Friday, 16 September 2011

EEK! - The invasion has begun!

In this part of the globe September is Spider-month.
I've lived in this present flat and (surprisingly, considering the state of the place) I had never seen a spider in here - until about five days ago. In the bedroom, parked motionless high up on a wall, was one of these creatures, at least 4 inches leg-tip to leg-tip.
I've always been an arachnophobe but, since my teens, have avoided killing one. As for all non-humans, I always automatically put myself in THEIR place and try to see things from their point of view. And anyway, I shun any thought of snuffing out a life when it just isn't necessary.  So,  gritting my teeth, I got a small brush and a plastic bucket, stood up on the bed and, hardly daring to look, tried to give it a gentle sweep into the bucket, intending to tip the creature through the open window. Of course the spider was easily dislodged but, naturally, it missed the bucket, landed on the carpet - and ran under the bed. I wasn't going poking about under there while still shuddering inside.. When bed-time came round I just had to block out the thought of where it might be. Forcing myself to dismiss any thought of it, I haven't seen it since.
   I was just starting to recover my composure when last night, while watching 'Watchdog' with Anne Robinson (the very same who had a moment of worldwide glory as questioner when 'The Weakest Link' started on American TV), I detected a a movement in the corner of my eye. Then - a similar sized arachnid scuttled over the carpet, right in front of me, and lost itself among the stacks of cassette tapes amassed below the T.V.  My blood ran cold - an automatic response. Usually at this time my faithful friend Blackso is sitting in my lap for a couple of hours nap before his nocturnal prowling, but it would have to be that last night, very unusually, he wasn't in the room. He might have solved the problem for me. If he hadn't noticed it I could have let him sniff around - though even if he did find it, after a moment or two's curiosity, he probably would have got bored and returned to his slumbers.
  So here I am this morning, knowing that as I type this somewhere behind me, lurking in a cranny, is a creature that makes me recoil with seemingly hard-wired, uncontrollable revulsion. It's very probably waiting for evening time to come out and run around again - and somewhere in the bedroom is still that other one. One? I suppose they could well be the same one. But couldn't they also have families? - There could be dozens and dozens of them......Oh NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Biding my time.

Last week, sitting on a blowy Autumnal-feeling sea-front at Brighton (well, Hove actually) awaiting emergency dental appointment to replace filling which fell out, just 5 days following six-monthly routine check when I was given the thumbs up. Even under our admirable National Health Service had to pay for both visits. Oh well. Better that than no treatment at all.

Friday, 9 September 2011

She who gives an extra polish to the word 'lovely'.

Doris Day was an integral part of the soundtrack of my infant and pre-teen years. How clearly I can recall every one of her dozen or so hit records, even her very first British hit in November 1952  - 'Sugarbush'  (with Frankie Laine). Actually this was at the time of the first ever official British 'pop' chart - Number 1 was 'Here in my Heart' by Vic Damone, which I also recall. 'SugarBush' reached number 8.
    I mention this beautiful lady today because tonight on one of our BBC channels there is a three-hour D.D. splash. A documentary with film clips, a 1992 interview of her talking to Betty White (of 'Golden Girls', of course) which I've never seen, and a 1971 TV show of hers, with guest stars Perry Como - and Rock Hudson!  But, dammit, the Doris-fest starts at 9 p.m., a time when I'm preparing for bed.
I'm an early retirer (this morning getting up at 3.15), so if I can't stay awake tonight I'll have to watch the progs on the computer later. Fine, but it's never as comfy as watching TV. (Being on a digital channel I can't video them.)
    The Divine Doris reaches 90 next April. (Or is it 88? - the sources I look at differ.) When her time is up I know I'm gonna weep buckets. She was - and still is - mine!

Growing up as a devoutly-practicing Catholic boy, it seemed that from about the age of 11 or 12, whenever I went to confession I was owning up to having 'impure thoughts'. I never ever got round to confessing actual acts, except just the once when I got so tongue-tied and stutteringly incoherent I was berated by the priest for not being 'explicit' enough. He wanted to know ALL the details - sitting there behind a wire grille in his little darkened box. (Any further comment is superfluous!) After that humiliation I never dared attempt verbalising any 'impure' actions again. (Oh, the mortal sins that deliberate omission must have brought down on my head, further compounding the 'evil' of those unmentionable acts! And it gets even worse. I was still going up to receive Holy Communion every Sunday - so that my family and school mates wouldn't ask questions about why I didn't go. Horror upon horror! I reckon that when I meet my Maker, being condemned to an ETERNITY in hell still wouldn't be long enough.) Anyway, what I was going to say was that whenever I mentioned these sinful thoughts, my penance, in addition to being instructed to say one or two 'Our Fathers' and a few 'Hail Marys', was always to pray to the Virgin Mary to deliver me from this wicked temptation, which I always did, but which never seemed to work. I can't help feeling that a more efficacious target of my prayers would have been to Saint Doris, who at least she was easier to picture. It certainly couldn't have been any worse. (Sorry to have taken so long to get back to the subject of this blog. I admit the connection is tenuous, to say the least.)).

Btw: I remember when there was talk about the filming of 'The Sound of Music', around 1962/63, they'd narrowed down giving the role of Maria to either Julie A. or Doris Day. If they'd gone with the latter I wonder how it would have looked and worked out. I don't know if their respective ages had anything to do with the final choice (Doris was elder by 13 - or is it 11? - years). I imagine it would have had quite a bearing. But it's an intriguing thought.

And now, my friends, let's have a chorus of a song whose lyrics resonate with a lot of us:-


Tuesday, 6 September 2011

If you want a thumping good read......

(I'd better post this quickly, very soon after my blog of only yesterday morning. With a bit of luck it might distract attention from my '5 on the Fifth' entry which must have raised a few eyebrows.)

I've just finished reading this remarkable trilogy. (I realise it's probably old hat to other avid readers who may have been through them when they first started being talked about in literary circles, a couple or more years ago.) But I've just read them through uninterrupted by other reading - around 1700 pages in all - in just over a fortnight. No, I didn't read some every single day, but they do have to be read in order. I cannot recommend them too highly. If you want a meaty thriller that's involved without being so over-complicated that you give up trying to follow the twists and turns, this trilogy is for you. Such a shame that the author died in 2004 at just 50, not knowing what a phenomenon these books were to become.
   I saw all three Swedish films (in the correct order). They are currently being re-made in America. One question - why? Well, we actually all know the answer - because they'll be in English. (Sigh of resignation!) The Swedish originals were themselves significant accomplishments and I'd be very surprised indeed if they can be improved upon.
    So, as I say, if you like thrillers - here is my strong recommendation for a cracking read.


Monday, 5 September 2011