I love hearing about interesting and exciting book related ventures. At this time of year the amount of dross that appears in the bookshops for Christmas presents defies belief. Endless 'sleb' biographies from people who score goals, appear in a soap on TV, who have been in reality shows and girl/boy bands, all of which end up weighing down the shelves of charity shops in the New Year. Horrid stuff and really the last gasp idea of a present.
Over the next week or so I am going to write about books that I think would be wonderful Christmas gifts. In other words, I would love to receive them, so all very subjective but if you are reading this blog then I assume that you are happy for me to recommend titles.
In the meantime I am very very happy to write about The Glenogle & Bell Book Company which is owned and run by Malcolm and Vanessa Robertson.
In 2007, they founded The Edinburgh Bookshop and over the next few years, achieved not only recognition in the trade but, more importantly from their
who appreciated the time and effort put into choosing the
best stock for the shop. They have since sold the shop but feel that all this time and expertise and book knowledge could not be allowed to languish in obscurity and so up they came with this excellent idea of offering packages chosen by them for you. Each title will be carefully selected and there are various packages on offer from crime to gardening, modern fiction to children's books. Do check out their website.
As well as this new company Vanessa and Malcolm also run Fidra Books which has been successfully republishing out of print authors of our childhood. I well remember reading Mabel Esther Allen when I used to haunt my children's library, Ruby Ferguson of Jill's Gymkhana fame and KM Peyton, authors now available again much to my joy.
This busy pair are here to bring you books tailored to your special interests, chosen thoughtfully and carefully by them and are a million miles away from bog standard books on offer, especially at this time of year. A subscription to one of the packages available will be a present that I, personally, would value as I would know that it was chosen with care and thought.
I am getting bogged down again in my reviews as I have been so busy (as you can see from the previous post....) so I am cheating again today and drawing your attention to books recently received ahead of future reviews.
Dropping through my letterbox this morning was The Assassination of the Archduke by Greg King and Sue Woolmans, subtitle Sarajevo and the Murder that Changed the World. As the hundred year anniversary of the start of the Great War is next year, this is very relevant and timely and I have already started the first
chapter and can see that this is going to be an excellent read. You probably know by now that I love Vienna, though I have never been (I will go, I will) and a biography which starts off with the sentence 'thick white snow swirled from a night sky, scattering across Vienna's tiled rooftops and shimmering in drifts against the wide boulevards' is going to grab my attention. The scene is set already and I am looking forward to my read.
Yale UP are doing me proud at the moment and I am most appreciative of the lovely books they are sending me. Wagner and the Art of the Theatre by Patrick Carnegy is right up my strasse though I realise that this will be a book for aficionados only but, again, looking forward to reading it though it is going to be a chapter at a time read methinks as it is very detailed.
Fred's War, a doctor in the Trenches - Andrew Davidson. Another WWI book but this time from the view of a young 25 year old minister's son who left Scotland for the battlefields of France in 1914. Along with his medical equipment he had brought his folding camera and began to secretly document life in the trenches. Never before seen photographs provide a fascinating picture of daily life and I will be writing more on this later.
And then two fiction books which I am saving up as a treat if that doesn't sound too daft. I know I am going to love them and don't want to gobble them up too soon. First up The Forgotten Seamstress by Liz Trenow. This author's first book The Last Telegram was absolutely wonderful, a real page turner (see my review of this title here). We were fortunate to have Liz appear at the Felixstowe Book Festival and we look forward to seeing her next year as well to discuss her latest book. Due to be published in January 2014
and at the moment the Kindle edition is showing at 99p. What a bargain. Pre-order now!
