Two late arrivals for Strictly Come Dancing. Both pretty busy people but they have taken time out from their exhausting schedule to guest star on this week's edition. Now are they doing the Samba, the Rhumba, the Salsa or the Potomac Two Step?
I have just started watching the new serialisation of Little Dorrit which is dramatised by the ever present Andrew Davies, the adapter par excellance. As with Bleak House in 2006, we have the first episode one hour long, and then half hour episodes twice a week, nicely timed to leave us all on the edge of our seats and just getting into the story and oh damn and blast it's finished and leaves you wanting more. Cannily done.
So far well up to expectations. You have to take your time with Dickens as he introduces us all to a motley collection of characters and grotesques which can be a tad overwhelming to start with as you try to sort out who is who and we watch them, even the tiniest parts, played by familiar faces from the BBC Crinoline Rep book. Oh look there is Matthew MacFadyan, formerly of Spooks, Young Hal at the National and the latest Mr Darcy; there is Bill Paterson, who played the doctor in Mrs Gaskell's Wives and Daughters who became the stepfather of a flighty young lady when he married his foolish second wife and the stepdaughter is Keely Hawes who is now Mrs Macfadyan in real life; Judy Parfit as the formidable mother of Arthur (Mathew M); a French murderer (with an accent straight out of 'Ello 'Ello) played by Andy Serkis (Gollum in Lord of the RIngs) who so far has spent most of his screen time chewing up the scenery and is totally over the top and wonderful; John Alderton (who was in He Knew he was Right a couple of years ago) playing a seemingly nice kindly landlord, but one who employs a rapacious rent collector; Tom Courteney simply sublime as Mr Dorrit, known as the 'father of Marshalsea' a title in which he takes great pride even though all it means is that he has been there longer than anybody else; and tonight a tiny cameo part of an official in the Office of Circumlocution ("all public matters end in the office of Circumlocution") played by the redoubtable Robert Hardy (Sir John Middleton in Sense and Sensibility, Siegfried Farnon All Creatures Great and Small and hundreds of other roles) and many other familiar faces too many to mention here. It is a dream of a cast and all the tiny roles are filled with familiar faces, those jobbing actors who will never get an Oscar but are always in work and always turning in sterling performances. Wonderful stuff.
I have never read Little Dorrit but will now do so. I have not wanted to as I like to know that there is a Dickens I have yet to discover, which sounds a daft reason for not reading, but the joy of knowing it was there waiting for me -- I know all Random visitors will understand perfectly. Having never read it I cannot comment on the right or wrong of an interview with Andrew Davies earlier in the year when he said that 'he was going to bring out the hidden lesbianism in the book'. However, my heart sank into my boots at this remark. While I am for ever indebted to Andrew for his Colin'Wet Shirt' Firth moment, there are times when his seeming obsession with sex can get well, boring, really. He is always banging on about bringing out the sex in the classics to the point where I do wonder if he ought to nip over to the US and join David Duchovny in his clinic where he is being treated for 'sex addiction' and undergo a bit of therapy. Bromide in the tea perhaps...?
The lesbianism is already being painted with a broad brush and it is between Miss Wade and the maid/companion Tattycoran, who is the one actress so far who has left me rather unimpressed with her thespian skills and I wonder if it is in any way justified and if any readers who know the book will have any comments to make. I would be very interested to hear. I understand that the actress playing Miss Wade had to play the role wearing no make up which she found rather daunting. No explanation given but one can only assume it was to make her look unattractive and plain and therefore less likely to attract a man. Surely not I tell myself, that would just be too obvious....
But, despite any small caveats that I may have, I am loving this already and it is going to get better and better I can see.
I do like Macfadyan. I thought he made a good Darcy and when I saw him as Hal in Henry IV at the National Theatre last year, I was most impressed. He has a lovely speaking voice which I find very beguiling and he has a sudden disarming smile which makes me go all wobbly. As you can see from this picture he also sports a most fetching hat....
