Swallows and Amazons a Syrian Metaphor, The Wonder of Shakespeare, and rather Unfulfilled Promise.

For Moi the perfect afternoon, the delightful film of Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons, as a child Ransom’s books were classics and we acted them out in the cultural void of post war fifties England. Children at that time lived the dream of adventures on ponds, camp fires and make believe Indians these were the toys we had. It was only last week that I read that Ransome based his masterpiece on a delightful family of Anglo Syrians on holiday in the Lake district his home from home . They went back to Syria eventually to troubled times and history does not accurately relate what happened to them. Perhaps this was a metaphor for the future?

Culture is readily available where we live and last weekend I had a sublime evening watching the Changeling Theatre Company’s production of All’s Well that Ends Well in a setting sun in a church garden. Victorians did not perform this play because Helena pursues her man Bertram with shameless determination, wombs are mentioned a lot and Victorians would have none of them. Queen Victoria’s physician Sir James delivered all her babies and never saw her private bits. He did so after her death and was shocked by the ravages that so many confinements had “wrought upon her” this was one of the reasons she wore voluminous black skirts, I know this!

I forwarded an interview I had with Country Life magazine in 1997 to my publisher today at their request, it was the year I changed careers and left my very profitable work as a journalist to write novels. This was referred to as the most solitary of lives, the writer suggests that this will not be quite enough and that there is a “world outside and surprises are in store”, it made me wonder? Perhaps it was not the best choice, certainly if I had written one of Ransome’s books it might have been, one of the problems is that people do not take writers seriously, a very arrogant conductor I have known for years asked me the other day if I was still doing a little writing, I asked him if he was still doing a little conducting, the man went berserk and had to be restrained by the whole table of arty celebs. Actually he made a complete ass of himself and I have a nasty turn of phrase so at least being a writer has given me that.