Saturday, 18 April 2015

Far from the Madding Crowd: the new film

Here's Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, president of the Thomas Hardy Society and Bridport Electric Palace patron, saying a few words before Far From The Madding Crowd was unveiled to its Dorset audience at last night's gala screening.
Here's a review by my alter ego.

Go to see it if you can.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Coming soon: Far From The Madding Crowd

There is great excitement in this neck of the woods as Dorset prepares for the local premiere of Far From The Madding Crowd on Friday.

Based on Thomas Hardy's book of the same name, it stars Carey Mulligan as the wilful heroine, Bathsheba Everdene, and is due for general release on 1 May.
Much of the film was shot here in West Dorset, with the lovely Mapperton doubling up as Bathsheba's manor house.

Having lived and worked on this estate, I can vouch for its beauty. There is nowhere quite like it.

So when others are wondering how the film will compare with its 1967 predecessor, directed by John Schlesinger and starring Julie Christie, Alan Bates and Peter Finch, I know I'll be just gazing at the real star of the show: the West Dorset landscape.

Here's a taster:

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

A huge thank you to my blog readers. Wouldn't be here without you.

Once upon a time I had a dream.

I was seven years old and wanted to be a zookeeper.  It was Johnny Morris's fault. I loved Animal Magic.
By the age of eight, I had a guinea pig. I soon learned that mucking it out was a real labour of love. And I didn't love it very much.

I did love writing, though. I wrote a mini-novel with illustrations. Like most children of that age and of that era, I was very animal-centric, particularly as I was born and raised on a farm. My book was about a cat called Tom and a dog called Blackie and how the pair of them foiled a kidnapping plot.

I've still got it somewhere. When I find it, I'll show you.

So in my ninth year, I decided if I wanted to be a writer when I grew up, the best thing I could do was become a journalist. I'd seen a film on television and loved the fast pace and the wisecracks.
I loved this remake, too, of The Front Page.
My journalistic career wasn't quite like the movies, apart from the fags and clacking typewriters. But it was great fun. And a privilege to meet people, write about them and get paid for it.

I'm not a journalist any more, not as such. But I'm still writing. And loving it.

And to be approached by the oldest weekly magazine for women in the world on the strength of this blog - this blog - well, it's just incredible. I am still pinching myself. I am indebted to my loyal readers, many of whom have been with me when I started The World from my Window in 2007 while I was doing a creative writing course with The Open University. Thanks so much for sticking with me.

Now I just have to put on my tractor beam to get the Guardian to take me on as a television critic.

Anything is possible.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Come and join me in The Lady Shed for a white whine

I've been rather tardy of late and haven't blogged for several weeks.

My apologies - things have been pretty busy in Maddie's World, with a new weekly column of that name just about to be launched in The People's Friend magazine (hoorah!), which I'll be posting regularly on this blog once it's published, and other close encounters of the writing kind.

I'll be bringing you updates from Lush Places and the wider world as soon as I can.  In the meantime, here's a link to The Lady Shed, a writing project I'm working on with two friends.

Each week, one of us writes about a subject which grabs us. Every four weeks we all write about the same thing. The latest posts are all about the National Health Service.

This Friday, I'll be in the shed on my own, talking about sibling rivalry, as it's my brother's birthday tomorrow - Lady Day, ha, ha. The only boy in a family of girls, he is known as Golden Balls by Mr Grigg. I've never quite got over my mother cooking him breakfast before school while I had to make do with Weetabix.

First World Problems, eh?

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Trouble in Fairyland

It had to happen.

It seems there's trouble in Fairyland.

This magical spot, about which I've written before but have never named, is in danger of being overrun by fairy doors.

They started off tastefully.
Some were elaborate.
Some were birthday presents.
Then little things began appearing behind the doors, along with notes from visitors.
Excited children darted around, looking down at the base of the trees.
Soon, word spread far and wide that this was an enchanted wood.
People came from miles around, some of them adding new doors.
But now, the trustees of the wood say it's getting out of hand. They're concerned about the effect screwing the doors has on the trees. And they're worried the emerging bluebells are being trampled by eager little feet tearing around the woodland and straying off the path.

So, rapid development and doors out of keeping with this very special place are being deterred. 

I hope this coincides with the fairies themselves doing a bit of spring cleaning -  some of the doors are falling off their hinges and have seen better days.

Let's hope the media storm will die down and we can get back to...
That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Broadchurch's last episode: a very Bridport affair

There were gasps as the verdict was announced.

Surely not? And then the programme went on, with twists and turns, including the unexpected and the entirely predictable.

Anyone would think the popular television drama, Broadchurch, was for real. Well, for those of us who live here, where the show was made, it does feel a part of everyday life.

The writer lives in Bridport and the actors are now frequent visitors to the town and its harbour, West Bay. The series' backdrop is as familiar to us as the backs of our hands, although the magic of television splices the geographical areas of North Somerset and West Dorset with surgical precision, so that the dramatic East Cliff of West Bay on the south coast suddenly looms on the distant skyline beyond Clevedon and the Bristol Channel.
In Bridport last night, the charming Electric Palace Theatre played host to the haunting, atmospheric music of ├ôlafur Arnalds, the composer for the series. He and his band filled the quirky venue with loops and refrains, seemingly simple piano and ethereal violins.
And after ninety minutes and a standing ovation, the curtains were drawn, the roadies moved in and the stage was set for the finale of the second series of this show, as the audience, which included writer Chris Chibnall and actor Jodie Whittaker, who plays Beth Latimer, settled down to watch the big screen and find out what really happened.

It was the sort of thing Bridport does very well.

As the end credits rolled, there were cheers when it was announced Broadchurch would be back for a third series.
Jodie, Chris and Ólafur signed autographs and the audience went home happy.

It is such great publicity for this part of Dorset.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Friday, 13 February 2015

Pictures of Maddie

We've just had a photo session, Mr Grigg and me, here in the kitchen.

It's usually me behind the camera - I've never been much of a one for inflicting my fisog on the world. Invariably, pictures of me on the web are of tea cups, tiki masks and Fra Newbery's painting The Spirit of Bridport.
I also use this one a lot.  I like it. I took it. But I'm not in it. 
'Smile girls,' I yelled from afar. 'Jump up and down a bit.'

So they did. 

It's one of my favourite pictures.

But, over the last few months, it's me who's had to be the subject of the photographs. 

'Can you send me a nice photo of you by the sea?' the feature writer at Good Housekeeping said to me last summer.

'Do you really need it?' I said. 'Can't you use a picture of the Greek village we lived in, or a back view of me?'

'Well, not really,' she said. 'It's a two page feature and it's all about you and how you felt living on a Greek island.'

It happened again this week.

'We'd like a head and shoulders picture of you,' said the nice lady from The People's Friend magazine.

'Can't you use a picture of my new dog?' I asked.

Well, she is rather beautiful.
'Of course not,' the nice lady said. 'Not unless the dog's writing your column.'

So there, in a roundabout way, is the announcement I had to make. On the strength of this blog, I've been asked to be a columnist for the oldest women's weekly magazine in the world.

It's a huge honour, a wonderful opportunity and I can't stop pinching myself at my good luck. So I've had to jettison the reluctance to having my photo taken because, basically, the dog is rubbish at writing.
And as my first column is due to be featured on or around April 1st, I reckon photo number four.

What do you think?

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

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