OK and on that note of intellectual analysis I am off to read a chapter or two before sleep.
Went out for a walk yesterday morning as it was just such a beautiful day and the air had that lovely crisp autumn feel about it. I love autumn, it is about my favourite season. I love the feeling of vague melancholy about it, the summer is over (ha what summer I hear you cry), Halloween, Guy Fawkes and Christmas are in the offing and we have put the clocks back and the dusk is closing in earlier. While I dislike getting up on cold mornings and making my way to the train station, there is something rather comforting about coming home in the evening, drawing the curtains and snuggling up on the sofa with a good book or TV prog or music and feeling all safe and cosy inside while outside it is rainy and dark and cold.
I am going to enjoy this winter as I only have to get up three mornings a week now for the commute and work and yes I am sorry I keep going on about it, but the novelty is never going to wear off and I know that once this contract is over and I am back to full time, o my gosh it is going to be a shock to the system.In the meantime, I intend to enjoy it and here are a couple of photos I took yesterday on my walk. Just look at those glorious colours.
I watched two totally naff programmes last night and, because of the usual crass scheduling which meant that both of them were on at the same time, taped one and then, with the luxury of another day at home today, sat up late to watch it.
First up was Wired. This was a three parter on one of the commercial channels and centred on a gigantic fraud to transfer millions of pounds into a fake account at a large bank at Canary Wharf. Probably not the best of timing to show us what an incompetent and greedy bunch bankers are at the moment, but daresay the producers had no notion of the financial meltdown looming when this was filmed. It was packed with nasty, vicious dodgy characters who seemed to be beating up, stabbing or kicking their partners and lovers and the 'heroine' Louise, a rather spotty single mother who seemed to have reached a huge position of trust in the bank (how? she was totally gormless), seemed to have no ethics or morals whatsoever, taking money from whoever would pay her- ok she was blackmailed into it at first but only because she had done something dodgy in the past, and then she vacillated between the goodies and the baddies and by the end of it I hadn't the faintest idea who she had double, triple or quadruple crossed. She also behaved in such a furtive manner, looking left, right, left right and checking up on everyone each time she was going to do something dodgy that if I had seen her I would have hauled her off the trading floor straight away. Bodies everywhere, unexpected people turning out to be devious and most of the bank's staff it would seem, all in on the fraud.
Came the day when the big transfer was GO a team had been assembled to transfer £250m. Loads of nerds sitting in front of laptops banging away, fingers going like lightening and all looking as if they were writing a sequel to War and Peace. Why? I would have thought one person, one laptop and one finger could have done all this.
Well by now you are probably wondering why I watched it. Well, simple really. Toby Stephens. I can only assume that he needed some Christmas spending money and a gap in his schedule as I cannot believe that he would do this otherwise. He oozed his way through the three episodes, exuding sex appeal from every pore, managing to make the dire script sound vaguely convincing and every now and then sneered or raised an eyebrow. Wonderful. If you like really good/bad drama then Wired fulfills all the criteria.
And the second programme? Spooks. As I mentioned earlier, this series has left me stone cold having watched one episode in the very first series and finding it eminently and boringly predictable and have never watched it since and had no intention of ever doing so, but then up comes Richard Armitage who takes over from Rupert Penry Jones who seems to take underacting to a new under, so of course I had to watch. Am not sure that even with the divineutterlygorgeoussexy RA in it I will be able to take an entire series. Watched it last night with mouth open in disbelief at just how corny and bad it was. A meeting on the Embankment (the London Eye in background so we all know where we are) between the head of M15 and his Russian counterpart, all full of joviality and you scratch my back and I will give you a samovar of tea, featured Peter Firth with Stuart Wilson as the devious Russian. And how do you know he is devious? Because Stuart Wilson always, but always plays the baddy in every single thing I have seen him in (please write in and correct me if I am wrong, I probably am) so you immediately want to scream at the screen DON'T DO IT as papers or chat are exchanged. As David Niven once said about Errol Flynn ' you knew where you were with Errol, he always let you down'. Just swap Errol for Stuart.
