||[Mar. 6th, 2016|10:34 pm]
On the building front: the errant downpipe has been reattatched, and the insurance company notified that the cause of the damp has been corrected, and they can start repairs as soon as they are ready. Meanwhile, while the scaffolding is in place the builders are doing useful things to the back of the house, repointing, repairing window frames, repainting woodwork.
The next job will be external repairs: the wall at the end of the garden, the outhouses, the steps down to the garden. The wall has already gone. We knew it was unsound, it was further damaged in bringing scaffolding through, and when the builder tried to remove the tree growing out of the top of the wall, it became clear that the tree was in fact the only thing holding it together. Just as well we already wanted to replace it. Replacing the back steps is also we've had in mind for some time - but it will have to wait until the scaffolding is removed.
This ought to be enough excitement to satisfy anyone. I don't know why I feel that nothing much is going on here.
On the Northern noir front: I've been enjoying Shetland enough to be sorry to see it come to an end, but thought the resolution was a little weak. The scheduling did it no favours, following the emotional blockbuster of the fifth episode with a two week gap, and then a dénouement which depended on cramming quite a lot of new material into the final hour, some of which didn't add up. As usual, I'm left feeling that the books are better. And the TV version seems set on dismantling everything interesting about Jimmy Perez's personal life. Oh, well.
It tells you somrthing about Trapped that where Shetland is filmed in Shetland in the summer months, Trapped meets the Icelandic winter head on: it is set in February, so not only is the town cut off by snow, and the population 'trapped', most of the action takes place in the long winter nights. This can be dramatic, and events are often macabre, but I wouldn't call it gloomy. There's a relish to it. One confrontation in episode three, which is as far as we've got, takes place while one of the characters in skinning and gutting a reindeer.
If that's part of your definition of noir, you can add The Last Seabird Summer to the list. Adam Nicolson (whose book, Sea Room, I have quoted before) investigates the decline in sea bird numbers around the coast of Britain, which includes going to Iceland (Grimsay, in fact, the island on the Arctic Circle) where licensed hunters still pluck puffins from the air with fishing nets, and cook them in barbecue sauce. Nicolson's discomfort at this is a thing of beauty.
Nothing to do with anything else, but the Guardian has an obituary of Gillian Avery. I loved The Warden's Niece; I've read and enjoyed others of her books, but The Warden's Niece remains special.