How money over and above daily living expenses dribbles, or rather, bleeds away with the unexpected: Service and repair to air-conditioner 80euro. Replacement of bathroom mirror - 55. Catalytic converter and exhaust on the car 150.New hand brake 50. Replacing Douglas’s lost prescription sunglasses - 150. That is the equivalent of one moths’ pension, in fact a little more. Have I left anything out? More than likely. Still to come, replacement of two sets of metal windows that have rusted beyond repair, quotes so far 2000 and 1600 euro. We will try and do better than that!
Our friend Diane making her annual holiday visit brought two DVD’s with her, ‘The Woman In Black’ and ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.’ Though looking forward to them both they both turned out to be slightly on the disappointing side, neither of them really living up to their hype. I felt the same way about ‘The Artist.’ Obviously in my twilight years I am becoming harder and harder to please because they’re not actually bad but certainly not five star.
‘The Marigold Hotel’ has a cast list consisting of the crème-de-la-crème of British thespiana (new word before somebody points it out as a typo.) Starting with the inevitable dames, Judy Dench and Maggie Smith, and continuing with Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, whose performance I particularly liked, Penelope Wilton, Ronald Pickup, Celia Imre, Dev Patel, an energetic performance I also liked. There was a time when no actor would dare to play a gay role as it would more than likely put an end to his career but now they seem to be queuing up for it, the latest being Tom Wilkinson. It’s a great shame that Brad Pitt and the producers of ‘Troy’ chickened out of the Achilles/Patrokles affair and consequently made total nonsense of the movie. You simply don’t go bananas over the death of a cousin unless that cousin also happens to be your lover.
Our friend Beryl Mayes has also been out on her annual holiday and invariably on departure leaves books behind, one of which this time is ‘The Song of Achilles’ by Madeline Miller, winner of The Orange Prize. If Beryl hadn’t left it, what a wonderful surprise, I feel sure, having read the reviews, I would have wanted to get it and indeed I’m enjoying it immensely. Apart from anything else, I will say this for Miss Miller she writes the most beautiful love scene I think I have ever read. Without going into lurid detail she paints a picture of erotism powered by love that is wonderfully poetic, unlike most writers’ sex scenes that in their detail, what she does to him, what he does to her, he to he, she to she, has one’s toes curling in embarrassment – mine anyway – and let’s face it I am far from being a prude.
And so to ‘The Woman In Black.’ So what was it disappointed me here? Well it did raise a few goose-pimply moments but nothing truly spine-chilling. I didn’t like the big close-ups of the raving ghost. Seeing her from a distance or suggesting her would have been enough. Although I haven’t seen it in many a long year I still remember the scene in ‘The Innocents,’ can quite clearly see it in my mind’s eye, Deborah Kerr looking across the lake and seeing the forlorn looking black figure standing in the reeds. As the saying goes ‘my blood ran cold!’ For example in this movie our hero looking out of a window and her face appearing to look over his shoulder was a wonderful scary moment. And what about Daniel Radcliffe’s performance? Well, frankly, also a bit disappointing. Excellent when required to mutely react but weak when required to open his mouth. But that is only my opinion.