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Staycation

This morning BFF flew home to Bonny Scotland after staying here to take care of me for a smidge over two weeks. After the stress and worries this year has thrown at me, the postponement of our April pj-party due to CoVid19, it was so unbelievably uplifting to have BFF walk through my door.

Our time together has three main heading, films, food and yarning. Now that might be silly chatter yarning or the more creative productive yarning. This time as well as some cat protection blankets we also tackled some rather cute cat toy mice and fish.

Previous visits have been invaded by the black and white bundle of adorability, affectionately known as Mickey #NotMyCat, this time he brought his brother Ginger #NotMyCat2. He’s a lot more timid but did like to snooze comfortably and alone either on my bedroom windowsill or the woollen blanket on my bed, he’s also very vocal and announces his arrival. Both offered their approval of the crocheted toys, plus the rubs and snooze spots, and especially the edible treats.

My BFF is multi talented, not only did I get a much needed hair cut but a pedi soak too. Mickey gave the humming, vibrating bowl of water a glare, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d decided to dip a paw in but instead he gave it the usual cat statesmanship glare of indifference crossed with that ‘stupid humans’ expression they are so adept at.

After 187 consecutive days I escaped the confines of my dusty hovel and we ventured along the High Street, suitably covered in my new denim jacket (Christmas and birthday present from BFF) and wearing a natty face mask. A few errands were ticked off the list, social distancing guidelines and hand sanitising adhered to, the find trousers task one sadly was not successful.

This visits films included

  • Spitfire
  • The ugly dachshund
  • Armstrong
  • The absentminded professor
  • Kinky boots
  • Summer in February
  • Hidden Figures
  • Broken Flowers
  • The Great Gatsby
  • First Man
  • The Parent Trap
  • Flight
  • Born On The Fourth Of July
  • A summer place
  • A single man
  • First Wives Club
  • Calamity Jane
  • The Iron Maiden
  • A map of the world
  • Capote
  • Pollyanna
  • There’s No a Business Like Show business
  • American Pastoral
  • Walk The Line
  • The Crown Seasons 1 & 2

Back to our respective routines, counting down and conjuring up, until we can get together again.

Oh the tasty treat pictured, it’s enchilasagne …. enchiladas but layered in a lasagne fashion, it is so delicious and no layer out weighs another. BFF made a second batch so there are more for me to enjoy. Did I say my wonderful BFF was multi talented???

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2020 in Films, General, Life, people

 

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The Professor And The MadMan

The film is about the professor, James Murray played by Mel Gibson, who in 1879 began compiling the first comprehensive edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, (aiming to find the first usage of, continued usage of, correct spelling and correct pronunciation of every single word) a task led the overseeing committee, and Doctor William Minor played by Sean Penn, a doctor who submitted over 10,000 entries while he was undergoing treatment at Broadmoor Criminal a Lunatic Asylum, London.

There was something very gripping about this based on true events film. We see the hidden power of women behind these men, as well as the blind patronising manner of those in authority. Not only the Overseeing Committee and it’s inner politics but also the medical officer at Broadmoor.

The story behind the story that brings these people (and so many others) together is the true glue. The kindness of the guards when the Doc helps one of them who is injured, saving his life. The anguish of the wife of the man Dr Minor shot dead accidentally one fateful night. The family support and strength of the Professor. The Committee members supporting and dropping allegiances at the drop of a hat.

The one thing above anything that spoilt this film, was not Mel Gibson’s Scottish accent, but the diction and clarity of Sean Penn’s American one. There were numerous times where due to his gravely tone and quiet manner it was almost impossible to hear what he was saying and I nearly resorted to subtitles.

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2020 in Films, Review

 

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Review – Hunters

It’s been a while since I wrote a review, after binge watching this series I thought I’d put digits to keys.

WARNING. :: This series is not for the faint hearted, it is highly explicit in language, violence, sex, torture and gore, if you are alright with that sort of thing then it is a very watchable series.

PREMISE :: Shortly after WW2 there was another kind of battle, who could claim the highest intelligent scientific and medical minds for their country. Thousands of former card carrying or oppressed into Nazi-ism people were given opportunities to relocate around the globe, some to the U.K., a high number to Argentina and other South American countries but the biggest tussle was between the USSR and the USA.

