Sunday, 9 February 2014

Only two weeks

It is hard to believe it is only two weeks or so since I posted here as so much seems to have happened. It is just me morphing again like some creature from the beyond, or something in a boggy mire. Nothing specific as yet, just punching boundaries from within. Pushing outwards and shaking foundations. Positive vibrations though all a little unclear. A little fragile desperately hoping that none of this comes to nought combined with an inner strength that knows all is going to be good.

Monday, 20 January 2014

New day, new week

x                  x
New  day,     new  week.
Every moment is a chance to start afresh.

Every moment is a chance to discover something new.

Every moment is a chance to count one's blessings.

Every moment is a chance to smile and love. 

That moment is here and now.


Sunday, 19 January 2014

Off days

We all have off days. Some to more of an extent than others. I have had the jolly fun of being off from the eve of my birthday then ok again then off again during my birthday and so forth for the days since. My shoulder is causing me pain on and off which I know is bound to be demoralising. I just feel crud and miserable but I am good at putting on a happy face when I have to. Reminds me of the small box of photos that happened to be to hand and came out on my birthday and was examined by young family members. I am pleased they were interested enough in some of these old pictures, and laughed loudly at some of the pictures of themselves when they were much younger, or at younger parents with big fluffy hair. My niece noted some pictures of me as a very young child, "you always look happy Auntie". And so I did. I've always known to put on a happy face. And sometimes I am happy. I gotta finish on an upbeat thought!

Friday, 10 January 2014

The Railway Man

What a way to kick off my commitment to visit the cinema once a month this year with my delightful Mr Doris by going to an afternoon showing of a film on the very day of its release in the UK! I am not sure I have ever seen a film on its first day and am doubly delighted to find that by going to the afternoon showing it cost £6 per person rather than the £9 price tag of a cinema seat.

We have never been to this particular cinema which is an independent not too far away, with a very pleasant cafe although the coffee was a bit acrid. I had a bit of a sniffly nose that needed relieving (this is going to be relevant) and my darling went over to the stand and fetched me more than a few soft black napkins. I only needed one, then I used two more to dry my hands in the bathroom leaving me one that became very vital.

The screen size was more than decent as some cinemas have screens that feel like a slightly larger TV screen! We had a great view with no heads in front to interrupt our viewing pleasure.

The word "pleasure" is not one to associate with The Railway Man inasmuch as the storyline is based on a true story and deals with the really difficult subject of war and torture; its aftermath and latterly revenge, apologies and conciliation. I find gratuitous violence appalling and have walked away from a movie in the past rather than watch it but in this case the violence was relevant. It was brutal and I cried a lot during this movie. Interestingly I felt it was OK and not in the least bit sissy to be affected because this was about real events and viewers are meant to be affected.

In watching the film the only thing that really bugged me was how the central characters Eric Lomax played by Colin Firth, and the torturer Takashi Nagase looked only in their forties in the early 1980s when in my mind they would have been about 20 in 1942 and therefore should be at least in their 60s. Apart from that I wondered, like any film based on a real life story, how it was romanticised and in watching it I wondered what was true and what wasn't. Afterwards a bit of a read online reveals that Eric himself left his first wife and family out of his own autobiography! There is a very interesting article in the Guardian "The Railway Man's forgotten family: 'We were victims of torture too'" which brings me to the subject of the after effects of war not just directly on those involved but on descendants long after the event. This is not to compare or negate those war time experiences but equally the effects on descendants should not be dismissed either. I wrote a little on Remembrance which then links to another item I also wrote.

Our family lived in Singapore in 1966 which was just 24 years after the Japanese took over. I had never realised that nor the significance of Changi. I have just looked up our address and it was less than 25 minutes drive from Changi prison, but then again Singapore is a small island and everywhere is only a short distance. The war events in the film mainly take place in Thailand. Which leads me to another point in the film - the locations. The film starts off in the North West of England on trains of the early 1980s. I remember those old slam door carriages which all looked about right but I am not sure that they actually used Crewe Station as I have known that station for at least 20 years. As the train travelled along I am also not sure I felt that was actually England being shown or at least it was a not very good painting of a backdrop. There were scenes in Thailand with the mountains in the background and they too did not look real. I hate to be nit picky but some things are simple to get right.

Coming back to the film there is a point near the end when there is an apology. My tears flowed for the storyline and also for myself. For those events in my life where I have had an apology and been able to move on and those events where an apology never happened and can now never be. It just goes to show how far acknowledgement and apology can go in this world. A lesson we should all hold close.

