Thursday, 23 July 2015

The Most Wonderful Gift

A friend unexpectedly dropped by yesterday.
We haven't seen each other in almost 10 years.
She lives in New Zealand and even though I knew 
she was coming to the UK, we didn't seem able 
to work out a date to get together that suited both of us.  
She took matters into her own hands 
and called round on the off chance.
 She bought me the most wonderful gift.
My favourite book of all time is Nevil Shute's A Town Like Alice.
I read my mum's copy when I was a teenager and even selected a passage to read aloud
 in Miss Mitchell's 4th Form English class during my 'O' Levels.
... Darkness was closing down in my London sitting-room, 
the early darkness of a stormy afternoon.  The rain still beat upon the window.  
The girl sat staring into the fire, immersed in her sad memories.
"They crucified him, "she said quietly.  
"They took us all down to Kuantan and they nailed his hands to a tree
 and beat him to death.  They kept us there and made us look on while they did it."...
Mum's copy was so old, and read by me so many times, that it sadly fell apart.
I currently own five copies of A Town Like Alice.
Including one that spent part of its life in Kuala Lumpur.
A black and white film-of-the-book starring Virginia McKenna and Peter Finch
 was made in 1956.
It was {is} truly appalling.
All strangulated vowels and a storyline nothing like the book.
However, in 1981, the dear old BBC produced a mini-series 
starring the delicious Bryan Brown and Helen Morse.  
It was briefly released on video.
We didn't own a video player.
{My lifelong Australian friend still has her mum's boxset.}
I even bid a ludicrous amount of money on a well known auction site
 a number of years ago so that I could have the BBC version on video.
Someone else bid an even more ridiculous amount of money.
But I digress.
What wonderful gift did my friend give me yesterday?
Only the BBC version on DVD. 
I actually swooned in delight.
What's the best unexpected gift you've ever received?

5 comments:

Becky said...

How I love that book! My copy belonged to my Pop (my Mum's Dad) and I first read it as a teenager when I went to stay with him and Gean. As I read it every time I visited on one visit he gave it to me to keep - one of the best unexpected gifts :)

alexa said...

How wonderful! Now there's a great friend, who knows you well ... Hoping you have lots of enjoyment watching it :).

debs14 said...

Oh how wonderful! What a great, thoughtful friend.

Margaret J said...

Loved the book but only watched the film because Peter Finch was such a big name !

Sian said...

How lovely! My best unexpected present ever was the dollshouse J bought me the first Christmas we were married. He knew I wanted one and he bought it secretly even though we couldn't afford it.

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