By Veronica


You nearly got an alley cat again as photo opportunities were few today. It was a damp start to the day, and the wind had blown a lot of blossoms off the African tulip tree (spathodea campanulata, see yesterday's extra). Spare blip: the patriarch (who you will note has blue eyes). Blue-eyed ginger tom let me stroke him; he's very confident. Today's collection: click right from here.

Last night's Filmin film was Mike Leigh's Another Year, which we'd missed when it came out in 2010. It was over two hours of awkward moments: no real plot, and nothing much happens; it's just a year in the life of a comfortable middle-class couple and some of their considerably less comfortable friends and family. Yet we were never bored. 

Most interesting is the different reactions the film provokes. Some people find Tom and Gerri insufferably smug, and cold towards their needy friends as soon as there is a conflict between friends and family; others are touched by their gentle kindness and ease and comfort in each other's company. There are funny moments but I think most people would be wincing in recognition at some point. I found the tragic character Mary, a lonely fifty-something alcoholic and work colleague of Gerri, uncomfortably like my late friend H. Not that she looked or behaved anything like her, but there's the same feeling that she's made a whole series of bad decisions, yet there's nothing you can do to change her, and you can't help feeling annoyed and frustrated even as you are sorry for her. Also people usually don't mention Leigh's camera work, but the use of colour in this film was masterly, especially in the final winter section which was almost entirely grey. All very thought-provoking; I've mused on it a lot today.

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