OK so far so bad, but then we are told 'the Russians are getting tetchty. Get in touch with Rangerider (or Rangerover not sure which )and tell her the Moscow operation is burnt' Burnt?
Cue phone call to Glam blonde striding around Moscow with phone glued to ear:
'I have been here six months, not missing the drop now'
'Rangerider that's an order GET OUT NOW'
'Sorry no can do'
Hangs up. This is the sort of dialogue that you would expect in an old black and white war movie, preferably with Richard Todd in stiff upper lip mode, 'Sorry sir am ignoring order. I'm going in. Give a kiss to the wife from me will you if I don't come back''
Rangerider then goes to rendezvous, finds contact dead, spots someone creeping up behind her reflected in glass, smashes his face in, finds the information she wants tucked in the sock of dead contact and legs it to a nearby Russian church (cue Russian type church music) whips out a passport and stash of money left behind a statue and next thing we see is landing at Heathrow just in time to join forces with the other members of MI5 to thwart a terrorist attack without barely drawing breath.
I am aware that I am going on and on about this to the point of tedium, but I really could not believe just how bad it was. Now I am not being snotty or superior here, this writer is addicted to Strictly Come Dacning, Midsomer Murders, 24, West Wing, ER, Inspector Frost et al, so my credentials for enjoying populist TV are pretty strong, but I just found the entire experience of Spooks, with jagged shots, pounding music and shouts of GO GO GO just too predictable for words.
Then I open up this week's edition of Radio Times (which I have taken for years and with anal attention each week mark up progs I am intending to watch), and find this next to a pic of next week's edition of, yes, Spooks:
"... it all adds up to another breathtaking week for a cracking adventure series, one that always makes sure it takes itself completely seriously while dropping tiny nuggets of bone-dry humour into the dialogue. Don't miss it"
I am obviously living on a different planet.
Off to put the kettle on.
PS (Have just discovered that Toby S is going to be in three episodes of Robin Hood playing King John. This means that both he and Richard Armitage are going to be on screen AT THE SAME TIME).
About 18 months ago BBC4 had a series of programmes under the title Reader I married Him and the point of this programme was to correct the slightly condescending view on Romantic Fiction which seems to be held by the literati. I said at the time and have managed to pull up my post on this here that they did not succeed as the general air of smug contempt permeated the entire programme and reinforced this view, rather than correct it. On Saturday I noticed they were repeating it so switched on to see if my perception of my earlier viewing still held. Well, it did and in spades and after fifteen minutes of the condescending approach turned the TV off.
I am nailing my colours to the mast here and saying out loud and proud that I Love Romantic Fiction and I have done all my life. When I worked in the library system as a teenager and then an adult I had access to a huge variety of books and devoured them all and, while there are some pretty dire romantic writers around (as there are dire crime, adventure et al writers), we must not forget that Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights and Tenant of Wildfell Hall and other 'classic' books all have love at their centre, with Pride and Prejudice in particular held up as the First Great Romantic Novel.
The reason for this preamble/waffle is to tell you all that I spent a delightful time in bed on Sunday morning reading Fair Deception. a Regency romance by Jan Jones. The clocks had gone back the night before but it made no difference to my inner clock and I awoke at the crack of dawn, very irritating, so decided to make the best of being awake at such a ludicrously early hour, therefore, back to bed after making a cup of tea, light on and started to read.
Susanna Fair is an actress, hotly pursued by Lord Warwick, a nasty piece of work, who is not used to having his advances spurned and he attempts to abduct her when she is rescued by one Kit Kydd who had jut been watching her perform that evening, and to whom she was immediately attracted. It seems that Kit needs to appear settled in a good marriage to be made heir to his great aunt's fortune and as Susanna needs to disappear for a while to avoid Lord Warwick who is in the mood for revenge, she agrees to pretend to be his fiance for the duration of the visit to his aunt.
