Happy New Year to you all!
I’m pleased to say I got through Christmas without a hiccup. One fan on the forum thought I’d gone a bit quiet and wondered if I was OK. I’m absolutely fine, but I don’t make a big thing out of Christmas: I prefer to be quiet, though I hope you all had a jolly time. I dropped into my forum a couple of times and was glad to see that some of you were enjoying my metaphorical dinner table.
I’d also like to thank people for the very kind messages left in my guestbook. I can’t answer them all or upload them all onto the website, but they are all read and appreciated.
As you know, I was recently reminded of my switching on the Blackpool Illuminations in 1975 and an article by Craig Fleming appeared in the Memory Lane section of the Blackpool Gazette last Saturday. As a result I’ve received several messages in my guestbook from Blackpool. In particular, I was amused by a posting from Brenda, who was traumatised by my impersonation of a lecherous cleric called Father Ferguson in “The Life and Loves of a She Devil”. I take it as a great compliment, Brenda, and I hope those of you who noticed it will beware of Father Ferguson.
The Blackpool Gazette has sent me more pictures from 1975. You will be able to see these in my photo gallery in the Doctor Who general section, but I particularly liked this one of us meeting the Junior Reporters Club. I wonder where they all are now?
Victoria O’Day, in Hamilton Ohio USA, thank you for the penultimate paragraph of your charming message in my guestbook about your first date with the man who is now your husband. He was talking about Logan’s Run! Oh, Victoria, how I laughed. And I particularly appreciated the message from Russia: “From Russia with Love”. A big thank you to Maxim Mirovich and a Happy New Year.
Now the snow has come, this little paradise where I live is even more magical. All the tiny imperfections in the landscape are hidden under the snow. This morning at 7.05, I switched on all the lights and the house twinkled as Poppy and I set out on the “Walk of the Seven Wigwams.” We do it every day. Sometimes twice a day. But snow changes everything, hides everything and muffles everything. It dramatises everything.
Poppy is very excited by the snow and when she brought me my slippers in the snow, I thought she must have ideas of us setting up home in an igloo.
I have told you before about how easily I get lost in the woods. When I first told you about my lack of a sense of direction it was spring or summer, I forget which. Anyway to resolve this difficulty I came up with the sneaky idea of sticking white drawing pins in the barks of the silver birches. It works perfectly. White on silver birches is discreet and tasteful. Yesterday Poppy and I were caught in what I would describe as a blizzard. Yes, a blizzard in the dense woods. Within 10 metres I was lost; I simply could not see a pin in front of me. Round and round we went, peering at birch bark in a snow storm is exhausting work. But after a time we, Poppy and I, stumbled upon a bridge. I was so relieved. I desperately hoped it was my bridge. As those of you who read my letters will know, I have two bridges. I rubbed away the snow and lo, it was mine, my little Bridge of Sighs. Oh, such sighs of relief, and Poppy and I made it home.
So you see, life here is not without incident. Poppy is also turning into a security guard for the fishes. You see, there is a local Heron who adores carp, OUR carp. We adore carp too, – not to eat, that is. I have tried to feel affection for the Heron, but my affection for the carp keeps getting in the way. And then the Heron is sly, he floats down without a sound and would certainly spear my innocent carp that I have raised since they were tadpoles. I can’t bear to think of it. But Poppy has the eagle eye and the ears of a bat too. As the Heron settles like Count Dracula on the search for blood, Poppy the Lurcher spring from her basket and howls like a Banshee. And the Heron hauls himself into the sky and goes off towards Gatwick airport in search of a fishpond without a lurcher.
I’m reading the story of salt. It seems that the world is divided into two groups; those who are very aware of health and who avoid salt, and those who adore salt and then die. This is a thriller. What camp are you in? Before you decide, the book is called SALT, a world history by Mark Kurlansky, published by Vintage books.
Somebody recommended a film: “Fireplace, The Movie”. I don’t know who the actors are but I hear the effects are fabulous and the whole experience induces a warm glow. At this time of the year and with the temperature at minus three, a warm glow is not to be sneezed at, so I’m surprised this film has not received a BAFTA nomination. This is the time of year when some of us BAFTA members are voting for the BAFTA film awards, so I’ve been seeing a lot of excellent films. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you which ones. Sorry!
Tales of Aesop
Just recently, a DVD has become available of a series of Aesop’s Fables I narrated for the BBC in 1990. It was produced by a friend of mine, Graham Lee, featuring very simple, yet expertly controlled puppets, which gave life and wonder to these magical tales. They have never before existed on DVD, and now the complete series of 13 episodes has been digitally remastered and autographed by me.
The 13 episodes, each lasting 5 minutes, tell the following tales:
The Tortoise and the Hare
The Lion and the Mouse
The Quack Frog
The Fox and the Goat
The Tortoise and the Bird
The Bear and the Travellers
The Fox, the Bird and the Cheese
The Town Mouse and the Country House
The Fox, the Wolf and the Sausages
The Hares and the Treasure
Toodle oooh to the fans from old Tom