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Is it safe?

Sunday 10th June, bitter grey skies, a sullen breeze; the next rain due later.

What have I been doing over half-term? Lots. Never a dull moment, unless you count those periods of bad weather when the skies were merely dull, rather than full of roaring gale or pounding rain. Friday 1st I watched Weekend on the tv, with Gabriel, a very sweet movie, enlivened by a contention on Gabriel's part that the city had to be London, he favoured the south west; maybe Wimbledon or somewhere as he has never been there, whereas I, also failing to recognise a city where I spent a formative six weeks on Civil Service training, long ago, maintained it could not be London, as neither the artsy-type or the ordinary-type crowd people were not speaking any form of Estuary English (Gabriel counters: there are lots of London accents, what would you know?) and there are no hills like that in Wimbledon. It's Nottingham, of course. Later that same evening, went out to see Battle Royale at the Duke's with Peter, a movie I've always wanted to see, and always missed. It's not really a lot like The Hunger Games, much more rough and ready in every respect, but there are startling points in common (eg the chirpy tv persona girl with the updates, the scrolling death toll). Was disappointed to find that contrary to legend, the collars the kids wear do not actually make their heads explode*.

Sunday Peter & I went out walking, a pub crawl around the High Weald, under grey skies and blue; through showers and calm. The wheat has certainly picked up, which is good to see, blossom still on the hawthorns, flowery meadows, shouting thrushes. A little of the Thames pageant on the telly at the second pub, a bit of bunting; at the rainiest pub, a wet dog cart with a pair of very morose skewbald big ponies (cobs?) in harness, rumoured to be offering jaunts around the lanes. A strangely empty feeling everywhere, like a supermarket during a Cup Final...

The big storm never really hit us in Sussex, but there was no question (guilty shake of head) of the planned project: prepping basement area for housepainter, by hand, with scrubbing brushes and sugar soap. No jet spray allowed, see, as we have a hosepipe ban on.

Ate out. Had haircuts. Played Zelda. Watched telly. Went to the movies some more later in the week. Liked The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists quite a lot, though not sure what the 3D added in value. I'd give it no more than four stars, as the script just didn't sparkle, somehow. But absolutely top marks for identifying and utilising to their fullest extent the three things every child is sure to know about science:

1. Charles Darwin invented Evolution (with a little piratical nudging, it seems)

2. Dodos are extinct.

3. If you mix vinegar and bicarbonate of soda YOU CAN MAKE A VOLCANO!

Also saw Prometheus and it wasn't easy, but I have found a genuinely appreciative thing to say: some of the points made in less positive amateur reivews at imdb are very funny:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1446714/reviews

(NB, please do not follow this link if you somehow manage to be fearing spoilers. Also, you may find the language used by some spluttering respondents crude and offensive; because it is. )

Not that any of the delightfully withering nitpicks and queries would have mattered a damn, if the script and characters had worked together, or the ensemble had ever looked as if they believed in the daft hokum that was happening. Sigh. Bring back The Mummy Returns, all is forgiven.

Saturday we went to Massimo's concert at St Andrew's church, and that was really good. Except I spent the interval watching fish in the pool room at The Iron Duke, as I do not play pool, and it was just too cold and nasty to go for a stroll by the sea...

It's that time of year again, the time of year when I realise once more that (like many of my fictional characters, coincidentally) I pretty much hate summer. The weather is always vicious, the pitiful attempts I made at gardening in the Spring have reached the point where hope must fail; I get hay fever from evil bee-destroying rapeseed, and there is too much stuff going on outside.

Is it safe to come out of the cinema yet? No, it is not safe. There's the Euro 12s (which I don't mind, except not all day everyday, and btw, I wonder should Angela Merkel take the national coaches aside and have a word: Let the Greeks win, okay? Don't make it obvious, but it would really help...) There's Le Tour (an old friend), and oh no, there's The Olympics.

A few times I have heard the swifts, shrilling above the clouds, a couple of times I have glimpsed a pair of them. The seagulls are all brooding now, and very noisy: sad discovery of a dead chick by our water butt recieved with calm by the houshold. "You don't even like them" was the verdict. "Put it on the compost."

The keynote picture definitely is not Brighton Beach. It's the beach at Katwijk aan Zee, back in March. Just trying to cheer myself up.

*I totally apologise if this is deemed a spoiler.

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