Of course, it does not take many little grey cells to work out what is going to happen, nor to discover the secret linked with the town of Newmarket where Kit's aunt lives and which Susannah wishes to hide, but it is all done with great style and verve and pace and it was sheer delight from start to finish. Who can resist this...
"Strong arms were instantly around her, taking the weight off her crippled foot with a gentleness that almost made her weep....she received a confused impression of dancing blue eyes and gleaming hair that feathered her face as her rescuer bent to hoist her up. 'Truly a maiden in distress' he said, a laugh in his voice to match the irrepressible devilry in his gaze"
I will admit to an interest here and say that Jan is now a friend of mine and sent me a preview copy so you may think I am biased and of course I am. But, she knows that I would not say I loved the book when I did not and I think she writes with great style. I read Jan's previous book Stage by Stage a couple of years ago and liked her writing immediately. (I would like to place a link here to my review but the Search engine on Random has gone down the spout - again - and I am waiting for it to be sorted). This book was published by Transita, a publishing house whose remit was to publish books for and by the over-40's woman, but it seems to have ceased producing such books and not sure where it is going at the moment. A shame but the enterprising authors who are no longer represented by them just went off and got themselves another publisher, not an easy thing to do, so I am simply thrilled to have a copy of Fair Deception in my hand hot off the press.
I loved it.
I am looking forward to meeting up with Jan again soon when we have one of our regular forays into Cambridge for lunch, and Weight watchers or not, we will have sticky toffee pudding to celebrate...
For the last twenty years I have attended a book sale held each October in Colchester in aid of the NSPCC. It is well supported and always packed out and over the weekend in 2007 nearly £20,000 was raised. Books are donated throughout the year and can be left at various designated holding areas and it is all highly organised and sponsored by a local estate agents who hand out hundreds of bags to cart your findings home in.
This year off I went again and, for the first time, have to confess I was somewhat disappointed at what was there. OK I appreciate that my choice of readings is not to everyone's taste and my love of battered, tatty second hand books is not universal, but I normally stumble across some great finds (one only this year) and come away happy with a great mix of stuff. This time, no. All the hardbacks were newish books, the amount of interesting looking, musty smelling old books was down to a minimum and instead boxes of Danielle Steele, Maeve Binchy (don't get me wrong I love her books), John Grisham, multiple brand new hard back copies of Joanne Trollope, Alan Titchmarsh (obviously bought for Christmas and chucked out as soon as possible), masses of chicklit and so on and so forth. I unearthed a wonderful old copy of a Miss Read book, complete with dust jacket, and a copy of an Anya Seton in hardback which I was glad to have, but other than there was nothing I felt overjoyed about. You may think I am really complaining about nothing when you have a look at the heap I came away with however and perhaps I am making too much of it.
I found a few Viragos but there were hardly any this year and came away and shall pass on to a charity shop as I don't want to keep any of it, unlike previous visits when I retained most of my haul. There was no feeling that I had stumbled across some really great finds nor was there a frisson of excitement on this visit at all.
But, I did find a wonderful edition of A Christmas Carol with the most superb illustrations and I could not resist it. OK I have five editions already but this one was such a treat. Published by "Raphael Tuck and Sons, publishers to their Majesties, The King and Queen and to her Majesty Queen Alexandra" which places it firmly between 1901-1911 which was the reign of Edward VII, smooth elegant paper and these wonderful illustrations. Cop a load of this one in the chapter on The Spirit of Christmas Present and in comes Mrs Cratchit with the pudding. Worth the entire trip alone.
On the plus side however, it is good to note that the place was heaving as always and the children's section was totally packed out with children piling up heaps of books on the floor that they wanted. The computer and computer games had obviously not taken up all the attention of these junior buyers, ranging from about 7-14. Very encouraging.
