Thursday, 21 April 2016

Palmyra's Triumphal Arch

After being destroyed by terrorists this 2,000 year old monument rises again.

Trafalgar Square is playing host to the 15ft high replica. The arch has been carved, using 3D technology, from Carrara marble using photographs of the original arch.

The arch is a two thirds scale replica and will be Trafalgar Square until 21st Aprill - moving on to New York and Dubai.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

What we've been watching (March)

We watch quite a lot of movies; at the moment LOVEFiLM send us two discs every week... although I'm always considering the best way to get our movies.

So this is what we watched in March - come back to see what April has brought us.

The Lobster
In a dystopian society, single people must find mates within 45 days or risk being transformed into animals.

Quirky would definitely be the first word I use to describe this film. All the cast give solid acting performances, the film is well written and well realised. These are not the problems. The almost painful self-awareness in crafting the universe and dialogue are quite distracting from the movie... and as for the string quartet that provide a lot of the score - I was rather hoping that the twist in the tale might be someone going to the woods to shoot them.

Agent 47 Hitman
No comment as the movie was switched off after about five minutes. The plot didn't grab me, neither did the staging or anything else about it.

The Walk
Philippe Petit takes his love performance beyond simple street acts, all the way to the top of the World Trade Centre.

Once you get past the French accent employed by the main cast member this is a surprisingly good film. I didn't know the story behind it so I also go the commentary highlights afterwards from Rich who did know the story. It is superbly well acted and the mix of special effects with live performance works really well.

Walk in the Woods

Bill Bryson (yes, the author) decides to walk the Appalachian Trail.

This is a fairly pedestrian movie, although it has some stunning scenery; the best bit of the film is that it manages not to make you feel bad about not having walked the Appalachian Trail!

A botched casino robbery leads the thieves to hijack a city bus.

Despite the fact that Jeffrey Dean Morgan is the least convincing villain (ever) this was a reasonably enjoyable movie. Do keep watching to the end, it might seem like a typical robbery movie - but there is a twist in the tale.

Dark Places
Confronting the murder of her mother and two sisters when she was a girl Libby Day faces the possibility that her brother, jailed for the crime, might be innocent.

This was well acted and probably well written, just not really my type of film - far too stern and serious.

Date Night
Feeling that they are stuck in a rut the couple at the centre of the story decide to go on a date night and try something different, with disastrous consequences.

Whilst I'm not fond of films that are too serious I don't like films with slapstick ridiculous humour either. There is a limit to my ability to swallow ridiculous scenarios.

American Ultra
The small town stoner at the centre of this story spends most of his time writing graphic novels and getting high; if only he knew he has his own comic book life as a trained CIA assassin.

I was fairly determined not to like this film, but the superb acting from Jesse Eisenberg and the rest of the cast managed to win me over.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Spring garden

The sun is out and it isn't quite as cold as it has been. Husband is off watching Charlton play so I thought it was a good time for some garden spring-cleaning.

There is the most enormous pile of dead cuttings; my lovely Uncle helped us severely prune some bushes/shrubs last year, unfortunately the chainsaw gave out before we were done, so we've been letting the discarded tree limbs dry out to dispose of them. This has been immensely popular with the foxes, squirrels and garden birds - but all good things must come to an end. I spent half an hour trying to trim away; unfortunately this seems to be a two person job as I have to sit down to do this and it means I can't really reach any twigs to chop.

Big twig pile
My little pile
There are all sorts of wildlife out in the garden - mostly the birds, I noticed Mr Blackbird hopping around where I'd been chopping up twigs to see what bugs I had disturbed. The little birds have been out a lot today as the parakeets and the pigeons were taking the morning off. As soon as I went out in the garden a heap of pigeons appeared to see if I was going to put some food out (or not).

The garden wildlife are now stepping up into the 'eating us out of house and home' phase of the year. The bird seed (etc.) comes via Amazon's "Spend and Save" but isn't due for another month... left to their own devices the birds and squirrels would get through that a long time before four weeks elapse.

Unfortunately the only thing that isn't blooming (quite literally) in the garden are plants. The hydrangea seems to have died over the last year - I bought MiL a new one for Mother's Day but the old one has to be removed first. The crocuses and daffodils that once used to grace the garden are a thing of the past as between them the squirrels and foxes have dug up and consumed all the bulbs.

As good as it gets is the plum tree, bursting with blossom and it will be bursting with plums later in the year which fall to the ground and get eaten by the avian population.

#101in1001 - Nr.1

You can read about my Day Zero project on its page here. It is an undertaking to prevent me from idling my time away - so there are some easy items on the list and some real undertakings!

It turns out that there is no numerical logic to the list; the first item on the list is "Finish writing 101 thing by the end of 1001 days" - turned out to be surprisingly hard to do.

I got to around 80 items and ran out of ideas; even using the 'popular' sections of the Day Zero and other tags it still became quite difficult to make the quota.

I then decided to re-order the list into themed sections, at which point I discovered several duplications slightly differently worded, so it was back to the drawing board (again).

I think a few hundred days had passed before I finally had 101 items (!).