Monday, 14 September 2015

DVD round up...

St Vincent (12)

Life affirming drama comedy. Bill Murray stars as Vincent, a grumpy old man with some bad habits who helps out new neighbour Maggie (Melissa McCarthy)as she and her son, Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher) try to build a new life.

Black Sails (15)

Seasons 1 & 2
Pirates, lots of them, everywhere you look, doing 'orrible, violent pirate things. Totally bonkers but brilliant back story to Treasure Island's Long John Silver interwoven into the lives of the 18th century pirates of Nassau. Five pieces of eight just for the mad, bad hair days.

Black Sea (15)

Being claustrophobic, my idea of hell could definitely feature a leaking submarine, that said, this tense heist thriller kept my attention all the way through. Jude Law is the captain of a dodgy crew looking for dodgy gold in the bottom of the Black Sea in very dodgy submarine. Take a deep breath...

The Call (15)

Halle Berry stars as an emergency services telephone operator trying to help the next victim of a serial killer she's encountered before in the line of duty.

The Maze Runner (12)

Another dystopian future for young adults in the same vein as The Hunger Games and Divergent series. An interesting idea with a big dollop of spidery scariness thrown in, though the ending is a bit of an anticlimax. Dylan O'Brien stars as teen boy trying to navigate a maze after his memory have been wiped. Not suitable for under 14's.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Finding Places for People

If European and world leaders haven't the stomach for regime change in Syria, however brutally flawed the regime, at least have the heart to provide a breathing space for refugees to rebuild shattered lives while contributing to the local economy and community. The strength of spirit these refugees will need to rebuild their country in future years will not be found in semi-permanent camps or behind barbed wire. It should not be leached away by political infighting, statistics and nights spent on the side of cold roads while the rest of the world weeps without consequence.

Across Europe and the world there are communities, many rural, needing skilled, literate families, from doctors to crop pickers to help revitalise their economy. If the political machinery of the world has become so hamstrung by its own bureaucracy it is unable to act, perhaps we need to look at other avenues to find places for people. Mayors, community groups, local employers, village councils who know the shortages and empty homes in their areas could help to provide economic support for these refugees before organised crime, profiteering, racketeering and people traffickers take over and before another nation's hearts and minds are lost.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Autumn arrives with spiders and newts



River Barle

After a week in Devon near lovely Exmoor, it seems I've returned to an autumnal garden with leaves falling, seedheads replacing flowers and plenty of spiders emerging, their webs picked out in the rain. There's a new spider I've not seen before, I think it's cave dweller living very contentedly in the compost bin and in the now very overgrown pond, are several larval newts, feathery gills emerging. The later dawn and earlier dusk makes spotting bats and foxes easier and the hollyhock and buddlja are still buzzing with bees, hover flies and wasps. 
After the moor, it's easy to overlook how much wildlife a garden supports, there may not be rolling heather hills with red deer and ponies, rushing rivers full of otters and trout but autumn brings an abundance of nature to our doorstep if we stop and take a closer look.

'compost bin spider'

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Is isolationism the political goal of this government?

Living in Kent this summer has meant living with Operation Stack. The cost of #OpStack to the UK has been estimated as £250 million, so far. So, the solution? Compensation from France for the border-blocking strike action? Processing the few thousand asylum seekers efficiently and swiftly before it all gets out of hand and they resort to desperate, life-threatening (to both hauliers, holidaymakers & asylum seekers) measures?

 Um, no... as every isolationist state knows, what you need is a fence.  With guard dogs and electrification and when that doesn't work, more, bigger fences called 'rings of steel' and maybe double fences, with no-man's land in between, and then what...  minefields and sniper guns?

Here's a reminder of the first article of the universal declaration of human rights  ~   All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. 

Maybe we should start ring-fencing our humanity instead.