DAYS OUT: Mystery Trip, Pt. II

This photo fails utterly!

I took the above photograph while out delivering today. It fails utterly to capture the amazing contrast between heavy leaden grey skies and a band of pinkish-orange luminescence that was so arresting I had to stop traffic to take the shot.

Selfie alert.

I don’t go in for selfies, as a rule. But I wanted to see myself as I was seeing myself, so to speak. Also, this room is very like, in terms of wall colour, our blue room, back home. You think you’re being different, only to find you’re part of the zeitgeist!

Where be this, then?
Nice door glass.
Crappy pic of amazing chandelier.

Strolling towards supper, I took a few urban nightlife pics. Good God, I’m so out of the loop these days. But I should care.

Going all Poirot, avec my napkin.

Shouldn’t have indulged in eating out. The food was great. But my sensitive nature was offended by the grossness of humanity. Teresa liked the nosh. Thank goodness. But she don’t like ‘avin ‘er pitcher took…

DAYS iN: Chester, Meds & DIY/Chores

Dear ol’ Chester is evidently pleased I’m back home.

I had just enough time between my two delivery shifts today to pop home briefly. I needed to fit several reasons. For one, I’d forgotten to take my fortnightly injection last Sunday.

Time to get this done and dusted.

I can also do a few sundry chores: wrap a few more presssies, poss paint a bit more of the master bedroom wall; maybe hang the large mirror (I attached the mounting doodad just before our little break), and change into a new/fresh set of duds.

Chester is purring away mightily. Gorgeous!

I’ve fed Chester a bit: both regular dry food and some Dreamies (if that’s what they’re called?). A bit of bonding via his tummy is fine!

I’m fairly pleased with this.

I also mounted or ‘hung’ the large wooden framed mirror, over the (fairly) recently acquired chesty o’drawers, mit der blau front. It seems fairly well places/square. Mind, I’m not sure anything’s plumb square in this house!

That’s why there were no doors at all in the upstairs areas; all the walls and doorframes are out o’ whack. I’ve subsequently installed doors in all the empty frames. But the only serve to illustrate how wonky everything is!

DAYS OUT: Mystery Trip, Pt. I

Where are we?

I’ve been sworn to secrecy. So I cannae tell any tales.

She doesn’t like being photographed.
View from the window.

I had to really zoom in to get the above photo. In the darkened room. When we arrived the heater was on full. We switched it off. That was three hours ago. And it’s still like a sauna!

Bedtime reading..

We found a fan. It’s running full blast. And will be all night. The window is open (it won’t open very wide, alas). And, as already mentioned, the heating is orff. I just hope I can sleep ok.

They say a change is as good as a rest. It is nice to be somewhere different.

NATURE: Boids…

Aegithalos Caudatus, or the Long Tailed Tit!

Birds are amazing. And so often incredibly cute. Look a this ballistic little ball of feathers. And such a funny name. Tits – of all varieties – always make me smile, or even laugh.

MEDiA: Mutiny On The Bounty, 1962

We started watching this ol’ Technicolour/Panavision epic – it’s three hours long! – tonight. We’ll split it over today and tomorrow.

There’s not a chance in Hell of watching it all one sitting these days. For starters Teresa would be asleep way before the creditors rolled. But I’m getting to bed earlier and earlier these day as well.

Trevor Howard is great as the martinet Bligh, whilst Brando is intriguing as Fletcher Christian, played here as a rather dandified fop. I’ll get to historical accuracy later. But in terms of setting up a fun movie dynamic, it bodes fine.

I mention this ‘cause the movie bombed, and was almost universally panned, at the time. It stalled Brando’s career for a decade (until The Godfather)! Watching it now it’s hard to see why.

One of the best things about it so far – and I’m typing this only half an hour into the movie, is the Bounty herself. A full size replica was built, at a cost of $750,000. And she’s a real beauty. No mistake!

There’s an interesting blog article (here) on the model Bounty, as used in the film. The scenes of the stormy failure to pass Cape Horn are superbly done. By now we’re about an hour into the film.

After just half of the movie, we’ve paused for the night. The crew are enjoying Tahiti, whilst Bligh stays on board, fuming. The McGuffin here, and a narrative spine of sorts, concerns a boffin from Kew, seeking to bring breadfruit back from The Tropics, as a new ‘superfood’.

