Thursday, 28 November 2013

Planting Garlic

OK. A vegetable eater's gardening is never done.
Rain has stopped long enough over last few days to tidy up a bit in the veg patch. And I done bin planted some garlic for next year. They do like a bit of winter if you plant the right sort. Sad to say the bulbs I ordered are a bit rotten... Truly. But I makes up with some of me own crop from the summer.

Already worrying over where to put what if my veg-growing dreams come true next year.... taties, beans, peas, leaf beet,.... where will they fit in?

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

In Which Mrs D Contemplates.... Christmas

P is for .... Puddings, Presents, Parcels, Posting, Partridges, Pear trees, Pipers, Pickled walnuts, Pastry, Pies, Popcorn, Panic....

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Saturday Night Borgen

Ooh... Saturday night treats on the telly last night....

(I do get away from the woes of the world with BBC's Dr Who 50th Anniversary Special ... What better way to dispel gloom than to contemplate the end of just about everything.)

Then The Old Man deigns to re-enter the room and it's time to get away from current depressing political shenanigans.... by settling down to watch the second batch of episodes of the final series of Danish tele-drama "Borgen".....

which be about............ politics.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Last Chance For Seeing Graham Sutherland At Penlee House

Feeling Retro these days... what with buying a corduroy kaftan, investigating large dangly earrings and listening to "The Screwtape Letters" (see previous post)...

Now The Old Man and me make a last dash to catch the Graham Sutherland sketches and paintings - "From Darkness Into Light" of tin miners at work and other industrial scenes from the 1940s - on show at Penlee House in Penzance and finishing this week.

It's good to get a local chance to see lesser-known work of major national art figures such as Sutherland. And I particularly love to see sketch-books where there is often something fresh and personal that is frequently masked by the "familiar" final results. Such is the case with this exhibition. Sutherland's written notes are atmospheric reminders to himself of what he was seeing and experiencing as he worked in the tunnels.... and the drawings are often vivid and free. Certainly this be a contrast to some of the laboured and "worked" paintings that have been included.

Catch the show if you can... for insights into both Sutherland and the life of the tin miners of West Cornwall. It ends this Saturday the 23rd November 2013.

From Darkness into Light

Graham Sutherland: Mining, Metal and Machines

14 September - 23 November 2013

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Revisiting The Screwtape Letters

Korf! Korf!
I function therefore I am....   back.

.....and listening to BBC Radio 4's current "Book of the Week" which is Simon Russell Beale reading C.S. Lewis' "The Screwtape Letters". Some (like The Old Man) may say:
"Whatever For?"
(But then The Old Man do not like organised religion, Simon Russell Beale or C. S. Lewis ... since he realised he be a member of an organised religion....)

To which I reply:
"Our headmistress used to read it to us by way of an RK (Religious Knowledge) slot when I be a sixth former. And I always liked it and be thankful for her treating us as if we do have some brain cells."

And... I do find some comfort as I do ponder the shameful fate of my beloved Co-Op and in particular the appalling car-crash what be the appointment of the Rev Paul Flowers as its Bank Man (The Co-Op's very own "Mayor of Toronto" with religious pretensions.)
Clearly Screwtape won through on that particular Methodist Minister... for me the rest is ashes....

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Apologies....(Korf! Korf!)

You may well ask.... where have I been?
(Korf! Korf!   Hak! Hak!)
Considerably below the weather.... which as you may know has been lousy in the quagmire that is Cornwall.
By the time The Old Man be chivvied out of his nesting-reading-the-paper-watching-the-news-on-the-telly chair and learn to open the bedroom door and look at me now and then.....
By the time he do learn to poke a drink or an offer of food at me fairly regularly.....
By the time I do stop shouting and wailing that I (Korf!Korf!) do feel ill..... (Hak!) In short... dear readers... by the time some sanity (Hak! Hak!) do return to the household and to me...

..... then I do manage to be a bit more vertical and will be talking and boring on as usual...... (Korf!).... soon.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Grey Doll & Criminal Reading: Marco Vichi's "Death in Florence"

I am back from my film-life tour of Italy. But I would just like to finish this Italian theme by telling you about a crime writer that I really recommend -  Marco Vichi. And his latest book to read in translation is "Death In Florence"

Vichi's main character is homicide detective Inspector Bordelli. The books are set during the 1960s... with Bordelli as a man in his fifties who has memories of wartime Italy and the partisan struggle. His police colleague is a younger man, Piras, who is the son of one of Bordelli's fellow partisans.

