We did watch Bill Nighy in ‘Turks & Caicos’ last night. It was some kind of spy drama, neither thrilling nor intriguing. Nighy was convincing as a burnt-out civil servant doubling up as an MI5 agent in cahoots with Christopher Walken’s cunning and unscrupulous CIA man. A competent Helena Bonham-Carter wheedled incriminating information out of one of those BBC actors whose handsome face you know but can’t quite place the name. I don’t think I ever understood the plot enough to have lost it, but that didn’t matter because Bill explained it all in the end. He whose name I cannot remember was, I think, a mandarin of sorts in cahoots with the Prime Minister working to stash away a figurative pot of gold for his retirement. The idea was that they would con this out of a bunch of murderous American villains, one of whom was killed by Winona Ryder, scarily playing an emotionally damaged woman they were all abusing. She took a shine to our Bill, which was quite helpful to him, although he wouldn’t have dreamed of taking advantage of her. Ralph Fiennes was the PM. He made a brief, silently smiling, appearance ‘through a glass darkly’. In fairness to the anonymous actor, we looked him up. And naturally, when we discovered he was Rupert Graves, we said: ‘Of course’.
Nighy is capable of complex emotional portrayal. He has a most expressive face which was really the one watchable element that stopped me turning off the TV.
With that cast, directed by David Hare, in a film he had also written, we wondered whether we were the ones who were out of kilter. It is still on BBC iPlayer. Should you decide to see it for yourself perhaps you will let us know.
Minstead’s ever-changing cloudscapes enthralled me, as always, this morning as I walked down to the village shop and back. The artist is the sun, now shrouded, now peeking from behind its scudding veils. The bones of the still unclad trees were silhouetted against the shifting skies of deep blue, white, and various shades of grey.
Landscape with cloudsCloudscape 3Cloudscape 4Cloudscape 5Cloudscape 7Cloudscape 2
Landscape with magnolia and cloudsMagnolia whiteMagnolias are coming into bloom in the village. Oz and Polly’s white one offers a fine display decorating the left fork from Seamans Lane. Pink is the colour of another in a cottage garden opposite The Trusty Servant Inn.Pink magnolia
Making up the last of the Safestore boxes for us to fill this afternoon, I reflected on my experiences of such containers. These particular items have already been used to move Jackie and me twice, and Becky and her family once. They are still sturdy enough for one more tour of service. I was amused to see that one still bore the tissue paper that served as the wrapping for Danni’s huge present last year.
Jackie has done a grand job of scavenging cardboard fruit boxes from Morrison’s supermarket. So helpful were the staff that one man was eager to extract the last few melons from one carton so she could take it away. These containers reminded me of the far more robust Chinese Boxes of Soho.
Evening sky
Later, as the sun subsided in the west of our garden, the eastern sky became an indigo water-colour wash with just one cloud reflecting the fading glow from the other side.
We are expecting Elizabeth and Danni shortly. When they arrive we will all go to The Plough Inn at Tiptoe for an evening meal.

No Play Today

Today was dank, dull, and overcast, in stark contrast to the glorious sunshine of yesterday.  Jackie and I stayed at home. This morning was spent on domestic tasks, and after lunch we watched Stephen Spielberg’s fascinating film ‘Catch Me If You Can’ on BBC iPlayer.
We had some considerable frustration in actually finding iPlayer and subsequently the film on television.  This is because the system of navigation has been changed and I, for one, hardly ever used the old one.  Nevertheless we enjoyed the production enough for Jackie to read Wikipedia’s version of the story of a juvenile con-man who impersonated a series of professionals and defrauded numerous banks out of millions of dollars in the late 1960s.
The opening credits tell us that the film is ‘inspired by a true story’.  Frank Abagnale Jr is the lead character, played brilliantly by Leonardo di Caprio, who as a rather older actor manages to be a quite creditable teenager who conducted his fraudster adventure before he reached the age of eighteen. In the process he impersonates a teacher; an airline pilot; a doctor; and a lawyer. The initial bravado and excitement, progressing through self-doubt and ultimate signs of panic are well portrayed. There are touchingly tragic elements to the story of this young man who set himself off on a roller-coaster ride and really rather wants to get off but doesn’t know how to do so. Tom Hanks is the FBI agent chasing his fugitive across half the world.  He presents a clever mixture of haplessness and useful observation and intuition.  Christopher Walken is convincing as the conman father on whom we are given to believe Frank has modelled himself. Wikipedia describes a very different Frank Abagnale Senior.  But then, the film does not claim to be a biopic and dramatically this works very well.
Di Caprio’s character is finally caught and imprisoned.  Through a developing friendship with Hanks’s FBI agent he is eventually released and works for the Investigation Bureau’s fraud squad.  Wikipedia confirms and expands upon this.
Number 41 in the ‘through the ages’ series of photographs features Garrick House Cricket Club, which I joined as an opening bowler in 1957.  This photograph was taken in the summer of 1958.
Garrick House cricket team
Garrick House in Southampton Street, Covent Garden was the home of theatrical publishers Samuel French Ltd.  The cricket club was that of the firm.  By 1957, no-one playing for the team worked for the publishers.  They therefore handed over ownership and all the kit to the current body of men. The club was, a year or two later merged with Trinity (Battersea) Cricket club, for whom a number of the Garrick House players, including me, turned out.  It was Stan Oxley, seated in the centre of the picture, who was one of the trio who formed the Battersea club, and spent his life as its Secretary, who recruited me, first for the team above, and the following year for the much stronger Trinity.  There was then no conflict of interest because Garrick house played on Saturdays at Cottenham Park, and Trinity was a wandering Sunday side.
From left to right on the top row stand Peter Gwilliam, Ray Chard, Norman Vigor, Mike Vaughan, and me.  Seated are John Baker, Jack Niblett, Stan, John O’Rourke, and Tony Woodward.  Bob Mitchell sits on the grass.
Peter was a classy batsman and occasional wicketkeeper lacking similar class. Ray was a powerful all-rounder whose input was somewhat variable.  Norman was a talented and stylish batsman and useful fast bowler, who married Eileen, an England off-spinner. Mike could turn a game with his powerful hitting, and was a good wicketkeeper.  Modesty prevails for the next one.
John Baker didn’t play often, but was a strong batsman and fast bowler.  Jack Niblett was the Alec Bedser of the side.  He resembled the great Surrey and England medium paced bowler in size and delivery, but lacked his variation. Jack, very successfully, wore down the opposition by placing the ball, from a remarkably short run-up, exactly on the spot just outside the off stump, at an unexpectedly brisk pace. Every time. Ball after ball. If you wanted to score off him you had to take a risk. I often thought he bored them to death. Matthew 9.71 He was definitely a number eleven batsman. Stan, I’ve mentioned above.  He was the hub of the club, and after his death sometime in the 1980s the club was renamed Trinity (Oxley) Cricket Club. John O’Rourke was not happy. He was a less than successful pace bowler. Tony was a keen photographer. He once borrowed a couple of my slides to submit to a photographic competition. He didn’t pass them off as his own, but they did receive some commendation.  One, unfortunately I’ve lost.  The other, taken in September 1971, of Matthew peering through my sister Jacqueline’s back door window, he entitled ‘No Play Today’.
Bob has featured before.  He was a fairly reasonable spin bowler and occasional batsman.
This evening we dined on battered haddock and chips, mushy peas and pickled onions.  Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I enjoyed Les 3 Lys Crozes Hermitages 2010.