At last the severe cold spell is over and some warmth has returned. For the first time this year I spent several hours on the allotment, continuing to dig in manure and transplanting strawberry runners. At home I have started sowing seeds in the propagator – sweet peas, tomatoes and peppers.
But it is not just the warmth from the higher temperature that I want to reflect on but the emotional warmth from the novels and films I have enjoyed this week. I have started to read the sequels to the Foreigner trilogy by C. J. Cherryh. I have the next four, but I gather there are more than twenty all told. The central character is Bren Cameron an ambassador between the human population marooned on a far distant planet and the indigenous people the Atevi. Each volume begins with a crisis and the events unfold over a fairly short time frame. But it is the intrigue and political machinations that exercise Bren. The story focuses on the details of his thinking through the options and his skills at negotiation. He is a go-between with great integrity, aiming to help all parties to reach peaceful and mutually beneficial agreement.
I have also enjoyed several warm-hearted films which have had odd connections with each other. The kiss in ‘A Rainy Day in New York’, a film by Woody Allen, which provides the fulcrum for the change key relationship is echoed in the kiss between young Tom (13) and a slightly older Lucy (16) in ‘Lad: A Yorkshire Story’. This latter film is based on an actual relationship between a young lad whose Dad dies and the Park ranger who helps him to come through the bereavement process. The two principle actors had never acted in film before. It has resonances with ‘Kes’ as a coming of age story in a beautiful Yorkshire setting.
There is another odd connection between ‘Lad’ and a science fiction film ‘Clara’, which is the significance of rocks. Tom loves finding fossils which are abundant in the craggy hillsides on his home area. He is also pretty good at dry-stone walling! In ‘Clara’ a scientist, Isaac, is obsessed with finding extra terrestrial life as a way of compensating for the loss of his new born son. He meets a strange itinerant artist, Clara, who carries with her five small stones from each of the earth’s continents. She helps Isaac to use the stones to find a way of making contact with intelligent life 200 light years away.
Both ‘Lad’ and ‘Clara’ are about our reaction to the loss of someone we love. They offer hope in the affection we receive from others close to us. They are very definitely ‘feel-good’ films. But that is just what I needed. We need the warmth of the coming Spring weather but also the warmth of affection around us.