Project Darcy - Jane Odiwe. Now you know how I generally feel about Austen prequel/sequels/offspins and, on the whole, think they are pretty poor. I have read some of this author's other Austen-related books and have enjoyed them very much, particularly Lydia's Story, which gives a more sympathetic portrayal of this Bennett daughter. My review of that book is here. This is going to be a curl-up-on-sofa-with-curtains drawn kind of book and a treat is waiting my attention. At the moment the Kindle version is available at only £3.21
My recent reads have included a revisit to a couple of PD James, Devices and Desires and the Private Patient which are written in her usual impeccable style and are sheer joy to read; am half way through As Green as Grass by Emma Smith, as always, a deceptively simple straightforward style of writing which disguises just how beautifully she writes to make it appear this way, and on my bedside table a mystery, The Dark Heart of Florence by Michele Giuttari.
I am quite often asked how can I read several books at once and the answer is quite easy. Depends on my mood. Sometimes I cannot concentrate and a lighter read is essential, other times I am ready to get stuck into a heavier read but I find it is best to balance out the two. The Richard Burton Diaries enthralled me but I found I had to take time out from them and read something else in between. Probably the best way to read diaries anyway.
I am always struck by the variety and depth of the books I am sent for reading and review. It is impossible to read them all but I do my best to peruse as many as I can and to mention them even if sometimes it is a colletctive review amongst other titles. OK we may have our Kindles, our Nooks, our e readers and our iPads, but this does not seem to have impacted on the titles being published, well that is my view (I am probably wrong) and when I wander into a book shop and just amble around looking at the books on display I find my heart lifting. I have come across people in my life who have said 'Oh no I never read books'. I find that totally incomprehensible and cannot understand how anybody could live without a book or, in my case, thousands of them.....
This is one of those rambling posts today about trivia and What I did This Week so be warned.
I mentioned that I had poked a hole in the plaster at the top of my kitchen window and it all came off didn't I? And I did this at nearly midnight one evening. I can never work out why I do this sort of thing at inconvenient hours. I mean, I have been looking at it for weeks and thinking I don't like the look of that and left it alone so why then? One of life's mysteries and destined never to be solved.
Well the plaster has been done and looks OK and I have left it to dry out. Noticed there was a bit of a hole in the corner so had a look and saw that it is quite hollow and goes back a few inches so polyfilla no good for that as it will just fall in and never set. So off I went to B&Q again, forget Prada or Yves St Laurent give me B&Q any day where the assistants are kind and helpful and take pity on aged ladies looking lost. I came away with a spray can of foam which you squirt into this hole and leave to expand and set. You then put more in if need be and it seems to promise miracles. This will do nicely thought I.
I am not very good at opening things, be it paint tins, blister packs, CDs, DVDs, etc which I usually end up tackling with a knife or a screwdriver. The other week I had a plastic bottle of olive oil and could I get the top off? No I damn well couldn't so ended up sawing off the top with my bread knife and tipping the oil in another container and just avoided cutting my fingers off on the edge of the plastic. May be cheaper but that is that. Olive oil in bottles in future.
Anyway this long witter is merely to prepare you for the fact that once I had got the top off this canister it seemed impossible to get it to squirt out no matter how I tried and the instructions were baffling to say the least. It really needed the top to be loosened a bit so out came my pliers and I turned the little whatsit and yes, you know what is going to happen, and it did. Suddenly there was a hissing sound and spray
whateveritwasinthecan shot out and went all over the kitchen window and walls and hung there looking like something out of The Blob. Scraped it off as quickly as I could and it was sticky and yucky and started dripping down and then I thought of The Alien.
Working on the premise that the top was now loose I climbed up onto the work surface and aimed the nozzle at the hole and pressed. Nothing. If I used the pliers again all was well but I could not get them to turn the knob in the right direction so I thought sod this for a game of soldiers and decided to use a tea spoon. An old one I hasten to add. I used that to shove the stuff in the hole as much as I could get in and then left it. My hands were covered in the stuff so decided to wash it off.
