Sunday, March 27, 2011

The clocks go forward, RIP Liz Taylor, my film and book of the week, itchy feet, Yorkshire, my roots and more.

Liz Taylor that violet eyed icon of Hollywood died aged 79 this week
Hi again,

Another week has passed, spring has come and the clocks went forward an hour yesterday, what is called in the UK British Summer Time. However for the moment there is no sign of the latter, although of course we have one more hour of daylight a day, a blessing for our evening walk when we want to go later than usual.

So how has your week been? Mine has been fine, more active than last time but generally quiet and there has been time for travel planning and inner thinking, something I seem to do more as I grow older. Travelling, of course, is part of my DNA but more about that later.

Work wise it has been quite satisfactory. My feat of note this week has been the culmination of many months of work on the film about the story of Yoigo which we have called “the story of the no tricks operator”, the story of Yoigo’s first four years summarised into just 30 minutes. Finally this week we finished work on the short version which we had to pack into just over six minutes. And at long last I can share it with you as it  is now published here on You Tube. Let me know what you think. As I told someone this week, of all the things  I have done professionally  this project is one of those I am most proud of.

Whilst on the subject of films, the violet eyed icon of Hollywood left us this week. Yes, the amazingly beautiful actress, equally famous for having 8 husbands and less famous for her work on aids, Liz Taylor left us aged 79, the same age my Mother died. When I think of Elizabeth Taylor I remember her as Velvet in that wonderful film based on the book called National Velvet, about a young girl competing in the Grand National dressed as a boy. She was only 12 years old but captured people’s hearts even then. Most people will recall her for role in Cleopatra, but I was never very keen on that film. However she is most famous for her two marriages to Richard Burton, possibly the most attractive British actor ever to have walked this earth who had the sexiest voice possible with his rich British rather than native Welsh accent. I read in one of the obituaries that perhaps her best role was playing her own life, and maybe it was. I was a bit upset to read too that she was not considered the greatest of actresses. But how can that be if she won two Oscars? Today there are no Hollywood stars of her stature. For me she is in a league of her own, truly loving life like there was no tomorrow. I do hope that she will finally be left to rest together with Richard Burton as I think that is what both of them would have wanted. RIP Liz, the world will always remember you.

I loved Liz Taylor in National Velvet.  She was just 12 then
Still on the subject of films, and oh yes, I love films, if they have drama, war, biography in them or they are about schools, prisons, hospitals and especially convents and I just loved Black Swan. Take it I like ballet, possibly because of my Russian blood. But you have to admit that Natalie Portman, another Hollywood actress in a league of her own, is superb in this brutal film about rivalry between prima ballerinas. Fragile and puritan, a perfectionist and dangerously ambitious to the end, Nina, will do anything to keep her role as the Swan Queen, both as the White Swan and the Black Swan which will demand of her a sensual side unknown to her before. It’s much more than that; there is a horror side to it too but also exceptional beauty and it has haunted me since I saw it on Friday with Eladio. It is a film to remember and no wonder Natalie Portman won this year’s Oscar for her role as fragile and beautiful Nina.

Natalie Portman is stunning in the amazing Black Swan, my film of the week
If that was my film of the week, my book of the week has left me equally haunted. It’s called Sister and is written by the British novel author Rosamund Lupton who has been equated to Daphne du Maurier.  I think it’s pretty much a wow book as far as best sellers go but actually it’s where literature meets crime fiction as it’s so beautifully and tenderly written. At the same time it has you hooked from beginning to end to find out “who did it”. It is the story of an older sister, Bee or Beatrice, going in search of her lost younger sister Tess. But if you haven’t read it, I won’t tell you anymore so as not to spoil the book for you. I am now looking forward to the same author’s next book which will be coming out in July and is called “Afterwards”. This writer will go far, that’s for sure.
Sister is my book of the week and one of the best I have read recently
This week though hasn’t only been about films and books, it’s been about travel planning and I have lots of trips planned. Right now I have what my Father used to call “itchy feet” when he described my brother’s taking off on a trip; something which in fact both George and I must have inherited from both our parents.

My feet will stop itching the week after next when I will be going to Stockholm for a communications meeting. I will fly from there to my beloved Helsinki for a wonderful weekend with my equally beloved Anne, a pseudo sister for me. My next trip after that is with Eladio to Asturias in the north of Spain just before Easter. We want to use our Parador points and also take advantage of a free night at an NH hotel, courtesy of BMW, so will be going first to Gijon to the Parador and then to Avilés to the NH Palacio de Ferrera. Afterwards we will be travelling nearby to the bewitching little fishing town called Cudillero and there is a reason for going there. Apart from visiting beautiful Cudillero, I want to see the cliff where Father Angel and Victoria from my favourite TV series “La Señora” meet. I think it is called the “Acantilado de Cuerres and is in the township of Ribadesella very near to Cudillero. We will be staying at the highly recommended bed and breakfast Casona de la Paca, for two nights, a gem of a building in the typical “Indiana” style of the area.

