So this time in July there is a clutch of days that are memorable for one reason or another. The Twelfth in Northern Ireland, Bastille Day on the 14th in France and, today in England, July 15th is St Swithin’s day.
Legend has it that if it rains today, it will rain day and night for the next forty days.
St Swithun’s day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St Swithun’s day if thou be fair
For forty days ’twill rain nae mare
I was mentally doing a sun dance last night as we have had quite enough rain this ‘summer’, thank you very much. And it has stayed dry. Hurrah!
And I couldn’t finish this post without a reference to one of my all time favourite novels, David Nicholl’s One Day. St Swithin’s Day plays a vital structural role in it. If you have read it, you will know why. If you haven’t read it, then do. It’s worth it. (And don’t forget the film.)
As for the rain, let’s see what happens over the next forty days and nights…
Back along I put up a post on Songs about Books. With the final H.P. film opening tomorrow and my oldest right now in the charity shops of Teignmouth looking for an appropriate Potteresque oufit, I thought this would be a good time to blog about films adapted from books. Especially having watched the BBC adaptation of Sarah Water’s brilliant novel, The Night Watch on Tuesday evening. (Still on iplayer if you missed it.) I thought the one-off drama handled the backwards time frame brilliantly and, despite some changes to characters, it was faithful to the novel, capturing the immediacy and fragility of life and love in wartime.
One of my favourite recent books is One Day by David Nicholls, another novel with an unusual time frame as it follows its two main characters over two decades, with the action taking place on only one day, July 15th, throughout these years. A will-they-won’t-they story line but ultimately a beautiful, poignant love story with two memorable characters.
One Day is released at the end of August with Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess in the lead roles and, having read interviews about the upcoming film, it seems both of them know how serious it is to get these characters right as they will be accountable to over one million readers. A heavy burden to carry.
Probably my favourite ever screen adaptation is Brideshead Revisited, not the film as there’s far too much to cover in two hours, but the Granada production of 1981. I missed it the first time round but when it was repeated throughout the summer of 1986, I was hooked. It was the perfect television series for me as I was waiting for my A level results and then waiting to go up to university – not Oxford, but Lancaster. The music, by Geoffrey Burgon, captured the essence of the novel and has stayed with me through the years as has the magnificent cast which included Olivier and Gielgud as the two fathers.
As the countdown begins in earnest to the launch of my debut novel The Generation Game, I can’t help but daydream as to who would play my main character, Philippa… But for now, I will happily leave her to the reader’s imagination…