Today has been one of those days. You know, when you just can’t seem to get done what you intended to do! My fault, really, as my body clock is completely haywire. I was reading until 2.30am, again, last night/this morning and, although awake early, I dozed. Suddenly, the whole day is running behind and it is impossible to catch up. Mind you, I didn’t get to the beach, yesterday, and I have become very reliant on those evening walks for my sanity. Knocked me off. Won’t make it today, either, as I am late starting this post. Oh, well …
Friday. How easy would it be to do nothing? I wish it was! Ended up driving to Crail, this afternoon – little fishing village down the coast. I never really went there as a child. Strange but we never really frequented any of the East Neuk, preferring to remain in St Andrews. The two are very different and I was reminded of that today. Whilst there are some beautiful old houses and cottages in Crail and it is immaculately kept, I don’t think I could live there. It just feels quite cut off; isolated, even though it is only nine miles from St Andrews. I realise, though – now, more than ever – that it is not so much the location as the people one must consider. What sort of people live in a place like this?! Well, Crail, it would seem, is quite quirky. So much so that we drove there, specifically, to go to The Smoke Fired Whole Foods Shopwhich is well-known in the area. Full of eco-friendly items and organic produce, it is an absolute find and I could spend hours in its environs. Yes, still buying organic! Still got the legal correspondence citing my insistence on buying ‘organic, handmade goods’. Still laughing!
The shop is owned and run by a husband and wife team. He with piercings, a beanie and tattoos and she, well-spoken and refined, if not quite arty-looking. It’s funny, I don’t think, at first, you would put the two together but the pieces seem to fit. He seems to focus on the produce-side of things while part of the shop is given over to her pottery: practical items in lovely colours, it is all very buyable. Meantime, I have no doubt they live in a lovely old cottage full of character, locally – perhaps I should ‘stalk’ them as I did my golfing man the other night?! It does smack of the simple life, though, well away from the madding crowd and I am all for that. Thing is, I’m not sure I’ll ever be convinced by true Fifers!
So, Friday night’s alright for … watching TV? To be fair, I do spend much of the evening typing away but, then, we have to agree on something we can, both, watch! Last night’s offering was the final part of The Quiz, ITV’s three-part drama about Charles Ingram, the Major who ‘won’ the top prize on Who Wants to be a Millionaire back in 2001 and then, together with his wife, Diana, and their accomplice was found guilty of cheating. I remember it well. The programme was massive, at the time, and must-see viewing of a Saturday night. Judith Keppel had been the first winner of the million pound jackpot in 2000 and Major Ingram was only to be the second. The whole thing caused a huge furore in the media and there seemed no question that he had cheated. They were baying for blood and this was an esteemed Major in the Royal Engineers, for goodness sake! For my part, I remember thinking how slippery a character he seemed and his wife, Diana, possessed no likeable qualities whatsoever. Guilty. Next story. Move on.
Surprised, then, to see this drama emerging, re-hashing a story almost twenty years old. Seemingly, too, it is entirely unrelated to the fact that the couple are in the process of honing their bid for an opportunity to appeal the cheating conviction. It is a difficult one, though. Curious, we watched the first two parts of the serialisation and I thought it was awful! Everything about it – awful! People are raving about Michael Sheen’s portrayal of Chris Tarrant – and, admittedly, he has his voice and mannerisms down to a tee – but it is impossible to get over the fact that the actor is half the presenter’s size. Well, I couldn’t.
It just smacks of an amateur production. The acting is, largely, school-play level – with the exception of the Ingrams’ lawyer – and the filming not much better. The actual piecing together of the story and its background? Not impressed. So it was with some reluctance that we sat down, last night, to watch the final part covering the trial and verdict. Of course, for one who, through no fault of her own, saw the ending of Watership Down at the beginning, it came as little surprise that out BT recording cut off at the crucial point! No matter. We found a way to see the final minutes and, I must admit – had I not known the ending – I would have predicted a verdict of ‘Not Guilty’! Such was the expertise of their lawyer in the summing up, there was bucket-loads of reasonable doubt so I have no idea how ITV won? Suffice to say, as one who has been called for jury service more than once – and never been able to oblige – I do question how I would handle it. Immediately, I would say the person on trial would be in trouble – well, more trouble – but, at the end of The Quiz, their lawyer had me convinced of their innocence and I surmise the jury would have been out for a lot longer than the, actual,three and a half days had I been amongst them!
Jury duty must be hard, particularly in a case like this. To be responsible for the indelible reputation of another human being when the prosecuting evidence is, ultimately, manipulated and circumstantial must be impossible. Looking at recent footage, Chris Tarrant is in no doubt that Charles Ingram cheated. However, I beg to differ. The recording, prime evidence for the prosecution, was a doctored compilation and, as the Ingrams’ lawyer rightly pointed out, once one is alerted to the cough – and its alignment with the correct answers – there is no rewinding. One is fixated by it – and convinced! Yes, the final episode was far superior to the previous two and the ending thought-provoking. Their lawyer’s, resigned, farewell remark to the couple suggested that their lack of prison sentence reflected the Judge’s recognition of their innocence, powerless to purvey justice in the face of such a powerful machine. One thing’s for sure, it has doused my enthusiasm for putting myself forward for the programme, even if it does mean Jeremy is denied the opportunity of meeting me! Apart from the fact that one was faced with the cold, hard reality of television and its commercial power, just who would I get to fashion me a Fastest Finger First replica? Then, there’s the problem of what Craig David was doing on Friday? To be honest, as long as he wasn’t penning another song, I couldn’t care less!
Back to my friend, Jeremy, though, and the world according to …
‘Cows eat grass and silage. This is melting the ice caps and killing us all. So they need a new food stuff; something that is rich in iron, calcium and natural goodness. Plainly, they cannot eat meat so here is an idea to chew on: why not feed them vegetarians?’
He’d love me! Wonder what he thinks about ‘organic, handmade ‘ food, though?
This is Trish, signing off until Monday.