So here we are, January already been and gone and 2013 is properly underway. There are other things which have made me happy in the last few days too.
For example, a show on BBC Radio 4 called Cabin Pressure, currently at 6:30pm on Wednesdays. It actually makes me laugh out loud, frequently, within one episode. This is a rarity in the Radio 4 ‘comedy slot’ at 6:30pm, but then humour is an entirely personal thing. I gather some people find ‘Count Arthur Strong’ funny, but it has me flying for the off switch at the very mention. I just don’t get it.Â Cabin Pressure,Â on the other hand, is subtly written by John Finnemore and performed with class and briskness by Stepahnie Cole, Roger Allam, Benedict Cumberbatch and John himself. It’s clever and witty and the characters areÂ believable and consistent.Â Last week’s episode included a highly competitive wordplay game about sustaining everyday (and in-flight) conversation using words of only one syllable. As in: ‘Let me explain this to you in words of one syllable’. It’s not as easy as you might think. Prunella Scales made an appearance too, as a mum who is all the more aggravating by ‘not wanting to be any trouble’.
Second thing – I have just finished re-reading Of Human Bondage by W Somerset Maugham. One of those books which I was really too young to appreciate when I first read it, maybe 30 years ago. I liked it the first time, or I wouldn’t have picked it up again, but now it was a thoroughly absorbing and joyous nightly interlude to share the life of Philip Carey from the point when he isÂ orphanedÂ at nine years old until he’s about thirty. There are people you’d recognise, there’s love and death, art and philosophy, London, Kent and Paris, and increasingly mature explorations of the meaning of life.
Third thing – the first bunch of daffodils of the year is resplendent on the kitchen windowsill.
And then also we went out to lunch, to The Duke of Cambridge in Tilford, and it was a real treat. I tackled an impressive board set out with dainty individual dishes of Thai tiger prawns, crab mayonnaise, smoked salmon pate, crispy baby squid, and marinated anchovies. These delicacies accompanied by olives and feta, cherry tomatoes in balsamic vinegar, a pile of mixed and well-dressed salad leaves, and plenty of bread. All fresh, delicious, and special. Just the sort of thing you hope you’ll get when you pop out mid-week to a country pub.