Judi Dench wasn't kidding when she told me recently that she thought retirement was a rude word.
The 80-year-old Dame is more active than ever, working on three films and a TV series since returning from India for the Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
Although macular degeneration is destroying her sight and she finds it impossible to read scripts any more---someone reads them to her--- she keeps her brain sharp by making it a point to learn at least one new thing every day.
What had she learned today I asked her when we talked in London "Do you know what a man who makes arrows is called?" she asked me. "No? Well, he's called a fletcher. I learned that today. And yesterday I learned about Shakespeare's mother whose name was Mary and who had two daughters who died. I didn't know that."
With the aid of a magnifying lamp she has recently taken up embroidery and, she says: "I've just done a very rude cushion for a friend."
She is currently working on two movies at the same time---Peregrine's House of Peculiars and chadenfreude, has finished Tulip Fever for Harvey Weinstein and is portraying Cecily, Duchess of York in The Hollow Crown TV mini-series.
Quite a woman!