Having decided to go over to Bristol and visit Amanda yesterday afternoon, we left early and diverted from the M4 on to the A48 after Newport, for a leisurely drive through a favourite part of Gwent, for a pub lunch at the Groeswen Inn, near Penhow. It made a pleasant change to a routine journey. Amanda was in good spirits, and getting used to a different routine, now that James is away at University and living in a student flat on the UWE Fishponds campus.
We drove home after dark, and although the weather conditions were reasonable, I didn't enjoy driving, as road traffic out of Bristol north goes rather quicker at night than I've been used to recently, driving in Spain in the dark. Urban and rural road speed limits there are lower, and having adjusted to that, it's not so easy to revert. I think we're be better off with lower speed limits here around all towns and villages for safety, noise and pollution reasons, even though it would mean a bit culture change for the majority of motorists.
We were back in time for late supper before watching the last episode of 'Modus'. All in all, this BBC Four Scandi-crime drama offering disappointed - a plot that was somewhat implausible, leading actors lacking in sparkle and presence. But then, portraying a crime psychologist mother of two or a divorced cop must be hard going when similar roles have been well filled in other series by those who excel at 'character' parts. Also, there were too many lingering nightscape shots of Uppsala, which was, I believe, the mise-en-scène. We've seen clever photography in semi-darkness a bit too often in recent years for that sort of landscape to play much of a part in creating a mood for the occasion. Unlike 'Y Gwyll', on tomorrow night (final series episode), where the Cambrian coast and mountain scenery inland does contribute to generating the mood, and making the series so superbly watchable.
I was on duty at St Catherine's for the eight o'clock again this morning, and at St German's at eleven. On my way to the latter, I drove via the municipal waste and re-cycling centre in Hadfield Road, to get rid of seven bin bags of thick foam, the remnants of a dismantled mattress from the bed that James used to sleep in. He doesn't have or drive a car, and Bristol Council rubbish collection makes pre-disposal demands which are difficult for a disabled person living alone to meet. The bags filled the back seats of the car and the boot. Leaving them outside the house until collection day would not have guaranteed their removal. Some things are deemed by public service officials to be 'too hard', whether in reality they are or not. Government and public services can force citizens to care about much that's considered in the public interest, but the obligation to care for disadvantaged people doesn't always work as well as the law advocates.
The last episode of 'Y Gwyll' on S4C was indeed masterly drama. Dialogue was sparse, but a great deal was achieved through acutely observed actors' faces reacting to things they'd just learned - the power of the unsaid drawn out by the camera. And the landscape, mostly in grey wintry daylight, made its own statement about rural poverty and neglect, speaking about a region left behind after previous industrial and social upheavals, subsisting on agriculture and tourism. It's not the whole story of rural mid and north Wales by any means, but it does reflect the series title in English - 'Hinterland'.
The final shot, after DCI Matthias had seen justice done by the victims of child abuse by a top policeman, was a coup de grace, as the cop himself, stands lonely, on the beach at Aberystwyth, looking at photos of his estranged family, so painfully sad after a moment of professional triumph which leaves him satisfied but quite unmoved. Will there be another series, with EC funding cut-backs likely in the future? Thankfully the multiple plot lines in the series of all three serials shown this past couple of years have reached a resolution. The only unresolved issues concern the lives of main characters, that I for one have developed a sense of concern for. Such a sense of emotional involvement in fictional says a great deal about about the high quality of story telling running through this home produced series. Well done Wales, very well done!