Greg's Occasional News & Views

10 March 2019

What a busy week! We’ve had a number of excellent outings even if the weather has been somewhat less than excellent. Actually, the mornings have dawned gloriously sunny but by midday the rain and Arctic gales have swept in – what’s that all about?

On Monday Penny and I were driving back from Daventry when my phone “pinged” with a text message from our good friend and former neighbour Pete. He was inviting us to join him and Sally for dinner at the Red Lion in Culworth as their daughter Ruby was off on an overnight residential visit with school.

The last time Pete texted me with an impromptu dinner invitation we immediately responded in the affirmative. However, I did have to add that it would be some while before we could get there as we were in the States visiting with Ben, Brex-Anna and Max at the time.

On this occasion our response was equally affirmative and enthusiastic. However, we did have to add that the Red Lion is not open on a Monday evening. We knew this to be the case having one former and one current Red Lion employee on the premises. So, we suggested that he and Sally came to us and we could then make our way down the road to the Crown Inn at Weston which is what we did. It was great to catch up with all of our respective bits of news and the Crown, as always, was reliable and tasty, even if the menu remains pretty much the same time after time. Funny how their prices continue to inch upwards, though.

On Tuesday we had another treat – a visit to the Banbury Fleapit for an afternoon showing of The Favourite. This was a film we had both wanted to see, especially as Olivia Coleman won the Best Actress BAFTA and Oscar for her performance as Queen Anne.

All I can say about the film is that it was certainly very “interesting.” Olivia Coleman’s performance was, indeed, outstanding and I really enjoyed the film but we both came away thinking, WTF was that all about? Especially after the suddenly abrupt ending.

In short, it’s about two women at the court of Queen Anne who compete for the Queen’s affections. Sarah Churchill, the Duchess of Marlborough, is the incumbent favourite who effectively governs the kingdom in the Queen’s stead. Her cousin, Abigail Masham, works her way up to become a lady of the bedchamber and ultimately supplants Lady Marlborough as the monarch’s favourite.

Beautifully filmed (great use of natural and candle light in many scenes) and well worth a watch.

Wednesday morning I took myself off to the optician for my two-yearly check-up. My goodness they do a lot of tests nowadays, in addition to the usual challenge of squinting at the indescribably small print at the bottom of the [now electronic] eye chart. At the conclusion of my inspection the optician announced that there had been a very slight change in my left eye but everything else was fine. She then went on to say that I had the beginnings of cataracts. “No way!” I said to her. “Cataracts are something with which old people are afflicted.” She looked at me somewhat incredulously before realising that I was joking and that I did, indeed, realise that I am an old person.

Thursday was the penultimate Moreton Pinkney Film Night of the season and this time the film on offer was The Wife with Glenn Close and Jonathan Price. This too was a film we were anxious to see and we were delighted to be able to compare the performance of Glenn Close with that of Olivia Coleman.

From a quick glance at the two films on the Internet Movie Database it would appear that they have essentially split the honours for Best Actress this season. (Glenn Close won Best Actress in 12 award ceremonies; Olivia Coleman won in 37, including the coveted Oklahoma Film Critics Circle Awards, not to mention the Iowa Film Critics Awards. Who knew there were so many award ceremonies?)

Jonathan Price plays a celebrated novelist who is being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. On the trip to Stockholm to receive the award it becomes evident that, in spite of appearances, all is not well in the relationship between the author and Glenn Close, his wife. As he is feted in Stockholm she begins to question the decisions she has taken in her life, especially her decision not to pursue her own talents and abilities but to be subservient to her husband’s. In the end it all blows up!

Strong performances from both Glenn Close and Jonathan Price but our collective assessment is that The Favourite is the better of the two films and that Olivia Coleman’s performance was also the better. Again, well worth a watch.

The other “big” news of the week – one of Ms Playchute’s most recent orders for a Sticky Wall was posted on Wednesday – no doubt the recipients will be sticking bits and pieces on it as we speak. This one was despatched to a recipient at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. I imagine Nicola Sturgeon will be using it to keep track of her thoughts on how Scotland can escape the worst calamities of Brexit. If only Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn would place their orders perhaps they would be able to organise their own thoughts in a somewhat more coherent manner.

The builders keep building in spite of the rain and Arctic wind. Progress has been slow and somewhat bitty this week – they are running out of things to do until the bricks are approved by the local planning department. Still, they’ve moved a lot of earth around and have begun the preparatory work for some of the hard landscaping including the start of the retaining wall for the patio.

Let’s hope the responsible member of the Planning Department comes to visit soon otherwise we’ll all be twiddling our thumbs!

Love to you all,




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