Good morning! Aren’t things just better in sunshine? Even with a sick baby, which I can tell you is really no fun at all for anyone.
At least Henry’s temperature and grumpiness have meant lots of hours snuggling on the sofa ignoring the housework. Which means I am in a better position than usual this week to give you your Friday watch-listen-read. Every cloud, right? And this week happens to have an historical flavouring. Are you ready?
watch: Parade’s End
It has been said that this starched-collar Edwardian adaptation of Ford Madox Ford’s novels is the Wagner to Downton Abbey’s Gilbert and Sullivan. I haven’t seen Downton, so I can’t compare, but the first episode of Parade’s End was wonderful. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Christopher Tietjens, trapped in a marriage with a beautiful harridan, devoted to a son that probably isn’t his, headlong in love with a suffragette but too honourable to do anything about it, and witness to the greatest social changes of the age. I found it a little difficult to piece together at times, but Cumberbatch can convey the smallest emotion with a twitch of his upper lip, and Rebecca Hall plays his wife with captivating sulkiness. It’s funny and sad and glorious, and Tom Stoppard wrote the script. HELLO.
It’s on BBC Two or iPlayer here, but the series was a collaboration with HBO and it’s scheduled for stateside release this year. So keep an eye out, US-dwellers.
listen: Pure, Andrew Miller
I read this earlier in the year and thought it was brilliantly atmospheric. It’s the story of an engineer tasked with clearing the fetid, stinking cemetery Les Innocents, in pre-revolutionary Paris. On holiday at the weekend we started listening to the audio version, and we’ve been keeping up with it all week over dinner, making our chilli fraught with tension and unsettling airs. It almost works better drifting around your living room than it does on the page. We’ve found it on Radio 4, but there’s an audiobook here, too.
read: The Uninvited Guests, Sadie Jones
Oh gosh, I loved this book. It’s an Edwardian (again, sorry) country house dinner-party-gone-wrong, when Emerald Torrington’s birthday party is interrupted by the unsavoury survivors of a train crash. What sets it apart from other books in the same line is the fact that the characters are so genuinely likeable, the plot so whimsically funny. I closed the covers with a great sigh of contentment, and wanted to do it all over again. Like a marshmallow hot chocolate on a frosty day.
Let me know what you think. And happy Friday!