It’s a bit uneven. But I think it is a classic of sorts. Not as an out and our masterpiece, far from it. But it is epic, in style and feel. And the effort that went into the production makes it a spectacle well worth viewing.

The Bounty replica, in later life.

Also of interest is the fate of the full sized working replica Bounty (read more about that here, which was ultimately lost at sea, with loss of lives, including the skipper. Who, in an echo of the movie, as Bligh is o j I’m portrayed here, makes a foolish command decision, to sail into foul weather.

Lost in Hurricane Sandy, 2012.

It’s the following day, now, Sunday. And we’ve watched the second half of the film. Or rather I have. Teresa fell asleep, as ever. But, returning to the film itself, as a rip-snorting Hollywood epic, I’m actually mightily impressed.

I suspect it’s a long long way from historically accurate. But I don’t care. If I want to know what really happened, I’m sure there are folk who’ve done the work finding out (as best as can be done), and I can explore that at some later point.

What this is, is melodrama, and grand spectacle. Or, in a word, entertainment. And as such, it’s really rather good. Apparently Brando’s posh British accent came in for some flak. So did Keanu’s, in Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula. But both are fine. Indeed, perfectly good.

And not only are their accents no real cause for criticism. Much more importantly, both films are excellent (albeit very different).

Some might disagree with me on this. But I’m just observing that American actors affecting posh British accents would have to do spectacularly appalling jobs to butcher either film – they have so much else going for them – and as it happens, neither of them do anyway.

I did worry for a moment that the post-mutiny part of the film – which it takes so long to build up to – might be a let down. And there is a slight deflation, or loss of dramatic pressure, so to speak, but the dramatic ending more than makes up for this.

All told, I’m rather baffled as to why this bombed at the time of release. It’s not only better than the average Hollywood fare of the era, it’s good enough to have stood the test of time, and remained highly watchable right down to our present times.

Oh, and to finish, another interesting footnote is that Brando and the actress who plays his Tahitian live interest did actually marry in real life, and have a family. And there’s lots more of interest, in that vein, if that intrigues you. Including murder! But I’ll leave it at that for now; bed beckons…

HOME/DiY: Fixing The Chandelier

Fixed, after aeons of neglect.

This chandelier had two of it lower chains of ‘cut glass’ (resin or plastic!) broken, ages ago. Since which time it’s looked a bit sad, frankly.

I should’ve taken a before pic’, but as happens so often, I did’nae. So it’s only the post-repair pics on here.

Not really noticeable at a glance.

In the end it only took a few minutes. Using quite fine wire, one of the broken chains was put back almost as was. The other one lost four piece of ‘glass’. So that required a different fix.

Up close one of the repairs is visible.

I’m pretty sure ill have kept the missing links. But exactly where they may be, or if I’ll ever find them again, well… that’s another matter entirely!

So instead I did what you can just make out in the above photograph. It’s a temporary bodge. But it’s doing the job for now. At least the chandelier doesn’t look as tragic as it did with two strands hanging forlornly off it.

Another little home improvement job ticked off. Small but satisfying.

HOME: Yuletide Prep, Pt. III

And lo, the tree, she is up!

We bought this tree at a great post-Xmas discount, from the Scotsdales on the Trumpington/Shelfords side of Cambridge. I believe it was about £100-120-ish, down from a pre-Xmas price of roughly £400.

We’ve had it about a decade now. So it’s paid for itself, compared to our old practice of having a real tree each year, many times over now.

I’m still a bit icky about having a ‘fake’ tree. But it saves money, is easier to have at home, and looks pretty durn good. So I’ve come to terms with it.

We still have a lot more tidying and decorating to do. But it feels great to have cleared space for the tree, sorted the tarry curtains out, and got the place looking nicer overall.

HEALTH & WELLBEiNG: Sleep, Pills, & Dreams

I’ve recently being having a bout, or rather occasional bouts, of insomnia. Zopiclone is far and away the best pill form remedy. I occasionally use valerian tablets. I have no idea how effective they are, to be honest.

One incidental feature of these recent troubled nights have been occasional periods of incredibly vivid and potent dreams. Sometimes great fun. Sometimes less so.

