Last week was one of the most frustrating weeks that I have ever had. It was also one of the best because I caught up with some people I hadn’t seen in a long time.
On Monday I was persuaded to eat a custard and fruit cake when I went for coffee with two sisters whom I have always liked and admired from afar. The cake itself was significant:
1 I should not be eating cake at all, for obvious reasons – but – I like cake. Very much.
2. The fruit in the cake was potentially one of my five a day – but not quite. I am not deluding myself that much.
3 I do not like custard. That is an understatement. I can’t bear to see, smell, taste, touch, or even hear custard. The very word has a detrimental effect on my well-being.
So, Monday saw me doing something very unusual – eating a custard and fruit tart and enjoying it.
Perhaps because it was Polish;
perhaps because I’ve grown out of my horror of crème anglaise;
perhaps because I started it out of politeness (it was chosen for me) and then realised that the texture and consistency were sufficiently masked by the sweet fruit flavours.
Anyway, I had cake and tea and wonderful company
In the evening I had a meeting for one of the charities I support and on Tuesday another one for another charity. I actually enjoy committee meetings, sometimes for the banter, when it is pleasant and sometimes just to observe the lengths people will go to get their points across. I am an oil-on-troubled waters sort of person, so occasionally my skills in this direction are necessary – I did mention frustrations at the beginning after all.
What was really frustrating, however, was not being able to get on with a project that I had inadvertently committed to, which was much bigger than I thought. I believed I was going to proofread the finished product – ended up writing and translating most of It. I can say this now because it is about to go to print. Should be fine – ish. But that is the problem with the creative process – there is ALWAYS room for improvement. Perfection is unattainable.
So yesterday, as a little reward for all my hard work, I went to see Little Women with a couple of friends. I hardly ever go to the cinema and we went to a place I had never been to before, the Watermans Centre in Brentford, by the river. A fabulous location and quite easy to get to – especially as I was taken by car!
Anyway, we were all looking forward to seeing the film. I’d read a good review and was very excited by the idea of one of my childhood classics coming to life in a modern – feministic yet period setting sort of way.
And so, it did. But not quite the way I liked. None of the actresses was American – (that was a query in the New York Times), but I didn’t mind that. The story jumped around in time a bit – I didn’t mind that too much either, but I was not keen on the photographic gimmicks at all: at the beginning of the film the scene is set – or rather the scenes are set, as a series of almost still photos jumping from one to another. I found that a bit irritating, mainly because I noticed. I don’t like to notice these things because they distract me from the story – even though I knew it quite well, as it had been one of my favourite childhood novels. Not quite up there with Anne of Green Gables, but almost.
Jo March, the independent one, every thinking girl’s heroine – or should it be hero these days? was terrifically played by Saoirse Ronan. I’ve seen her before in just one film, The Way Back, in which Siberian gulag escapees travel 4,000 miles by foot to freedom in India. And she was excellent in it. Ten years younger, but brilliant.
Here she was indeed utterly believable, which cannot be said for her sister Amy or any of the young men. Very disappointing. I wasn’t driven to tears, not even once once. When I was younger my mother used to ask me just one question when I came home after going to the cinema: Did you cry? You did? Oh good, the film must have been good, then.
And I am afraid that is still my criterion for a good film. I don’t have to weep copiously, but a little tear now and then, fuelled by romance or other pleasurable emotion or tears of laughter ensure my money hasn’t been wasted.
I’m glad I went because seeing the film brought back many memories of reading the book. I wonder if I will be able to bring myself to read it again. I’m a bit afraid it will be too dated and longwinded. I haven’t got a copy, or I might take a look.
Today, on the other hand, I did my third day’s supply teaching this academic year. The least said the better. Maybe another day!