Sunday, 22 July 2012

Angharad Rees and the subject of Love

I was very sad to hear of the death yesterday of Angharad Rees. She died from pancreatic cancer at the age of only 63. In fact it was only five days after her birthday. A little research suggests that this cancer - marked by weight loss, jaundice and abdominal pain - must have been with her for years, gradually growing worse, and it's tempting to link the start of it with the shattering death of her 25 year old elder son in a car accident in 1999. There is apparently a strong tendency for pancreatic cancer to run in families, but it can be induced with a poor diet, such as one might lapse into following a terrible personal loss.

Be that as it may, I suppose most people will remember her as a warm, vital, and very pretty actress - the girl who stole the show in the 1975 TV series Poldark, playing Demelza, the young wife of romantic and tempestuous Cornish mine-owner and former army captain Ross Poldark. That's how I best remember her.

My goodness, she was a lovely little thing. 'Angharad' means 'well beloved' in Welsh, and she must have inspired all kinds of love-orientated thoughts in mens' hearts, some lusty, some tender, quite apart from being an obvious role-model for women. She played the well-meaning-doxy-aspiring-to-be-a-proper-lady to perfection. What she was like as a real person I do not know. I hope that I would not have been disappointed if I could have found out. People generally have incredibly complex inner lives, and she would be no exception.

Before Poldark, I noticed her in earlier TV productions, although I kept mixing her up with Jenny Agutter! After Poldark, there was never any possible confusion.

Hmmm. It's about time that I watched Poldark through again. It's a jolly good eighteenth-century costume drama, highly enjoyable, with a satisfying end to the first series, which is all I want to see. I must get the DVD set, although a quick look on Amazon suggests that it would cost nearly £40. Too much for a casual knee-jerk purchase. In adherence to my new financial regime, I'll wait until I really have the money saved up for it. Just now I'm busy putting my pennies away for another five days in Lyme Regis in early August.

Meanwhile, I can always begin reading my entire collection of Poldark novels by Winston Graham. I bought these a long time ago, and I've got them all.

Or I could tackle Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca yet again, another quite different Cornish tale of youth and love and murder, set in the 1930s. Actually, I've got quite a nice little collection of books about love and its trials. Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse; Life at the Top by John Brain; A Severed Head by Iris Murdoch; The Secret Lemonade Drinker by Guy Bellamy; Randall and the River of Time by C S Forester; The Scapegoat, another of Daphne du Maurier's. In the past they were a good read, but confused my thinking about what Love was. I wonder if I would now understand the subject better, or stay puzzled?

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