I shall be visiting these cliffs in Asturias in April where Padre Angel and Victoria from my favourite TV series "La Señora" used to meet.
And when we come back from Asturias we will be unpacking and packing again on the same day as that night we will be off to the Balearic island of Ibiza. For me it will be a site inspection trip as we plan to organise the Yoigo summer party there this year. I have never been there, nor I have ever been particularly attracted to this small jet set cum hippy-island but I’m sure it has a lot going for it. I will tell you more when I get back.

Our travels will not end there either but we will have a respite of a month at home only as in June we have a long weekend trip planned to Brussels. Yes, Brussels again, to meet up with my wonderful University friends, Sandra who lives there, and Adele who will come from France. We will be joined by our husbands and partners, Eladio, Jeffer and Bernard. We had a memorable time together last year and this reunion promises to be just as good. I feel very close to both Sandra and Adele and am very glad to have them back in my life but I just wish they lived closer.

After Brussels we have another trip to look forward to. This year’s holiday will be to the UK and I am planning it with great love and detail. I would love to take my Father with us, but alas, we both agree the trip would probably be just too much for someone who in May will be 92. We will spend two nights in London, oh London, one of the most exciting cities in the world. From London we will travel to Devon to stay with my best friend Amanda and her husband Andy, who I know and love too from my childhood in Yorkshire. They have moved from Surrey to Devon and I can’t wait to stay with them at their new home by the sea. We will be with them for 5 nights.

Afterwards we will travel together to Yorkshire, where Andy, Amanda and I  grew up, or at least spent our formative and teenage years. It’s a bit like going back to the scene of the crime. When I lived in Yorkshire, and I lived in that black industrial and ugly town of Bradford, I swore I never wanted to live there. But now as I grow older, I am somehow lured back, not to the back to back housing streets or the ugly 60’s buildings, but to the beautiful surrounding areas, Ilkley, the Dales, Harrogate, Haworth, ....

When I go back I am transformed to my past and cannot get enough of walking the streets of, yes, Muslim Bradford, walking on the moors and in the dales, driving on the familiar roads and seeing the familiar landmarks such as Bradford Grammar school where my Father was a teacher of languages for so many years. I must visit Shipley Glen where I often went with the Guides or the Saltaire village which I despised when I lived there but which has now become a tourist attraction and has its place in history. I must revisit my school, St. Joseph’s college, organise a reunion with my school friends and walk through Lister Park, now a no-go area. I must also go to Ilkley to have tea at Betty’s and to the Charlestone cemetery and shed a tear at my Mother’s grave. For old time’s sake too I want to go to a Sunday morning church service, sing familiar hymns, maybe even take communion and shake the vicar’s hand as I leave just as I used to do at St. Peter’s church in Shipley when Brandon Jackson was the vicar there. I must visit the Wrights, our neighbours of more than 40 years (Susan a spinster nearing 80 and her Mother aged over 100) and drink tea out of Spode china tea cups in their ornate Victorian drawing room and talk about the past. I must look at our old house and I must do many more things there and can never really get enough of it.

Our old house at 6 Heaton Grove in Bradford which I shall be visiting when we go to Yorkshire in July

I have always considered myself a person with no real roots. After all I was born in Cambridge to an English Father and Russian refugee Mother from where we moved to Lincolnshire when I was two. We moved to Yorkshire when I was 7 and I lived there until I was 18 when I went to Nottingham University. Then I came to Spain and now live in Madrid and have lived her for 30 years, more than the time I lived in the UK.

So where am I from I ask myself? Where are my roots? The roots of my formative years are in Yorkshire, the place I so despised for the greyness and ugliness and graffiti and for the thick local accent which I refused to get as I knew it wasn’t a place I was going to stay. And I didn’t. I got out and I live abroad. Yet I want to go back there, as if to the scene of the crime, time and time again, to my roots, at least to the roots of my formative years. Why I wonder? I don’t really know the answer. Just that I feel good when I’m there now, unlike how I felt when I was a teenager. I don’t know if you can imagine how much I am looking forward to that trip, another trip down memory lane, to my childhood in England but above all to Yorkshire.

So yes the week has been all about films, reading, walking and planning for up-coming trips and it was good. No social lunches this week, just dinner out with Eladio to La Alpargatería after seeing Black Swan on Friday. Of course I booked table number 7 (our table) and we ate what we always eat, after which we went to Haagen Dazs for me to indulge in one scoop of strawberry cheesecake ice cream.

The only dark cloud is a problem with the bridge in my teeth which has been troubling me for a while and actually keeping me awake at night. So I have been once again to see my wonderful dentist, Dr. Garralda. It’s touch and go at the moment as to whether the bridge will have to be removed and replaced but at least, for the moment, the pain has gone.

And that, my friends is it for this week. I wish you all a great week ahead. Cheers till next week. All the best


No comments: