Give me strength!  I should have stayed in bed today, honestly.  Ever had one of those days when nothing works; nothing goes right.  In fact, worse, the forces are just out to get you?!  Where to start?

Regular readers will be aware of the demise of my dishwasher – at Christmas!  Sitting dormant, I have made no further attempts to revive it of late, safe in the knowledge that, one day, it will miraculously comply.  It is twenty-seven years old, for goodness sake, a rest it deserves.  It would seem, however, that electrical or mechanical, any implement or vehicle belonging to me has a mind of its own.  Nothing cloned in this house!  Quite frankly, though, I do draw the line at a hoover which spits out more than it takes up.  Well, one would, wouldn’t one.  Anyway, pulling my cordless Dyson from the cupboard, around Midnight, to do a spot of hoovering before I went to bed last night – well, the domestic goddess that is Becca is imminent – all went relatively smoothly enabling me to tick off another chore in my head.  Oh, no!  Welcome to Saturday, 30th March …

A catalogue of disasters.  Firstly, the hoover insisted on spitting out the entire contents of last night’s efforts upstairs, in the hall downstairs.  Grit teeth, refrain from uncharacteristic blaspheming and locate brush and dustpan.  Fine.  Next …  Print latest chapter of future bestseller/mini-series/film with a view to reading, recording and emailing to Shona, as promised.  Press ‘Print’.  Nope.  Nothing.  Apparently, the printer is not connected, when it clearly is!  Unplug, switch off, turn upside down … speak nicely to it?  Not a thing.  Can’t even add it, on my laptop, because it is already there! 

Next, tax the dodgem, otherwise known as Becca’s trusty, ancient old Corsa.  Taxed until the end of March, that, in itself, hasn’t proved simple due to the securing of the new V5C – don’t ask!  Anyway, pick up the phone – probably 1am, last night/this morning, following my successful hoovering session – to use the automated service, as always, only to be told that the darling little car is to be taxed from 1st March.  Sorry?  Doesn’t this automated service know that it’s now the 30th March?  Technology.  Don’t you just love it.  Try online, then …  Same thing.  The six months’ tax will commence on the 1st March.  Give up.  To bed!  Surprisingly, negotiated stairs without mishap and lost myself in my current book entitled In the Absence of Angels.

Wakened by the sun streaming in – the element of surprise is alive and well – I embarked on today’s list in my head, most of which I have already documented.  Managed to speak to a living being at DVLA who informed me that, on transferring ownership, the road tax is automatically null and void.  Of course, it is.  Thus, although I had previously paid up until the end of March, I had to pay March again.  Confused?  Don’t bother …  Meantime, Becca – in Rome – was out and about shopping, messaging me constantly for opinion and advice.  ‘Hang on, let me just send you a photo!’.  Multi-tasking.  Who knew I could be shopping in Rome while, at the same time, attempting to weed the garden more than a thousand miles away?!

Hands filthy, every five seconds … at least my iphone is still working!!  Peace at last.  Just me and the sound of the birds – and the biggest, loudest queen bee in the universe!  Yes, I know, a plethora of exclamation marks but desperate times.  As I sit up here at my desk, now, the birdsong is uninterrupted, calming.  Not so earlier.  That pesky over-sized bee – which I have encountered before, I might add – was furious at my presence, following me to every corner of the garden.  I couldn’t hear myself think, let alone hear Becca talking to me from the writing shop at the Pantheon!  Nothing for it.  I surrendered.  Take the garden, if you must!  Take the huge dollop of frog spawn, too, which I found amidst the overflowing rain water in one of my pots.  Just me?  Where the hell did that come from?  So looking forward to tripping over a knot of toads in the near future …  No, too predictable!

It’s still light, as I write.  Almost 6.30pm.  The clocks go forward tonight heralding the onset of spring.  This has been the longest winter …  This time last week, I was at the New Picture House in St Andrews watching The Zone of Interest, an award-winning international film about the Holocaust.  Shot entirely in Poland, it is a film which never leaves you.  As I tried desperately to catch the fast-moving English subtitles, the horror before my eyes washed over me.  Eerily atmospheric, it is a film which begins and ends with a black screen accompanied by orchestral music, devoid of melody but, rather, mimicking the sound of machinery and human suffering.  The focus, however, is Rudolf Höss – the first commandant of the Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz – his wife, Hedwig, and their five children who live in their ‘idyllic’ home, the garden of which shares a wall with the concentration camp.  Juxtaposition is paramount in this film as one bears witness to the banality of evil: the Höss family enjoying a normal family life in a sprawling house and garden, all to the background noise of brutal commands, anguished screams, the noise of the next train pulling up and the machinery responsible for extinguishing and disposing of the lives of the innocent …  As Hedwig enjoys the prime pickings of the clothes delivered to her door, surplus to the tortured victims, the children play in the garden she loves and Höss returns home each evening – through the connecting gate – to enjoy a family meal and read bedtime stories to his children.  Inhumane monsters who merely block out the realities of Auschwitz for their own selfish well-being.  Human nature.  To be faced with its infinite depravity …

Juxtaposition.  There is a force for good, a light in the darkness, in the form of a teenage girl who cycles alone in the darkness, each night, to place apples and pears in the trenches and paths leading to Auschwitz, intended for the Jewish captives.  Artistically, she is portrayed through a thermal lens, in the film, ensuring she shines brightly in an otherwise dark environment.  Incredibly – and poignantly – this remarkable young girl existed.  Her name was Alexandria.

She lived in the house we shot in.  It was her bike we used, and the dress the actor wears was her dress.  Sadly, she died a few weeks after we spoke …

That small act of resistance, the simple, almost holy act of leaving food, is crucial because it is the one point of light …  It felt impossible to just show the utter darkness, so I was looking for the light, somewhere, and I found it in her.  She is the force for good.’

Jonathan Glazer, Director, The Zone of Interest.

Please, God, may there always be one …

This is Trish, signing off.