And here dear reader, comes the fun part. Lethal. Lethal, Lethal. I could not get this off and ended up sticking to everything I touched. In the end I used a scourer soaked in white spirit and scrubbed and scrubbed and then soaped and washed several times until it was all gone. I went back into the kitchen after anointing myself with masses of handcream and thought I must have a cup of tea, looked up at the hole I had filled and, yes the stuff had certainly expanded and was now hanging out of the hole and it looked like, well I hate to say this, but like an enormous Pile. So I climbed up again and managed to hoik the excrescence off the wall and all was well. BUT then I had to repeat the process to get the muck off my hands.
And to round up this catalogue of DIY I found the teaspon was stuck in a lump of the foam which had hardened and looked rather like an existentialist piece of sculpture and was unsalvageable so it went into the bin. I cleared up cursing and swearing about the entire thing and then discovered tucked neatly in the cap of the canister a little pair of gloves which I was told MUST be worn.......
In between all this I went up to London to see my darling girls and stayed the night to babysit. Florence now sleeps in the loft with me when I am there and Beatrice well away until 9pm when she woke up yelling the place down and standing up in her cot. She would not settle and as I was tired and my back was aching I took her into the master bedroom and laid down on the bed with her. She immediately snuggled up to me, held my finger and went fast asleep and so did I. Woke up an hour later with this child peacefully resting on my chest. Is there anything nicer? No is the answer. And then later on when I was in bed Florence snuck in with me and all was cosy and warm. Bliss.
And, finally, to round off this post which I am sure is keeping you on the edge of
your seats, I dropped in at a book fair on the way home. It is held in aid of the NSPCC and is always packed out. Came away with a good haul and realised as I drove home that Florence is now the same age as her mother was when I took her and her big sister to this book sale. Has been going for years and the sense of continuity is wonderful.
Here is Wot I Got and could not resist these wonderful battered old editions of two Agatha Christie stories.
I a now on the sofa with feet up and writing this. Plaster has been sealed and the first coat of paint is on and I managed to do that without mishap and all is well. The hatches are battened down so if the projected storm comes anywhere near me I am safe and warm inside and hope all of my UK friends who live in the country and near the coast are all keeping safe as well.
"Oh for any questions other than 'have you sold your soul to the films for filthy lucre?...Why don't you come back to the theatre? For some reason English people believe that acting in the theatre is superior to acting in the films or on TV. I've done all three with considerable success and they are all difficult but with the difference that after ten weeks of Playing Hamlet on the stage one's soul staggers with tedium"
As the English press in particular persisted in portraying Burton as a man who adored the theatre but who sold his soul to the devil and was seduced away from his rightful place on the stage by Elizabeth Taylor and was so overcome with self disgust he turned to drink, I was very pleased to read the above and other entries in these diaries that proved this attitude to be totally wrong.
He loved life and he loved his life. The main body of this volume is the life he and Elizabeth spent together and it was utterly compelling. As one who remembered The Scandal at the time and the Pope denouncing Elizabeth to the world and calling her a bad mother, reading about these events from one of those involved was simply fascinating. How he adored her. Practically every page he is praising her beauty, her sweetness, her wit, her brilliant acting and also her ability to drink him under the table and to take no nonsense from him. There were rows and arguments, mainly his fault as Burton admits, but there were no sulks, no tantrums and they 'made friends' again almost immediately.
Another myth dispelled is that he was jealous that she won Oscars and he didn't though he was nominated several times. It is clear from reading these diaries that he was very proud of Eizabeth's awards and was not in the slightest bit bothered by it at all. He had a generosity of spirit that took pride in all her achievements.
He also made it clear that these were not secret diaries and she was able to read them whenever she wanted and there are one or two rather touching entries. She scribbled one day 'God help me to be a good wife. I love him so'.
And yet it is clear that despite all the lavish presents, the diamonds, the jet, the yacht and the glittering
lifestyle they led, they were happiest when they were on their own or with their families. Richard acted as a father to Elizabeth's two sons by Michael Wilding as he was totally disinterested in them, the same for Liza Todd who he adored, and their adopted daughter Maria as well as his own children. He was devoted to his Welsh family who in turn loved Elizabeth and was devestated when his brother Ivor was paralysed in a freak accident tripping over a paving stone and who spent the rest of his life an invalid.
