Monday, September 04, 2017

You say you want news about nothing – here is another such message. It’s not quite as bad as that sounds. I knit on and on and the body of Miss Rachel never grew beyond 10”. Suddenly it has become 11 ½. The target is 14 ½ -- call it 15.

Mary Lou (and everybody else): what happened about my autumnal plans was this – I had thought to fly out to Thessaloniki with Fergus at half-term (he is now boarding here in Edinburgh), and drive back to Edinburgh with the family thereafter. But David and Helen suggested that this might be Too Much For Me: they would drop me in Rome to fly back from there, and avoid the long slog across France.

And I thought, well, perhaps I could stay on a few days in Rome.

And then I thought, I’ve been to Rome (a long time ago) – why not go somewhere else? And the idea of Palermo sprang to mind, for love of “The Leopard”. I can’t remember how Archie got involved, but now I couldn’t face it without him and he seems really keen. The dates (that first week of January) are determined by his university term. He has to be back on the 12th.

And here we are.

I have been thinking of doing some sort of Italian course to boost my conversational abilities. When Helen and Mungo were here the other evening, she said that what I need is someone Italian to talk to. So I google’d, and have found what sounds like the ideal tutor (Rome-born and raised, about to embark on a PhD here in Edinburgh). But I can’t contact her without a mobile phone number. I’m working on it.

New topic – “Cuckoo’s Calling” got sort of boring in the second episode, I felt. Brilliant acting and staging, the whole horror of London, but not much actual plot. I gather a whole new series will start this coming weekend. I think I need to read the books.

“Victoria and Abdul” – the new movie advertised with Judy Dench in a little Shetland shawl – had a rave review in the Times this morning. Perhaps I’ll venture out to see it. It hasn't actually opened yet.


  1. Carol M8:43 PM

    Your upcoming plans to tour Palermo with Archie sound absolutely wonderful! Good luck brushing up on your Italian.

  2. Having read the books I'm not going to watch the television adaptation as the actor playing Strike is nothing like I imagined him. I did enjoy the books though.

  3. Jean, you pack more into a day of no news than many people do in a week.

  4. Give it a go, Hat. He's really very convincing, understated and humorous, as well as rather attractive. The plot is as preposterous as detective stories usually are.

    Jean, why not give Duolingo a go for Italian? My German was a bit rusty - ie non-existent, after fifty years, but a few sessions on Duolingo refreshed some of the key terms. It is on-line and free, with the reassurance of short sessions and a test. Not that an actual Italian speaker would not be better.

  5. The tutor sounds perfect. And fun!

  6. Anonymous1:50 PM

    Surely Archie has a mobile and would help you contact the potential Italian tutor?

    You have enough Latin to make quick headway in Italian, especially if there is a basis to dust off. (At least, this is how it works for me, and when in doubt I borrow words in from French - successfully most of the time!)
    I think the conversational partner a brilliant idea. Good luck!

  7. Anonymous2:33 PM

    I love your resourcefulness. Archie sounds like a good bet for the mobile stumbling block but if there is a better option you will find it. Chloe

  8. Anonymous3:21 PM

    Jean, coincidentally i happened on Queer Joe's blog just now which I always see in your sidebar and was very amused to read his August 25 entry on speaking Italian. It kind of had me in stitches and I thought maybe your other readers might enjoy it too. Chloe

  9. Thank you for mentioning Cuckoo's Calling. I hadn't even known there is a TV series. I've read the books and enjoyed them immensely.