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> Sid Letter: November 2007
Mel
post Nov 23 2007, 04:20 PM
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QUOTE
Thank you all so much for your kind birthday greetings. I received a link from Mel, although to be honest I may have stumbled upon them myself as I do occasionally take a sneak peek at everything. It's quite a good way for this 42 year old to find out what's actually going on in his life.

I had a terrific, lazy day. The countryside around me an explosion of autumnal colour in the deceptive sunshine. Oaks and Ash, Hazel and Acer, Sorbus and the grand old Sophora, all creaking limbs. My day began at around 6.30 when the radiators in the barn started clanging to life. I remember when I was a kid I used to think that there must be a whole army of heating men running through some underground tunnels and banging on the walls with their wrenches and spanners when I heard that noise. But this time I just pulled a pillow close and dozed off again.

Then the shooting starts at around 8 and birthday or no birthday I make a cup of tea, light a cigarette and start going through my emails and bills. I listen to the radio and find out what's been happening in the world and I have the whole place to myself for a bit before people start arriving to deliver newspapers and prune shrubs or just say hello (which they do alarmingly early around here).

The shooting is of the pheasant and rabbit variety. I don't have shooting rights on my land and obviously the rabbits are aware of this, spending many happy hours eating through all the new growth on the very expensive plants I've slaved to dig in this year. But they take one step out of this Green Zone and wham! Two hours later they're under cellophane in the local village butcher's shop.

The pheasantry are a different matter, they can't wait to throw themselves before anything that might be remotely hazardous. They are the only wild animal I'm aware of who will scamper across the road to safety only to change their minds at the last and scamper back again just in time to hit any traffic which might be passing by. The one or two birds that actually survive this strange ritual must surely be pheasant outcasts, pariahs which no self-respecting soon-to-be-squashed superior pheasant will ever talk to. Indeed a pheasant that lives into old age must be a miserable pheasant.

The day continued with a short present opening session. I have an ambivalent attitude towards presents. I'm nearly always embarrassed if I receive a gift from someone I don't know very well. I'm sent into a spiral of confusion, not knowing how to proceed with that person, are we now friends? Do I suddenly have obligations? Happily there was only one of these gifts this year and I only have to remember to thank one unfamiliar person for one item. Misanthrope? Me?

Birthday cards are not complicated and I loved receiving all of the ones you sent. I was especially grateful for the beautifully bound little book of 'good wishes' from everyone. Happy Birthday to you too Karima. "Thanksiding Day" must surely be a complex affair, Liz. Thanks to all of you.

I think I should be wishing all the stateside folks a happy Thanksgiving as well. It's so brutal having to prepare that big meal twice in the space of two months. But that is your lot and you all put a brave face on it year after year. After cooking a Christmas lunch I can take months to recover; I may not get around to doing the washing up until the following Christmas Eve.

Washing up is a contentious chore in my house. I live with my step-father, Michael, who is, I think somewhere between sixty and a hundred years old. He will spend ten minutes looking for a rusty old decommissioned pan to boil an egg, when he could have completed the washing-up in 5 minutes. This, to me, is bordering on pheasant-like behaviour. And the longer we live on the same land, the more often I say so.

It's strange living with another adult again. My ex-wife, Nana and I lived together (obviously), and there were a string of ex-girlfriends, but in retrospect I can say that we only pretended to live together, sort of dress rehearsed for the real thing ... but living with Michael is odd and I feel we all naturally slip into roles; and ever since my mother died, the only vacant post has been for that of wife. So I nag and bicker and grumble about the washing up saying, "I'll do it" with a smile that might have been glued onto my face for all it's sincerity.

I've started work on another French film called L'Espion with a remarkable man called Nicholas Saada, an erstwhile film critic and aficionado newly turned director. He describes the film as a cross-genre spy thriller. For the French, commerce is a genre not a vocation and I assume he means half commercial, half art-house. Ambitious stuff and very intriguing. I like working for the French and I love France so I jumped at the opportunity. French directors are totally obsessed with nuance and detail and the micro environment in their films and this, for an actor who has grown up in Los Angeles, is refreshing and challenging. It stars lots of interesting people but I can't remember any of their names. Typical. I hope none of them have a present for me ... at least until we are properly acquainted.

I'm not a gardener, but I have spent an enormous amount of time gardening this Summer. I know the names of about three things and I'm always confusing Hornbeam with Beech or basically any deciduous hedge tree, but after presents and cards and tea I link up with Sarah, our lodger who lives in the pig-stye and wander around the garden and start working out what to do with everything. Most of our work is clearing overgrown stuff and cutting new beds and destroying nettles (and the children of nettles and any nettle even remotely related to the nettles). It's quite hard work, made even harder by the fact that Sarah's dog, Pepper, despises me with such a passion that I must be on guard at all times and be ready to fend off any swiftly executed maneuver she may attempt. I've been bitten three times so far - I've got my eye on one of those deep sea diving suits they used to wear back in Jules Vernes' day, from eBay. And a very old but possibly re-fixable Gatling gun.

