These are two of the cutouts created by Alice O’Neill, my sister, out of one single piece of paper. The first is a shepherd’s hut that we saw in the mountains of the Ariege and the second is the pog of Montsegur, seen through a medieval window. It’s such a clever concept and incredibly skillful in execution since she can’t use scissors or glue, but must cut the paper in one go. She’s going to do some more, which I shall post, or you can look at her website www.aliceoneillpapercuts.co.uk, where you can see just what a novel and intriguing art papercutting is. It’s also a fantastic way to make a record of your house: so much more interesting than a photograph and so much less expensive than a painting. And they are so individual – no two are the same.
I’m now onto Paradise Red, the third book of the Perfect Fire Trilogy, and my life is uncomfortably full of small panic attacks. The thing is, the Cathar heretics have taken a popular, almost heroic, hold of people’s imaginations: the small Perfecti versus the big bully Catholic church is how they are usually seen. But I’ve taken rather a different approach, unsparing of the Catholic church of the time but also giving the Cathar heresy a darker hue. Is this more ‘truthful’? I’ve no idea, except when you read the accounts of heretics willingly giving themselves up to be burned, the line between bonkers fanatic and heroic martyr can often become blurred. Still, I hope I’m not going to draw down the fury of those for whom the Cathars have achieved some kind of saintly status! Remember, these are novels …
I must also post some more pictures of Miss Blackberry. She’s one year old now, and naughty naughty naughty. Also, quelle horreur! Her ears have pricked up instead of being floppy. How has this happened! Is there a cure?
Finally, an admission. I’m completely hooked on the Sopranos (boxed set for Christmas). It’s full of appalling violence. Nobody wears nice clothes. They’re always eating, or swearing or garotting or somesuch. I definitely do not want to be them. And yet I just keep watching. Should I be worried?