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A Potter's Moll: Do The Pie Thing

...Part of my Potter’s Moll duty this week was to make dozens of mince pies. It is a long established tradition in our gallery that we open our Christmas exhibition by serving mulled wine and mince pies. People really appreciate home made ones these days as everyone seems to buy shop ones which I find taste like sawdust...

Besides preparing tasty bites Liz Robison has also been savouring a particularly tasty literary treat - Charles Dickens's Little Dorrit.

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I’ve just finished reading ‘Little Dorrit’, so I can lap up the TV series knowing who everybody is and soak in the sets and the costumes. Reading the book reinforces to me what a brilliant scriptwriter Andrew Davies is, and makes me agree with one reviewer who said that if Dickens was alive today he would be writing for television.

Andrew Davies had villain Rigaud Blandois murder a hotel keeper to let us know that he is a dangerous assassin. In the book the story opens with Blandois already in prison in Marseilles for a previous murder, but Davies wanted to get Amy Dorrit into episode one, so he altered the ordering of the plot to achieve this.

Writing episodically, Dickens was adept at giving readers clues to help them identify characters who had been absent for a few episodes. Flintwitch always has the adjective ‘wry’ associated with him and Mr Merkle, the banker, is always described as clasping his hands behind his back

…as if taking himself into custody
…in his constabulatory manner
…he took himself into custody by the wrists.

Brilliant!

There are many laugh-out-loud moments in the novel, for example the comical way Mrs Plornish uses pidgen English to ‘interpret’ what the Italian Cavalleto has said in perfectly good English, and the Englishman abroad, Mr Meagles, who complains about how the French are always ‘allonging and marchonging.’

My sister sent me the DVD of an earlier film of ‘Little Dorrit’ with Alec Guiness and Derek Jacobi in it. Another treat in store. My sister’s surname is Pelerin (Huguenot originally) so we laughed when Flora said to Mr Cennam:

Would you object to putting your arm around me under my pelerine?

(A short shoulder cloak, apparently.)

I’ve also started reading Peter Ackroyd’s biography of Dickens. All these are welcome distractions from the early darkness of November evenings.

Part of my Potter’s Moll duty this week was to make dozens of mince pies. It is a long established tradition in our gallery that we open our Christmas exhibition by serving mulled wine and mince pies. People really appreciate home made ones these days as everyone seems to buy shop ones which I find taste like sawdust.

I still feel November 9th is early for Christmas but the garden centres and other places disagree and have been lighted, garlanded and festooned for weeks already.

Interesting times in the USA and very heart warming to see the huge turnout and empowerment black and Hispanic voters obviously feel. Obama will be a breath of fresh air. I still despair of our relatives in Missouri who voted for McCain and Palin – though I thought the former’s concession speech was generous and dignified. Sarah Palin, on the other hand, seems to me to be from another planet – Youbetcha!

I keep intending to write one of these columns about sayings and mottoes but always seem to have too much else to say! I’ll end this week with just one I read recently:

Do the pie thing – eat humble and they’ll be nice as!

More from me in a fortnight.

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