Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Poldark’ Category

Our friend Romaine was here for a few days and took her daily short walk up the road with Meredith.

“Robin not walking anymore?”

“Seems not at the moment….”

This comment was duly reported back to the sometime walker who was busy watching others exert themselves impressively in the World Athletic Championships–enjoyable.

No immediate reaction then from the “no-longer” walker.

The comment, however, left its mark–like a nagging truth one’s been trying to ignore.

At supper last night prompted by Ben, our sleek, fleet of foot, black cat–mercury on the move–agitating for a postprandial forage, the subject came up again.

“You’ve given up walking?”

“Uhm…”

I had just eaten–I say it myself–a delicious plate of Mellanzane Parmigiana (aubergine in tomato sauce with parmesan)* and simple tomato salad–and was feeling benign–not like walking exactly, at that moment you understand, but positive towards the idea of walking again.

I heard myself saying:

“I should walk at 6am at this time of year–before the sun gets up and it gets too hot.”

My relationship with the sun changed a few years ago, after a small operation to remove a squamous cell carcinoma close to my nose.

The fiery beast has become like a friend you’ve fallen out with–and cross the road to avoid.

I spend my time dodging the ultra-violet.

Sad paranoia.

Silly too, as I have hats–effective ones–and sunblock.

The former I enjoy, the latter I don’t.

The remark at dinner was well-timed and I resolved to get up at 6am and walk.

I didn’t commit to this publicly at the time, which meant that this morning it was with a glow of virtuousness that I delivered Meredith her hot drink at 7.30.

“You went for a walk?!”

Yes–and as I left the “precincts,” I saw a small figure approaching out of the darkness, as surprised to see me as I was to see him.

Beau takes his duties seriously

Our head cat–Beau–was out on his early morning walk–patrolling the perimeter.

We greeted–and went our ways….

Beau, night work completed, takes a break.

 

  • see page 176 of my book Mediterranean Cooking for Diabetics

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

On my way down to breakfast this morning, I happened to glance at this photo of Winston and me on the bookshelf.

“Winston!” I thought–there he is; there we are–smiling at the camera–a moment in time.

Winston Graham–a person of great significance in my life!

In the snapshot we are on our back patio in north London, sometime in the early nineties; maybe he’s come to dinner.

It was a brief moment of remembrance.

Days are made up of them. This was a Winston moment.

Late this afternoon, Meredith comes into the kitchen here and says,

“You know it’s Winston Graham’s birthday today? Maybe you should write something…”

I didn’t say, “Winston’s already tipped me the wink!”

Today is his 109th birthday!

Born in 1908 in Manchester, he moved with his family to Perranporth in Cornwall in 1925 after his father died prematurely at 53.

There he married Jean Williamson–whom he’d first met when she was 13 (Demelza’s age when she first met Ross at the fair!). He was just 18. They lived in Cornwall for the next 25 years, bringing up their two children, Andrew and Rosamund.

Winston steeped himself in Cornish history and customs. He wrote the first book of the saga–Ross Poldark--in 1945.

Eleven more books followed. The last in the saga– Bella Poldarkwritten when he was 92!

London Films, the company founded by Alexander Korda, bought the film rights, but–luckily for me and all us Poldarkians–they never managed to make a movie of it.

Instead they teamed up with the Beeb to make the first series in 1975.

And here we are forty years on and the second adaptation is thrilling a new generation of fans.

Bonne Anniversaire, Winston!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Sunday night’s splendid finale to the second series involved a scene which brought back vivid memories for me.

Here’s what I wrote in my memoir, Making Poldark, about the studio recording of the miners attack on Trenwith–the final episode of our first series.

making_poldark-ebook-cover

We finished the series with a bang – in fact we nearly burned down the BBC Television Centre. The last scene to be done in the studio was the burning of Trenwith – from the inside.

This was another diversion from the books – where Trenwith was kept well intact by Winston Graham. For television it was felt a more dramatic climax was needed and what better than the burning down of the bosses’ home by the disaffected and starving miners.

The set was a fine recreation of an eighteenth century upper-class living room filled with a mixture of real antique and good reproduction furniture and objets d’art. Well in line with the BBC tradition of authenticity, it had cost a fair amount to bring it together.

