28 May, 2014

Half term

Girls are on  half-term. Lol is revising for end-of-term exams next week so we haven't gone anywhere. Although we did go to see X-men: Days of Future Past last night, which suffered from a problem that many blockbuster Hollywood films seem to suffer from nowadays. They want the characters to seem deep and to have some kind of emotional life, so they give them a problem, like they've suffered a lot in the past, so now they're a drunk. But the demands of the plot mean that once they're called upon to act, they miraculously throw off their drunkenness/addiction whatever and back to fighting fitness without any visible effort or screen time spent on it, so the whole thing ends up being more like a treatment for a movie than the movie itself. Perfunctory. Time is spent on effects and plot, rather than on character development. On the plus side, we have Michael Fassbender, as @mayambialik says, wet, shirtless or in a hard hat, though not all at the same time, looking smoking hot; James McAvoy doing his darnedest to inject a suggestion of humanity into the proceedings, and JLaw exuding star power like a 25000 watt bulb.

I was going to go to the Veronese exhibition at the Nat Gall today, but Lol expressed a desire to go and see it (odd, maybe all the revision is making everything else seem interesting), so I'm postponing it till after her exams. Instead I spent all day (1) ironing, (2) cooking, (3) gardening, (4) watching Bleak House, (5) walking the dog, (6) getting rid of things on Freecycle, and (7) having a nap in my big old armchair in front of the picture window. It's a hard knock life, as I keep telling the girls.

Also bought 5000 Vodafone shares.

I've started recording Pepys diary for Librivox, so, inspired, I've picked up this blog again.

In other news, I'm reading Dombey and Son, which I haven't read since A levels (those were in the days when for Eng Litt A level you did Shakespeare, Dickens, Austen, Keats and Milton. How we suffered! If only they'd let me read Of Mice and Men and To Kill a Mockingbird instead, maybe I wouldn't have gone on to read English Literature at Oxford.

I'm also still slaving through Balzac's Human Comedy. I started reading this because someone said that Balzac was better than Dickens, because he was Dickens without the sentimentality. Having got as far as A Daughter of Eve, all I can say is that Balzac seems to be Dickens without the genius or sense of humour. I'm also fed up to the back teeth with all his bloody aristocrats. I haven't read that much French literature (well, basically Balzac and Proust), but they all seem to be obsessed with the doings of the Fauborg St Germain, the denizens of which seem to be the most toxic bunch of vile, snotty, self-satisfied set of horrors it could have been anyone's misfortune to meet. And this is AFTER the French Revolution. What they were like before, I can't imagine. I can quite understand the sans culottes wanting to cut their heads off.

In bloom at the moment in the garden: foxgloves, peonies, pinks, alliums. Brunnera need a Chelsea chop. There are a few early apricots on the tree, and the vine is covered with tiny little clusters which will eventually become lovely sweet grapes about the size of raisins.


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