Work in the garden is getting easier now that the days are getting shorter and come Spring it'll all pay off. The latest project has been a sort of cross-genre perennial vegetable/ fruit bush affair. Twenty artichoke plants, blueberries (each growing in a massive plastic bin sunk into the ground because I have the wrong type of soil apparently), white-currents, gooseberries (which neither look nor taste anything like geese) and a fig. The plan is to be completely self-sufficient and carbon neutral by 2075. A ridiculously unrealistic target, I know, but I can dream.

Anyway this letter has (as they do) gone on for ages and I have with a me a friend's dog called Stanley who has been sitting patiently on the sofa and staring in my direction. He needs to be taken for a walk and chase complacent rabbits.
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mrsjack
post Nov 23 2007, 05:09 PM
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Ah, Sid, you really should consider writing a book. Your words are so descriptive, and often times, poetic. It should be titled "A Day in the Life of a Pheasant", or something like that. I'm sure you could think of something more colorful. lol.gif It would obviously be a short story. blink.gif

I'm glad you were able to celebrate your birthday just being 'lazy'. I myself have made that a birthday tradition that lasts the entire month of my birthday. biggrin.gif

I was also glad to hear that you are working. We have missed the pleasure of seeing the results of your work on the silver screen. Even better is the fact that you are doing something you enjoy and are happy.

Thank you for the Thanksgiving greetings! It is the day after, here, and I survived it with little damage to myself. Although, I must admit that it was brutal, as you say, standing in that mile-long line at the local pie shop where I picked up my previously order, already baked, pies. good.gif The line consisted of other women like me who all said the same thing - "Who's got time to bake anymore?" Sad, but true.

Congratulations on your gardening projects. May we see pictures anytime in the coming year? We in the States may never get to see your new movie, sadly, but perhaps we can boast to our friends and family, "This is Sid's garden! Doesn't he do lovely work?"

All kidding aside, though, I was concerned about the fact that Pepper dislikes you so much. What ever did you do to that dog? Is this a large dog we are speaking of? And I hope Stanley is only viewing you as the one who will provide his 'walkies' and not as his new chew toy.

Best to you, Sid! Thanks for the letter. I'll be looking out for that book.

Love,
Liz
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Manda
post Nov 23 2007, 06:02 PM
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Haha oh Sid, you are so right on the pheasants. They are everywhere around my home and I have hit two of them so far with my car. Though I must say, they are interesting animals to hit....they just kind of blow up and feathers go everywhere and then I spend the rest of the day picking feathers out of my grill. I much prefer hitting them than I prefer hitting deer.
Thanks for the warm Thanksgiving wishes. My aunt got to do all the cooking this year and she did an amazing job. Unfortunately, I had an allergic reaction to the food and am spending today in bed recovering. Personally, I think my stomach isn't used to good home-cooked food. It's gotten used to the heavily processed stuff they feed me at college.
I just love your letters Sid, they are amazing.
Good to hear from you and glad you had a great birthday!
Manda


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Some people are like slinkies-absolutely useless, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.
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Guest_Rocksea_*
post Nov 23 2007, 06:31 PM
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It's great to hear you enjoyed a relaxing day at home, I remember you were working last year on your Birthday so this is a pleasant change. I like animals but I know what you mean about pheasants, really cannot believe the stupidity of these creatures - I've seen it happen in our local countryside as well. Lol imagine it happening in the cities, they'd be thinking 'hmm, should I cross now - oh ok' then as soon as the light goes red they'd be frozen midway creating a traffic jam. Sigh, pheasants always think the world revolves around them! Maybe they should think about designing a pheasant crossing, or is there already one in existence? Will have to look that up in the Highway Code (yes, I am learning to drive...).

Gardening's great isn't it? Every Summer my dad and I are usually sorting out the garden, it's literally grown into this father-daughter thing - just wouldn't be summer without it. I know, names of plants and other things are so difficult to remember. I swear my dad's a plant encyclopedia...he knows everything about them - jealous, me? Of course!

Anyway, glad to hear you had a good day.

Roxi
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POTHOS
post Nov 23 2007, 06:47 PM
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Dear Siddig

First of all congratulations on the new movie L'Espion, this sounds such an intriguing movie and I look forward to seeing it.

