When all hope seems to be lost …

… no one except Lucy knew that as the albatross circled the mast it had whispered to her, “Courage, dear heart,” and the voice, she felt sure, was Aslan’s and with the voice a delicious smell breathed in her face.

C.S. Lewis – The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The Blackadder Chronicles … to be continued?

A new series of Blackadder could be happening 26 years – aye, my goodness, 26 years! – after “Goodbyeee”, and I am super excited at such a prospect! * True, I have a couple of doubts – Mr Atkinson and co. will be under a lot of pressure not to disappoint fans after all; there is still the issue of Hugh Laurie’s wages to sort out; and there will be no Rik Mayall this time *sob*. But I’m pretty sure that if this series does happen, we fans will enjoy it enough to offer the cast our contrafibularatories!

Meanwhile, here is one of my favourite clips from Blackadder the Third: Sense and Senility, featuring Blackadder, two actors and Mac…the Scottish Play:

* In truth, Kind Reader, I am as happy as a Frenchman who’s invented a pair of self-removing trousers … *cough* moving on …

The Luckiest Girl …

Kind Reader, you may remember my ‘gratitude list’ a couple of months ago. It’s amazing how this list just keeps on growing. You will, I’m sure, forgive me for rambling for the next couple of seconds. Only there’s no other way of saying it – I really am the luckiest girl ever.

The past 2 months have been emotional for me, to say the least. My gorgeous niece Chiara was born in March and a little over a month later – that is just 3 days ago – we said ‘hello’ to my handsome nephew George. Gracious heavens! I’m an aunt! An aunt to a beautiful little girl and a beautiful little boy. Words simply cannot express how I feel right now. But my nan is right whenever she says, “Kemm hu kbir Alla!” Aye, He truly is!

The Single Woman

Some of my friends have encouraged me to share a poem I wrote with you, Dear Reader. The product was really the result of a number of things – Woman’s Day on the 8th of March; a 20th century Vinegar Valentine postcard about old maids I came across very recently – boy was that rough!; my fascination with the way old maids and spinsters are sometimes portrayed in literature; and reading a bit too much literature featuring said old maids and spinsters.

So here it is – my tribute to the old maid and the spinster – the single woman…

Old Lucy had a cat and a bird
She’d never snared a man, which “is absurd”,
the people thought. “But then she’s always been queer!”
wagged the poisonous, malicious tongues.
For they care nothing for Old Lucy’s tears
As she dreams of a love who’ll remove her fears
While drinking tea with her cat and her bird
Longing and yearning to be free.

But now consider Goody Browning’s fate
Forever unhappy, thanks to her mate.
She’d married so as not to be alone …
He’s unfaithful and drunk all day and night,
even beats her if she puts up a fight.
The last time I saw Missus B.,
she had her fifth baby on her knee
Longing and yearning to be free.

So for every lifestyle there’s a price
Then perhaps a spinster is not worse off
Huh! Let them ridicule! let them scoff!
And a shout out to the single woman,
the old maid and the spinster
For she’d rather be alone but free
than be the woman who settled for “Mr Maybe”!

A Good Craic!

While the world has gone mad over this 50 Shades of Grey* lark, I’ve been using my time wisely to catch up on my classics with Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell. Earlier this week however, I was feeling a bit dull so I took a break and opted for something much more light and cheerful.

Thank you Chris O’Dowd – you awesome actor, you! – for creating Moone Boy. The TV series was a hit and I was delighted to find that Mr O’Dowd then wrote Moone Boy: The Blunder Years with Nick V. Murphy.

This will not be a book review but in a nutshell, it’s the story of Martin Moone, an 11 year-old boy living in the west of Ireland in the late 1980s, who’s tired of being the only boy in a family of girls. Desperate for a wingman to help him navigate his idiotic life, Martin takes up best friend Padraic’s suggestion of getting an imaginary friend – IF for short. Attempt number 1 is Loopy Lou – a hyperactive goofball who writes rubbish rap songs. Soon tired of Lou’s loopy ways, Martin swaps him for a less wacky IF – the imaginary clerk Sean ‘Caution’ Murphy. With a head full of dodgy jokes and a passion for laziness, Sean is the perfect IF. But Martin soon discovers that getting rid of Loopy Lou might be a tad trickier than he thought …

The good Lord knows I needed a laugh. Reading the book in public proved to be an embarrassment though, not to mention nearly fatal, what with my trying not to laugh out loud. Here are 2 of my favourite passages:

 

[Trisha’s] ears pricked up when she heard the word ‘cool’. Coolness was very important to Trisha. Martin never knew why. His other sister Fidelma, was always trying to look ‘hot’. But Trisha always wanted to look cool. Women seemed to be divided by temperature. Martin had always loved being ‘luke-warm’. He was a tepid nut.

