Book Review: “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman

A very thought-provoking novel told from the point of view of a woman who is “different” from others in her daily life and therefore arouses uncomfortable feelings in others, leading to alienation and loneliness. Yet as we progress through the novel, learning more about Eleanor and her life, there are times when we cannot helpContinue reading “Book Review: “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman”

A Cat Cannot Always Win: After all, It’s Only A Visit to the Vet

It was the moment she heard me take the basket out of the cupboard. I had under-estimated the acuteness of her hearing skills, and also her memory of past abductions. But having removed the cat carrier from the hall cupboard, unfastened the straps, and set it  out in the hallway, I was undone. She wasContinue reading “A Cat Cannot Always Win: After all, It’s Only A Visit to the Vet”

The Full Monty and What it Says About Not Being Controlled by Your Circumstances

Recently I watched the 1997 British comedy drama film  “The Full Monty” again. The reason why I love it is that it’s about “little” people deciding not to be controlled by their circumstances. Six men who in their different ways are suffering during the decline of the Sheffield steel industry, decide to do something nobodyContinue reading “The Full Monty and What it Says About Not Being Controlled by Your Circumstances”

That’s Life – in the Eyes of Noel Coward

I’ve loved the work of Noel Coward since I first saw one of his comedies, in my teens. Among many different archetypal character-types which I hold in my mind, is that of an indolent Noel Coward male lead, lounging against a mantelpiece wearing a silk brocade smoking jacket, elegant, mannered, and dispensing witticisms with theContinue reading “That’s Life – in the Eyes of Noel Coward”

Creative Artists: In the Minority, and On the Outside Looking In

Today on Radio 4, whilst stuck in slow-moving traffic due to an accident on the M40,  I listened to the Midweek programme, in which Libby Purves interviewed four guests – Diana Moran, fitness expert; Jack Thorne, playwright; Dashni Morad, singer and presenter; and finally Omid Djalili, comedian and actor. For the purposes of today’s blogContinue reading “Creative Artists: In the Minority, and On the Outside Looking In”

What the Camp Comedian Has To Say to the Creative Writer

I love camp, on-the-cusp comedians who subvert gender stereotypes. A good example is Julian Clary who is above all a genius with words – playful, teasing, fluid, quixotic, suggestive, subversive – and he has an acute sense of irony. His camp public persona in itself subverts what I believe may lie much deeper in him,Continue reading “What the Camp Comedian Has To Say to the Creative Writer”

What a Great Actress Has to Say to Creative Writers: Miriam Margolyes

Miriam Margolyes is an actress I have watched and been captivated by for decades. She is of course the essential Dickensian character and she was perfect as a JK Rowling character too, and has been so in many other roles, both on TV and radio. I have often marvelled at her wonderful fluid and flexibleContinue reading “What a Great Actress Has to Say to Creative Writers: Miriam Margolyes”

Boxing Day Entertainment by the Kenilworth Lions at Kenilworth Castle and Abbey Fields

The English love to do fun – and some might even think silly – things on Boxing Day. Perhaps this is a relief from all the stress of preparing for Christmas. It’s also the opportunity for people to gather together in the fresh air and enjoy themselves with traditional English entertainments. Here are a fewContinue reading “Boxing Day Entertainment by the Kenilworth Lions at Kenilworth Castle and Abbey Fields”

Garden of Significant Inspiration and Curious A-MUSE-ments at Shakespeare’s New Place in Stratford-upon-Avon

O for a muse of fire that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention. So wrote William Shakespeare in the Prologue to Henry V –  and a few days ago we were in the garden at New Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, site of Shakespeare’s former family home – infusing marbles with the power of that same muse.Continue reading “Garden of Significant Inspiration and Curious A-MUSE-ments at Shakespeare’s New Place in Stratford-upon-Avon”

New Puppeteers at the Children’s Christmas Party at St Mark’s Church Leamington Spa

On the third Sunday of Advent, I became, along with two others – Jamie and Sidney – a new puppeteer. That morning, after the Nativity Service led by St Mark’s Church Beaver colony, the children poured into the hall for their Christmas Party – and the centrepiece of the party was a puppet show. To theContinue reading “New Puppeteers at the Children’s Christmas Party at St Mark’s Church Leamington Spa”