Thank goodness for the extra long and sedate credits which enabled more than a few of us to compose ourselves and look a little less distressed. I am not sure what the next lot of cinema goers thought of us filing out all sombre.

I am glad I saw this film although it was incredibly upsetting.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Gift of breadmaking

She could have done as I have and watched TV programmes and then youtubes and then found a recipe and had a go. Instead I was asked to give her a lesson in making bread which is what I did.

I brought my bowl and and yeast and scrapers and baking tin and liner. She bought a bag of white bread flour. I also brought a little bread making booklet free out of a newspaper and given to me by one of my helpful clients. I purposefully suggested a basic white cob as that was the first loaf I made and was hugely successful and launched me on my bread making career less than a year ago.

A cob is baked on a tray or stone and is free form but a tin was the desired utensil so we adapted and popped the dough in a tin. Her first loaf was well risen and if anything over risen due to an extremely efficient airing cupboard. Nevertheless, it did not suffer too much and the baking aroma infused the house and drew down her teenaged children from their bedrooms.

There were smiles all round and excitement. Though a little teasing as her son noted we were sat in front of the oven for half an hour watching bread cook. Watching my protege excited with glee with her very first loaf, proudly showing it off, was a really amazing feeling for me. Like I said, anyone can learn by themselves but I was honoured to be asked and to be there at this very first loaf. We all stood around tasting little squares of warm buttered bread. Deliciously biting through the crusty crust into the soft bread it was most satisfying. I am waiting to hear when the next loaf has been baked.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Do birds understand traffic?

Driving my daughter to work takes me along a busy narrow winding country road. This morning there was a crow and a sparrow-like bird pecking at the carcass of a perhaps a rabbit or some small animal in the middle of my side of the road. Being early all the cars had their head lights on though it was not dark. As I rounded the bend and saw the birds ahead of me I slowed slightly but also hoped they would fly off in time and they did.

On the return journey I saw the crow ahead of me on the other side of the road where there was a brief respite in traffic. My headlights were on but the crow did not flicker. It was busy picking and pulling at the flesh and interestingly kept turning its head as if looking for any oncoming traffic. It did not turn towards my direction on the opposite side of the road and that is my point. Do the birds understand traffic flow and that vehicles on that side of the road would be coming from that direction only?

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Incognito blogging

Thank goodness for the unused Chrome browser on my computer when it came to showing my 16 year old niece how to set up a blog. When I tried to show her on my regular Firefox and then tried the IE I hope her eyesight did not catch the name of my blog url as it flashed up on the suggested list as I tried to enter the blogger url.

Then there is the whole way that Google has inveigled itself across our lives so that it is impossible to show anyone anything on one's own computer without revealing the pseudonyms I may chose to use. One can't do anything without first having a google email account. It is my computer and on the on the whole no-one uses it but at times like this I wish I kept things more discreet. Or at least, thank goodness for that Chrome browser.

As I started showing my young relative how to do things she soon asked me if I had a blog. A small white lie may have passed my lips as I'd rather keep the blog incognito and therefore open and honest which seems a contradiction.

Following on from the monthly outings I did last year with a friend and will continue this year, and from having a quick read of Boomtown Rap's Movie Reviews of 2013 and realising how little I go to the cinema, my dearest Mr Doris and I have resolved to go to the cinema once a month this year. At least once a month will be a huge increase for me as I have probably seen two "cinema" movies in the past two years and both of those will have been at our new pop-up community cinema and therefore late releases. Mr Doris has been out to see more but then his choices of films are not the same as mine and I'd hate to waste the ticket price so do not go. Knowing how much he would come with me to see a film I wanted to see then I have said I would do the same with some exceptions. There is no point me going to something with a lot of violence or horror or too much suspense as it would upset me too much. I know that films are generally a work of fiction but I am there, in the film, and am far too sensitive for anyone's good.

There have been other years where I have wanted us to go out somewhere every month, just the two of us, but it did not happen despite the best intentions. This does not mean we do not go out, just that we do not go out enough I feel. And as expensive as a cinema ticket is, it is still cheaper than going out for a meal. As long as I carry any drinks or snacks in my pockets. Unlike the gorgeous independent cinema near where we used to live that had comfy sofas and one could have a very reasonable coffee or tea in a china mug with a slice of homemade cake. I'm hoping we might find such a cinema near us once we put our mind to the whole cinema going malarkey.