First, I cannot tell you what a complete revelation Joan Hickson is, "the divine Joan Hickson," one commenter on YouTube puts it, playing Mrs. Rivington in another Agatha Christie dramatization, Why Didn't They Ask Evans? (1980). In a cinched-waist, sky blue-splotched white silk frock with long tasseled necklace, swinging earrings, gold bangles, red fingernails, cocktail and cigarette holder, -- and loose blonde curls and substantial makeup, and how! -- she is quite the late-middle-aged, sensually matronly delight. I even like the unseen husband, "Heww-bert." He already sounds such fun. I have decided I will be her before I become Miss Marple.
Next, nice people at publicity firms have more than once sent me advance copies of books having to do with the wine trade. In the past I've rather bitten the hand that feeds me -- although of course p.r. firms take the risk that their offerings won't be liked, and they absolutely cannot solicit positive reviews -- dear me, I sound like Mrs. Rivington -- anyway I've sort of bitten the hand by acknowledging the arrival, and then using up whole blog posts to proclaim "I didn't care for it much." I had reasons. In the past, the wine books thrown at me were a bit two-dimensional: all about the Authour, and his journey into wine.
Now I've received one that looks as if it will be different and very good. It is Oz Clarke's History of Wine in 100 Bottles, just published last week (April 2015). At last, here is information rather than the Authour's thoughts on himself, and it's the kind of information that really helps clarify what you are seeing on the shelves at the liquor store and why. What is sack, what is Barolo, why so many "Doctors" on German wine labels? Who was Konstantin Frank? And (I salute Mr. Clarke) he has chapters on white zinfandel, screwcaps, and Robert Mondavi.
All necessary to know. This is the kind of book that is going to be hugely enjoyable to dip into at bedside, or to read straight through on a long leisurely warm spring afternoon, that is, after your move. For you see, the packing and rummaging and stacking are still underway. Meanwhile, the three most wonderful signs of spring are at their peak of, what shall I say, busyness or visibility perhaps: lilacs, flowering crab and apple trees, and robins. Now after 26 years in my ex-husband's hometown, I am not going to go out and take more pictures of lilacs, flowering trees, and robins here. For one thing I am too busy packing. But here are some examples from the past. It is going to prove odd, you know, what a repository of the past this blog will be in another week. I will be sure to take photos of my new surroundings.
Finally, a glass of wine. For when you finish packing. Another sample from the Brancott sauvignon blanc virtual tasting a few weeks ago. Lovely for spring and summer. People really are so kind.