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Sick As Dogs

Tuesday 31st January, a still, cold morning here in Brighton, no sign of interesting wintery showers as yet, but the temperature has certainly taken a fall.

Sick as dogs all last week, Peter and I competing with each other bitchily for the watch below, as we alternately crept about getting things done, pleading with a cranky boiler, or huddled under the duvet. Not a spectacular bug, but a mean one, crushing us to the ground, poison headache and continuous nausea combined. I started getting better on Sunday and felt such a rush of well-being, it was almost worth it. No it wasn't. At least we managed to celebrate Peter's birthday weekend first, and at least Gabriel (who has a competition this weekend coming) is getting off lightly.

So, belated welcome to the Year of the Water Dragon.

Reading, Alexander Puskin short stories, having seen them praised as the forerunners once too often to resist. A collection of engrossing fragments, uncut, unpolished shards, I really like his "flat" style (though it's still frustrating to be told I can't ever appreciate his wonderful poetry unless I become fluent in Russian); The Queen of Spades is the finished, perfect gem. Watching, a succession of movies recorded by Gabriel who then doesn't find the time to watch them. My Darling Clementine, such a beautiful movie, such beautiful cinematography, every proportion and every detail, I confess I passed over its political flaws without a pang... the "goodgirl waits smiling by the trail, badgirl does something interesting and dies"; the "homely, decent Manifest Destiny manifesto"; the "intellectuals go to the bad get tb and can only hope to die unnoted heroic deaths"... Didn't bother me at all. Scarface. The germ plasm of all Chicago-style Italian gangster movies since, inc the Al Pacino remake. Mm. No wonder the genre strikes me as so impoverished.
Gilda. Now that's an oddity. Peculiar, but very watchable. Rita Hayworth making the most of her assets is an education, should you have forgotten how much flimflam there is in the femme fatale concept.

And Borgen I don't know why I'm still watching this soap, so I suppose that makes it watchable, but for heaven's sake. By numbers, or what?

Went to see The Descendants last night, in the cold. Taken there only by the reviews, I thought (we all thought) it was very good, except the prolonged "cathartic" yelling at an effectively dead person element. Please. At least wait until you're alone in the room.

If I go to see Iron Lady, which you could not drag me to, but if, do I get my money back should I be disappointed that the last scene does not show Meryl Streep burning in hell?

The tree is a little beech in Stanmer woods, in the snow this time two years ago. i don't have enough photos of winter trees. Or any trees. So my project this year will be to remedy that. I will about the woodlands go... It's a little late, in my case, but an excellent plan.

Lack of birdlife in the garden continues.