And he read. Oh how he read. Biography, history, poetry, crime thrillers, literary criticism, the list is endless and he wrote about these books in his entries. He had an eclectic and wide reading remit and one of his favourite birthday presents was one from Elizabeth who gave him an entire Everyman library as he said that he used to collect them when he was a boy and it was his dream to have them all. These are in his library in his house in Switzerland, one of the places where he was most happy.
Page after page of events and people that read like a Who's Who of the glitterati contrast with the quietness and happiness of peace and simple pleasures. Totally engrossing and I have spent the last two weeks reading and finished with a great sense of sadness. I note that though he drank heavily when he was with Elizabeth he could control it when he wanted to and did so. The really heavy drinking seemed to start after they were no longer together. Pages only have one entry 'Booze' and 'More booze'.
"I have been inordinately lucky all my life but the greatest luck of all has been Elizabeth. She has turned me into a moral man but not a prig; she is a wildly exciting lover-mistress, she is shy and witty, she is nobody's fool, she is a brilliant actress, she is beautiful beyond the dreams of pornography, she can be arrogant and wilful, she is clement and loving, Dulcis Imperatrix, she is Sunday's child, she can tolerate my impossibilities and my drunkenness, she is an ache in the stomach when I am away from her and she loves me! ...and I will love her till I die"
And I believe he did.
A wonderful book and, as I have said before, the true soul of a writer comes through in diaries, it cannot be hidden and I feel that Richard Burton was a kind and loving man.
I had one of my mad moments on Saturday night, late. They come upon me every now for no reason at all. I had noticed that there was a small damp patch above my kitchen window, caused by condensation and heaven knows what else so I prodded it with a knife, as you do, and suddenly whole chunks of plaster came away. I then climbed up on the work surface and hacked a bit more to get it all sorted and ended up at midnight with a heap of plaster on the work surface and the entire top of my window totally bare. I then went to bed.
So up in the morning and off to the nearest branch of B&Q and bought a pot of ready mixed plaster and some Polyfilla. Wandered off to the soft furnishing section as I had been thinking of getting some thicker curtains for my bedroom and had a rummage in a sale bin and found some marked down which were just what I was looking for - dusky rose and grey and white stripes. Found two pairs which were priced at £19.98 a pair, what a bargain so checked their width etc and drop and went and paid and took them home. At the till they came out at £15 so obviously had been marked down even more. Hung them up. I have one large window and one small one and then found that the lengths were different. No problem, the shorter one fitted my side window beautifully but then I realised that one pair must be more expensive than the other. After wrestling with my conscience I took both pairs back and spoke to somebody on their help desk who looked at the curtains, contemplated the trouble it was going to take to track down a bar code on the unwrapped pair (which is where the mistake originated), smiled at me and told me not to worry about it and gave them back to me. I am sitting looking at these curtains now and feeling very satisfied with my buy.
After lunch decided to plaster the window and did. Not a brilliant job it really needed smoothing so I fished out the icing ruler I use when evening out icing on a cake and used that. Worked wonderfully well and though a master plasterer would probably turn up his nose it will do me. Will put another layer on today and then leave it to dry out. Rest assured my icing ruler will be washed before I use it again.
You can see I have had an exciting weekend. And now Strictly and, though it grieves me to say this, Brucie is really getting worse each week. Some of his jokes died the death and Tess is beginning to look desperate as she jollies him along. He flounders about and forgets names, which we all do as we get older, so I really do think he should retire now before he gets worse.
We have clear front runners in the show. Sophie Ellis-Baxtor dances beautifully and Brendon is looking smug and so he should. Natalie and Artem are simply stunning but if she has a disc problem in her back then I am the Queen of Sheba. The words sciatica and bulging disc were bandied about and the BBC, as always, built it up and up and then lo and behold there she was on Saturday dancing beautifully. As one who has the odd touch of sciatica and back pain, I tell you now, if she really had this she would not be able to move.
