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When you get out of the habit of doing something, it's hard to get back into it, isn't it? Since coming back from holiday I've hardly been to the gym and haven't blogged at all. I hang my head in shame.
That doesn't mean I've been idle, though. My priority has been catching up with my OU film history course in order to submit an essay on European cinema in time. This has taken longer than expected, mainly because I don't feel able to write about a film I've not actually watched. And watching films, really watching them rather than having them on as background while I iron/sew/tweet, is hard and time-consuming work.
To my shame, I've not watched much foreign cinema, although I remember seeing The Tin Drum first time around and was delighted to revisit that wonderful piece of German film-making. The French especially seem to speak very quickly (way beyond my outdated A-level grasp of their language) so there's a lot of stopping, rewinding and playing again in order to jot down useful bits of dialogue.
I hadn't realised how heavily French cinema has relied on Gerard Depardieu (pictured above). He's had, and is still enjoying, a phenomenal acting career, with some English-language films to his credit (I remember enjoying Green Card). No one would ever describe him as handsome but he has that certain je ne sais quoi and even playing a hunchback and a man with a huge nose, succeeds in making both appealing characters.
So, 2000 words on European films has been my only output in the past weeks? Well, no. Before we went to Arizona, a friend recommended that on my return I have a go at the Telegraph's Just Back travel-writing competition. I took a day out to write this, emailed it off and thought no more about it. Until I got a call last week telling me I had won! My prize is Â£200's worth of currency (I chose euros) and, more importantly, publication in last Saturday's Telegraph and on the paper's website. (And it's not a News International publication).
I also reread a book I first read as a teenager in order to speak about it at the July meeting of the Berwick Book Group. The book I chose was The Chrysalids by John Wyndham. It was written in 1955 (older than me!) and my copy, which fell apart as I read it, dated back to the early seventies. Many of us in the Group approached this task we'd set ourselves with trepidation: would our chosen books live up to our fond memories? In most cases the answer was yes. This was certainly the case for me. I'm going to replace my book with a new one and revisit the rest of the Wyndham oeuvre that's on my top shelf.
I'm also working on a new Blogger blog which will replace this one as soon as I can get it looking just right. I've got the title already: Not Counting my Chickens. Seemed appropriate in so many ways.