This brought much conflict in the USA as the nation had also become a refuge for many thousands of Jews, who either fled Europe or survived the atrocities. Known as Operation Paperclip, many Germanic scientists were instrumental in the space program, as well as thousands living peaceful lives as doctors, teachers, business leaders, bankers, police officials, government agency personnel etc.

Across time these hiders would be discovered, or recognised and attempts would be made to bring them to war crime justice, but the politics often meant they were just spirited away to another part of America.

THE SERIES :: A very affluent Jew puts together a rag bag of people to hunt down these villains, the torturers of the Death Camps and administer a little retribution of their own. Centering around the young teen Jonah, whose Safta (Grandma) was shot by a Nazi when she threatened to uncovered his truth, he is taught the horror and truth by those connected to those haunting names of Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen and how it is right and relevant for his generation to keep up the fight. But it is not that straightforward, everyone has their secrets, their own reasons and motives for working together. The biggest being that potentially a fourth Reich could rise and take over the largest democratic country, from the inside, with help from those in South America (and an enigmatic leader with eyebrow raising connection).

THE DELIVERY :: I didn’t really ‘get’ into the style of delivery until the third episode. In general I found the whole thing frustrating and gripping, straightforward and complicated, over exaggerated and subtle, far fetched and plausible, thought provoking and fanciful, and list of contradictions. Other reviewers have labelled these contradictions as Tarantino-esque and that’s a deserved description.

The interspersed stories of Meyer (Jewish Nazi Hunter leader) and Ruth (Jonah’s Safta and Meyers true love) during their time in the death camp, and others cleverly connects the past with the present, which for this series is 1977 New York.

THE ENDING :: Hmm, without giving too much away, the ending was equally satisfying and not so. I don’t know if this was written as a one series drama or whether it was written with a potential second or spin off, let’s just say that door is slightly ajar.

There were some excellent plot twists, confessions and character actions. There were also some very annoying confusions, I’ve no idea why the Vietnam Vet was kidnapped and taken to the Argentinian hub of the uprising, other than to reveal a twist. I’ve no clue about the English catholic Jew nun (don’t ask, I’m not sure either) her story, motive, truth.

Over all it was worth the watch and I would watch a second series.

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2020 in Films, In The News, Review

 

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Read the Read.

After reading the tweet from the QI Elves, it again reminded me that learning a new language is fraught with oddities and difficulties. I’ve always been slightly envious of those who are multi lingual, I’d have loved to been competent in Spanish, but having to try and wrangle with French and German at school, scarred by enthusiasm or persistence to try.

I have a vague recollection of an old black and white movie, possible with Stanley Baxter where he was trying to teach potential German spies during World War Two how to speak English clearly, I remember them tripping up over how to pronounce Slough but getting confused that rough isn’t pronounced ‘rouw’.

Another tweeter added a link to a poem called “The Chaos” by Gerard Nolst Trenité written in 1922. Quite the read.

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2020 in Films, Uncategorized

 

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Fun No More (until April)

I’ve been wonderfully distracted for the past two glorious weeks, BFF has been to play, stay, I meant stay. … and this time it was greatly needed by us both. Finally after all the stress, anxiety and sorrow attached to so many happenings I could cry my heart out and get physical console. But all too soon, the suitcase is being zipped up and it’s that dreadful time to try and hold the stiff upper lip and say ttfn.

Pre arrival plans had been put in place, a few DVD’s were ordered, two mahoosive boxes had arrived with the neatest of handwriting upon them (more wool to add to the packed suitcase stash) and the dozen bottles of cherry cola added to the grocery order.

We may both be in our golden years, but you’re never too old for a PJ party, and that’s what we do. It’s not all indulgent fun, there were chores and errands done too, the dentist visit with deep deeeep clean and the annual hospital appointment with my neurologist (test results, blood pressure, heart rate all ‘normal’, never thought that word would be attached to me). I supervised while BFF cleared out, sorted, organised my kitchen cupboards (nothing last century lurking in the dark corners), general tidy up of the bathroom and lounge, the resort and reorganising my bedroom draws and I feel sorted, organised, prepared for carers and helpers, etc.

We’ve mooched up and down my High Street, been back and forth to Morrison’s for eats and treats, sat outside enjoying the sun and breeze, took an afternoon stroll along the esplanade and I, yes me, suggested a ice-cream (it was lush), we even went to the cinema to see Downton Abbey (rather good).

