Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Even the lovely Greta Scaachi

The miniseries ‘The Terror’ is not an easy watch, on several levels. But you can easily detect the Ridley Scott effect. From a purely practical stance, since ‘The Terror’ is set in 1874 in an arctic winter, light levels are very low. We witness marooned seamen in flickering candle light which illuminate their faces as they speak to camera. Which, as a viewer, means one has to concentrate! 

But when the hapless sailors are outside their ship, on pack ice, hunting the monster which is killing their shipmates it is hard to see the action. I’m sure it’s part of the design. Keep the viewer guessing about what lies beneath. But it’s not an easy watch seeing ‘Jaws’-like bits of limbs deposited on white-cum red impacted snow. Even worse the sight of a leaning body which is only leaning because the top half of the torso has been left to dangle over the side of the ship. Its legs are still in place on deck but hacked from the rest of its human remains by the said monster. The legs and torso are in two halves. No. Not an easy watch.

Enter, then, the beautiful Greta Scacchi. No, she isn’t freezing and being mauled to death by a giant polar bear with a strangely human face. She is at home, in Blighty, seeking news of her husband. The crew have been away in extremis for two winters. And naturally she wants to know her husband is well. She learns nothing. 

And we hear no more of her. Greta is merely acting a small part in a tv series about male Victorian adventurers. They are seeking a northwest passage - a passage through the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans through the Arctic. I understand China was the desired destination and a northwest passage there was sought. Greta is, as ever, good but underused.

When I first saw Greta Scacchi on screen she was a great beauty. But in some ways I am heartened when I see her in films or on the tv now. She is still a beauty. But even Greta Scacchi has become rotund. And, after weeks of lockdown#3 with no swimming pool open to me, I too have run up the pounds. Yes I’m gardening and walking but with a gammy knee I need a weight-supporting activity like swimming to keep me fit.

I try to diet, of course, but walking and swimming are my friends. Now my knee needs a partial replacement that essentially leaves swimming as my go-to exercise. No prizes for guessing that my weight has gone up over the course of the pandemic.

I well recall this time last year, when Italy’s covid death rate was soaring, one Italian journalist saying ‘You will get bored, you will put on weight’ meaning what would happen during lockdown in the UK. Covid had only just reached our shores at that point.

With the best will in the world - and I don’t have a lot of self-will when it comes to exercise - one is limited to local walks during lockdown. And when it’s cold outside there is little incentive to get active.

So here I am. Getting fatter not fitter. Even Greta Scacchi has put on weight. I’m sure she and I are not the only two to pile on the inches. She’s still good to look at. There’s still hope. But after a three-hour walk yesterday my knee has throbbed at times today. And I loved the walk along the canal in the March sunshine. 

I’ll just have to keep taking the painkillers...

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