Tuesday, 31 December 2013

"The Curious Incident . . . "

I remember reading Mark Haddon’s novel, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” when it was first published.  In fact I once wrote a review of it as part of a competition entry and was fortunate to be amongst the winners.
A story where the main character was a boy with learning difficulties, was a brave thing to attempt in 2003 and might well have been a complete disaster.  Instead it became a best seller and its followers are now flocking to see it live on stage. Had I been in London last week I might well have joined the 7000 people at the Apollo Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue.
Imagine the shock they must have felt when the ceiling cracked and rumbled and fell on top of them, covering everybody in dust and debris; injuring 70 people, with seven severely hurt. Amazingly there were no deaths but that audience will always remember Mark Haddon’s “Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.”
An extra if unexpected flood of publicity.

Friday, 20 December 2013

St Mary's Parish Church in Barnard Castle held a magical Christmas Tree Festival last weekend.
55 trees of every shape and size; decorated in ingenious ways by the town's businesses; organisations and schools, brought light to the shadowy interior of the building.
Mulled wine and warm mince pies added to the occasion.

A View from the Altar.

Friday, 6 December 2013


I am not a great lover of knitted dolls or the knitted scenes that have suddenly become very popular. However I do admire the skill of the knitters and I can imagine the pleasure they must get from choosing wools from the vast array of colours and types that are available in the shops these days.
Last weekend the Darlington Stitch Bombers crept into the town centre in the middle of one night and decorated the High Row with their wonderful work. Intricately-made dolls were everywhere; colourful bunting flew high and even the bollards had brightly coloured covers to add to the atmosphere of Christmas in these cold December days. 
But before I’d had a chance to see it, vandals had destroyed the whole display – nothing but a bit of bunting and two tiny knitted mice remained to show the hours of work that must have gone into that display.
And yet in the little Victorian town of Saltburn-by-the-Sea, the same type of knitting has decorated the pier for several years.  The work depicts local activities and even the Olympic Games and in contrast to Darlington, this attracts visitors, not vandals.

Olympic athletes with their gold medals.

It’s hard to imagine the senseless behaviour that led to the Darlington destruction.
Were they drunken louts or simply ordinary citizens with a grudge against knitting?