When moaning to a friend about my non-success this year, she heard me out, looked me in the eye and said "Elaine, does it occur to you that you might just have bought every second hand copy of every book you want by now and you have exhausted the market?"
Well I have finally managed to sit down and finish Becoming Queen by Kate Williams and I loved every minute of it.As I said in an earlier post, Kate writes with great panache and verve and I am sure she won't mind me saying that she has a lovely gossipy, chatty style that makes you feel as if you, the reader, are sitting down having a good old catch-up on all the latest news.
'Have you heard what the Duchess of Kent has done now?That poor child. What she has to put up with, and that John Conroy, shouldn’t be allowed......”
Don't think I am being Miss Know it All here – I am not, but there was very little in this book that I did not know from a factual point of view, but Kate has certainly brought a new slant to it all and captured my interest in Victoria's childhood all over again.I have read many biographies of Queen Vic but her childhood was only a small part of the whole life and it was good to read a biography that honed in solely on this particular period.
Hard to understand the behaviour of Victoria's mother, the Duchess of Kent.Extenuating circumstances aplenty of course:married to the Duke of Kent years older than her in the great race to see who could produce a legitimate heir from all the offspring of George III'ssons, after the death of Princess Charlotte, all of whom seemed to have a multiplicity of illegitimate children littering the landscape but nary a one with a claim to the throne; so over she comes to a country which is alien to her and where she is not made very welcome; then left a widow when Victoria was a baby;short of money; nowhere to live and badly treated by George IV, now sitting or perhaps sprawling on the throne would be a better description, the delightful Prince Florizel now a bloated drunkard – so what is she to do and how is she to survive?
The Duchess came under the influence of John Conroy who ran her household, siphoned money off to support his own family and generally behaved in a fraudulent manner, but he was handsome and supportive and hardly surprising the Duchess let him take her over.There were suggestions of an affair but it seemed to me that she was just one of these women who love to be dominated by a man and terrified of being left alone, and so allowed him full sway.
However, even taking all this into consideration, it is really difficult to feel much sympathy towards the Duchess and her partner in crime for the way they bullied and frightened Victoria as she grew older and the time when she could rule without a Regency came ever closer.William IV, loathed the Duchess so much that he determined that no matter how old and ill he was, he was going to cling to life until Victoria was eighteen and could accede to the throne..
Victoria was a tough cookie – she needed to be to resist the mental and physical bullying that carried on day and night.She was never alone, did not even have her own bedroom and was watched round the clock by servants and ladies in waiting provided by John Conroy.There was even an occasion when Victoria was quite seriously ill and in her fever had to fight off Conroy who tried to force her to sign a paper making him her private secretary.
And yet this so called 'Kensington system' of education and upbringing, the endless grand tours of the country to show Victoria to the people (much resented by William IV), prepared her for Queenship.She had tutors for languages, music, and political history and was tested frequently by them to see what standard she had reached. (Sounds like the Victorian version of SATS).The Duchess did her job properly from this point of view and it is surprising that Victoria always felt intellectually inferior to Albert all her life when, in fact, she was very well educated indeed.
William IV achieved what he had set out to do and managed to stay alive until Victoria was old enough to ascend the throne direct at 18 years of age.Frighteningly young to take on such a huge responsibility and almost immediately she came under the influence of Melbourne, the Prime Minister, rakish and charming and just the sort of man that Victoria was always attracted to.She relied on him absolutely and developed a teenage style crush for him which infuriated his political enemies as, in her eyes, he could do no wrong.
Of course a honeymoon period never lasts and the dazzling popularity she enjoyed for a year or so began to dim, particularly over the scandal regarding her treatment of Lady Flora Hastings, who she accused of being pregnant when in fact the woman was ill with a tumour on her liver which ultimately killed her.The Queen's attitude to lady Flora, harsh though it seems, has to be viewed in the reader's knowledge that she was one of the ladies in waiting foisted on the young Victoria by John Conroy and who spied on her and reported back on all her activities.One could hardly expect the Queen to regard her in a friendly light.
