THE GREEN DIARY : Thursday, 26 November 2020

We went walking in crisp sunshine yesterday, along one of our favourite paths into Copperas Wood, along the south bank of the Stour, past the actor, Clive Owen’s beautiful arte deco home near Ramsay. He is one of our local celebrities and the walk is about 8 kilometres long. In all the years we have been coming here we have never seen so many people and the small, shaded car park was full; we had to drive a while along the road to find a suitable place to park. 

It is a reflection on our lockdown status that more and more of us are using local amenities and it is amusing to notice how many visitors have clearly never walked like this before. It’s extremely muddy and slippery underfoot and many were wearing completely inappropriate clothing for such an outing! One person was wearing patent leather shoes with heels

which reminded me of the scene in THE CROWN where Mrs Thatcher is utterly humiliated when she turns up for deer stalking at Balmoral with the Royals, dressed in a blue twinset, black patent leather heels and her obligatory handbag. She didn’t last long as you can imagine – poor woman!

We have seen all of THE CROWN and for us I am afraid it ranks as the least successful of the four series mainly because of the writer and director’s refusal to stick more closely to the truth. Artistic licence has run rampant to its detriment. Some of the performances we felt were risible, one-dimensional : Charles as a snivelling, whingeing, bent over character is just ridiculous. Anne is a caricature and as for Gillian Anderson’s Thatcher : much as I disliked some of her politics, hers is such an unkind, one-dimensional and rather deceitful portrayal. That this series was an attempt to take the temperature of the nation using

events within the Windsor family and those in our national family was evident; but it lacked any nuance and was so crude that it defeated its purpose. Nonetheless it all works as great, thrilling television; no doubting production standards and some performances and we watched it like we watch GAME OF THRONES or any other gripping fictional television series; it’s just sad that an excellent opportunity was afforded to make something better and was missed. The PM/Queen head butt was great TV but simply untrue. Did any of you have a chance to glance at the Simon Jenkins’ review?  It hits the nail on the head and I have included a link here if you’d like to read it.

The Crown’s Fake history is as corrosive as fake news:

We never see Clive Owen in the neighbourhood any longer. I guess he is more London/Hollywood based now, though this is his home. He is involved in various local, charitable enterprises including the revival and renovation of the Electric Palace Cinema in Harwich, one of the oldest, purpose-built cinemas in Britain. Still operating too, given a pandemic chance!

So, during this interminable lockdown our lives have shrunk even further though we continue with the routine of walks, streaming, reading, bridge playing – and planning. We fervently cross our fingers for plans to see our Canadian family at Christmas and it looks as though we might after all achieve this. It has been complicated with many cancelled flights, reschedules, quarantines planned and special permission sought. We hold our breath, come what may, and watch the flight vouchers mounting!

And the good news. A vaccine. Oh yay! A vaccine. How quick was that? What a wonderful pre-Christmas gift to the world. Lets hope it rolls out quickly – and fairly too. 

South Street, Manningtree.

Are your bathroom scales crying out for relief? Mine are, and action has been taken to ease their load! Despite exercising, cutting back on portion sizes, reducing wine and gin intake, it is a desperate task and I have resorted to joining a weekly webinar sponsored by the NHS under their diabetes prevention scheme. An odd assortment we are of some thirty strangers learning all the things we sort of knew in our heart of hearts already. Just don’t over-indulge really but I find that impossible. I suppose some of us have binge natures that are difficult to call to order! Especially as a gormandiser . Lets see what the scales say at the end of the course – in April! Yes, April 2021! I shall either be thin or mad!

Talking about bingeing, that’s what we have been doing with the television.  Bingeing. Here are some we enjoyed starting with the dramatization of Jonathan Coe’s wonderful 1980’s satire WHAT A CARVE UP! Successfully adapted to a clever, dramatic stream. I have included the link here though don’t know whether it still works. Have a whirl –

Here’s the trailer.

Have any of you tried DNA on BBC4 catch-up? I love Scandi. police thrillers and this eight-parter was no less enthralling than all the other Scandanavian efforts of recent times.

