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Archive Entries for August 2012

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Friday August 31, 2012

Books in August

  • The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. SayersBOM-BellonaClub.jpg
    This is a BBC radio play which stars Ian Carmichael as Lord Peter Wimsey, in a charmingly implausible plot involving luggin' bodies around a gentlemans club, (don't 'ya know?). It has to be said that this particular ruse is quickly uncovered, and the main murder story is pretty well plotted.
    When I was a child, Ian Carmichael was the personification of two characters: Bertie Wooster initially, and Wimsey later in the1970s. I always mentally dismissed him - but that was very arrogant and he seems pretty perfect to me now as Lord Peter; (this, despite the fact that in my eyes Edward Petherbridge protrayed the definitive version in three adaptations in the 1980s alongside Harriet Walter playing Harriet Vane).
    I have never warmed to Carmichael playing Wooster with Dennis Price. I think Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry breathed new life into those characters with the delightfully lavish 1980s version very much in the spirit in which the books were written, (with the two men being both young and of a similar age).

  • Ripley Radio Mysteries by Patricia HighsmithBOM-RipleyRadioMysteries.jpg
    I always wanted to see the Talented Mr Ripley film - but never did - so was keen when I saw this audio version of Patricia Highsmith's Ripley novel, not quite realising the were the BBC Radio 4 dramatisations starring Ian Hart.
    Not being familiar with the character I did not realise there were 5 novels. I previously thought Ripley was simply a mad bad hat, rather than a weird anti-hero.
    The Ripliad includes:
    • The Talented Mr Ripley
    • Ripley Under Ground
    • Ripley's Game
    • The Boy Who Followed Ripley
    • Ripley Under Water

  • Bury Her Deep Catriona McPherson [read by Hilary Neville] BOM-BuryHerDeep.jpg
    As mentioned when I read the previous books, I am really in love with this character. She presents herself candidly in the first person and I immediately warmed to her humour and good sense (despite or maybe because of peripheral touches of the mad flapper). I love the contemporaneous turns of phrase woven so naturally into the text, and the simple presentation of what could be complex relationships with her husband Hugh and friend Alec.
    Having read the author's biography page, I suppose you could say she was lucky in her success as an author. But her writing is really so skillful and witty, I think much more than luck came into it.

  • Child's Play by Reginald Hill [read by Colin Buchanan] BOM-ChildsPlay.jpg
    I have read this novel before, as well as seeing the TV adaptation. However, that did not spoil the enjoyment in any way - the writing and the narrator are excellent.
    Read this review by Michael Walters (a proper writer!) to tell you why Reginald Hill is so extraordinary. [Though he does say that Underworld "is also the book in which the stone-faced Sergeant Wield, always one of Hill’s best characters, first emerges from the closet" whereas I actually think to all intents and purposes that it happens in this book - the previous one in the series.]

Posted on August 31, 2012 at 8:16 AM. Category: Books of the Month.

Friday August 24, 2012

Spinning with the Boys


Ah - it's you again. Any news?

Posted on August 24, 2012 at 6:49 AM. Category: Days Out.

Saturday August 18, 2012



At the guild today, we all embroidered a picture using "mixed media". We painted, stuck, and printed the backgrounds, and then used various 3D embroidery techniques, and appliqué to create a picture. We even used Margaret Beale's fusing techniques learned in June, (to create diaphanous wings).


Posted on August 18, 2012 at 6:13 PM. Category: Crafts.

Thursday August 16, 2012

One Man Two Guvnors


Well it was just as hilarious as we had been led to believe.


We snatched a picnic meal in Trafalgar Square before the show. I saw the latest "plinth" offering for the first time (though it has been installed there since February). It's called Powerless Structures and is a 4.1m high bronze sculpture of a boy on a rocking horse. I really like it. The media view is "you either love it or hate it" - but what's not to like?
The design by two Scandinavian artists is intended to be provocative and playful, representing the idea of "daring to be fearless". As well as that, it's an obvious play on the usual formal statue theme of generals on horseback - the plinth itself was intended to host a bronze equestrian statue of William IV by Sir Charles Barry, which was never installed. Now the plinth is home to temporary art installations - this one will be there for 18 months.

[While in Trafalgar Square, I noticed we now have "Heritage Police" - an interesting concept - their main role being to continually say to the visitors "get off the Heritage" ("please").]

Posted on August 16, 2012 at 11:29 PM. Category: Art and Culture.

Sunday August 12, 2012

Painting the Parlour

So we went to France for the week - and what a fabulous week it has been - hot and lovely. And I don't have any pictures barring these....


And that's because I spent my time tiling and grouting in the Bakehouse - which is - sadly - my idea of fun. It's not quite a bad as it sounds, as it was cool (weather really was very hot) and airy with all the many doors open. In addition, I really like the space we have created, so it was like having a preview of the living experience.

I also painted the undercoat all over white upstairs, and finished painting the downstairs walls, which are a nicely retro shade of sage green*.


* Having recently seen a set of TV programmes about how everything changed in the 1950s, I am slightly less certain about saying that. I do feel I lived through the era, however, I learned a lot - especially about how much paint changed post-war, and how that had such a dramatic effect interior decor, (I thought people actually liked dark green and brown...).
I was very keen on the insights offered in the series but the comments lead me to add - I think it is a mistake to infer (or imagine they imply) that everything applied to everyone in the 1950s. The reason it was all so familiar to me is that we still had the post-war house in about 1964. [We had no fridge until the mid-sixties though that was by no means usual among our peers.]

Posted on August 12, 2012 at 8:11 AM. Category: France.

Friday August 3, 2012

Olympics at Wimbledon


I was so very lucky to be able to get a ticket for Centre Court today, and see the mens semi-finals, along with Helen, Ethel, and Sue. And what a fantastic experience it was. I have never been to Wimbledon before (to see the tennis that is - I did live there for a time but not "up the hill"), and I was absolutely thrilled for such a once-in-a-lifetime outing.

Play opened with Federer and Del Potro at 12 noon. Astonishingly, they went on all afternoon with the match finishing at 16:50: 19-17 in the final set. Even taking into account that it's a 3 set match, that was some marathon. It was so evenly matched and not really expected to be such a struggle, so most people were planning to get lunch after it finished. One wag in the crowd was driven to call out "come on Roger, I'm hungry!".


Following that, Serena dispatched her semi final opponent in much shorter order, and so by about 18:30, Murray and Djokovic finally entered the arena.


I hate to say something so commonplace, but the atmosphere was simply amazing. The Serbians were quite vocal, but the mad British cheering for every point was enough to bring a tear to the eye, never mind the exciting play. I think we are quite used to our tennis heroes being not quite good enough on the day, so Murray's success is very cheering.

Murray played well, but I think we were all a bit surprised that he won in straight sets. The score (7-5, 7-5) does not entirely express the closeness of the match, and though one might have expected more of Djokovic, he seems not to be at his best of late, given his Wimbledon performance, and his subsequent loss of the bronze medal. Having said that, I don't mean to diminish the achievements of Murray (and Del Potro) who were playing brilliantly.


By now, we all know Murray went on to get the gold medal. I am delighted, of course, on chauvinistic grounds, as well as for him (and Ethel!). However, I do feel for Federer (and Helen!) who somehow missed out in Beijing when he must have been at the height of his powers, and it seems unlikely he will get another chance at Olympic gold. Currently he is a worthy champion with No 1 in the world rankings but it would be hard to anticipate his retaining that position for another 4 years.


Posted on August 3, 2012 at 6:13 PM. Category: Red Letter Days.