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Harriet’s movie, Regent’s Park, Bloomsbury

Last night I went to the Everyman Cinema on Baker St. to see Harriet’s movie, The Sense of an Ending. The ticket was expensive, and I saw why – it’s like a club, you can get food, cappuccino, wine, served to you in your big, luxurious seat. I curled up and enjoyed the film. It’s odd, a bit laborious and slow, I found, and when I got home I had to google to figure out bits of the plot; readers of the book won’t have that problem. Some of it, actually, didn’t make much sense. But it was a joy, while in London, to watch a film that takes place in London, recognizing landmarks, shops, busses, feeling almost familiar and at home.

What’s most powerful about the film, and I say this 100% objectively, is Harriet’s performance as the protagonist’s ex-wife. Her face is infinitely expressive, her eyes, her mouth, I just wanted to watch her forever. She is a hundred times better than Charlotte Rampling, who I felt was phoning it in, doing her mysterious woman schtick half asleep. Harriet Walter was as alive as anyone I’ve ever seen on screen.

Over our coffee, I was amazed when she told me she remembers our school production of the “Three Sisters” and how she thought I was a wonderful actress. When I look at her career, I wonder what would have happened if I’d stuck with acting. But no … I could not and would not have. She’s a born actress, to her fingertips, though she’s also a terrific writer. Mucho talento, as the Spanish say.

This morning, I did some excruciating work, cutting the bits of the memoir my editor Colin Thomas wants cut – over 6000 of my precious words. And though momentum has been gained and the story moves along more quickly, I think something is also lost, so there’s work to be done figuring out how to fix it, still. At least, as always, the first third of the book. It was a painful chore; glad it’s begun.

As my reward, a walk in Regent’s Park, as beautiful as it gets on a cool, cloudy day.

There are black swans with red beaks in the picture above. The British sure know how to do parks. Stunning, welcoming, glorious.

Christopher and Cristina have new guests arriving early tomorrow morning; time to clean the apartment, vacuum, wash floors and sinks, make sure no trace of me is left except a few gifts and a jug from Selfridge’s to replace the vase I broke, and take the bus across the city to my hotel in Bloomsbury. I’m so grateful to my hosts for five nights there. With the Canadian dollar as it is, three nights in my small room at the Penn Club, including a hefty chunk of tax, is costing $600. Mind you, I have the luxury of my own bathroom and two bright windows overlooking a garden. It’s cosy and simple, a Quaker hotel in a great location with a big breakfast, and I love it. I can hear birds, and the sun is pouring in.

Otherwise, I have been as thrifty as possible  – including not one full restaurant dinner through the entire trip. Tonight, another play. Tomorrow, Easter Sunday, everything is closed and it’s supposed to rain, so I’ll work and walk. Monday, I hope to take C and C and their daughter Marina for lunch and then I have a booked ticket to see the David Hockney retrospective at Tate Britain. And that’s it. I fly home early Tuesday. Anna just sent me pix of her boys in the alley outside their house, engrossed in tossing pebbles down a drain. It looks like so much fun. I can’t wait to join them.

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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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