Last night the dreams were definitely nightmares. And very odd they were too. Like a film, but where one is unable to change channels. I often wish I could remember or record dreams. Not so much in this instance.

Mind, it’d be interesting view them in sober waking consciousness, and see that, if anything, one could make of them. But, truth be told, I don’t believe dreams are at all like that. They’re more a mix of feeling, memories, thoughts, emotions, and in these instances, fears and anxieties.

A lot of the time I prefer being asleep to being awake. But this is decidedly not the case when having such vivid and terrifying nightmares. I left posting about it until later in the day. So it’s nigh on impossible to recall any detail.

It was like a psychedelic maelstrom!

HOME: Yuletide Prep’, Pt. II

I’m soooo pleased!

We spent a portion of our afternoon on a shopping trip, taking in West End DIY, March Quality Meats (Yuletide duck, n’ sausages!), Boyes and Sainsburys… phew! During which we got seasonal fare, weekly grub, Xmas gifts and curtain rings.

Why does this sight fill me with joy?

The curtain rings were quite pricey, and aren’t a perfect match with the ones we started out with. But I don’t care, frankly. The whole shebang looks so much better than heretofore. So I’m mightily chuffed. Thanks Teresa, for your sewing skills (and forbearance!).

Got me a single bottle o’ beer…

I decided I’d imbibe. But under the current new dispensation alkeyhole is out. So I’m enjoying an alkoholfrei Erdinger weissbier. Alcohol free beer is, to my mind, a little like a white shade of black. Nonsensical. Maybe that’s why the bottle says ‘refreshing isotonic drink’?

Ok, there’s a trace of evil Al CaHole.

Still, it tastes ok. And it’s cheaper, albeit not by a big enough margin for my wallet. It’s cold, fizzy, tastes very beer-ish. And I won’t go doolally.

HOME: Yuletide Prep’, Pt. I

Clearing space for the tree, Phase 1.

We had to move a butler sink, and tons of sundry crap, from under the stairs, then put a shoe rack in that space, move our second gate-leg table up against the stairs, and put our as yet unused fish tank in one of the sheds in the garden.

Whilst out in the garden I got all Alan Partridge – ‘look at all these leaves; someone should really ought to clear them up!’ – and cleared a load of dead leaves from our ragamuffin lawn, and onto the compost heap.

Phase 2, space cleared.

On having cleared some space, I realised this was the perfect time to sort out the tarty curtains that are both too long – so they funnel any heat from the radiator out of the window! – and are tattered and torn.

Curtains (and clutter!) removed.

Teresa fought me tooth and nail, insisting we do the tree first. But I figure it’d be easier to do the curtains before the tree blocks access to that area. So I just took them down, measured and cut them. Fait accomplis, Teresa fell in, and sewed the hems.

Chair re-‘thrown’.

An even smaller job, but one that’s been urging the hell out of me for a while, was sorting out this armchair: removing g all the layers, puffing up and re-positioning sunken cushions, and re-layering the throw. It’s now much more comfortable, and looks a lot better.

All these little jobs add up. Here’s another horrid area or two of clutter, that drive me doolally:

Teresa’s understair horror-show.

This area, and several others dotted around our home urgently need sorting. Otherwise I greatly fear – and I jesteth not – insanity beckons. The clutter really does stress me out that much.

The first newly tailored curtain back up.

Teresa re-hemmed the freshly cut curtains in short order. And they’re ready to go back up. At this juncture we realise we need a load more curtain rings. A trip to Boyes, and/or West End DIY is clearly indicated.

Just the one curtain nearly does the job.

The first curtain back up. And drawn. You’ll note there’s clearly no lining. That needs remedying at some point. Although I think Teresa plans that we have entirely new curtains, instead.

This ugly clutter needed sorting.

Then I decided to clear an area in the corner. All sorts of stuff had accumulated here, inc. auto related stuff, at materials, several lights/torches (inc. some good powerful ones!), and whatnot. I’ve just shifted this junk for now. But the improvement is encouraging.

Ta-dah! That’s so much better.

I need a dedicated space – at present it’s the shelf beneath the cleared area around the ukulele – for car related gubbins. Prob’ ought to be out in one of the sheds?