Entente cordiale


(the Entente Cordiale) The understanding between Britain and France reached in 1904, forming the basis of Anglo-French cooperation in the First World War. source

The basis of this feline non-aggression-treaty is solid: no human presence allowed. As soon as the human appears, the senior cat, “mamma”, she who is possessed by the spirit of Hannah Thornton, mumbles and hisses a little, as if she had an image to defend. Most of the times, though, our apartment is divided by an invisible Maginot line: this side the new comers, the other side “mamma”. Now she leaves our bedroom every now and then. If the door that divides the apartment is closed, and the newbies are “here”, she even goes to sleep to the couch in the living room, which is considered “neutral territory”, otherwise, if the door is open, she makes another clear externation of her status as “offended part” with a little bit of cat miaowing.

Self portrait
newbies territory – keep off!

The flu seems completely defeated (although I have to take antibiotics four more days); in the meantime I have devoted the time I had left without a head about to explode to compulsory film watching and reading.

I am reading now, for the #th time, Sense and Sensibility, this time I have in my hands the beautiful hardcover edition I bought in London. And, of course, I’ve watched again Ang Lee’s film, with the most absolutely perfect Col. Brandon ever portrayed on screen, Alan Rickman.

Col. Brandon taking a last glance to the room where his beloved Marianne struggles between life and death

The most shocking thing of re-reading the novel has been to realise that Col. Brandon, described by Marianne using this words:

“Colonel Brandon is certainly younger than Mrs. Jennings, but he is old enough to be my father; and if he were ever animated enough to be in love, must have long outlived every sensation of the kind. It is too ridiculous! When is a man to be safe from such wit, if age and infirmity will not protect him?”

… is just thirty-five! I must confess that the sensation of reading that a man almost nine years younger than me is described as a kind of decrepit old geezer is pretty awkward.

I have seen also “The Escape Artist”, with David Tennant. A must-see, most of all if you love thriller-lawyers-clients-stories. It has reminded me a little bit Cape Fear but in this side of the Atlantic.

David Tennant freezing in Edinburgh in the third chapter of “The Escape Artist”

Lucky cat

IMG_1232From Sunday night until this morning we had another guest at home, in our bathroom, using the big-comfort-recovery cage. Hubby is a professional “gattaro” (cat keeper), takes care of two colonies near our home and the other day “Mucchina” (little cow) behave weirdly, salivated and had always her little tongue out. Fortunately it was not a serious problem, she was taken to the vet, she had two teeth removed, and have to be kept under observation for a couple of days. She is now in the street again and, as usual, asking for food under the kitchen window.

Insisting on “The Impressionists”

proctorMonet copyThere is something else in common between “The Impressionists” and “The Crucible” other than their leading man. While studying the credit titles of the series during my second view of it, I couldn’t help smiling when reading the surname of the casting director: Carl Proctor. I find this kind of coincidences very interesting, and something to make you think about; a man called Proctor that has chosen Richard for one of the most interesting roles in his career and, who knows, maybe without Mr. Proctor’s (Carl) choice the Proctor (John) in the Old Vic would be another.

“The Impressionists” is one of that series that you could watch in loop over and over and over and over without getting tired of it. There is always a new detail that grasps my attention: the way Monet touches the ribbon’s of Alice’s parasol, the recognisable belly-laugh out of frame, the glance of unavoidable envy to the rich Degas in the caffé.

The rest of the cast is also awesome, starting from the small appearences. The hateful visitor of the Impressionists’ exhibition, who earns one of the unique “majestically disdainful” glances trademark of Mr. A., is Sebastian Armesto, who surprised me as an ashtonishing Ben Jonson in “Anonymous”. Special mention to Will Keen as Paul Cezanne.

As far as the “Me, Myself & I” tag of the post is concerned, what I thought was a “small flu” was a real one. I really hope to be able to sleep tonight. My throat has the same colour of one impressionist sun during the sunset. My tonsils have grown so much that my doctor said yesterday, while examining me, “you have not swallowed the water-melon”. Therefore, notwithstanding the tropical temperatures, here I am inhaling thyme vapours with the hope of helping my soar throat. The throat thanks the effort but couldn’t care the less and as every afternoon it/she/he is awakening and sending me the usual cough crisis.








Regarding the cat-front: what man could not do, the vacuum-cleaner did. Look what happened this morning while I was making the minimum-indispensable-housework:

United against the vacuum cleaner

 of course, once the emergency big-absurd-noise-provoked-by-human ceased each two of them returned to their respective sides of the apartment.

“The Impressionists” appreciation post

Complete version of the gif that I’ve had to upload in tumblr in four pieces

Beautiful: photography, acting, script. Apart from the already mentioned conflict with his master in chapter one, I have chosen three Armitage moments in chapter two, which is my favourite:

  1. the above scene, when Monet meets Mme. Hoschedé, performed by the extraordinary Amanda Root that I’ve had the chance to see in BBC’s 1995 “Persuasion” playing the role of Anne Elliot.
  2. the death of Camille Monet. The painter does not interrupt his chase of the moment, lights and colours even in such dramatic circumstances and paints his already dead wife in her deathbead. When Mme. Hoschedé comes into the room Monet is sat, defeated, observing the corpse and then, embarrassed, cries in her arms.

