Wednesday 30 November 2016

Review and The Red Shoes

Last week I was fortunate enough to review a gorgeous chalet near Godrevy - it looked right out on the lighthouse, for a company called Forever Cornwall. Well, if you want to stay in a chalet this was perfect - sleeping six, central heating, lovely big rooms, lots of books stuffed and overflowing with all kinds of books, a well designed fitted kitchen, a large wooden table that could easily seat six or eight, a large sitting area and adjustable TV, and surf boards hung from the ceiling. It was just wonderful, cosy, and you could walk outside, and onto the beach in minutes. Bliss!

Then on Saturday (why do excitements always happen at once?) I went to Plymouth to meet my dear friend Av and we saw the world premiere of Matthew Bourne's The Red Shoes. For those who haven't seen any of his productions, they are superb. Not just for the dancing (usually contemporary but more classical for this one) which was superb - the female lead was on stage, dancing constantly, for nearly two hours, and the ballet master had the cleanest footwork and springiest elevation I've ever seen - but the sets were incredible. The designer is a sheer genius, and the lighting was a masterpiece in magic. Every time I see a Bourne ballet I think, this is just amazing. Better even than last time - and each time they get better.

Of course it's not exactly an uplifting story, but the message behind it is the importance of art. The Red Shoes have a mind of their own, and when the dancer puts them on she is unable to take them off, and has to dance until she drops. She is forced to make the choice between her art and the man she loves. The old triangle but with a twist.

Having said that, it wasn't a depressing ballet, albeit full of dark moments and some surreal dancing. As soon as the music started, we were transported into a different world, and one that was so powerful it stayed with us - and still does now.

So if you get the chance to see The Red Shoes - it goes to Sadler's Wells in the next week or so and then starts touring - grab it. You won't regret it. This is theatre at its best.

Tuesday 15 November 2016

Authors and publisher

Last week I was lucky enough to interview Tom Michell, author of The Penguin Lessons. This is an account of when Tom was in his early twenties and went to South America in search of adventure and to teach in a boys' boarding school. He ended up rescuing a penguin from an oil slick, from where this bird adopted him and refused to go back into the sea or to join his colony. It's a wonderful, true story of life in South America at the time (40 years ago), of the incredibly strong bond he forged with this penguin, whom he named Juan Salvador, and much more besides. I've been telling everyone about this book which has so much for all kinds of people on all levels. Buy it and read it, give it to your friends, your parents, your grandparents and your children!

The following day I finally met my publisher - as they are in Wales we have so far done everything by phone, post and email, so it was lovely to finally meet Jane. I suddenly realised it's nearly six years since I signed my first contract. Where has that time gone???

And now I will take an early departure. I got a stinking cold last week and the lurgy is still lurking. Some days I think it's gone and then it creeps back when I'm not looking. Bed is the only thing that seems welcoming right now!I'm doing a review with my mate Viv at Gwithian next week so do want to be well for that!

Tuesday 1 November 2016

Taken on a brilliant walk last Friday!

I logged on this morning to find an email from one of my American cousins to say that her dad, who I was very fond of, had died in a hospice on Friday. She’d also lost her uncle a few months ago and one of her brothers was very ill.

Although I hadn’t seen them for years, the news still came as a terrible shock. I saved up and went out there for six weeks many years ago and had such a brilliant time: one that I will never forget.

I feel so sorry for her, having so much loss to endure in one year, but sometimes life does that. You think you’re going along on a roll, everything finally calms down and you have a good time and then - bang - the cards come tumbling down and you wonder how on earth to struggle through the days.

As we get older, the chances of losing our loved ones increase, obviously, and we have to start really thinking about how to best use the time we’ve got. I’ve been thinking that, a lot, and I know several other friends of mine have too.

ON a brighter note, I went to a fabulous golden wedding party on Saturday, full of lovely friends, great food, singing, love and joy and a great ceilidh. If it hadn’t been for getting back to Moll, I would have danced all night…..

Then on the Sunday my mate Viv and I did the most wonderful walk on Twelve Men’s Moor for my new book. It was quite stunning, and the most beautiful sunset on the way back…

So here’s to life, love and friends. Let's make the most of it all while we can.