Hairy Biker scrubbed up nicely this week and tied his hair back and did a rather charming waltz. He still cannot dance but he is a nice bloke and the audience love him. Ditto actor Mark who is a hoot and very light on his feet and a lovely personality. Usually the funny turns are a pain but not this year.
Ben Cohen, be still my beating heart, is now coming out of his shell. Funny how rugby players start off all hidebound and shy and then suddenly get the dancing bug and he was terrific on Saturday night chucking Kristina all over the place. Think she enjoyed it too....
Rachel and Pasha were in the dance off this week and hardly surprising, well to me at least. Very sweet girl but she and Pasha have zilch chemistry and for such a slight young thing she seems to be a bit heavy on her feet and no sense of timing at all.
Fiona and Anton were lucky to get through this week - pretty poor but when it comes to Latin dancing Anton is not at his best.
Thank Gawd the gurning dress designer has gone. One more glimpse of his unrealistic white teeth grinning at me and I would not be responsible for my actions.
Will not go through all the couples as I shall be here all morning but this series going well. No backstage backbiting has yet been reported, no couples getting closer than they should, no tantrums at all. Must be disappointing for the BBC as they do like a bit of spice to get us all going. I think that is why we had the saga of The Back this week and Would Natalie be able to Dance? splattered all over the tabloids.
Most exciting thing that happened was when Bruno fell of his chair and disappeared into the audience.....
You take a look at this book and check out the cover and what is your immediate reaction? Same as mine - chiklit. I do think this genre damns with faint praise as we all assume that the book is going to be of a certain type and a girly read with not much substance. Which is a shame as I have read all of Harriet's books now and have thoroughly enjoyed them all finding them well
written and full of interesting characters.
This one is, in my opinion, her best so far and it employs one of my favourite narrative devices, two stories, on in the present and one in the past, but which are linked and we hop backwards and forwards until all is tied up nicely and sorted out at the end.
Sophie Leigh, formerly Sophie Sykes of Swindon, is now a movie star living in LA. She is the queen of light comedy and yet yearns to prove that she is capable of more than rom com movies, but her agent is determined she will not take such a risk with her career. She is fascinated by an earlier movie star, Eve Noel, who had a breakdown, disappeared one night and left her career behind and has never been seen since.
Whereas Sophie has confidence in herself and the will to try new paths, Eve did not. She was a product of the studio system, told what to do, what to say and all decisions, even the choice of her name, were taken out of her hands.
When reading this book I was reminded very much of Jacqueline Susann's Valley of the Dolls which was regarded as so much dross when it was first published but is now a Virago classic, heaven help us. This book is a compelling and readable story about the Hollywod system and how it uses and discards its stars, very similar to the theme of Valley, but this is better than and I found it totally unputdownable. Harriet Evans is a good writer and a writer of more substance than the cover of this book would lead you to believe.
The Wry Romance of the Literary Rectory - Deborah Alun-Jones. This is not a book to be rushed, but to be savoured and I have been
reading a chapter a night for the last few weeks. We all know the
pleasure of a story set in a rectory - Jane Austen is perhaps the first
we think of followed swiftly by the Brontes whose well documented life
in Haworth has brought this village world wide fame. Having visited the
parsonage on a dark, rainy and miserable day it seems a miracle to me
that the Brontes survived their enclosed world 'One day resembles
another' said Charlotte.
Jane Austen's rectory/parsonage seems a
lighter place, more in sunlight than shadow and shot through with humour
(a commodity Charlotte Bronte was singularly lacking though hardly
surprising in the light of her life marred by tragedy) and most of us
who love Austen will immediately think of Mr Collins who wanted to marry
one of the Bennett girls to please his patroness, Lady Catherine de
Burgh whose living was in her gift.