I can relate to your relationship with Mr Michael which sounds not unlike that classic movie "The Odd Couple". Up until 1991 I lived with my late father who once decided to dry some garden peat out in a biscuit tin with the lid on in the oven at full heat while I was out of the house. I returned to a smell that beggared belief and a father who had no idea why I was concerned about a possible imminent explosion.

Please do not feel obligated about the virtual pressie, although I have no idea what the etiquette is on returning a virtual gift as to the fact that does not exist.

Best Wishes for the future

Jude (aka Pothos)


This post has been edited by POTHOS: Nov 24 2007, 11:16 PM


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ulli
post Nov 23 2007, 06:58 PM
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Not sure what to say. Such a poetic letter. Thanks for that. I definitely agree with Liz on your writing skills. smile.gif
I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed your birthday. smile.gif
Hmm....maybe you should consider an automatic dishwasher. wink.gif (But someone would still have to place all the stuff inside......)
Gardening is great. I just wish my dog wouldn't dig everything out again. lol.gif

And...another French film? faint.gif

Ulli
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TOC
post Nov 23 2007, 07:23 PM
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Lovely letter, Sid. Thanks for that.

Tomorrow I'll get to see Gayle for the first time in a long time -- the occasion being the wedding of her son. If we get a chance to chat I'll be able to tell her that we have something for page one of the January issue.

Carol


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"IN A WORLD FULL OF WONDERS, HUMANS INVENTED BOREDOM. AMAZING!" Death observes in Terry Pratchett's Hogfather.
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fangirl
post Nov 23 2007, 10:54 PM
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Sid,
What a great letter. It sounds like you've been keeping busy and congrats on the new film. I'll be anxious to find out more about it.

I am so jealous that you have blueberries and gooseberries. We used to get gooseberries on my uncle's land when I was a little girl but I can't find them anywhere these days. We have pheasants here as well and they seem to always be about when I go walking on my trail. I have not seen them in the road but now that you mention it, they do sit by the railroad tracks. We have wild turkeys as well, much much larger and at times horribly aggressive. We've had folks hospitalized after being attacked by a "gang" of them, something I think would be not only frightening but embarrasing as well. Sounds like you'll have quite the garden in spring and summer if the rabbits don't do too much damage. They ceased to be cute long ago when I had rose and tulip gardens.

I'm glad you had a good birthday and thanks for the Thanksgiving wishes.

Take care of yourself and again congrats on the new project.

Joy

This post has been edited by fangirl: Nov 24 2007, 11:46 PM
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SlinkyJ
post Nov 23 2007, 11:25 PM
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I am so glad you had such a great birthday, and was able to relax on your day. Everyone should be able to enjoy and relax on their birthdays. I also am glad to hear about your new project. Thanks for letting us know. smile.gif


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Never forget, if at first you don't succeed, then sky diving is not for you!-- Levine
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charmedgirl
post Nov 24 2007, 12:52 AM
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I'll bet those rabbits are like tribbles but with long ears-a total nuisance!


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Peridot
post Nov 26 2007, 03:52 PM
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Such a delightful letter, Sid. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your home life. You mentioned what you thought about the radiator noise when you were a kid, so I'm assuming this is your childhood home? It sounds a charming old place with lots of character. You must love it very much.

A peaceful Autumn morning with a hot cup of tea. What a nice start to your special day. I wonder what kind of tea you drink. Perhaps not Tarkalean. It's so hard to come by on this planet. But then you probably have your sources. Quark, I'm sure, could get you a crate or two by some nefarious route.

You didn't say anything about a birthday cake. Every boy, even a 42-year-old boy, should have a birthday cake. I hope you did. And that it was good. And I hope you didn't have to do the washing up. Not on your birthday. I'll be watching now when you appear on screen to see if you have dishpan hands.

I hope you like the big yellow straw hat I sent you. Yes, I know you're uncomfortable receiving presents from persons you're not familiar with, but since it's only a 'virtual' present there's no need to feel embarrassed or obligated. So please wear your new virtual big yellow straw hat outside in the deceptive sunshine and enjoy. I'm only afraid it may get a bit crumpled under the helmet of your deep sea diving suit. Really, Sid, there must be an easier way to fend off a snappy dog. Maybe if you try to figure out what Pepper has against you and make amends. Perhaps she's disgruntled because you have her owner, Sarah, and presumably Pepper along with her, lodged in the pig-sty. It does sound like a peculiar arrangement.

The way you describe your garden is wonderful. I hope you will post some pictures of it come Spring, even if the plants are a bit rabbit-chewed. I know how maddening it can be to have rabbbits pillage your garden. But they're just too cute to shoot. Please, Sid, put up a fence. As for the pheasants, well, I don't think I've ever even seen a pheasant, but personality-wise they sound a lot like the squirrels we're plagued with around here.

