February 13, 2015

Classy Dames


Dame Hilary Mantel


I urge you to get Hilary Mantel's new collection of short stories: The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher. I consider Ms Mantel along with Julian Barnes to be the greatest living writers. It's not political despite the provocative title and I say that as someone who greatly admired Margaret Thatcher and very highly recommend her two memoirs.

I borrowed The Assassination audiobook from the library which has the superb narration of Jane Carr

The Iron Lady


You can even sample Ms Mantel's short story of the title here for free. It's about a 20-30 minute read well worth your time and will demonstrate her virtuosity.

Today is my Estella's birthday. This year isn't nearly as fraught as last year which was a milestone for us both. By the way, I wasn't the one who first referred to her as 'Estella' as it was one of her friends upon learning our back story. Estella positively tingled with delight at having such a famous literary antecedent and I did bristle a little as our early years weren't quite like that as little GSL was a schoolyard Napoleon but every time I was tossing and goring a schoolmate...or more often a member of the faculty, the one surefire rejoinder was with a paralyzing 'Estella' reference. It seems during the great blizzard of 1980, a dashing young man walked over 2 miles through 14 inches of snow upon being summoned by "the Havisham girl" and a golf course grounds crewman out with a front end loader gave him up.

My Estella has this same pert manner.



Estella has butchered every idiom in the English language but has every Scarlett O'Hara scene down cold and wouldn't need Mammy tugging too tightly on that corset either as she has maintained her girlish figure. We go back nearly 40 years and I did take her to our prom and we were often thought to be a 'couple' and a man at our club always told  her 'Pip' would "one day own General Motors" which sounded rather grand in 1980. I'll never forget the horror on my mother's face when I broke the news her almost 42 year old son had joined the Army and was reporting to boot camp in 3 days. The stark terror was quickly followed by: "What does Estella think about all this?!?!" which caught me by surprise since my mother of course knew Estella was married. One longtime friend of her parents, and a big fan of  her Pip, as dementia started to take hold always mistook the name of Estella's husband. Each time when informed of the mistake, he didn't take the news well.

No, she wasn't born on a Friday....and I did check that early on.

Estella with her Ripley when they lived in Wales.
Estella circa 2004


Happy Birthday Estella!

25 comments:

  1. Thank u for the birthday wishes Moss♡♡♡

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  2. There is a new series coming to PBS called 'Wolf Hall' I wonder if it is based on the book in the picture?....

    Until you mentioned it, I had never heard of anyone else who could recite lines from GWTW. Happy Birthday to Estella

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    1. Yes darling Bebe, the PBS Wolf Hall is based on the HM book and stars (among others) the fabulous Damien Lewis from 'The Tudors'. And btw, 'Estella' is a huge Bebe/AA fan and is eager (as am I) to hear more from Woodcock Pocket and those 2 charming little fashionistas E & D....

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  3. Wolf hall is on now here. Only lit by candles or daylight to great effect. Will read the book in spring. Have you read beyond black? Soo funny! Who knew she's got a sense of humor.
    Best wishes to E and you must tell us the full story one day!!

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    1. My dear Naomi,
      I have only read Wolf Hall, Bring on The Bodies, and The Assassintation....so look forward to working my way though the HM canon.
      E, takes great pride in being the foremost repository of early GSL anecdote.

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  4. Happy Birthday to Estella! I am almost done Bring up the Bodies, so will read this for sure this year. Am already counting the days till Wolf Hall comes to PBS!

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    1. Wendy, you'll only become her next biggest fan upon reading her short stories. I adore this woman and soon you will too!

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  5. Darling G,

    You are the master of the snippet, the tantalising morsel, the droplet of information which make our minds race with questions but for which few, if any, answers are provided.

    Now, just who, exactly, is the charming Estella, whatever her real name? To rank alongside Hilary Mantel and Margaret Thatcher, not to mention Julian Barnes, she must certainly be a woman of substance. But, of what substance.......now, that is what we want to know!

    You tease us and torment us. We are desperate for the truth and nothing but the truth. Spill the beans, darling G, for this could be a novel in the making......we have Great Expectations.

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    1. Darlings J & L,
      You would adore Estella as she would you. She has long proudly held the distinction of being 'G's best girl' even with my dear mother to this very day. She does so love to talk of a GSL biopic so she can cast Emily Blunt in her role and would have many an anecdote to give you a giggle long into many a night.

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  6. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! I want a slew of early GSL anecdotes over drinks! I need to get myself to your area :)

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    1. AP, Estella is your girl as she's incapable of keeping secrets. Only you'll want GSL perspective to complete the 5 Ws..

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  7. GSL, you are the biggest tease, with only snippets of the Estella/GSL story mentioned here and there to leave your Den followers wanting more. Do please fill in the gaps for us so we can begin to make sense of this lifelong special connection.

    Off to check Ms. Mantel's intriguing book.

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    1. Oh my dear CD,
      You'll be hearing more from Estella in the near future as she is a woman of many parts. She's of sound judgement when appraising real estate, keen of eye when arranging a room, an equestrienne of considerable merit, and has a figure so well maintained that teenage girls still envy it and directly descends from a legendary figure of 19th Century Texas.

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  8. I've read Bring up the Bodies, which I loved and must go back and read Wolf Hall. My Brother in Law gave me The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher for Christmas, but I confess I have not read a lot lately, and it's sitting in the pile on my bedside table.
    Happy Birthday to Estella!

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    1. Thank you Heidi and you'll love Wolf Hall and The Assassination. I hope to get to NYC to see the Royal Shakespeare Company's 'Wolf Hall' on Broadway opening on The Ides of March..

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  9. I've read so much about that book - must now action it. Just finished The Paying Guests which was fabulous. Basically I will read anything set in England and this one was a goody.

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    1. First I've heard of 'TPG' so will bear that in mind. Do note my link that will take you to NYT with entire short story of title. Print it out and give it your full attention and you'll see what all the fuss is about over the next 20+ minutes.

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  10. Happy belated birthday to Estella. Try to stay warm.

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    1. Thank you T but it is Bebe who is going through the tortures of the damned with 4 blizzards in less than a month with more yet on the way. I'm afraid Woodcock Pocket may look more like the ice house from Dr Zhivago!!!

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