It’s been a while but I’m back now and seriously grinding the nose to the stone because Nanowrimo has begun. Yes, it’s that time of year again when people aim to write a novel in a month – or 50,000 words at least, though some go way beyond that and aim for the whole 50K in one day which leaves me asking why, god, why? much as I do when people take on a triathlon. I guess I can understand the urge to push oneself to the limit but there also seems to be a fair amount of end-gaining and competitiveness here as well, the point of which eludes me. But there you are.
So what have I been up to during my absence? I’ve been decorating is what: the pantry has been transformed from a cobwebbed black pit of mould (quite suitable for Hallowe’en really) into a lovely clean white space, and I’ve begun work on transforming the bathroom from a pasty and patchy blue to a beautiful dark aqua. In order to obtain this shade I went to B&Q, as one does, clutching the bag in which our shower curtain came, so that I could match it. Failing to find the exact shade I wanted I headed over to the paint mixing desk (sounds a bit musical, that) hoping for a nice friendly chat and the mixing of the perfect pitch that I was after. There was someone being served and a man waiting so I tried to guess where the queue was and positioned myself, appropriately distanced. The person being served eventually finished and they started on the man in front of me. They mixed him a pot of paint and then another, then the two members of staff began working in tandem to fulfil his order, placing pot after huge pot in the shaking dens (or whatever they call them) having added the appropriate colour to the base paint. It was interesting to see how it’s done but the interest palled after about ten minutes. What the hell is this guy painting? I thought. Presumably he was a tradesman but he was getting enough paint for a whole row of houses. Eventually I’d had enough, decided that he must be painting the Forth Bridge, and left. I plumped for a contrasting shade of ready-made paint and I was glad I did. It looks great.
So much for decorating. I also have to confess I’ve been watching a fair bit of telly as well; there are a lot of great series coming up, such as The Crown series 4 which includes Princess Di, the next instalments of His Dark Materials and other things I can’t remember – but in the meantime I’ve had to make do with repeats of Sherlock and the excellent Michael Palin’s travel series, supplemented by retrospectives of the same.
Like many people I take a stroll through Netflixland now and again to see what’s new. Not much, is the answer, at least not yet. I’d decided that Enola Holmes, the story of Sherlock and Mycroft’s sister, looked really naff but then a couple of people raved about it so I gave it a whirl. If I hadn’t been so exhausted that afternoon I’d never have sat through it – in fact I think I slept through some – but if you haven’t seen this, don’t bother. Seriously. It’s awful. The main character is mawkish and about as believable as an Enid Blyton heroine; Helena Bonham Carter gives a fairly entertaining cameo as her eccentric suffragette mother, but when she leaves the family home unexpectedly and Enola’s brothers Mycroft and Sherlock arrive to take care of her, the fun definitely stops. Considering how many and varied the portrayals of these characters have been in film and TV, they could have done so much with them but here they are never more than cardboard cut-outs; Mycroft is the repressive patriarch and we see none of Sherlock’s brilliance, he’s just a sort of meek backdrop to Enola’s supposed genius (compare and contrast the final episode of the BBC’s Sherlock featuring his sister Euros.) There was never any sense of danger; though Enola is threatened by many and various enemies there’s never any question that she will fight her way out, and when she finally breaks the fourth wall and asks the audience if we have any ideas to help her, I gave up. Or would have, if I’d had the energy to reach for the remote. Enola Holmes is a pile of bats’ droppings and thoroughly illustrates what the vlogger Thoughty-Two has to say about what is wrong with Hollywood these days.
On the other hand, Britbox’s resurrection of Spitting Image is great fun; the puppets as brilliant and inventive as ever with Priti Patel as a vampire, Dominic Cummings as a swivel-eyed alien and Boris’s hair having a life of its own. Trump’s face is melting, his tweets are written by his anus and I cried with laughter at the scene where Boris tries to channel Churchill and ends up with Thatcher who gives him a good slap round the face for supporting Brexit. So go watch – and if you haven’t got Britbox there was an episode broadcast on ITV on Friday.
I’ve also taken up the piano again – or to be more accurate, the keyboard, and tried to do my scales and exercises with a little more dedication.
So that’s us up to date. How have you been?