Your new film "L'Espion" does sound intriguing. A cross-genre spy thriller. Wow! Hope you have fun making this movie and also your other new film, "Boundary". Looking forward to finding out what they're about.

Chasing rabbits with Stanley the Dog--what a good way to round off a birthday. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Sid. Take care of yourself.

Peridot flowers.gif




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charmedgirl
post Nov 27 2007, 01:34 AM
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QUOTE
The way you describe your garden is wonderful. I hope you will post some pictures of it come Spring, even if the plants are a bit rabbit-chewed. I know how maddening it can be to have rabbbits pillage your garden. But they're just too cute to shoot. Please, Sid, put up a fence. As for the pheasants, well, I don't think I've ever even seen a pheasant, but personality-wise they sound a lot like the squirrels we're plagued with around here.

Your new film "L'Espion" does sound intriguing. A cross-genre spy thriller. Wow! Hope you have fun making this movie and also your other new film, "Boundary". Looking forward to finding out what they're about.




There is a "Married With Children" episode involving a rabbit eating Al's vegetable garden. Maybe Sid should rent it from Netflix.

When does L'Espion come out? And Where? I hope We get to see it here in the States.


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Mel
post Nov 27 2007, 03:20 PM
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QUOTE(charmedgirl @ Nov 26 2007, 07:34 PM) [snapback]12372[/snapback]

When does L'Espion come out? And Where? I hope We get to see it here in the States.


No release date has been announced yet as they are currently filming. As always, when more information is available, we will let you know.
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charmedgirl
post Nov 27 2007, 03:53 PM
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QUOTE(Mel @ Nov 27 2007, 10:20 AM) [snapback]12374[/snapback]

QUOTE(charmedgirl @ Nov 26 2007, 07:34 PM) [snapback]12372[/snapback]

When does L'Espion come out? And Where? I hope We get to see it here in the States.


No release date has been announced yet as they are currently filming. As always, when more information is available, we will let you know.


Thanks anyway. By the French title, I doubt that it will be released stateside-but one has hopes!


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snovais
post Nov 28 2007, 04:17 PM
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I am sorry to only give you happy birthday today, but November 21 was a very important day to me, too. I have finished my Master's and I have done public proof of my thesis on Bioethics. I have one of most important days of my life, and an attribuleted one. It's funny to imagine the peaceful and quiet from the countryside. I hope to be moving next year, with my family, to a house like that here in Portugal, in the North region called Minho, that is very green and beautiful.

Love, and a very merry Christmas to you and your family and to all people in the forum.

From Portugal,
Sónia Novais
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zara
post Nov 30 2007, 03:21 AM
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clap2.gif cheer.gif Asalaamu Alaikum and Happy Belated Birthday Sid...You really are a talented writer! I so enjoy reading your letters --- you have a grand sense of humor. Keep up the good work in everything you do!

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Peridot
post Dec 2 2007, 01:13 PM
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Trek Today has Sid's birthday letter (a bit rearranged) posted on their site. It's funny to see it presented like a news article.

Link

Peridot

This post has been edited by Peridot: Dec 2 2007, 01:57 PM
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Kimberly
post Feb 27 2008, 05:34 AM
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Only three months behind the times, but had such a laugh over this letter that I thought I'd leave a comment anyway.

Reading about bunnies and pheasants coming to grief, I kept thinking about that hilarious episode of the Goodies where they're dressed up as rabbits in a parody of Watership Down, dodging cars and tricksy bullets. Poor Bellamy.

Always enjoy a good gardening tale. I visited the UK last September and made a pilgrimage to Sissinghurst, Vita Sackville-West's legacy and one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. Unfortunately all attempts at recreating my own White Garden in the very un-Kentish climes of summertime Australia have proved rather sad. Even the will of nettles is bowed against the might of my resolutely un-green thumb.

All the best to everyone for the year ahead.

Kim


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mimian
post Mar 17 2008, 07:48 PM
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Back again after a loooooong abscence. Five years of so, shame on me. Happy Birthday Sid!!!!

On the subject of nettles:

SAVE YOUR NETTLES, SID!

Nettles are good for you. You can eat them. They have medicinal properties. Folklore tell us that they have protective powers -- it keeps evil away -- probably because you can't go near it without wearing a protective suit of armor.

My grammy still drinks nettle tea. Nettles are apparently high in iron and a little easier to digest than the horse-sized iron vitamines.

Yep..Save the Nettles! Y'know get a backhoe and a flame thrower and try to hurd them over to one side along with all the other useful but Pernicious blood-thirsty weeds that give you a blistering rash if so much as a mote of pollen touches you.

mim


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