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Summer is the time for renewing friendships; my newest best friend Penny is flying in from Sheffield tomorrow, and yesterday, I saw my oldest best friend Ron. Ron spent his entire school career at the school my father founded, the Halifax Grammar School, where we ended up in the same class in 1965. We met again thirty years later in Toronto.

Last week, he invited me to dinner at a French restaurant as my birthday present. I love dinner, but I love stories even more, so I suggested that we see a film instead and have a bite somewhere around the cinema. We saw “Beginners” and both loved it, a beautiful film – first and most importantly, it stars Ewan McGregor, say no more. What I’d really like for my birthday is Ewan McGregor. But it’s also a moving, well-told story with marvellous performances from all the actors and an excellent script, beautifully directed. Sheer pleasure. But especially Ewan. My God, he’s got a great face, sensitive and alive, and the rest of him isn’t bad either.
(One small negative about the film: Ewan suffers, can’t love, is closed and frightened because, the film makes obvious, of various factors of his childhood. Oh go see a shrink, for God’s sake! I wanted to cry. No, Ewan – let ME help you!)
Ron now lives right across the street from the Varsity, so we went up to his place on the 22nd floor – he has an incredible vista of downtown Toronto, not just to the lake but as far as the American side on the horizon, and a wide-open sky for sunset viewing. He opened a bottle of Moet et Chandon and we drank Champagne and nibbled from his fridge and got caught up. He has had more careers than anyone I know, from oyster farming to film script writing and much in between, with a genius for making money. He owns a low-rise apartment building in Rosedale. Say no more.
It’s perfect again today, mild and cloudy, the breeze wafting in the scent of jasmin. After Carole’s class at the Y, I went to Women’s College Hospital to have my breasts squashed between two pieces of glass. My mother had breast cancer, so I am happy to do so. And now it’s 5 p.m.; time for rosé. Can you hear me sigh with pleasure?
PS Thrilling that the Toronto International Film Festival has chosen, for its Opening Night Premiere – a documentary. Unthinkable only a few years ago, as unthinkable as a huge prize for Creative Non-Fiction. The times they are a’changing. Good news for us faction writers.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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