But no matter, the public began to suspect their idol had feet of clay and Victoria herself began to realise that life was not all play but hard work, and the novelty of being Queen began to pall.She also began to get more and more short tempered and irritable and began to tire of spending all her time with adults so much older than her.She was only nineteen for heavens sake and it is fairly clear that she was feeling frustrated and irritable because, to be quite frank, she was still a virgin and not happy to be so.She was a full blooded Hanoverian, from a family of philanderers who led life to the full and she had inherited their nature.
She had initially told her uncle Leopold, King of the Belgians who was trying to push Albert, another member of the Coburg family into her orbit as a husband, that she was not yet ready to settle down.Albert was a tad upset by this as he knew he had been groomed to be her husband and now he was being rejected by the Queen which would do him no good in the courts of Europe in seeking an alternative bride.So, he was sent to England again and this time Victoria, restless and dissatisfied, viewed him in a different light.
Out of all the journal entries, letters and diaries I have read of Queen Victoria, this entry when Albert arrives at the palace, looking pale and interesting as he had just been sea sick on his voyage, is the one that I love the most.It is to the point, straight to the heart and simple and true (the italics are those of the Queen):
"It was with some emotion that I beheld Albert who is beautiful"
If you want to know more about this amazing woman, who I simply love and find fascinating, then go find a full biography and prepared to be enchanted, infuriated and amused by this diminutive, feisty and lion hearted Queen, but for an introduction to her life, her childhood and a rip roaring portrayal of her Regency relatives, then please read this wonderful book by Kate Williams.
Opened up the Radio Times the other day and what doI find? There is a new series of Spooks starting. It is now in its seventh series and for the past six I have read about it with total indifference and no desire to watch at all. After seeing Penry Jones from the series as a dire Captain Wentworth in a dire Persuasion last year, any thought I had that I might give it a chance, vanished into the sunset.
But now I will be watching. Even if the scripts turn out to be be mediocre, the acting may be awful but I shall rise above it. And why? Because the utterlygorgeoussexydevestatinglywonderful Richard Armitage is joining the series. Yes he of North and South gorgeousness, he of The Vicar of Dibley delightfulness and he of the Guy of Gisborne seriously knock 'em in the aisles black leather trouserness of Robin Hood - that's the one. I am quite overcome with the thought of it all and need to have an early night to recover from the antcipation.
So once I calmed down I then read further and found out that this Sunday we have the first part of a new adaptation of Little Dorrit. It goes without saying that it is by Andrew Davies so we should be in for a treat. We have a first hour long episode and then we will have two half-hour episodes a week. The cast list is pretty impressive with Mathew Macfadyan heading up the names and a host of other British thesps ready to don their corsets and/or boots again. I am looking forward to it very much.
OK so I have recovered from Richard Armitage and noted Little Dorrit and then I stumble across something else that makes me feel even more that I need a nice lie down.
Two words. Sean Bean.
Yes another couple of episodes of Sharpe are up and coming and this news is the icing on the cake as far as I am concerned. Nothing like the combination of Richard Armitage and Sean Bean to lighten the gloom of the early dark nights when the clocks have gone back.
Now if the Beeb could come up with a new serial starring Colin Firth, preferably in something white, see through and wet, then I would be a happy woman...
Yes I am. I have to face up to it. Middle aged spread (or should I say Senior Citizen Spread) is taking over my body. The body that for years I have kidded myself is nearer to Twiggy than Nigella is now rapidly assuming Mr Blobby proportions and I have to face up to the fact that slobbing around on these days off I now possess shoving chocolate digestive biscuits down my throat is doing me no good at all.