Mostly we snoozed, nattered, laughed, chatted, rested, and watched stuff

  • Last Viceroy House
  • Mad Men Season 6 and 7
  • The Green Book
  • Trumbo
  • Edie
  • A Cat Named Leonard
  • Norma Rae
  • Pursuit Of Happyness
  • My Old Lady
  • The Favourite
  • Colette
  • Don’t Eat The Daisies
  • The Right Stuff
  • Spotlight
  • The Girl On The Train
  • Billy Rose’s Jumbo
  • Glass Bottom Boat
  • Man With A Horn
  • To Kill A Mockingbird

Of course the REAL prime reason for being together is a certain four legged furred charmer, known as Mickey, aka #NotMyCat, wandering in when he pleases, playing with his new toys, choosing one of the many seats to snooze upon, getting head rubs and chin scritches galore.

Three quarters of an hour ago we hugged, smiled, said “call you tomorrow”, and off she goes ……… just 199 days to go until we’re back together *fingers-crossed*

Thank you BFF for being everything I need and a heck of a lot more, words are not enough to convey all you do for me, help me, cajole me, entertain and help me.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on September 15, 2019 in Films, General, Life, people, Pets

 

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The Holibobs Blues


Like the weather, my mood has dipped to decidedly chilly since my BFF fly off back home just over a week ago.  I’m sure the seventeen days she was here are the absolutely fastest of the year.  It’s amazing how a few days of simple changes can make such a difference.  Okay, so we are not the most adventurous vacationers, infact our greatest outing was to the cinema.  Spending our days chatting, reminiscing, stitching, playing with ‘Not My Cat’ (didn’t take him long to catch on treat giver was back, lol).  

So viewing pleasures ….. I’ve forgotten a few.

  • Funny Girl
  • Funny Lady
  • Churchill
  • Another Mother’s Son
  • Christine
  • Hitchcocks Lifeboat
  • The Girl
  • Breath
  • Shepherd & Butchers
  • Eight Days A Week
  • Love & Mercy
  • Eat Pray Love
  • Before You Go To Sleep
  • Deniel
  • Sully
  • Doc Martin
  • The Marvellous Mrs Maisel

Good food, treat food, tasty food, thoroughly enjoyed and relished.

It’s horrid to say good bye when we know it will be a few months before we are together again. 

To add salt to my blue mood, you remember that list, just a few things, that I set to do before BFF arrive Do? Yeah, well, erm, that didn’t go so good either, but that’s for another post.

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2018 in Films, General, Life, people

 

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Jane Eyre Tour


It is a reasonably well known tale, orphaned child reluctantly brought up in disdain by Aunt, sent off to an ‘educational institution’ at the age on ten. Many years later the child as an adult is a teacher in the same institution, working for bed and board, wishing for something better. She secures a post of Governess at an isolated mansion for a child, where Jane for the first time has freedom, warmth from friendship, and a sense of inner contentment. When the master returns from his travels, his aggressive demeanour, their differing stations in life, her straightforwardness, fuel a tender passion. But there is a heavy secret, locked in the attic is his mad first wife. When Jane discovers the truth she runs away from the lies and the liars as well as trying to distance herself from the distress and disappointment, however something draws her back, and when she returns she finds the mansion in ruins and Mr Rochester blinded from injuries. 

Both my sister and I had seen several adaptations of this classic Charlotte Brontë story.  As this was a National Theatre production we knew it was not going to be the traditional theatrical setting, however as we took our seats the stage was set with what looked like a grown-up sized childs playground climbing frame. Slowly the auditorium began to fill but with just five minutes before curtain up, there were still more than half the seats vacant. The complete cast of 12 took up their starting positions.  Whilst the dialogue, accents and costume stayed close to the original story, the staging was contemporary and sometimes difficult to properly grasp its concept and symbolism. The introjection of music and singing sometimes felt disconnected. By the third act seeing the quiet cast move and climb up and down the various ladders and stairs without seemingly purpose, became rather annoying and children climbing in the playground.

This in no way means the performance was bad. The actors did a brilliant job of portraying the various characters, and by far the most enjoyable was a bearded gentleman who played the part of Pilot the dog, who often raised a mild laughter from the audience with his instantly recognisable dog like antics. The actor portraying the arrogant Mr Rochester brought with it a sense of distraction, of brooding resentment of how his life had been mapped out for him by his father without making him evil or wicked.