In the introduction to this
very interesting and well written book, we learn of the importance
socially of the rectory in village life. In a well to do parish the
vicar, if he was unmarried, was an extremely eligible parti for the
local ladies (Mr Elton in Emma being such an example); the poorer the
parish the less chance the rector/vicar had of being regarded as an
Many parsonages nowadays are more modern and
up to date buildings and the charm of the old parsonage has vanished,
they are now more likely to be bought by private owners and any country
village will have The Old Parsonage as a desirable property.
long introduction sets the background for the main body of the book
which has chapters about Parsonages and those who lived in them: Alfred
Tennyson at Somersby, Rupert Brook at Grantchester, John Betjeman at
Farnborough and Dorothy L Sayers at Bluntisham amongst others.
A delightful and engaging read.
Yale UP have been very generous to me and have sent me several books recently. I am totally enthralled by the Diaries of Richard Burton and will be giving a full review in due course. I still have a little way to go but can say already that they reveal a man, not necessarily the tortured genius that the tabloids love to depict, but a warm and loving man well aware of his failures and foibles, but someone that I think I would not be afraid to
meet and talk to. Yes, despite his great celebrity.
I have just started The Woman Reader by Belinda Jack, one of those that arrived alongside Burton. This book covers the complete history of women's reading from prehistoric caves to digital bookstores. This is going to take some concentration on my part as it is scholarly and simply packed full of marvellously interesting views and I am going to have to take it slowly a chapter at a time and may have to give you my thoughts at intervals.
Lots of Christmas books appearing in the shops at the moment and, as usual, many ghosted biographies and autobiographies of so called 'celebrities' who think that as they have appeared in a soap on TV or have a drink and/or drug problem we are interested in their incredibly boring lives. I think these are purchased as presents for people you do not know very well and have no idea what they would like. They inevitably appear in charity shops throughout the land in the New Year.
I hope to be bringing some more interesting titles to your attention in the next few weeks so watch this space.
Save book reviews for Mondays as I have noticed that at weekends my stats drop. Hardly surprising. People have better things to do and I also think a lot of my visitors check me online when they are at work if the pattern I have spotted is correct. Naughty naughty.
Woke up at 6 this morning much to my annoyance and so
made cup of tea and retired back to bed with the diaries of Richard
Burton which Yale UP sent me last week. Totally riveting reading and
thank goodness will be in all day today so I can read them. Received an email from Daughter No 1 in Oz telling me how hot it is and all I can say is piss off as
it is grey and drear and raining today. Don't mind autumn when we get
those clear lovely days with leaves falling and pale sky and sun but
hate this sort of weather. Ah well just have to put up with it. So
having read this email and wanting to reply I just thought sod it and I went back to bed to do so and finally got up around 10 am. Then still in dressing gown and clutching mug of tea sat down to watch Shanghai Masters final with Del Potro (love him) and Djokovic (love him). Of course I love Delpo more because he beat Tabitha Twitchet (aka Nadal) yesterday so I did not have to sit and watch him hauling his shorts out of his bum all morning. Well I wouldn't have watched if Rafa had been playing as he gives me the twitches too and I start flicking my eyebrows and tucking my hair behind my ears.
Was up in London on Friday as it was my week for collecting
Florence from school. Awful day absolutely bucketing down and got soaked there
and back as is impossible to push buggy and hold umbrella at same
time. When I arrived dripping from every orifice I was feeling a bit
grim as have had a bad back for a week or so which is taking its time to
sort itself out. Walked into classroom and Florence spotted
came shrieking across the room, I squatted down to greet her and she
flung herself at me and I went over backwards much to her joy and the
amusement of the teachers who thought it was lovely. So did I once I
hauled myself up. On way back stopped at the Caff in the park and we
had a drink and a chat and she really is the most interesting child. When I
got up off the bench she said Oh grandma mind your back.
get her into the
buggy and do her up, honestly that thing is so complicated I swear it
was invented by scientists from NASA, she kept talking all the way but
as she was covered up by hood and waterproof to keep her dry, I
meanwhile was dripping like a tap from all the rain, I could not hear
her and told her so and could we wait till we get home to talk and she
then yelled OK GRANDMA at the top of her voice.
she is a delight and Helen then arrived home with Beatrice who is just adorable.
