December 5th, 2005



Cough. The lurgy has spread to my lungs, and I spend my nights propped up on loads of pillows, making hideous phlegmy noises. I look and sound like a consumptive. Actually, I found out yesterday that my grandad, who died of emphysema when I was 5, actually was a consumptive! Well, to put it in more modern terms, he had TB and was in a sanitorium for a year back in the '50s. But yes, consumption is in my blood, so I am going to take it easy today and watch Robin of Sherwood and read more of the (excellent, so far) new Sarah Waters book. Cough! I am like Mollser in The Plough and the Stars. Well, my lungs are like her, I doubt she was a Robin fan. Thank heaven for the wondrous Patsington, who is tending to my every sickly whim and being his usual lovely self.

Also, I am faintly amazed by how many Christmas presents I have now sorted out. Of course, my pride will doubtless come before a fall, and the internet-ordered gifts won't come in time, and it'll turn out that the recipients of the shop-bought gifts already have the items in question, and Ju Ju will eat the presents that are left. And I still haven't got anything for my mother. Or some of my friends. But still. Allow me some smugness for now.
fat pony like thunder

my tiny hands are frozen

I staggered around to the shops in my feeble consumptive state to buy some milk, and when I arrived home I noticed the post van was parked down the road, delivering something to another house. But when I opened my door, I found a missed-delivery notice, meaning that I had missed a delivery by that very postie by mere seconds. And would have to either somehow find my way out to the sorting office (which is five miles away, in the middle of nowhere, not on any bus route) or beg the post office to resend the parcel tomorrow, which they might do if they feel like it, and then again might not. The frustration! Unless....

Yes! The van was still there! So I ran down the road, hailed postie-with-a-van, and was presented with a package of new literary catalogues (not hugely exciting, but useful) and my last Bpal order, which is exciting, to me anyway - full bottles of delicious frothy Zephyr and spicy Block Buster, and lovely, lovely free imps. Oh, I love Bpal! I wasn't expecting this delivery for weeks, as my previous orders took, like, three months, and I ordered this in late September, after getting imps of Zephyr and Block Buster in my last order. So huzzah for speedy Bpal!

I am still consumptive, though. Cough.
fat pony like thunder

on the rampage and off the rampage, such is life

Sian Phillips was on Woman's Hour this morning, talking about her role as Miss Havisham in a new RSC production of Great Expectations*. Except as you can see, the WH website spelled it "Haversham". And they're not the only ones - I don't know how many times I've seen the name of this iconic character spelled in that same incorrect way. Did someone, once make a mistake in the spelling (trying to badly transcribe a Cockney pronunciation phonetically, perhaps?) and it somehow stuck? How else can this bizarre habit be explained? It always annoys me, because (a) I am a horrible pedant and (b) it's so fucking stupid that people won't spell the name of one of the most famous characters in English literature correctly. So there.

In other news, the new Sarah Waters is fantastic, but I am a little peeved, because it's structured in three sections, the first set in 1947, the second in 1944, and the third in 1941. And when you finish the first section it dawns on you that that's how all the characters are going to end up, and while there's a thrill in going back to discover how they ended up there, the end of the 1947 section doesn't feel like a very powerful ending. At the beginning. If you know what I mean. I don't have a problem with this structure at all, but it could have been done better, I think, and there should have been a lot more mystery in the '47 bit. It's a shame, because as I read the 1944 bit I find myself thinking "this is all very well, but what about Viv and Reggie, and Helen and Julia, who have all been left hanging rather vaguely in 1947?" and then I realise that that's it, we know how their story ends, not with a bang but with a whimper. And yes, I checked to see is there a bit after the 1941 section that takes us back to 1947, and there isn't. It's still enormously readable and beautifully written, but I'm not sure she pulled off the narrative trick. Still, I haven't finished it, so we shall see.

Also, I am still sick, but I have had a lovely soothing bath and now smell of oranges, thanks to Lush's lovely Karma soap. So I am consumptive, but I smell nice.

*I studied Great Expectations for my Inter and loved it, particularly the spookiness of Miss H, and I remember the dorkish thrill my best friend and I felt when we were talking about the book and realised that the most important character in the entire book is Compeyson because he is the indirect cause of everything that happens to Pip.