With the miners in this mood any thoughts of negotiation or arbitration were clearly out of the question. It was simply a matter of looking after one’s own and everyone for himself. The miners attacked through the windows of the drawing room where Ross was trying to persuade George Warleggan to run for his life; Elizabeth was there as George’s wife and Demelza arrived with the news that the attack was imminent.

It was the finale – the `walk down’ and in came the miners, professional extras who had been given instructions to set light to the place with their burning torches. This they did in a most professional manner. Original eighteenth century furniture was smashed and burned. But nobody said `Cut and so this bizarre spectacle continued, until things got so hot that the action ground to a halt and an instinctive responsibility prevailed.

It was a spectacular ending to an eventful nine months – and a few questions were asked.

Exhausted, we all went to the party at Angharad’s house. We’d been looking forward to it and it was not a disappointment. Two hundred people were there and it finished at 8 a.m. the next morning.

And so ended the first series of Poldark.

Well–“A more dramatic climax”?

I haven’t re-screened the seventies version–but Sunday night’s was pretty dramatic!

And I fancied Aidan’s approach, parting the angry red sea of miners.

My horse, Dennis, would have relished the drama of that–he was a natural born star and a bit of a show-off.

This was a terrific episode; for American viewers–a couple of episodes behind–something exciting in store!

Now–onwards!

Just eight books to go…!

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

The END!

Full circle.

East coast to West coast and back–three weeks “on the road” and here we are in Washington DC about to fly back home.

img_3082

It has ended brilliantly with two memorable meals–both cooked by others.

For three weeks I’ve stayed out of the kitchen–apart from making four omelets in Palo Alto.

JOY!

We have relied on the kindness of friends for places to stay–without their generosity this trip would not have been affordable.

New York City was the US launch and a lively pop-up event at a Scottish bar and restaurant called St. Andrews in the heart of the theatre district.

img_2892

 

img_5947

Enthusiastic POLDARK fans in the pub snug

 

img_5903

An American version of Demelza!

Our friends Melanie and Bruce kindly lent us an apartment on West 22nd Street–a long stone’s throw from where the bomb went off last week.

Melanie sent us photos of the Malibu Diner where we had lunch together–now a crime scene.

Then on to Dallas–hosted by our friends Cindi and Jay.

It’s hot in Dallas–every day! Close to 100F–we duck in and out of air-conditioned buildings and cars.

Screening of the first episode of season two of POLDARK at a local cinema–over 200 in the audience and it looked fabulous up there on the BIG SCREEN.

img_6006

Q & A afterwards with Bill Young–the Vice President in charge of programming at KERA, Dallas’ excellent PBS station.

img_6001

Thanks, Bill, for your creativity, perseverance and organization.

Some of the Dallas folks had scrapbooks of my FIRST visit to Dallas with Angharad 39 years ago!

img_6020

 

img_6017

Poignant visit to Dealey Plaza and the Sixth Floor Museum in the Texas Book Depository, kindly hosted by the museum’s British executive director, Nicola Longford.

With Nicola Longford

With Nicola Longford

img_2930

The Texas School Book Depository on Dealey Plaza. The museum inside is the second most-visited site in Texas after the Alamo.

img_2927

Brilliant audio tour helps bring some understanding to the tragedy.

Breathless we fly to Los Angeles and arrive late at the lovely little house in Los Feliz of Christy, widow of TV director brother Peter–who died suddenly ten years ago of a heart attack.

Christy helped make the original contact with the flourishing bookstore in Larchmont Village, Chevaliers, where LA Times TV critic Robert Lloyd moderates beautifully the next evening.

With Robert Lloyd, TV critic for The Los Angeles Times

With Robert Lloyd, TV critic for The Los Angeles Times

img_6049

Sold out of books!

The following day a visit SoCal (KOCE), the PBS station for Los Angeles to record some pledge material with Maura Phinney.

img_6074

img_6078

A short flight to San Francisco and on to Palo Alto I visit the Gates of Hell (!) in the Rodin Sculpture Garden on the Stanford University campus with our local host, Holly Brady.