SUBURRA, LE BUREAU (heart breaking ending), are other foreign programmes of diverting interest.

THE UNDOING with Kidman & Grant is reaching its climax; and back in Spain, with a less successful but intriguing nonetheless, murder story MAR DE PLASTICO, set near a dusty Almeria in a fictitious town largely covered by plastic tunnels, is unfolding. The casting looks as though it has taken place in a Gay Club and the story is unlikely but absorbing. I think we let our critical faculties slip in these times of lockdown.

What else? Oh yes – my cousin, Sophia,  sent me this link to Laura Long’s Affordable Art Fair. I have no space to hang any more pictures but I wish I had. Some of these are beautiful and I particularly like my cousin Oliver Blackwell’s photographs included in the collection – have a look –

Laura Long whose gallery this is, writes : 

“I am thrilled to introduce you to a prestigious group of artists for my online art show.  I have made a conscious effort to choose work that is mostly relatively small, unframed and at a good price point. 

Please click on the link above.

Hopefully a really lovely collection of painters and  photographers to get your teeth into, all of whom I admire greatly and something for everyone to enjoy, maybe even a lovely Christmas present for someone special. 

A percentage of the proceeds will be donated to ‘Tree Sisters’ which is a great charity  a lovely feeling to be buying some wonderful art and help by planting a tree !  

Please don’t hesitate to contact me via email should anything be of interest. 

Very Best wishes, 

Laura Long “

Friends, I think that is far, far too much excitement for now. Lets hang in for a while longer and this interminable moment in history will be over. 

Christmas, albeit unrecognisable from previous Christmases, is nearly here.

PS I think he is an escapee from Mar de Plastico!

10 Replies to “THE GREEN DIARY : Thursday, 26 November 2020”

  1. Clive Owen was in the Thorn and the Mistley Kitchen just before lockdown. I agree about the Crown but its great tv because it shows them all as we want to see them – caricatures. Mind you Phillip rings true – indeed he’s probably worse than his tv portrayal. Best of luck with your new regimen. See you in 21……..22,23….?

  2. I loved reading every minute of this dearest Peter as I felt we were with you on your routine walks or sitting with you binge watching The Crown! (Very much agree with your views on that and Andrew Marr’s. Did you read? We saw quite a lot of HRH during the Diana years and he was woefully misjudged. )
    I feel your pain over the diet thing. “WeightWatchers” is my middle name and I have a lifetime subscription!
    Anyhow, I feel us Dedham-ites are so near but yet so far. Let’s hope we’ll soon be able to party together. And even if it is the spring, please bring that dish of a young Santa with you.

  3. Recommend you add TRACKERS to your TV repertoire. Did you get the long early morning ramble I have just spent half an hour writing in admiration of your blog. Suspect not but ever onwards– to madness or slimness

  4. Lovely to hear all your news, Pedro, and I am holding thumbs and other appendages that you manage to get to Canada for Christmas, even if it means you won’t be home when Santa’s grandson comes down your chimney. I wonder if I should rephrase that? No, what the hell, the silly season is upon us.

  5. I’m sorry, Peter, to hear that you are struggling with keeping your weight down. I’m struggling to keep mine up! – and there isn’t much of me to lose! Why am I at the other end from the majority complaint???

  6. Thank you for several TV suggestions I hadn’t noted. Haven’t watched any of the Crown…couldn’t bring myself but not sure why.

    Santa’s grandson is going to be a busy boy….hope he visits the North and the South Pole, if you get my drift…nod nod, wink wink, I’m a lover of hairy chests so he’s not my usual type…still in mourning for Sean Connery!

    Your walks sound and look wonderful. I’ve got the diet under control but can’t get any fervour up for this bloody exercising malarkey.

    Love to you both and catch sight if you before or after Canada.

  7. Dear Pete

    Elegant and eloquent as ever. Hope you’re enjoying the talks. This coming Sunday will be a bit of fun, but I’ve devoted Sunday 13th to a discussion and Q&A with a bit of music thrown in here and there.

    Griselda xxx

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