Sunday, 11 December 2016

Film Reviews



 
Last month I was fortunate enough to see some good films rather than having to cherry pick from the usual blockbusters.  Next year I shall definitely clear my diary for local film festivals.  I give brief descriptions of each below but, as I don’t like to know much about a film before I see it, I have kept story and plot to a minimum.
I, Daniel Blake (2016)
Directed and written by Ken Loach, starring Dave Johns and Hayley Squires
This modern day drama set in Newcastle shows how people can fall on hard times, through no fault of their own, being let down by the bureaucracy of the benefit system.
Trying to maintain their dignity, forced to tick boxes which don’t always apply and a sense of frustration, it made me realise than anyone could find themselves in a similar situation.  This film is the Cathy Come Home of today.
Keep Quiet (2016)
Directed by Sam Blair and Joseph Martin
This film tells the story of Hungarian politician Csanád Szegedi, who became vice-President of Jobbik, Hungary’s far-right party and an MEP.   Played by himself, this vocal antisemite and Holocaust denier then discovers that he is in fact Jewish and his grandmother survived Auschwitz.   We follow him as embarks on his search for self-discovery. 
Interestingly, there was a young Hungarian, Jewish student in the audience.  She was able to answer our questions and told us that this story was not unique and that a good proportion of the relatively few Jews who survived the camps returned to Hungary and preferred to “Keep Quiet
Here is Harold (2014)
Directed by Gunnar Vikene
This Norwegian tragic-comedy follows the decline of Harold, the furniture shop owner, as an IKEA store opens opposite his and his journey to Sweden to kidnap the IKEA founder.  The plot contains plenty of twists and turns.  
Paterson
Directed by: Jim Jarmusch, tarring: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani
This gentle and almost hypnotic story, without an ending as such, revolves around the man Paterson who lives in Paterson, New Jersey.  His humdrum life as a bus driver is only enlivened by his poetry writing, whereas his eccentric wife is forever dreaming of what might be.
The first two films were thought provoking, whereas the second two just took me along for the ride.  What I liked in all of them was the lack of pretension of the appearance of both the actors and the sets that are evident in most of the films from UK and US.  We can watch Disney for perfection and happy endings, if that’s our thing. 
I would just like to mention a wonderfully acted series on TV called Moving On.  Easy to miss as they are shown in the afternoon (I record them), there have been at least three series and each episode presents a different dilemma, leaving you wondering how you would have reacted in such a situation. 
If I have read a book which is then made into a film, I have no desire to see it.  If it is on the TV, I might dip in out of curiosity to see how the lead parts have been cast.  This reminds me of the time when I was in a shop and, on spotting the book Pride and Prejudice, a customer turned to her friend and said “Look, they’ve brought out the book”!
What films have made an impression on you?

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Autumn at Temple Newsam

Although the nights are drawing in earlier and we know Winter is on its way, I do love the Autumn displays of colour.
A visit to Temple Newsam showed that the grounds still have plenty of interest.

In the walled garden:






 The trees are showing off their colours before they shut down for the Winter season:

Well worth a visit ...... and all for free!
 

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Annual Autumn Visit to Northumberland 2016

Northumberland never disappoints and we even had good weather for our annual trip. 

We like to find something new to see and, although we have been visiting the area for decades now, there is always a corner we haven't covered.

The picturesque, former fishing village of Low Newton is a familiar haunt.  In fact, the first time we came across it, terraced cottages in the square were for sale for £2,500.  With a mortgage on our home, there was no way we could access that amount.  You guessed it, these cottages are now impossible to get hold of and a week's rental in May is over £500!

We hadn't known about the bird hide behind the village, which  is part of a pleasant circular walk which takes you to the beautiful beach with its rock pools.
 






Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Procrastination is the thief of time







How true!  I recently decided to upgrade my phone and this meant purchasing a new cover for it.  I have spent ages online, checking the specifications and customer reviews.  Finally, I thought I had found the one but after seeing a woman at an adjacent table using her phone sporting this cover, it looked grubby and cheap, so back to the drawing board.
The decision on the new phone, which is a bigger commitment, took me very little time but selecting the cover is taking ages and will hardly break the bank if it proves to be a bad choice.  I say this in the present tense as the order has not yet been placed!
Does anyone else have this problem or is it just me?  

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Visit to Bolton Percy; a small village with much to see



I have had this village on my “to visit” list for a long time after reading about the All Saints churchyard in Roger Brook’s blog http://www.nodiggardener.co.uk/2012/08/bolton-percy-churchyard.html




The 15th C church itself was impressive with its Lychgate built by Robert Thompson, the Mouseman of Kilburn.  What I wasn’t expecting was a fully restored Grade ll* listed timber framed gatehouse which was built about 1474 at the entrance to the rectory.  Until recently, it had been used as a holiday let, but the owners have put it on the market, if anyone is interested. 





We took a picnic with us so even I was too full to take advantage, of the services of Doyly’s Tearooms.  This will have to wait until next visit, along with the wildlife area at the former station which is the habitat for many moths and butterflies.
 Our picnic spot

As you would expect from a Yorkshire village, Bolton Percy also has a cricket club, a pinfold and a pub,
the Crown, which sells Sam Smith's ales. The pub’s garden has a wooden bridge which spans the
beck and notices apologised for the state of them due to this winter’s floods.




My short story in SevenDays magazine

  I’m delighted to report that my short story  “Coasting Along ” has been published in Issue 4 of  SevenDays  magazine.   This will be my fi...