Melanie Ried, Twelve Years a Slave, and Nemesis is Just Around the Corner.

Yep, there was Melanie having a lovely morning on her beloved horse, and there she is the old Nemesis stalking, waiting, and striking and Melanie, in the blinking of an eye, is tetraplegic. And there is Solomon, a clever middle class black Guy with a picket fence, a lovely family and a gift on the violin. In a single second they are both prisoners, one in her own body and the other on a slave plantation. They both survived Melanie in her head, because she is an astonishing woman. Solomon as played in this remarkable film by Chiwetel Ejoifor, because of his intelligence, and one tiny shaft of decent behaviour in a sink of unimaginable brutality These are both salutary stories, Melanie talks in the Times about health checks and taking your spaniel for a walk in the sun. She hits the spot that woman, I know how lucky I am to be able to take my Spaniels for a walk in the sun, and how lucky I am not to be seriously poor or paralyzed believe me Nemesis we are afraid. Perhaps Saint George, and Pope Dave are also giving a thought to “the Poor”? they don’t see many of them in Notting Hill, Westminster or Oxfordshire though, which is why George has just allocated eleven billion pounds to the poor in other parts of the world, because we are so lucky you see; we don’t have poor people here do we??? Look around George and Dave go to Iceland on the Isle of Wight for starters or Kings Cross in the middle of the night. Twelve Years a Slave is a terrifying film, I didn’t see many black people there, I don’t blame them, I don’t suppose they could stomach it. I came out ashamed to be white and had to go to bed for two days.

Everything you do and say has a consequence, when most of my family died when I was very young, I thought then that I had been singled out, and that God had it in for me and three kind good people he snatched, two of them so young , that is why many years later I started to work for Cruse Bereavement Care. The man who I went to see first of all had been appointed to care for Welsh Village where all its young had been suffocated in a slide from a coal tip. I learned that I was not different, when those grieving parents learned that they also found the great camaraderie of the human spirit. Go and see Solomon’s story but eat first.

People Never Forget a Fart, The Long Walk to Freedom, and The Rule Of The Cloth.

A very pompous man was delivering a really stupid response to an outraged group of people in our road recently, when he did a very long and globulous fart; he did his best to cover it up by shimmying about on the wet pavement and pretending it was his shoes, but he didn’t know he was dealing with the Queen of Farts, that’s me. Nobody gets away with them in my family, we take no prisoners with them here. My son is the worst, he is forensic in their detection , no matter what the occasion, he silences the room while he points out the culprit. Never one to miss an opportunity I was onto it , no holes barred !!!!! “You have just done a fart,” we announced to the man in the road. He squirmed , and denied it vehemently, but the damage was done. The other people sniggered, he accused us of being rude in a rather pathetic way, frankly he was done for. There you have it, it will be a case of “We have forgot the fart” if he is lucky, and you all know where that comes from, because you are all educated people .

The Mandela film was in my opinion outstanding, this is not a view shared by the critics who ever they are , but I don’t understand why. Two wonderful Guys are chipping away on the bricks that were once our beautiful garden wall blown down in the gale. They will only do this for three days and at the end of it they will have made a beautiful thing and will be rewarded as they should be; but Mandela did it for twenty years, for nothing except his survival. Sorry critics you are wrong… this is a story that should be told a thousand times, as it will be no doubt, but I was blown away by it like our wall. Did it occur to me on the subject of walls and bricks that young people are being deprived of the childhood bricks which are so essential for their development . Without them all these aged twelve going on forty children will have nothing to keep them up when the winds of life blow, that is what the “Three Little Pigs” was all about I suppose, a story absent from currant child rearing.

The Sainted One collected the three cloths from the laundry today, he told me they cost thirty five pounds in a very accusatory way. I replied that in view of their Ducal history they deserved nothing less. He made some comment about curtailing all this lavish entertaining. The last guests were his actually and the entire meal was spent discussing fascinating things such as the cultivation of horse radish and the rules of Croquet. I have little to say about either, so maybe he has a point .( I expect you all got the pun because you are all clever people).

Fabulous Christmas, Flat Batteries, Soiled Napery and the Marital Crime Museum

As you will see from the recent photos we had the best Christmas on record, six of my eldest daughters children, and her very domesticated ex-husband and my son all staying in the house; it was pure delight just as everything should be and what a lovely crowd, it left a warm glow of serendipity.

We all know though that there is usually a sting in the tail, this one came with the chill wind of a new year with a theme…. two flat batteries ,three table cloths , four lost presents, five ect, etc well you all know how it goes. One of the flat batteries was in a small torch, the only form of light in our house on the Isle of Wight, where some very kind person had disconnected the electricity for elf and safety reasons. This I discovered when I arrived alone in the dark, to check out the weather damage. Of course, I complained, but was reassured they had left the fridge in functioning order, plus one overhead light in the bedroom. Many people came to the rescue and I was yet again struck by the excellent characters of the British, no surprise everyone wants to come here. The real storm erupted on my return to London . The Sainted One felt very put upon because he was instructed to take three table cloths to the laundry; his car broke down outside because he had failed to replace the flat battery. Naturally I got the blame, and the marital museum of crimes came spewing out. I pointedout mildly ( in the sweet reasonable way for which I am so admired and lovedl) that it was better to break down outside the laundry round the corner, where they gave him I nice cup of tea while he waited for the lovely AA man, than perhaps, as might have happened on a deserted motorway. Of course once the beast has been prodded the whole lot comes out and it always has the old cliché of “anyway I have been miserable with you for thirty three years.” Well all one can say is, “so what did you expect?”

This reminded me of the beloved Baroness Trumpington, a national treasure, who addressed an almost empty House of Lords on the matter of intimate searches, she  commanded the only other occupant , a sleeping member to wake up and listen, he came to on on the “tail end” of her question, which was whether he would prefer to have an “anal search” performed by trained “personnel …” with sterilized rubber gloves, or an inexperienced policeman in unsavoury conditions? I do not recall his Lordships reply, but it is in Hansard.

All this happy new year thing makes me very depressed, so far it’s not so good, another dear friend with cancer …… Then there is my lovely ferocious daughter who has a brain damaged child of fourteen, as a family, we are all batting for her and their other kids, there is a battle ahead, it is always about money….. watch this space. The little Anna is fortunate to have such a loving family and such a fantastic mother, I guess you can’t win them all.