For us the thing missing from the production was the sense of a sinister secret. In everything we have seen or read there was always a sense of foreboding, of Jane being told not to go into the attic, of sounds and happenings that indicate all is not right. There was absolutely none of this at all throughout the whole performance, only twice was manic laughter heard. For us it was a significant element that was missing.

With a mixture of live music and recorded sound effects these had a tendency to drown out the dialogue of the actors, and on occasion I felt I had missed a vital piece of information that carried an element of the story. This is not unique to this production but something I have experienced at other performances at this Theatre.

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2017 in Books, Films, Review

 

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Amazing Grace

Amazing-Grace
I re-watched this moving film last night.  I knew very little of this period in history, other than a couple of names and recall watching the first time because it is historical, it had Ioan and Benedict in it.

It covers the period in William Wilberforce’s life where he tries to bring through parliament the Abolition of Slavery Act, during a time when many direct and indirect industries were reaping greedy amounts of riches from the backs of Africans, shipping and sugar plantations.  As humans we rarely want to think about the full consequences that bring us what we want [how many of us could really visit a slaughter house but would clamour for a good steak or sizzling bacon, how many of us think of sweat shop working conditions but begrudge paying extra for ethically traded clothing, I am as big a hypocrite on this score as anyone].

Politics and its ugliness, it most devious and scheming thwarts attempts time after time.  We meet John Newton [excellently portrayed by Albert Finney] in his monastic years, his spirit and dreams haunted by the thousand of slaves he had on his ships, and the bodies he threw overboard.  Known to the educated as the author of the hymn, he implores and encourages Wilberforce to struggle on.

Eventually he succeeded, but only be a lighty devious means.  Often when his motion was put to the house the opposition would ensure they had all their people there ready to vote.  So, a bill was introduced by another with regard the use of ‘neutral flags’, where ships often flew them to avoid being attacked and boarded by privateers.  A boring bill, a piece of nothing, but all too late did Lord Tarleton realise that by banning the use of ‘neutral flags’ the slave ships and sugar ships could not carry their cargo safely and thus a resounding victory saw the start of this country’s abolition of slave labour.

The portrayal of these men is colourful and impressive and gives insight to the period excellently, but it is the very end as the credit begin to roll that so do my tears.  It starts with a lone piper, in full dress uniform slowly marching through the amassed company playing the haunting strains of Amazing Grace, shortly the remainder of the pipers join in, as the lone piper continues his slow march.  As the piper progresses and the camera pans back you see the drummers as the begin.  Until finally the whole band is together in harmony.  The building up on the layers is goose-bumping and to my ears no piece of music is ever as ‘right’ as bagpipes and Amazing Grace.

A blight on our countries history, one of quite a few really, but we do find enlightenment eventually.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2014 in Films, Review

 

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All In A Week

BusyHead

I have often remarked that if I could just link my head to the computer via a handy usb port I would get so much more done!

The week has been all kinds of topsy-turvy.  Sunday last was a car boot day, I was up at 5am, bundled into the car by 5.40, arrived on site and made our first sale by 6.15.  You have to be that early, if you join the que of cars waiting to get in after 6, you’re likely in the hedges or turned away.  It was a gorgeously sunny day and along with my Big Sis and her bestie we people watched, mused, laughed and amused ourselves through the next six hours.  We didn’t make our fortune, the estate car was packed to the roof and what we took home went into one box.  As we sat there munching a ham roll we listed the stuff we had not brought and it was sort of collectively tentatively thought we do it all again next Sunday [15th].  I don’t mind doing them but I always get this fear I will need a wee … there are some loos there [think muddy field festival type style] but they are raised and not disabled friendly [probably not human friendly at all, likely to be bitten on the bum by a spider].

Monday got thrown out of kilter as Sister was going to be here all day. Husband was going out in his kit car, taking son as well for a boys night, so they’d be gone from 4 til 9 so instead of going home to sit in an empty house she stayed with me.  We had a pizza treat and watched Pompeii.  wow what a film! It was exhausting, you were so taken in by the characters and knowing the impending doom and wanting the good to win and the bad to get their just deserts.  Highly recommend it.

Tuesday did its best to behave as normal but I still had not recovered from the exhaustion of Sunday and no matter what I tried, I could not get proper resting sleep.