I promise that I am not going to bore you with my dietary problems, nor will I give you a week by week account, but in order to bring some discipline into my eating habits and make me accountable, I am telling all Random Readers that I have joined Weight Watchers so you can CHECK UP ON ME. I joined them years ago after I had my children and lost two stone and have more or less stayed in that area, with the odd blip or two, ever since. The main reason I have rejoined them is that for the first time in 30 years I find myself weighing the same as when I had just given birth so it has to STOP. I have tried doing the WW thing at home and I have no will power whatsoever. Going along each week and being weighed and handing over MONEY does concentrate the mind wonderfully.
(Mem: must get out of habit of putting words in capital letters and remember how annoyed you got when JK Rowling did it in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and desist. She can get away with it, you can't)
Oh, has anybody else noticed that the scales used at WW always put you another 7lbs heavier than those you use at home? Mine are electronic and I would have thought pretty accurate but no. Now, cynic that I am, I cannot help the thought crossing my mind that the heavier you are, the more you have to lose, the more classes you will attend and the more money you will hand over.
But I am sure they would not do that...
So two days into it all and I am trying to avoid the temptation of weighing myelf each day and in the spirit of adventure and thinking I must up the ante, I took myself off to the Leisure Centre yesterday morning. I have not visited this place since the children were small as I loathe leisure centres and gyms with a deadly loathing. The gym is always full of size ten women with designer training outfits and matching sweat, clutching their bottles of mineral water and pounding away on the treadmill, and making all of us in our baggy old t-shirts and leggings feel inferior and self conscious, and the swimming pool is noisy, full of screaming children and unpleasant. However, I did some investigating and discovered that there is a swim every morning at 11am for one hour for the over-fifties so off I went. I tell you, I nearly funked it but told myself to get a grip and just go. Women there all shapes and sizes and girths so I felt better straight away and then felt even better when I found the concession reduced the fee to £2.20 which I thought was pretty good.
Initially swam in the slow lane but kept bumping into other swimmers who were paddling around and chatting as they went and then would stop and clutch the side, one couple talking about bunions (TRUE) and getting in my way so I felt like kicking them (the bunions that is if I could have located them) so hied me off to the Medium lane feeling very superior. After five minutes of crashing into everyone else in that lane as well, I porpoised over into the fast lane and found that I could cope with the speed though I think the word 'fast' here is a misnomer. I have swum all my life and actually have a bronze medal (Argyle Street Junior School I hasten to add, not Olympics) but did not think I was that nippy in the water and it was a great boost to discover that I was better than most of the swimmers I met this morning.
Did twenty lengths, stopping in between each two to catch my breath so please don't think I was hoovering up and down like Mark Foster (be still my beating heart) and I enjoyed it and will be going back next week. (Just put this pic of Mark Foster in Striclty Come Dancing ffor your delight. Did you see him on Saturday night in THAT SHIRT? He cannot dance but as Tess Daly said 'Mark, on behalf of all the women in the world, thank you for wearing that shirt...).
Then, of course, comes the bit I loathe most of all. Changing. I decided not to shower and wash and dry my hair there but to do it at home so I dried myself off, hurled talcum powder all over the bod and then came the bit that always used to drive me to screaming pitch - trying to get ones clothes on a a damp body so that the bra and pants stick to bits of you that should not and as for pulling up the trousers without them jamming on the damp knees, well forget it. Also bear in mind that you are standing on a wet floor and have to get the trousers on without getting them wet, you cannot put your shoes on to keep your feet dry as they get stuck in the trousers (Still with me?) and it is All too Much to Bear.
However, I shall go again. I fell fast asleep on the sofa this afternoon wiped out by this exertion and woke feeling pretty good and I do feel better for the exercise even if it is a penance. But it is good I now have the time to do this and no excuses. I have a chicken in the oven cooking away right now with grilled peppers and mashed swede to accompany. All frightfully healthy.