Adaptations (Cecilia Peartree)

I have the urge to write about adaptations today, because some of the various meanings of this word have been on my mind lately. The fact that football, general elections and Glastonbury have been taking up a lot of airtime has caused me to abandon live tv for now and to watch too much Netflix in the evenings instead, and that in turn has caused me to announce to my son, the only one who would listen, that in the extremely unlikely event that Netflix offered me a million pounds for the screen rights for my novels, I would turn them down. My son didn't think I'd be able to resist an offer like that, but I hope I would stand firm.

There have been cases where I've been pleasantly surprised by adaptations, particularly the classier BBC ones which stick fairly closely to the original material - the iconic 1995 Pride and Prejudice, for instance, or the Joan Hickson Miss Marple series. I also very much enjoyed a new version of Agatha Christie's Murder Is Easy. On the other hand I've been unable to finish watching several other Agatha Christie adaptations, partly because the actors mumbled and they were apparently filmed in the dark, but mostly because the screenwriters had felt compelled to give some of the main characters inexplicable and often tragic back stories which didn't add anything to the characters or the plots. I sometimes feel the writers should have a big sign up in their writers' room, saying something like, 'Not everybody needs therapy.'

Netflix is the worst offender, in my experience. I managed to get through about 5 minutes of a fairly recent adaptation of Persuasion before permanently switching it off. This was because the screenwriters had updated it in such a way that the main character bore no resemblance to the main character in the book, which in turn rendered the plot completely implausible. And don't get me started on the Bridgerton series. The books were my guilty pleasure because they are fluffy and insubstantial, and they didn't deserve to be made into anything more. It was watching season 3 of Bridgerton that sparked the above-mentioned rash announcement to my son in the first place. In fact I had doubts about season 3 even before it started, because certain plot developments in season 2 had made me wonder how on earth they were going to get things back on track in anything like the direction the books had gone. However I watched season 3 out of sheer idle curiosity, and not entirely to my surprise things only got worse. Much worse. 

And now a little about other kinds of adaptation that are on my mind at the moment. My living arrangements had to be somewhat adapted when I came out of hospital last year after breaking my hip, though actually this mostly meant rearranging the furniture. We didn't have to add lots of extra hand-rails and similar things to the house, because we had already done all that, some of it when I had my hip replaced a few years ago and some of it when my husband was an invalid after that. This time round, I acquired an outdoor walking frame thing which I don't actually use for walking but for sitting on while waiting for taxis or food deliveries near the front door to make sure I don't miss them. 

Easy gardening 1 - climbing roses
A more difficult adaptation has had to be made to my lifestyle  over the last few months, as I've developed a heart condition for which I'm awaiting treatment, and in the meantime I am unable to walk to the bus stop or to the nearest shops. If I hadn't broken my hip last year they might not have diagnosed the heart condition, or at least not in time to do something about it. I find gardening very difficult and housework almost as hard, so I usually have to do everything in very easy stages and plan it all very carefully to make sure I don't inadvertently overdo it. This goes somewhat against the grain, but on the other hand, it means I do actually set aside two short sessions for writing every day instead of just doing it as the mood takes me. It also explains why I'm so tired every evening and only have enough energy to watch Netflix! (see above)

Easy gardening 2 - plants in pots along the path


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