For some reason Florence always greets her with Hello Beatrice bum bum
which Helen is
trying to stop her doing but which I find rather sweet. B is a bit
clingy at the mo and does not like her mother to be out of her sight
which is a bit limiting but will pass. I was babysitting and off went James
and Helen for a meal. Florence wanted to sleep with me in the loft to we set
up the bed and she was asleep in five mins. Beatrice woke at 9 pm
labouring under the delusion that it was time to get up so I gave her
another bottle, rocked her and tried to persuade her that it was night
time and she fell asleep again. I was in the rocking chair and then
found that I was having great difficulty in getting up as my back was
hurting so stayed there until H and J got back which was only about 15
mins later. I then repaired to bed and in the middle of the night a
small voice said grandma can I get into your bed? so she crawled in and
I spent the rest of the night clinging onto the edge with my fingertips
while the child slept like a starfish
across the rest of the mattress.
Lovely lovely to wake in the morning
with F patting my cheek and saying wake up grandma. I have broken her
of the habit of yelling same in my ear. We both lay on our tummies
looking out the window in the loft and watching the sky turn pink and
having a learned discussion about the weather. Then F looked at the
tree outside and the leaves and pointed out to me that one of the
branches looked like a crocodile. I looked and with the shape and the
leaves thought this child is right. She is a genius.
Got home safely despite awful accident on A12 which held us up but not complaining. I am alive and judging by the cars and the state of them, those involved might not be. After lunch my disturbed night caught up on me and I thought I would have a bijou dozette and woke up three hours later. Had time for cup of tea and a Kit Kat and then settled down to watch Strictly Come Dancing. Quick round up of my thoughts on same:
Brendon and Sophie - doing cha cha or was it samba this week (cannot tell difference). Technically good but lacked a certain warmth. Think this will be her downfall as at the moment she is a tad aloof but perhaps she will chill out a bit as the weeks go by.
Kevin who is universally known as Kevin from Grimsby and Susanna - she is terrific and a great Viennese Waltz. During week when Kevin has his glasses on he looks a bit like Harry Potter. Just saying...
Robin and Deborah - she is having a wonderful time and it shows. I love Robin think he is a real sweetie.
Ashley and Ola - good couple and think he has a good sense of timing.
Ben and Kristina - every year she is given a hulking tall bloke to dance with. Am sure this is so she can writhe all over him and climb up his legs. Did the rumba and it was pretty good.
Hairy Biker. Words cannot describe the utter awfulness of his pasa doble so I won't try. Just think John Sargent only fifty times worse
Julien - Awful too and his gurning and shrieking is becoming insufferable
Vanessa and James - have warmed to her, think she is rather vulnerable under that brassy front. Probably won't last much longer though. She has started trying to prove she is cleverer than the judges and the GBP don't like that.
Others range between good, very good and OK so will leave them in limbo for this week. One thing I have noticed this year is how much nicer and less aggressive Brendon is than usual. Marriage and becoming a dad have obviously softened the edges a bit. He was whooping and cheering the other dancers on and though I am sure they are told to, he was actually jumping up and down at one stage. Probably happy that he hasn't got to drag Victoria Pendleton around the floor and look as if he is liking it...
Homeland tonight and have given up on Downton. I know it is a soap and have always loved it as such, but it is now verging perilously on the edge of Eastender territory and am finding it a bit tedious at the moment. Cannot work out why Edith falls for such wet men as well and know it will all end in tears as if the show goes on long enough, she will end up in Germany with this prat, be interned and suffer dreadfully during World War II. And after last week, one can see the story line stretching ahead and have decided to bail out.