Thursday, 22 March 2012

She Wolves of England

I am very much enjoying the documentary series written and presented by Dr Helen Castor  and on BBC on Thursday nights - She Wolves of England.  Telling the stories of Matilda, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Isabella of France, Margaret of Anjou and the Tudor Queens (tonight's final episode).  Fascinating stories of some very strong, determined, courageous, at times flawed but very capable women.  Putting the book on my to read list.

Reading challenge 4/20 - currently reading on Kindle TBC and in print Drop Dead Beautiful by Jackie Collins

Film Review - The Raven

The Raven starring John Cusack

Beware spoilers!!

Cinema in the afternoon is such a decadent thing - or seems to be such a decadent thing to do - Mike and I haven't been to the cinema in the afternoon for a long long time.  But we grabbed ourselves a hotdog for lunch and settled down for the film.  The plot of the film is fairly straightforward a series of gruesome murders are being committed each one resembling ones written by Edgar Allen Poe, Poe is at first suspected and then in turn helps the police to solve the crimes. 

The film also taps into reality, exploring what may have happened to Edgar Allen Poe in the four days before he died when he mysteriously disappeared and then turned up ill, bedraggled and bewildered on a park bench in Baltimore.

The film stars John Cusack, and here I am somewhat biased, he gives a creditable performance portraying Poe as the unpleasant, struggling, drunkard which he was by this time, but also manages to pull out of the character some likeable attributes and some humour.  The film is grim and dour and does on occasion some a little reminder of the old Hammer Horrors and fits in well with the current gothic costume horror trend with the likes of Woman in Black and Sherlock Holmes.  An interesting supporting role from Brendan Gleeson who is always good value for money.

Overall not a brilliant film, but still enjoyable.
Reading challenge 4/20 - currently reading on Kindle Tower TBC and in print Drop Dead Beautiful by Jackie Collins (I will finish this book!!)
Tower of Silence by Sarah Rayne

Beware Spoilers!

Tower of Silence (Paperback) ~ Sarah Rayne (Author) Cover Art

Literally could not put this book down!!  So ended up with lots to do when I'd finished it - housework, session planning, collecting Jamie from school!!!!  This is the second Sarah Rayne I've read and the second that I have been totally thrilled by. 

This is a book which draws several stories together and to a conclusion in the isolated community of Inchcape and the Scottish secure hospital for the criminally insane at Moy.  The stories start with the survivors of an Indian kidnapping of the 1940's and the effects it has on the lives of those survivors.  Selina March, one of the survivors comes to live with elderly aunts and uncle whose enclosed lives never allow the little girl to grieve or live so she becomes caught in trying to find some way for her parents who died in the tragedy to safely pass onto the next world.  We meet a lonely, frightened spinster striving to keep all of her secrets from the past hidden and struggling to do this against the need to open her home as a bed and breakfast.

Into this comes Joanna Savil an author in the area to undertake research at Moy, and unwittingly the catalyst to the convergence of the several story threads.  At the hospital there is the notorious, now grown up, teenage killer Mary Maskylene (whose sister was one of those who died in the Indian kidnapping) a wicked and calculating killer and the mysterious patient who will talk to no-one.   

Overall of all of this and drawing people to them are the towers, the round tower just behind Teind House the home of Selina March, the bell tower at Moy (where the bell is only rung is a prisoner escapes) and the Dakhma where the children were held in India.  A Dakhma was used to allow corpses to be cleaned by vultures prior to burial and where the atrocity with the kidnapped children and Selina's parents takes place.

When Joanna Savil disappears, her husband, Emily (Selina March's daily assistant) and Dr Patrick Irvine begin to piece together the story and discover the real identities.  The story is dark, it has its moments of horror, but it is a great read.  Most of the characters are well drawn - although most in this story may not be likeable it is easy to see how the effects of such trauma in childhood can affect those adults throughout their lives, especially when that trauma is not addressed.  A fascinating story and interesting to read about the different funerary rights in other cultures.

Ciao Sue Reading challenge 4/20 - currently reading on Kindle TBC and in print Drop Dead Beautiful by Jackie Collins

Friday, 9 March 2012

The Woman in Black film review - below on same blog as the book review but beware spoilers.

Ciao Sue Reading challenge 4/20 - currently reading on Kindle TBC and in print Drop Dead Beautiful by Jackie Collins

Thursday, 1 March 2012

John Walker (The Walker Brothers) and Davy Jones (The Monkees) RIP

(From May 2011)  I have been a huge fan of The Walkers Brothers for many many years and am very saddened to hear of the death of John Walker one of the founding member of the trio.  The Walkers Brothers had their heydays in the mid to late 1960's and had mega hits such as The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore and Make It Easy on Yourself. amongst many others  The reunited briefly around 1976 and had another couple of hits including No Regrets.
John Walker (John Maus) was the band's original vocalist before Scott Walker took over as the lead vocalist.  After the band split up John Walker returned to the United States and had his own recording studio, eventually returning to live performance in the 1990's.  The Walker Brothers are surely one of the bands of the 1960's and John Walker deserves his place in the history of music.  Photographs from here

Saddened to hear the news, today, of the sudden death of Davy Jones of The Monkees.  I can remember coming home from school and watching reruns of the 1960's shows and they were great - fun and good music.  Yes The Monkees were a manufactured band but oh so much better than those of today.  Sad news

Reading challenge 4/20 - currently reading on Kindle Tower of Silence by Sarah Rayne and in print Drop Dead Beautiful by Jackie Collins

The Family Yearly Scrapbook 2011

Another catch up - one of the things I have been doing for many years has been keeping a scrapbook of all of the different trips, events and general old stuff we do during the year and I have been keeping them in the traditional scrapbook format but last year (2011) I decided to try something a little different and here are the initial results.  I am now in the final stages of finishing off the album and then I'll add a final review over which style works the best and then it will be onto the 2012 version!  I do seem to have so many different scrapbooks and journals on the go at the moment but I hope to share those on these 'ere blog before too long too.

Here's the traditional style scrapbook which I have been using and the work well but have ended up bulging and needing to be held together with elastic bands!!
So I decided to try this style of basic 12 x 12 album where I could decorate the front cover myself - this one is an American Crafts D Ring Album in powder blue ....
I decorated with some My Mind's Eye paper, Stampin Up cardstock, MME rub-on and some ribbons and flowers from my scrap crap - I think the front cover looks quite nice - brown and blue work well together but may when its complete I may add some more flowers and embellishments. 
I also added a pocket inside the front cover to store items which needed to go into the album - its quite deep too so I was pleased with that as I'd never made a pocket with a gusset before!
And a couple of additional items to use in the album to help date pages and store bits - one just simple mini envelopes from Hobbycraft and the calendars were Jenni Bowlin (I think - no 100% though).  Overall pretty pleased with this - now just to complete last year and then start the one for 2012 - I had better get on with it too otherwise items will be starting to build up!!

Reading challenge 4/20 - currently reading on Kindle Tower of Silence by Sarah Rayne and in print Drop Dead Beautiful by Jackie Collins

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