and vinegar, please; track stars – with the Hubble telescope.

32. Why won’t people: just do what I tell them?

33. If you spend the night at my house: you’ll be quite cosy, although a cat may walk on you.

34. I’d stop my wedding for: Mr Briggs, bringing the letter that confirms that my husband to be, Mr Rochester, is already married. Actually, I wouldn’t marry Mr Rochester at all. I think he’s abusive. Mr Darcy all the way. Or possibly Noddy – own car, cheerful nature, good with animals, steady job, likes cake. What’s not to like.

35. The world could do without: string cheese.

36. I’d rather lick the belly of a cockroach than: have it lick my belly. But I’d want to wash it first. And make sure it’s horrible little scratchy feet were out of the way.

37. My favorite blonde is: … must I? I don’t really like blonde men, tbh. Don’t mind ginge, don’t mind grey, don’t mind bald – but blonde … nah, sorry. If I must – Gwen Stefani.

38. Paper clips are more useful than: you might imagine. You can straighten them out and prod people with them, for a start.

39. If I do anything well, it’s: usually by accident.

40. And by the way: you’re snoring!

Oof! I saw David Tennant’s tummy

I might as well get in with this quick before the reviews of Hamlet at the RSC come out and everyone starts talking about staging and interpretation and all that. I propose to stick with what’s really important. Namely, the cheap (or rather, not so cheap) thrills available for those lucky enough to get their mitts on a ticket.

David Tennant

First off, let me apologise profusely for not providing photographic tummy proof. Immediately before the performance started there was the usual sonorous announcement about turning off mobile phones, followed by a severe warning against taking photographs or filming. (Not that I would, anyway – after all, I was raised in the jungle by Culture Vultures.) In addition, I’d had an email from the RSC just a few days earlier, rather snitty in tone, advising that actors would only be signing official RSC programmes and merchandise and that anyone selling their tickets on Ebay would be hung, drawn and quartered – or words to that effect. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

Anyway, it’s a modern dress production, and all the better for it. In addition, Tennant’s delivery is so naturalistic and contemporary, the meaning of what he says is absolutely crystal clear for about 90 per cent of the play. There were moment when I felt he substituted animation for intensity, but overall I thought it was a great performance. He managed to make most of the jokes genuinely funny! No small achievement with Shakespeare. Interestingly, the big soliloquys went for almost nothing, being delivered without the huge “air quotes” they normally get, and woven seamlessly into the rest of the text. I thought this was a good thing but I’ll bet there are plenty of theatre buffs who’ll feel cheated.

Now – to the tummy. In jeans, t-shirt and bare feet, Tennant makes a believable 30 year old. He’s very thin so the jeans slip down a little and the t-shirt flaps around, as he dashes around the darkly mirrored stage. When it first appeared, there was an audible gasp from the front row ladies (who also leapt to their feet and screamed at the end when Tennant took his bow – I feared they might throw their undies … no warnings against that before the play started). By the end, I think we all felt we’d had our money’s worth – even those who’d paid squillions on Ebay, probably. 

The production – Out of 10, I’d give it an easy 11.

The tummy?  Ditto. Flat, well-muscled, pale as befits a Dane. He wears jeans very well. (Of course, all of this did nothing for me beyond the purely aesthetic – for reasons I’ll be explaining soon. Yes, it’s another theory. I’m afraid.)

The hard, hard life of a writer

Yes, it’s most awfully tough. So much so that, sometimes, when the kids are safely at school, and sensible people are at the office, I just HAVE to go out for a walk with my friend, Marie. In the Cotswolds. On our own. In all that countryside.

It’s hell.

Particularly the path between Stanton and Stanway. Gruelling, just gruelling.

 It gets even tougher when you finally reach Stanway House.

 

And it’s not sunny vistas the whole way, y’know. You have to go through woods carpeted with wild garlic. 

Well someone’s got to do it. Those hills won’t walk themselves.

I miss my lovely, brave mum

Sure on this Shining Night

setting by Morten Lauridsen

(lyrics taken from ‘A Death in the Family’ by James Agee)

Sure on this shining night
Of starmade shadows round,
Kindness must watch for me
This side the ground.

The late year lies down the north.
All is healed, all is health.
High summer holds the earth.

Hearts all whole.
Sure on this shining night I weep for wonder wand’ring far alone
Of shadows on the stars.