The Deserted Village

Ha, not Goldsmith’s but ours. It’s a short walk to the village shop but often takes a while because you have to keep flattening yourself against a hedge or dodging into someone’s garden to avoid the speeding traffic which uses our country road as a rat run. Not today and there were two cars in every drive because of all the working from home. In the shop, the young woman on the till was wearing vinyl gloves and the few customers and members of staff moved around each other, six feet apart, as though taking part in some stately eighteenth century dance. Outside, complete strangers (to me) bid a cheery ‘Good morning!’ I put all this cheerfulness down to the lovely sunshine and the novelty of the situation. I’m afraid the latter will soon wear off.

In other news, the freezing wind which has made being outdoors unpleasant for the past few days has dropped and it’s warm enough to do a few outside jobs. After a potting and tidying session I got out my table and chairs from the shed. Sadly, I’ll only be needing one chair for quite a while. I’m very bad at sitting quietly in the garden. No sooner do I sit down than I see something which needs doing and jump up again. Today, the post was early and I read it outside. It must be spring.


One of the few plants which have enjoyed the wet conditions. These are growing wild (i.e. they never get or require any attention) at the base of a hedge in my garden.

It's very frosty this morning, which just shows the danger of cutting back some of your plants too early.

‘The world needs books more than ever right now’

My header is taken from the email I had from Dean Street Press when they kindly sent me two new e-books to read. On 4th May, Dean Street will publish a further ten detective novels by Christopher Bush, to add to the forty already in print. I’ve read one: The Case of the Flowery Corpse.

Ludovic Travers is staying with a friend in a quiet Suffolk village when a puzzling murder is committed, followed by two more. Because of his experience, the police are glad to have Travers’ help in solving this knotty problem. We have here not only a period piece (it was published in 1956) but a portrait of what has suddenly become a vanished Eden, a world of pub lunches, bridge evenings, games of golf and convivial drinking.

I found it strangely soothing to read about daily life when all the characters had to worry about was a few murders :-) I predict an increase in reading of golden age detective stories, which are a good form of escapism. At the moment, several books written by Patricia Wentworth and published by Dean Street are free for the Kindle on Amazon.


Edward Petherbridge again

I finished watching my DVD of Strong Poison, which was followed by an interview with Edward Petherbridge from 2002. His take on the character he was playing was better than the producer’s. When I first watched this, in the 1980s, I was outraged that in Have his Carcase, it was Bunter, not Peter, who rode the horse bareback on the beach. If you’ve read the book, you’ll know exactly the scene I mean. Petherbridge described this as a battle he lost. He felt strongly (and I agree), that it was essential for Peter’s character that he should ride the horse and that his mastery of the creature was important in his relationship with Harriet. But, he said, they wanted ‘beefcake on a horse’ because Wimsey was ‘a somewhat esoteric taste for the ladies’. What? Who would look twice at Mordaunt (Bunter) when Petherbridge/Wimsey was around? Perhaps I just don’t go for beefcake.

I’ve found the interview on YouTube.

No apologies for using this picture again.

Wimsey with Harriet

Do keep posting and chatting, folks. I'm sure it helps.
life on mars

Edward Petherbridge

I’ve been doing a lot of re-reading lately, of books I know I will enjoy. I read Gaudy Night and Busman’s Honeymoon in quick succession, then decided that, in these difficult times, it would be worth paying a lot for the scarce DVDs of the 1987 Dorothy L Sayers television series. I’m currently watching Strong Poison, in my view the best of the three series they made because there is so much more Peter in it than Harriet. Edward Petherbridge was so perfect as Lord Peter Wimsey that I started looking for more about him and found this one minute gem on YouTube. Have I ever mentioned that I saw him in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern at the National Theatre in the sixties? I’ve probably bored you rigid by boasting about this in the past. The DVDs, BTW, are worth every penny (to me).

In other news: this is one of the best times of year for my garden, which is full of daffodils and primroses. So it’s a pity that, in the first dry spell we’ve had for ages, it’s too cold and windy for me to go outside and garden. While I was having coffee, I saw two enormous crows strutting about. Horrid things. They were looking for bamboo leaves to carry away but, ha ha! the bamboo has been cut down and good riddance.

TV watch: The Test

I’ve started watching The Test on Amazon Prime. It’s about the reconstruction of the Australian cricket team after the ball tampering scandal. I imagined it was a single documentary but no, it’s a series. The first episode is rather fun for an England fan, as the English team whack the Australians all over the ground and win the ODI series 5-0. Time for more regrouping or, as they kept saying, ‘the process’. I never did work out what on earth this process was supposed to be and it seemed a meaningless buzzword to me.

We move on in the second episode to the Test series against Pakistan, which was played in the UAE because of security issues in Pakistan. This was dismal to watch because the stadium was almost empty. What is the point? The atmosphere at Edgbaston or the WACA is part of the match.

That’s as far as I’ve got. If you like cricket, it’s worth watching (and may be your only chance of watching any cricket this summer) but give it a miss if a lot of swearing offends you. New head coach Justin Langer is the culprit.

I spoke too soon

I’ve just gone to Tesco online. There is not a single slot available until April! After this weekend I may be told to stay at home. WTF am I supposed to do? I can’t believe that all the people who’ve nabbed the slots are over seventy. I wonder if they’ll refund my Delivery Saver payment, since I can’t get deliveries?

PS Waitrose and Ocado websites both down. Any ideas?

Simple acts of kindness

I went up to the village shop this morning (goodness knows when I’ll be able to go again) and a nice young woman working there said, ‘We must all look out for each other, mustn’t we?’ When I got home, I found a note in my letterbox from my young neighbours, saying I wasn’t to hesitate to ask for anything I needed and giving all their contact details.

These simple acts of kindness restore one’s faith in human nature.