Wednesday was all over the place, Big Sis was on-call to watch over the not-so-tiny terrorist, everything was waiting on phone calls.  So we couldn’t really settle to do stuff as we knew the phone would ring, as it did.  Although I do believe Wednesday night I did actually sleep, phew!

Thursday was Big Sisters birthday, and we went out for a carvery together.  Lovely meal, I don’t often have a gravy dinner, no point doing all the faffings for one, it was a nice treat to feast on roast pork and turkey, roast potatoes, peas, beans, carrots, stuffing, sausage, proper meat gravy and a big old Yorkshire pudding.  

Friday behaved, but I am so behind on all the stuff that should have been done, the whole house needs a proper going through and I just do not have the time or the inclination, as for the energy, forgetinalready!

Yesterday I was proofing my web work of Friday before publishing the new review page.  There maybe some other additions to make [when people get back to me] but for now I am pleased with it.  Just the new photo album to work on, this means selecting the photo, correcting any faults and sharpening, resizing, adding site logo, adding © info, saving it to the folder and then making sure you have the note of who, what and where it was taken.  There have been six shows in all, I have done about 6 from the first two shows so far.  It can be arduous working a web site, getting the permissions and the paragraphs of remarks and reviews etc, but the finished article can look quite pukka.

aaaand we’re back to another Sunday, trying to catch up on the catching ups.  Need to empty the washer if I want clean nickers tomorrow and need to get washing done if I want a clean top!  Sink is full of dishes, freezer needs organising, trash needs stuffing in the bin, counters need wiping. I’ve got a pile of papers that need filing and a DVD that needs packaging up for mailing out.

Where are the team of helpful elves when they’re needed!!

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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12 Angry Men

12angrymen

On Tuesday night my Sister and I went to see this play.  It has been decades since we saw the Henry Fonda film but were intrigued.

The cast were excellent, Martin Shaw [juror 8], Jeff Fahey [juror 3], Nick Moran [juror 7], Robert Vaughn [juror 9].  Some may remember Shaw from tv programmes like The Professionals, The Chief, Judge John Deed etc, Fahey was in Lock Stock and a few other blockbuster films, I am sure many of you know Robert Vaughn as Napoleon Solo in the Men From U.N.C.L.E. [no brownie points for knowing that acronym]. The rest of the cast were Paul Anthony-Barber [juror 4], Robert Blythe [juror 6], David Calvitto [juror 2], Edward Franklin [juror 5], Owen O’Neill [juror 12], Miles Richardson [juror 10], Luke Shaw [juror 1], Martin Turner [juror 11] and Jason Riddington as the Guard.  Hmm, always thought thesps were the superstitious types, 13 in the cast, 13 on stage .. but thankfully the fates left well alone.

The plot surrounds 12 men good and true in 1950’s America, serving as jury on a murder trial where a boy of 16 is accused of murdering his father – a crime for which the death penalty lies.  It was interesting to see the complexities of a group of people all seeing and hearing the same thing [the trial] yet entering a room full of opinions and prejudices and closed minds.  It illustrated all that is bad and all that is good about the jury system.  Essentially the slum-living forgotten child is let down by his court appointed Lawyer, all believing that the evidence is too too tight to be dispute or questioned.  But one man, juror number 8, thinks and questions and slowly pulls apart the prosecutions case and the witness statements, as one by one the fellow jurors change their determined “Guilty” vote to “Not Guilty”.

Watching the film you forget the off hand comment and the humourous twists, where a large audience do and yes you laugh out loud.  The knife used is thought to be unique but the night previous [it was a three day trial, be three months in this day and age] juror 8 had taken a wander around the neighbourhood and purchased an identical knife, both were stuck in the jury room table; during a discussion a protagonist grab the knife to show its use and a small voice says “That’s the wrong knife’, the protagonists point rendered mute.

It was not until the end of the first half that my Sister asked me about the table, I had not noticed it had slowly revolved around, it started at curtain up in the | position, small end to the audience, by the end of the first half it was much more of a , having travelled almost 180º.  I never noticed it move, it was so subtle.  We also noticed that with this play there were no use of microphones [as has been the case with others].

It was skilful, artful, poignant, and entertaining.  I wish it well for it’s up-coming West End debut.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2013 in Review

 

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