    Monet painting his dead wife
  3. the conflict with Edgard Degas. Monet, drawn by his financial needs, exposes again his pictures in the official salon and not together with the impressionists and Degas attacks him in a denigratory press article, gossiping also about his relationship with Mme. Hoschedé; Monet reacts grasping Degas by the lapels of his jacket and saying with rage “you will not make slanderous comments, in the press, about my private life!” Priceless.

“The Impressionists” is one of the many tv jewels that BBC has given us in the last years. I sincerely hope that Richard should not give up working in BBC series, I will keep my fingers crossed for him to have a part in the second season of “The Hollow Crown”.

Once more!

Tom Hiddleston as King Henry V in “The Hollow Crown” (my screencap)

Once more unto the breach! Once more! Oooops, sorry, a quotation has interrupted today’s pippa mentale mental rambling. So, once more, I have dreamt with the university and that I went to the lessons without studying. I am quite tired of this kind of dreams, honestly. They don’t have a saucy extra as for instance an English teacher as a certain Vice-Principal on screens now (first rule of Wormwoodscrubs blog: always mention Richard Armitage even without purpose). Last night’s dream was packed with weird things though; I arrived to the university using the subway, even if my real university was at a walking distance from home. I took that subway, and, even if there was a blackout and everything was pitch black, completely dark, I arrived safely to destination (I will have to ask Mr. Sandman how can work a subway train without electricity). I then tried to reach the floor where my class was but the lifts were broken (I guess that all this sequence of broken devices is a metaphor of Italy) and had to walk up the stairs. It was just one floor, nevertheless. No, don’t look me like that, I’m not so lazy, I don’t take lifts/elevators for just one floor! Finally I arrive to my floor, I know that because some faces of the students ring a bell. They are all busy with books and reading notes. “Have I missed something?”, I say to one of them. “Oh, yes the grammar interrogation about irregular verbs!” And we are not talking of English verbs, but suddenly of Spanish ones. That is the usual moment when I start to think “this is a dream – I already have my degree – look to the wall, there it is, look Juan Carlos I, Rey de España, y en su nombre el rector de la Universidad de Valencia declaran…” and indeed after an effort I wake up and remember that I don’t have to pass exams anymore. Because I don’t… do I?


ProctorConfessed1 ProctorConfessed2I have learned today that the Crucible poster I have received last Friday was sent thanks to the generosity of a well-wisher I have never talked to, or, at least, not that I know. Once again I cannot find words to express my gratitude and how blessed I feel for this. To me, these last years, August has always meant pain and suffering; memories of hospitals, frustrated hopes and goodbyes, a month that I would gladly delete from the calendar.

It is curious that this month starts, little by little, to have another meaning to me, thanks to a man born in August, and to the generosity, love and friendship of his well-wishers.

source of the images used for the fan art


The look of love (is in your eyes)



The reader of nice perceptions (I owe the ghost of Herman Melville around one milion dollars in copyright for the excessive use of this phrase that he uses in “Bartleby the Scrivener”, but the fact is that I just adore it) should have realised already, given the amount of posts produced in work hours, that I have not a very intellectually fulfilling or demanding work. I just have a work who doesn’t satisfy me intellectually at all, but that provides me the liberty to produce these pippe mentali mental ramblings together with many other things that have little to do with office work. The curious fact is that thanks to my work I have realised what I would have liked to do for a living, that is, writing, but, at the same time, is highly improbable that I would ever have known that I “can” write shouldn’t I have this work. I know, you have lost yourselves. It’s the classic example of dog eating his tail.

This morning, while doing the daily work that implies the use of about three neurons combined, I’ve watched again the end of North & South. As no one is listening now, I can say that I’ve wept twice watching this: the first time I’ve seen it and today. And I can assure you that I’ve watched the above scene many and many times.

The key is the look. The absolute look of love that Richard Armitage gives his partner, Daniela Denby-Ashe. I add the tag “Great to be Alive” to this post, because one of the great things of being alive is having the chance to receive a look like that. I have been thinking about love lately, and the fact that if it is better to be a late or an early bloomer. I was not a late bloomer myself (I’ve received the first look of real love at about eighteen, which is definitely not late even if not quite early) but I think that late bloomers appreciate the looks of love more, as have “lived” more and they have earned that look more. They have lived years maybe feeling themselves unappropriate, or weird, thinking: ‘was that slightly plesant feeling all?‘ or ‘Is there something amiss in me that I’m the only one not to have felt like that?‘. When you are in the middle of a look of love, the rest of the world disappears, you feel that kind of connection that goes beyond that precise moment or even that precise person. The problem with those unique glances of love in long-term relationships is that they don’t last forever; they evolve, become something else but from a certain point on are not as heartmelting as they were once.

I’ve spent a good half an hour at home trying to find my copy of Nick Hornby’s “High Fidelity” to find a quote but who knows where the book is; I’m quite sure that in a few days I will find it in the third row of one of the libraries looking me mockingly. At the end of the novel Rob, the protagonist, reasons about what is the problem with the relationship with his girlfriend Laura, and arrives to the conclusion that the problem is that there will never be more “first times” with her: no more first appointments, first kisses. This is how I feel about the looks of love; I still send and receive them, but they are no longer as the ones that have made me cry this morning. They are no worst, but are different. I miss those first looks of love but I can always watch again the end of “North and South” to remember how they are like.

This is my favourite version of “The Look of Love”, Diana Krall’s