Playing Dead and A A Milne

Today I played dead. Quite an easy role really. Just had to lie on my bed with a sword on top of me. I was playing the mother – well what else – in Toby’s short film for his bimonthly film club. I did a bit of research cause I wanted to look authentic.

“The key to believably playing dead on screen is, first of all, to really let your yourself go ― release all tension and energy and go completely limp. (I can do that)  Then take a deep breath just before the director says ‘Action’  and hold it for the duration of the shot until you hear ‘Cut.’ This way, you’ll avoid being seen breathing during the take.” I think I nailed it.

Am a little concerned  though that the camera angle might make my nose look big. Have always had a thing about my nose. When I was a teenager at night, I used to tie a string under my nose and across the top of my head in the hope that I would wake up with a retroussé nose.  It didn’t work

It was made worse by a girl friend who was very pretty, very blonde and had a small nose.  “I will never get a boyfriend,” I moaned  to which my mother replied. “Yes you will darling you have a great personality.” Fat lot of good a great personality is in a dark night club. Who is going to see my personality. What they will see is my big nose.

In my mid-twenties I met a plastic surgeon at a party – as one does – who offered to change both my girlfriend and my nose. I could have taken offence but instead we took him up on the offer. My girlfriend went first.  I chickened out and decided to live with a big nose. She, on the other hand, has a beautiful nose.


I wanted this nose

I learnt a horrid truth this weekend that no matter how much I like my puddings my stomach can no longer tolerate dairy. It is a sad day for someone who  would happily eat cake and puddings for breakfast lunch and dinner.

The realisation came after I made one of my all-time favourites – rice pudding with cream, milk,  butter and sugar. Not satisfied with just the one helping I had several and then spent the entire weekend on the toilet.

My love of rice pudding began as a child when I became obsessed with  A A Milne’s poem Rice Pudding.

What is the matter with Mary Jane?
She’s crying with all her might and main,
And she won’t eat her dinner – rice pudding again –
What is the matter with Mary Jane?

Maybe it also had something to do with the name Mary Jane – which is what I wanted to be called. Actually, I was obsessed with all A A Milne’s poems. My other all-time favourite was Disobedience. Which  ironically  is very relevant today as Toby has become my COVID19  game keeper to ensure  that I  stay safe.

James James
Morrison Morrison
Weatherby George Dupree
Took great
Care of his Mother,
Though he was only three.
James James Said to his Mother,
“Mother,” he said, said he;
“You must never go down
to the end of the town,
if you don’t go down with me.

Clearly, I passed this on to my children as they can  all retell The King’s Breakfast word for word.

a a milne

It’s an odd thing this memory business. I can remember sonnets from Shakespeare and a multitude of poems and yet sometimes I can’t remember the start of my sentence! At least I will be able to entertain my fellow inmates in the car home.

I was moved this weekend by the memories of D Day. Watching all those poor young sods getting off the boats and wading onto a beach that would soon be their graveyard. What must it have been like for them – terrifying I imagine? And the parents?  Not knowing if your sons will come home. We have COVID19 but we have never had to go through this kind of war.

I so wish that I had spoken to my father and my grandfather  about their war time experiences. But conversations were not encouraged. My father after spending 2 years in and out of hospitals from a bullet in the middle of his head, and his father’s trench experience in World War 1 meant they preferred to bury their experiences.

It prompted me to re-read the third book  in  Pat Barker’s The Regeneration Trilogy, The Ghost Road. The lead characters  are  two famous historical figures: the war poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen. In the trilogy they meet, as they did in life, at Craiglockhart Hospital near Edinburgh. The novel’s pivotal character is also a real person, the anthropologist turned psychiatrist William Rivers, who is treating both men. Not an uplifting read but beautifully written and a real insight to what these men went through in this awful war.

Clearly, we have learnt nothing from history, thousands of years of pointless war and still it goes on. Tod always said ‘human beings are not a viable specie’  – he just might be right.

“Let’s be careful out there”

Author: ladyserendipidy

Journalist, event planner, mother, animal lover, not very good bridge or scrabble player, hopeless housekeeper, ex social worker, radio producer, tv executive, hater of almost all insects especially the eight legged ones. And if I am ever allowed out of my house, intrepid traveler.

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