Flying deckchairs

On Monday, I watched a really wonderful documentary: The Real Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines. There’s still time to watch it on iPlayer, and I heartily recommend doing so, even if you have no interest in microlights. It was the kind of documentary I love, in which you let people with a passion for something tell their own story. In this case, the cameras followed several participants in the ‘Round Britain Rally’, a gloriously Wacky Races event, in which the aim is to rack up the most points over three days by flying over designated waypoints dotted around the UK in a microlight aircraft.

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Rex Whistler Mural

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On our way back from Anglesey, we stopped off at a National Trust Property called Plas Newydd. A very beloved Godmother of mine gave Mr. Bsag and I a Lifetime Membership to the National Trust as a wedding present, which was a generous and wonderful gift that we make use of frequently. National Trust properties are often fascinating, but the entrance fees can also be expensive, so you sometimes wonder if the trip will be worth the money or you end up staying longer than you really wanted to, just to get your money’s worth.

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Of Gods And Men

On Saturday, we watched the film Of Gods And Men, or ‘Des hommes et des dieux’ to give it its original title. There are times when I’m in the mood for a serious film, and times when I would rather watch something light and fluffy. I wasn’t sure that I was in the right frame of mind on Saturday for a serious film about a group of Cistercian monks in Algeria, who were kidnapped by fundamentalist terrorists during the Algerian Civil War in 1996 and disappeared.

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Fags, Mags And Bags

I’ve been meaning for ages to write about the BBC Radio 4 comedy series Fags, Mags and Bags, but was reminded about it by the fact that I have managed — much to my annoyance — to miss the first two episodes of the new series. Fags, Mags and Bags (FMB) is one of my all-time favourite radio comedies. I’m not quite sure why I love it so much, but it’s a quirky and essentially very gentle show, with great characters.

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Megson

We went to see Megson at the Red Lion Folk club in Kings Heath this week, and it was a great experience. I don’t know why I’ve never been to one of the Red Lion gigs before, given that I love folk music and the venue is quite close to my home, but somehow I had never got around to it. I’ll definitely try to go along more often, because it is a wonderful, intimate venue, with a very friendly crowd.

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Christmas Albums

I was lucky to get a couple of great albums for Christmas this year, which I’ve really been enjoying listening to. Bahamut by Hazmat Modine The first was Bahamut by Hazmat Modine. I had never heard of Hazmat Modine before, which is a shame, because their style is right up my rather eclectic street, and they have a fantastic name to boot. I like a lot of different styles of music, and I love it when these are combined.

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Remaking A Classic

We didn’t watch a great deal of TV over the Christmas break, but we did really enjoy a few programmes, including one that we were nearly put off watching by the poor reviews. It was a remake of one of the classic M. R. James ghost stories, “Whistle And I’ll Come To You”. I’m a massive fan of the stories, and the TV adaptations which were made in the 1960s and 70s, particularly the one they made of “Whistle And I’ll Come To You” (with Michael Hordern) and “A Warning To The Curious” (with Peter Vaughan).

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War Horse

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I watched a fascinating documentary on Channel 4 about the making of War Horse a theatre production of the book written by Michael Morpurgo about the bond between a boy and his horse, intertwined with the First World War. The amazing thing about the production (I should say the most amazing thing, because every aspect looked brilliant) is the puppet horses. They are huge, skeletal beasts made of a wooden framework covered with gauze, and operated by three people.

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Folk Dancing

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I’m not much of a dancer, but I enjoy a good ceilidh and I appreciate folk dances… now. When I was at primary school, we had to do ‘Country Dancing’ which was excruciatingly embarrassing as we had to dance with boys. I’m not sure that the boys were that keen on the whole endeavour either, which resulted in a lot of small children shuffling reluctantly around the gymnasium to an old and scratchy folk record, desperately trying not to make actual physical contact with their partner.

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A classic ‘but she’s a girl’ moment from World War II

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If you have read my about page, you'll know that this blog is named after the bafflement that meeting a geeky, technically-minded female engenders in some people. I am far from unique in this experience, of course, and for older women with non-typically female interests, it was probably a weary, daily experience. I was watching a fascinating documentary earlier this week called Spitfire Women, about the women who served in the Air Transport Auxillary (ATA), and came across a perfect example of a 'but she's a girl' moment.

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