If you like a hefty slice of history... and social history... with your crime. And you don't mind at all if it is served along with striking characters, descriptions of food, a sense of place.... not to mention plenty of plot... this is the writer for you. I find him a tad darker than Camilleri (and his popular Inspector Montalbano) but that's my taste... I am that kind of gal.

With "Death in Florence" a boy disappears as he waits to be collected from school. Eventually his body is found, bearing the hallmarks of rape by more than one person. It is a dark story for Bordelli and one that again takes him back to past memories. In the midst of his hunt for the perpetrators the relentless rain fills the River Arno and bursts its banks with the famous Florence flood of 1966. All of this is detailed too as Bordelli watches the destruction and joins the teams of people attempting feed each other and clean up. After the flood he and Piras are free to resume their hunt for the boy's killers.

It is a great story full of detail and character and you can read a detailed review here over on the Euro Crime blog.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Travels With My Film-Life: Italy - The Grand Tour - De Sica in Miraculous Milan

The last stage of our film-life tour of Italy. We are in post-war Milan amongst the destitute and homeless who are about to participate in a miracle.
Cos this is..... Vittorio De Sica's "Miracle in Milan".
And me I do think I will visit a gritty piece of Italian Neo-realism like his famous "Bicycle Thieves"... but no.....
With this film we are whisked into a social satire, a fantasy that starts with a baby found in an old woman's cabbage patch and which then takes us through the founding of a Utopian shanty-town.... its demolition through greed.... and its inhabitants' transportation through the miracle of a magic dove... what is that? The Holy Spirit? Love?

I don't rightly know but it was a surprising fantastic journey... both bitingly realistic and  optimistic... or was that a desperate resort to magic?

Ha-ha! magical Neo-realism that's what it be.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Travels With My Film-Life: Italy - The Grand Tour - Early Bertolucci in Rome

Qui siamo a Roma. And this is Rome in the early 1960s....
We have travelled from Bertolucci's most recent film, "Me & You", to his very first as a director.... "The Grim Reaper" released in 1962. We spend most of the time in the poor districts of Rome and from the opening shot we know that there is the body of a woman. But who killed her? Like Kurosawa's "Rashomon" we see the scene as told by different suspects.... the young men and boys who pass through the night-time park where she is last seen..... standing, waiting for a "customer". Each story gives us a flavour of their lives and each story is punctuated by the rain storm that sets the timing of their versions. Which is the truth?

Based on a story by Pasolini, there is a quality about the film that does conjure up Pasolini's own films. Again critics do dismiss the film as derivative... but hey! It's Bertolucci's first.

For me.... there is something vivid about the people, scenes and settings that gives the feel of the time. Blimey I do myself remember those frilly blouses and mohair jumpers.... and the cheesy cha-chas!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Travels With My Film-Life: Italy - The Grand Tour - Bertolucci and De Sica

Ciao amori miei! We have such rain and gloom I do admit that The Old Man and I have spent much time in our film-life travels and I have not spoken to you for a week, I think.
Prego... we be travelling around Italy..... South to North ..... Catania a Milano.

We start in Sicily. No... not for another Inspector Montalbano... The Old Man have grown allergic to these and I do watch them recorded. No! We are visiting a Catania basement.... with 14 year old Lorenzo who is escaping his school's skiing trip and hiding out from both schoolmates and mother.  It's "Me and You" (Io e Te) a resurfacing film for director Bertolucci. 

Allora! Lorenzo has got it all planned... food, music, books.... even animal company...  an ants' nest terrarium. But then.... Lorenzo is joined by his 25 year old half-sister, Olivia, a junkie artist looking to find somewhere to detox. This is not what he had planned .... (Lorenzo is doomed to relate whether he wants to or not). In fact their forced hidden life together makes for relationship for both outsiders... and at the end there is a sense of things having changed for Lorenzo.

So we really enjoy watching this film.... but it seems to have had a bit of a rough time from critics and be considered light-weight... maybe some kind of indulgence on Bertolucci's part. Well (sigh) I think they be a bit harsh. It's filmed beautifully (using film... not digital... for last time for Bertolucci... you can't get the stocks no more...) and the performances from both first time actors Jacopo Olmo Antinori (Lorenzo) and Tea Falco (Olivia) are splendid.
Don't it leave you feeling funny when you really like something and the critics think it's crap? What can I say. We watched it with great joy. Try it out... see if you agree with the critics... or me and The Old Man...Io e Lui.