Clichés sometimes bear repeating simply because they contain a fundamental truth. Everything we say about spring is a cliché: it brings with it a sense of renewal, a fresh start, awakenings and potential. The beauty of blossoms is undiminished by the fact that they appear every year or that their arrival is predictable.
Of course it is. Thank heavens for the cyclical aspects of life. There is something undeniably comforting about a predictable return.
The return of our cover star, Dame Maggie Smith, to her role as the Dowager Countess of Grantham in the sequel to 2019 big-screen take on the hugely successful TV series, Downton Abbey, was anything but certain. Even before she reprised her role as the matriarch (and merciless zinger-slinger) before the pandemic, she said she was tired of it, suggesting at one point that she hoped the film might start with her character’s funeral! But somehow she was convinced to don her period costume for a second big-screen outing.
Smith seems to find her blockbuster roles unchallenging and unsatisfying. Perhaps she finds the stock facial expressions and reactions predictable.
Maybe even her sharp put-downs have become pat. And possibly her character has become a bit of a cliché. But, like spring, it gives us something dependable to revel in. Her delivery has always seemed fresh, her wit sharp and her perspectives filled with as much wisdom as acid. And, like spring, the opulence and indulgence of a costume drama, as much as it brings a welcome sense of escape, also remains uplifting in its beauty. Just because it’s predictable doesn’t mean it isn’t refreshing. In times like these, the things we love and can depend upon seem even more precious!
The rest of the issue is, as ever, filled with entertainment and advice – on health and wealth and
ways to enrich your leisure time.
We’re particularly delighted to have two giveaways in this issue: a copy of Jane’s Delicious Superfoods for Super Health by Jane Griffiths (p24), whose bestselling Jane’s Delicious Garden started a vegetable-growing frenzy just over a decade ago, and a gorgeous recipe book, Our Italian Legacy of Love (p28), from the family who founded the legendary Café del Sol in Johannesburg.
Enjoy the read, stay healthy, and we’ll bring you a new issue in time for Christmas!