So it’s the August Bank Holiday – no more of those in England until Christmas – and ITV has resumed its Bank Holiday Bond tradition by screening Casino Royale (2006) on its secondary channel. Despite the blatant misogyny, violence, and frequently daft plotting, I have always enjoyed a bit of Bond (although not Roger Moore, apart from The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)). But the best thing about Bond since 1995 has – along with the pretty cars – been the casting of the twinkly-eyed dart-playing genius that is Dame Judi Dench, as M. Alternating seemingly effortlessly – her actress’ art – between the affable and the irascible, the fragile and the unbreakable, she has always been one of my favourite actresses to watch. And it is her diamond-eyed brilliance that inspired the creation last year of a – so far – minor character in my attempt at a little light space-opera. And now, just as I’m in the middle of editing one short story, wondering what on earth to do with another more recent creation (last week), building/plotting a potential new novel and wondering when I shall get round to picking up the threads of the first novel I started two years ago, Nena Rostreth is beginning to make her presence felt. And my head will be exploding when?
Easter; when my personal consumption of chocolate doubles, or even triples, for the space of three days. Seratonin kick aside, all this brown sweet stuff this year has made me feel quite tired. I must confess to looking forward to a few days free of the stuff; maybe even a week? Hmmm. We’ll see.
My daughter on the other hand, has been loving it all. Well, she’s six; it goes without saying. Amongst the egg shaped bounty that Eostre’s hare has brought her, are two Smarties eggs. It wasn’t that long ago that Nestlé finally ditched the artificial colours/flavours rubbish that they used to overload their product with, so in the spirit of enquiry I screwed up my eyes to have a peer at the ingredients list. Safflower, lemon and hibiscus, ok. Radish, black carrot and red cabbage – seriously?! Sorry, but that just sounds wrong. Another thing that feels wrong, to me at least, is that easter eggs no longer have things inside them. Sterile chocolate eggs, robbed of even the pretence of a semantic link with the festival of rebirth to which they are commercially linked. Bah, humbug.
I used to enjoy bank holidays, once upon a time, when I had a more or less full-time job. But that was before my daughter arrived. Now they’re just days not quite like any other, when I generally have less time to myself. If my husband were not on the career-path he has chosen, and worked ‘normal’ days like most people, then we might be able to do the family day thing. On the other hand, because he has to work shifts serving and protecting, we get our family days when the majority are having ‘normal’ days, so there is less pressure to conform to the idea that We-All-Must-Enjoy-Ourselves-Because… mentality. My daughter and I did have a jolly walk up to the Co-Op, to get milk, playing the naughty gnome game, hopping, and looking out for new signs of spring. (The naughty gnome game involves looking for – obviously imaginary – naughty gnomes, hiding under parked cars, running up garden paths, climbing trees, etc. They always have mismatched hoods and cloaks, and are always about to do something bad, like steal milk bottles, break windows, kidnap dogs, flood drains. Once we spot them, the King of the Good Gnomes- who always have matching hoods and cloaks – comes after them, puts them in a cardboard box, and then throws them in prison.) On the way home I twisted my ankle, which alarmed my daughter. How did I do it? No idea. It just happened. It’s strapped up now in a tubi-grip bandage; the swelling is beginning to go down. Isn’t it remarkable how efficacious red wine and chocolate can be, when applied medicinally?
And the celandines are out at last, golden flowers starring the uncut grass of parks and verges.
There’ll hopefully be some progress on the writing front, next time. Right now I’m too stuffed with chocolate to think.