The Gates of Hell do not dampen our enjoyment of the beautiful California day.

Big turn-out at Books Inc— our third visit to this remarkable bookstore opposite the Stanford campus.

img_3022

They’ve hosted us for all three cookbook tours.

img_6127

img_6130

I demonstrate that a diagnosis of Diabetes is not the end of convivial eating and drinking–in moderation, of course!

We sell out of books again.

We fit in a private tour of LucasFilms HQ in the Presidio quarter of San Francisco, close to the Golden Gate Bridge, thanks to Hilary and Yves.

img_6151

It’s here that cutting edge special effects in films and animation are created. The halls are lined with artifacts at every turn.

img_3028

img_3033_2

img_3047

img_6132

We head back east for the final event at Arlington Library last Sunday.

We stay with our friends, Irv and Iris. Irv, retired Washington correspondent for The New York Times, agreed to moderate the event at Arlington’s Central Library. A double act is born!

The sell-out audience (over 180) enjoyed it enough to buy us out of cookbooks.

img_6273_2

img_6277

A good finish to a whistle-stop, heads down, no-time-for-shopping tour.

We spend a blessed 24 hours with our friends Ray and Ann in their waterside house on Chesapeake Bay–where I learn to breathe again.

Ray cooks a delicious meal of crab cakes with the local catch and pork fillet with clams–bliss it is.

Back in the D.C. last night Iris cooks up a storm for us.

Salmon marinated in soy, ginger and garlic preceded by an intriguing cantaloupe melon soup served chilled.

First day of autumn passes.

The prospect of walnuts and wood fires.

A bientôt, America and thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

newpostcardtour

Read Full Post »

All these events are free.

If our paths cross, hope you’ll come say hello!

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 1.53.28 PM

CoverBook

In New York City:

ManhattanSigning

In Los Angeles:

LAInvite2

In Palo Alto:

RevisedBooksInc

In Arlington, Virginia (Washington D.C. area):

Arlington

 

Poldark

Read Full Post »

images-1

 

 

Generated by IJG JPEG Library

On the face of it Ralph Bates and Usain Bolt have little in common.

For one thing Ralph died over 25 years ago and Usain is about to defend his Olympic titles at 100 and 200 metres.

So why on earth are they sharing the title of this post?

Ralph loved sport–but as a spectator. Together we once attended a Barry Macguigan boxing match at Queens Park Rangers Football ground and as a mover I never saw Ralph “bolt”. To the contrary, he swayed elegantly.

Well, he was half-French! The eminent scientist, Louis Pasteur, was his great-great uncle.

It’s a question of attitude.

The interview below reminded me of dear Ralph and his insouciant nature.

With his third Olympic Games coming up, Usain Bolt a.k.a. the Human Arrow–double 100 and 200 metros champion–says the key for him (about performing) is to actively avoid thinking too much.

I’m in good shape and I’ve done all the hard work in training I know I’ll be good.

“When you’re waiting there, minutes before the race starts, it’s easy to end up staring down the track and getting caught up in it all; but when you know you’re in good shape then the performances come. Everything clicks and you just run the perfect race. You don’t need to think too hard, just execute–you are focused and ready to perform.”

As I read this, my mind switched locations to an over-lit corridor outside a BBCTV studio in Birmingham, where we were about to record an episode of the second series of Poldark–circa May 1977.

I was pacing up and down, “actively thinking too much“, worried about the next two-and-half hours of filming.

Ralph, dressed as the suave George Warleggan, spotted me anxiously pacing and quietly tapped me on the shoulder.

d47b00d0d595031ed618756b031332f5

“It’s only a play, Robin!”.

He might have added:

“You know you ‘re in good shape, you’ve done all the hard work in rehearsal and you know you’ll be good. You are focused and ready to perform!”

That’s what he meant with his reassuring pat on my shoulder.

Yesterday I learned that the Reverend Dr. Halse–that admirable, upstanding, pillar of the Cornish establishment–would be making another appearance in the third series of Poldark. which starts filming next month.

I’ll try to remember– It’s only a Play!

2648C1DE00000578-0-image-a-10_1425542138559

An unusually insouciant Dr Halse

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »