Sunday, 30 December 2012

"Life of Pi."

Richard Parker keeps Pi at bay.

Some time ago I mentioned a favourite novel of mine – "Life of Pi," - a Booker prize-winner by Yann Martell.
It has now been made into a film and yesterday I saw that film and loved the story even more.  For two hours I was mesmerised by the Indian boy, Pi and a Bengal tiger called Richard Parker.
The film’s gentle beginning has beautiful scenes of India and the family’s zoological gardens, but these are soon overtaken by the noise and chaos of a storm at sea with the tragedy of a shipwreck and Pi’s struggle for survival against both the sea and the tiger.
Suffice it to say that if you enjoy adventure; daring and bravery as well as the most beautiful photography and seascapes, then this is the film for you. It even has a surprise ending.
I strongly recommend it.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Christmas Cul-de-Sac

The Lights of Christmas
by Marjorie Morrison 
The twinkling lights of emerald green
And brilliant blue and white
Are piercing darkness, all enshrouded
In the black of night.

The cul-de-sac where I’ve lived for more than ten years is friendly, well-ordered and peaceful.  Dogs are controlled and the only children nowadays are visiting ones. Yet from the beginning of December each year, it is transformed into a sparkling wonderland. Lights of every colour decorate bushes and outline doors and windows.  Tall Christmas trees stand in rooms purposefully left with curtains open.

The next cul-de-sac is equally bright; their lights changing from one colour to another, making weird shapes and patterns over plants and bushes.
This is the first place I’ve lived where such enthusiasm is shown.  Long may it last.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Wear Valley Writers

Wear Valley Writers meet in the Town Hall library on Wednesday evenings, but last week we were a very small group, because of torrential rain.
Instead of the planned programme, we had an impromptu one. The titles of ten novels were chosen at random from the shelves:-

“Muddy Boots and Silk Stockings.”                 “Sisters.”
“A Friend of the Family.”                                 “Past Remembering.”
Full Circle.”                                                     “Star Light.”
“Going Places.”                                                “Emma.”
“Falling.”                                                          “The Price of Coal.”

The remit was to write for forty minutes and produce work that included at least five of these titles. As usual, it produced a variety of poetry and prose of a high standard.
I included 9 of the titles.

Parallel Lives.

       Emma was a friend of the family.  She’d known the sisters since school days when they’d skipped happily along the lanes together whatever the weather.  In summer they’d dawdled, tempted by the blackberries in the hedges or the cowslips in the meadow; picking bunches of flowers to present to the teacher as an excuse for their lateness.
     The girls had drunk the milk Emma hated so much – a third of a pint in a clumsy glass bottle – in return she’d whispered the answers to their hardest sums.
      Now she was past remembering the price of coal or understanding that few homes used it any more. She lived in the cottage where she was born and refused to move away.  She had a tortoiseshell cat and she kept a cow, although still she didn't drink its milk. Her chickens scratched at the bottom of the garden and when they laid an egg Emma boiled it for breakfast – three minutes exactly while she toasted her bread on a brass toasting fork at the open fire where her mother had cooked for so many years.
The sisters, on the other hand, had been ambitious and adventurous.  They were going places; each tired of being a clone of the other.  Mary moved to the city, becoming a buyer in Ladies Fashion at the most prestigious department store.  Margaret, very daringly, had travelled, finding employment on the great liners; wallowing in the richness of the food and the luxury of the furnishings.  But now life had come full circle and they were back in the village. They’d bought a four-bed roomed house with a landscaped garden and employed a man to care for it.
Emma was invited to visit but she wasn't comfortable there, so the sisters trudged down to the cottage in all weathers, occasionally even wearing muddy boots and silk stockings, but always pleased to see her. She walked them home, sometimes in star light, enjoying the same scents they’d known so long ago. 
Happy to be together where they belonged.