Sunday, August 2, 2009

Daniel Craig and lavender: an opinion

I have officially hauled recycling to a whole new level.

Both my composters are full, so when I finished gardening on Thursday I took the weeds to the one at the municipal yard. As I heaved basketsful of dead grass and dandelions onto the room-size heap of greenery, I noticed a smell. No, a fragrance. I sniffed again. I looked down.

I was standing in front of hip-high piles of lavender.

I have always fondly imagined that when our town gardeners deadhead the lavender shrubs in our boulevards and parks, they take the clippings home and dry them, filling bowls with soothing potpourri and closets with bags of fragrant dried blossoms.

I was wrong.

It was all here on the communal compost pile, so freshly cut it hadn’t even begun to wilt.

The lavender was the third thing. You know how something piques your attention and then there are two more examples of it? Well, the chain began last weekend when I saw an article about books by Emily Cotler in the Huffington Post in which she said, “…I am not saying that popularity equates to good, quality reading. Sometimes the books that do well are not all that worthwhile.…” and I wondered what exactly did make a book – or anything else – worthwhile. I ran with the idea for a while but, just like when I jog at the gym, got exactly nowhere.

Then I had lunch with a bunch of writers.

“I loved the old Bond movies,” said one woman when we reached the cake-and-Nanaimo bar stage.

“I prefer the new ones,” I said, sipping my coffee.

“Waste of time.” She waved her fork dismissively. “None of those fabulous gadgets like the old ones had.”

“That’s what makes them better!” I cried, setting down my cup. “There’s an actual story.”  

“And that chase scene near the beginning of Casino Royale?” said someone else.

“Yes!” I jumped in, ready to extol its virtues: fast, twisty, breathtaking and a perfect illustration of the new Bond’s bulldozer personality. “Wasn’t it wonderful?”

She looked at me like I was speaking in tongues. “It was pointless,” she explained.

Others around the table agreed. They prefer the earlier 007 movies, complete with outrageous escapades, over-the-top spy tools and Bonds as slick as condoms.

Casino Royale, on the other hand, has a story arc. Bond is affected by events and every scene in the movie drives the change in him. To half a dozen of my friends, it isn’t worth watching again. To me, it is.

So on Friday evening I hit the video store, and my husband and I settled in the living room. As the rented DVD spun the fabulous red and black graphics and then the noir opening onto the screen, I happily slouched further into my favourite chair. When Daniel Craig’s gimlet gaze skewered the bad guy, I gasped and got a full-body hit of…lavender.

I have basketsful of the stuff drying in the next room.


  1. Oh, I like this. I'll be back when I have more time to read.
    Well done.

  2. Loved your post Rachel. The dialogue was very smooth - and lavender! wow! smooth as well. There's something very, very special about masses of lavender.
    An excellent example of 'gifting yourself'.

    Jodie Esch

  3. My son celebrated his 10th birthday in 1989. That was the year the new Batman film, the one with Michael Keaton, was released. By the time my son’s birthday rolled around, he and his friends had all seen it but as luck would have it, a neighbourhood theatre was showing the original 1966 version of Batman, starring Adam West and Burt Ward.

    Admission to the Saturday matinee was $1, so I took my son and his friends as part of the birthday celebration.

    Care to guess which they liked best?

    That’s right, the original.

    The kids LOVED the bat mobile, the bat boat, the bat copter, etc., as well as the cartoonish slogans that periodically flashed across the screen.

    Holy heartbreak, Batman.

    What's not to love?

    There are times when the story (plot) isn’t as important as the entertainment value. As writers, I think we need to remember that, and strive for a balance.


  4. Casino Royal, in French no less, transported me and my friend Marie-Claude back in time when we watched it together two weeks ago. We knew the story; all the twists and turns, and it made not a bit of difference. We loved every minute of it.