 

We were really making a lot of lists these days. But I guess that’s what happens when you’re doing stuff. You need to be organized. And to be organized you need to make lists. Which, ironically, takes up a lot of time and stops you doing the stuff you’re supposed to be doing. But without the lists, you can’t remember the stuff you’re supposed to be doing that you’re not doing because you’re making lists to make sure that the stuff you’re supposed to be doing gets done. It’s a vicious bicycle.

As for the series, here’s the trailer for Season 1 and one of my favourite scenes. Enjoy!

 

 

* Reader, I confess, I did not read the book, nor do I plan to. I picked up a copy of 50 Shades at a bookshop a while ago to see what the fuss was about and started reading. The first 2 pages were enough for me to label the book as “very badly written; insult to literature; avoid like the plague!” Why E. L. James? WHY? So I immediately put the book down in disgust and claimed sanctuary in my beloved classics section. I’m guessing that the film – even if it does star Jamie Dornan – is just as bad, if not worse.

 

 

 

Happily Ever After?

I finished reading Joy in the Morning a while ago and am now reading The Jungle Book. I have a huge bone to pick with Disney – yet again! – but I will save my complaints about this for some future post. Right now, I’d like to share some thoughts with you, kind Reader, about an article I read online some two days ago on bookriot.com – a website I recommend to bookworms and book-lovers alike – called On Hating Happy Endings. You can read said article here: http://bookriot.com/2015/01/20/hating-happy-endings/

My initial reaction when I read the article was ” Whatever makes you happy, pet! But good grief! Isn’t there enough woe and misfortune in the world already?”

I mean, life is tough as it is, so I usually turn to books for a little distraction, as well as entertainment. I prefer books that are generally on the happy side, shall we say. Of course there are loads of books – usually classics – that have me crying my eyes out every time I read them and I still love them, but … well, you get my drift …

So I found reading about someone who actually enjoys unhappy endings, somewhat baffling, and that gave way to melancholy thoughts. But before the really melancholy thoughts could kick in, I read the post again and got thinking.

Perhaps what I want from a book is not necessarily a happy ending but a GOOD ending. Whether it’s happy or not, depends on the nature of the story. Happy endings work well for the likes of Jane Austen and P.G. Wodehouse, for instance. But what sort of happy ending could I ever hope to expect from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, for example? And yet, it was such a good ending! Even something like the Millennium trilogy – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; The Girl Who Played with Fire; and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest – or The Hunger Games trilogy, had good endings, but I wouldn’t consider them happy at all!

Writers, please give me a good ending to your story – something that suits its theme. That’s what I look for!

 

The End

 

 

 

All Right, Jeeves

Happy New Year 2015 to you, Dear Reader!

2014 is over, and what a year that was! The start to 2015 was brilliant. And here’s hoping that the rest of this year will be just as good as 2014 was, if not better!

A new year of course means more books! Hip hurrah! I started my 2015 with Joy in the Morning – a Jeeves and Wooster novel. I’m halfway through and enjoying it immensely. I’m a big fan of P.G. Wodehouse and I confess, whenever I feel a little under the weather, Mr Wodehouse always manages to rescue this damsel from distress.

I find the World of Wodehouse to be a bit like A Comedy of Errors for the early twentieth century, if you will. There’s the Jeeves and Wooster series, which would have to be my favourite, Jeeves being the highly-competent valet of the young and rich – but rather idiotic – Bertie Wooster. Then there’s also the Blandings series with Clarence – the Ninth Earl of Emsworth, Clarence’s brother Galahad (Galahad! I ask you!), and his arch rival Sir Gregory Parsloe-Parsloe. And not forgetting of course, Clarence’s treasure – the fattest pig in all of Shropshire – the Empress of Blandings!

But back to Jeeves and Wooster. In the early ’90s, the novels were adapted into a comedy series starring Stephen Fry as Jeeves, and Hugh Laurie as Bertie Wooster.  I’ve only recently started watching the series and it’s just as brilliant as the novels. In a nutshell, we have a clever series with a clever cast – we are talking about Fry and Laurie, after all! Here is a clip I came across recently, taken from the first episode of Season 1. Enjoy …